Monthly Archives: February 2010

Chocolate Chip Flapjack

I’m rather fond of commercial cereal bars with chocolate chips in.  Could eat an entire box full in one sitting if I let myself.  So it occurred to me that basically a cereal bar is  flapjack and flapjack is easy!  I’m still wavering as to whether or not it’s any cheaper to make my own considering the price of chocolate chips but making your own does mean you get more control.  You want more chocolate? Add more chocolate.  Too many crispies? Add less.  I have to admit though that I am perfectly happy with the way the commercial ones are so I went for replication of ratios.  However, if you didn’t like something then my point is it’s easy and homemade is for you.  I’ll apologise for the pics also as I’m feeling rather unwell this evening and just wanted to get it done and go to bed.  I’ve been having a problem with graphics all evening so if something hinkey is going on I’ll be back to fix it when I’m feeling better.  G’night all!

Makes 12 slices

115g butter
85g golden caster sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
200g rolled oats
60g rice crispies
55g plain flour
150g chocolate chips

– Line an 11″x7″ brownie or anything else approximately the same dimensions with baking paper and lightly grease it. 
– Heat the oven to gas mark 4. 
– In a small pan melt together the butter, sugar and golden syrup. (Do NOT let it boil or you will get super crispy flapjack.  Just melt and stir until it comes together.) 
– In a medium to large bowl add the oats, rice crispies and flour and mix together. 
– Add the contents of the pan to the bowl and thoroughly mix until well coated and no flour is visible.   
– Add about 100-125g of the chocolate chips and stir through until evenly distributed. 
– Press the mixture into the prepared tin. 
– Scatter the remaining chocolate chips on top and continue to press down untilt he top is smooth. 
– Bake for 25 mins. 
– Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. 
– Lift out of the tin and peel off the baking paper. 
– Slice into whatever sized pieces you desire. 

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Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

… Well, where to start?

I think it would be best to start with a warning.  Those of you here for inspiration look away now!  The only thing you will find in this post is a cautionary tale of woe. 

I tried to make Raspberry Cheesecake Bars last night.  I enjoyed the last Cheesecake Bars so much I thought that things could only get better.  I had decided that a nice digestive biscuit crust as a base layer would be a fabulolus idea.  It wasn’t.  When I came to unmould them the crumbs stuck to the mould as the silicone had given a bit and the bottoms were bigger than the openings at the top.  I also hadn’t cooked them for long enough and the ones in the very centre of the tray were uncooked.  This was the sad result.

I have to say that some of them made it out of the mould alive and they taste fine, although, on reflection I don’t actually like the digestive bit of cheesecake all that much, but they too look pretty bad!

Another issue was that I had only decided to do the digestive bit as I started and I had made the full quantity of cheesecake mixture.  Since a lot of the space was taken up with digestive I had a lot of leftover mixture.  So I decided to have a go at Cheesecake Cupcakes.  But I ran out of raspberries so they became Cherry Cheesecake Cupcakes.  They looked really good as they finished cooking so I turned off the oven and left them for several hours.  When I came back they had shrunk drastically!

The ones that came out best were the ones with the most mixture in them so I think that if I gave this a go in the future I would fill the cases right up to the top to compensate for the shrinkage issues. 

All in all this experiment was a bit of a disaster but that’s what happens sometimes.  And it still all tastes good.  Sometimes the only thing left to do is to scrape it into a bowl and kiss aesthetics goodbye!

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Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes

I fancied something quick and simple today.  I have a stash of recipes I can whip up in no time when in need of a sweet treat but I fancied trying something a little bit different today.  I’d seen recipes for brownie bites or cupcakes in several places and thought I’d give it a go.  I didn’t have a specific source in mind so the first recipe I found in my books would win.  Turned out to be the one from 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & other tempting treats that I reached first and so I went ahead with that.  I made a few changes, different sugar and chocolate chips instead of walnuts, I have to say it made a lovely light brownie in a convenient cupcake sized portion.  Not quite as goopy as my usual brownie recipe but that’s a good thing as I was after ease of eating and convenience. 

Edit: These get a lot more solid once left overnight.  I suggest eating them straight away (such a hardship!) or giving them a quick nuke in the microwave.  They’re not bad or anything but your jaw does have to work a lot harder if you eat them the next day.   If I make these again I’ll probably only give them 25 mins in the oven as I think they were a little too dry.

