Easy Red Velvet Waffles

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and that always gets me in the mood for all things red velvet. Over the years, I’ve posted several red velvet recipes; my favourites being red velvet crinkle cookies and red velvet cupcakes. Today, I present to you my red velvet waffles with a cream cheese glaze. These are extremely quick and easy to make as they use a boxed cake mix, although you could certainly make a cake batter from scratch if you prefer. These waffles are perfect to spoil a loved one (or yourself!) this Valentine’s Day.

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Ingredients (makes 6 waffles)
1 x Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake mix (or equivalent)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons red food colouring (or until you are satisfied with the colour)
Cream Cheese Glaze
115g cream cheese, softened
60g butter, softened
1½ cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup milk
To serve
Raspberries
Sugar hearts (optional)

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Whip together the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in the icing sugar, vanilla and milk and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Make cake batter according to the instructions on the box (I use the vegetable oil and milk options). Add cocoa, vanilla and food colouring and whisk until smooth.

Heat your waffle iron according to the manufacturers’ instructions. Spray the waffle iron with cooking oil and then pour the waffle batter onto the iron so that the grid is covered. Cook (I use level 3-4) until the waffles are cooked through and crisp on the outside.

Repeat with the remaining waffle batter.

Serve waffles warm drizzled with the glaze and topped with berries and sugar hearts. Enjoy!

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Inspiration from Pinterest, glaze recipe adapted from Kevin Is Cooking.

 

 

Mum’s Apricot Jam

One of our traditions when we go down to the family beach house at Victor Harbor is to eat homemade apricot jam on toast for breakfast while enjoying the sea view and, when we’re lucky, watching dolphins frolic in the waves.

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The view from the house

Because I have such fond memories associated with it, apricot is my favourite jam flavour, especially when homemade with local (or even better homegrown) apricots. This is Mum’s recipe and makes approximately 4 cups of sweet and tangy apricot goodness.

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Ingredients (makes 4 cups)
1kg fresh apricots, halved with the kernels removed
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways
1 cup water
1kg white sugar

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Method
Sterilise jars by putting them and their lids through the hottest cycle of your dishwasher without detergent, or by standing the jars in the oven on the lowest temperature for 30 minutes.

Combine apricots, vanilla and water in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until pulpy.

Add sugar and stir over a high heat, without boiling, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and boil, uncovered and without stirring, for around 35 minutes or until the jam jells when tested.

Discard the vanilla bean and pour the hot jam into sterilised jars; sealing immediately. Label the jars with the date once cool.

Enjoy! Delicious on toast or scones with cream.

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Adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Apricot & Vanilla Bean Jam’

 

 

Quick & Easy Belgian Waffles

I recently purchased a Cuisinart 4 slice belgian waffle maker (not easy to come by as they’ve been discontinued, but they continue to get the best reviews world-wide) and have been making waffles almost non-stop in a quest to find the perfect recipe. The waffles themselves have to be golden brown, crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, preferably with a mild vanilla flavour. Ideally, they would also be quick to whip up (waffles are often made on a whim in my experience) and freeze well.

My first attempt was halfway there – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside (in fact texturally perfect) but they had a horrible flavour due to an incredible amount of baking powder. My second attempt tasted good but were flat and soft – not at all right. Finally, after much research, I found a recipe on Allrecipes.com that I have adapted so they produce, in my opinion, the ultimate belgian waffles. While not strictly traditional (no yeast) these are super fast to make, use only one bowl, and are better for you than traditional belgian waffles as they are made with vegetable oil rather than butter. They also taste AMAZING! I dare you to stop at one 🙂

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Ingredients (makes 6-8 waffles depending on thickness)
2 eggs
2 cups plain flour
1 ¾ cups milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

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Method
Heat waffle iron (I tend to use level 3½). Beat eggs in a large bowl with handheld beaters until light and bubbly. Beat in flour, milk, oil, sugar, baking powder & vanilla until smooth and incorporated.

Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking oil. Pour mix onto the waffle iron (I use a ladle and the spread with a silicone spatula). Cook until golden brown (I like to check every 3 minutes or so and tend to leave it in a little longer than my machine thinks – it beeps when it’s “ready”). Dust with icing sugar, cut in half if desired and serve warm with toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

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Cinnamon Rolls

Inspired by the movie The Proposal which features some divine looking homemade cinnamon rolls, I decided to give making them from scratch a go. I did lots of research & eventually found a recipe on Pinterest which promised me a quick and easy bake using everyday ingredients. I was a little sceptical that they could possibly be considered ‘easy’, but they worked perfectly. The rolls are light, fluffy and packed full of sweet cinnamon flavour. They also fill your home with the most heavenly aroma and are especially amazing eaten fresh from the oven while still warm.

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Ingredients (Makes 12)
1 cup milk
55g butter, chopped
3 ¼ – 3 ½ cups flour
1x 35g package instant yeast
¼ cup white sugar
1 egg

Filling
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
½ cup butter, softened

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 ½ cups icing sugar
¾ tablespoon cream cheese
1 ½  teaspoons vanilla
1-2 tablespoons of milk

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Method
Heat milk & butter in the microwave (about 1 and a half minutes) or until the butter is at least partially melted. Stir using a small whisk, and set aside.

In the large bowl of your stand mixer (using the paddle attachment), mix together 2 cups of the flour, the yeast and the white sugar. When the milk mixture is warm but not hot, add it to the flour mixture along with the egg and beat for about 1 minute, or until well combined. Switch to the dough hook attachment and add remaining flour until the dough barely leaves the sides of the bowl (it should be very soft and slightly sticky). Continue with the dough kneading for another 5 minutes. Turn dough onto a floured surface and let rest while you make the filling.

To make the filling, ensure butter is soft and mix in the brown sugar and cinnamon until you have a paste.

To assemble, roll the dough into a large rectangle (around 30cm x 35cm) and spread brown sugar mixture evenly over the surface. Roll up from the longer side of the rectangle and punch the edges to close. Score the roll into 12 equal pieces and then cut into rolls (dental floss can work well here!!).

Place into a 23cm by 33cm (or similar) pan that has been sprayed with cooking oil, cover with a clean tea towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for half an hour. Set oven to 180°C.

When the rolls have finished rising, bake for 15-20minutes or until light golden brown.

Make the icing by beating all ingredients together until smooth. Drizzle rolls with icing while still warm. Enjoy!

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Adapted from the ‘Everyday Cinnamon Rolls’ recipe on ourbestbites.com

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Notes:
– These rolls can be frozen at almost any point (before rising, after rising or when finished) and keep well in the freezer when covered in cling wrap and foil – then you have a delicious treat in a heart beat!
– If you don’t have a free standing mixer, use handheld beaters to combine the dough initially and then knead the dough by hand for around 7 minutes.

 

Almond Croissants

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These cheat’s almond croissants are perfect for breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea. Crunchy on the outside and soft and luscious in the middle – just one bite and you’ll be hooked!

Ingredients
8 mini or 6 medium croissants
½ cup flaked almonds

For the almond butter
80g butter, softened
½ cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 drops almond essence
1 egg
1 cup almond meal
1 ½ tblspns plain flour

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Method
Make almond cream by beating butter, sugar, vanilla & almond essence with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add egg. Mix until well combined. Stir in almond meal & flour and mix well.

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper, slice croissants in half lengthways & place bases on tray. Spread 1 tblspn of almond cream on each and cover with croissant tops. Thickly spread one tablespoon of remaining almond cream over the top of each and sprinkle with flaked almonds, pressing with fingertips to secure.

Bake croissants for 15mins or until golden. Serve warm. Enjoy!

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Recipe from Mum