Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts

Winter is here and with it, all the coughs, colds and horrible bugs, that have been waiting for an opportunity to attack our immune systems. Perhaps that is a bit of an over statement. Still, with half the household coughing and sneezing, it gave me an idea of what to bake. Rich in Vitamin C, these Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts are saturated in fresh, immune fighting, lemon juice. Don’t ever let people tell you that ‘cake’ can’t be good for you!

FF Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts
Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts so tempting.

Tangy and light, these doughnuts provide goodness in a fun way. Even our son, whose tastebuds had given up on being reliable, tasted the tart lemon juice present in the lemon drizzle icing. While the crumb of the doughnut was tender enough not to aggravate his very sore throat. All in all a complete hit, that produced a much longed for smile.

Ff Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts
Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts such a cheerful colour.

Since I had been re-introduced to the foggy, sleep deprived world, caused by administering medicine and love, throughout the night to a child. Something I thought was well in my past! Being re-aquatinted with the hunger surge that comes, for me, from broken nights, meant, these delicious doughnuts provided the perfect pick-me-up, mid afternoon, as the slump set in!

FF Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts
Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts so easy to eat.

Much as I hope that you can enjoy these Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts for the delicious delights that they are, it is also nice to know that they are a good for you treat!

A quick note about the recipe – do not over fill the doughnut pan with batter. It should ideally fill the rings to two thirds of their depth. Also, ensure that you grease the doughnut pan well. I use Wilton cake release. Because, the pans were not greased for the first attempt, even though they are non stick, the doughnuts stuck firm. There were two reasons for this, they were overfilled and the buttermilk in the recipe caused the doughnuts to stick.

The pan I used is a Wilton 6 hole doughnut pan. In fact I have 2 as they are so good.

FF Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts
Wilton 6 hole non stick doughnut pan.

Recipe: Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts makes approximately 15-18

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter softened

175g/6oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Salt- I use Maldon

3 Large Free Range Eggs

1.5tsp Lemon Extract or finely grated zest of 1 Whole Lemon – I use Nielsen-Massey  lemon extract

75g/3.5tbsp Buttermilk

200g/7oz Plain White Flour

2tsp Baking Powder

For the Drizzle:

200g/7oz Icing Sugar – sifted

Juice of 1 Whole Lemon

Yellow/White sprinkles for decoration

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4

  • First of all prepare the doughnut pans. Ensure they are thoroughly brushed with cake release, or melted butter and then dusted with flour.
  • Next, into a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt. Whisk the ingredients together until they are pale and creamy.
  • Now add the eggs, lemon extract/zest and the buttermilk. Sift the flour and baking powder on top of these ingredients.
  • Whisk everything together until it is completely combined.
  • Finally, use a silicone spatula to stir the batter through a couple of times.
  • Fill a large piping bag, fitted with a circle piping tip if using, with the doughnut batter. Snip the end of the disposable bag off, so that it it approximately 1cm wide.
  • Carefully pipe circles into the doughnut pan, taking care not to overfill.
  • Once the pan is piped place in the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. The doughnuts are baked when they are a golden colour and firm to touch – a pressed finger should not leave any indentation.
FF Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts
Preparing, piping and baking the doughnuts.
  • As soon as the doughnuts are baked remove them from the oven.
  • Tip the doughnuts out on to a cooling rack.
  • Wash up, dry and re-grease the doughnut pan and continue as before, until all of the batter has been used.
  • While the doughnuts are cooling the lemon drizzle icing can be made.
  • Into the bowl of sifted icing sugar add the juice of one lemon. Stir thoroughly to mix, ensuring there are no lumps. The icing should be fairly thick, but still be able to pour, ensuring it can be drizzled.
  • Fill a small piping bag with the icing. Snip the end of the bag off to create a very small hole. Alternatively, you may use a teaspoon to drizzle over the icing.
  • First, place the cooling rack over a baking tray to catch any drips.
  • The doughnuts should be completely cooled before icing.
  • Keeping an even pressure on the piping bag, pipe back and forth, across each doughnut, until they are all iced.
  • While the icing is still wet scatter over sprinkles.
  • Place the doughnuts to one side to allow the icing to set.
FF Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts
Cooling, piping and decorating the doughnuts.

Thinking of sneaking a doughnut to ‘taste test’? I won’t tell 😉.

FF Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts
Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts a treat that does you good.

As these doughnuts are so yummy, don’t expect them to hang around for long. They will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days, however, they are at their best within the first 24 hours.

A sunny, refreshing treat, that is perfect served at anytime of the year.

If you have enjoyed the recipe for these Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts you may also like these:

Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

FF Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts
Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

Mini Lemon Drizzle Bundt Cakes

F Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts
Mini Lemon Drizzle Bundt Cakes

Baked Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts

FF Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts
Baked Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts

 

In addition to creating a treat that would help boost the immune system, these Baked Lemon Drizzle Doughnuts also brought big smiles to faces that had been suffering. While not advocating these as a health food, there is something to be said for the power of feeling good. Rather than simply accepting things as they are and waiting for them to pass, small presents, or treats can make the process more bearable.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in you kitchens, I wish you a happy, healthy and fun 2017.

Sammie xx

 

 

 

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Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake

New Year, new you? Do you set resolutions for yourself? If so do you manage to keep them? I’m not a great advocate of new year’s resolutions. Personally my thinking tends to be that change is more achievable when small goals are set. That way, if the small goal is not achieved, it is easier to pick up and start again. Rather than crashing into despair over something that was probably difficult to accomplish from the start. Diets are something I do not hold with, health reasons withstanding. Balance is everything, in life, as it is in cooking and eating. This Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake is packed full of fresh fruit. A delicious way of incorporating more fruit in our diets!

FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake packed with fresh fruit.

To be clear, I am not advocating that this cake is a ‘health food’. Rather, that anything homemade firstly, has to be better than a mass produced, long shelf life product and secondly, whilst cooking and baking, we become more aware of the ingredients that go into our food. That has to be a good thing, right?

FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake perfect for sharing.

Because there is a large portion of fruit packed into this cake, it is extremely and deliciously moist. Perfect for slicing, wrapping and adding to a packed lunch. Yet equally enticing, shared with friends or neighbours over a mid morning cup of coffee. Since all food tastes better when shared, why not bake this cake and take it with you to work? Sharing does not have to be confined to our homes!

FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake blueberries burst to create jammy pods within the cake.

A quick note before making this cake: similar to Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes, the cake batter is made before grating and adding the apple. As a sweeter variety works best, unlike Granny Smith which is more acidic, this helps to ensure the apple browns as little as possible. Also, the skins were left on the apple quarters whilst grating. A small amount of peel will not affect the recipe, indeed the red flecks look quite attractive throughout the cake.

