Raspberry, Almond & White Chocolate Blondies

I probably just had my favourite weekend. My favourite person in the whole entire world came to stay, (sorry Gavin 😉 ) my nephew George. Yes, he was George a few months before Prince George was George!

George is the chattiest, cutest, loveliest, most adorable, well-mannered, hilarious little two year old in the whole wide world. I never thought I could love a little person as much as I love him.

George also came bearing gifts; freshly picked raspberries from Linby (Nottinghamshire). As we are slowly nearing the end of the strawberry and raspberry season here in England, they were ripe and ready to munch on.

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Over the past few weeks I’ve made some crackin’ fruit related baking goodies: Strawberry n’ Cream Muffins, Strawberry & White Chocolate Shortbread, Extra Thick Strawberry Buttermilk Pancakes and Jumbo Raspberry Chocolate Muffins.

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So I’m thinking, hmmmm, what have I not made in a while….. BROWNIES! Or rather, BLONDIES! I’m a little obsessed with white chocolate at the moment, so these really have tipped me off the edge.

I’ve been in a blondie coma for approximately 3 days now.

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Simple to make, with a wonderful cake-y flavour yet moist brownie texture, these are heavenly. The almonds create a lovely crunch and subtle nutty flavour, you can’t really say no.

Enjoy!

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Raspberry, Almond & White Chocolate Blondies (makes around 20)

200g self-raising flour

Pinch of salt

200g caster sugar

200g unsalted butter, softened

3 eggs

30g flaked almonds (I crushed them a little)

150g white chocolate chunks

150g raspberries

1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees and grease your baking tin
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a small bowl and set aside
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  4. Gradually add one egg at a time along with a spoonful of flour
  5. Add the remaining flour and vanilla extract, until fully combined
  6. Gently fold in the almonds, white chocolate and raspberries – don’t be afraid of the mixture going pink and streaky from the raspberries – this adds to the appearance!
  7. Spoon into your tray and bake in the oven for around minutes
  8. Cool on a wire rack and then remove from tin – ENJOY!

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Insanely Healthy Protein Flapjacks (gluten, dairy, sugar & (almost) fat FREE)

This is quite a momentous post for me….

I’m going to be honest and say that I have never been the biggest fan of flapjacks. I found that they took forever to chew, were usually dry and never actually included any ingredients that I actually liked. Haters gonna hate!

However my boyfriend made a tray around a year ago, packed it full of banana, golden syrup and chocolate, and I was absolutely blown away. I loved them so much and found that I could munch on one and feel completely satisfied afterwards. They were super moist (because of the banana) and super sweet (because of the syrup) and of course packed with my favourite thing on this planet – chocolate!

So I’ve been making these quite regularly – and they really satisfy my sweet tooth – click here for my sugar and fat filled goodies!

Now look away if you don’t want to see the healthier versions….

I decided last week that with all this baking, I needed to reel myself in a little, and remember that life shouldn’t actually revolve around chocolate (it kinda does though doesn’t it?!). I wanted to make something that I could feel less guilty afterwards – but still tasty enough to want to eat.

After I was ill last year, my taste buds completely changed and I totally love oats and fruit these days. So I had a bit of a *light bulb* moment and realised that I would actually probably enjoy flapjacks that included things like raisins and apricots, when a few years ago I would have wrinkled my nose and professed my hatred.

Of course I couldn’t not include bananas (my favourite fruit to bake with), so after experimenting with a few recipes, I decided on this one.

It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, more-or-less fat free, and packed with fruit, seeds and oats – they are basically bursting with protein so ideal for a pre or post workout snack.

*flax seeds* seem to be the buzz ingredient these days and every time I’ve seen anyone talk about it, I’ve rolled my eyes and ignored the boring ‘health freaks’. However after conducting a little research I realised that brown linseed or commonly known as flax seeds are great for IBS or IBD sufferers. Ding ding ding – Gavin, Mom and myself are all sufferers – so off I hopped to the supermarket to buy some (I bought the supermarket range rather than any brand stuff – it’s deathly expensive!) and hope to see possible benefits soon 🙂

Sooooooooo – if you need a good fix of protein and energy, these flapjacks really do hit the spot. Using mashed banana and grated apple glues the mixture together (therefore reducing the amount of fat needed) and the honey adds a subtle sweet taste (don’t even get me started on honey – I think it’s one of the most underrated things out there – as long as you get 100% natural stuff, a spoonful of honey a day definitely keeps the doctor away).

