I’m back and on the most part, life has been treating me pretty well. Recently I’ve been hit by a spate of inspiration related to baking and they have reminded me of why I love what I do, apart from seeing the happy smiles of people indulging in my cakes and pastries of course!
It’s funny how there are periods where I begin to question whether I should stay in baking, or give it up part time and perhaps take on something else, something new – just in case. Just in case cafes decide not to order from me anymore; just in case I have insufficient private orders; just in case I need something more to stimulate my mind. And each time I feel that way, orders come in or people come into my life to give me that extra little boost that I might need.
Just last week, Jimmy asked if I would like to experiment with smoked flour and immediately my mind began to whir. Smoked flour?! How unusual and what can I bake with that? What flavours will go well with it? I started having sleepless nights just thinking of the possibilities! Ok maybe not completely sleepless but I would be sleeping and still thinking about possible flavour combinations #truestory.
Friday morning I met Jimmy who passed to me some smoked bread flour, smoked plain flour, and smoked salt. How blessed am I to have met this man through Instagram and who generously gifted me smoked flour to experiment with?!
I finally got round to using the flours yesterday after clearing all the other bake orders I had to complete first.
With the smoked bread flour I made loaves of Walnut, Black Olive and Rosemary-infused Olive Oil Bread. I’m not very much a bread baker so I had my fingers and toes crossed that these would turn out well enough or edible at the very least!
They weren’t quite as light and fluffy as I would have liked – more of a denser, tighter crumb but very fragrant with an almost bacon-like aroma from the flour. Best eaten fresh or toasted with a generous slather of butter for sure!
I was particularly excited about the cake and cookies I had in mind to bake using the smoked plain flour. I’ve always wanted to do something related to Elvis’ supposed favourite sandwich consisting of Peanut Butter, Bananas and Bacon. So I decided to bake what I now dub ‘Pudgy Elvis Blondies’.
These are simply Peanut Butter Banana Bacon Blondies drizzled with Chocolate Ganache and sprinkled with more Bacon and Banana Chips! Sweet, Salty, Nutty, Fruity, Smokey… All the best things in life in one bite!
Now the cookies I was most eager to do because most of the cookie recipes online involving smoked flour, and there aren’t a lot mind you, are tied to chocolate chip cookies. I felt that the smoked flour could enhance more than just chocolate chips and for some reason, my brain kept leading me towards sweet corn. The idea of char-grilled sweetcorn just appealed to me and that led me to the Corn Cookies by Momofuku Milk Bar I made once before.. Only this time, I decided to amp it up!
Giant Corn Cookies with Bacon aaaaaand Bacon Fat. Might as well throw in the fat from cooking the bacon I reckon to utilise all of the ingredient! And boy did these babies smell delish cooking in the oven. The heady aroma of smoke and bacon, intertwining with the natural buttery sweetness of corn was enough to convince me that I made the right choice putting bacon with corn.
I don’t think it’d be the wisest decision having an entire cookie for yourself but I would totally understand why you might. Share the love or keep the love all to yourself – I promise I won’t judge! And in case you were wondering, these cookies I named ‘Cor(n)orary Attack’ Cookies. I feel quite proud of myself coming up with that!
For the love of smoked flour! I realise that when individual ingredients are placed before me to use however I want to, that’s when I feel most inspired and excited about the multiple ways in which I can use it as a way to complement or enhance other ingredients. Also, to be able to explore ways in which to use or highlight that ingredient makes playing in the kitchen that extra bit more fun!