Recipe: Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake serves 8

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter softened

150g/5oz Caster Sugar

1/8tsp Salt – I use Maldon

50g/2.5tbsp Maple Syrup I use – Pure Maple

1tsp Vanilla Extract I use – Nielsen-Massey

3 Large Free Range Eggs

225g/8oz Plain White Flour

2tsp Baking Powder

1/4tsp Cinnamon

225g/8oz Grated Apple preferably a sweeter variety

125g/4.5oz Blueberries

75g/3oz Icing Sugar

2tbsp Maple Syrup

Method: Preheat the oven to 160C/140C gas mark 3

First of all grease a 2lb loaf tin, 26cm x 12cm x 7cm (approx. 10″ x 5″ x 3″). Line the base with baking parchment.

  • Into a bowl sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt – dry ingredients. Set this to one side.
  • Next, in a large bowl add the softened butter, caster sugar and 2.5 tablespoons of maple syrup. Beat until pale and creamy. Rub the mixture between your finger and thumb, it should feel smooth. If it feels gritty continue mixing until the sugar is fully combined with the butter.
  • Add the vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.
  • Now add all 3 eggs and then the sieved, dry ingredients. Gently mix until just combined.
  • For the grated apple, firstly set a bowl on to digital scales. Cut one apple at a time into quarters, removing the core. Using a box grater, grate the apple, using the coarse grater, until only skin remains. Continue until the whole apple has been grated. Add the grated apple to the bowl on the scales, this will give you an idea of how much each grated apple yields.
  • Continue grating the apples, as before, until you have the desired weight.
  • Tip the grated apple and whole blueberries into the cake batter.
  • Fold the fruit into the batter using a spoon and taking care not to break up the blueberries.
  • Spoon the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and smooth the surface using the back of a spoon.
Ff Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Creating the delicious, fruit filled cake batter.
  • Place the tin into the centre of the oven and bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 20 minutes.
  • The cake is baked when an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Once baked remove the cake from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely in the tin.
  • When the cake is cooled, use a palette knife to run around between the cake and the inside of the tin, releasing any sticky bits.
  • Now turn the cake out on to a cooling rack and gently peel away the baking parchment.
  • Place the cooling rack over a clean baking tray.
  • Making the maple drizzle:
  • Sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Then add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and stir until the icing has a smooth consistency.
  • Use a spoon to drizzle the icing across the cake. Also encouraging the icing to drip down the sides of the cake.
  • Leave the cake to set.
FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Creating the drizzle effect on the cooled, baked cake.

While the icing is setting, put the kettle on and invite your neighbours round!

FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake full of flavour.

Since this delicious cake was made a little while ago, it is very tempting to jump through the screen and grab a slice!

Serve this cake sliced and with a smile. It will keep in an airtight container for 3 days. During warmer weather store in the fridge.

If you have enjoyed this Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake you may also enjoy these:

 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf Cake

FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf Cake

Mascarpone Topped Carrot Cake

FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Mascarpone Topped Carrot Cake

Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

FF Maple Drizzled Apple Blueberry Loaf Cake
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

Fresh fruit adds a delicious moistness to any cake. Also, these gluten free Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes can also be made using regular wheat flour. Also no difference could be detected in a blind taste test. Enticing, fruit filled cakes are a million miles away from dry, moisture sucking, mass produced alternatives that are readily available in the shops. Most of all, home baked cakes not only taste so good, their flavour is far superior to most bought cakes.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

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Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova

A very Happy New Year to all of my readers. May this coming year bring good health, peace, love, lots of fun and feasting. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking the time to read this blog and for trusting the recipes that have lovingly been created to share with you. With that in mind I have a beautiful dessert recipe for you that is a complete knock-out. What better way to celebrate than with my Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova!

FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova a refreshing dessert.

A delicious combination of textures and flavours. Starting with the crunchy meringue shell that hides a marshmallow innner, it is draped with thickened cream, topped with tumbling, assorted, fresh berries and drizzled with a tart raspberry coulis. Creating a tastebud sensation with each mouthful. This elegant dessert is light and yet fulfills that need for something sweet at the end of a meal.

FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova perfect for a celebration.

Beautifully adorned with fresh, ripe berries, the sweetness of the pavlova is offset by the raspberry coulis. Quick and easy to make, it utterly transforms the finished dish. As well as adding to the aesthetic of this stunning pavlova. The coulis cuts through the richness of the cream, while providing balance against the sweetness of the dessert.

FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova piled high with fresh fruit.

Pavlovas are not difficult to make, requiring only a whisk and patience. The reward they give, in return for effort, is almost embarrassing! Any cracks that develop are easily covered and the cream covered meringue can be topped with any fruit desired. Since the pavlova shell can be made up to 2 days in advance, they are perfect for entertaining.

This Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova was made to celebrate New Years Eve, which also happens to be the night before my hubby’s birthday. Using cake sparklers to add fun, fizz and sparkle, ensured this was no ordinary dessert. A fabulous celebration of the year passed and the new year to come.

Recipe: Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova serves 8

For the Pavlova:

4 Large Free Range Egg Whites at room temperature

1tsp Lemon Juice

200g/7oz Caster Sugar

1tsp White Wine Vinegar

1tsp Cornfour – certified gluten free I use Doves Farm

400ml Double Cream

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – I use Nielsen-Massey

450g/1lb Mixed Berries – I used strawberries, blueberries and raspberries removing stalks and leaves as necessary

