Gluten Free Christmas: Stollen Muffins

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… and I don’t know about you, but I’m rather glad. It’s been a scary and rather uncertain year with everything that has been going on in the world, so I’m grateful for a distraction and I hope that a bit of Christmas cheer will help to take my mind off it… and yours too!

So, get ready for my first Christmas recipe of the year and prepare to feel fabulously festive.

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My Gluten Free and Dairy Free Stollen Muffins are every bit as tasty as actual Stollen and are the perfect way to get your Stollen fix, without the hassle of making bread.

Stollen is a German Christmas bread which usually contains dried fruit, almonds, marzipan and spices, such as cinnamon. These muffins are chock full of everything you’d find in traditional stollen, but with a dash of my favourite tipple for good measure, because it’s Christmas!

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Gluten Free and Dairy Free Stollen Muffins 

Ingredients

2 – 3 tbsp Cointreau (you could also use Brandy, Rum or Amaretto)
200g mixed dried fruit (I used sultanas/raisins/cherries/mixed peel)
300g gluten free self raising flour
Zest of an orange
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g ready to roll marzipan (chopped into small pieces)
100g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
100 ml sunflower oil
200 ml almond milk
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 vanilla extract
50g flaked almonds

Method

1) Leave the mixed fruit to soak in Cointreau overnight.

2) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4 and line a muffin tin with muffin cases.

3) In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, orange zest, cinnamon and ginger, then stir through marzipan.

4) In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, oil, almond milk, vanilla extract and almond extract until combined, then add this to the dry ingredients.

5) Gently mix together all the ingredients using a wooden spoon until you are left with a batter which is only just combined (don’t worry too much if there are any lumps), then stir through the dried fruit and the flaked almonds.

6) Spoon approximately 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin case, then bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown.

7) Leave the muffins to cool completely on a wire rack, before dusting them with icing sugar to finish.

Be sure to store the muffins in an air tight container and they will last for 4 to 5 days.

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Keep your eyes peeled for lots more Christmas recipes coming soon, but in the meantime why not try some of my Christmas recipes from previous years:

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies

Gluten Free Hazelnut, Cranberry and Orange Biscotti

Gluten Free Cointreau Christmas Cake

Gluten Free Kransekake (Traditional Scandinavian Cake)

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Sweet and Salted Peanut Butter Popcorn Squares

These Sweet and Salted Peanut Butter Popcorn Squares are the perfect treat to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon, snuggled up on the sofa in your pyjamas while you watch a film Marathon. Be careful though, they are super moorish!

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Gluten Free Sweet and Salted Peanut Butter Popcorn Squares 

Ingredients

For the popcorn squares:
60g butter
100g gluten free salted and sweet popcorn
180g white mini marshmallows
3 tbsp chunky peanut butter

To decorate:
50g milk and dark chocolate

Method

1) Grease and line a square cake tin with baking paper.

2) Place a large heavy bottomed pan over a low to medium heat, then add the butter and marshmallows and heat them until they have completely melted.

3) Fold the peanut butter through the marshmallow mixture, then add the popcorn and stir until fully coated.

4) Working quickly, spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth it out using a greased palate knife until it starts to reach corners of the tin.

5) Place a large square of grease proof paper over the top of the mixture, then use your hands to press the mixture right down into the tin.

6) Peel off the greaseproof paper and leave the mixture to set for a few hours.

7) Once the mixture has set, turn it out of the tin and cut it into bite size squares.

8) Next, melt the chocolate in heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Transfer the chocolate into a piping bag and pipe a zig-zag pattern over each popcorn squares.

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Store the popcorn squares in an airtight container and they should last for up to a week.

Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

Today I’m going to share with you a recipe for one of my favourite bakes – Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes.

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My love affair with Red Velvet Cake started a few years ago when my little sister asked me to make a Red Velvet Cake for her Birthday. I had never eaten or made Red Velvet Cake before, but I was nevertheless happy to oblige – my Mum was less happy when my first attempt erupted all over the oven because I’d used shallow tins and too much bicarbonate of soda… sorry Mum!

It wasn’t until my first taste of Red Velvet Cake I realised what I had been missing – Chocolate sponge flavoured with sharp buttermilk, topped off with cream cheese frosting. What’s not to like?

Making a Red Velvet Cake can be quite time consuming, especially if you are going for the traditional three or more layers, so I’ve adapted my Red Velvet Cake recipe to a more simple cupcake recipe, so that you can get your Red Velvet fix much quicker!