Of course, after all this, I still had to grate a teeny weeny bit of dark chocolate over the top (oops!) I just couldn’t resist. But hey, dark chocolate isn’t that bad for you is it?!

ENJOY! ❤

Protein Flapjacks (makes around 12 slices)

40g butter (I use soya)

2 tbsp honey

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 apple, peeled and grated

40g apricots, chopped

40g raisins

250g rolled oats (I use gluten-free)

30g flax seed (brown linseed)

Dark chocolate, for grating (optional of course)

  1. Preheat the oven to 140 degrees and line your tin with greaseproof paper
  2. Melt the butter and honey in a small pan. Add the banana, apple and 100ml hot water and mix
  3. Mix the oats, dried fruit and seeds in a large bowl and pour in the wet mixture until everything is coated.
  4. Tip into your tin, levelling your surface, and grate over a little dark chocolate (this is completely optional – I’m just a sucker for chocolate) and place in the oven for around 1 hour.
  5. Remove from oven and leave to cool in the tin before cutting into slices. Store in the fridge for best results.

                      

Millionaire’s Caramel Krispie Square Madness!

IT’S FRIDAY!

Friday and the weekend in sight calls for one thing, and one thing only…. special baking treats and celebration!

This weekend was a traybake of course. I do love my traybakes (Malteser Buns, Oreo Truffle Brownies & Mini Egg Rocky Roads) and it would be hard to choose which would make my number 1 hot spot, but I think these Millionaire Caramel Krispie Squares have come very very close to it.

Although traybakes take a little time, making the various layers separately and doing sometimes fiddly bits and bobs, they pay off BIG TIME! They last for ages (I usually chill them) and are so yummy to nibble on for an energy boost. They are great to share around with guests – I’ve made these for my Grandad who has been in and out of hospital this week – they are perfect to throw in a little box and take with you anywhere.

I love Millionaire Caramel Shortbread, however since I recently made a big batch of shortbread, I wanted something different…. boy was I glad when I switched to rice krispies!

You can use up your old cereal lying at the back of the cupboard (great!) and create something so mouth watering-ly delicious.

I also kinda like how you can have breaks after each section is finished and sit back whilst they are cooling in the fridge – it breaks up the baking process, rather than an intense hour or two of solid baking. Also, no oven is involved – bonus- no constant checking and worrying about temperatures!

These are seriously amazing – I made them yesterday and let me tell you, there are not that many left!

Enjoy your weekends all 🙂

Millionaire’s Caramel Krispie Squares

For the base:

30g butter

150g marshmallows

90g rice krispies

For the caramel:

397g condensed milk

100g dark brown sugar

80g butter

2 tbsp golden syrup (I used Butterscotch syrup – just to spice it up a bit!)

Pinch of salt

For the topping:

150g chocolate of your choice (I used milk)

Squirt of golden syrup

  1. To make the base: Grease and line your baking tin with grease proof paper
  2. Melt the butter and marshmallows in a pan, stirring frequently until everything has melted (this may take a little patience)
  3. Add the rice krispies and mix until thoroughly coated. Working quickly, tip the mixture into the baking tin and press it firmly down so that it is level (I used a sheet of grease proof paper – it does get rather sticky but keep with it!) Set aside to cool for around 30 minutes
  4. To make the caramel:Put all of the caramel ingredients into a pan set over a medium heat. Stir frequently until the sugar has dissolved
  5. No turn up the heat slightly and boil gently stirring frequently. To test whether it is ready, you can drop a small amount of the caramel into some chilled water – it should form a firm ball that does not flatten when removed, but squishes when squeezed. It will also take on a much darker, ticker consistency
  6. Take the pan off the heat and place the bottom of it into cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside and allow to cool for 10 minutes
  7. Stir well, then pour over the cooled base. Place in the fridge for around 2 hours until set.

Finally, melt the chocolate and spread over the caramel layer. Again, place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, allowing it to set before removing and cutting into your squares (I actually left it over nightbefore cutting – I also used a warm knife to help prevent the chocolate layer cracking)          DSCF2687 DSCF2689 DSCF2690 DSCF2701 IMG_8154 IMG_8164 IMG_8166

Easter Egg Rocky Roads

So I’ve never been the biggest fan of rocky roads as they usually have raisins in them and I have yet to appreciate those little shriveled up things!

