Chocolate Mmmmarbled Energy Bars from Delia Smith

I made these ages ago! The are delish. The recipe is from Delia’s vegetarian collection it is a huge book that I picked up from the dump!

2012-06-27 09.51.34Ingredients:

150 g dark chocolate

150 g white chocolate

110 g pecan nuts

110 g ready-to-eat dried apricots

150 g porridge oats

50 g Rice Krispies

75 g raisins

1 teaspoon golden sugar

150 ml condensed milk

Firstly pre-heat the oven to 180c. Next toast the pecans in the oven for 7 minutes and chop them up roughly.

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Chop the apricots to the same size and mix with the oats, Rice Krispies, pecans & raisins 2012-06-26 16.13.46

 Now for the yumminess heat the syrup and condensed milk in a small pan until warm and completely mixed, then pour over the oat mixture.

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Now all you have to do is squish it into a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes.

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While it is cooling you can melt the chocolate do this separately in different bowls the water doesn’t need to be boiling to quote Mary Berry ‘Chocolate melts in a child’s pocket.’

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When the base has cooled turn it out onto a breadboard. Using a spoon you can add the dark chocolate to the top leaving some gaps, then dollop the white chocolate over the top.

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Use a pallet knife to spread the chocolate around making a marbled effect. Then chill for about an hour or until it has set.

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Then all you need to do is cut it into squares it will make about 16.

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March 16, 2013. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Brownies cheap vs expensive

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Can you taste the difference?
It might be a common thought that buying more expensive ingredients will give you a better result; I want to see if this is truly the case and whether buying cheaper ingredients really makes a difference?
I have made two different batches of brownies. For the first batch I used the most expensive ingredients that I could find, making the total cost for a batch £8.85, and for the second batch I used the cheapest with the total cost at £4.56. Now the question is whether my guinea pigs will be able to tell the difference?

Ingredients used:
175g unsalted butter
300g dark chocolate
4 eggs beaten
200g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
Out of the twelve taste testers eight preferred the second batch; these were the cheaper ones! With one of the tasters saying; ‘The expensive ones tasted richer and more chocolaty but I much preferred the cheap ones because of the texture, they tasted a lot more like brownies I’ve had before’ (Jodie, Student, and brownie taster).

So it really goes to show that you needn’t spend the earth to make impressive treats. Some value products are just as good if not better than some more expensive products. There are of course some exceptions to this; I would say that it is worth spending a little bit more on eggs as the cheapest are not usually free range. Nevertheless the cheapest free range eggs are not that expensive. The eggs that I used for the expensive brownies were from Clarence Court they are a very pretty pastel blue colour but other than sitting pretty I am not sure they offer any other benefits to the brownies and certainly are not worth £1.96 for half a dozen. Clarence court’s sales pitch boasts of ‘superior taste’ and ‘Our birds enjoy a generous helping of sun drenched maize corn in their non-GM vegetarian diet.’ I’m sure this sort of idealised marketing nonsense must work sometimes however another of the tasters agreed that it is marketing nonsense ‘that’s just middle class crap!’ (Carrie Dunn, University lecturer and brownie taster).
Another main ingredient was flour this is something that I think there really is no difference between the two apart from the packaging. The two flours I used were Sainsbury’s basics and Allison’s Plain white. There was quite a difference in price Sainsbury’s cost £0.07p per batch and Allison’s cost £0.23p per batch. Allison’s flour cost more because it uses ‘conservation grade wheat’ this just means that the farms that produce it are helping the environment by protecting hedge rows. So there is no real difference between the two in terms of taste, so if you are saving the pennies go for basics.
What makes the most difference in the taste and the price, is the chocolate. The chocolate for the first batch cost £5.22 and for the second cost £1.86. The more expensive chocolate has a higher cocoa content which is why it costs more it also makes it more bitter which is perhaps why people preferred the cheaper ones. They were just sweeter, so it may come down to how much of a sweet tooth you have to which brownies you prefer.

