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Tag Archives: Cream Cheese

Chocolate and Cream Cheese Monkey Bread

I made a double batch of the sweet dough I use to make my Super Garlicky Cheesy Tear’n’Share Loaf and Garlic and Mozzarella Swirl Buns to try making a sweet bread too. After a bit of internet browsing and cookbook perusing I ignored them all entirely and made this up – it worked wonderfully!

A monkey bread is usually made in a bundt type tin and so the balls of dough are more layered than my traybake affair so whether this is in fact ‘monkey bread’ I don’t know. Or care to be honest. It tastes good and its near enough!

I am aware that I have now basically repeated my recipe for this dough 3 times but I find it really quite irritating when following a recipe to have to keep flicking backwards and forwards to different blog posts (the same reason I put the quantity of each ingredient within the recipe so you don’t have to keep scrolling to the ingredient list). So, sorry, not sorry.

Makes about 40-45 golf ball size morsels

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For the Dough:

90ml (6 tbsp) Water
2 x 7g sachets Fast-Acting Dried Yeast
500g Strong White Flour – I sometimes substitute White Spelt Flour
50g Caster Sugar
1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes
40g Salted Butter or Low Fat Spread
2 Eggs
140ml Skimmed or Semi-Skimmed Milk

For the Filling:

250g Cream Cheese
200g Finely Chopped Dark Chocolate or Chocolate Drops/Chunks
50g Icing Sugar

For the Coating:

40g Cocoa Powder
80g Granulated Sugar


To Make the Dough:

Add 6 tbsp of fairly warm (not hot) Water to a small bowl and add 2 x 7g sachets Fast-Acting Dried Yeast and 50g Caster Sugar. Whisk to combine a little (it won’t combine properly) and set aside.

Measure 500g Strong White Flour and  1 tbsp Sea Salt Flakes into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Tip – If you have stand mixer or a processor with a dough hook, this is an ideal time to use it.  Some electric hand whisks also come with dough hooks in which case break those out after the next step. You can stir and knead by hand but why would you if you don’t have to?!

Add 40g Salted Butter or Low Fat Spread, 2 Eggs, the by now frothy yeast and water mix and 140ml Skimmed or Semi-Skimmed Milk to the flour and stir until a dough is formed.

Tip – The dough will be quite soft and sticky – this is a good thing!

Knead the dough until is it smooth and super stretchy – a good 10 minutes if kneading by hand, if not a bit longer – 5 to 7 minutes if using an electric mixer.

Tip – Knead the dough on a floured surface but try not to add too much extra flour to the dough as this will dry it out. If it feels like its getting a bit dry, knead in a little more milk or water. 

Leave the dough in a large covered bowl somewhere warm for about an hour to rise – it should about double in size.

Tip – You can just leave this on the side in the kitchen but it’ll take twice as long. An airing cupboard or similar is ideal but I don’t have one so depending on the time of year, I usually put one of my ovens onto a super low heat and pop it in there – I’ve been burnt by doing this on occasion by being impatient and its started to cook the dough a little by having it on too high a heat. Don’t do this! You could also warm the oven a little, pop the dough in and then turn the oven off – just don’t keep opening the door to let the residual heat out.

While the dough is rising, make the filling by thoroughly mixing the 250g Cream Cheese, 200g Finely Chopped Dark Chocolate or Chocolate Drops/Chunks and 50g Icing Sugar and putting it into the fridge to chill back down and firm up a little.

Prep the coating by combining 40g Cocoa Powder and 80g Granulated Sugar in a shallow bowl. Set aside. 

Once risen, tip the dough out onto a floured surface and give it a quick light knead. No need for electric power here. Split the dough into thirds and roll each third into a long sausage to about the thickness of a 2p piece. Cut each sausage into about 15 pieces. The exact number is not cause for concern.

Roll each piece of dough into a very rough ball and place out on a floured work surface (you could do this in two batches if needed). Press each ball down a little and make a small indent in the middle of each to receive the filling.

Take the cream cheese and chocolate mixture and put about half a teaspoon into the indent in each dough ball.

Tip – I did this en-masse rather than one at a time as I wanted to make sure that my cream cheese mix was evenly(ish) distributed though all the dough balls.

Pick up each piece of dough and wrap the dough around the cream cheese mix so that it is fully(ish) enclosed.

Roll each of the dough balls in the cocoa/sugar mixture and place into a large roasting tray, or two smaller ones, or one smaller one but double layers. Or a bundt tin – whatever you fancy.

Gently cover the tray and leave for about 40-45 minutes in a warm place to rise again.

Meanwhile, add a little boiling water to the remaining cocoa/sugar mix until the sugar has mostly melted and it is the consistency of thick hot chocolate.  Set aside.

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10 minutes before the end of proving, pre-heat the over to 200c or the equivalent.

Remove the cover from tin and drizzle the cocoa and sugar syrup over the balls then put into the oven. Check after 10-12 minutes and removed from the oven when all puffed up and cooked through (check a middle one).

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Serve a little warm.

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Bacon and Cream Cheese Guacamole

I first made this for a Band of Bakers event in May to accompany my Oregano and Chilli Sodabread and as usual I came up with this as a result of staring into my fridge and trying to come up with a way to make 1 avocado go an awful lot further. Well it went down a storm and I’ve made it a couple of times since. I’ll be making it time and time again in the future too.

