Category Archives: Sweets and Biscuits

Perfect Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 500ml milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • Butter for frying

Method

  • Whisk all of the ingredients in a large bowl until smooth
  • Rub your frying pan with butter over a medium heat
  • Use a ladle to spoon some batter into the pan and turn the pan to spread it around
  • Flip the pancake once it’s browned underneath and skates around the pan
  • Serve with toppings of your choice

Date and Almond Energy Balls

Ingredients

  • 50g pitted dates
  • 1tbsp honey
  • 25g coconut oil, melted
  • 100g oats
  • 1tbsp almonds (whole or ground)

Method

  • Line a plate or tupperware with baking paper
  • Place dates, honey and coconut oil in a blender, mix until it forms a paste
  • Add the oats and almonds to the blender and mix until you have a combined sticky dough
  • Roll the mixture into balls with your hands and place on the baking paper
  • Refrigerate for at least 30mins before eating

Flourless Oat Pancakes

Chef’s Tip: delicious served with warm berries/honey/yoghurt 

Ingredients

  • 100g/3½oz porridge oats (not instant)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100ml/3½fl oz oat milk, or any other sort you wish
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

Method

  • Put the oats and salt in a mini blender/food processor and whizz until they resemble a crumby heavy flour.
  • Tip into a bowl and add the baking powder and cinnamon.
  • Mix up the milk, egg and vanilla in a jug.
  • Slowly add the liquid to the dry mixture, mixing as you go, until it’s all mixed in.
  • Add a tiny drop (about half a teaspoon) of oil to a large non-stick pan and use a piece of kitchen towel to wipe it across the whole surface.
  • Use a ladle to spoon the batter into small circles in your pan, no more than 4 at a time.
  • When the surface starts to bubble, use a spatula to turn them over and let them cook for another 2-3mins.

Gooey Chocolate Fudge Brownies

Makes: 16 square brownies

Ingredients

  • 185g unsalted butter
  • 185g high quality dark chocolate (I use 85%)
  • 85g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 100g white OR milk chocolate
  • 3 large eggs
  • 275g golden caster sugar

Method

  • Chop the butter and dark chocolate into chunks and add to a glass bowl.
  • Fill a small saucepan about a quarter full with hot water, sit the bowl on top and melt over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the bowl once it’s all melted and mixed and set aside to cool.
  • Get a shelf ready in the middle of your oven and preheat to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4
  • Line and grease a shallow 20cm square tin
  • Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl, ensuring any lumps are gone.
  • Chop the white and milk chocolate into small pieces
  • Break the eggs into a bowl and add the sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until they look thick and creamy like a milkshake.
    You’ll know it’s ready when the mixture becomes really pale and about double its original volume. Another check is to turn off the mixer, lift out the beaters and wiggle them from side to side. If the mixture that runs off the beaters leaves a trail on the surface of the mixture in the bowl for a second or two, you’re there.
  • Pour the cooled melted chocolate over the eggy mousse and gently fold with a spatula. The idea is to mix the two without losing the air so do this very gently and as slow as you like.
  • Add the cocoa/flour mix and fold gently again until it’s all mixed in. Make sure you don’t over-mix it.
  • Add the chocolate chunks and stir them through evenly.
  • Pour the batter into your prepared tin and use a spatula to gently even out the top so it’s level.
  • Put in the oven and set an alarm for 25 minutes. When the time is up, open the oven, pull the shelf out a bit and gently shake the tin. If the brownie wobbles in the middle, it’s not quite done, so slide it back in and bake for another 5 minutes until the top has a shiny, papery crust and the sides are just beginning to come away from the tin.
  • Repeat as many times as necessary.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool completely in the tin before cutting it into squares.

Salted Caramel Shortbread Slices

Ingredients

For the shortbread

  • 175g/6oz unsalted butter
  • 75g/2.5oz golden caster sugar
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla pod OR 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g/8oz plain flour

For the caramel

  • 200g/7oz unsalted butter
  • 1x 397g tin of condensed milk
  • 4tbsp golden syrup
  • 1tsp sea salt

For the topping

  • 100-150g milk chocolate

 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4
  • Grease and line a 20cm square tin
  • Rub the butter, sugar, vanilla and flour together to form a rough dough – don’t worry if it doesn’t all come together, it should be crumbly
  • Press the dough into the tin evenly and prick it all over with a fork
  • Bake the dough for 5 mins then turn the oven down to 150C/Gas Mark 2 and bake for another 35 mins.
  • Remove the tin from the oven and let the base cool in the tin
  • Now you can make the caramel. Add all of the ingredients to a large saucepan and bring to the boil for 10mins. I’d recommend stirring for the whole time even before it starts boiling.
  • After 10mins, the mixture should be golden and now you can pour it over the biscuit base. Use a spoon to level it all out.
  • Put your tin in the fridge to cool the caramel until it’s cool and slightly hardened.
  • For the topping, add the chocolate to a bowl and melt it over a sauce pan of simmering water.
  • Once melted, pour the chocolate over the caramel and level it out.
  • Return to the fridge to let it set.
  • Cut into as many or as few pieces as you like 🙂

