Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us and whether you subscribe to red hearts, roses and all things lovey-dovey, or not, walk down any high street and you can’t fail to avoid it. For me, each day is about expressing my love to those around me. Most importantly my hubby, our children and then my beautiful sister and her amazing family. Whether you celebrate February 14th as a specific day to show people your love, or choose other days, every single day, this Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake is sure to be well received.

FF Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake
Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake shimmering in the sunlight.

Love, for me is about showing someone I’ve thought of them. It can be a small act of making a cup of tea and a kiss, or it can be a grander gesture, such as buying theatre or concert tickets. One way I like to show loved ones that I’ve thought of them is to bake or cook for them. Making their favourite meal, baking cookies such as these Chocolate Heart Cookies, all adds to the love in our home.

FF Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake
Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake says “I love you”.

Something absolutely guaranteed to win most people round is chocolate. Having been sent a beautiful selection of chocolates from Lloyd’s Chocolatiers, I wanted to show them off. As the chocolate hearts are filled with delicate whipped creams, caramel, praline or divine caramel, they provide the perfect decoration to this lightly flavoured cake. Easily removed when served, they create a stunning addition to any plate.

FF Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake
An elegant dessert plate accessorised with heart chocolates.

Made with love. Served with love. These beautiful and varied chocolate hearts create a stunning dessert plate. This definitely says “I love you”.

FF Chocolate Heart Rose Bundt Cake
Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake

While baking a chocolate cake may seem an obvious choice, I instead decided to choose a flavour to compliment the chocolates. Keeping the rose flavour subtle within the cake also stops it from overpowering the chocolates. Since the aim is, that each should compliment the other. Finishing with an un-flavoured glaze and dust of glitter, takes this cake from pretty to elegant.

Recipe: Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake serves 8-10

For the cake batter:

275g/10oz Unsalted Butter softened

275g/10oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Salt – I use Maldon

2tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – or Vanilla Extract

6 Large Free Range Eggs

1tsp Rose Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

300g/11oz Plain White Four

2tsp Baking Powder

100g Full Fat Natural Yoghurt- I use Yeo Valley

For the icing and decoration:

450g/1lb White Unflavoured Icing Sugar

100mls Cold Tap Water

Edible Glitter – I use My Cake Decor gold glitter pump spray

Chocolate Hearts

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

First of all, ensure the Bundt pan is clean and dry. Shake the can or bottle well. Spray, or brush Wilton cake release thoroughly using a soft pastry brush. Note – if the weather is cold the liquid in the bottle may be difficult to squeeze out and brush. Stand the bottle in a jug of hot water for 10 minutes, shake well and use.

  • Making the cake batter: Into a large bowl add the softened butter, sugar and salt.
  • Whisk/beat together until well combined, pale and creamy.
  • Next, into a separate bowl, sieve the flour and baking powder together – dry ingredients.
  • Into the creamed butter bowl add the vanilla paste, rose extract and 2 eggs. Then add one third of the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  • Add a further 2 eggs, another third of the dry ingredients and mix as before.
  • Finally, add the last 2 eggs, yoghurt and the last third of the dry ingredients. Mix until thoroughly combined, however take care not to over mix.
  • Spoon the cake batter into the prepared Bundt pan, pressing down as you do. Smooth the top of the batter with a spoon.
  • Place the Bundt pan in the centre of the oven and bake for 1hr – 1hr 15 minutes.
  • The cake is baked when it is golden in colour, shrinking away from the sides of the pan and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Once baked remove the cake from the oven.
FF Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake
Preparing the Bundt pan, filling and baking the cake.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
  • Now turn out the Bundt cake on to a cooling rack.
  • Leave the cake to cool completely before icing.
FF Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake
Beautiful definition from the Chiffon Bundt.
  • While the cake is cooling, make the glacé icing.
  • Sift the icing sugar into a bowl.
  • Add the water and stir thoroughly, until a smooth consistency is achieved.
  • When cool, place the cake on the cooling rack, over a clean baking tray. This will catch any excess icing drips.
  • Start to spoon the icing over the top of the cake, working your way around the cake.
  • Continue to spoon icing through the central hole and around the outside until the cake is fully covered.
  • Leave the icing to naturally drip from the cake and finally set.
  • If using, dust the cake with edible glitter.
  • Move the cake on to a serving plate or stand.
FF Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake
Covering the cake with icing and dusting with glitter.
  • Place the chocolate hearts on top of the cake, reserving some for serving alongside.
FF Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake
Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake adorned with delightful chocolates.

