Jammy Dodger Blondies

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I’ve been wanting to make blondies for a while now, but never got around to it mainly because I’m a dark chocolate lover at heart, and so always gave in to making brownies instead.

So, seeing as this is my first blondie recipe I thought I’d do a little background research on how they came about!

Apparently, the first brownie recipes have been around since the late 19th century, however chocolate didn’t actually make an appearance until 1906. Before then the brownie was the dense, fudge, butterscotch flavoured bar known today as the blondie. Although despite being just as easy to make and unbelievably delicious the blondie has never managed to achieve the same chart topping success as its darker cousin, the brownie.

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Like I said before, I’m not usually a fan of white chocolate, I much prefer the dark bitter stuff, and so I was worried that blondies by themselves would be a little too sweet and sickly.

So it struck me…..

White chocolate and strawberries are a match made in heaven, and in blondie form whats not to love?

And so I give you Jammy Dodger Blondies!

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I was thinking about sharing some healthier recipes seeing as it’s the new year now and summer isn’t all that far away. However I’ve kept this recipe to myself for a while and I was starting to feel guilty about taking so long to share them with you all… so the healthier recipes will have to wait a while longer!

Either way, these Jammy Dodger blondies are worth every bite.

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Recipe

175g unsalted butter

250g white chocolate, chopped

250g caster sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

300g plain flour

3 tbsp strawberry jam

Jammy Dodger biscuits

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175C.  Grease and line a 9×13″ baking tray or use a disposable one.
  2. Melt the butter and white chocolate in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over a low heat.  Stir constantly until smooth and melted.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer add the sugar and eggs and mix until combined and light, pour in the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly.  Add the flour and stir in by hand until just combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Drop teaspoons of jam over the blondie batter and use a sharp knife to swirl through.  Place the Jammy Dodgers on top in a neat pattern and bake for 25 minutes until just set.  Allow to cool completely.
  5. Cut into 15 squares and enjoy.

x

Salted Caramel Brownie Sandwich Cookies

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I have more cookies for you today!

They are worth every second of effort. They’re crazy indulgent and ridiculously scrumptious. On the brownie scale of super dense and fudgey through to cakey, this cookie lies somewhere in between. The inside is soft and moist and every so slightly chewy. And it’s really, really chocolatey.

AND I’ve filled them with salted caramel buttercream for you too.

So put the brownie cookie and caramel buttercream together and you have perfection in a cookie.

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They are so tasty I could have eaten them just on their own.

Wait… I did do that.

I had to stop myself so that I had enough cookies left to take pictures of them doubled up for sweet little sandwiches.

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Also as a random side note, I just wanted to say that I’m sorry.

Because I really have been meaning to share these cookies with you. For. Ages.

Waaaay over a month ago.

But life just got in the way with job applications, interviews, assessment days and the like.

But finally, here you have them. I love this recipe and I hope you do too!

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The cookies you can see in the photos really are giant – they’re larger than the palm of my hand. It wasn’t 100% intentional, they spread out a lot in the oven and then by the time I added the icing and sandwiched them together they were suddenly enormous !

Though having said that, my irrational logic told me that there’d be less guilt consuming one huge cookie than two normal sized cookies…

But if you are a normal person or just have more self restraint than I do, by all means make normal sized cookies.

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Recipe

For the cookies

90g Plain Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

230g Dark Chocolate, chopped into small pieces

60g Unsalted Butter

150g Light Brown Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 Eggs

130g Milk Chocolate, Chopped into large chunks (optional)

For the filling

250g salted butter

450g icing sugar

1 tsp salted caramel essence OR 2 tbsp salted caramel sauce

80g chocolate (melted)

