Thursday, 14 December 2017

Santa Cupcakes

Whether you call these Santa Cupcakes or Father Christmas Cupcakes is your choice.  Either way, these super festive cupcakes are a lot of fun, easy to make and would be the perfect addition to the party food for the Christmas festivities.  They'd also be great offered as a small gift to friends, colleagues and neighbours.  Do check out the video to find out how to make these Santa Cupcakes!

How to decorate Santa Claus Cupcakes

There's nobody more iconic at this time of year than Santa.  Everybody loves him from his rotund appearance, fur lined red outfit to his jovial laugh. Though the fact that he delivers parcels with the help of Rudolph and friends early on Christmas morning may also have something to do with it!๐Ÿ˜‰

Santa Cupcakes are a fun bake at Christmas

Having thoroughly enjoyed making our Christmas Robin Cupcakes just a week or two ago, and noticing that visitors to Only Crumbs Remain seem to love them too, I thought I'd share with you another super festive decorated cupcake idea in the guise of Santa!   

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Friday, 8 December 2017

Homemade Whisky Fudge

Indulge friends with this Homemade Whisky Fudge.  Made using the traditional method, this fudge recipe is delicious carrying the flavour and aroma of whisky (whiskey).  It's perfect for offering as a gift to loved ones, or even treating yourself.

How to make homemade whisky (whiskey) fudge

Christmas is definitely the time to indulge, have fun and be merry.  Confectionery, and perhaps a little alcohol, certainly tick the indulgence box.  Whether it's a chocolate with beautifully crisp and shiny tempered shell like our Hazelnut Noisettes or our Coffee Cream Chocolates, homemade confectionery certainly makes for a delicious thoughtful give at Christmas (or any other time of year really!)

Hazelnut Noisettes Coffee Cream Chocolates

Alongside chocolates, fudge is another popular treat.  In this recipe I have combined Mr E's love of whisky in this easy to make confectionery.  Whisky fudge is nothing new, of course, but it's far tastier (and actually cheaper, assuming you have some of the hard stuff available) to make your own.

Whisky (whiskey) fudge recipe

Now, I have to admit that I'm not much of a drinker.  But once I tried a small piece of my most recent fudge recipe (do check out my other fudge recipes in my recipe index) I was soon reaching for a second (and third!) piece! Hic!  The aroma of the whisky is evident in the fudge, and the flavour, once married with the sweetness of the fudge, is delicious!   

And if you can bare to part with this homemade confectionery, why not package up a few pieces for friends and loved ones in a pretty paper bag or a small gift box which gives it a lovely professional feel.  Though do remember to keep a few pieces for yourself!

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Friday, 1 December 2017

Adagio Teas - Review & Giveaway!

This is your opportunity to find out about Adagio Teas and their products, as well as to be in with a chance of winning a great selection of their fantastic festive teas and some ceramic teaware too, valued over £60!

Adagio Tea samples & ceramic teaware

Being somebody who clearly has a sweet tooth, I love nothing more than relaxing in lovely tea rooms and cafes.  Choosing between a slice of a multi-layered chocolate cake, Bavarian custard, and a luscious cheesecake is delicious fun to say the least!  But the enjoyment I get from regularly visiting my favourite tearooms isn't just about the sweet treats (though they clearly play a significant part), the ambiance or the vintage vibe associated with many these days, it's also about the tea!

Nothing beats a really good pot of tea! Well not in my opinion anyway.

So when the lovely people at Adagio Teas contacted me asking if I'd like to try some of their *festive tea blends, it was a pretty easy decision to make.  And I'm super excited to say that it won't just be me trying them out either.  Adagio Teas are extending their generosity and spirit of Christmas by putting together a fantastic giveaway of teas and ceramic teaware for one lucky person to win.  Having tried many of them already,  I can confidently say it'll be a tasty Christmas gift to receive!

Adagio Teas & Teaware

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Baking Crumbs - December 2017

Welcome to December's #BakingCrumbs linky!  This is the place for bloggers to share their baking recipes, and non-bloggers to find new recipes to whet their appetite.  This post contains a full round up of November's bakes and I also highlight what I made from the collection!  