December 10, 2012. Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Hummingbird Bakery Red Velvet Cupcakes

Yay! My copy of Cake days has arrived. I know exactly what I am going to make first, these gorgeous looking red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing and red sprinkles, it is actually the only reason I bought the book. Cake days is full of gorgeous looking cupcakes, loaves and tray bakes but you wouldn’t expect anything less from The Hummingbird bakery.

For the cakes you will need;

120g soft unsalted butter

300g caster sugar

2 large eggs

20g cocoa powder

40ml red food colouring

1 tsp vanilla essence

300g plain flour

1 tsp salt

240ml buttermilk

1 tbsp white wine vinegar (I bought white vinegar by mistake but worked out fine!)

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the icing:

100g unsalted butter

600g icing sugar

250g cream cheese

red sprinkles

You will need to preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius, and line a muffin try with cases. I only have one six hole muffin tray so will have to do several batches. The recipe should make between 12-16 cakes.

I’m going to use an electric whisk to cream together the butter and sugar you should do this until it is light and fluffy.

You can now add the eggs one at a time to the mixture.

Now grab a separate bowl and mix together the cocoa powder, food colouring, and vanilla essence until they form a paste.

Now add the paste to the butter mixture and blend well.

Now you need another bowl; I would say that that is the only problem with this recipe, is that it does require a lot of washing up! In this other bowl sift the flour and salt togther.

Add the flour to the red mixture in two batches alternating with the buttermilk. I actually didn’t have any buttermilk so I added a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of milk and left it for five minutes. Make sure you mix well after each addition.

In yet another bowl, mix the bicarbonate of soda and vinegar together by hand. Add to the mixture and blend well.

Now you can spoon the mixture into the cases prepared earlier. The easiest way to do this is with two tea spoons. Bake for about 18 minutes and test with a cake spike.

Leave them to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Next you can make the icing by mixing together the butter and icing sugar. This can be a bit messy I have a special cover for my mixer to stop everything going everywhere but you can use a tea towel just the same. Once mixed you can add the cream cheese and blend well.

Now using a palette knife scoop up some of the icing and spread over the cakes.

All you have to do now is add the coloured sprinkles!

June 28, 2012. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Suzi’s Jubilant scones with strawberries and cream

I have fallen a bit behind with blogging about everything I have baked… I’m sure this post would have been far more helpful before the Jubilee! Never mind scones are still good any time and I think Wimbledon is on anyway or has that finished too? Anyway back to scones.

I made these scones for Suzi’s Jubilant birthday party. This is a fabulous picture taken by my friend Lucy, at the party. They look pretty good don’t they?

You will need:

60g unsalted butter chilled & in chunks

250g strong white bread flour plus a little extra for dusting

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 salt (I think I put a little too much in)

175ml buttermilk

I’ve taken this recipe from Step-by-step baking I seem to be working my way through it, it might take me a while as it as over 500 pages!

Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius, then line a baking tray with parchment and grease with butter. Next sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large chilled bowl. I put my nice large glass one in the fridge for a while.

Pop the butter chunks into the bowl keeping it all as cool as possible; I’m not really sure why this is but it sounds important. Rub the ingredients together to resemble breadcrumbs do this quickly.

make a pitted well in the mixture and slowly pour the buttermilk down in to it.

Use a fork to combine the mixture careful not to over mix it.

once the mixture has formed a dough you can turn it out onto a floured surface and kneed slightly. If the dough feels too dry you can add a touch more buttermilk.

Flatten the dough to about 2cm thick remembering to keep it as cool as possible. You can then cut out the scones and arrange them the baking tray evenly spaced.

Now just pop them in the oven for 12-15 minutes until golden.

And there you go easy peasy and hardly any washing up! Serve with cream, jams, strawberries or butter. You can also add currants to the mixture how wonderfully English. 

June 24, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Blooming marvelous cinnamon buns

I cannot believe that they closed down the Cinnebon in Southampton! They make the best cinnamon rolls ever. So I am going to have to make my own, I’ve found a recipe in the Step-by-step baking book.

