No-Bake Granola Bars with Coconut Oil

No Bake Granola Bars Top of the page

Last week I was in Devon on holiday with my boyfriend and his family for the first time.
We stopped in a lovely Holiday Lodge in Dawlish Warren and it was only a 10 minute walk to the coast.

Before we went I decided I was going to bake some goodies to take with us; so I made a Carrot Cake following Nigel Slaters’ recipe and a Chocolate Chocolate Cake (see the layer cake notes).

The other thing that I made to take with us were these No Bake Granola Bars that my boyfriend really enjoys, its a healthier snack which is quick and easy to make but tastes delicious.

I adapted these granola bars from a recipe I stumbled across after looking on the various food blogs for a healthy cereal bar. I wanted to make something that was healthy but also I was trying out coconut oil for the first time.

Adapted From – FiveHeartHome

130g Coconut Oil
260g Peanut Butter
130g Honey
250g Rolled Oats
50g Desiccated Coconut
40g Flaked Almonds
40g Chocolate Chips (optional)
120g Dried Fruit*
*I did 60g each of Dried Cranberries & Sultanas.

(The second time when I doubled the recipe I did 120g Dried Cranberries, 60g Sultanas,
40g Goji Berries & 40g Dried Blueberries.)

 

1. In a medium saucepan set over low-medium heat, melt together the coconut oil, peanut butter, and honey stirring until smooth and everything is melted.

coconut oil, honey and peanut butter melted

2. Remove from stove and stir in oats, desiccated coconut, flaked almonds and your mixture of dried fruit until evenly blended.

Stirring dry ingredients the the coconut oil mixture Oats, Coconut, Flaked Almonds and Dried Fruit (Doubled Recipe)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13-inch baking tray. Spread into an even layer, sprinkle with mini chocolate chips (if using), and firmly press down with the back of a spatula or clean hands.

” When I doubled the recipe I used a Swiss Roll Tin and 8-9 inch square tin
– you can see the pictures below “

No Bake Granola Mixture in 9inch Square Tin No Bake Granola Mixture in Swiss Roll Tin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Slice into squares or bars then remove from pan.

No Bake Granola Bars Cut Up5. Store granola bars in the refrigerator, either in an airtight container with wax paper separating the layers, or individually wrapped in plastic wrap.

✺ ✺ ✺ ✺ ✺ ✺ ✺ ✺ ✺ ✺‏

These Granola Bars were great when we were on holiday, just wrapped them up and popped them in my handbag or in our little picnic box when we were off out for the day.
They were the perfect little snack.

Ship In Brixham

Ship in Brixham Harbour

One of the places that we visited was Brixham a small fishing town with a few gift shops. Me and my boyfriend Ant went for a lovely walk around the town and we sat and had a little bite of our picnic.

The few times that I have been to Brixham I have always taken a picture of the ship in the harbour. 25 years ago my parents took me there as a baby and I have a photo of my mom holding me with the ship in the background.

Travelling on Dartmouth Ferry

On the ferry to Dartmouth

View in Dartmouth of Houses

The view from the ferry

After our visit to Brixham his dad drove to the ferry to take us over to Dartmouth, which I was quite looking forward to as I had never been on the ferry in Devon before. It was a beautiful sunny day so I got some lovely photos whilst travelling on the ferry.

View in Dartmouth

Beautiful view when in Dartmouth, lovely sunny day

One of the days we went to Paignton where me and Ant had a small walk around the town then we had a lovely stroll along the beach, I was collecting shells as we made our way towards the Pier.
I always feel strange when you can see the water moving between the cracks of the wood.

✺ ✺ ✺ ✺ ✺ ✺ ✺ ✺ ✺ ✺‏

Most of the week was sunny but we did have one rainy day, so while Ant’s parents went off to visit a friend we went to Trago Mills and then had a walk around Newton Abbot town.
I always like to see the peacocks whenever I go to Trago, I love the colours and I think that they have such stunning feathers, I was lucky enough to get a few shots of the males parading about.

