Gluten Free Peanut Butter Toblerone Cookies

If you are ever going to make chocolate chip cookies, don't. Why do things by halves and settle for less? Bake Toblerone ones instead. And add peanut butter.


These cookies are the elites of the cookie world in my opinion, so chocolatey and rich there is just no point with bog standard chocolate chips cookies any more. Anyone who knows me realises I am complete chocoholic so I do have some idea about chocolate...


Leopard Print Birthday Cake



Phew. I don't think I have ever found baking a cake so difficult. I have never come across so many difficulties I never even thought of. Thank God for Google/Twitter! This Leopard Print cake was baked for my Mum's Birthday, she only had one request, and that was for a chocolate cake. Easy. Or not so much, my idea from the start was to do a Leopard inspired cake somehow, whether that be the sponge or my decorations so initially a chocolate sponge seemed fantastic as it would fit in with my 'colour scheme.' However, it seemed to slipped my mind that I was going to use fondant icing and use leopard print transfers onto. There was my first problem, how on earth in my many baking years I have never made a fondant cake is beyond me. Don't even ask I have managed that one. But after some research all was clear, then the same happened with the transfers, how on earth do I use them? This video helped and I realised this was a very simple task!


Then to my problem where my lovely Twitter followers had to help, would a chocolate cake show through white fondant icing? Would it taste nice? And how do I stick it on a Apricot Glaze is a no go with chocolate. Luckily I found my answer in applying a thin layer on vanilla buttercream to the cake and not rolling out my fondant too thin. (Yes I used shop brought fondant, couldn't deal with much more stress!!)

In the end this has managed to be one of my best cakes, and I am just going to go for it and say...it tasted as good as it looked! The chocolate cake recipe was from Cupcakes From the Primrose Bakery. I had never really strayed far from my usual sponge recipe so I was exited to see how this one turn out. It takes a bit of time but totally worth it!



For the cake:
250g butter
300g light muscovado sugar
100g plain flour
100g self-raising flour
5 eggs
300g dark chocolate



♥ Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3.
♥ Butter and line a 20cm cake tin.
♥ Using an electric whisk, beat together butter and light muscovado sugar in a large bowl until fluffy.
♥ Measure out plain flour and self-raising flour.
♥ Beat in 5 eggs one at a time, adding 1 or 2 tbsp flour if the mixture starts to split.
♥ Pour 300g melted and slightly cooled dark chocolate into the mixture, beating as you do so.
♥ Fold in the rest of the flour.
♥ Spoon into the tin and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes; the cake should be risen with a crust on top.
♥ Cool and then take out of the tin.




Voilà! One cake with a wild side.

Pina Colada White Chocolates

If you like white chocolate and coconut you absolutely need to make these little treats. They are easy to make, so much so I made these at 11pm one night...As you do! When I recently saw a candy mould in Hobbycraft for a £1 I couldn't not buy it, even if I was a bit unsure what to do with it. I couldn't make out whether if was for actually candy like us Brits call sweets? Or, candy as the Americans call chocolate? I decided on the later. I might be wrong here so please correct me if so!

Well whatever it is, it resulted in some very yummy chocolates. I have mentioned before how I am not the biggest coconut fan but it is safe to say I am defiantly warming to it, these chocolates helped of course. Perfect for a gift, if they make it out your kitchen!

Traditional Pina Coladas have a cherry on top, so you could add the pineapple from this recipe into the chocolate mix and top the chocolates with a glace cherry instead. I decided against this purely because they were a gift and I know the person I was giving them too despises cherries. Even I'm not that mean.

Candy Mould from HobbyCraft



Chocolates:
200g White Chocolate
100g Desiccated Coconut
1tsp Rum (or rum flavouring to skip the alcohol!)

Topping:
Chopped Crystallised Pineapple

♥ Get yourself a candy mould and chop the pineapple up and place individually in the bottom of each shape.

♥ Place the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate until it is melted, stirring every 45 seconds to prevent it from burning.

♥ Pour the melted chocolate into a piping bag and pipe into the candy mould shapes.

♥ Pop the mould into the fridge, preferably overnight to set.

♥ Serve...with a glass of alcohol of course!


All packed up and ready for somebody

Gluten Free Banana and Walnut Loaf with Chocolate Sauce


When you have over-ripe bananas in your fruit bowl, there is only one thing to do. Make banana bread. I actually am not keen on the texture of bananas and never eat them raw, but love the flavour – so banana bread is perfect for me to get my banana taste fix. Of course being me, I just had to add chocolate somewhere into this recipe. I didn't fancy just adding chocolate chip/cocoa power..so what did I do? I made a milk chocolate sauce to drizzle on top once it cooled. Pure heaven on a plate!