For the Coulis

200g/7oz Raspberries

1tbsp each of Fresh Lemon Juice and Tap Water

1tbsp Caster Sugar

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4

  • First of all line a baking tray with baking parchment. Using pencil draw a 20cm/8″ circle on one side. Flip the paper over so that the pencil mark is underneath.
  • Next in a scrupulously clean large bowl add the 4 egg whites.
  • Whisk until they are light and airy. While whisking at medium speed gradually add the caster sugar one spoonful at a time. Continue whisking on high until the meringue is shiny and glossy. Rub a little of the mixture between your thumb  and forefinger, when it feels smooth and there are no signs of grittiness, the sugar is completely dissolved into the egg white.
  • Next, whilst still whisking, add the lemon juice, vinegar and cornflour. Continue whisking for a further minute.
  • Stop the whisk and using the beater, place 4 dots of meringue on to the baking tray. Place the parchment on top, the meringue acts like glue and will stop it from moving around.
  • Use a clean metal spoon to scoop the meringue on to the centre of the circle marked baking parchment.
  • Now use a pallet knife to spread the mixture evenly to form a disc, building up the sides so they are slightly raised.
FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Creating the Pavlova shell.
  • Place the meringue into the centre of the oven and immediately reduced the heat to 160C/140C gas mark 3.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes – DO NOT open the oven door whilst baking.
  • Once the baking time has elapsed the meringue then needs to cool slowly. This will help avoid cracking. Turn the oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.
  • Tip: it is handy to make the pavlova the night before it is needed, as it can cool overnight in the oven.
  • Making the Coulis:
  • While the meringue is cooling, tip the raspberries, lemon juice, water and sugar into a small saucepan.
  • Place the pan over a high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon to mash the raspberries up. Once the mixture has bubbled to a boil, turn the heat off.
  • Strain the raspberry mixture into a heatproof bowl, through a sieve. Press the raspberries with a spoon to extract all of the juice. Set the bowl aside to cool.
FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Making the Raspberry Coulis.
  • Assembling the Pavlova: Note assemble the Pavlova no more than 3 hours ahead for best results.
  • Place the cream into a bowl with the vanilla bean extract. Whisk until it just starts to thicken, but will still slowly drop from a spoon.
  • Peel the pavlova carefully away from the baking parchment. Place on a plate or cake stand.
  • Spoon over the thickened cream so that it fills the central well in the pavlova.
  • Add the prepared berries, arranging so they look attractive.
  • Finally, drizzle over the raspberry coulis, encouraging it to drip  down the sides of the Pavlova.
  • Serve the Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova sliced, with a smile and on special occasions a glass of bubbly!
FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova sliced and ready to serve.

A delicious, refreshing dessert, that is a wonderfully light way to celebrate and makes a great change from cake.

Store any remaining Pavlova in the fridge and eat within 24 hours.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova you may also like these:

Lemony Strawberry Pavlova

FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Lemony Strawberry Pavlova

Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova

FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova

Strawberry Eton Mess

FF Raspberry Coulis Drizzled Mixed Berry Pavlova
Strawberry Eton Mess

Pavolvas are extremely forgiving. However, if they should crack and crumble beyond repair, simply make an Eton Mess as pictured above or, alternatively make Raspberry Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae.

Since this recipe can easily be made gluten free, it is a great way of providing dessert, without excluding people who have dietary restrictions. At Feasting is Fun the aim is to create recipes that more people can share and enjoy. On that note, from experience, when transporting this dessert, it is easier to take the separate components and assemble once there.

Whatever the past year held for you, my hope is that the coming year will be one of love, peace and reconciliation

Sammie xx

 

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Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares

Festive greetings to all of my readers. While this recipe for Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares may not necessarily be only a Christmas bake, they look so sparkly, not making them wasn’t an option. Rich, buttery shortbread, topped with creamy caramel then coated it velvety, smooth chocolate, studded with white chocolate stars. Who wouldn’t want a square or two over the Christmas period?

FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares a delicious homemade treat.

I tried to make these last year, also at Christmas time. However, I wasn’t confident enough whilst making the caramel. As a result of not cooking it for long enough it didn’t set. This only became apparent after chilling for a good length of time, in the fridge. Resulting in an oozing, caramel mess when the squares were cut.

Never one to give up on a challenge, even if it has taken a whole year, I decided to start again from scratch. First of all a new shortbread recipe for the base. Last year’s attempt used a cookie recipe. Followed by nothing short of sheer bravery, when making the caramel. Do not be scared or alarmed. I will talk you through each step, so that you will have success first time and every time you make the caramel. Finally the chocolate covering, which has stayed the same. Although I’ve improved the cutting technique, which minimises the risk of the chocolate cracking.

FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares layers of shortbread, caramel and chocolate.

Now, I am not known for my sweet tooth – Caramac is an entirely different matter😉 – however, these squares may very well be my undoing. Years ago, when our children were young, a group of us mums would meet up regularly. We all, at that time, had girls who were friends at school. Meeting up gave the girls an opportunity to play together and allowed us mums to get to know each other. 10 years on, I now count two of those wonderful ladies as my best friends.

One particular time, we met up at my friend Lizzie-Lou’s house. Let me tell you, that lady can cook AND bake! That morning she had been busy in the kitchen, baking with her two gorgeous girls. I honestly cannot remember what they made, except for Millionaires Shortbread. Having never tasted it before I tentatively took a square AND then another. I was hooked! Everything about me shouldn’t have enjoyed the sweet, chocolate covered wonders. But I did, ooh I so did. I’m embarrassed now to think back and wonder how many squares I ate. I simply couldn’t stop!

FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares perfect for sharing.

So this post and this recipe are dedicated to my beautiful friends Lizzie-Lou and K. For the love, friendship and support they have given and continue to give. I have learned so much from both of them and wherever we may be, we will always be friends. Looking back over the years, they have truly proven the backbone of this blog. That is, that food really does taste better when it is shared and feasting is fun when friends or family take part.

Recipe: Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares makes 18

Base:

300g/10oz Plain White Flour

200g/7oz Unsalted Butter – softened

100g/4oz Caster Sugar

1 Large Free Range Egg

1/4tsp Salt – I use Maldon

2tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – I use Nielsen-Massey

Caramel:

100g/4oz Golden Syrup

150g/5oz Unsalted Butter

379g Can of Condensed Milk – I use Carnation

1/8tsp Salt

200g/7oz Milk Chocolate

100g/4oz Dark Chocolate

White Chocolate Stars – available from Waitrose

Method: Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan, gas mark 3.5

Lightly butter a 28cm x 20cm x 5cm (11″x 8″x 2″) swiss roll tin and line with baking parchment.

  • To make the shortbread base:
  • Into a large bowl add the softened butter, caster sugar, vanilla bean paste and salt. Whisk until pale and creamy.
  • Next sift in the plain flour and then stir with a spoon until the whole shortbread dough comes together.
  • Tip the shortbread dough into the prepared tin and then using the back of a spoon press the dough evenly into the tin.
  • Prick the shortbread dough all over with a fork. This will stop any air bubbles forming under the cooked shortbread.
  • Now place the tin into the centre of the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time turn the tin around, this helps the shortbread  to bake evenly
  • The shortbread is baked when it is a golden colour and firm to touch.
  • Once baked remove the tin from the oven and set to one side.
FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
The shortbread layer. Chilling the dough will give a smoother result.
  • Making the caramel:
  • Add the butter, golden syrup and condensed milk to a medium sized saucepan, over a medium heat.
  • Stir continuously until the butter is melted, then increase the heat to bring the liquid up to a bubbling boil. Continue to stir. The mixture will gradually become thicker and as it does it will darken.
  • Once thickened, remove the caramel mixture from the heat and spoon over the cooled shortbread.
  • Using an offset palette knife spread the caramel so that it completely covers the shortbread.
  • Set the caramel shortbread to one side to cool completely.
FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Making the caramel layer.
  • Covering with chocolate:
  • Break the chocolate up and place into a heatproof, microwaveable bowl.
  • Heat the chocolate for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between.
  • As soon as the chocolate has started to melt, remove the bowl from the microwave and stir. Continue stirring until the chocolate is completely liquid. If needed, zap the chocolate in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time, until the chocolate has completely melted.
  • Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel covered shortbread. Again using a clean, offset spatula to spread it evenly.
  • Now, take the tin and rap it against the worktop 3 times. This brings any air bubbles to the surface and leaves the chocolate surface completely smooth.
  • Finally scatter over white chocolate stars and then set to one side to cool.
FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Melting the chocolate, covering and decorating the Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares.
  • When the chocolate has just set, use a sharp knife to score through the chocolate layer, in the tin, creating the squares. Doing so enables a crisp, clean cut after the chocolate is chilled. Therefore removing the risk of the chocolate shattering on cutting after chilling.
  • Place the tin into the fridge for a couple of hours to completely firm up.
  • Once chilled, remove the slab of chocolate and caramel covered shortbread from the tin, using the parchment paper to help ease it out.
  • Finally, cut through, where the score marks are, so that you have 18 pieces of Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares.
FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares, use a ruler to measure if you prefer each square to be the same size.

