Spicy Sausage Rolls

Sunshine, glorious sunshine. It lifts our spirits and makes everyday seem that little bit brighter – literally. Windows flung open, coats discarded, sunglasses at the ready. Who wants to eat lunch, or any meal for that matter, indoors? Not me! Even if my ‘picnic’ is sitting out in the garden with a cool glass of something refreshing and a plate of these jalapeño fired Spicy Sausage Rolls.

Spicy Sausage Rolls a fiery twist on a classic.
Spicy Sausage Rolls a fiery twist on a classic.

For those of you with a more gentle constitution, don’t worry these Spicy Sausage Rolls do not ‘blow your head off!’ Instead they have a gentle warming, fruity heat that lifts an otherwise everyday sausage roll to a whole different level.

The inclusion of some paprika filled chorizo sausage, further elevates the incredible flavour of these picnic favourites. Delicious good quality sausage meat,  mixed with finely chopped jalapeño chilli and just the right amount of chorizo, encased in flaky, all butter puff pastry, makes for the perfect addition to any packed lunch, picnic or easy meal.

Spicy Sausage Rolls change up your daily packed lunch!
Spicy Sausage Rolls change up your daily packed lunch!

If you like sausage rolls, you will absolutely love these Spicy Sausage Rolls!

Spicy Sausage Rolls an easy, tasty,mid week meal.
Spicy Sausage Rolls an easy, tasty, mid week meal.

Puff pastry is such an incredibly handy product to have stashed away in the freezer. All butter is my preferred type, especially for sweet bakes such as my Blackberry Nectarine Tart , however, I do sometimes use the mixed vegetable fat/butter for savoury bakes, especially if it is on offer!

Having chatted to a few of my Twitter friends recently, we all concluded that the cost of groceries seems to have suddenly risen. For me, this means creating recipes that stretch more expensive ingredients that little bit further and also really trying hard to keep food waste to an absolute minimum.

Spicy Sausage Rolls are great with a handful of cherry tomatoes off the vine.
Spicy Sausage Rolls are great with a handful of cherry tomatoes off the vine.

As I spend a lot of time testing recipes and batch baking/cooking in the kitchen, the opportunity for waste can become even greater. Especially if after a few days cooking and baking I then spend the next few days in bed due to my health problems see here.

This is where the freezer becomes my best friend! Having made the Spicy Sausage Rolls on a day where I had also cooked dinner, they were in danger of getting forgotten about, boxed up in the back of the fridge. Of course we shared a couple between us to taste test them and we were not disappointed. After the photos were taken the following day, I popped the remaining sausage rolls in the freezer – keeping a couple out for our daughter and I to share for lunch.

I have no doubt that they will not stay in the freezer long, yet it saves potential waste. Which is primarily, not only good for our planet, but also our grocery budget!

Recipe: Makes 12 Spicy Sausage Rolls

350g/12oz Block of Puff Pastry all butter if possible- defrosted in the fridge overnight if frozen – I used frozen Just Rol all butter puff pastry

454g/1lb Pork Sausagemeat – good quality at least 85% Pork, casing removed

50g/2oz Chorizo Sausage – casing removed

1 Jalapeño Chilli Pepper

1 Medium Free Range Egg

Method: Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6

  • Place the sausage meat into a bowl and add the chorizo sausage pulled into pieces.
  • Remove the seeds and membrane from the jalapeño chilli pepper and chop finely.
  • Add the chopped chilli to the bowl and squish (mix) everything together using clean hands.
  • Roll out the puff pastry on a clean, flour dusted work top, until it is 30cm x 20cm (15″ wide by 8″ deep).
  • Trim the edges of the pastry and then divide the pastry in half width ways so that you have 2 long strips.
  • Divide the sausage meat mixture in two.
  • Evenly lay the sausage meat down the middle of each length of pastry.
You can see the flecks of green chilli and red chorizo throughout the sausage meat.
You can see the flecks of green chilli and red chorizo throughout the sausage meat.
  • Crack an egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush beaten egg down the length of the pastry, either side of the sausage meat.
  • Bring the top edge of the pastry evenly over the sausage meat and continue rolling so that the pastry overlaps (and seals) underneath the sausage rolls.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut each long roll in half and then cut each half into 3 even sized sausage rolls. In total you will have 12 medium sized sausage rolls.
Spicy Sausage Rolls ready for their egg wash and to be baked!
Spicy Sausage Rolls ready for their egg wash and to be baked!
  • Place the sausage rolls on to a lightly oiled baking tray.
  • Brush each sausage roll with the beaten egg – this will give the pastry a wonderful, crisp, golden finish once baked.
  • Finally using a sharp, pointed pair of scissors, snip the top of each sausage roll twice – as can be seen in the picture below.
Spicy Sausage Rolls ready for the oven.
Spicy Sausage Rolls ready for the oven.
  • Place the baking tray into the middle/top part of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • The Spicy Sausage Rolls are cooked when the pastry is flaky and golden brown all over. If in doubt cut a sausage roll in half, the meat should be cooked all the way through.
  • Once baked remove the sausage rolls from the oven.
Golden, flaky, hot Spicy Sausage Rolls fresh from the oven.
Golden, flaky, hot Spicy Sausage Rolls fresh from the oven.
  • Transfer the baked sausage rolls to a cooling rack and allow to cool slightly before trying!
Spicy Sausage Rolls that smell so delicious and inviting.
Spicy Sausage Rolls that smell so delicious and inviting.

Perfect eaten hot or cold, with a good chutney, some cherry tomatoes and a glass of something refreshing.

To store, allow to cool completely and then pack into an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Alternatively, as I did, pack into a freezer bag or box, label and keep in the freezer for one month. Defrost thoroughly and reheat until piping hot in a moderate oven.