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Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes:
100g gluten free self raising flour
10g cocoa powder
100g caster sugar
50g butter
1 large egg
100ml buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp red food colouring (gel not liquid)
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the Cream Cheese Topping:
250g mascarpone cheese
150ml double cream
50g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To Decorate:
Freeze dried raspberry pieces

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (Gas Mark 3) and a cupcake tray with cupcake cases.

2) In a large bowl sieve together the flour and cocoa powder, then set aside for later.

3) In a separate bowl cream the butter, vanilla extract and sugar together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.

4) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. With the mixer on a low speed, add the egg a bit at a time along with a tablespoon of the flour mixture. Once the egg is fully combined, add the rest of the flour.

5) Pour your buttermilk into a measuring jug, then add the red food colouring a little at a time until it turns a turns a deep red –  I found about half a teaspoon did the trick, but you may find you need more or less depending on the food colouring you are using.

6) With the mixture on a low speed, add the buttermilk to your cake mixture a bit at a time, keep mixing until all the buttermilk is combined.

7) In a small bowl mix together the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar until it starts to fizz, then quickly fold it into the cake mixture.

8) Working quickly, spoon two teaspoons of the mixture into each cupcake case

9) Bake for 15 – 18 minutes. The cupcakes are ready when they are firm to touch.

10) Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling while you prepare the cream cheese topping.

11) Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl, add the vanilla extract and mascarpone then mix with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are just combined.

12) In a separate bowl whisk the double cream with an electric hand mixer until it almost reaches soft peaks, add the mascarpone and whisk for a couple of seconds until it is just combined.

13) Transfer the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe the frosting onto each cupcake, then decorate with a sprinkling of freeze dried raspberry pieces.

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If you give this recipe a try, or any of the other recipes on my blog remember to take a snap of your creation and share it with me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #titchytonbakes.

Gluten Free Fondant Fancy Cupcakes (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

Today I’m going to share with you my Gluten Free Fondant Fancy Cupcakes recipe which is inspired by the showstopper challenge from the Semi Final of ‘The Great British Bake Off’.

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Last week’s show saw the remaining four bakers battling it out over Patisserie for a place in final, but sadly Selasi didn’t make the cut. He might not have made it to the final, but he did win over the hearts of the nation and I will definitely miss him during this week’s show. Speaking of this week, the final will be a very bittersweet occasion, as although I am excited to see who wins, I am sad that this is the last episode of GBBO as we know it.

What I’m going to miss most is how the show has inspired me to bake things I’d never thought of trying – this includes fondant fancies, which were featured on last week’s show.

I used to love Fondant Fancies and seeing them on the show has made me feel super nostalgic – I remember having them at my Grandma’s house when I was little and how I always would choose the pink ones, because I liked them best!

I will admit though, Fondant Fancies looked incredibly difficult and fiddly to make, so I decided to go for a more simple approach. My Fondant Fancy cupcakes are much a easier to achieve, but they are every bit as delicate, dainty and delicious as the fondant fancies I remember.

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These cupcakes would be lovely served at afternoon tea or a birthday party and are sure to impress, despite being deceptively simple.

Gluten Free Fondant Fancy Cupcakes

Makes approximately 16 small cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

150g softened butter (or dairy free alternative)
150g caster sugar
150g gluten free self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk (or dairy free alternative)

For the buttercream:

100g softened butter (or dairy free alternative)
100g icing sugar

For the fondant icing:

300g ready to roll icing
50ml cold water
A few drops of pink food colouring

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/gas mark 3 then line two cupcake trays with 16 cupcake cases.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.

3. Add a tablespoon of flour, then beat in the eggs a little bit a time before sifting in the remaining flour and baking powder. Add the milk, then beat the ingredients together with the electric hand mixer until combined.

4. Spoon two teaspoons of mixture into each cupcake case, being careful not to overfill them. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch.

5. Leave the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack. To make the buttercream, beat the butter with an electric hand mixer until it’s very light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and continue to beat until all the ingredients are combined, then transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a medium plain nozzle.

6. Once the cupcakes have cooled, pipe a blob of buttercream onto each cupcake then place them in freezer to firm up while you make the fondant icing.

7. Cut the ready to roll icing into pieces and place them in a large bowl. Add a splash of water and using a spatula start to break up the icing until it starts to become more paste like. Add the rest of the water and beat with an electric hand mixer until the fondant becomes more runny.

8. Save a couple of tablespoons of the white icing to decorate the top of the cupcakes. Add a couple of drops of pink food colouring to the remaining icing and mix until the fondant turns a light pink colour.

