Thursday, 12 October 2017

(Gruesome Green) Pandan Blondies

blondies flavoured with pandan the popular south asian flavouring

I made these green Pandan Blondies after picking up some pandan flavouring in my local Chinese supermarket.
image source
Pandan is a plant grown in South Asia and the leaves are used in a variety of culinary ways. One of which is in pandan flavouring. It is commonly sold in small bottles with green food colouring mixed in with it.

blondies flavoured with pandan the popular south asian flavouring

The flavour of pandan is like a buttery vanilla, if you can imagine that, with wafts of mild coconut in there too. It really is a gorgeous smell and I thought using the flavouring in blondies would be a great way to showcase the taste.

As I was making them, I suddenly realised what with Halloween coming up, the green hue of these would make them a perfect home baked treat for Trick or Treaters.

blondies flavoured with pandan the popular south asian flavouring

I made a basic blondie batter and stirred in a tablespoon of the pandan flavouring. The green grew stronger and stronger as I mixed it in to the batter. Almost like the baking equivalent of the Hulk I suppose.

I also added chips to these for added flavour. I don’t specify which sort of chips, as any would work really well in these. I had some peanut butter chips and white and milk swirled chocolate chips, so chucked these in. But you could use butterscotch, plain chocolate, even some chopped nuts would be a great addition.

blondies flavoured with pandan the popular south asian flavouring

They baked for about 25 minutes. Obviously the outside of the baked blondies (I should really call them greenies, which sounds not quite so appetising) take a brownish tinge from being baked, but when cut into squares, the dark emerald tones are revealed.

blondies flavoured with pandan the popular south asian flavouring

I dusted some icing sugar over the top of these beauties, but for added spooky flair, you could add a cobweb design in chocolate for example or whatever you fancy really.

You can purchase pandan in Asian supermarkets or online.

Here’s how I made them:

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(Gruesome Green) Pandan Blondies
Blondies flavoured with pandan
  • 115 grams melted unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 225 grams dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon pandan flavouring
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100 grams baking chips or chopped nuts
  • To garnish icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and line a 9”x9” baking tin with greaseproof paper.In a large bowl stir together the melted butter, vegetable oil and dark brown sugar until smooth.Add the egg and pandan and beat this in until fully combined.Sift over the baking powder, bicarb, salt and flour and stir this into the mixture until incorporated.Stir in the chips (or nuts) until evenly distributed and then transfer the batter to the prepared tin.Smooth over with a palette knife and pop in the oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre.Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.Cut into 16 squares and dust some icing sugar over the top.These taste great when warm but keep for about a week, when cooled, in an airtight container.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 16 blondies

blondies flavoured with pandan the popular south asian flavouring

Monday, 2 October 2017

Snickerdoodles with Maple Pecan Filling

Snickerdoodles with Maple Pecan Filling

I love the name of snickerdoodles, very quirky and nonsensical for such a lovely cookie. I hadn’t made them before, which I know is quite strange given my love of all things cinnamon.

To the uninitiated a snickerdoodle is a cookie flavoured with cinnamon, then rolled in cinnamon sugar before baking. They are classically a soft chewy cookie, which is just how I like them. They contain cream of tartar as a leavener which gives it a slight acidic tang, balanced well with the cinnamon sugar. Classically that have a cracked top, but mines didn't come out of the oven like that sadly. They still tasted smashing though.

Being me, I decided to amp them up a little and turn them into sandwich cookies with a filling made from maple and pecans, quite seasonal! (thanks to Val from last years GBBO for that one).

Snickerdoodles with Maple Pecan Filling

The cookies were a (snicker)doddle to whip up in the mixer, roll into balls, dunk into cinna-sugar all before placing them on the baking sheet, spaced well apart as they do spread. They went slightly darker on the edges, so I knew they were baked perfectly at that point. You could stop at this point if you just wanted snickerdoodles.

Snickerdoodles with Maple Pecan Filling

I let them cool however and in the meantime, chopped up some pecans, placed them in a high speed blender with butter, maple syrup and light brown sugar. This made for a spreadable paste which I could slather on one cookie before placing another on top.

Snickerdoodles with Maple Pecan Filling

These are so warming and comforting with their cinnamon goodness plus the sweetness of the maple and slight nuttiness from the pecans just make these so good to eat with a cuppa. Here's the recipe...

