Fuss free Banoffee Pie

This is probably the easiest, quickest but most liked dessert recipe in my repertoire. If you don’t try it, you’re definitely missing out!

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300g ginger nuts, a large knob of salted  butter, a can of condensed caramel, 3 or 4 bananas, a splash of lemon juice and chocolate curls/smashed up Scottish Tablet to decorate, and you’ve got a very indulgent and very tasty dessert.

Blitz the biscuits in a processor and slowly drizzle in the melted butter.  I didn’t actually weigh mine,  but you want it the consistency of wet sand.  It needs to be able to stick together and contain all that sticky caramel. Press it into a springform tin and push it up about an inch and a half up the sides.

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Cover the base with a layer or sliced bananas and drizzle over a little lemon juice to offset the sweetness slightly.

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Empty the caramel into a bowl and beat with a spoon to loosen it to a pourable (I’m not sure that’s even a word!) consistency. Drizzle over the bananas.

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Lightly whip the cream, spread it over the caramel and sprinkle with crushed Scottish Tablet and dark chocolate curls. To make chocolate curls lay a slab of chocolate on a worktop, smooth side facing up, and drag a large sharp knife firmly down it holding the tip of the blade as well as the handle.

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Leave to chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before carefully removing the tin to reveal your masterpiece. Enjoy as is… This certainly doesn’t need any accompaniments.
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Shortbread with Scottish tablet.

Yesterday seemed to whiz by. After dropping the little one at nursery, going to the gym, coming home, having lunch, painting my old dressing table, picking the little one up, making dinner, eating dinner, clearing up and waxing the dressing table it was 7pm and I suddenly realised I didn’t have anything to serve to our Life Group, which started at 8pm. Needing only three ingredients, I immediately thought of shortbread and set to work. Here’s the basic recipe and method (I hope you can read my writing):

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As the butter and sugar were creaming in the mixer, my eyes fell on a jar of Scottish tablet I’d made for DH as a birthday present back in January. His Nanna used to make it for him as a child, and ever since we married twelve years ago I’ve been trying to replicate her recipe with little success. On this occasion I’d tried this version on the Carnation website, but I think I’d boiled it a little too long and it was slightly too hard and crumbly.

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I wondered what it would be like in the shortbread, so crushed a few pieces up with a rolling pin and threw them in the mixer with the flour. Obviously the dough needed a little helping coming together because of the addition of the delicious golden nuggets, so I just tipped it out onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and gently pressed it together with my hands. Not even having time to cut out individual biscuits, I rolled the dough into a rough round and scored it with a knife to mark out slices that would easily break apart once baked. Had I had time I would have chilled it for twenty minutes at this point, but as our guests were arriving in less than half an hour I decided to just bung it in the oven and hope for the best.

25 minutes later it looked golden around the edges, so I took it out and lifted the huge shortbread round, still on the greaseproof paper, onto a wire rack. Re-mark the segments at this point if you need to.

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After cooling I snapped it into pieces and served. It was delicious. More cookie like than regular shortbread as a result of the extra sugar, but still delicious. Give it a go and let me know what you think.

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Chocolate and vanilla valentines heart cookies

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A friend of mine recently posted a link to Eugenie Kitchen Rainbow Heart Cookies on my Facebook page and I was intrigued.

How on earth did she do it? Was it worth the effort? Could I recreate them at home?

Well, never one to shy away from a food challenge I thought I’d give it a go, but simplify the process by only using two colours, a light pink vanilla dough for the outside and a chocolate heart centre.

I made the cookie dough exactly how Eugenie does it on the video up until she tips out the crumbs to bring them together to form a dough. At this point I split the dough in half and added two tablespoons of cocoa powder to one half.

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Bring them together to form two balls of dough then knead some pink food colouring into the plain one.

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Now roll out the chocolate one and stamp out small hearts using a small cookie cutter.

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Stack the hearts on top of each other to firm two pillars, sticking each heart together with the leftover egg whites. 

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Now wrap in cling and put them in the freezer for half an hour. Once chilled, roll out ‘snakes’ of pink dough and stick them to the heart dough using the egg whites as a glue. 

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Roll the dough gently to smooth it out.

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Wrap it in cling and put it back in the freezer.  Now do the second stack. After they’ve had about half an hour to chill, take them out, slice about half a cm thick and bake at 180oC for about ten minutes.

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Leave to cool on a wire rack and enjoy… Or give them to someone you love!

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