#BakingCrumbs linky roundup

Last months #BakingCrumbs linky was super exciting.  Not only were there a number of Christmas themed bakes being linked up, which I'll share with you momentarily, but there were also some new faces / bloggers joining in with the baking fun which is really great to see.  Welcome to Charlotte, Anna and Rachna!  And it's always lovely to see bloggers who are becoming regulars to the baking party ๐Ÿ˜Š

With Christmas sneaking upon us rather quickly I'm going to start the round up looking at the Christmas themed bakes!  Not only do we have some fab Christmas cupcakes that I'm sure will tickle your fancy, but there are also a couple of Christmas Pudding ideas, perfect if you've not made one yet, and some more bakes which won't look out of place of a Christmas buffet table.  But it's not all been about Christmas, there are plenty of other recipes to drool over look at too!    

So, if you're a blogger, free to link upto 3 of your bakes this month and do remember to share some of the blogging love by checking out some of the other bakes which catch your eye.  As a side note the linky shall close a little earlier this month to allow me to compile the round up post before the festivities really begin!   
 
And if you're not a blogger, do check out the bakes which whet your appetite by simply clicking on the recipe title in green!  You can also find out about the recipes linked up this month by clicking on the thumbnail images in this month's 'linky' towards the bottom of the post.

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Monday, 27 November 2017

18 Alternative Christmas Desserts

If you're looking for alternative Christmas dessert ideas, then check out these 18 fab recipes.  There's sure to be something to whet your appetite!

Alternative Christmas Desserts

Regulars to Only Crumbs Remain may have seen my Christmas Pudding recipe complete with chocolate orange flavours!  Although I'm a huge fan of Christmas Puddings, I'm completely aware that they aren't to every body's liking and many families will be looking for an alternative Christmas dessert this year.

So, with that in mind I have gathered together some amazing alternatives to the traditional Christmas Pudding courtesy of some top UK food bloggers to share with you today.  I'm more than sure you'll find something to whet you're appetite, though the difficulty may lie in narrowing it down to just one or two!

And if, like me, you are a fan of Christmas Pudding, towards the bottom of the post you will find a couple of alternative ways to serve this traditional dessert.  

Simply click on the green recipe title of those which catch your eye to get the recipe.


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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Christmas Pudding with Chocolate Orange

This recipe for Christmas pudding includes the popular flavour combination of chocolate orange.  Not only are Christmas puddings a traditional and tasty dessert to enjoy on Christmas day, they're also incredibly easy to make along with the fun of making a wish!   

Homemade Christmas Pudding flavoured with Chocolate Orange.

As I'm sure you know, this Sunday coming (26th November), being the last Sunday before Advent, is Stir-up Sunday where we traditionally prepare our Christmas puddings ready for the forthcoming festivities.  So with that in mind, today I am sharing with you a delicious Christmas Pudding recipe which is packed with fruits and lots of seasonal flavour including chocolate-orange!

Of course, there are loads of different Christmas puddings that you can pick up from the local shop for just a few pounds, but if you're anything like me you may struggle to find one which ticks all of your requirements.  And let's not forget, other than being able to customise your Christmas Pudding to produce the flavours you enjoy, by making your own you and your family are able to have fun making a wish whilst stirring the mixture!

How to make a Homemade Christmas Pudding flavoured with Chocolate Orange.

Our Christmas Pudding recipe is super easy to make, is alcohol free, and carries a delicious chocolate orange flavour.  After all chocolate orange is always a popular combination!

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Saturday, 18 November 2017

Christmas Robin Cupcakes

These fun Christmas robin cupcakes are perfect for the festivities ahead.  They're super easy to make, largely being shaped with a plain round cookie cutter, making them a fun bake for children to help with.

How to make Christmas Robin Cupcakes

It's almost 5 weeks until Christmas and my thoughts are certainly turning towards all of the fun and delicious treats which are so abundant at this time of year.

