Wellington Bake Club: Week 1

As part of Wellington On a Plate there is the Wellington Bake Club. At my new job we have put together a group of bakers called The Cheap Tarts.

I’m always up to do some baking. At my job in Sydney there were a few of us who liked to bake, so we had a few bake days there. When presented with the opportunity to do the same thing in Wellington, I said yes. I’m always up to do some baking and a challenge.

A challenge it will be as I don’t currently have an oven…

Whoops.

I’ll be baking at my in-laws for the few weeks of the bake club and, while it is still not the fully-stocked kitchen I have packed away in boxes at my parents’ place, it does have an oven.

Week one of the Wellington Bake Club has been with the first challenge to make a slice.

I made my Hazelnut Fudge Slice. Although I did not win my colleagues’ vote (coming in second), I did win the popular vote.

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So that is week one for the Wellington Bake Club. Next week we are to make a veggie cake. I’m a bit stumped there. I don’t think I have ever made a cake with vegetables in before. I know I have made kumara muffins before, but muffins aren’t cake.

Guess I better get perusing Pinterest…

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Toblerone Cheesecake

I have had this post on my to do list for months.

Like, actually. I made this cheesecake back in December as a Christmas present for my co-workers. We had a pretty awesome lunch with ordering a whole heap of pizzas to the office and the digging into the cheesecake. It was loved. It was devoured. It was delicious.

So finally, I bring you the amazing pictures taken of the Toblerone cheesecake, which is definitely going to become one of my favourites.

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Oooooooooh, yeeeeeeeeah.

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Cherry cheese danishes

Last week I was very lucky to receive a massive bowl of cherries from The Hamper Box courtesy of one my work’s clients as a thank you and Merry Christmas.

It was massive. I’m starting to think several kilograms worth of cherries. And we got sent three of them.

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So what do you do when you are inundated with fruit that really needs to be used?

Well, first you eat some. (Of course.)

Then you share some around. (Man Piece took off to work with a plastic bag full of cherries for his colleagues, which barely made a dent in the bowl and which he mostly ate.)

And then when you really want to use some of them up, you bake with them.

Thus the idea to make cherry cheese danishes came to mind.

I was originally going to make a cherry pie, but then… well… I couldn’t be bothered. It seemed like so much work!

But these cherry cheese danishes were so easy, and I really think they would be easy to do with a variety of different fruits.

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What you will need (makes 16):

3 to 4 cups of cherries (or your fruit of choice. I would be keen to try this again with raspberries or strawberries.)
250g cream cheese
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 sheets puff pastry
1 egg and 1 Tbsp water for the egg wash to brush over

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Pictured here is raw sugar, but that is only because I didn’t realise we had no white sugar in the apartment. It worked well, but you could probably use whatever sugar you prefer.

Directions

First I needed to take the stalks off all the cherries and remove the pips. It would have been a whole heap easier if I had one of those fancy cherry de-pippers. Alas, I was left with a knife and my fingers to cut them open and pull the pips out. Messy work.

Mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla essence in a bowl until combined.

Cut each pastry sheet in four — waiting for it to thaw fully makes this a whole lot easier.

Spread cream cheese mixture over pastry square and add cherries. Put a few more on than pictured – I think I ended up putting about eight halves on each pastry square.

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You could really do this in any orientation you like, be it diagonally or just in a dollop in the centre. It’s really up to how you want to fold up the pastry.

I did a mixture of both, but I made sure that there were vents from the centre to let any steam out. I found the best way to fold over a long corner, fold the other long corner on top of that and then tuck the small corners in, squeezing the pastry together.

Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush with egg wash. (I didn’t actually do this as I don’t have one of those cooking brushes right now. The pastries were fine without it, but it would give them a bit of a nicer look.)

Bake in oven set to 200°C for around 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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Serve fresh. They do last a few days in the fridge – if they make it that long. Be warned, they are very more-ish!

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Cookie dough pretzel bites.

How amazing does that sound? Cookie dough. Pretzel. Bites.

Delicious.

One of the many baking blogs I follow is Sally’s Baking Addiction. The recipes she comes up with are just superb and I want to make them all. And then possibly bath in them.

So, when work decided to hold a bake sale to raise funds for the NSW bush fires, I knew immediately what I was going to make to get a few gold coins out of people.

And thus, cookie dough pretzel bites.

They are really easy to make and the cookie dough is made without egg (so it’s safe to eat. Although I know many of you don’t care about salmonella.)

All you need is the cookie dough, pretzels and melting chocolate. You can get the recipe here on Sally’s website.

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I feel a ‘coooooooookies’ is appropriate right now.

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You roll the cookie dough into balls and press a pretzel on either side, then chill them before dipping them in chocolate.

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These went down really well with everyone, but be warned, they are very rich. One of these and I’m done.

I think if I am to make these again, which in all honesty, probably, I will create slightly smaller balls before sandwiching them between the pretzels. I feel it was just a bit too much cookie dough per pretzel and chocolate.

Here is a selection of other baking made by my collegues that was on sale:

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I believe we raised over $200 in total, which will go to the Red Cross to aid those affected by the NSW bush fires.

Peanut butter and banana pancakes

I have been feeling like pancakes for a few weeks now. And you know how if you don’t satisfy a craving, sometimes it just keeps getting stronger? Yeah, that.

So I was watching an episode of Switched at Birth yesterday (don’t judge me) and they had made peanut butter pancakes. I immediately thought, ‘Mmmmm peanut butter pancakes, I need to try that.’

And so I Googled for a recipe and found this one for peanut butter and banana pancakes.

A win-win, as we had three bananas sitting on the bench which were starting to look a bit passed it. If I didn’t make something with them this weekend, they were destined for the rubbish shoot.

I got Man Piece to go and buy the few missing ingredients and this morning I made them.

They were heavenly.

Mixing the ingredients together.

Mixing the ingredients together.

Cooking the pancake like a pro.

Cooking the pancake like a pro.

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Making the caramalised bananas.

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The finished product. Delicious.