Er yes I am aware my loaf is slightly wonky. Not sure how that happened..


For the Cake:
275g very ripe bananas (about 2 small/medium in their skins)
250g Gluten Free Flour (whichever one you like baking with - or Doves Farm!)
65g chopped walnuts
3 large eggs
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of sea salt

2 Tbsp Whole Milk (more if mixture feels dry)

For the chocolate sauce:
150g plain chocolate, broken into small pieces
50ml whipping cream
2 tbsp golden syrup
Knob of butter
Pinch of salt


♥ Mash your bananas with a fork. Beat the butter (softened) and sugar together with an electric whisk. Then incorporate the 2 eggs, one at a time. 

♥ Add your mashed bananas and vanilla extract. 

♥ Sift (yes I actually did sift!) the flour, bicarb, salt and cinnamon into your mix, folding with a metal spoon as you go. Then fold in your milk, again, gradually.

♥ Tip the batter into your loaf tin and sprinkle the top very generously with brown sugar. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. 

♥ Leave in the tin for 10 minutes before loosening with a knife and then letting it cool on a cooling rack.


Now for the chocolate sauce....

♥ Put the chocolate and cream into a small, heavy-based pan over a low heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted into the cream to make a smooth paste.

♥ Stir in the syrup, followed by the butter and salt, to give a glossy sauce.

♥ Keep warm until ready to serve, and drizzle away!




Even better served up with sliced banana on top. I should of really got out the ice cream tub...

Lemon and Ricotta Sandwich Cookies




Ricotta in biscuits? Are you sure? I am not very good at mixing savoury and sweet thing together, think chocolate pretzels....seems a weird thing to coat a savoury snack in. Too me, ricotta is that soft cheese you get in ravioli not something you mix with lemon to make a biscuit. However the new Hummingbird Bakery Book - Home Sweet Home thought different with these Lemon and Ricotta cookies.

 I changed it up a bit and decided to sandwich two of the cookies together with the filling. The reason? Just to be greedy; two cookies instead of one!



  • For the cookies:
    • 350g plain flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 110g unsalted butter, softened
    • 400g granulated sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 (425g) container whole milk ricotta cheese
    • 3 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 lemon, zested

    • For the filling:
    • 300g icing sugar
    • 3 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 lemon, zested


  • ♥ Using an electric mixer, cream 2 sticks butter with sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add ricotta, lemon zest and 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and beat well. 

    ♥ Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula, then beat in flour, baking soda and salt. Cover dough and chill for at least 2 hours and up to a week.

    ♥ Heat oven to 180 degrees and line several cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners. Shape tablespoons of dough into balls. 

    ♥ Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake until pale golden on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Let cool on wire racks

    ♥ Melt remaining tablespoon butter. Whisk icing sugar to break up any large lumps, then whisk in melted butter, lemon juice, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and enough milk to make a spreadable icing. 

    ♥ Spread icing on cooled cookies, sandwich together, then let set for at least 20 minutes before serving to avoid mess!





Any excuse to eat extra cookies!

Hazelnut Crunch Madeira Cake - Gluten Free

Sometimes simple really is best. There are only five ingredients (well 6 including the hazelnuts), it’s simple and plain yet it’s perfection in a cake. The buttery soft sponge is both satisfying and easy to eat; with it being so light you don't feel guilty munching  your away through half a loaf...

Traditionally I believe that Madeira cake is actually flavoured with lemon, but I not only did I fancy a change, I also had no lemons. I did however have some hazelnuts, so the hazelnut crunch madeira cake was born.


This recipe was actually from one of Mary Berry's first books, where she contributed to the Hamlyns All Colour Cookbook. I'm not going to lie; I love this book. So old fashioned the recipes are still in 'oz.' but still come out so perfect there really is no need to change at all. I made this gluten free as you don't often see gluten free offerings with Madeira Cake, but beware it does change the texture slightly of the cake but nothing that noticeable, I did add an extra egg as well like I normally do in my gluten free bakes.


Just to stray from traditions even more; I made a loaf not a round cake! 