So naturally I have left these out of the recipe – and instead have created an Easter special – with a hint of Malteser Bun as well.

I usually find it a little tricky getting the consistency of chocolate, butter and golden syrup just right – so the amount I’ve provided is just a general guideline – you can play around with how sticky or chocolatey you want these.

You can also substitute pretty much any type of chocolate goodie you want i.e. mars bar rather than fudge, milky way rather than creme egg and so on. I’ve just used typically Easter-y chocolate bars.

I also keep these ones refrigerated, just to help them keep extra fresh… Enjoy!

Easter Egg Rocky Roads

150g milk chocolate

150g dark chocolate

75g butter

2 tbsp golden syrup

100g mini marshmallows

4 creme eggs, quartered

100g digestive biscuits

50g fudge

Bag of mini eggs

100g white chocolate

  1. Place the chocolate pieces, butter and golden syrup in a saucepan and heat until melted
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the crushed digestives
  3. Now add the marshmallows, fudge, crème eggs and a half of the bag of mini eggs
  4. Spoon the mixture into a tin and press firmly down – place in the fridge to cool
  5. Once cool, melt the white chocolate and spread over the top
  6. Finally finish by sprinkling over the rest of the mini eggs (you can crush some of these to make it look extra nice!)
  7. Cool overnight and cut into rough squares the next day.

              

Oreo Truffle Brownie What?!

I had a HUGE craving for Oreos a few days ago, so bought a few packs, then realised I’d never actually baked with them before…. SHOCK HORROR!

I know they’re a big hit with ‘proper big cakes’, you know the kind, but I’d recently made the Hummingbird cake, and didn’t really fancy baking another big cake, with the pressure of eating it ALL!

They also look pretty damn good in a cheese cake, mmmm that delicious white filling with dark crumbled biscuit bits, YUMMY! But I didn’t have any whipping cream, only cream cheese…

So hey presto… I’ve got Oreo truffle brownies in the fridge cooling, and I can’t wait to test them…

Just had one….. AMAZING!

The brownie base is a classic (from my previous post Call Me Queen Brownie), the cream cheese and Oreo filling is so so creamy ( I mean who would have thought cream cheese would be so creamy?!) and the chocolate topping just tips you into a fountain and pool of chocolatey madness and goodness and all things wonderful.

Seriously, these are awesome.

They are almost an Oreo equivalent of my Maltesers Buns, but are so much smoother!

Next time I will definitely use some white chocolate on the top, just to add some more sugar and chocolate.

Enjoy!

Oreo Truffle Brownies 

Brownie Layer

200g milk chocolate

150g dark chocolate

225g margarine

3 eggs

225g soft brown sugar

75g self-raising flour

100g chocolate chips or chocolate chunks

1 tsp vanilla essence

Truffle Layer

1 large pack of oreo biscuits (plus some for decoration)

150g soft cream cheese

Chocolate Layer 

150g chocolate of your choice, melted

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and grease a baking tray
  2. Melt the milk chocolate and margarine together
  3. Mix the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence and then add the melted chocolate
  4. Fold in the flour and chocolate chips
  5. Pour the mixture into the baking tray and bake for around 20 minutes
  6. Remove and leave to cool
  7. Meanwhile, to make the truffle layer, crush the oreos (I usually smash them in a plastic bag with a rolling pin – I find this worryingly fun) and stir these into the softened cream cheese (saving some for decoration)
  8. Spread this over the brownies and place in the fridge again whilst you melt you chocolate of choice
  9. Pour melted chocolate over the top of the layered tray bake and sprinkle with remaining crushed oreos
  10. Place in the fridge to cool for at least a few hours and then remove and cut into squares
  11. I keep these refrigerated for best results!

Heaven On Earth – Malteser Buns!