Chocolate bar of choice – chopped into small chunks

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 175oC
  2. In a bowl measure out the flour, baking powder and salt, and set to one side for now.
  3. In a large bowl melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of gently simmering water until everything has melted. Then remove from the heat.
  4. In a large mixing bowl beat together the sugar, vanilla and eggs until the mixture it light and fluffy, before adding the chocolate mixture and lightly beating together until fully combined.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and using a wooden spoon gently fold the two together until just combined.
  6. Add the milk chocolate chunks to the dough and very gently fold them until they are distributed.
  7. This is a really soft dough so don’t try to roll the cookies into balls, just using a spoon dollop some mixture on the baking tray, making sure you leave plenty of room for spreading during baking.
  8. Bake for approx 13-15 minutes before removing.
  9. Allow the cookies to cool on the tray for approx 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely
  10. Chop the butter into chunks and soften in the microwave for 20-30s, it shouldn’t be completely melted !
  11. Put the butter, salted caramel essence or sauce and 1/2 of the icing sugar (sifted) into a mixing bowl and combine using an electric hand whisk.
  12. Gradually add the remaining icing sugar, whisking after each addition. You may not need to add all of the icing sugar, as long as the icing tastes sweet enough!
  13. Pipe the caramel icing onto half of the brownie cookies, making sure to turn them over so that the top of the cookies forms the outside of the cookie sandwich.
  14. Drizzle melted chocolate over the icing and finish with chunks of chopped up chocolate !
  15. Finally, sandwich the cookies together with the remaining cookies, (take suitable picture for Instagram) and enjoy!

Happy Baking x

No Bake Salted Caramel Malteser Slices

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After watching caramel week on The Great British Bake Off I had a serious craving, and so the next day I went out and bought all of the ingredients for these amazing Malteser no bake caramel slices. I’ve made them once before and absolutely loved the recipe! They are the perfect twist on the classic caramel shortbread, and the added layer of chocolate ganache makes these the perfect treat if you want to indulge.

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Let’s start with the bottom layer which is crushed malt biscuits blitzed with coconut and drizzled in butter and set into the perfect base. The next layer is rich dark chocolate truffle fudge filled with crunchy pieces of Malteser throughout. That to die for dark chocolate truffle fudge layer is then smothered in a layer of gooey salted caramel and if that wasn’t enough all finished with a fine layer of milk chocolate and dotted with Malteser’s.

This recipe is so easy to make, all you need is a little patience waiting for the layers to set!

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Recipe from the Whimsical Wife

Ingredients

Malt Biscuit Base

250g malt biscuits (any plain biscuit would work)

125g butter, melted

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

Dark Chocolate Truffle Fudge Filling

275g 80% dark chocolate, melted

200ml cream

180g Maltesers, roughly chopped (see garnish)

Salted Caramel Filling

250g tin condensed milk

150ml cream

1/3 cup golden syrup

1 teaspoon salt

Milk Chocolate Topping

225g milk chocolate, melted

To garnish

20 Maltesers

Instructions:

Malt Biscuit Base
  1. Line a 18 x 28 cm slice tin with baking paper.
  2. In a food processor place the malt biscuits, coconut. Pulse for 30-40 seconds until a fine crumb is formed.
  3. Pour in the melted butter and pulse for a further 10-20 seconds until the biscuit mix comes together.
  4. Pour the biscuit mixture into the pan. Using your fingers gently press the mix out until it evenly covers the bottom of the pan.
  5. Place into the fridge to set for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Dark Chocolate Truffle Fudge
  1. Into a bowl pour the melted dark chocolate. Add in the cream and gently stir together until the mixture is combined and starts to thicken. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or so to cool enough to add the Maltesers without them melting. Once the mixture has cooled sufficiently add in the chopped Maltesers and stir to combine them in.
  2. Take the malt biscuit base out of the fridge and pour over the truffle fudge filling. Using an offset spatula gently spread the mixture evenly over the malt biscuit base. Place back into the fridge for a further 20-30 minutes for the truffle fudge filling to set.
Salted Caramel
  1. In a small saucepan add the condensed milk, cream, golden syrup and salt. Bring the mixture up to the boil, stirring constantly. Lower to a simmer and let it bubble away for 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly so it doesn’t burn. By this time a lovely golden caramel is formed and should coat the back of your spoon quite thickly.
  2. Set it aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly before pouring over the dark chocolate truffle fudge layer.
  3. Gently smooth the caramel with an offset spatula over the fudge layer and place back into the fridge for a further 15 minutes to cool and firm up.
Milk Chocolate Topping & Garnish
  1. Remove the slice from the fridge and pour over the melted milk chocolate over the top of the salted caramel. Using an offset spatula quickly spread the milk chocolate evenly over the top of the caramel.
  2. Then quickly press the leftover Maltesers into the milk chocolate leaving a little sticking out of the top.
  3. Place back into the fridge and let it chill for a good hour before cutting into bite size pieces.
Cooks Notes
  • Any plain biscuit would work well in the base.
  • Pop pieces of this decadent slice in jars, add some string and a tag and gift it to a loved one.
  • This recipe makes between 15 – 24 slices depending on how large you cut them. They are really rich and decadent so I’d recommend going for bite-size pieces rather than typical slices.