Serve with love and a smile.

The cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days. If it lasts that long.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake then you may also like these:

Maple Syrup Iced Coffee Bundt Cake

FF Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake
Maple Syrup Iced Coffee Bundt Cake

Strawberry Sweetheart Cake

FF Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake
Strawberry Sweetheart Cake

Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

FF Chocolate Heart Topped Rose Bundt Cake
Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake

Nordic Ware have a range of different shapes and styles of Bundt Pans. Since they are not cheap they are an investment worth looking after. Especially, if like me, cake decorating isn’t your strongest point. Yet, if looked after properly, the detailed Bundt Pans will last you a lifetime. Because each cake baked has love stirred into it, nothing else can compare with the taste. Ultimately they pay for themselves, with magnificent cakes that aren’t bought from a bakery.

On Valentine’s Day and everyday, I wish you love, health, peace and happiness.

Sammie xx

LLoyds Chocolatiers sent me the chocolate hearts to try. All content, photography, views and opinions are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Not me! Yet after the festive season, well, to be truthful, unwrapping and eating another choccie, can, lose its appeal. Since wasting chocolate is an option that cannot even be considered, incorporating it into bakes and desserts seems the perfect answer. Hence, I present to you my Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut.

FF Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut
Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut topped with Fererro Rocher.

While I used Fererro Rocher to inspire and top this bake, another Christmas chocolate was also used for the drizzling. Look away now if you love Teddy Bears, I used a whole Lindt Christmas jumper bear, melted down. To say this was an indulgent bake, would be to understate. Serving this for dessert, would, without doubt, bring about happy smiles and much excitement.

FF Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut
Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut sandwiched together with whipped cream and chocolate hazelnut spread.

Creating a giant, baked doughnut, using silicone moulds, readily available online – mine were bought from Lakeland, makes an unusual and fun change from a sandwich cake. If however, you cannot source the moulds, this recipe can be baked in two, greased and lined 6 – 7 inch sandwich tins. Baking time will be approximately the same.

 

FF Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut
Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut perfect for sharing.

While a single, regular doughnut is perfect for one person, this giant doughnut is perfect for sharing. Since it is my belief that all food tastes better when it is shared, surely this can only be a good thing!

Recipe: Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut serves 8

For the Doughnut Sponge

200g/7oz Unsalted Butter – softened, plus extra to grease moulds

200g/7oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Salt – I use Maldon

6 Large Free Range Eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

100g/4oz Plain White Flour

75g/3oz Cocoa Powder – I use Callebaut

1.5tsp Baking Powder

Filling and Topping the Doughnut 

200ml/8fl oz Double Cream

3tbsp Chocolate Hazelnut Spread – I use Jim Jams Spreads

100g/4oz Milk Chocolate

2tbsp Chopped Roasted Hazelnuts

8 Fererro Rocher or other chocolate to decorate

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

  • First of all, grease the insides of the doughnut moulds with softened butter. Then place them on a baking tray, ensuring that they don’t touch. The silicone mould could easily be misshapen if pressed.
  • To make the batter, start by placing the butter, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Whisk/beat together until pale and creamy.
  • Next add all 6 eggs and the vanilla extract.
  • Now sift the cocoa powder, plain flour and baking powder into the same bowl.
  • Whisk/beat all the ingredients until they have just come together. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl then give the batter a final mix.
  • Divide the batter equally between the two moulds. Finish by smoothing the surface of the batter to ensure an even bake.
FF Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut
Silicone giant doughnut moulds filled, ready for the oven.
  • Place the baking tray, with the moulds on, into the centre of the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes.
  • The sponge is baked when it feels firm to touch and springs back when lightly pressed.
FF Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut
Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut perfect flat tops from low and slow baking.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the moulds and then turn the doughnut halves out on to a cooling rack. Cool completely before decorating. Since this doughnut was baked in the evening, it was stored, with baking parchment underneath and between, in an airtight container. Ready to be filled and decorated the next day.
  • Assembling the Giant Doughnut: First of all, pour the double cream into a large bowl and whisk until it just starts to thicken. Continue whisking slowly until it just holds its shape. Take care not to over whisk so that it becomes stiff, this will make it difficult to pipe.
  • Now take the half that is to be the top part of the doughnut and spread the chocolate and hazelnut spread evenly on to the flat underside.
  • Place the bottom half of the doughnut, flat side up, on to the plate or stand on which it is to be served.
  • Fill an icing bag fitted with a large star tip – I use Wilton #1M – with the whipped cream. Pipe a swirl pattern on to the bottom doughnut – as seen in the pictures. Alternatively you can spoon the cream on to the doughnut.
  • Place the top half of the doughnut on to the bottom half.
  • Pipe cream stars all around the centre, where the two halves meet. This creates a beautiful finish.
FF Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut
Assembling the Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut.
  • Decorating the doughnut: Break or chop the chocolate into small pieces and place into a heatproof, microwaveable bowl. Zap in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring, between each heating. As soon as the chocolate starts to melt remove the bowl and continue stirring until the chocolate is liquid.
  • Drizzle the chocolate, using a teaspoon, over the doughnut.
  • Next, working quickly before the chocolate sets, add the unwrapped Fererro Rocher to the top of the doughnut. Holding each one in place for a few seconds so that it sticks to the chocolate.
  • Sprinkle over the toasted, chopped hazelnuts and allow the chocolate to fully set before serving.
FF Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut
Warm, drizzled chocolate adorned with Fererro Rocher and toasted, chopped hazelnuts.