I have lots of great Christmas themed recipe ideas that I'm looking forward to sharing with you over the coming weeks as we creep ever closer to the festivities.  You can look forward to a tutorial for decorating your own Christmas cake, homemade confectionery ideas which are great boxed up as small gifts to family, friends, and neighbours, and even a surprise inside cake, along with some Christmas dessert alternatives and lots of other ideas too!  I just hope I find enough hours in the day to share all of the recipes with you!

Cupcakes perfect for the Christmas festivities

To start things off, my first Christmas recipe for the year are these fun Christmas Robin Cupcakes!

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Sunday, 12 November 2017

Brussel, Quinoa & Sweet Potato Cakes + Review

This recipe for Brussel, Quinoa and Sweet Potato Cakes is super easy, nutritious and tasty.  The recipe, a modern twist on the humble bubble & squeak,  is perfect for the colder months of autumn and winter, and comes courtesy of Jo Pratt's new book The Flexible Vegetarian which is suitable for vegetarians and omnivores alike! 


I'm sure you're familiar with the phrase 'a change is as good as a rest', well that's just how I feel about a new recipe book, *The Flexible Vegetarian by Jo Pratt, that I was gifted recently.   I guess like most households it's so easy to get stuck in a rut with meal times and some fresh inspiration is often called for.

Jo's book is certainly doing that!  There's plenty of inspiration with over 170 pages of varied vegetarian recipes that are so beautifully photographed.  It's certainly helped Mr E & I switch up our weekly meal plans.


The great thing about Jo's book lies behind the title, The Flexible Vegetarian.   Not only are Jo's recipes written for vegetarians, which is perfect for Mr E & I, but she helpfully provides suggestions for adding a meat or fish element to the vast majority of her recipes.  It surely makes it the one-stop recipe book for both vegetarians and omnivores who are looking to reduce their meat intake.

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Monday, 6 November 2017

Iced Almond Biscuits

The icing used to decorate these tasty Almond Iced Biscuits is made with natural colours.  Two jams, raspberry and blackcurrant, helped to create the pretty 3 colour scheme making these biscuits both effective and delicious.  Icing biscuits is a fun activity for children (& adults!).   

How to make Iced biscuits with an additive free icing

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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Baking Crumbs - November 2017

Welcome to November's #BakingCrumbs linky!  This is the place for bloggers to share their baking recipes, and non-bloggers to find new recipes to whet their appetite.  This post contains a full round up of October's bakes and I also highlight what I made from the collection!   

#BakingCrumbs October roundup

Already we're into November, which not only means I can begin thinking about how I'm going to celebrate my birthday, but it also means the start of a new #BakingCrumbs linky and a look back at the amazing treats and bakes shared by some fabulous bloggers during October.

Last month saw an a huge 29 recipes linked up to the #BakingCrumbs linky.  Yes 29!  That's so amazing considering it's  such a new linky!  Thank you so much to everybody who linked up and shared the baking fun. ๐Ÿ˜Š


Baking Crumbs Facebook Group!


To continue with the baking fun I've opened a new FaceBook group called 'Baking Crumbs' which you're welcome to join!  And no, you don't have to be a blogger to join in the baking fun!  Here you can share images of your recent bakes (successful & perhaps less so), ask fellow members for advice on baking techniques & ingredients and even share the joy of a new product which has improved your baking exploits!

Back to October's bakes!

It's perhaps no surprise that we saw many amazing seasonal recipes linked up in October.  There were many pumpkin recipes (perfect if you've got some pulp to use following your Halloween mischief), some warming recipes which will be great for bonfire night and let's not forget the scary Halloween bakes which I must encourage you to 'pin' ready for next year's mischief! 

Although GBBO came to an exciting finale last night, which means that 'the blogger's bake along' will finish for another year, I am envisiging some inspiring Christmas bakes starting to be shared soon! With that in mind I'm more than happy, if you're a blogger, for you to continue linking up to 3 recipes per month.

And if you're not a blogger, do check out the bakes which whet your appetite by simply clicking on the recipe title in green!  You can also find out about the recipes linked up this month by clicking on the thumbnail images in this month's 'linky' towards the bottom of the post.   



4 Halloween Bakes


So, yes, Halloween has passed for another year but there's nothing stopping you from pinning these great bakes for next year's inspiration!