Fluffy American Pancakes

This makes roughly 8-10 small pancakes

Ingredients

  • 225g plain flour
  • 1tbsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 30g butter (melted and cooled slightly)
  • 300ml milk
  • Butter for frying

Method

  • Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl and make a well in the middle.
  • Add the eggs, butter and milk into the well.
  • Mix with a fork or a whisk until smooth
  • Heat some butter in a frying pan
  • Use a ladle to spoon small amounts into the pan one at a time
  • All you need to do is wait for the top of the pancake to blister and bubble and then flip it for around 1-2mins on the other side.

Chef’s tip: Delicious with berries, honey and yoghurt. Or for a savoury approach, butter and smoked bacon.

Nutella Brownies

This recipe blows my mind. There are only 3 ingredients because the Nutella takes care of the fat, sugar, milk and chocolate that you would normally add to brownies.

Ingredients

  • 280g Nutella
  • 2 eggs
  • 10tbsp/62g plain flour

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180C.
  • Mix the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Tip the mixture into a lined/greased 20cm (max size) square tin.
  • At this point if you’re feeling fancy you can top with hazelnuts.
  • Bake until the centre is cooked.
  • Let the brownies mostly cool before cutting into squares.

Shortbread

Makes: 20-24 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 125g (4oz) butter
  • 55g (2oz) caster sugar
  • 180g (6oz) plain flour

Method

  • Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5
  • Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth
  • Stir in the flour to get a smooth paste
  • If it doesn’t come together smoothly, add a little water or milk to help bind it
  • Roll out the pastry to 1cm thick and cut into the shapes you want
  • Place on baking paper on a baking tray, make holes with a fork if you want and sprinkle with caster sugar
  • Bake for 15-20mins or until the biscuits are pale golden-brown

Vanilla Fudge

This recipe is huge and makes about 77 squares, so I usually just do a half batch.

Intro

You need to use your own instinct as to how long to cook the fudge. It can range from 10-20 minutes. Just make sure you have a bowl of cold water nearby. Drop small amounts of the molten fudge into the water and if it sets (known as soft ball stage) it’s ready. Or you can use a sugar thermometer, which will indicate ‘soft-ball stage’.

Ingredients

  • 250g soft butter
  • 1x 397g tin of condensed milk
  • 175ml milk
  • 2tbsp golden syrup
  • 800g golden caster sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla extract

Method

  • Fill a small bowl or jug with ice cold water and put near the stove. Grease a tin of approx. 30 x 20cm / 12 x 8 inch or 25cm / 10 inch square, or use a throwaway foil tin.
  • Put all the ingredients, apart from the vanilla, into a large, heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
  • Boil for 12-20 minutes, still stirring all the time, until the mixture is golden and, when a bit is dropped into the water, it turns solid but still squidgy, i.e., till soft-ball stage (see intro). How long this takes depends on how ferociously it bubbles as well as on the properties and dimensions of the pan. This is hot work!
  • When the fudge is at soft-ball stage, very carefully remove the pan from the stove and stir in the vanilla.
  • Preferably using an electric whisk beat for about five minutes, by which time the fudge will have thickened to the texture of stiff peanut butter – this is quite steamy and strenuous.
  • Pour and push into the prepared tin. Smooth the top as well as you can.
  • Put in the fridge to cool, but don’t keep it there for more than 2 hours, or it will set too hard, then remove and using a sharp knife, cut into squares.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes: 25-30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 150g salted butter
  • 80g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 80g granulated sugar
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 200g chocolate chips or regular chocolate chopped into chunks (white/milk/dark)

HELPFUL TIP: If you don’t have any eggs, or you want to make a half batch and can’t measure half an egg, use this helpful guide: http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/955371/baking-without-eggs

Method

  • Preheat oven to 190C/170C fan/Gas 5
  • Combine the butter and both sugars in a bowl and mix until creamy
  • Mix in the vanilla extract and egg
  • Mix in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt
  • Add the chocolate and stir well
  • Using a spoon, roll the mixture into walnut sized pieces and place on a baking tray, making sure they are at least a few centimetres apart (using a regular 30cm baking tray, I would place no more than 6 on each tray).
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are starting to brown but still squidgy in the middle.
  • They will come out the oven a lot squidgier than you expect but will settle once they start to cool.
  • When they have cooled for 3-5mins, transfer them to a cooling rack (or a plate if you want to eat them warm!)