If fresh puff pastry has been used, not frozen, these Spicy Sausage Rolls can also be frozen uncooked. Place some baking parchment on a baking tray, put the sausage rolls on top and then place into the freezer and freeze until solid. Once frozen pack into freezer boxes, separating each layer with baking parchment. To cook, remove as many sausage rolls as required, place onto an oiled baking tray and bake in a preheated oven as before. The sausage rolls will take approximately 45 minutes to bake from frozen. This can be particularly handy over the Christmas holiday period.

Spicy Sausage Rolls
Spicy Sausage Rolls perfect for a Christmas buffet, or any buffet!!

Sorry to mention Christmas, however, in our house a buffet is incomplete without a plate of hot sausage rolls. This year we can really turn the heat up!

Obviously you can control how spicy you make these, as well as the size. I would perhaps make them a little smaller for a buffet spread.

If you have loved these Spicy Sausage Rolls as much as we have you may also enjoy these other recipes:

Quiche Lorraine

Spicy Sausage Rolls
Quiche Lorraine bacon, cheddar and egg tart.

Sausage Plait With A Twist

Spicy Sausage Rolls
Sausage Plait With A Twist

Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

Spicy Sausage Rolls
Tomato Thyme Garlic Focaccia Bread

If you think about it, a buffet is really an indoor picnic!

Who doesn’t love unloading a picnic hamper or walking around a buffet table tasting little morsels of yummy different foods. We have a daughter who would happily eat from a buffet table/picnic hamper most days of the year.

The sun is blazing as I write up this post. Whether you make and bake during the sunshine or snow, have fun feasting with friends, family and neighbours.

Sammie xx

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Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks

I am so loving the longer daylight hours at the moment. Feeling as though I want to make the most of every drop of sunshine. Winter being a distant memory, I’ve been out in the garden, clearing, ready for sowing and planting. Don’t worry I have also been in the kitchen baking and these Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks are the delicious result.

FF Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks
Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks, slow release energy that’s delicious.

When the weather is warm and the sun is shining I simply love being in the garden. Listening to the chatter and chirruping of birds, feeling the warmth of the sun on my back, our garden becomes my haven again, after the long, cold winter months.

So being able to eat breakfast, or more usually brunch, outside is very much treasured. These Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks are perfect to munch on whilst sitting on our garden bench, hot cup of coffee to hand. Packed with slow energy release oats, they make a tasty, yet filling alternative to toast or cereal.

FF Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks
Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks so good with a cup of good coffee.

This recipe is so simple and quick. A few minutes in the kitchen melting, mixing, baking and cooling means that you can have a great, portable bar, that is perfect for breakfast on the go, packed lunches, getting through the late afternoon energy dip. Plenty of deicious bars to see you through the week.

That has to be a winning recipe – right?

FF Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks
Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks – crunchy, chewy bars of yum!

I love easy recipes – more so during the warmer months, when my passion for cooking and baking is matched by my passion for gardening. Yes I still have to work around my body (see – Living with siezures ), that just makes the time I have even more precious. Whilst in the winter I can happily spend all day – relatively speaking – in the kitchen, during warm spring and summer days my preference is to be outside.

My hubby jokes that I was born wearing Wellington boots! Whilst I may not be able to do the heavy digging of years past, I still like to get my hands dirty. I’ve also found, especially during the hotter months of summer, baking is best done first thing in the morning. That way there isn’t a hot oven baking bread, mid afternoon, just as the temperature outside is peaking.

Macadamia Nut Dried Apricot Flapjacks
Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks crunchy, chewy and full of flavour.

Back to the Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks! The macadamia nuts add a buttery crunch to these bars that I absolutely adore, however, I know they can be pricey. A great substitute would be almonds, either flakes or whole almonds that you chop yourself. I have used dried apricots that are the gorgeous tangerine orange of their fresh counterparts, however, if you prefer the darker, unsulphured apricots, use them instead. Good quality rolled oats, absolutely make these flapjacks the stars that they are.

I have specified that these Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks are gluten free, please check the labels of ingredients carefully to ensure that they are so. This is vital when baking for someone on a restricted diet. Their health absolutely cannot be compromised.

Recipe: Makes 12 Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks

250g/10oz Unsalted Butter – plus a little extra for greasing the tin

100g/4oz Golden Syrup (light corn syrup)

125g/5oz Light Brown Sugar

325g/11.5oz Rolled Oats (not quick cook) – I used Delicious Alchemy as they are 100% gluten free

150g/5oz Dried Apricots – chopped into rough quarters

100g/4oz Chopped Macadamia Nuts – I buy whole nuts and roughly chop them myself

Optional – 100g White Chocolate

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/165C fan, gas mark 4

  • Grease and line a 8″ x 11″ – 20cm x 28cm swiss roll tin/shallow baking tin, with butter and baking parchment.
  • Into a medium saucepan add the butter and sugar. Warm over a medium heat, stirring until melted.
  • In a large bowl add the golden syrup.
  • Pour the melted butter/sugar mixture into the bowl containing the golden syrup. Stir continuously until combined.
  • Add the oats, chopped apricots and macadamia nuts and stir to thoroughly combine.
  • Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and press down using the back of a metal spoon, until the mixture is one even layer.
FF Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks
The Macadamia Apricot Flapjack mixture compacted into an even layer and ready for the oven.
  • Place the tin in the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes exactly.
  • The flapjacks will be a light golden colour when baked – do not be tempted to bake them for longer as this will result in them being hard, not chewy!
  • Once baked remove the tin from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  • When completely cooled remove the entire flapjack bake from the tin, using the excess baking parchment to help lift it out.
Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks
Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks ready for the finishing touch.
  • As seen above, cut down the middle length of the bake and then across the width.  Cut each quarter into 3 generous bars – you could cut each quarter into 4 making 16 individual flapjacks in total.
FF Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks
Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks with a drizzle of white chocolate.
  • To finish the flapjacks – chop the white chocolate into small pieces and place in a heatproof, microwaveable bowl.
  • Zap for 20 seconds at a time, stirring between each heating session.
  • When the chocolate is half melted, remove from the microwave and stir until completely liquid.
  • Fill a small disposable piping bag with the melted chocolate.
  • Snip off the very end of the bag, creating a small hole.
  • Pipe swirls or zig zags of chocolate onto each flapjack to provide a beautiful finish.
FF Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks
Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks as pretty to look at as they are delicious to eat.