Fun Halloween bakes
(clockwise from top left)
  • Don't you just adore the ghost topping Kate's gluten free Pumpkin Mini Rolls!  I just want to call him Casper (remember that cute friendly ghost character?!)  Kate's bake sounds gorgeous, and relatively easy too, with the lovely warming spices of cinnamon, ginger and all spice.
  • Kat's Slime Cupcakes really do look the part with their creepy eyes, and green 'toxic' buttercream ... they're also filled with a 'radiocative slime'!   Scary ... but yummy! 
  • How much fun is Monika's Pumpkin Ricotta Cake, decorated simply with icing sugar as a Jack-o'-lantern.  Though I must add this cake is more than just a bit of fun, it sounds delicious with the addition of spices, ricotta for that cheesecake type of vibe and a great way of using pumpkin. 
  • These Blackcurrant & Liquorice Spider Cupcakes, made by myself in the Only Crumbs Remain kitchen are super easy to make.  The blackcurrant cupcakes are topped with a 'scary' liquorice legged spider! 




4 Pumpkin Recipes


Pumpkin recipes
(clockwise from top left)
  • Steamed puddings are a must for the autumn and winter months, and Jo who blogs at Jo's Kitchen Larder has created this family favourite with some wonderful flavours to create a Pumpkin & Plum Conserve Steamed Pudding!   Do check out her recipe where she shares some great tips if your new to making your own steamed puddings.
  • If you're looking for recipes to use up pumpkin puree, how about in Monika's Dairy Free Pumpkin Brownies?   She cleverly marbled the pumpkin mixture into the brownie batter which not only creates extra interest when it's sliced into but allows each flavour to sing!  
  • Three words to describe Jo's Pumpkin Cinnamon Muffins with Plum Jam:  Autumn.  Easy. Yummy.  
  • I'm a huge fan of dates in baked treats, they bring so much flavour and natural sweetness!  Debbie incrorporated a generous handful in her Spiced Pumpkin Muffins with Dates and Coconut Sugar which must have been so good with the warming spice and pumpkin.


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Monday, 30 October 2017

Raspberry & White Chocolate Profiteroles

These raspberry and white chocolate profiteroles are a delicious treat for afternoon tea!  With hints and tips for making your own choux pastry, this profiterole recipe is filled with a white chocolate creme patissiere, glazed with a pretty pink raspberry icing and finished with a sprinkling of freeze dried raspberries.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Profiteroles
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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Date Tart with a Lattice Crust

This Date Tart recipe finished with a lattice crust is complemented by apricots, orange and ginger! Not only is it incredibly delicious, it's also easy to make, and once you've watched our quick video you'll be building your lattice crust with confidence!

How to make a lattice crust pie filled with dates, apricots, ginger and orange.

Continuing with my antics of baking along with the Great British Bake Off, this week we were inspired by the Technical Bake of Rum Nicky, one of the three forgotten bakes that were featured.  But not being a fan of rum, and knowing that orange complements the other principal ingredients of date, apricot and ginger really well our Rum Nicky became a 'No-Rum Nicky'!

Lattice Crust Pie recipe

Of course, being alcohol free, this date tart becomes a delicious after dinner treat that the whole family can enjoy.  In fact it reminds me in many ways of a simple date slice my Mum used to make for us when we were young.  It was simply scrummy, but the Date Tart recipe that I'm sharing with you today is certainly a little more elegant with its lattice crust and the addition of a few dried apricots and a sprinkling of chopped ginger.

Just imagine cutting a slice of this wonderful Date Tart, decorated with its lattice crust, and serving it slightly warm with a pouring cream!  Yum!

Date Tart with a Lattice Crust Date Tart with a Lattice Crust Date Tart with a Lattice Crust


How to build a lattice crust.


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Friday, 20 October 2017

Blackcurrant & Liquorice Spider Cupcakes

This fun cupcake recipe is perfect for Halloween parties.  Using the scary spider as the inspiration these cupcakes are topped with a cute homemade spider with liquorice legs atop of a yummy blackcurrant cupcake.