Happy Baking x

Protein Pancakes

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I love pancakes, but most of the time I can’t justify making them as they’re seriously loaded full of sugar, fat and probably about triple the calories of my normal breakfast allowance.

However, when you’re having a craving these guys are the perfect alternative to the thick American style ones and are practially guilt free! Each serving contains only 250kcal, 20g protein, 23g carbs, 8g fat and only 0.4g sugar ! (Plus whatever toppings you’d like to add…)

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Life is good when you can sit down to a stack like this, guilt free – and on track for your goals.

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Recipe

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

30g fine oatmeal/ oat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 egg

50ml water

1 tsp sweetener (to taste)

+ toppings of choice (I’ve made a blueberry sauce and topped with Greek yoghurt and fresh fruit)

Method

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. The consistency should be slightly thinner than your normal American pancake mix but still on the thick side – I tend to do a test first and then add more flour/ water based on the consistency of the pancake!
  2. Place a frying pan on a medium heat and scoop the pancake mix into the pan – I tend to do 3 at a time.
  3. Once bubbles appear on the top of the pancake mix flip them over and cook for a further minute or so – they won’t take long on the other side !
  4. Once cooked remove from the pan and add the toppings of your choice!

ENJOY! x

Doughnuts

Homemade doughnuts are simply sublime! You may think that doughnuts are the sort of thing that are really hard to make at home, but with this recipe and a little bit of patience you’ll breeze through!

 

Deep-fried doughnuts really are the way to go, none of this healthy baked doughnuts malarky – the classic ‘jam doughnut’ kicks the Krispy Kreme-style glazed ring doughnuts to the kerb in terms of sheer indulgence, freshly coated in sugar and oozing warm strawberry jam all over your fingers and chin.

Other good things to put in doughnuts include Nutella, dulce de leche, homemade custard (combined with jam or on its own), pastry cream or cream i.e. anything with plenty of flavour and ooze. These doughnuts are all about the ooze.

For this recipe I’ve filled my doughnuts with a mixture of Nutella and caramel and raspberry flavoured double cream and then topped with rich, indulgent chocolate ganache.

The doughnut base is a rich, sweetened, yeasted dough. To begin with it is quite rough and sticky, but the more you knead the dough the smoother and silkier it becomes. So, personally I’d recommend using a big standing mixer (Kitchen aid, Kenwood and the like) to make your life a little easier. However, if you don’t own one then they can easily be made by hand, it just takes slightly longer!

Deep frying can be a little scary because we – hopefully – don’t do it every day. But after a lot of experimentation I can promise that, in this instance, it’s worth it. Drink a green juice and do some yoga tomorrow: today it’s all about the doughnuts.

Recipe

For the Doughnuts

1 packets active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-3 1/2 cups flour
Canola oil, for frying

For the filling:

Nutella / Double cream with raspberries or caramel / custard – whatever you fancy!

For the topping:

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped up dark chocolate
1/3 cup heavy (double) cream

Instructions

For the Doughnuts:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the yeast and warm water. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until well combined and fluffy (about 2 minutes.)
  2. Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract, and salt until throughly combined. Mix in the yeast/water mixture just until combined. Switch to using the dough hook and a 1/2 cup at a time, slowly add in the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Add flour until the dough has formed and is no longer sticking to the bowl or your hands.
  4. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl, tightly cover with plastic wrap, and place near a warm area for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until about 1/2 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter (or the top of a large glass flipped upside-down) cut out about 9 circles, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Roll out the dough again to get a few more doughnuts, if desired.
  6. Cover the baking sheet with a dry towel, place near a warm area, and let rise again for another hour.
  7. Near the end of the hour, start warming up the oil for frying. In a large pot (or deep fryer), put in canola oil until about 2-3 inches high in the pot. Heat until the temperature reaches 170-180 degrees C.
  8. Carefully drop in the pieces of dough, about 2-3 at a time. Fry for 1 minute, then turn over and fry for another minute, or until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon (or spider strainer), remove the doughnuts from the oil and place them on a plate covered with paper towels to drain some of the oil. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Let the doughnuts cool completely

For the Topping:
Place the semisweet chocolate chips in a medium-sized bowl. Heat the heavy cream in the microwave (or stove top) until slightly bubbling. Pour the hot heavy cream over the chocolate chips and whisk until creamy and smooth.