Ooh how completely yummy do these Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks look?

A couple of notes: During the summer, once the flapjack bake has cooled to room temperature, if the ambient temperature is 25C or above, it may be worth popping the tin in the fridge for an hour to allow the flapjacks to completely set. Likewise, unless the flapjacks are stored in the fridge I would leave off the white chocolate drizzle. If these Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks are going to get warm throughout the day, whether in a packed lunch box, or a bag, the white chocolate will melt and create a whole lotta mess!

This is just my advice as a mum of three and wife to hubby who takes a packed lunch to work.

Im just sayin’!!!

Love these Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks? Here are a couple of other recipes you may like to try as well.

Coconut Almond Date Flapjacks

FF Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks
Coconut Almond Date Flapjacks

Bakewell Shortbread Bars

FF Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks
Bakewell Shortbread Bars

Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks

FF Macadamia Apricot Flapjacks
Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks

Whilst spending time in your kitchen, baking and cooking, have you ever thought of making extra and sharing some?

We all have people in our neighbourhood who are lonely and perhaps a little unhappy. Inviting them round for a chat over a cup of tea and delicious slice of cake, or flapjack, may seem such a small thing to us and yet can make the world of difference to someone else’s day.

Time seems to be so precious to many, which is why it is such a valuable gift to give.

Sammie xx

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Bakewell Shortbread Bars

Hello my lovely readers, I have a real star of a recipe today. If you have spent anytime on this site, then you’ll know I’m a bit bonkers about all the flavours in a Bakewell Tart. You’d think I’d actually get round to making one! Soon I promise. Instead, I have made these very delicious Bakewell Shortbread Bars.

FF Bakewell Shortbread Bars
Bakewell Shortbread Bars perfect for packed lunches and picnics.

These actually came about by accident, sometimes that’s the best way with recipes! I had made some vanilla shortbread dough, which I had planned to turn into chocolate dipped hearts, don’t worry, I haven’t shelved that idea. Anyway, what with one thing and another, I didn’t get around to making them.

So a couple of weeks ago, on a Sunday, Hubby was running through what we had for packed lunches that week. I hadn’t managed to make any Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks eek – then I had a moment of inspiriation. These Bakewell Shortbread Bars are the result of me needing to make something delicious, that also travels well.

FF Bakewell Shortbread Bars
Bakewell Shortbread Bars perfect with a cup of tea.

What a massive hit these have been with my family, ooh and me!

The buttery shortbread base gives these Bakewell Shortbread Bars a sturdiness that is needed when food is to be transported. Topped with delicious raspberry jam, giving a hint of sweetness and then covered in a light, tender almond sponge with flaked almonds added for crunch, flavour and decoration.

Whilst I love Bakewell Tart, what I really love about this recipe, is that there isn’t any pie crust to roll out. With a pastry crust I certainly don’t want a big, thick wodge of it at the bottom of my bar, whereas, using shortbread dough I am more than happy to have a decently thick base.

FF Bakewell Shortbread Bars
Bakewell Shortbread Bars such an easy recipe.

These Bakewell Shortbread Bars hold together really well and I will definitely be making them for picnics throughout the warmer months. I am not a fan of packing up food for lunches or picnics that is overly sweet or has any form of icing. I guess it just becomes too much of a bug magnet, or even worse wasps – and cupcakes/iced cakes just get too messy. Even though our children are in their teens now, I want to relax whilst eating outside, not constantly dodging bugs or clearing up melted buttercream.

That is not my idea of fun!

Actually, one year that we went to the beach with a big croud of friends, I made a fruit cake and a lemon drizzle cake (I know but the lemon drizzle only had a little bit of icing). I pre-cut them, popped the cakes into tins and mid afternoon we all had a cup of tea and slice of cake. I remember it being a very relaxing happy day and these Bakewell Shortbread Bars would certainly have travelled well and been enjoyed. A must bake for this year’s beach outings!

Now when I say this recipe is simple, it really is, the only slight faff is pre-cooking the shortbread. I say slight, because whilst the shortbread is cooking it is the perfect time to whip up the sponge.

Recipe: Makes 12 Bakewell Shortbread Bars

For the shortbread:

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter – softened to room temperature plus 1tbsp for greasing the tin

150g/5oz Caster Sugar

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

1 Large Egg Yolk – I always use free range

275g/10oz Plain White Flour

Pinch of salt

For the cake batter:

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter – softened to room temperature

175g/6oz Caster Sugar

3 Large Free Range Eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract

3/4 tsp Almond Extract

100g/4oz Ground Almonds

50g/2oz Plain White Flour

1tsp Baking Powder

Pinch of salt

175g/ Approx 1/2 Standard Jar of Raspberry Jam – I’ve used seedless

50g/2oz Flaked Almonds

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/165C fan, gas mark 4

You will need a swiss roll tin 28cm x 20cm x 5cm (12″ x 8″ x 2″) greased with butter and lined with baking parchment.

Making the shortbread base:

  • In a large bowl whisk/beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy.
  • Add the vanilla extract and egg yolk and whisk/beat until combined.
  • Sift the flour and salt into the bowl.
  • Mix using a spoon until the dough comes together.
  • Tip the dough out on to some cling film. Wrap up the dough into a disc shape and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  • Once chilled break the dough up into large pieces and place them into the prepared tin.
  • Using clean hands, press the shortbread dough into the tin so that it forms a uniform layer.
  • Dock the shortbread dough using a fork.
FF Bakewell Shortbread Bars
The shortbread base ready for the oven.
  • Place the tin into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the tin after 10 minutes and spread the jam over the part cooked shortbread. Leave a small gap between the jam and the edge of the shortbread.
  • Turn the oven temperature down to 160C/140C fan, gas mark 3.
FF Bakewell Shortbread Bars
The part cooked shortbread is slathered in raspberry jam.