Serve with a smile and something delicious to drink.

These Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares are not overly sweet. There is a pleasant balance of flavours that are just sweet enough and they are extremely more-ish 😉.

FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares delicious eaten by candlelight with hot chocolate.

The Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares can be kept in an airtight container for up to one week. In very warm weather it may be advisable to keep them in the fridge.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares here are some others you may also like:

Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars

FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars

Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies

FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies

Crunchy Vanilla Shortbread

FF Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares
Crunchy Vanilla Shortbread

Traybakes are so versatile. They travel well and are ideal, individually wrapped, as an addition to packed lunches and picnics.

Food can be very often linked to memories. A favourite birthday cake, going out for a celebratory meal, or simply time spent with friends.

Do you have any specific memories that are closely tied to something you ate? No food poisoning stories please!

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun, relax, laugh and enjoy your feast in the company of others.

Sammie xx

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Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate

Colder days mean one thing in our house, steaming mugs of hot chocolate. Whether it’s coming in from a chilly walk, huddled around a bonfire, or a bedtime treat, it’s a family favourite. Having won some Cranberry and Almond Biscotti from Daylesford Organic in a Twitter competition, I wanted to create an adult drink to compliment them. Welcome to my Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate.

FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate a delicious flavour combination.

Amaretto is a sweet, Italian, Almond liqueur. Since chocolate goes so well with nuts I thought I’d add it to this hot drink. Oh my! If you love almond and chocolate, you will literally go nuts over this drink!

FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Luxury Hot Chocolate without the Amaretto for a fun, festive, children’s drink.

Regular hot chocolate mixes are generally a mix of cocoa powder and sugar. For this luxury version I wanted to use real, dark chocolate. Melted into the hot milk, the dark chocolate takes this drink to the next level. In fact, no sweetening is needed, so leave out the booze and this drink is perfect for children. For adults though, the addition of a splash of Amaretto, creates a delightful, warming drink, that goes down too easily.

FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate served with cranberry and almond biscotti.

Since this, is a luxury treat, it is topped with whipped cream and crunchy chocolate pearls. Toasted, flaked almonds would also provide a crunchy topping, indulgently eaten with a long handled, sundae spoon.

FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate served with a spoon.

The Cranberry and Almond Biscotti complimented this incredible drink perfectly.  My only concern is that they aren’t really long enough to dunk! So, I’ll be working on a recipe as soon as possible for us all to share. Meanwhile my prize is very gratefully being devoured, here at home. It’s a real treat not to have to have baked them myself. Also, they are not baked until they are jaw breakingly hard. An absolute bonus, these biscotti are delicious.

While creating the recipe, I used amounts for one drink. If making more than 3 drinks it would be advisable to heat the milk in a saucepan, over a medium heat.

Recipe: Makes one Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate

200ml Whole Milk

40g Dark Chocolate – use the best quality you can

2tbsp/30mls Amaretto – I use Disaronno

Whipped Cream

Grated Chocolate or Crispearls available from – Callebaut

Method:

  • First of all, measure out the quanity of milk needed into a heatproof, microwaveable jug.
  • Place the jug into the microwave and heat on high for 1 minute (per serving).
  • While the milk is heating finely chop the dark chocolate.
  • Add the chopped chocolate to the warm milk and stir. Return to the microwave and again heat for a further minute (per serving). Keep an eye on the milk to ensure it doesn’t boil over.
  • Once heated, remove the jug and gently whisk the melting chocolate into the milk using a balloon whisk.
  • Pour the Amaretto into latte glasses and then pour over the hot chocolate.
FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Making the Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate.
  • Top with whipped cream and your choice of sprinkles, add a long handled spoon and serve.
FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate a great festive tipple.

This drink is the ultimate in homemade luxury. The combination of hot chocolate and the warming almond liqueur, results in a drink that really is the equivalent of a big hug!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate then you may also like these:

Chocolate Dunking Waffles

FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Chocolate Dunking Waffles

Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies

FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

FF Luxury Amaretto Hot Chocolate
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

While this drink, with all of the trimmings, is a treat, using real chocolate is really worth trying. The lack of overt sweetness, results in a really chocolatey drink. So much so, I am considering chopping up a big bar of dark chocolate and storing it in a tin, ready for use.

An alternative drink, for those who don’t or cannot drink alcohol, is to add a drop of almond extract to the hot chocolate. The almond/chocolate flavour combination will still be present, without any alcohol.

Whatever you are creating, making and baking, during this festive period, have fun. Christmas is a time for feasting and celebrating. Make sure you have time to unwind, relax and most of all not cook! Yes I’ve said it. As much as cooking, having guests round and visiting people is fun, it’s important to have a little time to ourselves. So that we can enjoy all of the other parts of Christmas, without it becoming a burden.

Sammie xx

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Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies

Regardless of presents, food and glittering tinsel, only one thing makes Christmas Day itself perfect for me. Snow! Beautiful thick white flakes, falling from the sky, erasing the landscape and brightening our days. In mere hours, falling snow turns our environment into a Winter Wonderland. Alas, it is rare that we experience a White Christmas. So, to ensure some Sparkling, I have made these Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies.

FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies refreshingly beautiful.

While these cookies do not taste of snow, they are cooling and refreshing, due to the peppermint flavour. Added to both the cookie and icing, the taste is balanced by the buttery flavour of the cookies. Perfect for serving after a large meal, these sparkling wonders are not at all heavy.

FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies each as individual as real snowflakes.

Cookie swaps are a common tradition in the U.S. and Canada. Everyone bakes up batches of their festive, Holiday cookies and then shares them with neighbours, friends and work colleagues. What a brilliant idea! Not only is there a whole lotta love baked into each cookie, new recipes and different flavours are swapped and shared.