For Assembly:
Once the doughnuts have cooled off, transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a long, sharp pastry tip (I used this tip), poke a hole in the side of each doughnut and fill with the marshmallow cream. Then dip the tops of each doughnut into the chocolate ganache, let the excess ganache drip off, place back down, and then finish with your desired toppings!
Place doughnuts in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Enjoy

Happy Baking x

 

Raspberry Bakewell Tart




  

Recipe

For the pastry (Recipe from Konditor and Cook)

50g caster sugar

1 egg yolk

100g salted butter

150g plain flour

For the filling

225g / 8oz unsalted butter, softened

225g / 8oz caster sugar

225g / 8oz ground almonds

3 free-range eggs

50g / 2oz plain flour

1 jar raspberry jam

1 box/ punnet fresh or frozen raspberries

flaked almonds, for sprinkling

Method

For the pastry
  1. Combine the sugar and egg yolk in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon and then add the cold cubed butter. Using the spoon or your fingers combine them together.
  2. Sift the flour into the bowl and quickly work everything into a dough, being careful not to overwork as this will result in a tough pastry.
  3. Shape into a ball/ flat slab, wrap in film and chill for 1 hour.
  4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3-4mm thick and use to line a 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 175°C/gas mark 4. Line the pastry case with aluminum foil, draping it over the edges a little and fill with baking beans or rice.
  6. Bake blind for 15 minutes then remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
  7. Lift out the foil with the beans or rice and return the pastry case to the oven for 5-10 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool
For the filling
  1. In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition. You can add a little flour to the mixture to prevent curdling.
  3. Fold in the flour and ground almonds and mix until well combined.
  4. Generously spread the raspberry jam over the base of the pastry case.
  5. Spread half of the raspberries over the raspberry jam.
  6. Fill the tart case with the frangipane batter and then top with the remaining raspberries and the flaked almonds.
  7. Bake the tart for 20 minutes, or until the filling is set and golden-brown.
  8. Allow to cool in the tin and then ‘dust’ with icing sugar just before serving.

X

The Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Cake

This really is the ultimate chocolate fudge cake. I couldn’t improve it if I tried. It is the sort of cake you’d want to eat the whole of when you’d been dumped.

Four gorgeous layers of light, moist, cocoa-laden cake come together with a generous coating of thick, luscious chocolate frosting and rich dark chocolate ganache. This cake is truly indulgent, and every chocoholic’s dream! (Just don’t think about the amount of sugar involved….)

Recipe

For the cake

3 cups self- raising flour

2 + 1/2 cups caster sugar

1 cup + 2 tbsp cocoa powder

1 tbsp + 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 + 1/3 cups vegetable oil

1 cup milk

1 cup boiling water

1 cup soured cream

4 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla essence

For the icing

300g good quality dark chocolate

300ml double cream

400g salted butter

700g icing sugar

50g cocoa powder

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees(c) and line 8″ tins with greased proof paper then set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  3. Add the oil and milk and mix until well combined, the mixture should be quite thick at this stage.
  4. Gradually add the boiling water, mixing carefully after each addition.
  5. Add the sour cream.
  6. Mix in the vanilla essence and whisk in the eggs one by one until all of the ingredients are well combined. At this stage the mixture will be very runny so don’t worry that the consistency isn’t the same as other cake recipes.
  7. Divide between baking tins and bake in the oven until a skewer comes out clean. This may be between 30-45 minutes depending on how many tins you’ve used and how deep you’ve filled them.
  8. Once cooked remove the cakes from the oven, cool in the tins for 15-20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. To make the icing, first make the ganache. Put the cream and chocolate in a pan and heat gently until all of the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool.
  10. In a separate bowl, combine the softened butter with 1/3 of the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Add another 1/3 of the icing sugar along with 1/2 of the cooled ganache and mix until incorporated.
  11. Add the remaining icing sugar gradually, tasting after each addition until the icing is sweet enough (if the mixture becomes too stiff add a little milk).
  12. Layer the cake with icing, ganache and raspberries, leaving enough to put on top of the cake at the end.

x

 

Banana Muffins

This recipe isn’t anything ground breaking or new, but it’s super easy and the caramel butter icing takes your average banana muffin from good to great. Perfect for an afternoon snack or dessert! Equally, additions such as blueberries, chocolate chips, raspberries, nuts etc.. make for a decadent breakfast that’ll pair perfectly with your morning cup of tea or coffee.