Peacock at Trago Mills Peacock at Trago Mills 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the last day we went back to Trago Mills as his mom wanted to go, which meant we could have another look for things to buy. Even though I’m sure when I got back home my mom would moan about the glass jars, I had bought for my baking supplies… and yes she did!!

We had another visit to Dawlish on the way back… well I thought that I couldn’t go home without bringing my mom and dad a cream tea back. Which they were both very happy about 🙂

I had a wonderful holiday with Ant and his family, every evening we would walk down to the coast and go into the arcade his dad would give us all a pound, we got quite addicted to the 2p machines our favourite was Snakes & Ladders. On these games you would win tickets after the week me and Ant had just got under 3000; I got a Spaniel Dog toy, and comic style wallet, Ant got a bell ‘to ring for a drink’ and many marbles and little toy soldiers to give his parents.

Cute Spaniel Dog that we got with the tickets.

Cute Spaniel Dog that we got with the tickets.

Advertisements

Honey Dog Biscuits

Honey Dog Biscuits Top Page

The other day while walking around the shops in my local town I came across this recipe book for dogs in a charity shop.

Cooking for your dog

Cooking For Your Dog

When I got back home I decided that I would make my dog Jake a treat from it.

I went with the Honey Dog Biscuits.

150g Wholewheat Flour – plus extra for dusting
150g Oats
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
30g Butter
2 tablespoons Honey
2 Eggs
100ml Milk

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6, 400°F, (200°C). Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

2. Mix the flour, oats and baking powder together in a large bowl.

3. Add the butter in small flakes and rub into the flour and oat mixture.

4. Then add in the honey, eggs and milk, bringing together with a knife or spoon. Once it starts to come together, knead thoroughly.

Star Honey Dog Biscuits  Ingredients

5. On a floured work surface roll the dough out about 1/2 inch (1cm) thick. Cut out round biscuit shapes (or any other shaped cutter you want – I also did some star shaped). Place these on the baking tray, leaving a little space between each one.

Honey Dog Biscuit Dough

Biscuit dough rolled out

Honey Dog Biscuits ready to go in the oven

Round Honey Dog Biscuits ready for baking

Star Honey Dog Biscuits ready to go in the oven

Star shaped Honey Dog Biscuits ready to go in the oven.

6. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. After this time turn off the oven and allow the biscuits to dry out for a further 2 hours.

Round Honey Dog Biscuits

Round Honey Dog Biscuits

Star Honey Dog Biscuits

Star Shaped Honey Dog Biscuits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jake with his Honey Biscuit

Jake with his homemade biscuit

Jake loves them just like the Carrot and Apple biscuits I had made the other week, also my boyfriends dog Trixie she liked them too.
I like making him his biscuits as it is nice to know what is being put in them and they are healthier.

Energy Muffins

 

Top Page Energy Muffins

I have done this recipe a couple of times now and I love it, having a muffins but its full of goodness carrots, apples, and all those crunchy nuts and seeds. You can easily adapt it to suit your taste with the nuts and seeds that you like.
This is definitely going to be my go to healthy muffin recipe.

The Recipe is adapted from taste.com.au

Makes 18-24 Muffins
200g Caster Sugar *
200g Plain Flour
100g Plain Wholemeal Flour *
2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
125g Sultanas
180g Carrots, grated (about 2-3 carrots – depending on the size)
190g Apple, grated (about 2 apples)
50-80g Desiccated Coconut
100g Walnuts, chopped – plus extra for sprinkling (optional)
30g Pumpkin Seeds – plus extra for sprinkling (optional)
35g Sunflower Seeds
3 Large Eggs
250ml Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

 

  1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 4. Line your muffin tray with 18-24 muffins cases.
    (At this stage I would start grating your carrots and apples, as this is the most time consuming)

  2. Sift sugar, flour, cinnamon and powder into a large bowl. Add sultanas, carrot, apple, coconut and walnuts. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil and vanilla.