Makes 12

225g plain chocolate
85g unsalted butter
2 large eggs
200g light muscovado sugar (looks like wet sand)*
1 tsp vanilla extract
140g plain flour
75g white chocolate chips

– First melt the butter and chocolate together in a small bowl or pan.  I place a pyrex bowl over a small pan of boiling water and do it that way.  When it’s smooth take off the heat and leave to cool a little. 
– Then heat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. 
– In a larger bowl beat together the eggs and sugar with a whisk.  The more you beat the eggs the better that crispy brownie  topping will be. 
– Add the vanilla extract to the sugar and eggs, continue to beat. 
– Add the flour and mix this in until combined. 
– Then pour in the chocolate and mix thoroughly. 
– Add the chocolate chips and stir through.
– Divide the mixture evenly between the cases, they should be about 2/3 full. 
– Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  The tops will be cracked. 
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes in the tin then place on a wire rack to cool completely or, if like me you couldn’t resist the delicious smell wafting from the oven, eat while still warm and lovely! 

*The recipe said soft dark brown sugar… I think they might have been aiming for dark muscovado but I couldn’t find the tin of that so went with the light. 

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Yorkshire Teacakes

I treat myself every Friday morning to the biggest Latte that Starbucks has to offer.  I sometimes grab something to eat for my breakfast too.  I saw this Luxury Fruit Bread the other day and was very taken with the idea.  It was, indeed, delicious.  It was shaped like a loaf but on closer inspection you could see that it was actually the top and bottom of a ‘bun’ that was shaped to look like a slice of bread.   It was also not a Fruit Bread, Luxury or otherwise, but a Teacake.  A toasted teacake, that staple of tea shops across the region! 

So I made it my challenge this weekend to find a teacake recipe.  Now I have to say right here and now that this teacake recipe is not the recipe for the Starbucks Luxury Fruit Bread.  It’s close but it’s not quite there.  This is a much lighter dough that the almost stodgy one in Starbucks.  But this is still a delicious little thing and, in fact, I quite like the lack of heaviness.  I think these are best eaten fresh out of the oven toasted over an open fire, but that’s because I have both an open fire and a set of toasting forks.  I love toasting things on the fire.  You can hear them toast!  And you always get just the right level of toasting.  However, I’m pretty certain that a grill or toaster would do just fine! 

Makes 12

50g currants
50g sultanas
50g raisins
40g dried cranberries
2 tbsp water
215ml milk, warm
1 egg
50g sugar
450g strong bread flour
1 tsp salt
7g sachet fast action yeast
50g lard

– First put all of the dried fruits and the water in a small, microwave proof bowl.  Mix a little to moisten.  Microwave for 1 minute. 
– In a jug mix the milk, egg and sugar together. 
– In a large mixing bowl sift the flour, salt and yeast together. 
– Rub in the lard with your fingers. 
– Make a well in the centre of the flour and tip in the contents of the jug. 
– Mix well until all combined. 
– Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. 
– Drain the fruits of any remaining liquid and lightly pat with kitchen paper.  They should be moist but not wet.* 
– Knead the fruits into the dough. 
– Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl.  Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. 
– Knock down the risen dough and knead a little. 
– Heat the oven to gas mark 7 1/2.  Place 2 baking sheets in the oven while it warms. 
– Divide into 12 balls. 
– Remove the warm baking sheets from the oven and grease lightly. 
– Flatten each ball so it is about the size of your palm. 
– Place the discs on the baking trays, leaving about 1″ between each. 
– Bake for 10 minutes until just golden.  (The lower tray may need about 3 minutes extra on the top rack.) 
– Leave to cool for a few minutes then split and toast.  Spread with butter and enjoy!

*I didn’t dry mine enough and the dough turned to goo.  This is an odd dough in that a tiny bit of extra moisture makes it go really wet but then it only takes a bit of flour to take it back the other way.  If your dough does go rather wet and sticks to everything then simply add a little more flour and knead in and it’ll come right again. 

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Primrose Bakery Cupcakes

I’m sorry for having such a long break between posts but this last week has been rather hectic, I’ve had appointments, blood tests, dinner with a friend and a trip to the cinema not to mention work!  (Please god, don’t mention work!)  One of the other things occupying me was this mammoth cupcake session.  Last week after the disappointment that was The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook I decided to risk buying The Primrose Bakery Cookbook when I came across it by chance.  I am so glad I did!

I tried it out last Sunday night and not only was the recipe I tried easy to do but it also created a delicious cupcake.  I was intregued by the fact that the recipe is very different to most I’ve seen, the traditional sponge ratios go out of the window!  I just tried the vanilla cupcake recipe to begin with but I often think it’s a very good judge of a cookbook to see how they deal with something simple.  If they mess that up then what hope for the more complicated stuff?  I also invested in some decent vanilla extract instead of the cheap stuff I normally buy.  I do think this made a huge difference.  I’ve read a bunch of articles about vanilla flavourings and I’m glad I’ve spent the extra here.  The vanilla really came out as a strong flavour, perhaps a little too strong for some tastes but I’ll know for next time that I don’t need to use as much as I would ordinarily. 