Fun Halloween Cupcakes, decorated with an easy homemade spider!

Boo!

Halloween is just around the corner bringing with it all the fun of ghosts and ghouls, goblins & witches, mummies and vampires .... and let's not forget about all of the creative yummy food to be had at Halloween parties too!

In fact, for many, Halloween marks the start of such a delicious time of year where food is concerned.  Soon after Halloween we have bonfire night with treats like treacle toffee & gingerbread cakes,  and then there's the exciting (though often manic) run up to Christmas and the new year where tables groan under the weight of festive foods from Christmas Cakes and trifles like this freestanding raspberry & glitter trifle which would be a perfect centre piece, to mince pies and stollen.  The list is endless!

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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Sfogliatelle

Sfogliatelle is a challenging Italian bake, also known as Lobster Tails.  Paper thin layers of pastry dough are shaped and filled with a delicious ricotta mixture which is often flavoured with orange & cinnamon.

Homemade Sfogliatelle, also known as Lobster Tails.

GBBO's Italian week, saw the bakers make a batch of sfogliatelle in the tent along with cannoli and a margarita pizza.  Continuing to bake along with the Great Bloggers Bake Off I found homemade pizza, as delicious as it is, a little underwhelming, and cannoli somewhat scary with the thought of creating a makeshift fryer!  And yet strangely enough I was excited to tackle the Sfogliatelle showstopper bake which Mr blue-eyes himself admitted he found difficult.    

Homemade Sfogliatelle, also known as Lobster Tails.

I must either LOVE baking or be an absolute fool to try and make a batch of Sfogliatelle, but I was so captivated by the amazing paper thin layers that were formed, the fun 'lobster tail' shape and of course the delicious ricotta filling!    

How difficult could they be?

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Monday, 9 October 2017

Spiced Blackberry & Pear Lattice Crust Pie

This homemade pie is decorative as well as delicious.  Using lightly spiced seasonal fruits, this Blackberry & Pear Lattice Crust Pie is low in refined sugar, easy to make and equally good served with custard, cream or ice cream. 

How to make a lattice crust pie

I'll be honest, my baking antics in the Only Crumbs Remain kitchen didn't quite run to plan this week.  'The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry', as John Steinbeck wrote, seems such an appropriate phrase.

Continuing on with my GBBO 'bake along' antics, I knew that I wanted to give Portuguese Tarts a try as soon as I realised that the remaining bakers would be tackling them in 'the tent'.  It seemed to be the perfect bake for us to attempt particularly because each week, when I visit my parents, we share a pack of (dare I say shop bought!) egg custards.  

Having never tried, let alone made, the Portuguese counterpart to our English egg custard, I scoured my recipe books and made a batch of Portuguese Tarts from scratch which we chose to customise with a swirl of melted chocolate!   Although unplanned, they look pretty perfect for Halloween celebrations in my mind!  

Portuguese custard tarts finished with a custard swirl.

But, and here lies the rub, despite looking great they just didn't seem 'right' despite using a recipe from a reliable source.  It may have been something to do with folding meringue into the custard mixture just before being baked, which, had I watched the episode more closely and listened to my instincts I may have spent more time in trying to find another recipe!  Being a huge fan of custards it'll be a bake I return to in the future, and baking along with the Great Bloggers Bake Along I have a collection of Portuguese Tart recipes to turn to, such as these Portuguese Custard Tarts Made Easy from my blogging buddy Jacqui!

So, getting to the point, our planned GBBO inspired bake this week wasn't good enough to share with you and so we took inspiration from the Signature Challenge of decorative savoury pies.  And I'm sure the observant amongst you will be saying, "but that's not a savoury pie!"  This is true, but having some blackberries and pears which were needing to be used it seemed more appropriate to put the fruit to good use and produce a sweet decorative pie instead.

Filled with autumn fruits this Spiced Blackberry & Pear Lattice Crust Pie is perfect comfort food.

