THE Brownie recipe

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The search is over! I’ve finally found it – the recipe for my dream Brownie in all its gooey, chewy glory. Brownies are a pretty big deal so I wanted to make sure I felt super confident before I posted a recipe on here. After 2 months of searching, here it is – ‘the one’.

Serves 16.

You will need:

  • Deep, square cake tin
  • Electric whisk/ mixer
  • Baking paper
  • A saucepan and heatproof bowl for melting the chocolate and butter
  • A teaspoon and large tablespoon

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 150g digestive biscuits
  • 150g walnuts
  • 125g unsalted butter, melted

For the brownie:

  • 125g dark chocolate
  • 200g white chocolate chips
  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 150g plain flour
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Line the baking tray with the baking paper
  2. Put the biscuits and walnuts in a large sandwich bag and crush with a rolling pin. Don’t bash them so hard there’s only dust left; you’re aiming for a mix of crumbs and slightly bigger chunks.
  3. Melt the butter for the base and stir in the crushed walnut and biscuit until evenly coated. Spread the mixture to cover the base of the tin. Put the tray in the fridge for around 20 minutes so the mixture can set.Top tip: if you’re feeling lazy, melt the butter in the microwave! Alternatively, you can melt in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water.
  4. Gently melt the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water on the hob. Top tip: careful the water doesn’t touch the bowl or mix with the chocolate.
  5. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Top tip: a whisk usually helps here!
  6. Lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl and gradually pour into the sugar and butter mix; beat together before mixing in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract.
  7. Fold in the flour and half the white chocolate chips. Spoon the mixture evenly over the biscuit and nut base, before sprinkling the remaining white chocolate chips on top.
  8. Cook in the oven for 35 minutes.Top tip: the mixture is done when you poke the centre with a metal skewer and a fair few brownie crumbs come out on the stick along with some melted chocolate. Careful not to over bake and ruin the charm of this chocolate beast.

The brownies make a delicious (slightly messy!) dessert when still slightly warm, or a great gooey brownie any time of day when completely cool. We were taking our tray over to relatives, so served straight out the tin for a chocolatey treat to rival the Easter eggs.

If you’re planning to tip the bake out of the tray, make sure they’re completely cool first and gently peel the lining paper off the back.

 

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Easter Bakes

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Easter is officially my favourite bank holiday. The first few months of the year are usually pretty exhausting so I really need the extra days off, and it’s just so chilled out!

I was away this Easter and a little short on time, but wanted to bake some cakes for the family I was visiting. There are loads of fancy recipes on Pintrest with intricate baskets and huge cakes, which unfortunately would take more time than I had. Cereal nest cakes a lovely, but I wanted proper cake. The conclusion was some chocolate chip cupcakes  with belgian chocolate butter-icing. Spread the icing with a knife then spike up with fork to make a nest effect. Pop on some mini-eggs and then you’re done. Ready for the holidays!

Happy Easter everyone!

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Easy Bake Banana Bread

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If you’ve ever been to Australia, I’m sure you’ll know just how big banana bread is out there. When visiting Sydney last year I became obsessed with the stuff – banana bread for breakfast, a little afternoon snack – whenever I could justify it. I returned home on a mission to find an Aussie style loaf, with just one café (Boyce Da Roca) coming up trumps so far. Thankfully, I found a good recipe and can now make my own.  The beauty of banana bread is you can throw in your own little twist –my favourite is walnuts and dark chocolate chips! Here’s my easy bake recipe to toast, snack, share and make your own!

You will need:

  • A loaf tin
  • A sieve
  • A wooden spoon, fork, large metal spoon and teaspoon
  • Two mixing bowls

Ingredients:

  • 150g soft unsalted butter, plus butter for greasing the tin
  • 270g soft light brown sugar
  • 280g plain flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 seriously ripe bananas (about 200g in weight)
  • Half a lemon / lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • Any other fillings. E.g. cinnamon spice, blueberries, nuts or chocolate chips

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 180C/ fan 160/ gas mark 4. Lightly grease a baking tray with butter (fine to line with baking paper on top of the butter if preferred)

2) Put the butter in a large mixing bowl and gradually add the sugar. Use an electric whisk or wooden spoon to cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

3) Lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl and gradually beat into the sugar and butter.

4) Using a fork, mash the peeled bananas in a separate bowl, adding the vanilla extract and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Combine well with the sugar, butter and egg mix.

Top tip: The mixture is very wet and looks pretty unappetizing at this stage, so don’t worry!

5) Measure out the flour, baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda and sift into the mixture. This takes a while, so try and stay patient! Mix gently until all ingredients are combined, adding in any extra fillings (e.g. chocolate chips, or spices) at the same time.

6) Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin, filling just over half full. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for approximately 1 hour. Baking time can vary depending on your oven, but the loaf is ready when a metal skewer is poked through the middle comes out clean. Careful not to dry it out as the loaf is best served moist.

7) Once out the oven, gently run a sharp knife round the edges of the tin to avoid sticking. Leave the loaf in the tin for approximately 20 minutes to cool, and only turn out once cooled completely. Store in an airtight container.

Top tip: to turn out the loaf, place a plate on top of the tin. Flip it over and knock the base of the tin until the loaf pops out. You can then sandwich the loaf between two plates and flip again, or put straight into your cake tin.

8) Serve sliced. A little bit of Oz heaven!

Mary Berry’s Very Best Scones

Scones_n (3)For my first ever attempt at making scones, there seemed no other option than to turn to the legend that is Mary Berry for her ‘Very Best Scones’ recipe…and what a recipe it is! Simple, speedy scones as they should be.