As soon as the chocolate is set this Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut is ready to be served.

FF Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut
Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut so inviting.

To serve, cut using a sharp knife, wiping the knife clean, between each cut, will keep the slices tidy. The sponge, whipped cream and chocolate hazelnut layers are clear to see.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. While best on the day assembled, this doughnut will keep for up to 2 days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut you may also like these:

Black Forest Giant Doughnut

FF Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut
Black Forest Giant Doughnut

Strawberry Whipped Cream Giant Doughnut

FF Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut
Strawberry Whipped Cream Giant Doughnut gluten free recipe option available.

Raspberries Whipped Cream Giant Doughnut

FF Chocolate Hazelnut Baked Giant Doughnut
Raspberries Whipped Cream Giant Doughnut

Since something as simple as a silicone giant doughnut mould can create such fun and show stopping desserts, I highly recommend them. Most of all, if you serve up a Giant Doughnut as dessert to dinner guests, they are not only likely to be impressed, but also inquisitive about how it is made. Certainly, the variety of bakes are as limitless as our own imagination.

Baking should be fun, creative and adventurous. Best of all, it should be shared.

Sammie xx

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Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars

In an ideal world, all food consumed by myself and our family would be homemade. Reality dictates that is not feasible. Yet certain products, made with natural ingredients make that dream, a step closer. For example the lemon curd used in my Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars, tastes as good, if not better than that made at home. Resulting in a delicious recipe, made one stage easier by a product already available.

FF Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars
Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars simply delicious.

Creating a bake that is sturdy enough to withstand transport in a school backpack or briefcase can have its challenges. Yet, a sturdy, buttery, shortbread base ensures these bars remain intact during transit. Since hubby does not always have time for a set lunch break, knowing he has something he can munch with a coffee makes me happy. Of course, he functions better when his energy is topped up too.

FF Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars
Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars a tasty, not too sweet, treat.

There are a variety of traybakes here, on Feasting is Fun, including Lemon Drizzle Cake Bars and Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks. Some considered more ‘healthy’ than others. With respect, anything cooked at home, using good quality ingredients and made with love, is, in my opinion far better than a mass produced product with a shelf life of months!

FF Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars
Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars with theee clearly defined layers.

Biting into a bar really is a taste and texture sensation for your tongue and tastebuds. Each blueberry, when baked, turns into its own little pod of jam. Yet without the added sweetness of preserves. The cake layer, moist and light contrasts beautifully with the tang of lemon and defined shortbread base. Resulting in a complete mouthful of joy with each bite.

Recipe: Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars makes 12

Shortbread Base

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter softened

150g/5oz Caster Sugar

1/4tsp Salt I use Maldon

1 Large Free Range Egg Yolk

1tsp Vanilla Extract I use Nielsen-Massey

275g/10z Plain White Flour

For the Sponge Topping

4-5 tbsp Lemon Curd I use Hawkshead Relish

100g/4oz Unsalted Butter softened

100g/4oz Caster Sugar

2 Large Free Range Eggs

100g/4oz Plain White Flour

1tsp Baking Powder

200g/7oz Fresh Blueberries

Finely Grated Zest of 1 Lemon

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

Line a 20cm x 28cm x 5cm (8″ x 11″ x 2″) tin with baking parchment, ensuring the parchment is higher than the sides of the tin. The tin does not need to be greased first.

