Cinnamon Chocolate Swirls Recipe

In the interest of sharing, not least since I didn’t dream up the recipe, it was provided to me, I thought it a good idea to post the recipe for those cinnamon chocolate swirls (or snails, as the original Danish baker calls them).


Cinnamon Chocolate Snails (“kanelsnegle”) by Claus Meyer

recipe makes 12 snails.

For the dough:
250ml cold water
1 egg
1 ½ tsp instant yeast
500 g cold flour stored in the freezer overnight
60 g sugar
10 g sea salt
250 g cold butter for rolling

For the Cinnamon-butter spread (“kanelremonce“):
50 g marzipan
125 g dark brown sugar
125 g soft butter
10 g treacle
20 g powdered cinnamon
And also:
36 quality dark chocolate chips or
75 g chopped dark chocolate

Pour cold water into a bowl and dissolve the yeast in it. Mix the egg into the liquid as well, and then add the cold flour, sugar and salt. Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes by machine or by hand, until dough is firm and cold. Put dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Place the butter between two sheets of baking paper and pound it with a rolling pin to form a 20×20 cm square. Avoid overworking the butter, as it will go soft. Put the butter, wrapped with the baking paper, back into the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Now roll the butter into the dough as for croissants: take the dough from the fridge and roll it out on a floured bench, so that it’s 3 cms wider than and twice as long as the butter square. Place the butter in the middle of the dough and fold the top and bottom flaps of the dough over the butter, so you end up with a square of dough encasing the butter. Push the dough together at the sides and across the seam at the middle, to seal in the butter, and put it back in the fridge again for about 30 minutes until it’s thoroughly cold.
Take out the dough, place it on a floured bench and gently roll the dough into an oblong shape, about 1 cm tall and roughly 50cm long. Fold the top third of dough over on itself and fold the bottom third over that, trying to avoid catching any loose flour in between. Now re-wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Repeat the above step one more time, again letting the dough rest in the fridge for a further 30 minutes, before the final stage of rolling out. Continue with the next part (cinnamon butter spread) while the dough is chilling.

Cinnamon-butter spread
Rub marzipan and brown sugar together in a bowl until no clumps are left. Mix in soft butter and finally treacle and cinnamon. Don’t overmix the spread or it will boil and separate during baking.

Take the dough from the fridge, place it on a floured bench and roll it out into a rectangle measuring 40×25 cm, with the longer sides parallel to the bench. Spread the cinnamon-butter mixture evenly across the dough, only leaving a 1cm strip of dough at the edge closest to you. Roll the dough up, starting at the top, towards the edge with no spread, and using a pastry brush, brush a little water along the edge so that as you finish rolling up, you seal the edge against the dough roll. Now cut the dough roll into 12 “snails” (or swirls). Place snails on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, leaving space between them to allow expansion when rising and when eventually baking.
Let the snails proof until doubled in size; this will take 1-2 hours, and bake them at 210 celsius (190 fan assisted) for about 15-17 minutes. Remove the snails from the oven and immediately place a few chocolate chips or a sprinkle of chopped chocolate in the middle of each snail. Allow the snails to cool on a baking rack.

Tip: If you’d like taller snails simple bake them in a tall mold or ring. Cinnamon snails can be frozen raw without problems. Just make sure that they proof, for instance overnight in the fridge, until doubled in size. And then allow them to “wake” on the bench for an hour or so, before you bake them.

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Wheat Beer, Onion and Garlic (!) Bread

an old favourite, revived and boosted with the power of the garlic clove. Natural yeast starter, fermenting sauteed onion and garlic in wheat beer overnight, before building a final dough that gently grows across about 8 hours before baking in the preferred baking cloche.


sourdough wheat beer, onion and garlic

sourdough wheat beer, onion and garlic

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Chocolate Cinnamon Swirls

Batch of 12

Batch of 12

Danish chocolate cinnamon swirls – courtesy of a friend of a friend who found the recipe for me following a trip to Copenhagen where I came across some wonderful cakes at Lakhagehuset bakery. Kudos to Nina and Mick for their help!

So the recipe made 12 generously-sized swirls, and the below is what the interior looks like. Yummy!

Inside the swirl

Inside the swirl

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Schwarzwald Kirschtorte – Black Forest Gateau

Greetings peeps, here’s something I made a little while ago on a baking weekend over in Wales at a small gathering of fellow bread-heads. A departure from the norm, I would agree, but something fun nevertheless which turned out to be pretty tasty.

Black Forest Gateau

Black Forest Gateau

And here’s the recipe, should you want to have a go yourself:

Black Forest Gateau

Recipe is for a gateau approx 8 inches in diameter. Serves 10 – 12.
Preparation happens in stages – reckon on needing 2 days to prepare and then construct and consume on the 3rd day.

Day 1: Cherry Marinade –

550g pitted and halved tinned black cherries
100ml kirsch

Drain the cherries, reserving the cherry liquid separately to use the following day. Add the kirsch to the cherries in a container and seal, before placing into the fridge overnight.

