Almond and Morello Cherry Bundt Cake

Hello there, thank you to everyone who has been reading and leaving comments on my blogs. I’m hoping you love this Almond and MoreIlo Cherry Bundt Cake Recipe?

A moist, cooked cake, with a scrumptious Morello Cherry centre!!!!
A moist, cooked cake, with a scrumptious Morello Cherry centre!!!!

I hope, to all those of you who have been leaving helpful comments, especially regarding targeting more people to read my blog, thank you.  However I will only approve and reply to one of each blog.  I get a lot of identical blog comments!

I’m very happy to steadily build my site, confidence and readership numbers. I know SEO (site exposure optimisation!) is important to a lot of people and I respect that.

My website and blog is a creative outlet for me (especially as I am bed-bound for days on end – not asking for sympathy).  I enjoy life and as part of that cooking, baking and most importantly having fun and sharing.  So the very act of
sharing my recipes, ideas, thoughts, beliefs through my website and blog, is, I suppose, practising what I’m preaching (without the preaching, more chatting really!).

Talking of sharing, my lovely mummy recently bought me a small Bundt pan from Aldi.  I hadn’t used it until today and although there were a few things I learnt from my first go, it wasn’t half bad!  The cake turned out (literally) extremely well – was a bit worried bout that bit and it tasted good.  So all in all a success.  Thanks mummy xx.

Just in case you’ve not seen one before, I took a couple of pics to show you what my Bundt tin looks like!

The inside of my Bundt tin!
The inside of my Bundt tin!
The outside of the Bundt tin - showing the moulded shape the cake will have once cooked.
The outside of the Bundt tin – showing the moulded shape the cake will have once cooked.

My Bundt tin is quite small, but perfect for the recipe I used.  It’s dimensions are approx  6.5″ wide x 3.5″ deep.  You can buy all different sizes of pan: the common theme is that the pan has a moulded shape, to give a decorative finish to the cake and a central tube, allowing the inside of the cake to be cooked thoroughly (& allowing the finished cake to be filled with cream, fruit, patisserie creme or any number of delicious fillings).

A straight sided, round, flat bottomed tin, is an Angel Cake Tin.  These are for making an entirely different type of cake (Angel cake!), where, when cooling, the tin is inverted (turned upside down) until the cake is completely cool.  Don’t worry it’s on my birthday/Christmas/I must have this else my life will not be incomplete list!!!!!!

So my first attempt making an Almond and Morello Cherry Bundt Cake (as seen in the following photos) went something like this:

Firstly in the excitement – bare with, it’s the lil things in life that I enjoy – of taking all the wrapping/instructions etc off, I didn’t read them, so I could wash my new tin ready for use, I realised  I had no idea if the tin is non-stick!  It looked non-stick (please don’t ask me to describe?).  But I thought I’d play it safe and butter it.  Straightforward yes?  Nope!!

The beautiful shaped cakes mean the Bundt tin has lots of dents, curves, nooks & crannies.  Buttering a loaf tin with 5 straight sides is a breeze, how do I butter this gazillion sided round tin (being round does that mean it can’t have gazillions of sides?  Answers on a postcard……

Aha, a moment of pure inspiration, I’d melt the butter & brush it on with a pastry brush.  Genius!!!!

Me buttering the gazillion sided Bundt tin with melted butter.  Seriously you'd have thought I'd invented the wheel.......
Me buttering the gazillion sided Bundt tin with melted butter. Seriously you’d have thought I’d invented the wheel…….

Feeling very smug and having an excess of melted butter, I also buttered my loaf tin this way today!  Very satisfying to see a smooth(ish) layer of butter cooling in both tins!

Next it was time to decide what cake to bake?  I’ve seen some beautiful chocolate marble cakes made in Bundt tins, on Google images, but to be honest after all the chocolatey cakes made for birthdays recently, I wanted to think outside the box, or Bundt tin in this case!

So I thought I’d ‘try’ an Almond flavoured sponge.  A flavour that goes down well with all the family & crucially my official taste tester ‘the Green goddess’!

Good start but bit boring, so I had a peek in my cupboards & plucked out (the cupboards aren’t chickens in case you wondered!!) Almond flakes & Morello Cherry Jam – super.

Recipe : Almond and Morello Cherry Bundt Cake:

6oz  Unsalted Butter – room temp

6oz  Caster Sugar

Pinch of Salt (I use Kosher- no extra additives,  but  ground sea-salt is fine)

3  Large Eggs – room temp (pref free range)

1/4  teaspoon Almond Extract

1  teaspoon Vanilla Extract

6oz  Self Raising White Flour

2oz  Flaked Almonds (lightly toasted)

4  tablespoons Morello Cherry Jam

Method:

Preheat the oven to 175C (160C fan gas mark 3).

Cream the sugar & butter together using a wooden spoon or electric whisk until pale and creamy.

Add the salt, vanilla & Almond extract.  Mix well.

Crack the eggs into a separate bowl. Add one half  of the flour and 2 eggs, gently mix until almost combined.  Add the remaining egg & flour.  Gently mix until the mixture is completely combined.

Using a desert spoon place spoonfuls of the cake batter into the bottom of the Bundt tin.  Using the spoon spread the mixture so that it covers the bottom of the Bundt tin.  Building the batter up slightly towards the centre and outside edge.  This creates a dip where the filling will go.

Making the dip in the batter should stop the jam from reaching the tin sides, causing the cake to stick.
Making the dip in the batter should stop the jam from reaching the tin sides, causing the cake to stick.

Sprinkle half the toasted Almond flakes on top of the batter.

I didn't toast my Almonds - but I will next time!
I didn’t toast my Almonds – but I will next time!

Next using a small teaspoon, carefully spoon the jam into the centre dip of the cake batter, taking care not to touch the sides.  Smooth the jam out carefully.

I'm pretty sure if the jam spreads to the edges, no amount if ingeniously buttered tin will stop the cake from sticking!!!!
I’m pretty sure if the jam spreads to the edges, no amount if ingeniously buttered tin will stop the cake from sticking!!!!

Sprinkle the last of the flake almonds over the jam, then dollop the remaining cake batter over the top, ensuring as you smooth it out you don’t press the jam toward the sides of the tin.

The cake batter completely encases the jam.
The cake batter completely encases the jam.

Place the Bundt tin in the preheated oven for an hour.  The cake will look cooked approximately 15 minutes before it is, however the centre will not be cooked through.  Continue cooking until the cake has cooked for 1hr 5 mins.

Remove the Bundt tin from the oven and place on a cooling rack.  It is important to let the cake cool completely in the tin.

Looks like I guessed the right quantities for this Bundt tin!!
Looks like I guessed the right quantities for this Bundt tin!!

When the cake feels completely cool, including the centre,  turn the cake out onto a pretty plate.

Or baking rack, will explain later!!!!
Or baking rack, will explain later!!!!

Now you can pop the kettle on (obviously I don’t mean you wear it just, fill & switch on!!!!!), then slice into this beautiful cake.