Making the cake batter.

  • In a large bowl whisk/beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.
  • Add the vanilla and almond extract and the 3 whole eggs. Whisk/beat for 1 minute.
  • Add the flour, ground almonds and salt.
  • Mix slowly until the batter is just combined.
  • Spoon the cake batter over the jam coated shortbread.
FF Bakewell Shortbread Bars
Almond sponge is spooned on top of the raspberry jam covered shortbread.
  • Use an offset palette knife, or the back of a spoon to carefully spread the cake batter so that it almost covers the top of the shortbread, Don’t worry it will spread out during baking,
  • Sprinkle over the flaked almonds.
Bakewell Shortbread Bars
Ready for the oven.
  • Place the tin into the centre of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. It is fully baked when the top is golden and feels firm to the touch.
  • Once baked remove the tin from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.
FF Bakewell Shortbread Bars
How gorgeous does this look?
  • When completely cold run a knife around both long sides of the tin.
  • Using the spare parchment paper, lift the cake covered shortbread free from the tin.
  • Cut down the middle length of the bake.
  • Cut across the width, in the middle.
  • Cut each quarter into 3 bars.
  • Use a palette knife to lift the Bakewell Shortbread Bars free from the baking parchment.
FF Bakewell Shortbread Bars
Bakewell Shortbread Bars who will you share them with?

How great do these Bakewell Shortbread Bars look?

Store them in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

FF Bakewell Shortbread Bars
Bakewell Shortbread Bars almond sponge, raspberry jam and shortbread base – perfect!

See! So easy to make. Such a brilliant addition to a packed lunch, picnic or just to have with a cup of tea or coffee.

I love recipes that are easy, yet produce stunning results. This is one of those recipes. All of the flavours work so well together – buttery shortbread base, sweet/tart raspberry jam and almond sponge – the perfect combination. You can have your cake and cookie all in one tasty Bakewell Shortbread Bar!

If you have enjoyed these Bakewell Shortbread Bars, here are some other recipes you might like to try:

Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks

FF Bakewell Shortbread Bars
Cranberry Walnut Flapjacks perfect to grab and go.

Coconut Date Almond Flapjacks

FF Coconut Date Almond Flapjacks
Coconut Date Almond Flapjacks healthy food to go.

Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars

FF Bakewell Shortbread Bars
Oat Topped Lemon Shortbread Bars

Do you have favourite recipes for making good food to go?

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I really appreciate it and love reading them. If you are on Twitter or Instagram please pop a photo up and tag me in. I love to see what you are baking and making in your kitchens and will happily retweet your pictures.

Whatever you are making, have lots of fun making your feasts and sharing with friends and family.

Sammie xx

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Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

Yay it’s the weekend and I have the most fabulous treat for you. These absolutely delicious, 100% gluten free, Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes.

FF Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes deliciously gluten free treats.

I’m so excited I could almost burst! Delicious Alchemy sent me some of their Vanilla Sponge Cake Mix to try. All of their products are 100% gluten free and so, with friends that cannot tolerate gluten, I was excited and intrigued to see how well this packet mix performed.

My first project was to remake my delicious Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes. The cake mix was made as per the packet instructions and I added 100g of mango before filling the cupcake cakes. Once baked and cooled I topped the cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting. The cupcakes on tasting were deliciously light, tender and moist, with mango distributed evenly throughout each cake. A firm 9 out of 10 marks was given by all of the taste testers who had also tried my original recipe!

FF Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes made with gluten free vanilla cake mix.

Delicious Alchemy are currently running a Crowdfund project, raising funds to create a book for people living on a restricted diet. Why not take a look at their website to find out more and see how you too can a be part of this fantastic project.

Offering my baking skills to help raise awareness for Delicious Alchemy’s Crowdfund Project, led to me creating these delightful Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes, ooh and a bit of playing with fondant and alphabet cutters 😉.

FF Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes proudly supporting people who live on a gluten free diet.

Sugar and Crumbs sell a range of naturally flavoured icing sugars, cocoa, baking ingredients and baking equipment. All of their flavoured icings and cocoas are gluten free! To make these Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes I used their Chocolate Cherry Cocoa added to a Delicious Alchemy Vanilla Sponge Mix. Then topped each cupcake with a buttercream frosting using Black Forest Icing Sugar.

The result, a firm 10 out of 10!

Well they are Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes and chocolate makes everything better right 😉.

FF Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes gluten free and finished with a white chocolate heart.

Feasting is fun is an inclusive blog. The theme of sharing being it’s very backbone. Creating recipes that more people can enjoy appeals to the nature of who I am as a person. Supporting Delicious Alchemy in their Crowdfund by making these Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes was the very least I could do.

NOTE: All of Delicious Alchemy’s products are gluten and dairy free. The recipe below uses milk, butter and eggs.

Recipe: Makes 18 Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

1 packet of gluten free Vanilla Sponge Mix from Delicious Alchemy

50g Cocoa Powder – I used Sugar and Crumbs cherry cocoa

180g Unsalted Butter – softened to room temperature

3 Free Range Eggs

60ml/4tbsp Whole Milk

250g Black Forest Icing Sugar

50g Cocoa

100g Plain Icing Sugar

200g Unsalted Butter – softened to room temperature

Approximately 3tbsp Hot Water

Optional – 200g White Chocolate for the chocolate heart decorations – alternatively ensure any decoration is gluten free

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

  • Line 2 cupcake tins with 18 cupcake cases.
  • Add the softened butter, eggs, vanilla sponge mix, flavoured cocoa and milk to a bowl.
  • Whisk until you have a smooth cake batter – approximately 2 minutes.
  • Divide the cake batter evenly between the cake cases.
  • Place the cupcake tins in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The cupcakes are cooked when they are firm and spring back from a light touch.
  • Once baked remove the cupcakes from the oven.
  • Allow the cupcakes to cool, either in their tin or transferred to a cooling rack, before icing.
FF Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Gluten Free Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes.