Day 2: Cakes –

160g plain flour
65g cocoa powder
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
115g unsalted butter, room temp
240g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
310ml buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line 3 x 8 inch baking tins (the kind with removable bottoms).
In a bowl, combine together the plain flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, for use shortly.
Using a hand-held electric whisk, cream together the butter and sugar in a separate, large mixing bowl, until pale in colour. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk briefly to incorporate these ingredients.
In 3 stages, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients and ⅓ of the buttermilk to the butter, egg and sugar mixture, whisking each time to fully incorporate the ingredients. You should end up with a fairly thick, dark brown batter.
Divide the batter equally amongst the 3 lined cake tins and allow to stand for up to 5 mins (to let the batter settle) before placing into the pre-heated oven for approx 20 minutes. Check the cakes are done by carefully inserting a skewer (or similar) and seeing if it comes out clean when pulled out.
When cakes are done, allow to cool on wire racks, removing the cakes from the tins after 20 minutes of cooling time.
Once cakes are properly cooled, drain and keep the kirsch from the cherries (which you prepared the day before), setting aside the cherries in their container. Using a toothpick (or similar), make lots of tiny holes in the top surface of each cake, before taking a pastry brush and dipping it into the kirsch so that you can brush it onto the cake surfaces. Given the amount of kirsch, it will be necessary to brush the cakes a few times, each time allowing the kirsch to soak into the cake’s surface.

Once complete, place each cake into a container and refrigerate overnight.

Day 3: Filling and Cake Build –

40ml cherry liqueur
Cherry syrup from tinned cherries
95g unsalted butter, room temp
220g icing sugar
pinch salt

Add the cherry syrup from the tinned cherries to a small saucepan and place over heat, to reduce the cherry syrup down to a thick, sticky sauce: you will be aiming to reduce down until you have about 2 tablespoons of liquid in the pan, no more. Set aside until cool.

In a large mixing bowl, using a hand-held electric whisk, beat together the butter, salt and icing sugar, until lightly creamed but not too thick. Add the now cooled, reduced cherry syrup and cherry liqueur to the butter icing and whisk further until a thicker consistency is achieved.

Retrieve the marinated cherries, and set aside 100g out of the original 550g to go on top of the cake, then divide out the 450g of remaining cherries into 2 piles, which will be used for the 2 filling layers.
Prepare a cake stand or base and place the first of the 3 cakes on it. The cherry-flavoured butter icing filling we have prepared is going to need to be used in 2 layers, so divide up into 2 either visually or using separate bowls.
Using a metal bakers spatula, take half of the amount of filling to be used for the first layer, and spread it evenly over the top of the first cake base. Take the first portion of filling cherries and place them evenly across the butter icing. Take the second cake base and spread the remaining half of ‘first layer’ filling over the underside of it, before carefully now placing it onto the decorated bottom cake base. Note that at this stage we should not have butter icing on the top of the second cake base, rather we have sandwiched the cherries for the first layer in between 2 layers of butter icing.
Now take half of the amount of the second portion of butter icing filling, and again using the spatula spread it evenly over the top side of the second cake base. Repeat the procedure of decorating with the second portion of filling cherries, and use the remainder of the second portion of butter icing to cover the underside of the third cake base.
Once this is completed, we should have a cake comprising of 3 bases, with 2 layers, each of which comprises a layer of butter icing, cherries and another layer of icing, and the top side of the top cake base currently bare.

Cake Topping –

400ml double cream
2 tblsp icing sugar
30ml kirsch
30g fine milk powder (optional, only needed if topping is not whisked thick enough)

60g dark chocolate, grated (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, using the electric hand-held whisk, beat the double cream until soft peaks are developing. Add the icing sugar and kirsch and carry on whisking until a stiffer texture is achieved, that will support being spread over the top and sides of the cake. Only if the mixture seems a bit slack should you add the optional milk powder, which will give it more body.

Using your baker’s spatula, spread the kirsch cream over the top and sides of the cake, so that an even finish is achieved and no cake is visible through the cream.
Finish off the decoration by placing the remaining cherries on the top of the cake, in whatever design takes your fancy.

Optionally, grated chocolate may now be applied to the top of the cake before it is ready to serve.

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Old Timer

Here’s something I haven’t done before – I’ve named it Old Timer and its basically bread made using deliberately aged sourdough starter.

Old Timer

Old Timer

60% of the overall loaf is made using a stiff starter, which was kept in the fridge for 5 days to help develop the tanginess of the sourdough flavour. That leaven was built with a hydration of approx 50%, meaning it was particularly stiff and therefore unable to expand much or ‘bubble’ as a starter with higher hydration typically would. Taking it out of the fridge I added fresh water to rehydrate it, before then adding the final flour and necessary salt.