Here are a few tips:

  1. Make sure you use over ripe bananas, the riper they are the moister the muffins will be!
  2. When you combine the two together, only mix until they combine. If you over mix the wet with the dry, your muffins will be heavy, tough, and dense.
  3. Fill your muffin pans all the way to the top. Set the initial oven temperature high, then lower it as the muffins bake. Setting the oven to a “high temperature burst” lifts the muffin top up quickly and creates a tall crust.

Recipe

Recipe from the blog Sally’s Baking Addiction

For the Banana Muffins

3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour (very careful not to overmeasure)

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup (200g) packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup caster sugar

¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar

1 cup (240ml) milk, at room temperature

1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable oil

3/4 cup mashed banana (2 small, very ripe bananas)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Caramel Butter Icing

250 g salted butter (softened)

500g icing sugar (sieved)

4 tbsp caramel sauce or a few drops of caramel essence

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees(C). Fill a muffin pan with cases and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss together flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix until all dry ingredients are combined – a 20 second toss to disburse everything together. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and granulated sugar until combined. Whisk in milk, oil, mashed bananas, and vanilla extract. Mixture will be pale and yellow.
  4. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix everything together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Avoid over-mixing, which will produce tough, dense muffins. Gently mix until all the flour is off the bottom of the bowl and no big pockets of flour remain. The batter will be extremely thick and somewhat lumpy.
    Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling all the way to the top.
  5. Bake muffins at 200 degrees(C) for 5 minutes. Keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce oven temperature to 180 degrees(C) and continue to bake for 25-26 minutes until tops are lightly golden. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
  6. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  7. To make the butter icing, put the softened butter, caramel sauce or essence and half of the icing sugar into a medium bowl and beat well.
  8. Slowly add the remaining icing sugar, tasting after each addition until the icing is sweet enough. You may not need to use all of the icing sugar, if the icing starts to become too stiff you can add a little bit of milk to loosen it up.
  9. Fill a prepared piping bag with the butter icing and pipe swirls on top of the cooled muffins. I like to use a star shaped nozzle for cupcakes and muffins.
  10. Top with slices of banana (either fresh or dried banana – the dried banana will keep better if not being eaten on the day of baking)
  11. Muffins taste best fresh the same day. Store muffins at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days. (They also freeze well ~up to 3 months).

S’mores Cookies

Summer is fast approaching and we’re all trying to eat better around here. There are currently only three of us in my house and we’ve been on a serious health kick.

I love food, I love healthy food, and I love vegetables. But, sometimes, a little sweet indulgence is needed to get me through those long days in the library. So, having put so much effort into eating well over the last few weeks, I thought that if I was going to give in to temptation, I’d better make it count.

I’d seen this recipe crop up a few times on Instagram on several different accounts and finally decided to give it a go. It is by far the fastest, easiest chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve ever made, and although I’m probably biased towards whatever cookie I’m holding in my hand at the moment, I think it might also be the best.

I know that everyone is very particular about their chocolate chip cookies. There are so many, many chocolate cookie recipes out there that it’s hard to figure out which one you should go for. But, I can assure you that this recipe will not disappoint.

Seriously, these cookies are an absolute game changer. They’re huge, soft, buttery, chocolatey, marshmallowy, caramelized biscuity goodness that will take your life to another level.

I’ve used the caramelized biscoff biscuits instead of the traditional grahams crackers in these cookies (mainly due to the fact that I couldn’t find any grahams crackers in my local shop), but either one will work just as well as the other.

If you have the patience, let the dough chill in the fridge overnight or at least 30 minutes before baking. It will let the flavor become deeply caramelized, and the cookies will have more color, but slightly less spread.

I prefer to use an ice cream scoop to portion out my cookie dough mainly because 1. perfectly equal sized cookies results in less dispute in the house over who gets the biggest one, and 2. it’s a lot quicker than using table spoons and then rolling the cookie dough into a ball using your hands.