To make the buttercream frosting:

  • Place the softened butter into a large bowl.
  • Sift in the flavoured icing sugar, cocoa and plain icing sugar.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of hot water from a recently boiled kettle.
  • Whisk, starting on a very slow speed and gradually increasing, until the buttercream is light and creamy – add in the extra tablespoon of hot water if the buttercream is too stiff.
  • Fit a large piping bag with a large star nozzle – I use Wilton’s #1M.
  • Fill the piping bag with the buttercream.
  • To pipe rose swirls, start with the nozzle just above the centre of the cupcake, pipe an e shape and then continue round.
FF Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes with swirls of frosting.

To make the white chocolate hearts:

  • Chop up the chocolate into small pieces.
  • Place two thirds of the chocolate into a heatproof, microwaveable bowl.
  • Zap for 20 seconds at a time stirring in between.
  • When the chocolate is melted, remove from the microwave and immediately add the last third of chopped chocolate.
  • Stir continuously until all of the chocolate is melted. This method is a cheat’s way of tempering chocolate and helps prevent any white marks (bloom) appearing on the cooled chocolate.
  • Spoon the melted chocolate into the heart mould, tapping the mould after every three hearts are filled, to bring air bubbles to the surface.
  • Leave the chocolate to set somewhere cool. You can chill the mould in the fridge.
FF Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
White Chocolate Hearts to decorate the cupcakes.
  • Once the white chocolate hearts are firm, press out from the mould, ensuring you have cold hands for handling them, so as not to mark them.
  • Place a chocolate heart on the top of each cupcake.
FF Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes perfect for sharing.

These gluten free Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes are so pretty and very delicious. Whilst eating one of these tasty treats I could honestly not tell any difference to ‘regular’ wheat flour cupcakes. Yet the great thing is that more people can enjoy these!

FF Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes will you help?

I thoroughly enjoyed making (and eating 😀) these cupcakes and supporting Delicious Alchemy in their Crowdfund campaign. Raising awareness for others who cannot eat freely and creating an ultimate guide to living with dietary restrictions is very close to my heart. Whilst I am able to eat wheat flour, having been a life long sufferer of migraines, there are certain foods that I too have to avoid.

Do you have dietary restrictions?

Are there recipes that you would like converted into gluten free versions?

Let me know and if I can help I absolutely will xx.

If you have enjoyed these gluten free Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes here are some other gluten free recipes you may like:

Lemony Strawberry Pavlova

FF Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Gluten Free Lemony Strawberry Pavlova

Autumn Apple Almond Cake

FF Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Gluten Free Autumn Apple Almond Cake

Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble

FF Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes
Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble gluten free

All of the above recipes are 100% gluten free and I have happily served them to guests who were not aware that wheat flour had not been used!!

Feasting on delicious homemade food should be fun. With these recipes more people can bake at home with confidence. Whilst supermarkets may provide a limited selection of gluten free products, they will never be as tasty as homemade. Having a gluten free cake mix in the cupboard means you can whip up a gluten free treat, for visitors with a restricted diet, without having to re-stock your baking cupboard!

Please let me know if I can help with the questions above?

Sammie xx

Delicious Alchemy provided me with the vanilla sponge mix for this post. All opinions, views, content and photographs are my own. I did not receive any payment for writing this post. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Date Ginger Iced Buns

Easter seems such a long time ago now and yet I still find myself missing the adventure of creating new hot cross bun flavours. So, instead I took one of my favourite flavour combinations this year, the Ginger Date Hot Cross Bun and played around with it. The result is these utterly yummy Date Ginger Iced Buns.

FF Date Ginger Iced Buns
Date Ginger Iced Buns full of fruit and flavour.

A sweet yeasted bun packed with medjool dates, stem ginger and freshly grated nutmeg. Baked until golden brown and then slathered with thick glacé icing.

These Date Ginger Iced Buns are sticky, not overly sweet, finger licking portions of loveliness.

I adored the flavour combination when I made the hot cross buns, but knew I needed to vamp up the recipe. When toasting hot cross buns, the heat enhances the flavour, as these buns were to be eaten cold I knew I’d have to pack more flavour in. After making these three times I am finally happy with the recipe.

FF Date Ginger Iced Buns
Date Ginger Iced Buns with a hint of nutmeg.

Playing around with recipes is part of the fun of being a food blogger. When Waitrose ran a competition on Twitter for new hot cross bun flavours I was absolutely in my element and went on to make a couple of my suggestions, including the Cherry Bakewell Hot Cross Buns.

Over the recent months, experimenting in the kitchen with new recipes, carrying out reviews and writing this blog, has really helped me. My body is still completely messed up, with me having around sixty seizures a week, yet focusing on my blog, although not easy at times, has definitely given me a sense of accomplishment.

It is hard not to become frustrated and I frequently do, that is when I re-read all of the lovely comments you leave. Today I am really struggling with pain, which means it’s hard to concentrate on writing these words – yet this recipe is so good, so delicious, that I really want to share it with you so that you can make the Date Ginger Iced Buns over the weekend.

I write this not to elicite sympathy from you, simply to explain what my reality is – see Adapting to a new normal. Sometimes life isn’t all sunshine and roses. Usually the kitchen is my retreat, somewhere to escape to as a distraction, yet today my bed is my sanctuary.

On a more positive note, one of the most enjoyable reviews has been using the delicious medjool dates from The Medjool Date Co. This recipe has used the last of the dates, sob. They are completely addictive and utterly divine. I might have made more recipes had I not snaffled so many whilst cooking and baking with them!

I will definitely be getting more of these delicious medjool dates. Their sticky, not overly sweet flavour is so versatile in cooking/baking and they are wonderful to snack on too. I highly recommend them.