Now that’s a tradition I’d happily see start over here!

FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies perfect for sharing.

Baking and icing these cookies is really so much fun. Since no two snowflakes are the same, you can really let your creative juices flow whilst decorating them. The semi-hard royal icing won’t break any teeth, yet it will set hard enough for these cookies to be stacked together. Perfect for packing into festive cellophane bags, tied with ribbon. Resulting in a beautiful edible gift, that anyone would be happy to receive.

FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies simply stunning.

My friend Liz, over at Teta Lizza’s Kitchen, baked a huge batch of cookies last year to take into work. She presented them so beautifully in a gorgeous basket. The overall effect was not only amazing to look at, but also incredibly enticing. I wanted to put my hand through the screen and grab a handful one, of her fantastic bakes. Why not pop over to her beautiful website, where you’ll find her love of sweet things inspires some incredible cookies?

Recipe: Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies makes 15-20

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter softened

150g/5oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Salt – I use Maldon

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I only use Nielsen-Massey extracts

1tsp Peppermint Extract

1 Whole Large Free Range Egg

275g/10oz Plain White Flour

For the icing:

200g/7oz Sifted White Icing Sugar – or royal icing sugar

2tsp Meringue Powder (omit if using royal icing sugar)

2tsp Peppermint Extract

Silver balls and edible white glitter

You will also need a snowflake shaped cookie cutter approximately 10cm wide from tip to tip. A star cutter would also be effective.

Method: Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan, gas mark 3.5

  • First of all, line 3 large baking trays with baking parchment.
  • Next, in a large bowl whisk together the butter, sugar and salt until pale and creamy.
  • Now add the whole egg, vanilla and peppermint extracts and whisk to fully combine.
  • Sift the flour into the bowl and then stir with a spoon until the mixture comes together in large clumps.
  • Wipe the worktop with a clean, wet cloth and then lay over a good sized piece of cling film. The wet worktop will cause the cling film to ‘stick’ and stay in place.
  • Using your hand, bring the dough together and tip out on to the cling film.
  • Form the dough into a disc shape and then wrap in the cling film.
  • Now place the dough into the fridge and chill for at least an hour.
  • On a lightly floured worktop, roll out the chilled cookie dough to approximately 1/4 inch/7mm thick. Note – the dough gets stickier the warmer it becomes. Use a dusting of flour to keep it moving, whilst rolling out.
  • Cut out the cookies, placing them on the lined baking trays, spaced well apart. I placed 3 cookies on each tray.
  • Place the baking trays into the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Rotate the baking trays halfway through baking. This ensures an even bake.
  • While the first batch of cookies are baking, pull together the leftover cookie dough, wrap and place back into the fridge.
  • The cookies are baked when they are golden in colour.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to firm up for a couple of minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack.
FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Cutting, baking and cooling the Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
  • Allow the baking trays to cool completely then, flip over the baking parchment.
  • Remove the cookie dough from the fridge, roll out and cut out the remaining cookies. Bringing the pieces of cookie dough together and re-rolling, until it is all used up.
  • Bake the cookies as before.
  • Allow the cookies to cool completely before icing.
  • Preparing the peppermint icing:
  • While the cookies are cooling prepare the icing to decorate with.
  • Into the bowl containing the sifted icing sugar, add the meringue powder (not neccesary if using royal icing).
  • Next add 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract and enough cold water 2-3 tablespoons to form a thick paste.
  • Transfer the icing to an icing bag fitted with a small, round writing nozzle. Alternatively, use a disposable icing bag, just prior to icing snip the very end off to leave a small hole.
  • Icing the cookies: – 
  • Note – have a butter knife, cocktail stick, kitchen roll and decorations to hand prior to starting.
  • Touch the tip of the icing bag to the cookie, keeping even pressure on the bag, pipe a line across the cookie. Effectively drawing a line from one point to its opposite. Repeat, until you have a criss-cross design. Place a silver ball in the centre and the cookie is decorated. To continue decorating, starting at a smaller point on the edge, touch the tip of the piping bag to the cookie and pipe a star shape. Joining to the already piped criss-cross lines. Finish by adding final detail to the points of the cookie. Add silver balls to create different finishes on each snowflake cookie. Please see the photos for reference.
FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Making the icing and decorating the Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
  • Decorating tips – use a butter knife to remove accidental/dripped/wobbly icing. Ensure the silver balls are added before the icing sets, so that they stick. To fill in a piped star, pipe icing inside the already piped lines, then use a cocktail stick to spread it to the edges.
  • Finally, dust the iced cookies with edible glitter and allow to set.
FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Sparkling Cookies under the spotlights in the kitchen.

These Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies are almost hypnotic, with their beautiful sparkle, under the spotlights in our kitchen!

Store the cookies for up to one week in an airtight container.

Serve with a smile and for an indulgent treat a whipped cream topped hot chocolate 😉.

If you have enjoyed the recipe for these Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies you may also like these:

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies

FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies

Sparkling Snowflake Cake

FF Peppermint Sparkling Snowflake Cookies
Sparkling Snowflake Cake

Christmas is such a special time of the year. I’m fairly sure that it didn’t snow when the baby Jesus was born. Similarly I cannot imagine Mary and Joseph wishing for snow! Yet for me, snow on Christmas Day, really is the icing on top of the cookie!

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and hope that you will take time, during the exciting festivities, to remember the real reason we celebrate it.

Sammie xx

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Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread

Nothing smells better than the aroma of homemade bread, baking in the oven. As many of my regular readers will know, I adore making bread. Yet sometimes, time is the enemy. Especially if it’s needed for breakfast and we have run out. The solution is to bake this beautiful and delicious Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread.

FF Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread
Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread crowned with cherries.

An un-yeasted bread, made even easier by using a packet of Wrights Scofa Bread Mix. All this tasty loaf requires is a little mixing, shaping and popping in a preheated oven to bake. The addition of cherries and flaked almonds gives this loaf the wow factor. Especially with the almond flavour icing, temptingly drizzled over the loaf and finished with ruby red, glacé cherries.

FF Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread
Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread hearty and delicious.

Since this loaf takes less than 45 minutes from start to baked, it is perfect for lazy weekend breakfasts. Still, if you are in a real rush, ditch the icing and crown of cherries and serve this sliced, warm from the oven, with butter if desired.

FF Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread
Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread perfect for afternoon tea.

While this bread can be made and baked in under an hour, leaving to cool allows for simple, yet stunning decoration. Thick, almond icing, draped over the rustic loaf, simply topped with jewelled cherries. Creating a sensation for the eyes as well as the palette. Cooled and sliced, I found this delicious, hearty loaf needed no further addition. Each bite full of almonds, cherries and rustic, wholemeal bread.