This is best served as fresh as possible but will keep quite happily in the fridge for a day or so. It’s best served at room temperature.

 Serves 6-8 as part of a meze – 114 Kcal per serving (8)

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Ingredients:

6 Thick Rashers of Smoked Streaky Bacon
1 Large or 2 Small Ripe Avocados
1 Tbsp Lime Juice
100g Extra Light Cream Cheese
6 Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 Small Red Onion
50g Fresh Coriander (Optional)
1/2 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
Sea Salt Flakes


First fry or grill 6 Thick Rashers of Smoked Streaky Bacon cut into 1cm pieces and set aside to cool on a few squares of kitchen roll.

Tip – I try to buy most of my meat from a local butchers in East Dulwich – William Rose on Lordship Lane. The bacon there is super thick so I’d only use 4 rashers in that case.

Tip – I never use extra oil when cooking bacon – even with the relatively lean stuff, there is enough fat in the meat to lubricate any non-stick pan.

Tip – Kitchen roll is a cooks best friend, I have no idea how anyone operates effectively in a kitchen without it. Buy the good stuff though – cheap kitchen roll is like cheap toilet roll – ultimately pointless.

Take 1 Large or 2 Small Ripe Avocados and decant the flesh into a medium size bowl. Mash the avocado until a mush. Some lumps are fine for added texture.

Tip – To remove the avocado flesh simply and easily, use a sharp knife to cut the fruit in half lengthways, running the knife around the stone. Split apart and using a little height and force, hit the stone in its centre with the knife blade. Twist and pull the knife and the stone should come out still attached to the knife. Using the knife tip, score the avocado flesh in each half right through to the skin (taking care not to go through the skin) into little squares. Use a desert spoon to scoop the flesh out.

Quickly add 1 tbsp Lime Juice and mix through to stop the avocado from going grey. Not the end of the world but it doesn’t look great.

Stir in 100g Extra Light Cream Cheese until well combined.

Tip – You don’t have to use extra light cream cheese but its what I have in the house and this is calorific enough for me as it is! It’ll also be slightly heavier the fattier the cream cheese.

Add 6 Cherry Tomatoes cut into eighths, 1/2 Red Onion finely diced, 1/2 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes and if you like it, 50g Fresh Coriander and stir though, along with the now cooled bacon.

Check the seasoning. You shouldn’t need much Sea Salt Flakes, if any, depending on preference and the saltiness of the bacon.

Tip – You could also add more lime juice if you want it to be a little sharper.

Garlic Pea Puree – A prep ahead side

Just a quick recipe of something that I sometimes make as a side dish and which last week I whipped up as a batch to pop in the freezer. I love veg but on a weeknight, I’m impatient and even though realistically this only takes a few minutes to whip up, I’m a clean-up dodger too and the concept of getting the processor out of the cupboard and having to put it away again is too much for me. So I try to prep easy to microwave veg and keep it in the freezer for such evenings.  The recipe is inspired by a Nigella Lawson side which she serves with pan fried salmon and crispy bits of bacon – quite often how I eat it too.

Serves 4 – 155 kcal per serving

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Ingredients:

750g Frozen Garden Peas

1tbsp Garlic Paste

100g Light Soft Cream Cheese

Sea Salt Flakes


Boil 750g frozen garden peas with the garlic paste until warmed through

Tip – I do this in the microwave in a plastic bowl for about 10 minutes – you could use a pan on the hop and achieve the same.

Tip – I don’t see why you couldn’t use petit pois or tinned garden peas here too.

Tip – I use jars of garlic paste which I get from the world food aisle of the supermarket – they’re cheaper than the same from the spice section and seem to contain much more actual garlic instead of fillers and oil. You could of course mash up a large clove of fresh garlic here but I’m lazy so I have jars.

Drain the warm peas and put into a food processor or blender – a food processor is preferable.

Blitz until fairly smooth – it won’t ever go smooth smooth because of the skins but stop at the texture you prefer.

Tip – When making a single portion of this I use a trusty mini chopper from Kenwood which is slightly less tedious than getting out a big processor. For about £15 they’re worth the investment if you often cook for 1 or 2.

Add the 100g light cream cheese and blitz again until combined.

Tip – You could use full fat crème cheese or crème fraiche or even double cream here but I like the tang of the cream cheese and its what I had in my fridge this week. It also keeps the calories down a bit.

Add sea salt flakes to taste.  Add a little at a time and blitz quickly before tasting – you can add more but you can’t take it back out.

Divide the mix into 4 freezer bags, remove the air and seal. Leave to cool then pop in the freezer flattened to maximise space.

Tip – I use the sandwich bags from Ikea – the smallest green ones in this case – they’re excellent as they’re good and thick, come in a variety of sizes and have a double seal. Otherwise I’d recommend zip-lock bags to minimise chances of spillage.

Tip – Write in black permanent pen on the sandwich bag what it is and the date you made it. I tend to write the calorie count on too for my easy reference.

To use – place a frozen portion on a thin plate and microwave for few minutes – I sometimes break the bulk of the contents up with my fingers while still in the bag to speed things up. Alternatively, empty the contents into a saucepan and warm through.