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Snickerdoodles with Maple Pecan Filling
Soft and chewy snickerdoodles sandwiched with a scrummy maple pecan filling.
  • 225 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 150 grams granulated sugar
  • 100 grams light brown sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or paste)
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cinnamon
  • 300 grams plain flour
  • Coating
  • 50 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • Filling
  • 75 grams pecans, roughly chopped
  • 40 grams light brown sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 15 grams softened unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper.In the bowl of a food mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes depending in whether you use an electric mixer or by hand.Add the eggs and vanilla and beat through until combined.Add the bicarb, tartar, salt and cinnamon and stir throughAdd the flour and beat until combined and no dry bits of flour can be seen.In a bowl mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the coating.Take tablespoon sized amounts of the cookie dough and with your hands roll into a ball before tossing in the cinnamon sugar.Place the ball on the baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the cookie dough making sure to space the balls at least an inch apart as they do spread.Bake in the oven for 5 minutes, rotate the pans and bake for another 5 minutes.Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.Make the filling by placing the chopped pecans in a high speed blender with the softened butter, maple syrup and sugar. Blitz until a smooth(ish) paste is formed, add more syrup if needed to make it smoother.Spread a small amount on the underside of half the cooled cookies. Sandwich together with the other cookies.These cookies will store well in an air-tight container for up to a week, but I promise they won’t last that long. Enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 16 Sandwich Cookies approx.

Snickerdoodles with Maple Pecan Filling

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Hot Cross Tear and Share Bread

Hot Cross Tear and Share Bread

It’s almost Easter time. I’m loving the start of spring. Since moving into our home, I have become much more aware of the garden and seasons. I love seeing the flowers growing and the beautiful colours that spring up.

Hot Cross Tear and Share Bread

And as it’s Easter, I decided to make a traditional hot cross bun recipe but with a bit of a twist. I love the sweetly, spiced buns – perfect with a schmear of butter on top.

Redmond Multicooker

To change things up however, I cracked out my RMC-M4502E Multicooker from Redmond. This is a great device to have in a kitchen. You can bake, cook, steam, fry almost anything in the multicooker. Take a look at the table below which shows the multitude of features of the multicooker.

I made small buns from the hot cross dough and popped these into the non-stick bowl which comes with the multicooker. I stuck them in, in a haphazard way, a bit like monkey bread.

 I had made small crosses in the buns, with a paste made from flour and water, but sadly these disappeared whilst cooking.

I set the multicooker to bake and it took around 50 minutes. The kitchen smelled beautiful whilst it was baking away.

Redmond Multicooker

The resultant big bun which slid easily out of the bowl when baked, was well coloured on the sides and had a good colour on top, but I wanted to add a bit of icing on top, just to pretty it up a bit. I also took some micro eggs and crushed these to sprinkle into the wet icing.

Redmond Multicooker

The giant bun looked delicious and it was good fun to grab handfuls of the hot cross bun, to devour. It would be perfect for an Easter buffet.

Hot Cross Tear and Share Bread

The RMC-M4502E Multicooker from Redmond made this recipe so easy to knock up. The bowl was the perfect shape to place the balls of dough in, and also ideal for letting the dough rise before cooking. With the non-stick coating I knew it would slide out easily.

Here’s the recipe.

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Hot Cross Tear and Share Bread
Hot Cross Bun flavoured tear and share bread
  • 500 grams self-raising flour
  • 150 ml warm milk (I used soya)
  • 150 ml warm water
  • 1 large egg
  • Half teaspoon of salt
  • 2 packets of active dried yeast (about 14 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 50 grams caster sugar
  • 100 grams raisins
  • 50 grams mixed peel
  • 10 -20 grams crushed micro chocolate eggs
  • Icing sugar
In a bowl of a stand mixer add the flour, salt, yeast (keeping it away from the salt), cinnamon, all spice and sugar.Give this a mix with a whisk then add the milk, warm water and egg and give this a good mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together into a dough.Add the raisins and mixed peel and stir through.With the dough hook attachment, mix the dough for five minutes until the glutens develop and dough begins to come away from the sides of the bowl.Cover with clingfilm and allow to prove in a warm place for 2 hours. After this time, punch the air out and place the dough onto a floured surface.With floured hands, pinch into little balls, rolling between your hands. I made the balls about two tablespoons worth.In the bowl of the multi cooker, place the balls in a random fashion and cover the bowl with more clingfilm and allow to prove for about 1 hour.Place the bowl into the multi cooker and bake for 1 hour.After this time, remove the giant bun from the multi cooker and allow to cool slightly.Make a simple icing from water and icing sugar and drizzle this over the big bun, then top with some crushed chocolate micro eggs.Let everyone get stuck in, tearing chunks from the bun and enjoy.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: I loaf.

Disclosure Statement: I received the multicooker free to review. I have been paid to develop this recipe using the multicooker.

Monday, 3 April 2017

The Delicake Master

I was recently sent a new product to try out in the kitchen. From Australia, the Delicake Master is from a range of no-bake cakeware, now available in the UK.

If you want to be make a no bake cake, such as a cheesecake, or a mousse cake, something like that, then the Delicake Master ensures an easy way to add your ingredients and display them also.

