Friday, 25 April 2014

Cliff Richard Biscuits

Whilst it's hard to make out the recipe below as it is caked in mess, these are Cliff Richard Biscuits. To cut a long story short, the name came after they were served at tea to Cliff Richard when he visited my grandfather's vicarage. They are soft brown sugar biscuits with a crunchy sugar coating around the edge.

As with any biscuit recipe, first cream the butter (6oz) and soft light brown sugar (4oz) together until light and fluffy. 

 Before adding in 8oz of plain flour and pinch of salt to make a firm (but sticky) dough. Then lightly flour the surface (but be careful not to over do it with the flour as once you have worked it all into the biscuits they will become tough) and lightly knead the biscuit dough before rolling it into a long sausage.

 Take a long stripe of foil (the length of mine changes every time but the recipe recommends 18 inches by 6) before sprinkling brown demerara sugar over it. 

Then take the biscuit dough and place it on top of the sugar, gently rolling it to make sure all sides are coated in sugar before wrapping it up in the foil. Then it needs to go into the fridge until firm, whilst this is a bit tedious I have tried to do it without this step and it just ended up being very messy. 

Once out of the fridge, you can begin cutting thr roll into biscuits (this isn't as easy as it sounds as you have to be careful not to squash the dough when cutting it). The biscuits should therefore be a lot rounder than mine but I think I might have squished it too much (woops!).

These are delicious when they first come out of the oven hot. And I'm sure Cliff Richard would agree, with a fresh pot of tea.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Chocolate Nests

If there is one thing that has to be baked (or thrown together in this case) on Easter weekend its chocolate Easter nests, especially as it gives you another excuse to eat mini eggs.

Unsurprisingly it only has three ingredients; chocolate, shredded wheat (or cornflakes/rice crispies if shredded wheat is not a popular choice in your household) and mini eggs. I tend to double the recipe as I find it never makes enough (but that could just be me!).

First smash up 170g of shredded wheat before melting 400g of milk chocolate. You can either do this in a bain marie or the microwave. I find it quicker (and less washing up) in the microwave but it burns much easier, therefore put it in for 1 minute to begin with and check it every 50 seconds after, stirring each time.

 Once the chocolate has melted add it to the shredded wheat and stir, it may not appear like there is enough chocolate to coat the shredded wheat but just keep stirring.

 Place a tablespoon of the mixture into individual cupcake cases in a tray (should make around 18) and pop the mini eggs in the centre.

Then put them in the fridge to firm up for half an hour/an hour and they're ready to eat! Unless like me you choose to decorate them with little chicks (and gold glitter) - from past experience I would suggest putting these on once the chocolate has set as I find otherwise the chicks set with the chocolate and you end up with very fluffy nests.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Cadbury Mini Egg Cupcakes

Everyone loves a good vanilla cupcake, especially an Easter themed one with a butter cream icing topped with crushed Cadbury Mini Eggs. The good thing about this recipe is each ingredient requires the same quantity (4oz). 

First combine 4oz of butter with 4oz of caster sugar until it makes a creamy, fluffy mixture. Then add in two eggs (one at a time) before adding in 1tsp of vanilla essence.


Then add in 4oz of self-raising flour (and if you think it is a needed, a few drops of milk to loosen the mixture) before spooning into the cupcake cases. The mixture makes exactly 12 cupcakes - whilst it may not seem as if there is enough in each they will raise and it also allows for room for the icing on top. 


To make the butter icing, combine 10oz of icing sugar and 5oz butter (it will always be double the amount of icing sugar to butter). If it seems too thick, you can add a small amount of milk but I found 
it wasn't needed for these. 

Then place the icing into a piping bag before piping onto the cupcakes.

 Then take a handful of mini eggs and place them in a sandwich bag before giving them a good bash with a rolling pin. Then sprinkle the crumbs on top of the iced cupcakes before placing a mini egg on the top of each. 

Then all that is left to do is sprinkle them with gold glitter (obviously).

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Chocolate Melt-In-The-Middle Puddings

If you're a lover of Gu chocolate puddings, you will want to try these out! These individual melt-in-the-middle chocolate puddings are very quick to make with only four steps. 

First butter four ramekins (I only made two this time as you can see). Then melt 100g of dark chocolate and 100g of butter in the microwave - a top tip to make sure it doesn't burn (which is a lot easier than you think) is not to wait for the chocolate to completely melt as the smaller lumps will melt when you stir it.

Then set the melted mixture to one side for 15 minutes. Once cool stir in 150g light brown sugar, before adding 3 eggs one at a time, along with 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence. Then finally add in 50g of plain flour to the mixture. These then need to go into the oven at 200C for between 10-12 minutes. You'll know when they're done as they will be crunchy on the outside but gooey on the inside.  

The trick to these is to not underestimate when they are cooked, as it is easy to leave it in for just a minute longer which is all it takes for the gooey centre to turn into the outer sponge.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Chocolate Eclairs

This was my first time making chocolate eclairs and to my surprise they weren't that difficult to make at all. However there are quite a few stages to making them with the pastry, filling and topping.

First melt 115g of butter in 250ml (9fl oz) of water in a saucepan before beating in 200g of plain flour, a pinch of salt and 1 tsp of caster sugar until the mixture is a smooth texture. Then leave this to cook for 2-3 minutes - make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan and burn at this point. 

Then remove the pan from the heat and beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, until the mixture appears smooth and glossy.

Then spoon this mixture into a piping bag before piping it onto a tray which needs to be sprinkled with water beforehand to prevent them from sticky to the tray once baked. 

As you can see my piping skills leave much to be desired as mine turned out looking like bugs. These then need to go into the oven for 20-25 minutes but keep an eye on them as they will be done when they turn crisp and golden brown in colour.

To make the glossy chocolate topping, melt 50g of dark chocolate with two tablespoons of water in a saucepan - keep the heat low to prevent the chocolate also sticking and burning to the bottom of the pan. Then add this hot mixture to a bowl of 150g of icing sugar and 2 tbsp of cocoa powder to make a thick mixture.

Then for the cream filling, whip 450ml of double cream to form stiff peaks before spooning the mixture into a piping bag. If like me you forgot to put the nozzle on the end of the piping bag, or your nozzle is too big to make a small insertion, use the tip of a knife to insert the bag into the pasty. Then squeeze the cream into the pastry until it begins to come out back out of the little hole.

Then you can coat them in a thick layer of chocolate icing, if you're fancy enough you can show off your impressive piping skills...or like me you can spoon it on with the back of a spoon. 

Then all that is left to do is devour them!