Mocha Pfeffernüsse bread

Chocolate – check

Pfeffernüsse spice – check

Coffee – check

Bread – check

With all the good things in life checked off here, it’s of little wonder that this bread is sooooo good! It makes for an awesomely decadent treat (breakfast?) with a latte, and makes the whole house smell like heaven
before you even pop it in the oven. I’ve missed baking so much (stupid busy lifestyle!), and this was the perfect way to get back into the swing of it. It was inspired by the Spiced Choc Coffee Loaf in the Woolworths Fresh magazine, and the fact that while I’d run out of mixed spice, I’ve got a whole stash of pfeffernüsse spice in my kitchen. I haven’t made the original, but my spice mix brings so much to the party that I won’t be omitting it.

The caveat is that it’s, um, nearly 500 calories a slice. But it’s legitimately bread, not cake, and although decadent, it is also filling. And it’s certainly a special occasion kind of recipe, so it’s not like you’d be adding it to your regular diet. And if you are, I kind of envy you!

Ingredients

Dough

3/4 cup milk

7g sachet yeast

1/3 cup caster sugar

3 1/3 cups plain flour

3 eggs, beaten

125g butter (I use salted – if yours is unsalted, add 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes), cubed

Filling

250g dark chocolate

50g butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1tbs pfeffernüsse spice

Icing

30 mls espresso (I used Nespresso Vanilio)

1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Method

  1. Combine milk, yeast and sugar, and rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Place yeast mixture, flour and eggs into a bowl. Knead for 3 minutes until smooth (or 3 minutes in a stand mixer).
  3. While continuing to knead, add butter one piece at a time, incorporating each into the dough before adding another. Knead for 10 minutes after the final piece, until smooth, glossy and elastic.
  4. Place dough in a clean bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise for 1 hour, or up to 24 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 200°C and line a loaf pan with greased baking paper.  
  6. Melt chocolate and butter, and add sugar and spice mix. Stir to combine.
  7. Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a 35x40cm rectangle. Spread with chocolate mixture and roll into logs from the short edges.
  8. Cut each log lengthways (use a very sharp knife for this or it will tear the dough). Twist two halves into one log, and then repeat with the remaining two logs.
  9. Plait the two twisted logs into one large log and fold the edges underneath. Fit into the loaf pan, squishing the edges in if necessary, but aiming not to lose the twisted appearance.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes. Stand for 15 minutes then remove from pan.
  11. Combine the icing ingredients and drizzle over the loaf.

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Breakfast muffins

Can you believe there are 9 fruits and vegetables stuffed into these little muffins? Let me tell you, that fact makes it soooo easy to justify cake for breakfast! But they’re amazingly delicious, pretty filling, and only 191 calories each – so not a terrible option for something sweet and decadent, or breakfast on the run. A big shout out to Smitten Kitchen for the recipe – mine is an adaptation of an adaptation, which is pretty much the joy of cooking: no one does things exactly the same, and that diversity is beautiful. 

This recipe yields 16 small muffins, which is perfect for me because I have one with coffee an hour or so after a bowl of Weetbix and berries, but making 8 larger muffins to have as a full breakfast is a viable option, as well. Just adjust the cooking time, and start checking on them afyer about 30 minutes. They’re a super moist muffin, but a skewer should still come out clean.

Ingredients

1.5 Granny Smith apples, grated 

1 large carrot, grated 

225g can crushed pineapple, drained well

1/3 cup dessicated coconut

1/4 cup dried fruit (I used a mix of dried apple, beetroot, craisins, blueberries and sultanas)

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

2/3 cup raw sugar

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups self raising flour

2 tablespoons  pepitas

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. Place apple, carrot, pineapple, coconut, dried fruit, lemon zest, sugar, spices and oil in large bowl. Add eggs, and stir to combine.
  3. Add flour, and mix very gently.
  4. Fill paper cases to about 3/4 capacity, and sprinkle with pepitas, making sure to save some for the next batch.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, and transfer to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter and pepitas, remembering that cooking time will be slightly less due to a smaller amount of muffins being cooked in the pan the second time around
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Tropicana rolls

OK, this one’s more for the kids. That’s not to say that they’re not delicious – they are – but I prefer a less dense, carby lunch option most of the time. At over 300 calories per roll, they’re not the most calorie-efficient option in my repertoire. However, the kids and their friends gobble them up, and they’re such a cheap and easy fun alternative to fast food or boring old sandwiches. I make them every now and then during term for the kids to take to school, and more often again during the holidays to throw in a bag with some fruit and snacks for days out, or afternoons at baseball (go the Blue Sox!). They freeze really well, too, so it’s super handy to make a double batch and stash a few for whenever you need them. Oh! And you can definitely fry up some diced bacon instead of the pepperoni with no decrease in deliciousness, but the pepperoni is much easier and my kids prefer the little spicy kick that it provides.

With an almost-teenaged-boy-who-is-growing-like-a-weed in the house, I make them pretty big to try and keep his stomach quiet for more than a few minutes, and find that they’re not too big for the also-won’t-stop-growing 9 year old daughter. You can stretch these out to yield 12 rolls, but we make 8 with no complaints from anyone, ever.

Ingredients

4 cups self raising flour

1 cup grated cheese

180g pepperoni, diced

1/3 cup diced pineapple, drained

500ml butter milk (or whole milk with 2tbs lemon juice, left to sit for about 5 minutes to curdle, which is how I normally do it), plus just a little more for brushing.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line 2 baking trays with baking paper
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cheese, pepperoni and pineapple. Stir to combine.
  3. Make a well in the centre and add milk. Stir until dough comes together in a craggy ball.
  4. With damp hands (because the dough is STICKY), shape dough into 8 balls and place on prepared trays.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden on top, and hollow-sounding when tapped.

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