Now, although I say 'sweet' this homemade lattice crust pie contains relatively little added sugar simply because it really doesn't call for it.  All of the fruit used in this pie (blackberries, pears and an apple), is the sort that can be eaten straight out of the fruit bowl and is therefore sweet enough. So other than a little icing sugar used in the pastry and a sprinkling of caster (or granulated) sugar over the pastry lattice crust, the vast majority of the sugar in this bake is perhaps what you would describe as being 'natural'.    

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Sunday, 1 October 2017

Baking Crumbs - October 2017

Welcome to October's #BakingCrumbs linky!  This is the place for bloggers to share their baking recipes, and non-bloggers to find new recipes to whet their appetite.  This post contains a full round up of September's bakes and I also highlight what I made from the collection!  

September's #BakingCrumbs round up

With September having drawn to a close I can now bring you the second monthly round-up of Baking Crumbs!  September saw 26 delicious bakes linked up, from fancy cakes and scrummy biscuits to breads and even savoury bakes.  Being in the throws of this year's GBBO series here in the UK, many of the bakes were inspired by the weekly challenges faced by the bakers in 'the tent', whilst other bakes were clearly influenced by seasonal produce.

Once again can I say a huge 'thankyou' to everybody for linking up your wonderful bakes, it's such a pleasure to come and admire drool over your bakes as well as read your recipes.  As for deciding which of the bakes to recreate in the Only Crumbs Remain kitchen, well it's certainly not been any easier this month, though I have come across a great way of deciding what to bake this month!  Do keep reading to find out how I decided ๐Ÿ˜Š.

If you're a blogger, the linky for October's #BakingCrumbs is now open (you can find it towards the bottom of the post), where, for the duration of GBBO, you're welcome to add up to 3 bakes!

And if you're not a blogger, do check out the bakes which whet your appetite by simply clicking on the recipe title in green!  You can also find out about the recipes linked up this month by clicking on the thumbnail images in the 'linky' towards the bottom of the post.   

But just before we check out all of the amazing bakes from last month, don't forget to check out our Dr Oetker Baking Bundle giveaway containing over £50 of vegetarian baking products!  I hate for you to miss out on all of the baking fun (NOW CLOSED)!


#BakingCrumbs Round-Up September '17

 

Fancy Cakes 

 

Fancy Showstopper cakes

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Saturday, 30 September 2017

Chocolate Orange Steamed Puddings

These mini Chocolate Orange Steamed Puddings are the perfect dessert for the colder months!  They're light yet comforting, and are packed with flecks of real chocolate and orange zest.  They're easy to make and are delicious served with a simple chocolate sauce!
 
How to make a steamed pudding flavoured with the popular chocolate orange combo.

If you watched Pudding Week on GBBO a few days ago I'm sure you will have felt that the signature bake of 'steamed school pudding' was perfect for the colder and darker autumn days we're starting to get.  They're warming and comforting, just like a great big hug in a bowl.

But if you were bedazzled by the 'ornamental trifle terrines' the bakers made for their showstopper challenge, you may be interested in checking out our Raspberry and Glitter Freestanding Trifle that we made a year or two ago!

Raspberry & Glitter Freestnding Trifle

Even though my recollections of steamed puddings at school were of heavy rib-stickers like Spotted Dick and Jam Roly-Poly, Prue and Paul were looking for a pudding that was light and definitely not stodgy.  I'd like to think that our mini Chocolate Orange Steamed Puddings fitted the bill perfectly, despite being made individual rather than as a family sized dessert, they were certainly deliciously light yet comforting.

Steamed pudding is the perfect dessert for the colder months
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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Dr Oetker's Bake in the Box + Giveaway!

Find out about Dr Oetker's latest product, Bake in the Box loaf cakes!  And why not enter the Dr Oetker Baking Bundle Giveaway, valued over £50, where you could win some of their Bake in the Box loaf cakes as well as loads of other amazing baking products! (GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED)

How to make an easy loaf cake

As much as I love to bake, with all of the creaming, sieving and folding that comes with making a cake, there are those occassions, like most people, where I want to enjoy the pleasure of eating a cake but simply don't have the time to bake!

