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Chocolate sugar cookies

21 May

Chocolate sugar cookies

Chocolate sugar cookies aren’t on the decadent, gooey, indulgent end of the chocolate spectrum. They’re simple, satisfying, and slightly old-fashioned.

Chocolate sugar cookies are firm with just a bit of give – the addition of baking powder giving them a subtle cakiness. Adam describes them as “chocolate pudding in a biscuit.”

Because they keep their shape so well, chocolate sugar cookies make excellent filled biscuits – or little ice cream sandwiches. Continue reading

Carrot cake-muffins

5 May

Sometimes it’s hard to know where muffin leaves off and cupcake begins…

Is it the method – a brief stir with a wooden spoon, instead of using a food mixer? The nod towards “healthiness” – wholewheat flour, oil instead of butter, fruit instead of chocolate chips, going au naturel instead of sporting icing?

These carrot cake-muffins don’t do much to resolve the issue. Muffin by method and ingredients, the end result is so delicious it feels disingenuous to consider them a breakfast food.

And that’s before you add a generous spreading of the optional cream cheese icing..;-)

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Hot cross buns

15 Apr

Hot cross buns – once an Easter-time treat – are available in the shops all year round.

I suppose it’s old-fashioned of me, but I prefer foods keep to their allotted place in the culinary calendar. Something special to enjoy at a particular time of the year – I don’t want mince pies in May, or hot cross buns in August.

The supermarket was selling four hot cross buns for less than a pound this week, so why go to the trouble of making them at home?

Continue reading

Carrot and sunflower seed energy balls

10 Apr

I haven’t really bought into the whole energy ball idea.

For starters, I’m anti-snacking – I’d much rather my family brought a good appetite to their meals.

Secondly, energy balls always seem to contain nuts, which rules them out for school lunches. In any case, they also seem to require storing in the fridge (or what, they melt?)

Thirdly, I’d rather eat the nuts, dates and whatever as they come, without first blitzing them into sticky mush. Continue reading

Coconut Nutella squares

12 Mar

coconut-nutella-squares

I practically never buy Nutella – it’s not a good fit with my “processed-food-avoiding, cook-from-scratch” approach to feeding my family.

So having reluctantly agreed to buy a jar for the pancake breakfast following a special sleepover, I was keen to use up the rest before the girls started thinking of Nutella as a store-cupboard staple.

These coconut Nutella squares from the Hungry Mum website were just the ticket. Unfortunately, they were such a big hit with everyone, I can see myself buying Nutella specially in order to make them again.

Or I could have a go at making homemade Nutella…;-) Continue reading

Swiss roll

27 Jan

Swiss roll

It took a few tries before I got the knack of making a Swiss roll, and could tick the next item on the Great British Bake-off signature bake list.

A few things I learned the hard way:

  1. Unless you whip eggs and sugar together until they have tripled in volume, your sponge will resemble an omelette in texture. (That one went straight in the bin.)
  2. Do not over-cook the sponge, or it will not roll without cracking. (I converted that one into a flat, mangled Victoria sponge.)
  3. Do not over-fill the sponge (or spread the filling too close to the edges) – all that extra filling just oozes out the end of the roll (and was dolloped on top when I sliced and served it.)

The fourth one worked like a charm…;-) Continue reading

Date squares

19 Dec

date squares

Each December I faithfully reproduce the traditional family Christmas baking, and each year the ghost of Christmas past haunts my efforts.

The shortbread, cherry slice, butterscotch fudge and nanaimo bars are never as good as I remember them tasting in my childhood.

The only exception to this slightly depressing state of affairs are the date squares. Continue reading