HG PROFILES

Sweet Caroline, The Home Baker!

I’ve always had a bit of a creative streak – even back at school when everyone was choosing languages or science subjects as their A-levels, I chose theatre studies, design and home economics! I work full time for a charity so baking allows me to express my creativity in my spare time and I have an office full of colleagues that I can try my recipes out on!

Sweet Caroline, The Home Baker#5

I’ve lived in Hither Green for just over 7 years and have often attended the spring fair which kicks off Hither Green week. I love craft fairs as they’re a great way of checking out other people’s creativity and also a good way of fuelling your imagination with new ideas. In 2012 I decided to have a stall selling my baked goods and really enjoyed the experience – I loved the community atmosphere and it was great to get some feedback from local residents. This inspired me to have another go and so I tried my hand at the FUSS Christmas market that year. These are two events which I now attend regularly and I try and do at least a couple of other stalls throughout the year so that I can try out new ideas and meet local people.

 

It’s often hard juggling things with a full time job but as long as I can plan ahead, I usually manage to pull things off! Time is always the main problem when I’m preparing for a stall as I like my produce to be as fresh as possible, so usually work late into the night and then early on the morning of the event.

Sweet Caroline, The Home Baker 3

I call myself The Home Baker as that’s pretty much what I do – bake good, honest produce in my home. I don’t cut corners with ingredients as I believe it shows in the final product and whilst I like to try out new recipes and ideas, I usually make things that would be easy for people to replicate in their own home. I enjoy exchanging baking stories with other keen bakers and should anyone want to contact me and send me any recipes to try, or even want me to bake something for them, then they can reach me at sweetc27uk@yahoo.com or find me under my name on Facebook.

Sweet Caroline, The Home Baker 1

Christmas is a great time to get in the kitchen and bake, so if there’s any keen bakers out there, I urge you to try the following recipe. Whilst I can’t claim it as my own, it really is worth trying as an alternative to the traditional mince pie. Enjoy and happy festive baking!

Sweet Caroline, The Home Baker_ 2 Baked Mincemeat Doughnuts

Ingredients

Method

200g strong white bread flour1 rounded tbsp caster sugar25g butter, cut into small pieces1 x 7g sachet easy-blend dried yeast5 tbsp milk

1 egg, beaten

4 tbsp mincemeat

SweetCaroline@TheHomeBaker

  • Tip the flour, sugar and a good pinch of salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour with your fingertips. Stir in the yeast.
  • Warm the milk to hand hot. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the milk and egg. Mix everything together to make a soft dough. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 mins until the dough is smooth, elastic and no longer sticky. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for about 1 hr or until doubled in size.
  • Knead the dough again briefly, then divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll out each piece to a 9cm round and put 1 tsp mincemeat in the centre. Gather up the edges of the dough to enclose the filling, pinching it well to seal. Shape into a ball between your hands and put on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, sealed side down, allowing space for the dough to rise. Cover with a tea towel and leave for about 30 mins. Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
  • Bake the doughnuts for 10-12 mins until risen and golden. Mix the icing sugar with 2 tbsp cold water in a shallow bowl. Mix the caster sugar and cinnamon in another bowl. Roll each doughnut first in the sugar syrup, then into the caster sugar to coat all over. Leave to cool.