The jam is contained within the cake and it looks scrummy!
The jam is contained within the cake and it looks scrummy!

I popped the slice above round to my Green goddess friend who wasn’t feeling quite the ticket.  It was received with thanks and thoroughly enjoyed.

See, I had fun making this and sharing with a wonderful friend, who sat with a cuppa, feasted and enjoyed (before my children & hubby came home & almost demolished the rest!).

Now what really happened:

The cake  was removed from the oven after 45 mins.  It was left until slightly warm & turned out onto a cooling rack (don’t ask me why? It seemed like a good idea at the time!!!!).

I then took the photo of the turned out cake, thankfully!!  When I looked closely I realise the centre of the cake wasn’t completely cooked – whoops!

I turned the oven back on, tried to place the Bundt cake on a baking sheet, in doing so part of the cake collapsed – about a portion.  So I attempted to squish the cake together, popped back in the oven & cooked for a further 15-20 mins until the centre was just cooked.

I removed the cake from the oven, allowed to cool until barely warm, cut the slightly collapsed portion out (which I feasted on with a cup of tea!). Then I sliced my friends portion and popped it round to her (2 doors down).

So I’ve adjusted adjusted the cooking time to 1hr-1hr10 mins.  If the top of the cake – which will become the bottom when turned out – is browning too quickly just cover with aluminium foil, removing 5 mins before the cake is completely cooked, so that your cake does not have a soggy bottom!

The cake was rescued, tasted yummy and was feasted on & shared with family & friends.

Until next time keep sharing, you will be  surprised how much it makes YOU smile and it’s FUN!

Sammie x

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Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova

Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova chewy, brownie inner to a crisp chocolate meringue, topped with softly whipped Cream and ruby red raspberries.

 

Hello, I’m writing this blog with fond memories of our week spent in the heart of Devon during half term – this Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova was made, at the barn, with minimal equipment and only my memory for the recipe! I’d call that a challenge!!

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova made again at home.

Physically it was a bit of a struggle for me, but that was more than compensated by the time we spent as a family: hanging out together, all 5 of us on a trampoline ( trust me I wasn’t jumping !!!!) that I thought was going to collapse at any second, being rowed around the pond, discovering semi-wild farm cats and their kittens in the hay barn – sooo cute, spending time with our Devon Families, both in church and on the farm.  But most of all being together Feasting and Having Fun!!!!!

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova perfect for dessert or afternoon tea.

Firstly I have to give complete credit to Nigella for inspiring this scrumptious Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova.

Whilst staying in our gorgeous Barn in the middle of nowhere Pip had invited us to share a meal with her and her wonderful hubby Sailor Man and their daughter Leggy Lou!

Pip would be cooking Lasagne and I offered to do pudding!!

We’ve been staying on the same farm, in the same barn at least 10 years, I was pretty confident, given the restricted equipment available in the barn, that  I could ‘easily’ whip up a Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova!!

This is one of those puds that not only has the WOW factor visually but tastes even better than it looks. So simple to do then??

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova a delicious combination of flavours.

Whilst out shopping I remembered ALL the ingredients (I may have made this a few dozen times before!!!) but couldn’t remember the quantities!!

Back at the farm, in a rare moment of actually being able to get a signal, I successfully popped onto Nigella’s website  and got the recipe.  Fortunately I had not forgotten anything – boy was I relieved!!

Recipe:  Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova,

You will need a good sized baking sheet that can take a 30cm diameter circle of meringue, lined with parchment paper.

Recipe: Rapsberry Chocolate Pavlova

6  Egg whites. (Pref free range) at room temp

300g  Caster Sugar

3 tbsp Cocoa Powder (not drinking chocolate!!)

1 tsp Balsamic vinegar (your just gonna have to trust me on this one???!!)

50g  Chopped Dark (70%) Chocolate + an extra 25g Dark (70%) Chocolate chopped very fine, for sprinkling over before serving

450ml Double Cream

300g – 500g Raspberries – Fresh if poss, but I’ve used decent thawed frozen ones in the midst of winter and it worked!

Method:  Preheat the your oven to 200C/180C fan (350F, gas mark 4).

Firstly if you have any kind of electric whisk PLEASE use it!! You can see from the photo below that I did not have one and it was VERY HARD WORK!!!

Oh yes - I whisked 6 egg whites using a rotary whisk!!! Gone are the bingo wings!!!!
Oh yes – I whisked 6 egg whites using a rotary whisk!!! Gone are the bingo wings!!!

Once the egg whites form satin peaks slowly add the  caster sugar and keep whisking (oh the joy, what was already a hard job became much more difficult as the sugar mixed into the whites) the mixture will become much thicker.

Once all the sugar is fully incorporated whisk until the meringue mixture is glossy, satiny and holds a stiff peak!

Next add the sieved cocoa, chopped chocolate and balsamic vinegar (stay with my guys it’s really worth it in the end!!!)

I'm not a big sifter?(I am a big sister!!!!!), but cocoa really does need a god old sift to remove any lumps!!
I’m not a big sifter?(I am a big sister!!!!!), but cocoa really does need a god old sift to remove any lumps!!

Using a metal spoon gently fold in the chocolate, cocoa and balsamic vinegar until the ingredients are fully combined. This was challenging for me, as you can see from the photos I’d used a straight sided, flat bottomed casserole dish as a mixing bowl!!!!

Still I’m nothing if not adaptable!

When at home I draw round a 12″ (30cm) round cake tin, with pencil, onto parchment paper. On holiday I had to ‘guesstimate’!

Flip the paper over, so that the pencil marking is on the underside. At this point, you can attach the parchment to the baking sheet with little dobs of meringue mixture. This acts like glue and stops the paper moving around.

Using the drawn circle as a guide, gently pile on the meringue mixture into the centre using a metal spoon. Then using a palette knife (or butter knife if on hols!!!) gently spread the mixture into an even circle shape approx 30cm across.

I’ve found it helps the cooked Pavlova not to crack if you build the sides up slightly so the centre is approx 1-2cm lower than the edge. It doesn’t matter if it does crack as later on you will be smothering it in whipped cream and raspberries! Using your knife smooth out the centre and create swirls around the outside of the Pavlova – let your creative, fun side run free!! It’s soo much fun and you can swirl to your hearts content!

The lighting was beautiful in the barn and it makes the Pavlova look sooo pretty x
The lighting was beautiful in the barn and it makes the Pavlova look sooo pretty x

Place the beautiful Pavlova on the middle shelf of the preheated oven (180C – 350F or gas mark 4), immediately turn the oven temperature down to 150C (300F gas mark  2) and bake for  1, 1/4 – 1, 1/2 hours.

If you are confident about the eggs you have used, gather the children around the bowl and let them lick the bowl clean – making sure you’ve had a little taste first. It’s GORGEOUS!!  I think it tastes like the lightest chocolate mousse.  You are eating raw egg so please do not taste if you are pregnant, unwell or elderly – I also wouldn’t  have let my children taste it when they were very young.  Our youngest is 12 now so he was allowed to try some!