9. Remove the cupcakes from the freezer. Spoon a little of the pink fondant icing over each cupcake, then use a palate knife to spread out the icing making sure that the buttercream is covered.

10. Put the left over white icing into a piping bag fitted with a small writing nozzle. Pipe the icing across the top in a zig zag pattern.

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Delicious Alchemy Christmas Products Review

There are 9 weeks to go until Christmas and though it still seems a little way off, it’s not too early to start getting excited!

I was definitely excited when I received an early Christmas present from the elves over at Delicious Alchemy. The team at DA kindly sent me some of their brand new Christmas products to try, and as there are some absolute crackers (Get it? Crackers?!) I thought I would share my thoughts on them with you.

All of the products below are already available to buy over on the Delicious Alchemy Shop.

Gluten Free Christmas Fruit Cake Mix

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This product was actually launched last Christmas, but I’m absolutely thrilled it’s back this year! My mum, in particular, was very impressed with this mix and thought the cake was so much better than her usual shop bought cake – and if something gets the mum seal of approval, then it must be good!

The Christmas Fruit Cake Mix is both gluten and dairy free, good for those of you with multiple intolerances. It is one of Delicious Alchemy’s more expensive baking mixes at £5, but that’s because you get a huge 650g bag which is chock full of dried fruit, including dates, raisins and sultanas and all the ingredients are spiced beautifully – as soon as I opened the bag, I could smell Christmas!

Like all Delicious Alchemy’s products, it super easy to make – the cake mix takes a matter of minutes to whip up, so it’s perfect when you’re a little short of time during the festive period.

As well as Christmas Cake, this mix would make a great Christmas Pudding!

Gluten Free Sage and Onion Stuffing

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When I received the package from Delicious Alchemy I had no idea what was going to be in it, so I was really excited when I opened it to find Stuffing Mix!

I’ve actually never had stuffing on Christmas Day because the one my family usually has contains gluten and while my parents are great at catering for my dietary requirements, I know that they can’t always find a gluten free alternative for everything.

I think they will be more than happy to try out this gluten free stuffing mix this year, as it tastes just as good as normal stuffing and you’d never know it’s gluten free. I also love the traditional flavour combination of sage and onion – yum!

As well being gluten free and dairy free, the stuffing mix is also vegetarian – which means my sister can have some too.

Again, like Delicious Alchemy’s other products, the stuffing was quick and easy to make – you add water and oil, leave the mixture to stand before rolling it up into balls shapes before baking for 20 to 25 minutes – foolproof!

If my house is anything to go by, the kitchen can get rather hectic on Christmas day –  these stuffing balls could easily be prepared the day before and baked just before you need them.

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Remember tuffing isn’t just for Christmas! You could have this stuffing all year round with a Sunday roast.

Gingerbread Mix

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The final new product is probably my favourite – Gingerbread Biscuit Mix!

As I’ve mentioned on my blog before, it’s simply not Christmas without Gingerbread and I always bake a batch on Christmas Eve to enjoy with a cup as of tea before we open our presents on Christmas morning.

I was sceptical whether this mix would live up to my own  Gingerbread recipe, but I was pleasantly surprised!

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The Gingerbread dough is easy enough to achieve – simply add butter, eggs and golden syrup, work the mixture into a dough then chill it before you cut out your biscuits to make the dough more managable.

I like my Gingerbread to pack a powerful punch, so I was worried the ginger flavour might not be strong enough for me, but the level of ginger was just right – the biscuits were sweet but with a lovely fiery kick.

I do like my Gingerbread to be a slightly darker colour though, so next time I might experiment and add a little bit of treacle as well as golden syrup.

The biscuits weren’t too soft and had some snap to them, they also kept well for a few says in an airtight container.

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I made these rather handsome gingerbread men, but you could use this mix to make more a more festive Gingerbread House.

All of the above products are available to buy as a special Christmas bundle or they can be purchased separately from Delicious Alchemy’s Shop.

Delicious Alchemy do not pay me to advertise their products, they sent me products to sample in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Gluten Free Bakewell Tart (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

Today I’m going to share with you my gluten free take on Mary Berry’s Bakewell Tart, as featured on the latest episode of ‘The Great British Bake Off’.

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This week the bakers had to tackle pastry and they were tasked with making Danish Pastries, Filo Pastry Amuse Bouches and a Bakewell Tart, which was this week’s technical challenge.

There was some controversy on Twitter after the show aired that Mary’s bake was not a Bakewell Tart, but in fact a Cherry Bakewell because it was topped with an almond flavoured icing – apparently a traditional Bakewell Tart is supposed to be topped with layer of flaked almonds, not icing.