Recipe: Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread

1 Packet Scofa Bread Mix available from Wrights Baking

Cold Water

150g/5oz Glacé Cherries

100g/4oz Flaked Almonds

3tsp Almond Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

200g/7oz Sifted Plain Icing Sugar

Method: Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7.

  • First of all, remove 12 whole glacé cherries and set them to one side for decoration.
  • Next cut all the remaining cherries in half.
  • Place the volume of water, as specified on the packet, into a large bowl.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of almond extract to the water. Swirl to mix.
  • Add the entire packet of Scofa Bread Mix.
  • Now add the cherry halves on top of the bread mix, lightly dusting them with the mix to stop them sticking together.
  • Reserve one tablespoon of flaked almonds for decoration and add the rest to the bowl.
  • Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until it comes together.
  • Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured work top and shape into a round.
  • Place the shaped dough on to a greased baking sheet.
  • Cut a deep cross into the dough, if not icing, sprinkle the remaining almonds over the bread.
  • Next place in the centre of a preheated oven.
  • Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes. Once baked it will sound hollow when rapped on the base with your knuckle. Note – this baking time is slightly longer than specified on the packet. This is due to the addition of cherries and almonds.
  • Once baked remove the bread from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
FF Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread
Making, shaping and baking the Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread
  • Note – the bread doesn’t change colour very much whilst baking.
  • Allow the bread to completely cool before icing and decorating.
  • To make the icing: Add 2 teaspoons of almond extract to the sieved icing sugar. Now add enough water, approximately one tablespoon, to the icing and stir. It should be a thick paste that can hold a figure of eight for a few seconds.
  • Place the cooling rack with the bread on it, over a baking tray, to catch any drips.
  • Start in the centre. Spoon thick icing over the bread, encouraging it to drape down over the sides of the loaf.
  • Continue until the bread is evenly drizzled with the icing.
  • Next, place the reserved cherries on top of the bread, forming a crown-like circle.
  • Finally, scatter the reserved almond flakes over the bread.
FF Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread
Icing and decorating the Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread
  • Set the decorated bread to one side to allow the icing to set.
FF Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread
Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread deliciously easy to make.

Serve this delicious bread sliced, for breakfast, lunch of afternoon tea. In fact, it is perfect for anytime of the day.

Store in an airtight container. This bread is at its best when eaten wishing 24 hours of baking. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem!

If you have enjoyed the recipe for this Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread you may also like these:

Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

FF Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread
Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

FF Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

Toffee Banoffee Waffles

FF Cherry Bakewell Soda Bread
Toffee Banoffee Waffles

Making something different for breakfast at the weekend is a real treat. Whilst most of my baking is made from scratch, the convenience of having good quality packet mixes in the cupboard cannot be denied. Balancing time spent together as a family with, the time it takes to create a feast, is important.

Do you make breakfast more of a treat at the weekend?

After all, it is the most important meal of the day?

Sammie xx

Wrights Baking supplied me with the mix to create this recipe. All views, content and photography are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes

Today is the first day of December. Jack Frost has visited us the last few nights and Winter has well and truly arrived. Sparkling pavements and frosted windscreens add to the beauty of crystal clear, blue skies. Inspired by the frosty weather I made these Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes. 

FF Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes
Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes these are definitely not for throwing!

Vanilla and coconut sponge, topped with a whipped, white chocolate buttercream. Ooh that got your attention! Followed by a complete covering of sweetened coconut and dusting of edible Magic Sparkles. If you like coconut, I can guarantee you’ll love these cupcakes.

FF Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes
Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes full of flavour.

While the potential for these cupcakes to be overly sweet is hinted at, I can assure you that they aren’t. The sweetened ‘Angel Flakes’ coconut is not, as one would imagine, overly sweet. Rather, the taste is predominantly that of pure coconut, with a little addition of sweetness to enhance the flavour. Resulting in a perfectly balanced, delightful cupcake.

I have been unable to source the ‘Angel Flakes’ from regular shops or supermarkets. However, it is readily available to buy online, from Amazon. Desiccated coconut is a real no no for me. In fact, I find it much sweeter than the coconut used here. Of course, if you like the flavour, then feel free to substitute it in this recipe. Likewise, if you can get hold of freshly grated coconut, that also can be used.

FF Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes
Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes delicious any time of the year.

These cupcakes are a perfect bake for over the festive season. Why not bake up a batch and share them with your work colleagues or friends? I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t enjoy a delicious, homemade cupcake. Christmas is the season for sharing, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could extend that season throughout the whole year?

Recipe: Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes makes 12

125g/4.5oz Unsalted Butter – softened

125/4.5oz Caster Sugar

Scant pinch of salt – I use Maldon

1/2tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

3 Large Free Range Eggs

125g/4.5oz Plain White Flour

1.5 tsp Baking Powder

50g/2oz Sweetened Shredded Coconut

2-3tbsp Milk

For the frosting:

400g/14oz Icing Sugar

200g/7oz Unsalted Butter softened

1tsp Vanilla Extract

2tbsp Very Hot Water

100g/4oz White Chocolate

Approximately 200g/7oz Sweetened Shredded Coconut

Method: Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan, gas mark 3.5

  • First, line a 12 hole cupcake tin with cupcake cases.
  • Next, in a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt. Whisk until light and creamy.
  • Now add all 3 eggs and the vanilla extract. Then sift in the flour and baking powder. Next add the coconut and whisk until everything is just combined, adding 2 or 3 tablespoons of milk to achieve a soft, dropping consistency.
  • Place a dessertspoon of cake batter into each cupcake case.
  • Finally, put the cupcake tin into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 20-30 minutes.
  • The cupcakes are baked when they are risen, golden and spring back from a light touch.
  • Once baked remove the cupcakes from the oven.
FF Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes
Making the cupcake batter, filling the cases and baking the cupcakes.
  • Baking the cupcakes at a slightly higher temperature results in a domed rise. This is deliberate, as it helps the shape of a snowball later when icing and covering.
  • Remove the hot cupcakes from the tin and place on to a cooling rack.
  • While the cupcakes are cooling make the buttercream icing.
  • First, place the softened butter into a large bowl and then sift in the icing sugar. Now add 2 tablespoons of very hot water from a recently boiled kettle and one teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  • Whisk, starting on a slow speed and then gradually increasing, whipping until the buttercream is light and fluffy. Set to one side.
  • Next, break up the white chocolate and place in a heatproof, microwaveable bowl. Zap for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate starts to melt. Remove the bowl from the microwave and stir continuously. The residual heat will continue to melt the remaining chocolate.
  • Once the chocolate is completely melted pour it into the buttercream.
  • Now whisk the buttercream and chocolate together, gradually increasing the speed, until the frosting is fully combined and cooled.
  • Fit a piping bag with a round piping tip approximately 12mm in diameter.
  • Fill the bag with the whipped, white chocolate, buttercream. Set to one side.
  • Remember to wait until the cupcakes are completely cooled before icing.
  • To ice the cupcakes, start in the centre and pipe a double swirl (one on top of the other), keeping an even pressure on the piping bag. Continue until all of the cupcakes have been iced.
FF Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes
Swirled white chocolate frosting on top of each cupcake.
FF Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes
Sweetened Coconut and Magic Sparkles3 used to cover the cupcakes.
  • Next, weigh out the sweetened coconut into a bowl and break any clumps apart with your fingers.
  • To cover the first cupcake, hold it in your hand over the bowl of coconut. Use your other hand to cover the sides of the frosting with the coconut, gently pressing so that it sticks. Rotate the cupcake until the sides are covered with coconut, letting any excess drop back into the bowl. Now sprinkle a good amount over the top of the cupcake. Again pressing lightly so that it sticks to the buttercream. Continue until all of the cupcakes are covered in coconut.
  • Next, sprinkle over the edible sparkles. Add as much glitter as you like!
FF Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes
Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes that really do look like edible snowballs!