    Grated Carrot & Apple, Sultanas, Coconut, Nuts and Seeds for the Energy MuffinsDry Ingredients for Energy Muffins

  3. Add the egg and oil mix to the dry ingredients and fold until just combined – do not overmix.

  4. Spoon the mixture into muffin cases and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
    *(For the mini loaves that took 35 minutes)

    Energy Muffins just about to go in the oven

*Changes I made the second time

1. I lowered the sugar again, as you get a lot of sweetness from the grated apples. I wanted these muffins to be healthier, something you could eat for breakfast or as a healthy snack.
2. I did 150g each of the plain and wholemeal flour.
3. I added in an extra 1/2 teaspoon of Ground Ginger.
4. And finally instead of just making muffins I decide to make 4 mini loaves and the spare mixture made another 9 extra muffins – I thought that the mini energy loaves would be great to gifts.

Energy Mini Loaves

Mini Loaves ready for baking

Energy Mini Loaves

Baked Mini Energy Loaves

 

 

 

 

Energy Muffins and Mini Loaves

Chocolate Pecan Fondants

Chocolate Pecan Fondant Top Page Pic

It was Mothers Day a couple of weeks ago…
After looking through a few of my baking books for inspiration and narrowing down some ideas my mom finally decided on these Chocolate Pecan Fondants, so that is what I went with.

You can’t really go wrong with chocolate and we both love melt-in-the-middle puddings!

50g Butter, plus extra for greasing
Cocoa Powder, for dusting
150g Chocolate (50% cocoa solids is fine), chopped into chunks
2 Eggs, beaten
2 tbsp Plain Flour
20g Pecan Nuts, toasted and chopped very finely
1 tbsp Golden Caster Sugar

Lindt ChocolateChopped Chocolate

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 7. Butter 3 individual pudding basins (about 200ml capacity), then dust generously with cocoa powder.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water or in a microwave, stirring until smooth. Gradually stir in both the eggs, the flour, chopped pecan nuts, and then the sugar beat together gently until everything is combined, but still runny.
    Chocolate Pecan Fondant Ingredients Chocolate Pecan Fondant Chocolate Mixture
  3. Divide the mixture equally between the pudding moulds. These can now be chilled for up to a day ahead.
    Bake for 12-15 minutes until firm on top but still gooey in the middle. (or 16-18 mins if chilled).
    Filled Fondant Moulds
  4. Turn out the puddings onto small plates and serve with ice cream or double cream.
    Fondants just out of the oven

     These were absolutely delicious, loved the added crunch of the chopped pecans inside the pudding. I think I might even cook them a little less next time so that they are extra gooey inside.

    Chocolate Pecan Fondant Centre

Giant Valentines Heart Cookie

Hi there everyone 🙂
Hope you are all well, sorry that I haven’t posted a recipe in quite a while, I know its been a few months but I shall try to get back into the swing of things and share with you all what I have been baking.
At the end of November last year I had a bit of an accident in my car, thankfully I was fine but I was very upset about my car as I thought that it was written off. Very very happy that it wasn’t and that they were able to fix it and its looking as good as new.
I had a lovely Christmas and New Year with my Family and Friends and yes there was quite a bit of cake and sweet treats going around, always find that you eat way too much round that time of year.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is the Cookie recipe that I used to make a Giant Heart Cookie.
I used my Nordic Ware Heart Shape Cookie Sheet to make the giant cookie. I think it would be good to make a pizza with too or maybe even a chocolate brownie, for any romantic occasion or if your just feeling soppy.
 Millies Style Heart Cookie for Ant
Yields about 24-30 cookies
225g Butter, room temperature
325g Granulated Sugar
100g Soft Dark Brown Sugar – I used Dark Muscovado Sugar
2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Large Egg
1 Extra Egg Yolk
425g Self-Raising Flour
350g Chocolate chopped – use any of your choice – I used a mixture of Chocolate Chips and Galaxy Chopped
  1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 5 and line your baking tray or large cookie sheet with baking paper. I drew around the heart cookie sheet and cut it out to line the tray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, then add in the vanilla extract, followed by both the egg and egg yolk making sure that all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  3. Add the flour, a tablespoon at a time and keep mixing until you have a soft cookie dough. Stir in your chopped chocolate pieces or chocolate chips of your choice making sure that they are evenly dispersed.
    Small Cookies
    If you are making small cookies you want a heaped tablespoon for each cookie, spacing them apart as they spread quite a bit – I normally do 6 per baking tray.
    Giant Heart Cookie
    If you have a Nordic Ware Heart Shape Cookie Sheet like me then you want to take about just under half of the cookie dough and place it on your cookie sheet, using your fingertips to help spread out the dough.
    Giant Heart Cookie
  4. Place the giant cookie into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until just turning golden brown but still quite soft as the cookie will firm up when cooling.
  5. Once the cookie was cool I then decorated it with a tub of Betty Crockers Chocolate Fudge Frosting, as I wanted to make it look like a ‘Millies Cookie’ and added a few golden sprinkles.
Mom and Dad's Giant Heart Cookie
 Anthonys Giant Heart Cookie
I was actually able to make two giant heart cookies with the amount of cookie dough in the recipe
Ant's Valentines Heart Cake