For the dough:

125ml milk

125ml water

100g unsalted butter

2tsp dried yeast

50g caster sugar

550g plain flour sifted plus extra for dusting

1 tsp salt

1 egg, plus 2 egg yokes

For the filling and glaze

3 tbsp cinnamon

100g soft light brown sugar

25g unsalted butter (melted)

1 egg lightly beaten

4 tbsp caster sugar

Firstly you will need to heat the water, milk, and butter until melted then leave to cool.

Once the butter mixture is just warm you can whisk in the yeast and just a tablespoon of sugar. When this is mixed in cover for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl put the flour, salt and leftover sugar together and make a well in the middle.

Pour the warm milky mixture down the well.

The next step is to whisk the egg and yokes together and add to the mixture.

Squidge the mixture together to form a dough. Next you will need to kneed the dough for 10 minutes on a floured surface I had to add a bit more flour because it was a little sticky. Next place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover. It will take a couple of hours to rise. Perfect time for a nice afternoon nap.

Once you have woken from your nap you can prepare the filling; mix together 2 tablespoons of cinnamon and the brown sugar in a small bowl.

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So the dough should be nicely risen by now so turn it out onto a floured surface and lightly knock it back. Roll it out into a large rectangle.

You’ll now need to melt the butter and brush it over the surface of the dough.

Now you can add the sugar and cinnamon mix over the butter leaving a 1cm boarder at one end and brush this with the egg. To make sure the filling is secure press it down with your hands.

Roll the dough up towards the boarder into a sausage shape. Making sure that it is not really tight. You can then cut the roll. I used a bread knife for this as it is easier not to squash the rolls.

Put the rolls into a lined tin, cover and leave to rise again for a couple of hours, in a warm place or you can leave them in the fridge over night which is what I did.

I had enough rolls for two tins I could probably just do with a bigger tin. Once they have risen brush with egg and, bake them in an oven preheated to 180 degrees Celsius; for 25-30 minutes. You can then heat three tablespoons of water and two tablespoons of sugar until they have dissolved, and brush over the rolls, sprinkle with the remaining sugar and cinnamon mixture.

These are much better warm so if they have cooled pop them into the microwave for 1 minute and serve with coffee or chai lattes.

June 24, 2012. Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Very berry Jubilee muffins

I spent the entire Jubilee weekend baking for my friend Suzi’s Jubilee/birthday bash. I made these muffins, a big cake, lots of cupcakes, meringue, and flapjacks! I think the flapjacks went down best.

These muffins are from the step-by-step baking book, I have changed them slightly by adding different berries.

You will need:

60g unsalted butter

280g plain flour

1 tbsp baking powder

pinch of salt

200g caster sugar

1 egg

finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (I just used some lemon juice from a bottle, but it is much nicer with fresh lemons.)

1 tsp vanilla extract

250ml milk

225g assorted berries (I had a bag summer fruits in the freezer which I defrosted, you can use blueberries)

First of all preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Measure out the butter and melt in a saucepan on a moderate heat until melted.

Next you will need to sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl not a food mixer. I made cookies the other day in a food mixer big fail turned very cake like it puts too much air in. Leave out two table spoons of the sugar and stir the rest into the flour mixture.

Set aside two tablespoons of sugar for later

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.

whisk up the egg and add the melted butter, vanilla, lemon and milk in a separate bowl. Whisk the mixture together until it is frothy and bubbly. pour the concoction into the flour and mix well.

Now you can add your berries or what ever you are using, I bet these would be nice with Rolos just don’t add any lemon juice. Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula careful not to over mix.

The next step to to place the mixture into muffin cases it is better if you have a muffin tin to hold them in place too. I do not have one so the will probably spread out sideways rather than up. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes.

In a little bowl mix the remaining sugar and lemon juice until dissolved. You can brush this mixture on top of the muffins then they are finished!

June 16, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Basic cupcakes

This is a recipe for very basic cupcakes that you can add anything to.