The Pavlova is cooked when the outside looks lovely and crisp and you can see the dark, fudgey inside through the natural small cracks in the surface.

Turn the oven off and leave to cool completely in the oven.

Once the Pavlova is completely cool remove from the oven and peel off the Parchment paper (I’ve never yet had one stick using Parchment, if you use greaseproof paper I can’t guarantee it will peel off as easily).

Place the Pavlova on a flat cake stand, cake board or metal tray if that’s all you have to hand!!

Whip the cream until thickened but still floppy (adding a teaspoon of caster sugar if you prefer to sweeten the cream) and smother the top of the Pavlova with it leaving a cream free edge.

Just waiting to be adorned.
Just waiting to be adorned.

Tumble (or carefully place it’s your choice!) the raspberries over the cream topped Pavlova.

Now finally sprinkle over the remaining 25g (about a tablespoon) of finely chopped dark chocolate.

 

Soo beautiful, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating!!!
Soo beautiful,Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova. the proof of the pudding is in the eating!!!

We shared this with our dinner hosts who were extremely complimentary about the combination of flavours, but mostly the hidden, almost brownie like middle of the Pavlova. The contrast between the crunchy outer layer, the sublime tartness of raspberry enveloped in velvety whipped cream and then the surprise, almost fudgey centre with nubs of chocolate work to create a TASTE SENSATION! Thank you Nigella for inspiring this recipe.

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova the perfect sweet treat to take to take to someone’s house.

 

The perfect dessert for Sharing, Feasting and Having Fun!

Sammie x

 

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Victoria Sponge Cake

Hi there. Today I thought I would post a very easy, simple to follow recipe, with only a handful of ingredients.
Even though it is so simple Victoria Sponge Cake is one of the most delicious cakes & can literally be made & on the table in an hour.
So it is ideal for when unexpected guests turn up, but it is also beautiful enough in its simplicity to be served for a special occasion.

It is just the cake for sharing!!!!

Recipe : Victoria Sponge Cake 

2 x 9″ greased loose bottom cake tins

10 oz Caster Sugar

10  oz Unsalted Butter – room temp

5  Large Eggs (pref free range) – room temp

10 oz   Self raising White Flour – sifted

2 tsp  Vanilla Extract

Pinch of salt (I use Kosher, or try to find additive free – it does make a difference)

Method :

Preheat the oven to 180C (165C fan oven).

In a large bowl place the sugar and butter, using an electric whisk (or beat well with a wooden spoon), mix until pale and fluffy (if using a stand mixer use the paddle attachment and follow method as normal).

A good check to ensure your butter and sugar are creamed (combined) is to rub a little of the mixture between your fore finger and thumb.  If no grittiness is felt the sugar is well mixed into the butter!

Next add the vanilla extract, salt and whisk in for 30 seconds.

I now switch to a wooden spoon, instead of an electric whisk for the addition of the eggs and flour.  If using a stand mixer be careful not to over beat the mixture – same if continuing to use the electric whisk.

I also ALWAYS crack my eggs into a separate bowl, to ensure that no shell gets into the cake mixture and also saves you from adding a dodgy egg and ruining the batter!!

Now starting with the flour add one third to the mixture and 2 eggs.  Mix until just combined.  Repeat twice more adding the last egg before the final third of flour.  Mix well until combined.

ME BEING BORING & BOSSYBUT YOU WILL THANK ME!!!!

Please don’t overheat your cake batter. The more you work the flour the more you develop the Gluten in the flour.  Great for bread – not good for a light fluffy Victoria Sandwich Cake ( or any cake!!!!!).

Back to the cake now!!!

Ensure each cake tin is greased with butter and line the bottom of the tin with Parchment paper.

Divide the cake batter evenly between the 2 cake tins (if you have flat electric scales feel free to be exact, by weighing the tins) – I just measure by sight!!

Pop the cake tins in the oven for approx 30 mins – the cakes are cooked when they are a lovely golden colour, spring back when lightly pressed in the centre and are slightly coming away from the sides of the tin.

The timing is approximate as all ovens vary.

Place the cake tins on a cooling rack until cooled enough to handle, then run a palette knife between the sides of the cake and tin and release the cake.

Turn the cake out onto the cooling rack and carefully remove the parchment paper.  Leave to cool completely.

Now the fun starts!!!!! To decorate or not to decorate????

This Victoria Sponge Cake below was sandwiched together with strawberry jam, sprinkled with castor sugar and edible holographic glitter and given to my mummy for her birthday.

Sparkly Victoria Sponge Cake - for my lovely mummy x
Sparkly Victoria Sponge Cake – for my lovely mummy x

This cake below was filled with both buttercream and raspberry jam and the covered in white fondant icing (first attempt at using fondant – so please be kind?!), topped with a beautiful decoration to mark my parents – in – law Golden Wedding Anniversary.

50 years of marriage and still in love. Definitely worth celebrating xx
50 years of marriage and still in love. Definitely worth celebrating xx
Both cakes were made and given in love.  Both cakes were eaten and enjoyed whilst  Feasting and Having Fun!

Sammie x

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Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes!!

Well a very good day to you. The storm has finally cleared the UK and I sincerely hope you survived it unscathed?  If you are sleep deprived, due to the banging, blowing and crashing howls of wind a Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes may be just what you need to help you get through the day with a smile!

Fudgey, chocolate icing with hearts, stars and gold dragee balls!
Fudgey, chocolate icing with hearts, stars and gold dragee balls!

Nature’s beauty can be mesmerisingly beautiful, but we should never underestimate it’s force or ruthlessness and ability to deprive us all of a good nights sleep!

CUPCAKES!!!!!
I’ve posted lots of pics, now I give you the recipe:

Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes (makes 18)

You will need:

2 x 12 Deep Muffin Tins (not shallow fairy cake tins)

18 Cupcake liners (I’ve used brown ‘tulip’ liners – plain white ones look good with chocolate, but the choice is yours!)

Recipe : Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes – makes 18

10oz Unsalted Butter (at room temp)

10oz Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar

2tsp Vanilla Extract

Pinch of Salt (I use Kosher)

5 Large Eggs (Pref Free Range – at room temp)

3oz Cocoa Powder (NOT hot chocolate powder)

7oz Self Raising White Flour

3-4tbsp Whole Milk (at room temp)

6oz Milk Chocolate Chunks or Chips

Large bowl & an electric whisk (it really makes creaming the sugar & butter bearable!!!!)

Method :

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 175C (160C Fan Oven).

Line the muffin tins with 18 cupcake cases.

Pretty tulip cases, worth the extra effort!!!
Pretty tulip cases, worth the extra effort!!!

Firstly place the butter and treacly dark sugar into a large bowl (of stand mixer, if using, with the paddle mixer attached).

No lumps here!!!!!
No lumps here!!!!!

Unless you are ready for a serious workout I really recommend using an electric whisk to beat the sugar/butter mixture. It will take a while (approx 5-10 mins) for the mixture to become smooth and fluffy.