Ingredients:

  • 180g Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 175g Caster sugar plus an additional 2 tablespoons for sprinkling on top
  • 3 Eggs
  • 165g Gluten Free Self raising flour
  • 2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 100g Chopped Hazelnuts




How to make:

♥ Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan oven 140°C/315°F/Gas mark 2-3.
♥ Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
♥ Start by beating together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
♥ Beat in the eggs gradually, adding a little of the flour if the mix looks like it’s curdling.
♥ Beat in the vanilla.
♥ Fold in the flour.
♥ Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.
♥ Sprinkle the additional caster sugar over the top along with the hazelnuts.
♥ Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Mine took 55 minutes.
♥ Leave to cool for 20 minutes in the tin before turning out and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.
♥ Eat and enjoy!







Raymond Blanc Cherry Scones

After being busy with London Fashion Week I was, and still am, feeling very proud to be British. There is nothing like a good dress and pair of heels to remind you of your love for your country! I think I am safe in saying that scones are a quintessential British tradition, walk into any little cafe or tea room and a variety of scones will be on the menu. Guaranteed. 

The only experience I actually have baking scones is that in Food Technology at school, where if I remember the whole class attempts were dreadful, mine included! From that moment they have been something I have keenly steered clear of, opting to buy them instead, or I am more likely to have a scone with afternoon tea. How awfully posh of me!


It made sense when I decided to bake scones I use a recipe that seemed to be tried and tested many times to great approval, that of course being Raymond Blanc of course! I added glace cherries instead of sultanas purely for personal preference, of course you may wish to use sultanas which will work just fine as that is what is meant to be used!

Also, I haven't taked any pictures during the making and baking process purely to do with the fact of how much mess I made. It was like a sugar filled 5 year old had taken over my kitchen!


Check out my new dinner tray which proved a useful background for the photo!

500g Plain flour
35g Baking powder
1 Pinch of salt
75g Unsalted butter, room temperature
100g Caster sugar
150g Glace Cherries
2 Medium eggs
165ml Whole milk
egg for egg wash



♥ In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. 

♥ Stir in the sugar and sultanas then add the eggs and milk. Gently bring the dough together then tip out onto the floured work surface

♥ Chaff (video linked on how to 'chaff') the dough by folding and turning the dough until it has a smooth and even consistency. 
♥ Use a floured 5.5cm cutter to cut rounds of dough, making sure you press straight down without turning (this would prevent the scone from rising). 
♥ Place the scones on a parchment lined baking tray and brush the tops with beaten egg. Allow the scones to rest for an hour.
♥ Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan. Bake the scones in the preheated oven for 5 minutes then reduce the temperature to 175C/155c fan and bake for a further 15 minutes.

Lemon Poppy Seed Macaroons



Not that long ago I had a go at baking macaroons from Eric Lanlard's book, Home Bake. The rose batch turned out fine, my lemon attempts however? Not so much. They tasted gorgeous but to look at...well two words really...complete mess! Being a perfectionist there was no doubt that I was going to attempt to make them again at some point. There was nothing wrong with the recipe (I think!) as I managed to bake one presentable batch, so I stuck with that and I decided to add some poppy seeds to them as I love the flavour and thought this would make them a bit more exciting. I opted for a buttercream filling this time, however you can use lemon curd for a filling. Or anything really that takes your fancy!



Am I right in saying these look a bit better?


Ingredients:  
100g ground almonds
100g icing sugar
90g egg whites (from 3 large eggs)
100g caster sugar

2 Tbsp Poppy Seeds
  • Filling:
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 120g unsalted butter'
  • 30ml fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons milk


 Sift the ground almonds and icing sugar together in a bowl to produce a fine powderIn large bowl, beat icing sugar, unsalted butter, lemon juice and lemon zest together until smooth. Beat in milk, then increase speed and continue to beat until light and fluffy.

 In a large bowl, using an electric hand whisk, whisk the egg whites at full speed until they start to thicken then very slowly add the sugar until they form stiff peaks.

 Fold the almond mixture into the egg white, along with your chosen flavouring and/or colouring (note - to make them coloured, add more colouring than you think as it pales when cooking. I've heard the food colouring paste is best but I couldn't find it in Waitrose or Sainsburys so just added food colouring liquid), using a large metal spoon. You will get a stiff, shiny and smooth mixture. Stir in the poppy seeds.

 Using a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain tube, pipe 3cm discs onto a baking paper lined baking sheet. Leave for 5-10mins so they can dry out a little, while preheating the oven to 150c (fan 130).

 Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15mins.

 As soon as they come out the oven, lift the baking paper and pour a bit of cold water in between the sheet and paper. The steam will help to remove them easily. Cool on a wire rack.

♥ Trying to keep the macaroons which are the same size sandwich together with buttercream.



Well to be honest, these tasted so yummy I don't actually mind too much what they look like. But this batch does look much more presentable!