Recipe: Makes 12 Date Ginger Iced Buns

550g/1lb 4oz Strong White Bread Flour

160ml Whole Milk – warmed to body temperature

120ml Tepid Water

2 Large Eggs – I use free range

1tbsp Honey

10g/1.5 Sachet Fast Acting Dried Yeast

10g/ approx 1tsp Salt

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter

200g/8oz Medjool Dates – pitted and chopped to medium dice

3 Balls of Stem Ginger – removed from the syrup and finely diced

1/2tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

For the glace icing:

400g/14oz  Icing Sugar

2tbsp Syrup from the stem ginger jar

Method:

This method is for use with a bread maker or stand mixer, if you wish to make by hand please do, the quantities are the same, make sure you knead the dough for 10 minutes before adding the fruit.

The ‘bowl’ refers to the bowl of a stand mixer or the mixing compartment of a bread maker.

  • Add both the milk and water to the bowl.
  • Next add both eggs, the honey and yeast.
  • Swish about with clean fingers to mix.
  • Now add the flour on top of the liquid mixture.
  • Place the salt and butter on top of the flour.

For a bread maker, set the cycle to dough and press start. When prompted by the machine, or 5 minutes before mixing stops, add the chopped dates, finely diced stem ginger and nutmeg. Allow the bread maker to complete the dough cycle.

When the bread maker has completed the dough cycle, ensure the dough has doubled in size, if not wait until it has. Then re start the dough cycle for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

For a stand mixer attach the dough hook. Start mixing on a low speed. Once the contents of the bowl resemble dough continue to mix on medium/slow speed for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough, from the hook, into the bowl. Add the chopped dates, finely diced stem ginger and nutmeg . Lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for a further 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes mixing is complete, stop the mixer. Scrape all the dough back into the bowl, it will be very sticky – don’t worry. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a draught free place until doubled in size – 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

Once the stand mixer dough has doubled in size, lower the dough hook and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, this will ‘knock back’ the dough for you.

Shaping the buns:

  • Tip the dough out on to a clean, floured surface.
  • Divide the dough in half and then divide each half into 6 portions. You can use scales if you want to be absolutely accurate.
  • Flour your hands well, this dough is sticky.
  • Form each portion of dough into a ball shape.
  • Place on to a buttered baking tray, leaving space in between each bun to allow it to rise.
  • When all the buns are shaped cover the baking tray with a clean tea towel. Leave in a draught free place until the buns are doubled in size – approx 1 hour.
  • When the buns are almost doubled, preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6.
FF Date Ginger Iced Buns
Beautifully risen buns ready for the oven.
  • When the buns have doubled in size place the baking tray into the centre of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Enjoy the smell of these delicious buns baking in your oven. There’s a reason, during the build up to Easter, that you smell Hot Cross Buns as soon as you walk into a supermaket!!!
  • The buns are baked when they are golden brown and sound hollow whe rapped on the base with you knuckle.
  • Once baked remove the buns from the oven and immediately transfer them to a cooling rack.
FF Date Ginger Iced Buns
Golden baked, fruit filled buns.
  • Leave the date and ginger buns to cool completely before icing.

To make the glace icing:

  • Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the syrup from the stem ginger jar.
  • Add just enough water 2-3tsp to the bowl to make a very thick, but still spoonable paste.
  • Using a dessert spoon, carefully swirl some of the thick icing on to each of the buns. The icing will drip very slightly.
  • Allow the Date Ginger Iced Buns to set on the cooling rack.

Now it’s time to put the kettle on as all of your neighbours will soon be knocking at your front door, drawn in by the tantalising aroma of freshly baked fruit buns!!

FF Date Ginger Iced Buns
Date Ginger Iced Buns sweet fruit filled delights that you want to bite!

A quick tip, if these aren’t all to be snaffled straight away, is to pop half of them into a freezer bag – un-iced. They can be frozen for up to a month. Defrost fully before icing, or skip the icing and enjoy the buns toasted. with lashing of butter.

The freshly iced buns will keep for 24 hours in an airtight container. I use an old biscuit tin.

FF Date Ginger Iced Buns
Date Ginger Iced Buns perfect for afternoon tea!

Do let me know if you try this recipe. I love getting feedback on my recipes.

If you have enjoyed these yummy Date Ginger Iced Buns you may also like these other recipes using dates:

Coconut Almond Date Flapjacks

VC Coconut Almond Date Flapjacks
Coconut Almond Date Flapjacks a slow release energy bar wherever you are.

Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns

RT Ginger Gate Hot Cross Buns
Ginger Date Hot Cross Buns a complete taste sensation.

Morrocan Lamb Stew

FF Morrocan Lamb Stew
Morrocan Lamb Stew flavored with middle eastern spices and medjool dates.

 

The Medjool Dates were truly a feast in themselves, yet I also found them so versatile in the kitchen. Keep your eyes open for more delicious date recipes on Feasting is Fun!

Whatever you make or bake in your kitchens this weekend,I reallythat hope you have fun and enjoy sharing your feast with others.

Sammie xx

The Medjool Date Company provided me with the dates for this recipe. All views, opinions and content contained within this post are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Raspberry Almond Cream Cake

Welcome to a New Year and what better way to celebrate than with my Raspberry Almond Cream Cake.

Raspberry Almond Cream Cake perfect as a celebration cake and for sharing www.feastingisfun.com
Raspberry Almond Cream Cake perfect as a celebration cake and for sharing www.feastingisfun.com

This cake was made on December 31st 2015 and was taken to our very good friends, for their New Years Eve party.

It has been so long, too long, since I have been out of the house for anything other than a Doctors or Hospital appointment. We were invited to our friends, ages ago. Having missed out on other family gatherings, I really wanted to see the year out on a positive note.

Raspberry Almond Cream Cake moist, fruity cake www.feastingisfun.com
Raspberry Almond Cream Cake moist, fruity cake www.feastingisfun.com

Taking this Raspberry Almond Cream Cake, as a gift, to our friends house, was also a massive achievement. The cake looked festive, without being too Christmassy. I resisted the urge to sprinkle some edible glitter on the top. Setting the cake on a gold plate seemed beautiful enough.