Next add the punch of salt& vanilla extract and beat the whole mixture until thoroughly combined.

Now if you want to switch to a wooden spoon for mixing you can. Using an electric whisk/beater is also ok, just make sure you don’t over mix once the flour is added, otherwise you won’t have light, cupcakes.

Add 2 of the eggs (I always crack them into a separate bowl first, no one wants crunchy cupcakes!!!) and a third of the cocoa/flour (sifted). Gently mix until almost incorporated.

Repeat this process again.

Callebaut milk chocolate chunks take this cupcake to another level of scrumptiousness!!!!!!!
Callebaut milk chocolate chunks take this cupcake to another level of scrumptiousness!!!!!!!

Now add the last egg and mix gently. Then add the last of the flour/cocoa & the chocolate chunks/chips. Fold these ingredients in gently adding 1 tablespoon at a time to loosen the mixture and allow all the ingredients to mix thoroughly and have a slightly wet dropping consistency.

The cake batter should look like this, ready to scoop!!
The cake batter should look like this, ready to scoop!!

I use an ice cream scoop to evenly fill the cupcake cases. But you could always use 2 desert spoons. Just ensure an equal amount of mixture is placed into each case. This ensures that all the cupcakes will be cooked evenly & in the same amount of time.

Using an ice cream scoop to portion the cupcake batter.
Using an ice cream scoop to portion the cupcake batter.
Centre the scoop above the cake liner.
Centre the scoop above the cake liner.
Squeeze the scoop & release the batter into the case!!!
Squeeze the scoop & release the batter into the case!!!

Cook for approx 20 minutes. The cupcakes are cooked when lightly pressed in the middle and the cake springs back.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 mins until cool enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
NOTE: if using the tulip style cupcake cases, I’ve found it best to leave the cupcakes to COMPLETELY COOL IN THE TIN. The paper cases will then adhere to the cupcakes when removed from the tin.

I left these cupcakes to cool completely in the tin.
I left these cupcakes to cool completely in the tin.

These chocolate chunk cupcakes are then perfect to serve unadorned!

However if making for a special occasion or just because, you can ice or top them with whatever you like!!

I’ve used Betty Crocker’s Chocolate Fudge Icing (which I’ve found is easier to apply using 2 teaspoons, rather than piping, when using the tulip cupcake wrappers. I’ve then sprinkled a variety of gold sugar balls, white chocolate stars, glitter, even rice paper figurines.

Fudgey, chocolate icing with hearts, stars and gold dragee balls!
Fudgey, chocolate icing with hearts, stars and gold dragee balls!

Melted chocolate drizzled over the top, or half double cream/half chocolate melted together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water), creates a chocolate ganache. If using ordinary (not tulip) cases the cupcakes can then be dipped into the ganache, covering the entire surface of the cupcake. This will then cool to a soft, fudgey consistency, whereas melted chocolate on its own will harden on cooling.

Ganache dipped cupcakes with a sparkly addition of gold dragee balls.
Ganache dipped cupcakes with a sparkly addition of gold dragee balls.

You can then sprinkle & adorn to your hearts content. Although left without the sprinkles these cupcakes still look gorgeous & scrummy.

Now it’s time to share!!

I invested in some individual clear, plastic cupcake holders, which not only allow the cupcakes to be transported easily but also allow the recipient to clearly see their gift. I have also popped the cupcakes into cellophane bags tied with rafia. This also looks beautiful, but is more fiddly & you have to be careful not to get any of the icing on the inside of the bag, as it spoils the look.

If you want to make someone smile, or you know someone who needs cheering up, this recipe is FOOLPROOF.

When I give a gift, especially one I’ve made, I’m NOT looking to be basked in thanks & glory for what I’ve given. I want the recipient to feel special. To know that they’ve been thought of & know that they are special to me.

I’ve received gifts that are more about the giver than the recipient & although I’m always thankful, somehow, if the giver is looking to be showered with praise, the gift feels soulless.

In my world GIFTS SHOULD ALWAYS BE ABOUT THE RECIPIENT NOT THE GIVER.

Don’t get me wrong a thank you is nice, but other than that I’m not seeking praise. I really try to think of who I am giving to & what their likes & preferences are. In doing this I must disregard what I want and focus on others.

Some people like a big fuss & that’s fine. They like attention & they enjoy being the centre of it. So when giving them a gift I know they don’t mind if it’s in a roomful of people. They enjoy celebrating in a big way.

Others are quieter. They would be mortified at the notion of being centre of attention. That is fine too. So the gift will be given quietly, without pomp & circumstance. Because it’s not about the giver but the recipient.

If you’ve taken the time, love & care to make something for someone, give equal thought to how you will give it to them.

Nobody, especially me, gets it right all the time! But we can all try, me included.

A well meant gift, given in a thoughtful way says you care.

Have fun trying the cupcakes. If you want to make fewer a rough guide is 1 egg/2oz butter/1 1/2oz self raising white flour/1/2oz cocoa powder.

I’d love to hear how you get on, so please leave a comment?

In the mean time have lots of fun, feasting and sharing!!

Sammie x

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Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Hello there everybody. I really appreciate you taking time to read my blog. Thank you. I hope it inspires & encourages you, makes you think and most of all makes you smile!!!
So this week in our house is all about birthdays!!!!!
Our Lil Man will be 12 this week, it’s also my sister & Dad’s birthday in the same week!!!
Definitely time for ‘FEASTING, CELEBRATING and FUN’!!!!!
Covert baking operations during the day – ready for surprises on their special days. Ooh I love a celebration – well that is as long as I’m not the center of attention!
Fortunately, shyness is not something our son could ever be accused of having! His enthusiasm & passion for life is infectious and wonderful to see. He waits all year for his birthday and the night before, without fail, he reaches ‘ready to explode’ status!!!!
Christmas is the same for him, times a gazillion!!!!!
I adore his passion & zest for life (even if at times it can be exhausting & overwhelming!!!!!).
Soo to make life a bit easier on myself today: I grabbed a previously, made & frozen, chicken & bacon pasta bake from the freezer last night & left it to defrost in the fridge overnight ( and yes – I did feel a tiny little bit smug!!!).
Then, because I have a bread maker that makes my life (in the world of bread baking), sooo much easier, I decided to whip up a couple of these GARLIC and ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD.  And because I’m a nice person & the recipe is a dream, I thought I’d share it with you!

Even with 4 Garlic bulbs added to the bread mixture & the same sprinkled on top, this Focaccia only has a mild Garlic taste.
Even with 4 Garlic bulbs added to the bread mixture & the same sprinkled on top, this Focaccia only has a mild Garlic taste.

GARLIC AND ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD: makes 2 loaves.

You will need 2 x lightly oiled 8×8″ square tins ( with at least 2″ depth), or – 1 larger oiled baking tray (2″ deep) to bake one large focaccia.