I also made this Heart Shaped ‘Be Mine’ Valentines Cake, which I decorated with Marshmallow Frosting and Heart Sprinkles.

Valentines Cupcakes I made my mom and dad some cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting, topped with pretty red sprinkles and red marzipan roses.

I will make sure that I share the recipes I did with you at some point throughout the next couple months even though most maybe not be that seasonal but you can still enjoy them.

Happy Baking!
🙂

Giant Chocolate Carrot Cupcake

Chocolate Carrot Cake together (Giant Cupcake) for top page

Having never made a Giant Cupcake before my friends mom leant me their Giant Silicone Cupcake Mould, couldn’t wait to try it out, but what to bake…

Carrot Cake is their favourite cake which I have previously made for them so I thought that I would go for a different kind of carrot cake. My friend Ant had mention a Chocolate Carrot Cake covered in chocolate which a neighbour of his made and he loved it. It turns out that this neighbour ‘Elisia’ was actually someone who my mom went to school with… It really is a small world!

If you want to have ago at one of my other Carrot Cake Recipes here are the links; for a great for an afternoon treat you could go for the Carrot & Walnut Cake or if you fancied something a little smaller then you could go for these Carrot & Walnut Muffins which are just as delicious.

For the Sponge
6 Large Eggs
350g Caster Sugar
400ml Sunflower Oil
500g Finely Grated Carrots (about 10 medium)
400g Plain Flour
6 tablespoon Cocoa Powder
2 tablespoon Baking Powder
2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
250g Walnut Pieces or Chopped Pecans – I used Walnuts

For the Filling and Topping
200g Unsalted Butter, very soft
200g Good-Quality Cream Cheese – I used Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence – I used Nielsen Massey Vanilla Extract
300g Icing Sugar, sifted
6tbsp Cocoa Powder, sifted
2tbsp Walnut Pieces or Chopped Pecans to decorate – I used Walnut pieces and White & Milk Chocolate Hearts

 *Half the recipe for both the Sponge and Filling to make a 20cm (8 inch) Sandwiched Chocolate Carrot Cake*

Ingredients for Chocolate Carrot Cake (Giant Cupcake)

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4, then grease and flour your Giant Cupcake Mould. If you don’t have a Giant Cupcake Mould half the recipe and grease and baseline 2 x 20cm (8 inch) round cake tins at this stage instead.

2. Put the eggs and sugar into a bowl of a food mixer and beat, using the whisk attachment, until very light and frothy. While still mixing gradually pour in the oil so it gets mixed in. Using a large metal spoon or spatula, stir in the grated carrots.

Eggs and Sugar for Chocolate Carrot Cake (Giant Cupcake) Whisked Eggs. Sugar and Oil for Chocolate Carrot Cake (Giant Cupcake) Whisked Eggs. Sugar and Oil, carrots added for Chocolate Carrot Cake (Giant Cupcake)

3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, ground cinnamon and ginger into the bowl and gently fold in. Once everything is thoroughly combined mix in the chopped walnuts.