So when the lovely people at Dr Oetker contacted me asking if I'd like to try their new Bake in the Box loaf cakes, I jumped at the chance.  I was fascinated to know what they were like, if they'd actually be quicker and easier than making a cake from scratch, and of course if they tasted as yummy!

Dr Oetker's Bake in the Box loaf cake

If you too would like to try Dr Oetker's Bake in the Box loaf cakes do keep reading because we're super excited to be offering a Dr Oetker's Baking Bundle worth over £50 to one lucky reader, entry via a Rafflecopter!  There are so many amazing baking products in the bundle along with some Bake in the Box loaf cakes!

Dr Oetker's Bakers Bundle Giveaway
Product images with thanks to Dr Oetker

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Thursday, 21 September 2017

Salted Caramel Pie with Chocolate Sauce!

This Salted Caramel Pie is very easy to make & doesn't require a sugar thermometer.  The yin-yang flavour combination of the salted caramel is further enhanced with the dark chocolate pieces peppered through the biscuit base and the 2 ingredient chocolate sauce to serve.  It can be made ahead of time making it the perfect dessert for dinner parties!
 
An easy Salted Caramel Pie recipe, served with a dark chocolate sauce.

This week's GBBO episode centred around the sweet luscious treat of caramel, a first for the series.  There were enough millionaires slices with thick layers of homemade caramel to keep those with a sweet tooth very happy!

The bakers in the GBBO tent were charged with making a caramel for their signature bake of 18 millionaires slices which were firm enough to hold their shape, but not too firm for it to become chewy when eaten.  It was clearly quite a technical challenge with the vast majority of them using a sugar thermometer, waiting for the mixture to reach soft ball stage.

But what if I tell you that the caramel in this Salted Caramel Pie recipe is really easy to make, and that it holds its shape without having to boil the sugar and cream mixture to a precise temperature, with your fingers crossed hoping that the caramel filling doesn't ooze out in front of your dinner guests once it's sliced into!

Are you ready to learn the secret of this easy homemade Salted Caramel Pie?  And when I tell you, feel free to share it with your friends and family, or even shout it from the roof tops!

How to make a salted caramel pie
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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Cottage Loaf with Pesto

The Cottage Loaf is a British classic.  The dough is shaped with one ball positioned ontop of the other and is baked in a hot & steamy oven to create a wonderful crust.  This Cottage Loaf  recipe with added Pesto contains the delicious flavours and aromas of pesto making it perfect for cheese sandwiches, or even served with a tomato soup, for instance.

How to make a cottage loaf flavoured with pesto, perfect used in cheese sandwiches or with a tomato soup for instance.

With a blink of an eye week 3 of GBBO has passed.

I have to confession.  No, I'm not warming to Neil Fielding, but rather I was in two minds whether to bake along with the show this week!  You see, as much as bread is very much a staple in our household, particularly for Mr E, and despite the fact that I love making our own homemade bread by hand feeling the change in the dough as it morphs from a craggy lump of flour and water to a glossy and stretchy dough, my increasingly unstable & painful wrists have other ideas.  And as for the stand mixer which was bought specifically to help me make bread, let's just say it definitely needs some lessons from Mr Paul Hollywood despite arriving with a dough hook!

Cottage Loaf is a British Classic recipe

My bread making efforts this past year have largely been restricted to no-knead loaves, so just as I was beginning to think that I would be watching fellow bloggers bake from the side-lines my knight in shining armour (rusty!), Mr E, took hold of the bread making reins to make this Cottage Loaf flavoured with pesto.

Cottage loaf recipe

Over to Mr E.

I made sure I fingered my loaf well!  ๐Ÿ˜€

Seriously though, even though there was a lot of hilarity about this in the episode on Tuesday night as well as An Extra Slice, Angela explained that it helps to secure the two balls of dough together.   It turned out to be a really tasty loaf with a wonderful crust and I must admit it wasn't particularly difficult to make.  Though, a bit of extra practice fingering my loaf would probably make it sit up straight!