Raspberry Almond Cream Cake moist sponge layered with cream, jam and fresh fruit www.feastingisfun.com
Raspberry Almond Cream Cake moist sponge layered with cream, jam and fresh fruit www.feastingisfun.com

The almond flavour in the moist sponge, pairs really well with gorgeous, plump, deep crimson raspberries. I tend to find frozen raspberries hold their flavour and shape and are excellent to keep on hand, in the deep freeze, for the winter months. On this occasion, fresh raspberries were available, but I would totally make this again with frozen fruit!

An extra layer of raspberry jam, brought additional flavour and made all the ingredients in this Raspberry Almond Cream Cake ‘sing’.

Raspberry Almond Cream Cake I wish I had a slice of this now www.feastingisfun.com
Raspberry Almond Cream Cake I wish I had a slice of this now www.feastingisfun.com

Usually when baking a layered cake I bake separate sponges, this time however, I baked one gorgeous, almond sponge and cut it in half. The result was an extra moist cake that kept people going back for another slice!!

If making this cake for only adults, I woud certainly have brushed the inside of the cut sponge with some Framboise (raspberry liquer), or alternatively added a splash of delicious almond liquer to the cream!

Here’s how to make this luscious cake!

Recipe: Makes 1 large 10″ Raspberry Almond Cream Cake serves 12

10oz/275g Unsalted Butter – at room temperature

10oz/275g Caster Sugar

8oz/225g Self Raising Flower

2oz/50g Ground Almonds

1/2tsp Baking Powder

1tsp Vanilla Extract

1tsp Almond Extract

1/4tsp Salt

4 Large Free Range Eggs

2floz/50ml Whole Milk

3oz/75g Almond Flakes – very lightly toasted

2 packets Fresh or Defrosted Raspberries 14oz/400g

15floz/400ml Double Cream

3Tbsp Raspberry Jam

Method: Preheat oven to 175C/160C fan oven

Grease and line the base of a 10″ springform cake pan.

In a large bowl whisk the butter, sugar and salt together until pale and fluffy.

Add one third of the dry mix (flour, ground almonds and baking powder), 2 eggs, half the milk and the vanilla and almond extracts.

Mix until just combined.

Repeat the last step.

Finally add the last third of the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Place the cake batter into the springform pan.
Place the cake batter into the springform pan.

Bake in the oven for approximately an hour. The cake is baked when it is golden brown and springs back when pressed lightly in the centre.

Once baked remove the cake from the oven and place the pan on a rack to cool for 15 minutes.
Once baked remove the cake from the oven and place the pan on a rack to cool for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes turn out the cake from the pan and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.
After 15 minutes turn out the cake from the pan and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Once the cake is cooled, carefully slice the sponge in half.

Use a serrated bread knife to slice the sponge in half.
Use a serrated bread knife to slice the sponge in half.

Whip the double cream until it just holds a peak.

Spread the raspberry jam over one half of the sponge.
Spread the raspberry jam over one half of the sponge.

Sort through the raspberries and reserve 12 of the largest, plumpest fruits for the top of the cake.

Spread half of the whipped cream on the other half of the sponge. Add half of the raspberries.
Spread half of the whipped cream on the other half of the sponge. Add half of the raspberries.

Place the sponge, spread with jam, on top of the cream and raspberry filled sponge.

Raspberry Almond Cream Cake - spread the remaining cream on top of the cake, decorate with Raspberries and sprinkle over the toasted almonds slices. www.feastingisfun.com
Raspberry Almond Cream Cake – spread the remaining cream on top of the cake, decorate with Raspberries and sprinkle over the toasted almonds flakes. www.feastingisfun.com

Keep the cake chilled, removing from the fridge 20 minutes before eating.

Invite round some friends, or alternatively take this cake to your friends house.

You are certain to be a very popular guest if you turn up with this Raspberry Almond Cream Cake!!

All food tastes better when it is shared, none so more than cake, in my humble opinion 😉.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy 2016. May your friendships grow closer over a cup of tea and slice of cake.

If you enjoyed this Raspberry Almond Cream Cake here are some other bakes that you can enjoy sharing –

Strawberries and Cream Cake

Victoria Sponge Cake

Chocolate Sparkle Cake

Sammie xx

 

 

 

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Chocolate Madness Muffins

Well hello lovely people. I’ve got mayhem happening in the kitchen today, in the form of Chocolate Madness Muffins!

Chocolate Madness Muffins chocolatey deliciousness in every bite! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Madness Muffins chocolatey deliciousness in every bite! www.feastingisfun.com

 

Yep see what I did there? Got straight into the photos of these chocolate masterpieces. Amazingly light chocolate sponge, studded throughout with milk and white chocolate chunks and chips.

Ooh then I pressed extra chocolate chips into the top of the batter before the Chocolate Madness Muffins hit the oven.

Just in case there is any doubt about how madly, chocolatey, delicious these muffins are, I scattered a few extra chocolate chips over them, after they are cooked, because, why not??

Bring the Chocolate Mayhem on!!!

Chocolate Madness Muffins for the chocoholic in you!! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Madness Muffins for the chocoholic in you!! www.feastingisfun.com

 

It’s good to shake things up once in a while, well not fizzy water – but that’s another thing entirely!

Chocolate Madness Muffins the ultimate chocolate treat www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Madness Muffins the ultimate chocolate treat www.feastingisfun.com

 

Traditional muffins are quite dense and usually quite good for you. These Chocolate Madness Muffins don’t tick either of those boxes (RECIPE REBEL!). I was aiming for the cafe style muffins, but better. Big, beautiful, light-as-air sponge, enveloped in these gorgeous tulip style cake wrappers.

As you unwrap your own moment of madness, it really is like having a special chocolate present all to yourself. Unless, of course, you bake these Chocolate Madness Muffins and then invite lots of friends round. Ooh imagine sharing the Madness Mayhem. Now that sounds like my kind of party.

Chocolate Madness Muffins delicious chocolate packed treat! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Madness Muffins delicious chocolate packed treat! www.feastingisfun.com

 

Incredibly easy to make, the only difficulty with these Chocolate Madness Muffins is waiting for them to cool. Beautiful though these tulip cake cases are, the trick to them not peeling off as they cool, is to leave the muffins to cool completely in the pan. Once they are room temperature they can be removed from the pan.