Mixing in the Walnuts for Chocolate Carrot Cake (Giant Cupcake)

4. Transfer the mixture into your prepared cupcake mould, until each is about two thirds full – leave it about 1.5 – 2cm from the top. (I also had some mixture leftover I was able to make about 6 small cupcakes)Chocolate Carrot Cake (Giant Cupcake) about to go in the oven

Bake in the heated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes or until firm to the touch (Check the cakes after about 50 minutes and if the cakes are browning too much cover them with foil). I found that the base of my giant cupcake took longer to bake than the top halt. Turn out the sponges on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.Chocolate Carrot Cake (Giant Cupcake)

Once the cake had cool both parts needed trimming so that they sat level when place on top of each other – the trimmings were delicious who this is when I actually thought my god chocolate and carrot do go together.

 

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Meanwhile, to make the Chocolate Cream Cheese filling and topping: put the soft butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder, cream cheese and vanilla extract into the bowl of your stand mixer and starting on a slow speed mix them together until very smooth and creamy.

Putting the Chocolate Carrot Giant Cupcake together
Before I started putting my giant cupcake together I made up a bit of chocolate ganache:
100g Dark Chocolate
100ml Double Cream
Place a small heatproof over a saucepan of simmering water and gently melt the chocolate and cream together until smooth. Then remove for the heat and set aside to cool.

1. Firstly place the bottom part of your giant cupcake onto a serving plate or cake board, then cover with a thin layer of the ganache.

Bottom Layer of Chocolate Carrot Cake (Giant Cupcake)

The base of the Giant Cupcake

Bottom Layer covered in Ganache Chocolate Carrot Cake (Giant Cupcake)

The bottom of the giant cupcake covered in a layer of ganache

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Then add some of the Chocolate Cream Cheese frosting onto the top, you can spread this on with a palette or pipe it on. Sandwich it together with the top section of the cupcake.
I decided to pipe it on as I wanted to have a little practice at piping roses in anticipation of decorating the top part of my cupcake in piped roses. Another good thing about piping the frosting on was that the ganache was left untouched and I was able to put quite a fair amount on seen as the sponges were quite thick.

Bottom Layer covered in Ganache, Chocolate Cream Cheese Middle Chocolate Carrot Cake (Giant Cupcake)Putting the Chocolate Carrot Cake together (Giant Cupcake)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Now to cover the top part of the cupcake in a layer of chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Carrot Cake together (Giant Cupcake)

4. The next stage was to pipe roses onto the top section of the giant cupcake, then filling in any small gaps with small flowers. I added milk and white chocolate hearts around the bottom of the cupcake and then a fine dusting of gold edible glitter of the piped roses as the finishing touch.
Chocolate Carrot Cake Giant Cupcake with rose swirls - top viewChocolate Carrot Cake Giant Cupcake with rose swirls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 8 inch Chocolate Carrot Sandwiched Cake
Place one of your sponges onto a serving plate or cake board then using about half of the Chocolate Cream Cheese to sandwich the sponges together. Once the second sponge has been added spread the rest of the frosting on top and finish off by scattering over the chopped walnuts.

 

The cake will taste at its best if kept for a day before cutting. Store in an airtight container and eat within 5 days. I would suggest keeping the cake in the fridge because of the Cream Cheese Frosting, then let it come to room temperature before serving.

Apple Friands

Fresh Apple Friands

Recipe Adapted from Laundry etc

1 Medium Sized Bramley Apple
1 1/2 tablespoon Soft Brown Sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon Honey
5 Egg Whites – I used Two Chicks Liquid Egg Whites
125g Butter, melted
100g Ground Almonds
100g Icing Sugar
60g Plain Flour

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5, and prepare your Friand tin by buttering each of the moulds – I used a muffin tin as I do not own a Friand Tin… Yet.