How to shape a cottage loaf

A couple of tips and thoughts when make homemade bread:

  • Don't be afraid to allow your bread to proove in the fridge, either overnight or throughout the day.  Although most recipes state to place the kneaded dough in a warm place to encourage the yeast to work, creating carbon dioxide and therefore allowing the dough to rise, by placing it in the fridge this process still happens.  Yes it's a much slower proove, but that extra time not only allows you to get on with other tasks as well as producing a much tastier loaf!
  • Use something other than clingfilm to cover your dough when it's set aside to proove. We all know that plastics are causing serious harm to our planet, so why not use one of the many other alternatives.  A shower cap, purchased just for making homemade bread which can easily be wiped clean and used time and time again, can be used to cover both small and large bowls.  Alternatively use a plate to cover the bowl or even a clean teatowel.  A large upturned mixing bowl is also a great item to cover a shaped round loaf, like this cottage loaf, during its second proove.   
  • Be aware that it's entirely possible that you may need to knead your bread dough for longer than 10 minutes (or what ever your recipe suggests).  It all depends on your technique and speed.  Use the windowpane test to check that the dough is ready to be prooved.
  • The windowpane test checks to see if the bread dough is ready to be prooved.  Simple take a lump of dough a little smaller than a golf ball and begin to gently stretch the dough between both of your hands.  Turn the dough a little as you do so. If the dough becomes paper thin without tearing, almost thin enough to see through, just like a windowpane, it is ready to be prooved .  Check out this Youtube video showing the windowpane test in action.  And this Youtube Video takes the windowpane test to another level, explaining the role of gluten in breads and other baked products.

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Thursday, 14 September 2017

Mini Apple & Cinnamon Turnovers

You may know these Mini Apple & Cinnamon Turnovers as hand pies or even parcels.  They're easy to make, and the lightly spiced apple filling is encased in a delicious cream cheese pastry. They're the perfect bake for the autumn months.

Mini Apple & Cinnamon Turnovers recipe with a cream cheese pastry

Now that the seasons are changing and it's becoming clearly more autumnal as each day passes, with the chillier, shorter days and the leaves beginning to turn all shades of red, many of us are starting to be drawn towards comfort foods.

For me, being a girl with an obvious sweet tooth (just check out my recipe index and I'm sure you'll soon agree), comfort food can be anything from pies, crumbles, steamed puddings to rich fruit cakes.

How to make Mini Apple & Cinnamon Turnovers

The great thing about autumn as I see it, other than the fact that it's a whole lot of fun to walk through piles of crisp, freshly fallen gold and russet leaves (I know, I'm such a big kid!) is the huge range of seasonal fruit and vegetables available.  From blackberries and pears, to pumpkins and squashes, and beets.  And of course it's the start of the apple season too!

If you're looking to rustle up a few seasonal bakes, here are some ideas from the Only Crumbs Remain kitchen for inspiration (just click on the image to be taken to the recipe).  If beetroot is your thing do check out this collection of 14 brilliant beetroot recipes too, but if you're looking for ways to use apples, then keep reading as I will not only share with you my Mini Apple & Cinnamon Turnover recipe but a further 13 apple recipes from some top food bloggers.       

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Saturday, 9 September 2017

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Inspired by the popular Oreo biscuit, this Chocolate & Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie recipe is certainly one to try!  The recipe produces a cookie style biscuit which is packed with peanut butter and chocolate flavour, they're easy to make, and will satisfy the fussiest of cookie fans!

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies recipe

It was biscuit week in the GBBO tent this past week and the signature bake of 'sandwiched biscuits' was far more appealing to Mr E & I than the fortune cookies and the biscuit board game the bakers were challenged with making. 

After all a double biscuit, or sandwich biscuit, is effectively two for the price of one!

How to make Chocolate and Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Continuing to bake along with the Great Blogger's Bake Off hosted by Jenny at Mummy Mishaps, I spent a few too many minutes perusing the biscuit aisle of our local supermarket searching for inspiration for our sandwich biscuit bake.  There were so many sandwiched biscuits to choose from. Custard Creams.  Bourbons.  Jammie Dodgers.  But the one which caught my attention the most was Oreo's peanut butter flavour biscuits!

I mean, who doesn't love a peanut butter and chocolate flavoured biscuit?
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