Cranberry, hazelnut and dark chocolate biscotti

Cranberry, hazelnut and dark chocolate biscotti

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It always seems to be the case that we’re on holiday for biscuit week on the Great British Bake Off. However, I’m not one to let a small matter such as a foreign country, untranslatable ingredients and a lack of recognisable baking equipment stop me from baking along! Last year we were in Jersey (admittedly much easier to find ingredients!) when I made these (https://elliespinkcakes.wordpress.com/2014/08/13/lemon-and-white-chocolate-biscuits/) lemon and white chocolate biscuits, and this year, in Croatia, I attempted biscotti.

I had already baked these and was sitting down to watch when Paul said that his (and Mary’s!) choice of biscotti recipe would involve hazelnuts, cranberries and dark chocolate…. the very combination I had chosen for mine! These biscotti really did have all the odds stacked against them: I was baking in 36 degree heat, with a very temperamental oven, no scales, and something I bought from the supermarket assuming it was plain flour…. in hindsight though, I’m really not sure it was! However, they actually turned out pretty well, they would definitely pass Paul’s ‘snap’ test, although admittedly do have a better texture once dunked in coffee!

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Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House

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Welcome to Day 3 of the 12 days of Christmas on Ellie Bakes, where I will be sharing a festive recipe every day until Christmas Eve. I think Christmas is the best time of the year for baking, and I have lots of great recipes to share!

A gingerbread house is a great project for a grey December day, as it takes a while to make, assemble and decorate. It’s great fun to decorate, and is perfect for entertaining children during the holidays.

My sister and I made this one, and we decided to use flaked almonds for roof tiles, and pipe icicles made of royal icing to give it a snowy effect.

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Cranberry and Dark chocolate cookies

Cranberry and Dark chocolate cookies

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Welcome to Day 2 of the 12 days of Christmas on Ellie Bakes, where I will be sharing a festive recipe every day until Christmas Eve. I think Christmas is the best time of the year for baking, and I have lots of great recipes to share!

These cookies are really quick to make, perfect for baking when unexpected visitors pop in! They’re best eaten straight from the oven, while the chocolate is still melted. They work really well with cranberries and dark chocolate, but you can use whatever chocolate you have in the cupboard. Orange zest also works really well in place of the cinnamon.

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Toffee Apple Puddings

Toffee Apple Puddings

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So there was drama on the Bake Off this week! ‘Bin gate’, and especially the reaction to it on the internet really shocked me. When I first watched it, I thought Diana was completely to blame for Iain’s baked Alaska melting, and I was really sad to see him leave, as it wasn’t his fault! However, some of the comments on Twitter  I saw, and especially the ‘#dirtydiana hashtag were ridiculous. Sometimes I think people need to remember that it’s just a cake competition!

The bakers had to make self-saucing puddings this week, and I knew I had to make these, as they have such a lovely caramel sauce. My self-saucing puddings are made with apples, as apples and blackberries in particular remind me of Autumn. These apples were given to my sister and me when we were picking blackberries. A lovely man saw us and offered us some apples from his garden to go with them! I’ve also used muscavado sugar in the base and sponge, as it gives a lovely toffee flavour! 

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Toffee Apple Puddings

For the base:

  • 50g soft butter
  • 50g light muscavado sugar
  • 1 large eating apple, sliced

For the sponge:

  • 100g soft butter
  • 100g light muscavado sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 20g soft dates, chopped

For the sauce:

  • 150ml boiling water
  • 50g light muscavado sugar

4 glass ramekins

Heat your oven to 180°C

  1. For the base, mix the butter and sugar in a bowl, then spread some on the bottom of the ramekins.
  2. Arrange the sliced apple on top, then put the ramekins on a baking tray.
  3. Next make the sponge by beating the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Next add the eggs and dates and beat again.
  4. Sift over the flour and stir until you have a smooth batter.
  5. Spoon the mixture over the apples and smooth, then mix the boiling water and sugar together and pour a little over each ramekin, to just cover the sponge.
  6. Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the sponge is risen and springs back when you touch it.
  7. Enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream!