  • Making the Shortbread Base:
  • Place the softened butter, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Whisk or beat until the mixture is pale and creamy.
  • Next, add the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Continue to beat until all ingredients are completely incorporated.
  • Now sift the flour into the bowl and then, using a spoon gently mix all the ingredients until they just come together.
  • Spoon the shortbread mixture into the lined tin and then press into an even layer using your fingers. Use a fork to prick holes, known as docking, into the shortbread. This allows any steam to escape and create a golden base.
  • Place the tin into the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. Until the top is just turning golden.
  • While the shortbread is baking make the sponge topping – see below for instructions.
  • Once baked remove the shortbread from the oven. It is important to note that the shortbread is not fully cooked at this point.
FF Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars
Making and baking the buttery shortbread base.
  • Making the Sponge Topping
  • While the shortbread is baking the cake batter can be made.
  • Into a large bowl, as before, add the butter and sugar. Whisk/beat until pale and creamy.
  • Next add the two eggs and continue whisking until the mixture is completely combined.
  • Now sift the flour and baking powder into the same bowl. Then add the blueberries and the lemon zest.
  • Using a metal spoon, fold the ingredients together gently, to minimise breaking up the blueberries. Set to one side.
  • Assembling the Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars
  • Once the shortbread base is baked allow to cool for 5 minutes. Then spoon over the lemon curd, spreading so that it covers the base, yet doesn’t quite reach the edges.
  • Spoon over the cake batter. Dolloping it fairly evenly across the base. Finally, gently spread the batter so that it covers the base. Pay particular attention to the edges. Aiming to seal in the lemon curd, by ensuring the cake batter is in contact with the shortbread around the entire edge.
FF Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars
Building the different layers of the Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars.
  • Place the tin back into the centre of the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. The lower and longer baking results in an even bake with a flat surface.
  • The Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars are baked when the top is golden in colour and is firm to touch. Once baked remove the tin from the oven and set to one side to allow to cool completely.
FF Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars
The finished bake cooling.
  • When completely cooled, remove the entire traybake from the tin. A fish slice or large palette knife is useful. Ease the knife under the bake, using it to lift and support as you move the traybake to a flat surface.
  • Using a sharp knife cut halfway through the width of the bake. Wipe the knife between each cut, this avoids spoiling the bake.
  • Following this first cut, now cut downwards, dividing the bake into four equal quarters.
  • Finally, cut each quarter into three equal sized bars.
FF Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars
Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars perfect for packed lunches.

The lemon curd is perfect in these bars.

Serve the Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars with a cup of tea, on some cheerful china, with a smile.

FF Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars
Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars taste better when shared!

Store in an airtight container. They will keep for 4 days. During warm weather, storing in the fridge is advised.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars you may also like these:

Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks

FF Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars
Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks

Double Cherry Drizzle Oat Bars

FF Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars
Double Cherry Drizzle Oat Bars

Bakewell Shortbread Bars

FF Blueberry Lemon Shortbread Cake Bars
Bakewell Shortbread Bars

 

Baking and cooking good, wholesome food for my family is very important to me. It truly is one of the ways that I show them my love. Knowing in the middle of a busy day that my hubby has something made with love, by me, to help him through. Well, it doesn’t get better than that when we are apart from each other. The oohs and aahs as each family member returns at the days end, to the comforting kitchen aromas, ensures they know that they are truly home.

Love, inquisitiveness and creating are the main motivational factors behind all of my cooking. What are yours?

Sammie xxx

Hawkshead Relish provided me with the lemon curd used in this recipe. All content, opinions, views and photography are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream

Winter and ice cream. Can they really hold hands and be friends during the coldest months? I say absolutely! My Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream scooped into a bowl and topped with hot, toasted, flaked almonds is perfect any day of the year. Ice cream is for every season, we just have to get creative!

FF Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream
Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream topped with toasted almond flakes.