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 220C (200C Fan Oven)

Recipe:

1lb Strong Plain White Flour

300ml Warm (hand hot) Water

1 x 7g Sachet, Easy Blend Yeast

2 tbs Olive Oil (plus extra for drizzling over bread, oiling baking tins & cling film)

1 tsp Salt – for bread mix

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper for top of the bread

2 tbs Fresh Rosemary – finely chopped

8 Garlic Bulbs (4 for bread mixture, 4 for topping the bread).

Method:

When using a bread maker or stand mixer:

Place the warm water into the pan or bowl of the device you are using, making sure the dough hook is attached to the stand mixer.

Sprinkle over the sachet of dried, activated yeast & swish about with clean fingers to mix.

Next place the flour on top of the liquid mixture. Add the oil & salt.

Now add 1 tbs of the finely chopped Rosemary & salt.

Mince most of the Rosemary finely, allowing a few whole & half leaves to remain so they can be seen in the bread!
Mince most of the Rosemary finely, allowing a few whole & half leaves to remain so they can be seen in the bread!

Add in four minced bulbs of garlic. I’m a very big fan of my garlic press (no peeling or chopping), but you may chop, process, squish with the back of your knife (please don’t write in with other methods for finely mincing garlic – just be happy that you’re unique!!).
Now mix & prove (if using a bread maker). With a stand mixer, attach the dough hook & mix for 8-10 minutes, until the dough has a silky, stretchy, elasticity about it.

If kneading by hand, bring all the ingredients together & work (knead) the dough until you can feel the change, when the dough again stretches easily & feels silky to touch – a good way to check that the dough has been worked enough is that it should be hard to tear.
Shape the dough into a ball & place into an oiled bowl, then turn the ball over, so the top has an oily layer & cover tightly with cling film. Place in a warm draught free place until doubled in size (about an hour).
Prepare the baking tins (or large tin if only using one) by placing some oil in the tin (approx 1tsp for a smaller tin) & then using your fingers (I like the squishy feeling – whilst also getting a cuticle treatment: multi tasking. Genius!!!) or using a piece of kitchen towel to completely cover the inside of the tin with a light slick if oil.
Talking of fingers, if you have long nails it’s probably easier to apply the oil with the kitchen cloth. It also probably means you look after your hands & nails & may not need a quick, olive oil cuticle treatment!!! Just saying, I NEED the treatment!!!!
If using a bread machine switch on to knead cycle to knock the dough back for a minute. With the dough in the bowl, remove the cling film & gently punch down (enjoy the soft enveloping feeling!)the dough to knock out the air bubbles & gently knead by hand for 2 minutes.

Half the focaccia dough.
Half the focaccia dough.

Divide the dough in two (or leave whole if making a larger Focaccia) using a sharp knife or a dough cutter.
Place half the dough into each tin (or all into one tin).

NOW is the absolutely BEST thing about making this type of bread (if you loved making mud pies when you where younger, or maybe still do – you’re going to LOVE this next bit!!!!!!).
Using your the heel of your hand, gradually press the dough out until it reaches the edges of the tin & is roughly the same thickness across the tin.

Check out my dimples!!!!
Check out my dimples!!!!

Next using your fingers, have great fun making lots & lots & lots of dimples in the dough – to give it the classic focaccia look.
Can you tell how much I really love that part. Sooo much fun!!!
Drizzle a little olive oil, sprinkle some sea salt flakes, (I use Maldon), the rest of the finely minced Rosemary, a grinding of pepper & the rest of the garlic (split over 2 tins if making 2 Focaccia loves).
Lightly oil some cling film:
TOP TIP: Using a clean wet cloth wipe some of your work surface so that it is damp – when you lay your cling film over the top it will lay flat & not attempt to attach itself to itself, you, random kitchen objects!! You can then easily spread a light coating of oil over the cling (using your hands – my fav, a pastry brush or some oil poured onto the cling & spread with kitchen paper).
I KNOW there’s oil in the dough, the tin has been oiled, you’ve just drizzled oil on top of the focaccia – JUST TRUST ME!!!
Most of the time you could get away with not oiling the cling, but – and it’s happened to me – it WON’T EVER STICK if you oil the cling!

The risen dough does lose some of the dimply effect - so if you want more dimples, repeat the process!!!!
The risen dough does lose some of the dimply effect – so if you want more dimples, repeat the process!!!!

Cover the top of the tin with the oiled cling (so it’s airtight) & leave in a warm, draught free place until doubled in size – OR – place the dough in the fridge, it will take longer to rise & the bread will develop a lovely flavour. It’s your dough – do whatever you fancy.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT TIP – I have successfully risen the dough slowly in the fridge, completely forgotten about it, so it quadruples in size, then knocked it back by recreating the dimpled effect, as before, left to rise & it’s turned out fine!!!!
Bake the focaccia in a preheated oven for 15 – 20 mins (longer if baking a one loaf), until a golden colour & still quite soft.
Remove from oven, take a deep breath, the smell is intoxicating, leave to cool for 10 mins in the tin, run round the outside with a palette knife until you can feel the loaf easing from the tin. Turn the bread out & place onto a cooling rack, repeat with second tin.

Please dunk me in some scrummy soup, pasta sauce or sausage casserole?
Please dunk me in some scrummy soup, pasta sauce or sausage casserole?

The bread will be marshmallowy soft & is fine to serve warm as is. Or cool, wrap in foil & freeze for up to one month.
If you prefer a slight crust to your focaccia, 10 mins before serving, place the bread directly on to the rack of a preheated oven (as for baking the dough) for 5 – 10 mins, depending on how crusty you like it.
Because this bread is thinner than a loaf, you can cut or tear the bread whilst still warm.
This bread goes with any dish you would normally serve garlic bread with. It also goes fantastically well with soup. Spicy vegetable, leek & potato are especially good with this bread. It is ideal for dunking!
One focaccia is plenty for our family of five, so I wrap in foil & freeze the other one.
A final VERY BIG THANK YOU to those of you who have looked at this post whilst it was unfinished. I’m sorry it took a while, but hope the finished blog was worth it.
THIS REALLY IS ONE OF THE EASIEST AND MOST IMPRESSIVE BREADS TO MAKE.
I really hope you give it a try. You can vary the herbs. I’ve used Thyme, Oregano & SHOCK/HORROR dried mixed herbs!!!!
Ooh I’m such a rebel!! But seriously, it works better with the woodier herbs (rather than parsley/fennel) mentioned. Soft herbs I find are better mixed with butter & oil, then slathered into a baguette/ciabatta (part bake baguettes work well for this!).
Until next time, I hope you have fun giving this recipe a go and enjoy feasting with whoever you share it with.
See you soon. Sammie xx

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Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies!!!

If you like chocolate cookies & love the taste of Mars Bars – you will totally flip out over these Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies!!
I could keep you in suspense no longer.

Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies
Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies

I may have mentioned my particular preference for a cookie with my cuppa? This combined with my natural curiosity led to these Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies being made.
But, if I’m going to completely truthful, I had an ulterior motive for making them!! More on that later.