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This post is entered in week 4 of the Great Bloggers Bake Off, run by the lovely Jenny Paulin over at http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk/.

Lemon and white chocolate biscuits

Lemon and white chocolate biscuits

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The return of the Great British Bake Off last Wednesday made me so happy – Bake Off seems to unite the country in a way little else does. My favourite baker so far is definitely Norman – who could forget his hand made skateboard swiss roll plate, or his assertion that his swiss roll was ‘for men’!

This year I am taking part in the Great Bloggers Bake Off (link is at the bottom!), which means I have to bake something along the same theme as the Bake Off contestants every week. This week, however, I’m on holiday in Jersey, so having to bake this week’s theme – biscuits, in our holiday apartment kitchen! It was all going fine, until I realised that not only did I not have scales, but I was also lacking a rolling pin, baking paper, or a baking tray…!

Nevertheless, I have not spent a year baking in a student kitchen without learning anything, so I managed, using a beer bottle as a rolling pin, and roughly guessing the quantities. Despite this, they haven’t turned out badly!

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Lemon and white chocolate biscuits

For the biscuits:

  • 125g softened butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 200g plain flour
  • Zest 1 lemon
  • 100g white chocolate, melted

Heat your oven to 180°C

  1. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the egg and lemon zest and beat well again.
  2. Stir in the flour until you have a dough, then chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
  3. When chilled, roll out and cut into shapes (I used a knife to cut them into rectangles because our holiday apartment was unfortunately lacking biscuit cutters..!)
  4. Place on a greased baking tray and bake for 9-10 minutes until lightly golden.
  5. When the biscuits are cool, dip half into the white chocolate, then leave to set on a sheet of baking paper.

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This post is entered in week 2 of the Great Bloggers Bake Off, run by the lovely Jenny Paulin over at http://www.thecrazykitchen.co.uk/.

Link to the first week’s round up post: http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk/2014/08/great-bloggers-bake-off-2014-week-1-cakes-round-up.html

Chocolate and hazelnut cupcakes

Chocolate and hazelnut cupcakes

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Baking is one of those things which is great at bringing back memories. I can bake something, and it instantly reminds me of when I first baked it, or when I thought of the idea for the recipe.

These cupcakes are an example of just that. I first made some nutella cupcakes about two years ago, in the summer of 2012, on a sunny day just like the ones we’ve been having, and they were very good. This ones though, are better, baked with ground hazelnuts, prettier cupcake cases, and the help of a sister!

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I then forgot about nutella for a while (how on earth I could have done this I have no idea!), until we stayed in a hotel during a weekend in London recently, and I rediscovered it! So these cupcakes are a little reminiscence, both to nutella and to my 17 year old self.

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Lemon drizzle cake

Lemon drizzle cake

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Lemon drizzle cake is a favourite with most people – it’s light, and perfect on a sunny day like today, when served with some raspberries and greek yoghurt! This recipe is incredibly simple, and only takes 40 minutes from start to finish, so it’s also good to make as a revision break.

This recipe makes two single layer cakes, which makes it ideal for sharing with friends and flatmates, as well as being easier to transport.

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For the cake:

  • 200g softened butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 lemons
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder

For the drizzle/to serve:

  • 150g granulated sugar
  • raspberries and greek youghurt

2 x 20cm circle cake tins, greased well and dusted completely with flour
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C

  1. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and creamy, then stir in the zest of the 3 lemons.
  2. Add the eggs and beat well again.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl, along with the juice of 1 lemon, and mix until you have a smooth, light batter.
  4. Spoon the mixture into your cake tins and level the tops, then bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the drizzle by combining the granulated sugar and the juice of the 2 remaining lemons.
  6. When the cakes are ready, remove from the tins and put on a cooling rack, then spoon the drizzle all over them, making sure the tops are covered.
  7. Leave to cool and for the drizzle to soak in before eating with raspberries!
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