It may annoy traditionalists, but I decided to stay true to Mary’s recipe and go for a layer of icing…  but I did add some flaked almonds for good measure!

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The challenge making a gluten free version of this bake is coming with a good shortcrust pastry recipe.

Gluten free pastry can tend to be a little on the crumbly side, so it’s important that there is enough liquid in the mixture to help bind the ingredients together. My recipe uses a combination of egg yolks and butter to achieve this, but if the mixture is being little stubborn, a drop of water can be added to help bring it together.

It’s also incredibly important to chill your pastry before using it, as it this really does help to make it more pliable.

Finally, a good quality non stick tart or flan tin with a loose base is essential, or you will struggle to get your tart of its tin!

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Gluten Free Cherry Bakewell Tart

(Recipe inspired by Mary Berry’s Bakewell Tart recipe from ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

You will need a 8″ inch fluted flan or tart tin with a loose base.

Ingredients

For the Pastry:

200g plain gluten free flour

50g ground almonds

75g  icing sugar

2 egg yolks

125g butter

A drop of water

For the filling:

4 tbsp seedless raspberry jam

150g butter, softened

150g caster sugar

150g ground almonds

1 large free-range egg, beaten

1 tsp almond extract

For the icing: 

300g icing sugar

1 tsp almond extract

A handful of toasted flaked almonds to finish

Method

1) To make the pastry, stir together the flour, ground almonds and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl.

2) Rub together the flour mixture and the butter, add the egg yolks and start to bring the mixture together your hands.

3) Tip the contents of the bowl out onto a floured work surface and knead the dough until it comes together in a smooth ball – you can add a few drops of water to help, if necessary.

4) Wrap the pastry in cling film and put it in the fridge to cool for about 30 minutes to an hour – this is very important as the colder the pastry is, the easier it is to work with.

5) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4, then throughly grease your tart tin with butter.

6) Roll out the chilled pastry between two sheets of greaseproof baking paper (this will prevent the pastry from sticking to your work surface) until it is about the thickness of a 1 pound coin.

7) Use greaseproof paper to help you get the pastry into the tin safely. Firstly, peel off the top layer of baking paper, place the tin upside down into the middle of the pastry then carefully flip the pastry over with the help of the bottom sheet of baking paper. Peel off the bottom baking sheet and gently press the pastry down into the tin, insuring it’s pressed right into each groove – don’t panic if you do get any tears or any holes, just neatly patch it up with some spare pastry.

8) Trim off any excess pastry. Place some baking paper into the case and fill it baking beans (any dried beans or rice will do) then blind bake the pastry case for 10 minutes. Remove the baking beans and bake the case for a further 5 minutes to help dry it out.

9. Meanwhile make the Frangipane: cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, ground almonds and almond extract until the ingredients are combined.

10. Leave the pastry case to cool down slightly before spreading the jam over the base of the case in an even layer. Next, spoon the Frangipane into the case and smooth it out with a palate knife.

11. Bake the tart for 25 – 30 minutes or until the Frangipane is golden brown and firm to touch. If the pastry starts to get a little too much colour, put some tin foil over the tart, this will prevent it from burning.

12. Leave the tart to cool completely before decorating. While you are waiting, toast your flaked almonds by spreading them over a lined baking sheet and baking them at 180 degrees for about 5 minutes until toasted.

13. To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the almond extract and 2 to 3 tablespoons of cold water and mix until you are left with a thick but spreadable icing.

14. Spread the icing over the cooled tart using a palate knife. Sprinkle over the toasted almonds, then serve!

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I hope you enjoy this recipe and all other recipes I have recreated during this series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ so far.

I love seeing your bakes, so if you try any of my recipes please take a snap and share it on Instagram or Twitter by using the hashtag #titchytonbakes or post a picture on my Facebook page.

 

Gluten Free Churros (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

Over the past week there has been an uproar over the news that the BBC has lost the rights to host ‘The Great British Bake Off’ and that as of the next series it’s new home will be channel 4, after they paid double the amount than the BBC had offered to take the show. Mel and Sue stepped down from hosting the show saying that they are ‘not going with the dough’ and today Mary Berry has also announced that she will be exiting the show, leaving fans worried about the future of their favourite programme  – it’s been more dramatic than series 5, when Ian dumped his Baked Alaska in the bin!

I, for one, am absolutely gutted that this is the end of Bake Off as we know it, but I have a huge amount of respect for Mel, Sue & Mary for not selling out. I don’t know whether I will continue to watch the show over on channel 4, but I am determined to enjoy every second of the current series, while it lasts.