Soooo Delicious
Soooo Delicious

I do apologise I have not yet said hello & good morning to you. I hope you are well today & encourage you to read yesterday’s blog: more food for the soul, than for our tummies & definitely way more important. I hope it makes you think, question, wonder & seek.
Today the rain is lashing down, giving the gardens a well needed dousing. Tomorrow the sun is supposed to shine, YAY! Sunshine always seems to make people seem brighter & happier – listen to me! English & talking about the weather – I’m a stereotype!!!!
I promised you my reason for the ulterior motive behind these cookie. Well…… I also made PEANUT BUTTER SNICKERS COOKIES which I absolutely lurve – I will post that recipe soon!
Making the Chocolate  Mars Bar Cookies keeps my lil kiddly winks away from the Snickers Cookies! They prefer chocolate Cookies over any other!!!
I know, I know I go on about sharing & I do. I really do! I shared the Snickers Cookies with my special QC friend!

Recipe : CHOCOLATE MARS BAR COOKIES – makes approx 28-32

You will need 2 x Baking Sheets (lined with parchment paper, even if non stick)

5oz  Dark Brown Sugar (light brown is fine if that’s what you have to hand)

8oz  Unsalted Butter – room temp

1/4  tsp Salt

1  Large Egg Yolk (pref Free Range)

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

3oz  Cocoa Powder

7oz  Plain White Flour

3-4  Mars Bars – chopped

Method :

Preheat the oven to 180C (165C fan)

The gorgeous dark brown sugar gives these cookies a fudgier flavour!!!!!!
The gorgeous dark brown sugar gives these cookies a fudgier flavour!!!!!!

Place the sugar, butter & salt into a bowl. Whisk or beat until light & fluffy.
Add in the egg yolk & Vanilla Extract. Whisk or beat until fully incorporated into the butter/sugar mixture.

Naughty - I didn't sift my flour/cocoa - whoops!!!!
Naughty – I didn’t sift my flour/cocoa – whoops!!!!

Next add the flour & cocoa ( you can sift them in if you prefer) & the chopped Mars Bars (don’t try to sift them – just trying to be helpful!!!!).
Slowly mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated together – it is inevitable that during this time the chunks of Mars Bar break up a bit, DON’T WORRY!!! This just adds to the gooey texture of the cookies!

Gooey, chocolatey, cookie dough!!!!!
Gooey, chocolatey, cookie dough!!!!!

Take a desert spoonful of the mixture and roll into a ball using your hands. The ball should be approx 1″ across, add or take away cookie dough to get the right size.

Cookie dough balls, ready to be lightly squished!!!
Cookie dough balls, ready to be lightly squished!!!

Make 16 balls, as above & place 8 on each cookie sheet, evenly spaced as they will spread on baking.
With clean hands use your fingers to gently flatten each ball.
Place in the preheated oven & cook for 10-13 mins (depending on size of cookies & oven).

Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies!!!!
Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies!!!!

WITH THE REMAINING COOKIE DOUGH: Place onto a long piece of cling film, gently roll into a log shape.

Cookie dough log removed from fridge & left to warm for 20 mins before slicing.
Cookie dough log removed from fridge & left to warm for 20 mins before slicing.

Wrap thoroughly in the cling film & refrigerate for up to 4 days, double wrap & freeze for up to one month. When ready to use, thaw in the fridge, overnight, if previously frozen, then remove from the fridge 15-30 minutes before slicing into 1/4″ thick discs.

Bake as follows :

With cocoa in the dough mixture it can be difficult to tell when the cookies are cooked: Firstly, don’t be surprised if some of the Mars Bar chunks burst from the edge of the cookie & bubble away – this is fine. They will easily come away from the parchment paper when cooled (hence the need for parchment paper, so you don’t have to use a knife to scrape your non stick baking sheets!!!).
The cookies will be set around the edge & although still soft to the touch (they will harden in cooling) each cookie will have a fixed shape & have a dull surface (not shiny where the butter & sugar are still baking).
It’s very hard to give an exact cooking time for these cookies due to the inherent variations of the cookie size & different ovens.
My suggestion would be to remove them from the oven if they fulfil the above criteria & to DEFINITELY not cook them for longer than 13 mins.
The large proportion of Cocoa will result in a dry, claggy, stick to the roof of your mouth Cookie if over cooked.
Better to have a soft chewy, slightly undercooked Cookie.
Remember Cookies are not like cakes! Once cooled & hardened if you feel they really are too undercooked, pop them back into the preheated oven for a couple more minutes. This should finish their cooking!

Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies, made for sharing!
Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies, made for sharing!

These cookies are at their best the next day after making (I’m sorry) but they still taste good once cooled!!
They make excellent gifts: Pop a few in a cellophane bag, tie with a pretty ribbon or rafia, or place in a pretty tin for a larger gift.
We don’t have to wait for special occasions like birthdays or Christmas (although these are always good opportunities to share & give).

Have you ever been surprised by a gift, just because someone wanted to show you they cared? If not, why not start a new tradition?
I know of a church, in Devon, who buy lots of Easter eggs & give them out to the businesses of their small town as a thank you, for the services the businesses supply to the townsfolk throughout the year!!! What an amazing idea!
Sharing is contagious! Now what I am ABSOLUTELY NOT saying is that we should give to receive. Only that by giving & sharing we are showing others & they in turn may go on to share.

A SHARING REVOLUTION : imagine the difference & smiles that would generate?

Everyone SHARING FEASTING AND HAVING FUN!

Sammie x

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TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES: Fit For a Princess

Chocolate & Sparkles: Brownies fit for a celebration!!!!!
Chocolate & Sparkles: Brownies fit for a celebration!!!!!

Hi there. How are you today? Me, well it’s one of those days where I’m sitting or laying down (millions of things I want to do, but my body isn’t having any if it!), so I can chat to you – via Blogging.

I do hope you enjoy my musings, memories & recipes?

I’ve spoken a lot about the pleasure I get from sharing the food that I have made.  Also I have found that, not only are you lovely people who read my blog, enjoying the recipes, but they are inspiring you to ‘have a go’. That’s FANTASTIC & thank you.

What I love about anything that I cook myself is, I know absolutely EVERYTHING that is going into the recipe, which ultimately means, I know, as a family I KNOW what we are putting into our bodies. I am sometimes horrified by the list of ingredients, if I’m tempted to buy a nice crusty loaf from my local supermarket, I read the ingredients & any desire I may have felt to pop the item into my trolley vanishes.

Please DO NOT be under the impression that I’m a complete Puritan when it comes to food, or anything else for that matter, I absolutely AM NOT!!!!

I’m happy to occasionally order a pizza, Indian, Chinese – gasp, horror – very occasional McDonalds!!!!! I’m a relatively normal mum, wife, slightly scatty woman. My family may disagree with the ‘relatively normal’ part!!!