I wasn’t very happy with the decoration on these.  I’ve only managed to find one pink food colouring that doesn’t come out this delightful salmon shade and that’s Asda’s natural pink food colouring.  This one was a posh paste one and I have to say I am far from impressed.  Yes, you only need a tiny bit to colour your mixture but that means I now have a whole pot of the stuff to use in some way and may never finish it!  I did like the stars though, both kinds are from Morrisons, the white ones are white chocolate the coloured ones are sugar.  The white chocolate gave a delightful edge to the flavour of the cupcake, I’m thinking that a white chocolate buttercream may be in my future! 

 

Makes 12 (I doubled it with no problems)

110g unsalted butter, softened
225g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g self raising flour
125g plain flour
120ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. 
– In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and the sugar until well smooth. 
– Add the eggs one at a time, mixing into the mixture between additions. 
– Sift the flours into a separate, smaller, bowl. 
– Measure out the milk in a jug and then add the vanilla to this.
– Add 1/3 of the flour to the large bowl.  Beat well until combined. 
– Add 1/3 of the milk and beat again. 
– Add another 1/3 of the flour, then another 1/3 of the milk, then the last of the flour and then the last of the milk, beating well between additions. 
– Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.  Fill about 2/3 full. 
– Bake for about 25 mins until golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool inthe tin for 5-10 minutes. 
– Then turn out to cool completely on a wire rack. 
– Decorate as you choose.

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Easy Madeleines

I’m not going to lie, you still need a madeleine tin to make these madeleines because without the cute shape it’s just a bun… a delicious bun but a bun none the less.  However, with the cute shape you get everyone in your office cooing over how adorable these things are.  So go out and pick yourself up a madeleine tin, or if you really don’t want to get a tin for just one thing (despite how much I promise you will want to use it) then use something like the dreaded bun tin.  Individual, bite sized and cute is what you’re after here.  You will also need an electric hand whisk.  Unless you have the arm strength and stamina of a god I really don’t recommend that you skip this one. 

I’m already a huge fan of madeleines but when I saw this recipe I had to try it because with this one they could be even easier!  And then being me I went ahead and changed the recipe I’d found again.  Madeleines are already pretty simple but this recipe of mine is great.  Easy to remember proportions, it makes a decent number of madeleines (and I’ve proven time and time again that I’m powerless to resist the lure of a freshly baked madeleine… or 5) and an even better discovery.  You can make the mixture ahead and then leave it in the fridge for 24 hours!  Just imagine, freshly baked madeleines for breakfast on a weekday!

Not that the recipe said that but unfortunately as I was heating the oven, having made the mixture, we ran out of gas.  We use bottled gas and changing a gas canister at 10:30pm is just not going to happen.  So I had to stick the bowl in the fridge and pray.  I got it out the next night after work and set to.  They came out wonderfully!  I was so surprised given that the rise comes from the volume you put into the egg and not a raising agent in the flour.  I suspected that they would sink but the mixture only started to lose volume once I broke into it and started putting it into the moulds but even then not by much. 

Makes 25-30

250g granulated sugar
4 eggs
250g plain flour
250g butter, melted and cooled* (plus a tiny bit extra for brushing the mould)
1 tsp vanilla essence (Or the zest of a lemon or orange/orange flour water etc.)

– In a large bowl whisk together the sugar and eggs using a handheld electric whisk until pale in colour and more than doubled in volume.  The mixture will go thick and the whisk will leave a trail. 
– Sift in the flour and then fold in gently until just combined.**  (You’re trying to keep as much volume as possible.)
– Pour in the butter and the flavouring and mix until just combined. 
– Rest the mixture for 10 minutes to 24 hours*** and heat the oven to gas mark 7 while you wait. 
– Brush the madeleine mould with a little leftover melted butter. 
– Put a spoonful of mixture in each mould. 
– Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown around the edges. 
– Turn out to cool on a wire rack. 
– Brush the mould with butter and repeat the steps above until you have no more mixture. 

* I put the block of butter in a microwavable jug or dish, cover it and microwave it on high for 1 minute then give it more in 20 second blasts until it is all melted. 

** I actually use a balloon whisk for these stages as it mixes in quicker so you mix less. 

*** Or perhaps even longer, probably not more than 48 hours though.

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