For Mother's Day, mum came up and I made her a coconut and pineapple no bake cheesecake, as she adores pineapple. I made this in the Delicake master and it was so easy.

I made the usual biscuit base then pressed this into the base of the Delicake Master and chilled it in the fridge.

I then set about making the coconut cheesecake filling, which was lots of cream cheese, coconut cream and double cream. This was then spooned on top of the filling and smoothed over. I placed the lid of the Delicake Master on top and chilled this for a couple of hours.

Lastly I made a pineapple topping from a can of crushed pineapple, some cornflour and sugar. I boiled this on the hob then when it had cooled slightly I poured the pineapple on top of the cheesecake and spread this out, topping with some toasted coconut.

I chilled the dessert until the evening when Mum came up and it was time to eat.

The Delicake Master is see through, so you can see exactly what is inside. I removed the lid, then the  sleeve to reveal the cheesecake which was on the base part.

We didn't eat it all, so I just had to pop the sleeve back over and pop the lid back on.

This really is a great invention. It can be used for all sorts of no-bake desserts and comes apart easily for washing up. There are no leaks if you are making something liquid which has to set up.

I was sent the round Delicake Master which is 230mm diameter by 95.1mm high and comes in at £30.45. You can also buy a rectangle version which is 200mm by 300mm at £36.55.

Disclosure Statement: I was sent the Delicake master free to review. Any opinions are entirely my own.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Treat Petite March 2017 Round Up

Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter this month's Treat Petite. Without further ado, here are this months delicious recipes to inspire us all - with some early Easter additions too.

First we had Chonnie at Baked to Imperfection with her mini egg millionaire's shortbread. Which looks down right delicious!

Next Helen at Family Friends Food made fortune cookie hamantaschen - like fortune cookies but tastier! Made for Purim these look great.

Corina at Searching for Spice whipped up some chocolate and banana cupcakes with a hidden surprise - a creme egg. Yes please!!

The Good Egg Foodie used some leftover to knock up a batch of Lemon Raisin Flapjacks. Never thought of using lemon in flapjacks but it does sound good.

A savoury treat from Kate the Gluten-Free Alchemist who made these Scotch Eggs which are also dairy and nut free. No matter what they are free from, I want one!

Caroline at Caroline Makes used her slow cooker to make these ever so indulgent looking butterscotch puddings.

Sarah at Tales from the Kitchen Shed made homemade belgian buns. The icing on top looks so tempting to me I just want to bite right in!

My Treat Petite co-host Kat, The Baking Explorer made Bailey's cheesecake brownies. Adding booze to brownies is ingenious!

Claire, The Foodie Quine, made Scottish Tablet and added creme eggs to it for a fab Easter twist on an already delicious treat. I must give this a try!

Chonnie at Baked to Imperfection also made Oreo Brownies and linked these into Treat Petite. I love brownies and oreos so yes please on both counts.

My own entry next, some (brick) red velvet cookies made for Red Nose Day. These were soft and cake like in texture and perfect for a Red Nose Day bake sale.

Ali at Fix Me a Little Lunch made mini strawberry chocolate galettes which was inspired by a book 'Dinner with Edward' by Isabel Vincent.

Charlotte, in her Lively Kitchen, made super cute hidden heart cupcakes. I loved seeing how the hearts got in there - so clever!

Choclette at Tin and Thyme made goji berry bliss balls which were whipped up in her super blender. They look healthy and scrummy.

Lastly Nicola and Something Sweet Something Savoury made No Bake Chocolate Easter Fridge Cake. This is loads of chocolate and biscuits and syrup, mini eggs, creme eggs - you name it! Great for an Easter buffet!

Thanks to everyone again and visit Kat, the Baking Explorer for next month's Treat Petite.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Keyboards and Knives - a wee gift guide

We’ve had a bit of a disaster in the kitchen this week! We are waiting on workmen coming back to fix a big leak in the outlet pipe.

We’re having to use our utility room for washing up and I’m afraid nothing was baked this weekend, what with workies removing kitchen cabinets to get to pipes, the contents of cupboards everywhere, a complete guddle as you can imagine.

Not to fear, this provides me with the opportunity to share with you a couple of items I have been sent to try out, which would actually make good last minute Mother’s Day pressies.

Firstly, not food related (unless you are a food blogger), but something the majority of us use on a daily basis. A keyboard from Penclic.

I was sent their C2 wired mini keyboard. I have been giving this a try at my work over the past few weeks, rather than in the study at home.

The keyboard is a Scandinavian design which features full functionality with ergonomics meaning this is a very comfortable keyboard to use. It’s much smaller than my old keyboard and has a 5mm profile so your wrists are in a much more natural position meaning less chance of developing repetitive strain injury.

