I grew up with Rama in the centre of my mom’s kitchen and we used to apply it everything from store-bought bread, home-baked bread (isonka sombhako), rosterkoek or steamed bread straight out of the pot. Talk about a glorious moment! <3 I come from a family of stern believers in home-cooked maize meal porridge for breakfast, technology advances and new breakfast options are introduced but my family is not swayed, maize meal porridge it is. We prefer it with a generous dashing of Rama and it’s always been this way.
Okay, let’s rewind just a little bit of clarification. One of the things making South Africa an interesting place to live in the world is that we grew up using certain household products, trusted for their quality and delivery, as a result, every other product that delivers the same service is named after that one popular brand we know and love. In this case, it is Rama. Every margarine you’ll find on retail shelves; you’ll be shocked to know that it is referred to as Rama. For the purpose of this blog post, I am talking about the real makoya, Rama.
My Baking History
I started baking when I was doing Home Economics as a subject in high school. One thing that stands out is the making of Choux Pastry. Being able to bake it and understanding the science behind the process was a fascinating thing. Then it was sponge cake and I fell in love. I used to offer to make a sponge cake with a jam and cream filling for my friends and I was delighted with all the comments. “Wow!” “This is incredible!”. Fast forward to adult life and I find baking to be a creative way to channel my energy and because of that, it has a calming effect on me – I am a happier person when I bake. Some people do yoga or other calming activities when they want to distress and I just get into the kitchen and bake.
I spent some years working as a Baking Technologist at rusk manufacturing plant as well as biscuit plant. It was challenging and completely different from home baking but fascinating at the same time.
Baking with Rama Perfect Bake
The Rama team recently launched a baking margarine, Rama Perfect Bake with 80% vegetable oils and fats. This means that it has good creaming properties, plus it lubricates other baking ingredients evenly resulting in a stable product with a good texture and a fine crumb.
I was asked to add my own spin to the Rama Hot Cross Buns. Having been tempted to make Paul A Young’s Hot Cross Brownies, it was a no-brainer to make my own adaptation of the recipe and I certainly can’t wait for you to taste it. 🙂
For this project, I decided to work with my baking partner, my inquisitive 4-year-old niece, Kendall, whom I’ve been raising for over two years. She LOVES to bake and it just comes naturally. At first, she just wanted to lick the bowl and now she wants to crack the eggs, stir, whisk, grease baking pan etc. We started off with baking mixes and now we’ve graduated to baking from scratch.
Now, Let’s Talk About the Hot Cross Bun Brownies
The Hot Cross Bun Brownies are interesting because they use Hot Cross Buns as an ingredient, which makes it look like you are baking two recipes. My Kendall has a short attention span, like any other kid. If she hears her friend, Candy, calling her outside – she wants to go. The best way to simplify this is by baking Hot Cross Buns a day in advance, enjoy them with your loved ones but keep four to use in the Hot Cross Brownie recipe the next day.
Kids love being involved in baking or even cooking. It’s a way of exchanging skill, bonding and having fun together. When I think back to my childhood, I remember the beautiful memories of cooking and baking with my mom, aunts, cousins, and grandmother. Easter is a perfect opportunity for families to bake amazing treats together and this Hot Cross Brownie recipe is easy to prepare but it requires patience and the results are absolutely worth it! Please note that the recipe has not been tested by the Unilever team, it is my own creation and I absolutely love it. Try it with you little hunnies and let us know how they turn out. Happy Baking!
NOTE: Rama is having an in-store Easter activation at selected Shoprite stores and I need you to take advantage of it. 🙂 Go to a Shoprite store near you on the weekends of 30th March – 1 April and 7th -8th April grab 2 x 500g Rama Perfect Bake bricks and look out for the Rama ambassadors to get a FREE cookie cutter set.
Hot Cross Bun Brownies
Total time: 60 minutes
Baking time: 35 -40 minutes
Makes: 20 -25
200g Rama Perfect Bake
85ml (⅓ cups) golden syrup
315ml (1 ¼ cups) castor sugar
15ml (1Tbsp) ground cinnamon
10ml (2tsp) ground nutmeg
100g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped into small pieces
4 medium eggs, beaten
140ml plain flour
75ml (5Tbsp) dark cocoa powder
4 Rama Hot Cross Buns, halved, toasted and cooled
White chocolate, melted
- Melt the butter and syrup in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the sugar and spices, then simmer for 3-4 minutes until dissolved. Take off the heat, add the chocolate and mix with a wooden spoon. Add the beaten eggs and mix until smooth.
- Add the flour, cocoa powder and beat until mixed well.
- Line a 20cm square tin or dish with a baking paper. Tear the toasted hot cross buns into 2 cm square pieces and scatter them into the tin.
- Heat the oven to 180° Spoon the brownie mix into the tin and allow to stand for 15 minutes so the mix settles over and into the buns.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until gently set and wobbly in the middle. Don’t leave the brownies in the oven longer than the cooking time as they’ll be dry.
- Allow to cool, then chill overnight. The next day, turn out, remove the baking paper and trim the edges. Cut into squares using a knife dipped in hot water.
- Drizzle white chocolate all over the cookies in a quick zigzag pattern. Then serve as s soon as the white chocolate hardens
- Rama Perfect Bake is marked on the packaging to make it easy for us to just cut a 100g, 200g etc. – this means you don’t need a scale. Just cut the required quantity.
- Please use dark chocolate with 70% cocoa powder and make sure you use dark cocoa powder to get the rich dark colour.
- The brownies make for a good tea time snack long after Easter is gone. You can keep these in an airtight container in the fridge for about two weeks.