I love the tulip cases, but they can be pricey. I’ve found buying online is much cheaper than any of the supermarkets. Also, unless you are going to make huge cupcakes, these tulip wrappers make piping icing pretty tricky. If you want to add frosting it’s easier just to dollop it on with a spoon see my Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes.

Please don’t worry if you haven’t got these tulip cake wrappers, this recipe will make 18 regular sized muffins instead of 12 Mega Chocolate Madness Muffins.

Recipe : Makes 12 mega or 18 regular Chocolate Madness Muffins

225g/8oz Caster Sugar

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

1/4tsp Salt

1tsp Vanilla Extract

4 Large Eggs – I use free range

200g/7oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Cocoa Powder – I use Callebaut powder and chocolate chips/chunks

2tsp Baking Powder

100ml/4fl oz Whole Milk

150g/5oz Milk Chocolate Chunks or Chips

150g/5oz White Chocolate Chunks or Chips

Optional – extra chocolate chips for decoration after baking

Method : Preheat oven to 185C/170C fan

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add 2 eggs, vanilla extract and then whisk together.
Add 2 eggs, vanilla extract and then whisk together.

 

Place your flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a bowl. These are your dry ingredients.

Sift in half of the dry mix. Mix until just incorporated.
Sift in half of the dry mix. Mix until just incorporated.

 

Repeat, adding first the eggs and milk. Then sift in the rest of your dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter.

Add in 100g/4oz of both the white and milk chocolate. Fold gently into the batter.
Add in 100g/4oz of both the white and milk chocolate. Fold gently into the batter.

 

Line a muffin pan with 12 tulip cake wrappers. Using a large ice cream scoop, add a large rounded scoop of batter into each wrapper.

And so the madness commences.
And so the madness commences.
Chocolate Madness Muffins sprinkle over the remaining 50g each of milk/white chocolate chips.
Chocolate Madness Muffins sprinkle over the remaining 50g each of milk/white chocolate chips.

 

If using standard muffin cases, scrape the scoop against the side of the bowl. Add the smoothed off scoop to each case. Then sprinkle with the chocolate chips.

These muffins are now ready for the oven.

Bake for 20-23 minutes (15-18 minutes for standard muffins) until the muffin springs back when lightly pressed.

Chocolate Madness Muffins remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.
Chocolate Madness Muffins remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.

 

Once cooled sprinkle over a few extra chocolate chips.

Chocolate Madness Muffins maxing out chocolate mayhem! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Madness Muffins maxing out chocolate mayhem! www.feastingisfun.com

 

To make the most of these Chocolate Madness Muffins I suggest sharing them. If you have chocoholic friends invite them round for a chat and a treat. Once they see these muffins the mayhem will commence. These muffins are most definitely FUN FOOD!

I don’t suggest eating one of these every day, but once in a while, why not let loose?? All food is much more fun when shared.

Do you have a favourite recipe you like to share?

If you’re in the mood for fun, you may also like these Extreme Chocolate Cookies

Sammie x

 

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Cranberry Oat Cookies

Hi, there. How are you today? I woke up and felt the need to bake – it’s been too long. Then I checked my posts and realise it’s been ages, I mean like a gazillion seconds, since I’ve posted a Cookie recipe!! So, today I bring you my Cranberry Oat Cookies.

Cookies - I need Cookies!!!!
Cookies – I need Cookies!!!!

 

Now that doesn’t mean I haven’t baked Cookies since the last Cookie post, just that I’ve baked Cookies I’ve already posted. Confused yet??? Any how I baked a a batch of Cranberry Oat Cookies. Oh my!! I think these may be my favourite Cookies today!!!

 

These Cookies are a mash-up of two previous recipes I’ve posted – Cranberry and Almond Cookies and Apricot and Oat Cookies!

So these delish Cranberry and Oat Cookies also have Almonds added!
So these delish Cranberry Oat Cookies also have Almonds added!

 

I really fancied Cranberries, Oats and Almonds. So I made these Cookies throwing in all the ingredients hoping they would turn out ok. Oooh they are so much more than ok they are scrumptious.

 

Scrumptious Cranberry and Oat Cookies - yum x
Scrumptious Cranberry Oat Cookies – yum x

 

Recipe :  Makes 18-20 Cranberry Oat Cookies

150g/5oz  Caster Sugar

225g/8oz  Unsalted Butter – room temp

1  Large Egg Yolk

1tsp  Vanilla Extract

1/2tsp  Almond Extract

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

175g/6oz  Plain White Flour

175g/6oz  Oats – not quick cook

50g/2oz  Flaked Almonds

Method :

Preheat the oven to 175C (160C fan).

Into a large bowl add the butter, sugar and salt.  Beat together until pale and fluffy – I used an electric whisk, a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fixed is fine.

Add the egg yolk and vanilla/almond extracts and thoroughly mix in. Next add the flour, oats, cranberries and flaked almonds.  Mix until just combined.

Take about a heaped tablespoon of the Cookie dough and roll into a ball using your hands.  Place the Cranberry Oat Cookie dough balls onto baking sheets (line with parchment paper if not non stick).

Cookie Dough Balls
Cranberry Oat Cookie Dough Balls

 

Gently press down on the cookie dough balls so they just become flattened.
Gently press down on the cookie dough balls so they just become flattened.

 

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Then remove from the oven.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Then remove the Cranberry Oat Cookies from the oven.

 

Once golden, remove from oven and allow to fully cool on the baking sheets.  This allows the Cranberry Oat Cookies to firm up.  These Cookies are particularly scrumptious with a nice, cold glass of milk.

Cookies and milk - the perfect combination.
Cookies and milk – the perfect combination.

 

One of my best friends has been unwell recently, a fresh delivery of Cookies will be just the boost she needs.

Who will you share your Cookies with?

Remember, food always tastes better when it’s shared.

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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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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