These delicious, fun cupcakes are ready to serve straight away. To store, place in an airtight container and eat within 4 days. Although they are at their very best eaten within the first 24 hours of making.

FF Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes
Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes too good to keep to yourself!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes you may also like these:

Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes

FF Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes
Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes

Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes

FF Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes
Maple Syrup Frosted Apple Cupcakes

Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes

FF Coconut White Chocolate Snowball Cupcakes
Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes can be made gluten free.

Whilst these coconut cupcakes have been baked with the festive season in mind, they would be a delicious treat at any time of the year. Baked to be shared, with love stirred in abundance, these would also make a delicious treat for family, friends, or work colleagues. Since food always tastes better when it is shared, these cupcakes are ideal for sharing.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, over this festive season, I hope you have lots of fun and laughter preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

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Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

Christmas is only four weeks away and I am thoroughly enjoying the build up. Especially when it comes to creating new recipes to share with you here. Food is a big part of our Christmas, with tradition dictating our ham is cooked on Christmas Eve, as well as fresh sausage rolls and mince pies. This year there will definitely be a Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf on offer for breakfast on the big day itself. Filling the house with scents of Christmas spice, as it is sliced and toasted.

FF Spiced Christmas Fruit Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf delicious toasted for breakfast.

Packed full of dried fruits including dates, cherries and cranberries, in a brioche style loaf. The added milk, eggs and butter used in a Brioche give it a wonderfully soft crumb. Perfect for eating sliced as is, or toasted and slathered in butter. This loaf really does smell and taste of Christmas.

FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf egg wash gives the bronzed, glossy top when baked.

Using the best Medjool Dates from The Medjool Date Company, certainly enhances the taste of this loaf. While sweeter than my Spiced Fruit Loaf, it does not hold back on the Christmas spices of Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg and Allspice. Resulting in the most amazing aroma, filling the kitchen and then the house, as this beautifully bronzed loaf bakes.

FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf perfect with a cup of tea mid afternoon.

Baked in the British Bakeware, 3lb Farmhouse Loaf Tin, this fruited bread never sticks. The deep sides of the tin ensure the dough is supported as it rises. Resulting in an evely risen loaf, without a muffin top. The advantage being, a great shaped loaf that is easy to slice and the slices fit in the toaster. Without exception, this loaf tin is my most used and most treasured piece of kitchen bakeware.

Recipe: Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

2 Large Free Range Eggs

Approx 320mls Whole Milk – to make volume to 350mls when added to eggs

1tsp Caster Sugar

7g Easy Bake Dried Yeast – I use Allinson in the green container/sachets

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Flour

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter – at room temperature and cut into cubes plus extra for greasing the loaf tin

7g Salt – I use Maldon

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – I use Nielsen-Massey

2tsp Ground Cinnamon

1tsp Ground Ginger

1tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

1/2tsp Ground Allspice

100g/4oz Medjool Dates – I like The Medjool Date Co.

100g/4oz Dried Cranberries

50g/2oz Glacé Cherries

1 Egg whisked with a teaspoon of water for the egg wash

Method:

A stand mixer was used to make and knead the dough for this loaf. You may choose to make this by hand, however, the dough is incredibly sticky. A mixer is recommended.

  • Measure out 320mls of milk into a microwaveable jug. Zap on full power for 20 seconds. Stir and check the temperature, it should be the same as body temperature. If it is a little too warm set to one side to cool.
  • Into the slightly warmed (not fridge cold) milk add 2 whole eggs. The volume should be 350mls. Tip away any small excess of milk.
  • Pour the milk and eggs into the large bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Next add the sugar and yeast. Stir with a sooon to break up the eggs and mix the ingredients.
  • Now add the flour, on top of the liquid ingredients. This forms a barrier so that the yeast does not come into direct contact with the next addition, salt.
  • Add the salt and cubes of butter.
  • Fit a dough hook to the stand mixer and mix on a slow speed for 10 minutes.
  • While the dough is mixing prepare the fruit; remove stones from the dates and cut in half, cut each half into four pieces. Next cut each glacé cherry into quarters. Place the cranberries, cherries and dates in a bowl together.
  • After 10 minutes of mixing, stop the mixer and lift the dough hook. Remove a small piece of dough and stretch it. The dough is properly kneaded when it can stretch, without tearing, thinly enough to see light through it. This is called the windowpane test. If the dough tears, lower the dough hook and continue mixing for a further 2 minutes, after which test it again.
  • Once the dough passes the windowpane test, add the fruit and spices.
  • Lower the dough hook and mix again on low speed for a further 2 minutes.
  • After the fruit is incorporated stop the mixer and lift the dough hook.
  • Use clean fingers to scrape the dough from the hook and place it in the bowl.
FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
The prepared fruit and dough ready for it’s first prove.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and place it somewhere warm and away from draughts.
  • Now leave the dough to double in size.
  • NOTE: The presence of spices will slow down the action of the yeast. Therefore, the dough may take longer, up to 2 hours or more, to double in size.
  • While the dough is proving thoroughly grease a 3lb deep farmhouse loaf tin with butter.
  • When the dough has at least doubled in size, scrape it out on to a lightly floured surface.
  • Press the dough into a rough rectangular shape. Now fold the bottom third up and then fold the top third down, so that it slightly overlaps the previous fold.
  • Finally, tuck either end under, so that you have an oval-ish shape. Place the shaped dough into the buttered loaf tin. Cover with the same tea towel as before and leave, as before until doubled in size.
  • While the dough is proving preheat the oven to 240C/22C fan, gas mark 8.
  • Once the dough has doubled or even trebled in size, remove the tea towel. Using a pastry brush lightly brush over the egg wash.
FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf ready for the oven.
  • Now place the loaf carefully into the centre of the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes before reducing the oven heat to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7.
  • Continue baking for a further 20 minutes and then remove the loaf from the oven.
  • Turn the loaf out on to a cooling rack. Rap the base of the loaf with your knuckle. The bread is baked if the rapping produces a hollow sound. If not, place the loaf, on its side back in the oven and check every 5 minutes until it is fully baked.
FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf fresh from the oven.