2. Peel and core your Bramley apple and chop it into small sized pieces, then place in a small pan, sprinkling 2-3 teaspoons of water over it. Bring to a simmer and cook until it is soft and mushy, this should only take about 3-5 minutes.

3. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup and 1 tsp vanilla extact, stir and cook for another minute or 2. You can add more sugar if desired but I think the Bramley Apples taste great tart against the Friand Sponge. Set aside to cool until needed.

Stewing Apples for Friands
4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites using an electric mixed until just frothy.

Whisked Egg Whites for Apple Friands

 

5. Add the melted butter, flour, ground almonds and icing sugar and combine quickly to make a batter.

6. Pour the mixture into your friand/muffin tin, filling them about two thirds of the way. Drop a heaped teaspoon of the stewed apple onto the centre of each friand.

Apple Friands just about to go in the oven

7. Bake them for 20-25 minutes (mine took an extra 10 minutes) till risen and set and just starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a rack to cool.

The only trouble that I had with these friands was getting them out of the tin even though I grease my tin, so make sure that you grease it really well. They were not the neatest when I got them out so I put them in little fairy cases for my presentation, they may of even baked well in them which is an option for next time.

These went down a treat when I took round to my friends on Halloween, along with the Black Forest Cupcakes I took too.

Carrot & Walnut Muffins

Carrot & Walnut Muffins for Heading

A while back I made my friend and his family this Carrot & Walnut Cake, it was really moist, I loved all the pieces of walnuts in it and I even enjoyed the cream cheese icing on it which I’m not usually a big fan of. My mom isn’t really into Carrot Cakes but when I told her how nice it was she wanted me to make one for us, but to be a little different I decide to make them a little muffins.

For the Cupcakes
200g Soft Light Brown Sugar
200ml Sunflower Oil
2 medium Eggs
200g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) Bicarbonate of Soda
1 teaspoon (5ml) Ground Cinnamon
200g Carrots, peeled and grated
100g Walnut Pieces, chopped
1 teaspoon (5ml) Vanilla Extract

For the icing
125g Icing Sugar, sifted
50g Unsalted Butter, softened
75g Full Fat Cream Cheese, chilled – I used Philadelphia Cream Cheese
12 Walnut Halves, to decorate

* If you like a lot of Cream Cheese Icing on your muffins that I would probably double the recipe, as I only wanted a small amount.

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3 and line a deep 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.

2. In a large mixing bowl place the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla, then beat together with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and thickened.

Eggs, Sugar & Oil for Carrot & Walnut Muffins

Sugar, Eggs, Oil & Vanilla Extract.

Sugar, Eggs & Oil for Carrot & Walnut Muffins

The Sugar, Eggs & Oil mixed together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Sift over the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon then fold in gently until everything is well combined. Fold in the grated carrots and chopped walnuts until evenly dispersed.

Sifted Flour over Sugar, Eggs & Oil for Carrot & Walnut Muffins

Flour, Bicarbonate of Soda, Baking Powder & Cinnamon Sifted over.

Mixture for Carrot & Walnut Muffins

Flour & Baking Powders folded in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Divide the mixture evenly between the paper cake cases. Bake in the middle of your preheated oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown, risen and the middle bounces back when lightly pressed. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Carrot & Walnut Muffins ready for the oven

Mixture divide evenly between the cases

Carrot & Walnut Muffins

Carrot and Walnut Muffins fresh out of the oven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. To make the Cream Cheese Icing beat the icing sugar and butter together in a large bowl until fluffy – you can do this by hand or using an electric mixer. Add the cream cheese and briefly beat together again until just combined – Don’t overbeat or it will become runny.

6. Spread the Cream Cheese icing over the muffins and top with a walnut half.

Carrot & Walnut Muffins topped with Cream Cheese

Minstrel Brownies

Minstrel Brownies cut into 16 Squares

After Halloween I still had quite a lot of chocolates leftover and I also wanted to use up the rest of my liquid egg whites up and what better way to use them up by baking something yummy for one of the new editions to my bookshelf.
The recipe that I decided to go with this Brownie recipe which comes from Lorraine Pascale’s A Lighter Way To BakeBlooming Brownies.