Recipe

(from Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady – makes roughly 20-25 cookies)

1 cup salted butter, chopped

3 1/4 cups all purpose (plain) flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tps vanilla extract

12 ounces, semi or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

To decorate

Mini marshmallows

Galaxy chocolate bar, broken up into squares

Biscoff biscuits or grahams crackers

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees(c). Line 2 baking trays with greased proof paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over the lowest heat possible, stirring occasionally. Take care that the butter does not sizzle or bubble which means it’s losing moisture.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Put the butter, sugars and vanilla essence in a large bowl and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until just combined. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir in the dry ingredients until barely blended. When things are still looking a bit floury, stir in the chocolate until all of the ingredients are just combined.
  5. Roll the dough into balls, about 3 tablespoons each or a medium sized ice cream scoop, and arrange them on the prepared trays, leaving about 3 inches between each cookie to allow room for them to spread whilst baking.
  6. Top each cookie with marshmallows, galaxy chocolate chunks and broken up biscoff biscuits and then put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  7. Bake until the tops are cracked and lightly golden, roughly 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. You may want to add more toppings half way through the bake to ensure the whole of the cookie is covered after spreading.
  8. Once done, remove from the oven and let them cool on the tray for 2 minutes to firm up before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Cupcakes

These light and fluffy vanilla cupcakes are suitable for any occasion and a perfect recipe for anyone new to baking!

Vanilla cupcakes are something that I’ve been baking with my mum ever since I first stepped into the kitchen, they’re one of the basics and a pretty important recipe for any baker to have in their repertoire.

The recipe is pretty basic so I’d be impressed if anyone managed to go drastically wrong making these cupcakes, however, I’ve put together a few top tips to ensure that a perfect bake is achieved every time:

  1. Make sure to cream the butter and sugar for at least 5 minutes to ensure that your mixture is really pale and airy with no big lumps of hard butter.
  2. Always bake with room temperature eggs. I never refrigerate my baking eggs, so they are always ready to go.
  3. Remove the butter/ margarine from the fridge a couple of hours before baking to take the chill off it. When baking margarine and eggs that are at room temperature should combine without curdling.
  4. Remember to sift your flour – to avoid lumps of flour in your cupcake batter.
  5. Always fold your dry ingredients into the mixture, this will stop you knocking any air out of the batter.

Recipe

For the cupcakes

6oz caster sugar

6oz butter or margarine

3 eggs

60z self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla essence

For the butter icing

250g salted block butter

500g icing sugar

2 tbsp mascarpone

1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (c) and fill a cupcake or muffin tray with cases and set aside. It should make 12-16 cupcakes depending on the size of cases you use. I tend to make 12 large cupcakes using the larger muffin cases and a muffin tray.
  2. Beat the butter/ margarine, sugar and vanilla essence together in a medium bowl until light and fluffy.
  3. Gradually beat in the eggs one at a time, adding 1-2 tbsp of flour each time to avoid the mixture curdling.
  4. Fold in the remaining flour and baking powder and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Spoon in to the prepared cases and bake in the oven for around 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown in colour and a skewer comes out clean.*NOTE* Baking times will vary depending on your oven, so don’t be afraid to leave them in for longer or take them out earlier than I’ve recommended.
  6. Once the cupcakes are baked transfer to a wire rack to cool down before icing.
  7. To make the icing, start by cutting the block of butter into slices and microwave in a bowl for 20-30 seconds to soften (or leave out at room temperate overnight).
  8. Transfer the softened butter into a larger bowl, add then add the mascarpone, vanilla essence and  1/4 of the icing sugar. Beat well.
  9. Slowly add the rest of the icing sugar mixing well after each addition until the butter icing is pale in colour, light and fluffy. Make sure you stop the mixer halfway through creaming and using a rubber spatula scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing. *You may not need to use all of the icing sugar, just keep tasting the icing until it’s sufficiently sweet.
  10. Fit a large disposable piping bag with your favourite nozzle – I use the star shaped tip for cupcakes. Fill the piping bag with the butter icing and then pipe even swirls on the top of each cupcake.
  11. Decorate the cupcakes as you wish, the base flavour is vanilla so it’ll go with pretty much anything! I’ve chosen to top my cupcakes with strawberry sauce and fresh strawberries, but raspberries, blueberries or any other fruit would work well!

Ideas:

*Add a little cinnamon to the cake mixture and top the cupcakes with fresh blackberries.

*Top the vanilla cupcakes with vanilla icing, raspberry or strawberry sauce and a flake to look like the 99 ice creams you get from ice cream vans in summer.