*MAJOR AMAZINGLY TASTY DELICIOUSLY YUMMY UNBELIEVABLY MOREISH RECIPE ALERT*

I’ve been waiting to share this one with the world… and I think I’m finally ready. For a long time I genuinely believed that my boyfriend’s mum created this recipe (deep down I still do). I was told a story which goes something like this…

“Rosamund (Gavin’s mum) made Michael (Gavin’s dad) some malteser buns to take into work… he works for M&S (for those who aren’t from the UK – Marks and Spencer, M&S, Marks and Sparks, is one of the biggest and oldest classically ‘British’ stores that sells reasonably expensive food which is pretty yummy and where you usually go for special occasions… or if you’re pretty rich, most days for your local shop (phew glad we got that sorted) anyway, Michael was in a meeting in the London Head Office with some of the ‘big guys’ who work for M&S, and he decided to offer some of these malteser buns around…. since then, every time he meets with these managers, buyers, sellers and owners of M&S, they make a request that Rosamund make a large batch, to hep them get through the meetings. We all wonder why M&S haven’t started selling them, we think they want to keep it top secret”

So that’s the story. Not too exciting but when you try the recipe you’ll understand just how colossal this is.

However my world was kind of broken a little, when Gavin wasn’t answering his phone to remind me of the amount of butter that was needed, and I decided to google ‘malteser bun’, just out of interest…. nightmare scenario: I found where Rosamund had stolen the recipe from!!

As I mentioned in my Brownie post Rosamund is from Northern Ireland, and she’s a really good cook – she definitely has that Irish flare in her – producing homely food and baking. Now I’ve stolen quite a few of her recipes that I presumed had come over with her when she moved to England.

WELL…. here on google, was a Presbyterian Church, found in a little village in Ireland, that had the recipe on their website… and in my little world I’ve now run away with the idea and am convinced that that’s where Rosamund has got it from!

SHOCKER! I was a little gutted inside, as I genuinely believed she was the master and creator of such a brilliant, classic and simple recipe… 

However I then came to the conclusion that most of us ‘borrow’ or ‘steal’ in some respect… we pick and choose which recipes and ingredients we like, taking inspiration from others and their recipes, especially the guys who actually really know what they’re talking about when it comes to food – not us foodie bloggers 😉

But it made me smile, as I realised that we all share our ideas and recipes that we enjoy baking and eating, and I love the idea that someone might steal one of my recipes, which I most definitely have stolen from someone else.

So there we have it – food for thought!

More importantly, after me rambling on like this, you have finally got to the most AMAZING recipe EVER. As my Mom describes them: “They are the perfect blend of a chocolate bar, a cake and a biscuit”. It doesn’t involve baking anything in the oven (WHAT!) and it literally involves one mixing bowl (WHAT!!) so here it is:

p.s. please please please serve with a cup of yorkshire tea – it goes down so well and you will want about 5 squares but it’s okay – you’ll be in heaven they are SO good.

Malteser Buns

250g crushed digestive biscuits

100g butter

200g milk chocolate

3 tbsp golden syrup

225g maltesers

100g white chocolate

  1. Melt the butter, chocolate and syrup together
  2. Remove from the heat and mix in the crushed digestive biscuits
  3. Add the maltesers (leaving a handful for later) – I like to crush half and leave the rest whole
  4. Mix altogether then spoon into a greased baking tin and chill in the fridge until set
  5. Melt the white chocolate and pour this over the top of the set mixture
  6. Sprinkle over the remaining maltesers – crushed and whole
  7. Sit back and ENJOY!


Banana, Almond and Chocolate Flapjacks

Just a bit of light Tuesday baking for me today! As you may know I loooooooove baking with fruit especially bananas… even better when it involves chocolate of some sort.

So here are some scrummy light bites to munch on throughout the week. They are literally the easiest things to make – no effort whatsoever – just throw in the ingredients – mix it up – put it in the tray – hey presto you’re there!

Serve with a cup of tea and maybe even an episode of Neighbours to treat yourself (yes this may be punishment for some but I love it 😉 )

Banana, Almond and Chocolate Flapjacks (serves 12)

115g unsalted butter

85g light brown sugar

3 tbsp golden syrup

300g porridge oats

2 ripe bananas, mashed (leave some chopped to place on top)

100g dark chocolate

50g flaked almonds

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease a baking tray
  2. Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan and heat gently until melted
  3. Stir in the oats and leave for 2 minutes
  4. Now stir in the mashed bananas, almonds and chocolate chunks – allowing the chocolate to melt a little but not completely (for around 4 minutes)
  5. Remove from the heat and spoon the mixture into your tray – pressing down to make sure the top is level
  6. Place the extra banana slices on top and bake in the oven for around 25-30 minutes
  7. Leave to cool completely before cutting into squares

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Apologies for the lack of photos – I may have started eating these and they may have disappeared pretty quickly before I could organise a photoshoot…