03 Apr 2016

Capirotada

No Comments Baking and Bars / Traybakes

A traditional Mexican bread pudding made around Easter/Lent. It should really use piloncillo, a type of sugar shaped like a cone, but dark brown sugar can be used instead if you can’t find this. It uses cheese! The type of cheese is up to you – some suggest Monterey Jack while others use cheddar. Cheese tends to be more of a savoury ingredient, but there are some well known pairings in desserts – cheesecake, cheese and apples and cheese and biscuits. I used cheddar for this because it was all I could find. With hindsight, this may have been a bad choice – the taste was… interesting. This had a marmite type response with everyone who tried it – they either loved it or hated it. Good to try for Easter but not one I’d try again.

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28 Mar 2016

Creme Egg Brownies

No Comments Baking and Bars / Traybakes

Chocolate brownies studded with Cadbury’s Creme Egg chunks. These were a tad on the gooey side, possibly due to me not cutting the Creme Eggs small enough and possibly because they should have been baked for another couple of minutes.

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26 Mar 2016

Carrot Cake Crumble Bars

No Comments Baking and Bars / Traybakes

Carrot cake is any cake made with… carrots. I’ve made carrot cake with pineapple, carrot cake cookies and carrot cake granola but I’ve never combined carrot cake and cheesecake… until now! These carrot cake bars have a carrot cake base, cheesecake swirled with carrot jam in the middle, then carrot crumble on top.

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24 Mar 2016

Simnel Squares

No Comments Baking and Bars / Traybakes

After last years success with Simnel cake, I wanted to try something the same but different for Easter this year. Last year’s simnel cake had a biscuit/pie crust on the bottom and cake on top (with marzipan of course), but this version is more like a cake with streusel on top. Considering fruit cakes are usual heavy, this is a pretty dense cake – not too dense but not like an airy sponge cake.

I used a mix of raisins, dried apricots and cherries soaked in rum and spices overnight, but you can mix up the ratio if you prefer one fruit over another – just keep the total weight roughly the same.

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20 Mar 2016

Black and White Cookies

No Comments Baking and Cookies

Two types of chocolate in one cookies – these are half vanilla cookie with milk chocolate chips and half chocolate cookie with white chocolate chips. They’re in aid of the vernal equinox (half night/half day).

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19 Mar 2016

Neenish Tarts

No Comments Baking and Tarts / Pies

Neenish tarts are a (mostly) Australian tart which has a sweetened condensed milk filling and milk/white chocolate on top. They’re perfect for the equinox which is the half way point between the solstices where day (white) and night (dark/milk) are the same length. Sometimes they have a mock cream of gelatin based filling, but the sweetened condensed milk version in this recipe is easier to make.

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12 Mar 2016

Marble Cheesecake Bars

No Comments Baking and Bars / Traybakes

The vernal equinox means dark, milk, white chocolate, or any combination of the three (the equinox is the point between the solstices, when the night lasts about as long as the day). These bitesized bars have an Oreo crust and swirls of cheesecake on top. The base is around 75% Oreos and 25% Belvita breakfast biscuits, but you can use most type of biscuits for a different flavour.

As this has a significant chocolate flavour, opt for good quality chocolate if you can – 35% cocoa solids and above is a good benchmark. Dr Oetker makes good baking chocolate without the insane price tag of some artisan brands.

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08 Mar 2016

Mint Choc Chip Cupcakes

No Comments Baking and Cupcakes

Mint choc chip is rum and raisin’s only contender in the best ice cream flavour field. These light chocolate cupcakes are filled with mint chocolate Angel Delight and frosted with peppermint buttercream and mint Aero shavings.

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05 Mar 2016

Samoas

No Comments Baking and Cookies

Girl scout cookies“, as these are known, conjures up images of poor kids selling cookies to raise money for whatever it is girl scouts do. These shortbread cookies have a caramel and toasted coconut topping and are drizzled in chocolate.

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28 Feb 2016

Peanut Butter Banana Cookies

No Comments Baking and Cookies

Chewy cookies with bananas, chocolate chips and chopped peanuts. These are due to my recent rediscovery of peanut butter. They’re chewy on the outside and soft in the middle. As cookies go, these are actually pretty health (as long as you pick the right peanut butter – see note below).


Good peanut butter makes a world of difference when making cookies or any other type of cake where peanut butter is the main flavour. Go for a natural peanut butter for a better taste and lack of unnecessary sugars and oils. I prefer Meridian Crunchy peanut butter because it’s smooth (so it needs stirring first) but there are also chunks of peanut in it.

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