100g Unsalted Butter
100g Dark Chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
75g Milk Chocolate, roughly chopped
3 Medium Eggs
2 Medium Egg Whites – I used Two Chicks Liquid Egg Whites
100g Soft Light Brown Sugar
3 tablespoon Wholemeal Flour – I used Allinson Wholemeal Plain Flour
1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
50g Cocoa Powder
100g Minstrels, broken up – plus a few extra whole to add on top

 

1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 and line a 20cm (8 inch) square tin with baking parchment.

Tin lined ready for Minstrel Brownies

Lined 8 inch Square Tin

Ingredients for Minstrel Brownies

Ingredients for the Minstrel Brownies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. In a small saucepan melt the butter over a low heat, remove the pan from the heat and then add the chocolate, setting aside so that the chocolate can melt.

Chocolate and Butter melting for Minstrels Brownies

Butter & Chocolate set aside to melt

Melted Chocolate and Butter for Minstrels Brownies

Butter and Chocolate melted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Meanwhile, put the eggs and egg whites into a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk them until they are pale and fluffy. Add the sugar in bit by bit, whisking after each addition until it is all combined and the mixture is really light and mousse-like.

Eggs and Egg Whites for Minstrel Brownies

Eggs and Egg Whites in a large bowl

Whisked Egg Whites for Minstrels Brownies

The Mousse like Eggs and Egg Whites after being whisked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Once the chocolate is melted, give it a little stir, then carefully pour it around the whisked-up eggs. This so that you don’t knock out any of the air.

5. Lightly scatter over the wholemeal flour and bicarbonate of soda, and then sift the cocoa powder on top. Gently fold everything together really well but being carefully not to knock out any of the air.

Tip from Lorraine – The melted chocolate has a habit of sinking to the bottom of the pan, so really get underneath the egg mixture to ensure everything is well combined.

6. Carefully pour the mixture into your lined tin from a very low height, this so you don’t knock any air out. Smooth the brownie mixture out evenly using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the broken up Minstrels on top of the brownie including a few extra whole ones.

Tip from Lorraine – There is no raising agent in this, so the only way it will puff up in the oven is down to the air that you have whisked into it. 

Mixture for Minstrels Brownies in the tin

Brownie mixture in prepared baking tin

Brownie Mixture with broken Minstrels sprinkled on top

Broken Minstrels sprinkled on top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Bake the brownies in the oven for 20-25 minutes until springy to the touch but crusty on top and until a skewer pierced into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin until cool enough to handle.

Minstrel Brownies just out of the oven

 Remove your brownie from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely, once cool cut into 16 even-sized squares to serve.

I really like the Galaxy Minstrels topping this brownie I might add a little more next time, I also think that Galaxy Counters or even Maltesers would work great too. I found these brownies really moist and delicious as well as the Minstrels I might try a variation of adding chopped chocolate into the actual mixture of the brownie, I mean if your going to have a chocolate Brownie don’t skimp on the chocolate.

 

 

Halloween Baking

Red Velvet Halloween Cake

 

I have always tried to get my Red Velvets a nice shade of red but they always seem to look brown and looking like a plain and normal chocolate cake. The only time I did get a great shade of red was with some cupcakes but they ended up being really crumbly and coming away from the cases, so they ended up being cake pops.

Here are some of the Halloween Bakes that I made last year
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Last Years Halloween Cupcakes Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

I wanted a Red Velvet Sponge for my Halloween Cake this year and I know its cheating but I decided to use a box mix, Betty Crockers Red Velvet just so that I could guarantee that my cake would be red. A normal cake mix is made with oil, water and eggs but I decided to switch the oil for melted butter and the water for milk, and I also added a teaspoon of Vanilla Extract.

Chocolate Skull and Sweets

Chocolate Skull and Sweets for decorating.