I can’t stand doughy scones that are too sweet, and not surprisingly Mary’s recipe was spot on. So chuffed with these cream teas I wish I could deliver you all a Sunday night treat right to your door!

Check out Mary’s Baking Bible for more amazing recipes – I’m looking forward to my next bake from this fabulous book!

How to make Gingerbread Biscuits

 

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Gingerbread men are festive, fun to make and a cute little gift to give people over the Holiday period. Presented in a pretty jar or wrapped in a clear bag tied with gingham ribbon, they go down a real treat!

Here’s an easy recipe to follow:

You will need:
• Electric hand whisk/ food processor
• Wooden spoon
• A rolling pin
• Biscuit cutters (gingerbread man shape/ other)
• Baking trays (ideally 2)
• A clean surface/ plastic chopping board
• A fork, tablespoon and teaspoon
Ingredients:
• 350g plain flour (plus extra for rolling the dough)
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 2 tsp ground ginger
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 125g softened unsalted butter
• 175g light soft brown sugar
• 1 large egg
• 4 tbsp golden syrup

To decorate:
Whatever you like, but I recommend:
• Colour writing icing
• Smarties
Method:
1) Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon into a bowl. Add the softened butter and mix until it resembles breadcrumbs. The ginger flavour is not too strong in this recipe, so you may want to add a dash more ground ginger if you’re a big fan.
Top Tip: a food processor can be used here. If not, scrunching and crumbling the mix with clean hands will help speed up the process.

2) Add the sugar and mix briefly.

3) Crack the egg into a separate bowl and whisk lightly with a fork. Add the golden syrup and mix with the egg before adding to the main bowl with the flour.

4) Pulse the mixture together using an electric whisk or food processor until it comes together to form a dough.

5) Preheat the oven to 160 Fan oven/180C or Gas Mark 4.

6) Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

7) Dust your chopping board/ surface with flour, tip out the dough and knead until smooth.

8) Roll the dough out to around half a centimeter in thickness and cut out your shapes.
Top tip: the syrup makes the dough very sticky, so don’t be shy with adding flour to your rolling pin and the surface.

9) Place the shapes on the baking tray, keeping a space between each, and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. You should end up with around 20 biscuits.
Top tip: you will be amazed how much the biscuits grow in the oven so do keep them a fair distance apart (about 6 to a tray) and opt for a smaller cutter.

10) Leave to cool completely before decorating. The classic bow-tie and smarties look is my favourite!

How to make a Victoria Sponge Cake

Here’s a simple step by step recipe to make a light, fluffy Victoria Sponge Cake –the ultimate Tea Party pleaser. This delicious British classic is great for hosting, or giving as a gift to even the fussiest of eaters.
This recipe requires few ingredients and can be made very quickly – perfect for when you’re short of time!  Everyone always wants seconds of this moreish cake so don’t expect it to last  long. A super easy bake to make time and time again!

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You will need:
• A large mixing bowl
• Another deep, small bowl or mug (to beat the eggs)
• A wooden spoon
• A knife, fork, teaspoon and tablespoon
• 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and baking paper to line
• A cooling rack (or plate if not available)
• A cake tin for storage
• A sieve

Ingredients:
For the cake:
• 200g caster sugar
• 200g unsalted butter, softened
• 4 eggs, beaten
• 200g self-raising flour, sifted
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 2 tbsp milk

For the filling:
• 100g unsalted butter, softened
• 140g icing sugar, sifted
• A drop of vanilla extract
• 170g (half a jar) of decent strawberry jam (Tiptree Little Scarlet works really well)

Decoration:
• Icing sugar, to sift on top
• Strawberries – when in season, but works just as well without

Method:
1) Pre-heat oven to 170C Fan/ 190C/ Gas Mark 5
2) Lightly grease two 20cm sandwich tins with butter and line the base of each tin with non-stick baking paper
3) Using a wooden spoon, beat the sugar and butter for the cake together in a bowl until fluffy and pale yellow in colour
4) Using a fork, beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Gradually pour the eggs into the butter and sugar, along with the sifted flour, baking powder and milk. Beat until well combined and smooth, but don’t overdo it.
5) Divide the mixture between the prepared sandwich tins. Use as much of the mixture as you can but don’t fill the tins right to the very top. Smooth out with the back of a spoon or spatula. Bake for around 20 minutes, or until golden brown with the middle springing back when touched. You can also check the cake is ready by poking a metal skewer in the middle and a few other areas – if it comes out clean then the cake is done.
6) Once out the oven, go round the edge of each cake with a sharp knife to avoid it sticking to the tin. Careful not to cut into the sponge!
7) Leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes and then tip out onto a cooling rack/ plate. Top tip: if you have a tin where the base pops out it will make your baking life much easier!
8) To make the filling, beat the butter until soft. Gradually beat in the sifted icing sugar and drop of vanilla extract until you’re left with a smooth, creamy butter icing. Top tip: some use a whisk for this, but I find it easier to do by hand with a wooden spoon.
9) Once the cake is completely cool, use a knife to spread the butter icing on the bottom of one of the sponges and then spread the jam on top of the butter icing. Spread the filling fairly close to the edge so it can be seen, but not so close that it will ooze out when you add the top layer. Stack the other sponge on top of the jam.
10) Dust the top of the cake with icing sugar. Add chopped strawberries to decorate.
11) Enjoy with a cup of tea! If there’s any left, store in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place and eat within 2 days.

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