Allow the Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf to fully cool before slicing.

This fruited loaf will last for 3 days in a proper bread bin. Serve sliced, as is, or slice and toast for a delicious, fruit and spice filled breakfast. A perfect treat for the build up to Christmas, or even on Christmas Day itself.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf you may also like these:

Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

Lighter Wholemeal Loaf

FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Lighter Wholemeal Loaf

Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake

FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Dundee Fruit Celebration Cake

Since you are setting the stand mixer up to make this fruited loaf, why not double up the ingredients and make two loaves? Sharing is inherently part of Christmas. I can think of no better reason, than to give one loaf away. Surely anyone would be happy to receive the gift of a freshly baked, Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf!

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun and remember food always tastes better when it’s shared.

Sammie xx

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Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies

Baby it’s cold outside! The second of two storms is currently battering the southern half of the British Isles. While gale force winds and squally showers are battering outside, baking makes indoors warm and cosy. Especially when the aroma of these Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies escapes from the oven. A brilliant and tasty way to warm up the day.

FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies a deliciously warming treat.

Since discovering Sugar and Crumbs gingerbread flavour icing sugar, I have become a little obsessed with all things ginger flavoured. Wanting to create a winter spiced brownie, I decided to substitute the flavoured icing sugar for some of the treacly dark sugar in the recipe. Having been sent some Dark Chocolate Ginger Thins from Beech’s Chocolates, to try, I couldn’t resist adding some to the brownie batter. Resulting in a deep, dark chocolate brownie with a background warmth from the gingerbread sugar and nuggets of ginger chocolate studded throughout.

FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies perfect for sharing.

While not as dense, or fudgey as regular gingerbread and brownies, these squares are perfect as they are. Bordering on cake-like, yet not light and fluffy, these squares tick all the boxes. Sweet, but not overly so. Chocolatey, yet not cloying. Warming, without being overwhelming. Perfectly balanced flavours that satisfy with every bite.

FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies

    Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies a delicious comforting treat.

So easy to make and bake, these brownies also make a delicious edible gift. Ensure the icing is set, then pop a few into a pretty tin, or cellophane bag tied with ribbon. All food tastes better when shared. Homemade treats have the extra luxury of love mixed into them. Now that is something that cannot be bought!

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies makes 15

150g/5oz Unsalted Butter

225g/8oz Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar

50g/2oz Gingerbread Icing Sugar available from Sugar and Crumbs see *note

1/8tsp Salt – I use Maldon

50g/2oz Cocoa Powder – I use Callebaut

150g/5oz Plain White Flour

1/2tsp Sodium Bicarbonate

4 Large Free Range Eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

100g/4oz Dark Chocolate Ginger Thins – available from Beech’s Fine Chocolates

*note – if flavoured icing sugar is unavailable use 275g/10oz of D/B Muscavado sugar and add 2tsp of ground ginger to the sieved flour.

For the icing:

100g/4oz Gingerbread Flavour Icing Sugar – if not available use plain icing sugar.

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4

You will need a 28cm x 20cm x 5cm (12″ x 8″ x “2) traybake tin lined with aluminium foil.

  • First add the butter, both types of sugar and salt to a heavy bottomed large saucepan. Place over a medium heat and stir constantly until the butter is melted.
  • Take the pan off the heat and add the cocoa powder, stirring until it is thoroughly combined. Set the saucepan to one side to cool slightly.
  • While the pan is cooling, crack the eggs into a jug, add the vanilla extract and whisk lightly to combine – liquid ingredients.
  • Next sift the flour and sodium bicarb. into the saucepan. Stir to combine. The mixture will be quite stiff, that is normal.
  • Now pour the liquid ingredients into the saucepan and stir thoroughly until the brownie batter is thoroughly combined.
  • Roughly chop the ginger chocolate and add to the saucepan. Stir a couple of times to distribute evenly.
  • Finally pour the brownie batter into the prepared tin. Give the tin a couple of sharp raps against the work top. This will bring any bubbles to the surface.
FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Making the brownie batter and filling the tin.
  • Place the tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Halfway through the baking time, open the oven door and rap the tin against the shelf. This really helps to stop the brownies becoming too airy and cake-like.
  • The brownies are baked when the top is set and there is not hint of wobble in the centre.
  • Once baked, remove the tin from the oven and allow the brownies to completely cool in the tin.
FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies baked and cooling in the tin.
  • While the brownies are cooling, make the gingerbread icing.
  • First, sift the icing sugar into a medium sized bowl, then add a teaspoon of water. Stir, adding extra water, drop by drop, until you have a thick, drizzling consistency.
  • Spoon the icing into a small piping bag. Alternatively, cover the bowl with cling film and you can use a spoon to drizzle the icing.
  • When the brownies are completely cooled, lift the entire slab from the tin, using the foil to help. Peel the foil carefully away from the baked brownie and place on to a large piece of baking parchment. Now cut the brownie into 15 equal sized squares. First cutting across the width, diving into 3 and then cutting across at 5 equal intervals to create 15 individual brownie squares. Spread the squares out so that each one can be iced individually.
  • Next, snip the end from your piping bag to leave a very small hole. Pipe diagonal lines across each brownie, or lightly drizzle the icing using a teaspoon.
FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies finished with piped icing.

Leave the icing to set before serving, or storing in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies the piped icing gives them a professional finish.

These Brownies are delicious served just as they are, with a hot drink and a smile. However, if you really want to turn them into a fantastic dessert, warm briefly (10 seconds in the microwave) and serve with a scoop of you favourite ice cream!

If you have enjoyed these Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies then you may like these too:

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes

FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Gingerbread Frosted Ginger Christmas Cupcakes

Chocolate Sparkle Cake

FF Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies
Chocolate Sparkle Cake

Whether you bake these Dark Chocolate Ginger Brownies as a treat for yourself and you family, or to take into school or work to share with friends, they are sure to be a big hit. Homemade bakes taste infinitely better, unless you live close to a great bakery. Sharing our bakes shows others that they are valued in our lives. Regardless of their situation, someone has thought of them. I personally, cannot think of a better reason to get in the kitchen and bake!

Whatever you are creating, making and baking in your kitchen, have fun and remember to stir some extra love in.

Sammie xx

Beech’s Chocolates sent me the dark chocolate ginger thins to try. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions, views, photographs and content are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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