It’s very quiet too, so no clunky clicking of keys when I am typing (I’m quite fast actually!). I do like this keyboard and will continue to use it.

The only down side is the lack of a number pad at the side. But this is easily remedied by hitting numlock and using letter keys assigned a number in the same format as a number pad. But I have gotten used to this already. (It's also a Grroovy keyboard - check the 'Alt Grr' key above!)

It’s available online coming in at £45.99. Penclic also sell wireless versions and they come in white too.  Check out Penclics full range of keyboards, pen shaped mice and more.

Next I was sent a knife set from Edge of Belgravia. This is the Precision Chef Knife set and features 6 knives.  These are the Chef knife, bread knife, slicing knife, fish filleting knife, a ‘deba’ knife based on a traditional Japanese salmon knife and a paring knife. The knives come in black stainless steel for the blade, extremely sharp and apparently easy to sharpen, which I haven’t had to do yet. The handles are award winning in their design and feel smooth to grip plus do look very stylish.

These look so cool on our worktop and even more so in the black diamond knife block Edge of Belgravia also sent.  This is described as a unique floating knife design which looks reminiscent of a rough cut diamond.

It holds up to 11 knives and the knives slide into the block effortlessly.

My only fear of the knife block is the open design. As the sides are exposed, curious little fingers could easily be cut if grabbing the block. Having said that I would hope households with children would keep knives out of reach from children.

That is my own little criticism, but perhaps me just being extra cautious. It’s absolutely fine for an adult only household like ours.

The black knives and block, both designed by Christian Bird complement our black worktops perfectly.

These would make a great gift for a mum who loves to cook. Or anyone who loves to cook.

The set of 6 Precision knives retail at £99.90 on the Edge of Belgravia website along with the Black Diamond knife block which comes in at £79.90.

Disclosure Statement: I was sent the above items free to review. Any opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Red Velvet Cookies

red velvet cookies made for a Red Nose Day bake sale

I'm bringing you a few treats to possibly make at your Red Nose Day Bake Sale. You are having one aren't you?

24 March sees Comic Relief's Biennial fundraising Red Nose Day event. The charity which helps disadvantaged people here in the UK and in Africa too, will be hosting their ever popular telethon on the night with a host of celebrities erm, hosting. The night will also include the much anticipated Love Actually mini sequel, well worth donating some dosh for!

This year I chatted to TV's Carrie Grant to find out her thoughts on the day, and already made some cherry almond cream cheese treats as a suggestion for your bake sale. This time here is my recipe for red velvet cookies.

red velvet cookies made for a Red Nose Day bake sale

In truth, I had hoped they would be a more vivid red, rather than a brick red colour. Nonetheless, these tasted smashing and with a dusting of icing sugar over the top, no one would know!

red velvet cookies made for a Red Nose Day bake sale

If you wanted a more reddish hue, go for less cocoa, use goat butter (which tends to be less yellow than regular) and clear vanilla extract which you can find online. All of these tips will make your red velvet cookies 'pop' (I don't know why I don't take my own advice!). Add as much red food colouring as you think is necessary by the way, but gel colouring is best.

red velvet cookies made for a Red Nose Day bake sale

You will notice in the ingredients below, vinegar is included. This is quite normal in red velvet treats and you don't taste it in the finished bake. It reacts with the bicarb and gives a bit more leavening apparently!

These are soft cake like cookies, which is just how I like them!

Here is the recipe:

print recipe

Red Velvet Cookies
Red Velvet Cookies perfect for a bake sale!
  • 300 grams plain flour
  • 25 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 170 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 300 grams granulated sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • Red food colouring
  • Icing sugar to garnish
In a bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarb and salt.In a separate bowl, with a mixer, beat together the butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between each addition. Add the food colouring and vanilla and beat these in too.Add the vinegar and beat this in. The mix will go lumpy, don’t worry it will come together.Add the dry mix and slowly beat this until you have a smooth batter.Refrigerate for about an hour and when ready to remove from the fridge preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and line two cookie sheets with some greaseproof paper.Dollop spoonful’s of the mix onto the cookie sheets, spacing apart slightly as they will puff out.With wet fingers, push the mounds down a little.Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or just until the edges turn a darker colour.Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before carefully peeling them from the greaseproof paper and allowing them to cool fully on a cooling rack.When cool, dust with a little icing sugar and your cookies are ready to enjoy/sell!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 30 cookies approx.

red velvet cookies made for a Red Nose Day bake sale

I'm entering these cookies into this month's Treat Petite, hosted by myself and Kat, The Baking Explorer.

As these are quite cakey in texture, I am entering these into Love Cake hosted by Ness over at Jibber Jabber UK. The theme is a batch of cakes, and these are certainly a batch.

I'm also entering these into this month's We Should Cocoa hosted by Choclette at Tin and Thyme.

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