First prove only took about 2 hours, with only about 2 more hours final prove once shaped, before baking in my trusty cloche at the usual 240C for 30 minutes covered and 10 more minutes uncovered.

And the taste? Well, its got a pronounced sourdough tang to it, though not excessive by any means, to me it seems to be just a bit stronger than an overnight proved sourdough loaf. So its a bit of a winner I reckon!

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Guinness… for strength

Anyone old enough will probably recall some of Guinness’ old advertising slogans, laughably suggesting increased physical strength would naturally follow if you just drank Guinness! I mean, its a nice idea, and lots of us swallowed it (and the Guinness), but a bit of a stretch if you think about it.

Still, works as the liquid in making sourdough bread. The following were made using a combination of Guinness levain, flour fermented in Guinness and strong white added at final mixing stage, then the whole lot slowly proved overnight in the fridge, before baking this morning in my trusty baking dome.

They looked a little ‘reluctant’ as I poured them out of their proving basket, a little unlikely to rise nicely on hitting the heat, but once again sourdough fermentation had worked its magic and the texture is wonderfully aerated and scrumptious!

Guinness sourdough

Guinness sourdough

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Using a cloche

For Xmas this year I was lucky enough to be given a baking cloche (a what? one of these: baking dome )

Been meaning to acquire one for a while, and after a couple of bakes now I can say I am pretty pleased with the results. I tried making a yeasted white first of all, using a poolish matured overnight, final dough at 75% hydration. Here’s the loaves that resulted from baking at 240C for 30 mins with the dome on, and 15 mins same temp with the dome removed.

Yeasted using poolish

Yeasted using poolish

And a closer look at one of them now.


That crust is beautiful, and the crumb inside was soft and moist whilst still being cooked through properly. Took both down to a family get-together and they got devoured fairly quickly.

Moving on, today I tried using the cloche to bake some fairly high hydration sourdough loaves. Bulk ferment overnight followed by 4 hours proving in baskets, this was the end result.


The fact that they aren’t taller can be attributed to the trouble I had with the hydration overpowering the gluten… not my own recipe so will adapt things next time. Still, overall pretty pleased with the outcome and the crust is again wonderful. Here’s a closer look at each: both had 30 mins at 240C inside the dome, then the first one I kept the oven on 240C with the dome removed for 15 mins, whilst the second loaf the oven was on 220C for 15 mins once the dome was removed.

Finished at 240C

Finished at 220C

Posted in sourdough, sponge | 3 Comments

Mincemeat Bakewell Tart

With baking (same goes for cooking) it is important to keep learning. Which inevitably means making mistakes – as in this case, where I thought a festive version of the classic Bakewell Tart might work pretty well, substituting the usual raspberry jam for some mincemeat laced with brandy.


It was inferior to the original – and here’s the important bit, I understand why its not as good, meaning I’ve learned something. Great!

And why is it not as good? Too sweet, there’s no sharp fruitiness to counterbalance the richness of the frangipane, which there IS if you use raspberry jam. The mincemeat is ALL sweetness and no fruity acidity, so it’s hopeless against the frangipane.

Other than that I’m pleased with the tart – got the pastry spot on, the frangipane is lovely and I’ve cooked it all at the right temperature to achieve the gently browned surface and moist frangipane layer.

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80% hydration Miche!


Isn’t she a thing of beauty?

A full 2kg miche, made from strong wholemeal, dark rye and strong white flour, nursed upwards using just my natural leaven. 80% hydration, for a more open crumb. 240C oven (for the first 20 mins) to get the crust nicely coloured. This one was developed yesterday through the day, then cool-proved overnight before I diligently got up at 6.30 to pre-heat the oven and bake her at 7.00, for almost an hour.

The smell whilst baking is wonderful, and once its cooled and flavour and texture of the bread is great too – crisp exterior crust with soft, chewy crumb. Yes, I’m pleased with this one.


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Grilled Cheese Sandwich – its not hard, people

This is going to sound arrogant.

Sorry, but I was somewhat surprised when I read the following article in the Grauniad –

Ah, right, so yes the grilled cheese sandwich (or Croque Monsiuer, as the French have known about for – I guess – centuries!) is superior to some kind of nasty toastie made in a Breville. Mmm, there’s a shock.

Second, “really?! Cheap nasty white stodgy bread isn’t much cop for grilled sandwiches!?” Blimey, I think I need a few moments, to let my heart return to its usual rhythm. I’ve found some time ago that using the white n rye sourdough bread I make at home sometimes is the perfect bread in which to encase some strong cheddar, while the whole thing slowly fries in a heavy-bottomed pan.

I’ll try not to use the word “obviously” too much, but please use proper butter, not marge, on the outside of the sandwich, and try to avoid constructing the sandwich with grated cheese, or cheese hanging outside the bread slices, because it’ll escape into the pan when cooking, and quickly burn, turning black and spoiling your sandwich.

Viva la revolucion!

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