Caramel biscuit, chocolate and peanut butter no bake tray bake!

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Oooh I love a good tray bake, especially when it’s a minimal fuss, no bake, tray bake. The amalgamation of caramel, chocolate and peanut is a heavenly flavour sensation, and not to mention a reliable crowd pleaser.

This recipe makes quite a large batch (these were for church), so by all means halve the quantities if you want,  or alternatively freeze any leftovers (if you can resist the urge to hide in a dark corner and demolish them).

I whizzed up two 250g packs of Lotus Biscoff biscuits in a blender with 2 tablespoons of icing sugar, before adding in dollops of crunchy peanut butter. When the mixture starts to clump together you’ve added enough. Press these sticky crumbs into a shallow tray (I think mine was probably about 12″ by 8″). Now melt 300g milk chocolate in a bain-marie, adding in a cup of Smooth Lotus Biscoff spread. Stir until it melts and pour over the biscuit base. Now melt a couple of additional tablespoons of the biscuit spread and drizzle over the chocolate topping. Use a skewer to unleash your artistic talents and make swirly patterns on top. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours before slicing into fingers or squares. Delicious!

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If you prefer a more uniform pattern on the top pipe little blobs of the melted biscuit spread onto the chocolate in straight rows and then drag a skewer through the centre of each blob in the row to create perfect little hearts. Here’s a pic from another test bake I made a while ago to demonstrate the technique.

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Smoked bacon and pancake dippers

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Oftentimes I dream food. I’m sure I can taste in my sleep. Occasionally whatever I was dreaming about cooking tastes so good in the dream I have to make it for real. This was one of those times.

I awoke from my slumber thinking I had come up with the most amazing amalgamation of two world renowned breakfast staples, so was slightly disappointed when I looked online and realised that actually my American brothers and sisters cottoned on to this phenomenon a long time ago!

Crispy smoked bacon encased in fluffy American style pancake batter, sprinkled with icing sugar and dunked in maple syrup. OMGOSH, heaven on a plate. I was trying to wait until our upcoming camping trip before making these, but caved when I decided to make the batter ahead of time and freeze it ready to take with us on our jollies.

Firstly, whip up a batch of your favourite American pancake batter.  My go to recipe is here. If you’re using it right away pop it in a piping bag, or a condiment bottle as it makes it easy to shape when cooking it.

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Grill some smoked streaky bacon until crisp. Then set it aside on some kitchen roll to absorb the excess fat.

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Pipe long oval shapes in a greased frying pan, top with a piece of bacon and then cover the bacon in another thin layer of batter.

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Cook over a low/medium heat until bubbles appear in the batter then flip over and cook the other side.

To serve sprinkle with icing sugar, and dip in warmed maple syrup.

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Divine!

I tripled the recipe on the link, poured the rest into a zip lock bag and will freeze it to take with us. If you lie it flat in the freezer it makes it easier to transport as it will stand up in the cooler and there will be lots of space for other meals too. Also, the bag will double as a piping bag when you come to cooking it.

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Caramel Apple Cake

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Today, some friends and I went to a food festival at the beautiful Stonyhurst College. We decided (largely due to the lure of free entry) to each enter a cake into the ‘Great British Cake Off’ competition. I found the recipe for my entry, Apple Caramel Layer Cake in ‘Delicious’ magazine, and delicious it was (although, evidently not as delicious as some of the other entries as sadly I didn’t win!).

I’ve made the recipe a couple of times, but changed it slightly for this competition in that I only included two layers to make it easier to transport and slice. I also put apple puree and extra caramel between the layers as well as the Greek yoghurt and caramelised apple slices to give it a bit of extra bite. Caramelised apple slices and spun sugar finished it off nicely.

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I’d encourage you to give this one a try. It really is beautiful and a lovely way to use up all those seasonal cooking apples! Enjoy.

Cinnamon swirl scones

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With friends coming round for a play date this afternoon, I wanted to treat them to something tasty and freshly baked, but I knew I was going to be pressed for time having spent the morning in the gym (having a preemptive calorie burning session!). These cinnamon scones were just the thing, being incredibly fast to make and utterly delicious.

You’ll need:
550g self raising flour
110g salted butter
50g caster sugar
300ml milk

A couple of tablespoons of soft dark sugar, caster sugar and two or three teaspoons of ground cinnamon to taste, and a large knob of butter for melting.

Plus icing sugar and water to glaze.

Here’s how to do it:
Dress sous chef in appropriate attire…

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Chip the butter into the flour and rub together until you have a fine crumb.

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Add the sugar and milk and mix to firm a dough. Roll the dough out into a rough rectangular shape on a floured surface. You’re looking for a thickness of about a centimetre.

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Sack the sous chef on the grounds of inappropriate conduct…

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Melt a knob of butter and spread over the dough.

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Then mix brown sugar, caster sugar and the ground cinnamon in a bowl.

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Sprinkle the mixture over the butter drenched dough being sure to leave a gap on one of the long sides of about an inch.

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Roll up, sealing with the edge that’s still bare.

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At this point, if you have time roll the rolled up dough in greaseproof paper and chill in the fridge (or freeze for use at a later date). Doing this won’t affect the taste but will give you a more circular shape when you come to slice them. On this occasion I didn’t have time, so just went ahead and sliced them immediately.

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You will always end up with a runt of the batch from either end,  but that’s ok… Chef’s treat!

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Look at those swirls of cinnamony goodness! Yum!

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Bake at 180oC for approximately 20 minutes or until golden.

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Leave to cool for ten minutes or so before transferring to a cake stand and drizzling with icing. Invite a few friends over and enjoy!

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Steph's never far from a baked good!