I love humour & recently reduced our gorgeous, soon to be 12 years old, son to tears – from laughter (no need to call Childline just yet!!) whilst recounting a story from my past. His gorgeous freakly face, bright red, with tears spilling over his cheeks, laughing uncontrollably. A precious moment that will be always remembered. And it was whilst we were all sitting round the table, eating dinner – FEASTING & HAVING FUN!!

What I do find when I eat out, or order in, is that my brain goes into overdrive. Whilst munching I’m already thinking of ways to improve, change, add to, whatever food I am enjoying at that moment.

I suppose at the heart of everything I cook/bake is a desire to do better. If I can buy a cake in a shop, that is nice, good or even really great: I want to firstly be able to recreate the cake & then improve it until it is WONDERFUL. I am the same with all foods & recipes, including my own!

I have a wonderful family, one exceptionally special friend (who is ‘officially’ my quality control ‘taste tester’) and a group of friends who I know will give me HONEST feedback – which, for me is SO IMPORTANT. I am my worse critic! Always fiddling with recipes to see if I can improve just a little bit more! Very occasionally I will try a recipe & it’s so fantastic I never, ever deviate. An example if this is my annual Christmas Cake Recipe. I’ve made it every year for at least 15 years & it works. So the only things that are ever changed are the icing and decorations!!!!

Anyhow time to stop waffling and share the Sparkly, Triple Chocolate Brownies:

YOU WILL NEED:

2 x   6″x 8″ foil containers (with lids)

10oz  Dark Brown Sugar

5oz  Unsalted Butter

2oz  Cocoa Powder

5oz  Plain White Flour

1/4 tsp.  Salt (I use Kosher – no additives)

1tsp  Baking Soda

1tsp  Vanilla Extract (I use Madagascan vanilla extract by Nelson Massey)

4  Large Eggs at room temp (preferably FREE RANGE – happy chickens lay better eggs!!)

6oz  Milk Chocolate – chopped into chunks

4oz  White Chocolate – melted for drizzling over the top

Silver Dragee Ball, Edible Glitter or whatever Edible Sparkly Sprinkles you wish to use.

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 180C (165C fan oven).

Firstly melt the butter, either in a large microwaveable bowl or large saucepan. Whichever you use this will become the mixing bowl for the entire Brownie batter.

Add the brown sugar to the melted butter. Mix thoroughly until both are combined.

Now add the salt & cocoa powder. Mix thoroughly – if you add the cocoa now, before adding the flour, it incorporates into the butter/sugar mixture very easily.

Next add the flour & bicarbonate of soda. Mix thoroughly (I use a wooden spoon), it takes a couple of minutes to completely incorporate all the ingredients.

Lightly beat the eggs together in a jug & add the vanilla.

When the flour mixture is cool enough to touch add the egg/vanilla mixture & beat into the flour mixture.  Be patient it does take a little time for the wet & dry to combine. You will be left with a fairly runny Brownie batter.

Pour half of the batter into one foil container, then pour the other half into the other container. If you are using one container pour all the batter in.

Tap the containers a couple of times against the work top. This brings any air bubbles to the surface: REMEMBER BROWNIES SHOULD BE DENSE & FUDGEY NOT LIGHT & AIRY LIKE CAKES.

Sprinkle the chopped milk chocolate evenly over the top of the brownie batter. Then using your fingers or a fork gently push the chocolate into the batter. Lick your fingers, then wash your hands!!!!!

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-18 mins for the smaller containers: 20-25 mins if using a larger container.

As all ovens vary, the Brownies are cooked when they are set around the edge & on top, but still have a little wobble in the middle.

Remove from the oven & allow the Brownies to fully cool in their container.

Once cooled get creative!!! Melt the white chocolate (I microwave for approx 30 secs, then stir thoroughly until I have smooth melted chocolate. Or you can place the white chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a simmering saucepan of water – ensuring the bowl doesn’t touch the water- stir constantly as white chocolate is the easiest to overheat!).

Drizzle the melted chocolate over the cooled brownies. Then adorn with silver balls, edible glitter or whatever you have chosen.

You can never have too many sparkles!!!!
You can never have too many sparkles!!!!

Allow the chocolate to set then cut up the brownies in the dish. The size is up to you!!!!

Share these very special Brownies with friends & family.

Watch the smiles on their faces get all chocolatey!!!!!!

And remember SHARING & FEASTING IS FUN!!!


 

Sammie x

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What a feast we had!!

If I were a fairy, this cake would be my home xx
If I were a fairy, this cake would be my home xx

Hi there. I really do hope that you are having a good day? If not I hope tomorrow is better for you.

As for me, eldest daughter is having  a sleepover tonight with some friends. So of  course we’ve had plenty of fun and feasting- although  how much sleep is had tonight I can only guess at!!

They are all lovely girls and all four of their birthdays are near each other, so I thought it would be nice to make them all a special cupcake,

Sharing their birthday celebrations together, with a pretty cupcake tower
Sharing their birthday celebrations together, with a pretty cupcake tower!!

Now before I get into the feasting frivolities, I feel it is necessary to share with you my love of fairy lights. They add such sparkle to a room. With one flick of the switch a nice room becomes a magical party room. And they make me smile, especially when I see them reflected in a mirror. It’s like an extra bonus (buy one get one free!!!). I feel so much better having shared that as it will help to further explain my other love……

Sparkles, whether it is a shimmering, sun lit sea scape, or a harsh overnight frost followed by a sun lit, clear blue sky. The way the ice crystals sparkle under the bright low sun  & spiders webs, beautifully defined by the ice crystals, look like something straight out of an Enid Blyton fairy story.

But sparkles, although enchanting in nature, can also be used to turn a pretty cupcake, into a spectacular one. I’m talking edible glitter here people & the world – my world – loves to sprinkle a little glitter whenever the occasion allows ( I satisfy myself with a daily application of sparkly lip gloss – & I’m happy about that!!).  Christmas (as well as properly remembering & giving thanks to God for the birth of his son Jesus) sees me in my element, totally immersed in fairy lights, tinsel, baubles & pots & pots of glitter – edible or otherwise.

Anyhow back to this blog! Here’s a couple of photos of the vanilla & chocolate cupcakes (I’m proud of the restraint I showed whilst decorating them!!!!

Chocolate, but sparkly & classy!!
Chocolate, but sparkly & classy!!

So I made a couple of pizzas (thank you Mr Bread machine), some coleslaw, garlic bread – with fresh Thyme – my fav so far, well today, baked oven potato wedges, cocktail sausages & sausage rolls ( the last 3 cooked from a packet – I know my limits!!), added a couple of dips, crisps & crudités & the feast was complete. The hungry teenagers got stuck in!!

Many hands make pizza disappear quickly!!!!
Many hands make pizza disappear quickly!!!!

And I’m not sure I have ever heard so much laughter, seen such happy faces or seen pizza disappear quite so quickly. It made me glad and thankful.

Thankful that I am married to a man who loves me sooo deeply, flaws an all. Thankful that we have 3 beautiful, loving, caring & thoughtful children. The BEST family anyone could ever hope for & secure in the knowledge that we are loved by the best man who ever walked this earth, Jesus.