For the Cake
1 x Red Velvet Cake Box Mix
65ml Melted Butter
205ml Semi Skimmed Milk
3 Medium Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

For the White Chocolate Buttercream
170g White Chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
230g Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
240g Icing Sugar
60ml Double Cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

 

1. Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 4, and grease and baseline two 20cm (8 inch) round cake tins.

2. Put the Red Velvet Cake Mix, eggs, melted butter, milk and Vanilla Extract into a large mixing bowl and whisk all the ingredients together. You can do this by hand with a wooden spoon or use an electric mixer, until smooth and creamy.

All ingredients in the bowl for red velvet 2

Red Velvet Mix, Milk & Eggs

All ingredients in the bowl for red velvet

Add the Melted Butter and Vanilla Extract

Red Velvet Mixture

Mix all the ingredients together until you have a smooth red mixture

3. Pour the cake mixture evenly into your two greased cake tins and smooth the tops with the back of a spoon.

in the centre of the oven for between 23-28 minutes or until a rounded knife inserted fully into the centre of the cake comes out clean, then cool on a wire rack.

The White Chocolate Buttercream
This is my favourite white chocolate buttercream its perfect for cakes or to swirl on top of cupcakes. The recipe comes from a blog that I always like to have a look on called Sallys Baking Addiction love the pictures that she takes, a true inspiration.

1. Firstly put your white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water, stir occasionally once melted set aside to cool.

2. In a large bowl either using a handheld or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat you butter until soft. Sift in half of your icing sugar then turn your the mixer to a low speed (or you will end up looking like a ghost) and beat until smooth.

3. Sift in the remaining icing sugar and beat again until blended. Give your cooled white chocolate a quick stir so that it is smooth and add this to your butter and icing sugar mixture. Switch your mixer to a medium speed and beat for about 2 minutes until everything is combined and creamy.

4. Add in the double cream and vanilla extract and beat again for 1 minute until combined. Now your ready to use your buttercream.


Assembling My Cake

1. Once the cakes are cooled you can begin to sandwich your cakes together with the White Chocolate Buttercream. Place a layer of your Red Velvet sponge on to a cake board or serving plate and place on top of a turntable if you have one.

2. Spread a layer of the white chocolate buttercream, then sandwich with the second Red Velvet sponge layer.

3. Next crumb coat your cake with a thin layer of the buttercream, place in the fridge for 15-30 minutes to firm then buttercream the rest of your cake.

Red Velvet Layer on turn table

Red Velvet on cake board ready for buttercream

Red Velvet Layer on turn table with White Chocolate Buttercream

White Chocolate Buttercream layer

Red Velvet Layer on turn table sandwiched

Place the second Red Velvet sponge on top

Red Velvet Layer on turn table quick coating

A quick coating of buttercream covering the whole cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was doing my cake very quickly so you could still see some of the red crumbs through the buttercream, which I didn’t mind as much because it would add to the spookiness of the Halloween cake. I topped my cake with a White Chocolate Skull which I surrounded in Red Marzipan Roses and a few smaller chocolate skulls that I made using a Wilton Skull Mould. Around the outside of the cake I alternated the pumpkin and black cat fondant decorations that I made.

I collect the Something Sweet Magazine and in the Halloween Edition there was a mould to make ‘Witches’ Hats’, I did mind using purple candy melts, then to fill them I melted Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate and stirred in some popping candy… The perfect Trick or Treat!!

One of the very first magazines of Something Sweet I got a mice mould, I used my black candy melts to make the shell the filled it with milk chocolate and chopped glacé cherries.

I also got the Cake Decorating Halloween Special, so I was able to create the 3D fondant skulls which I dusted with black edible glitter.

Collage of Halloween Chocolate and Fondant

In the collage are some of the things that I made to decorate cake and cupcakes.

 

 

 

 

 Here are the Black Forest Cupcakes that I made, which I topped with Vanilla Buttercream and topped with the Halloween decorations that I made and sprinkles. You can find the recipe for the cupcakes Here!Halloween Black Forest Cupcakes 2