Amaretto is an Italian Almond Liqueur. It’s flavour is of warm, toasted almonds which, when sipped, produces a warming feeling throughout the body. Add it to ice cream and two different things happen. First of all, due to the alcohol content, this ice cream does not need to wait around, warming up before it can be scooped. Furthermore, the ice cream becomes dreamily creamy. Creating a dessert that stands alone on its own merits, the toasted flaked almonds adding a crunchy texture to the smoothness of the ice cream.

FF Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream
Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream scooped into a glass.

However, the Italians have a wonderful dessert called Affogato. A scoop or two of ice cream, drowned in a shot of hot, intense, espresso . The coffee drowns the ice cream. The resulting effect being a meeting of ice cold, ice cream and scalding hot coffee. If you love coffee, then this is an incredibly stylish way to end a meal.

FF Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream
Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream with a shot of espresso poured over.

The combination of opposites; hot and cold, sweet and bitter, dessert and drink, create an exciting, enticing, taste experience. Most of all, that tastebud sensation is completely homemade. Because the dessert is created from scratch, the control of flavours is in your hands.

FF Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream
Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream a delightful dessert.

Recipe: Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream makes 750ml

300ml/ 1/2 pint Double Cream

300ml/ 1/2 pint Whole Milk

1tsp Vanilla Bean Extract I use Nielsen-Massey

4 Large Free Range Egg Yolks

5tbsp Caster Sugar

1tsp Corn Flour I use Doves Farm  as it is 100% gluten free

5tbsp Amaretto Liqueur

Method:

Ensure the freezing compartment of the ice cream machine has been in the freezer overnight, or as per manufacturer’s instructions.

For step by step photographs, showing the making of an ice cream base, please see Very Vanilla Ice Cream.

  • First of all, pour both the cream and milk into a large, heavy based saucepan and place over a medium heat. Allow to heat until small bubbles form around the rim of the saucepan – this is known as the scalding point. Once reached, remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • While the milk/cream mixture is heating, add the egg yolks, sugar, corn flour and vanilla bean extract to a large, heatproof bowl. Whisk until pale and frothy.
  • As soon as the eggs are mixed and the milk/cream have reached scalding point, continue with the following:
  • With the whisk still on slow, gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the bowl containing the egg mixture. Keep pouring until all of the hot, creamy liquid is mixed in.
  • Next pour the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan and place over a low heat. Keep stirring to ensure the custard base does not catch. Continue heating until the custard has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Place a sieve over a large heatproof bowl and pour the custard base through.
  • To ensure a skin does not form on top of the custard, place cling film on to the custard. So that it is in direct contact.
  • Set the bowl aside to cool and then place in the fridge to chill thoroughly.
  • When the custard has fully chilled remove from the fridge. Now is the time to add the Amaretto Liqueur. Stir to mix.
  • Set up the ice cream machine as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • With the machine turned on, pour the deliciously scented custard base into the churning bowl.
  • Continue churning until the ice cream has a thick consistency.
  • Stop the machine and remove the lid and paddle. Scrape the ice cream from the paddle into a suitable freezer proof, airtight container. Then, using a silicone spatula, decant the rest of the ice cream into the container. Wipe away any splashes, clip on the lid, label and finally place the container into the freezer to finish freezing.
FF Amaretto Ice Cream
Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream ready to scoop straight from the freezer.

To serve, remove the ice cream from the freezer and scoop straight away. Since the ice cream contains a good slug of alcohol, which freezes at a much lower temperature, it is ready to serve immediately.

FF Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream
Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream one scoop or two?

To create an Amaretto Affogato, simply scoop one or two balls of ice cream into a heatproof glass. Immediately pour over a steaming, hot shot of espresso and serve.

Please make sure any dinner guests who are driving have an alternative. My Very Vanilla Ice Cream works very well in an Affogato. Likewise if you want the almond flavour, without the alcohol, you could add 2 teaspoons of good quality almond extract, instead of the Amaretto. The ice cream will need to sit for 20 minutes once removed from the freezer to soften.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream you may also like these:

Chocolate Orange Ice Cream

FF Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream
Chocolate Orange Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate Chip Vanilla Ice Cream

FF Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream
Dark Chocolate Chip Vanilla Ice Cream

Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

FF Amaretto Creamy Ice Cream
Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

Investing in an ice cream machine, need not only be for the warmer summer months. Cold ice cream melting over a warm Chocolate Fudge Brownie is my idea of comfort food heaven. I love the taste sensation of hot and cold together.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, make sure 2017 is the year you really do have fun.

Sammie xx

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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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