He is our strength & our refuge. It is only by being full up & constantly refilled with His unending love that we can deal with daily challenges & still smile. Thank you Lord.

I hope that you too know my friend Jesus, He IS the smile that lives in my heart.

If you don’t know Him & the Vast love & forgiveness He has for you, please leave a comment & I will get back to you with more info?

Thank you for taking time to read my blog. I’m not very tech savvy & everything I have written & photographed on my phone!!!!

Until next time, & I say this as much to myself as you, try to react in a kind, considerate way the next time someone puts an obstacle in your path & if you can smile through it, all the better xx

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Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello there, if you love peanuts, chocolate and cookies this is the recipe for you!!!  I’m in serious trouble – literally – I made the mistake (cos it was on offer – I’m shallow  & I’m good with it!!!) of ordering, Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream. Nuf said! So I made these Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Double Peanut and Chocolate Chip Cookies!
Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Well maybe not!! But it’s soooo scrummy. I know I mentioned about having more of a savoury tooth, well, peanut butter is savoury. Funny thing is I’m not actually a ‘get a spoon & eat it outta the jar’ crazy fan of Peanut Butter! But when you mix it with something sweet, like in Cookies with a generous sprinkle of Chocolate Chips/Chunks- ooooh – it’s seriously good.  Same goes for Chocolate covered Peanuts and Snickers bars!  I mean, for all my chat about sharing, I confess, I hid the Peanut Butter Cup ice cream in the back of the freezer & whilst I’m in confessional mood, just to doubly make sure, I bought my 3 not so lil ones, their fav ice cream so they wouldn’t take mine.

Such a bad, bad mother – yet I feel no guilt!!!!

Now I’m sad cos the tub is empty. I’m going to be working on a homemade version – but meantime I had a revelation : Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies.

 

A thing of beauty - well to me anyway!!!!!
Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies – where’s my cuppa?

Oh yes people – I did not fail you (or me). Even my daughter Snugs (nickname didn’t want you to think I was completely nuts – she loves her real name Sparkle, Twinkle, Tooth Fairy!!!).

This is one of my favourite made up Cookie recipes in like, EVER!

Recipe : Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies makes 25-35

You will need 2 baking sheets lined with Parchment Paper

160g/5 oz Caster Sugar

225g/8 oz Unsalted Butter – room temperature

1 x Egg Yolk (pref free range) at room temperature

1 tsp Vanilla Extract I use Nielsen-Massey

1/4 tsp Salt I use Maldon

3 tbsp  Smooth Peanut Butter

275g/10 oz Plain White Flour

100g/4 oz Milk Chocolate Chips (or chunks) plus approx 1 oz extra for topping

100g/4 oz Peanut Butter Chips ( I use Reece’s – bought online)

Method :

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

First of all, place the sugar & butter into a large bowl (or bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment), using either an electric whisk or vigorous effort with a wooden spoon (for those of you who are watching your diet, A : This probably isn’t the recipe for you or B:  You will feel less guilty later on when eating the cookie – that is if you haven’t fallen asleep on the sofa due to over exertion!!!).

This beating (or creaming) lark is actually very important – not quite sure why – not sure I even care!! What I do know is that if you, in the words of MJ himself “Beat it, beat it”,  until it is pale yellow & fluffy, then the finished cookie is much, much better.

Next add the egg, vanilla extract, peanut butter, salt and resume beating, with your preferred method and background music of choice!

Ready to be whipped!
Ready to be whipped!

When all the above ingredients are beautifully mixed, add the flour, peanut chips & chocolate chips/chunks. Using only a spoon (wooden or otherwise), gently combine all the ingredients, slowly stirring them together – if using a stand mixer, mix on slow, with the paddle a attachment until everything is just combined.

I was not paid by Reece's to advertise their product!!
I was not paid by Reece’s to advertise their product!!
If you can't stop yourself eating this straight from the bowl, that fine - there will be fewer cookies to bake though!!! Don't say I didn't warn you!!!!
If you can’t stop yourself eating this straight from the bowl, that fine – there will be fewer cookies to bake though!!! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!!!

Using a teaspoon & clean hands remove a large teaspoonful of mixture and roll gently into a ball – approx 1 inch across & place on the lined baking sheet. Continue as above until you have 16 balls, 8 evenly spaced apart on each sheet.

Ready to be squished!!
Ready to be squished!!

Now comes the fun bit ( if you liked making mud pies in the diet when you were younger, you’re gonna lurve this!). Place a few 5-8 choc chips/chunks in your hand, remove a ball from the baking sheet, place it on top of the extra chocolate in you hand & squish down. You want the cookies to be about 1 1/2 – 2″ across. Repeat with remaining balls until you have 16 super chocolately topped cookies, on the baking sheets begging to be cooked.

Put me in the oven NOW!!!
Put me in the oven NOW!!!

Make sure the cookies are evenly spaced apart as they will spread a bit more during cooking.

Place both sheets into the preheated oven. Start to check if they’re done after 10 minutes. DON’T TOUCH! Since these cookies harden up as they cool, once baked they should have a lovely golden brown colour. In my oven these take about 13-15 minutes to cook.

A thing of beauty - well to me anyway!!!!!
Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies. A thing of beauty – well to me anyway!!!!!

Remove the sheets from the oven & allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets completely, or if you are very careful transfer the parchment paper, with the cookies on to a cooling rack – the cookies will still be very soft & you run the risk of breaking a few this way (as I did earlier today!).

With the remaining dough you can either bake the rest of the cookies, rolling into balls & cooking on fresh parchment paper, as before, or you can place the dough onto cling film, form it into a log, wrap tightly & refrigerate for up to 4 days, or double wrap & freeze for up to a month. Defrost the frozen cookie log overnight in the fridge & then with either log, remove from the fridge for 15 minutes before slicing into discs & baking as before.

Cookie dough log, ready for fridge or freezer.
Cookie dough log, ready for fridge or freezer.

Ooh I bet two of the cooked disc shaped Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies with the ice cream sandwiched in the middle would be scrumptious, messy & definitely something to share with friends & family alike!!!

One of my bestest friends in the whole wide world is on holiday at the mo! She’s gonna love me so much more when she tastes one of these!!

Ooh yummy, cuppa coffee and cookies
Ooh yummy, cuppa coffee and cookies

 

If you have enjoyed the recipe for these Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies then you may also like these:

Cherry Bakewell Cookies

FF Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cherry Bakewell Cookies

Chocolate Heart Cookies

FF Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Heart Cookies

Monster Mint Chocolate Cookies

FF Double Peanut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Monster Mint Chocolate Cookies

 

Just to be clear, I’m not seeking applause, just a smile! Knowing I’ve put a lil smile in someone’s heart makes me feel loved & all soft & squishy inside. Try it – cos it’s a really nice feeling.

Until next time have fun, feast and give thanks for all the opportunities that are about to come your way when you start to share. It’s so much FUN!

Sammie xx

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