You will need:

Paper cases

115g soft butter

115g sugar

115g self-raising flour

2 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius or gas mark 5.  Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.

After the butter and sugar is smooth you can add the eggs a little at a time stirring after each addition.

Next you can sift the flour and fold into the mixture. I forgot to sift some icing sugar the other day it was a nightmare trying to get all the lumps out!

Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases. I have found that using two teaspoons is the easiest way to do this.

Just pop them in the oven for 15 minutes, and then they are all done. All you need to do is decide how to ice them.

There are several variations you can try to make these more interesting. You can add cocoa powder, vanilla extract, or coffee essence. To be honest you can add pretty much any flavour to this simple recipe. Why not get creative with the icing?

June 1, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Vanilla coffee & walnut cake

This recipe is basically the same as the Victoria sponge with a few alterations. It is another from Mary berry‘s ultimate cake book. I stole my copy from my mum when I moved out, it’s nearly as old as I am but not quite.

For the sponge 

4 eggs

2 heaped teaspoons instant coffee

225g butter/margarine

225g caster sugar

225g self-raising flower

2 teaspoons baking powder

For the icing

50g butter/margarine

175g icing sugar sifted

1 heaped teaspoon instant coffee, dissolved in a tablespoon of boiling water

1 tablespoon of milk

First of all pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius or gas mark 4. I am using two round silicone cake molds but you can use tins if you prefer. line them with baking parchment or grease with butter.

Now put the eggs in a bowl and whisk together.

The next step is to add the coffee, I’m going to dissolve it in a small amount of boiling water before I add it to the eggs. The coffee I am using is Little’s French vanilla flavoured. It is lush you could probably use vanilla extract or syrup if you just have normal coffee. I think the vanilla really adds extra flavour to the cake.

Now you can add the rest of the ingredients. I didn’t have quite enough self-raising flour so I made some by adding 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt to 260g of plain flour. I’ve never done this before so hopefully it will work out!

Blend them all together, I am going to use my electric whisk because it is just much easier.

Just divide the mixture up between the two tins and pop in the oven for 25 minutes. OH NO I have forgotten to add the baking powder I’ll just have to add that now!

They should be well risen, and spring back when poked! I checked mine a little bit early and one started to sink a little bit, but it should be fine.

When you take them out don’t turn them out straight away leave them for a few moments before turning out onto a cooling rack. The easiest way to do this is with a tea towel over your hand.

Remove the baking parchment really carefully, to make sure none of the sponge sticks to it. Put them in the fridge to cool down. While they are cooling you can start on the butter cream icing.

Mix together the butter, icing sugar (sifted), coffee and milk. I am going to blend them together by hand at first to make sure I don’t encounter some sort if icing sugar explosion.

I found it slightly runny so have added extra icing sugar. Check that the cakes are completely cool before butting the butter cream on, because if they are too hot it with melt and slide off. Use a pallet knife to spread the cream all over the top of one cake.

Next you can pop the other cake on top and do the same.

I am going to add walnuts and grated chocolate to the top. The chocolate has been sat in my car and has gone a funny shape & colour, but I’m sure it’ll be fine!

June 1, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Eve & Ellie’s (with help from Mary Berry) Millionaire’s shortbread

I love Millionaire’s shortbread! I’ve tried to make it once before and it was a slight disaster as I was too impatient with the caramel, and it just turned to goo. This time I have roped in my cousin Ellie to help me. This is another recipe from Mary Berry the queen of treats.

For the shortbread you will need;

250g plain flour

75g Caster sugar

175g soft butter

For the caramel you will need;

100g butter

100g light muscovado sugar

794g (2 cans) condensed milk

For the topping

200g Dark chocolate

teaspoon of butter

50g white chocolate

First of all pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. then line a tin with baking parchment .

Now for the shortbread, mix together the flour, caster sugar and butter together. rub the butter to make bread crumbs.

You can make the mixture into breadcrumbs by hand or you can use an electric smoosher.

After you have made the breadcrumbs knead the mixture into a dough and transfer to your baking tin. prick the dough with a fork several times and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Leave to cool in the tin.