To help cheer everyone up, today I’m going to share my Gluten Free Churros Recipe, inspired by the showstopper challenge from this year’s Batter Week.

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Batter week saw the bakers tackle stuffed Yorkshire puds, delicate lacey Pancakes and a simple Spanish street food called Churros, out of which they were expected to create a spectacular showstopper.

To achieve perfect Churros the bakers were tasked with making a choux pastry like dough that would be soft enough to pipe, but firm enough to keep its distinctive shape during frying. The Churros also had to be crisp on the outside and cooked to perfection on the inside, so it was essential to get the oil at the right temperature otherwise you may end up with uncooked dough inside… oh, and they had to be uniform in size!

Last year I worked a lot on perfecting my gluten free choux pastry, so as I already had a recipe which I thought would work, I decided I would give Churros a try.

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My Churros plan – does anyone else make notes whilst watching bake off?

It took a few attempts to find the perfect balance of ingredients. I made my first batch of dough following my gluten free choux pastry recipe, but the result was a dough that was slightly too soft – perfect for choux buns, but not stiff enough to keep its shape in hot oil.

My second batch was much better as I used less egg which helped to give the dough a much firmer consistency. I also discovered that the pinch of baking powder I’d added to my choux pastry recipe was not required for Churros as it made them puff up and split during frying.

Getting the oil to the right temperature without a deep fat fryer was tricky, although not impossible – it’s a good idea to do a few testers first and adjust the temperature accordingly. I also found I had better success piping the Churros straight into the pan (as opposed to piping them onto parchment paper) which is fine as long as you don’t mind them not being uniform!

I’m pleased to say that once I had ironed out all these issues, the result was Churros which were beautifully crispy and light and fluffy on the inside.

imageI recommend eating them fresh as they don’t keep all that well. I served mine with a rich chocolate dipping sauce and together I think they would make a fantastically unique dessert for a dinner party.

Gluten Free Churros with Chocolate Dipping Sauce 

Ingredients

For the Churros:

60g gluten free self-raising flour

1 tbsp caster sugar

55g unsalted butter

110ml cold water

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Churro coating:

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp caster sugar

Plus 1-litre sunflower oil for frying the Churros.

For the chocolate dipping sauce:

100g good quality milk or dark chocolate

100ml double cream

1 tbsp golden syrup

Method

1. Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low to medium heat, then add the water, sugar and butter and bring the ingredients to a gentle simmer.

2. Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and quickly beat in the flour until all the ingredients come together in a smooth ball. It’s important to cook out all the flour, so if you can still see some flour keeping beating.

3. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and beat it gently for a few seconds with a wooden spoon to help release some steam – this will help the mixture to cool down.

4. In small bowl whisk the egg to break up the yolk.

5. Once the pastry mixture is cool, add the vanilla extract and then the egg a bit at a time whilst beating with an electric hand mixer – don’t add the egg whilst the mixture is hot or you will end up with scrambled eggs!

6. At first the mixture will look a little bit lumpy but keep beating and adding the egg bit by bit until it becomes a smooth and stiff dough.

7. Transfer the mixture to piping bag fitted with a star nozzle then  place the dough in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

8. Meanwhile, slowly heat up the oil in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat while you make the chocolate sauce.

9. To make the chocolate dipping sauce, together the chocolate, cream and golden syrup slowly in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Gently stir until all the ingredients together, then set aside the sauce to cool.

10. Once the dough has chilled, you can fry your churros – you’ll know the oil is ready when the surface starts to shimmer.

To double check the temperature of the oil, test a little bit of the mixture and adjust the heat accordingly. If it takes more than a few minutes for the dough to turn golden brown, your oil needs to be slightly hotter, but if the dough turns a deep golden brown after about 30 seconds it’s too hot and the oil needs to cool down slightly. The perfect Churros should be ready within 4 to 5 minutes and should be crispy.

Whatever you do, don’t leave leave the hot oil unattended at any point.

11. Pipe 3 to 4 Churros directly into the hot oil and use scissors to snip off each one. Don’t cook too many at once as this can reduce the temperature of the oil and your Churros will take longer to cook – the longer they take to cook means they are exposed to the oil for longer, this can make them soggy!

Fry each Churro for 4 to 5 minutes, turning them over occasionally with kitchen tongs to make sure they are cooked on all sides. Transfer them to kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil. Keep going until all the dough is used up.

12. Mix together your caster sugar and cinnamon, then roll each Churro in the mixture until they are coated.

13. Serve immediately accompanied with the chocolate dipping sauce.