While the short bread is baking you can start on the caramel. Put the butter, sugar and condensed milk into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.

You have to stir all the time otherwise it will burn, which is what happened last time I made this. My lovely caramel had lumps of burnt sugar in it! Bring to the boil then reduce and simmer for 5 minutes still stirring.

Once it has thickened you can pour it over the shortbread, and leave to cool.

I put this in the fridge to cool and Ellie and I had lunch and watch Britain’s got more talent, which was pretty funny.

The next stage is to melt your chocolate. Break it into small chunks and place in glass bowl over some boiling water. I have added a small bit of butter, because this will make it easier to cut into slices.

At this point we were a bit impatient with the cooling process. we started pouring but the caramel had not quite set.

So back in the fridge it goes!

Try again…

So now we just put it in the fridge to set a little bit before putting the white chocolate on. Break the white chocolate up into small chunks and put in a glass dish, and heat the same way as the dark, but no need to add any butter this time.

Once the chocolate has melted you can put it in an icing bag or syringe. we are using a syringe, which will be a nightmare to clean but will make a very nice pattern. Ellie will now make lines across the chocolate top.

After you have finished making the lines you can use a tooth pick or kebab skewer to make the pattern, going in one direction and then the other.

Pop it back in the fridge to completely set. When it has set take it out of the tin and cut into squares or slices.

They are pretty gooey and messy but still taste great!

May 22, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Squidgy Brownies

I’ve got two of my old school friends coming over for lunch, they are not really coming to see me, but my new cat Paddington.

For lunch I have made us sweet potato, butternut squash and smoked paprika soup; and I want to make something yummy for desert. I think brownies are bound to go down well! I am following a recipe from the step-by-step baking book again, I use this book a lot as there is so much in it and it is really easy to follow, you can get it from Amazon for £16.25.

The recipe in this book is actually for hazelnut brownies but I do not have any hazelnuts so they will have to be plain chocolate brownies. Macadamia nuts would also be delicious in them, but I do not have any of those either.

To make plain brownies you will need:

175g of unsalted butter

300g dark chocolate

300g caster sugar

4 large eggs, beaten

200g plain flour

25g cocoa powder plus a tiny bit extra for dusting at the end

First of all you will need to preheat the oven to 200 Celsius or gas mark 6. Next you will need to line a shallow rectangular tin with baking parchment or grease it with butter. I don’t have a proper tin so I am going to use a large baking tray.

Next you will need to measure out the chocolate and butter into a glass bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, make sure the water does not touch the bowl.

Make sure you keep stirring the mixture until it is all melted and smooth. Once it is all smooth remove from the heat and allow to cool.

After the mixture has had a bit of time to cool down you can add the sugar. Mix the sugar in well until completely smooth; feel free to lick the spoon at this point.

Once the sugar is mixed in you can add the eggs; beat them together and add to the mixture a little bit at a time stirring in between.

Now you can add the flour and cocoa powder. Sift the flour and cocoa into the mixture holding to sieve above the bowl this allows it to aerate. I sifted them separately but to be honest it is probably easier to do them together.

Mix really well so that none of the flour or powder can be seen. You can now pour the mixture into the tin and smooth into the corners using a spatula.

So now you can just pop it in the oven. The book says to bake it for 12-15 minutes, but I like brownies when they are still quite soft in the middle so I’m only going to bake for 12 minutes. To test if they are done you can use a cake spike, unlike testing sponge you want there to be a bit of mixture on the spike.

Just leave the brownie in the tin while it cools to make sure the centre stays soft. once cooled you can lift it out by the edges of the baking parchment. Once it is out you can cut into squares using a sharp knife. You can make these as big or as small as you like. I’m going to make mine quite big! These could be cut into inch square pieces for children’s lunch boxes or as bites at a party.

Finally you can sprinkle them with some cocoa powder. It would be great to serve them with raspberries and cream.

We are going to have them with a lovely pot of tea!

May 16, 2012. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

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