Caramel Shortbread

I always see loads of recipes for these called many different things e.g. Twix bars, caramel fingers etc. I’ve just always known these as caramel squares and they are one of the many things that my mum would always be asked to make for us and unlike some of the other recipes I’ve seen, I do insist on making my own caramel, which although adds a fair bit of time to the baking process I think that you cannot beat homemade caramel. 

I normally need a full evening or preferably afternoon to make these so just be warned as these a fair bit of cooling involved and I always make them the day before I want them so it can completely cooled and be cut up into equal squares.


Ingredients

For the base

125g Butter

50g Caster Sugar

175g Plain Flour

For the Caramel Filling

175g Butter

115g Golden Caster sugar

3 Tbsp. Golden Syrup

1 Tin Condensed Milk (400g)

For the Topping

100g Dark Chocolate

100g Milk Chocolate


Method

1. Prepared a large dish, I use a deep casserole dish but any dish roughly 20cm square will do, just grease with some butter, making sure that you do the sides as well. Pre-heat the oven to 180°c 

2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the sifted plain flour and mix until it begins to bind together. Knead the mixture until it becomes smooth then press it into the pre-prepared dish. With a fork, prick the mixture in numerous places and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until it started to go golden brown.

3. Leave to cool ready for the topping.

4. When the base has been in the oven for roughly 10 minutes start to make the caramel. 

5. In a saucepan over a low/medium heat add the butter, sugar, condensed milk and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

6. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5-8 minutes until it begins to thicken and darkens in colour. Keep stirring!

7. Pour over the cooled biscuit base and leave to cool.

8. Once the caramel has cooled, in a suitable bowl over some simmering water, melted the chocolate chunks until completely melted then pour over the caramel then place in the fridge to cool.

9. After a couple of hours once the chocolate has started to set but not completely, score through the chocolate where you want the pieces to be. This will mean that once the chocolate completely cooled, you will get nice neat squares.


Nutritional information

Serves 16

Calories:  343 

Protein:  3.8g

Carbohydrates: 39.6g 

Of which is sugars:  26.8g

Fibre: 0.4g 

Fat: 19.1g

Of which is saturated: 12.1g

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Easter Rocky Road

As a little treat for one of the girls at work I decided to ‘bake’ a little  something for her. As I didn’t have too much time, I needed something that could be easy and quick to make but also super delicious. I thought rocky road would be an instant winner and not going to lie, it went down incredibly well with the work teamies.
One of the joys of rocky road is that there’s no real set recipe so it meant that I could add an all manner of delicious ingredients that caught my eye in the shop, such as mini eggs, hence the name.


Ingredients

450g Dark Chocolate (70% or more)

100g Mini Marshmallows

300g Chocolate Digestive Biscuits

2 Mini Meringues

100g Mini Eggs

3 Tbsp Golden Syrup

125g Softened Butter

Icing Sugar (For Dusting)


Method

1. Line a large dish with cling film, ready for the mixture to the poured straight into. This will make it easier to get the bars out of the dish once set.

2. In a large saucepan melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup over a medium heat ensuring that the chocolate doesn’t burn, stirring regularly.

3. Place the chocolate biscuits into a food bag, and break them down so you have a selection of crumbs and larger biscuits bits.

4. Once all the chocolate is melted, turn down onto a very low heat, add the biscuits to the chocolate and mixed until well incorporated. 

5. Add in the mini eggs and crumble the meringues into the saucepan, mix together then add the mini marshmallows (if you add them earlier then they can start to melt quite a lot). 

6. Give the mixture a final stir to ensure everything is evenly distributed then pour it into the pre-prepared dish, smoothing it down with the spatula.

7. Place in the fridge to cool, after a couple of hours you can run a knife through the mixture where you want the bars to be to make it easier to cut once it’s completely cooled. 

8. Leave to completely set, preferably overnight, cut into bars and dust with icing sugar.


Nutritional Information

Serves 16

Calories:  354

Protein: 3.1g

Carbohydrates: 37.0g

Of which is sugars: 26.8g

Fibre: 0.8g

Fat: 21.2g

Of which is saturated: 12.6g

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies

​With everything going on more recently, it’s been ages since I did any baking to take into work.  But being as I’m changing jobs I thought it was about time I got my mid-week bake back on. I’m glad I did as I got spoilt rotten by the people at work and I’m not even moving that far away! 

I decided to  make a couple of different things as there are some people who prefer savoury over sweet and some people who are gluten free. 

I’ll share all the recipes but today I thought I’d start with my favourite which is a tweak to the hummingbird bakery recipe to make some gluten free peanut butter cookies. These went down a storm with both gluten full and gluten free folk and out of a batch of 28 that was made, I only came away with 2 bring home. Which I naturally polished off as I couldn’t have them sitting in the cupboard, that would have been nothing short of blasphemy. 
These are pretty straight forward to make, they just take awhile for me as I can only fit 1 baking  tray in my oven at one time, so it takes me a lifetime to bake them all, but they are worth it.

Ingredients

340g Gluten Free Flour

225g Salted Butter

240g Peanut Butter (this time used smooth but crunchy adds amazing texture)

80g Dark Chocolate (chopped)

200g Caster Sugar

200g Light Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

2 ½ Tsp Gluten Free Baking Powder

½ Xantham Gum

½ Tsp Salt

½ Tsp Vanilla Extract

Method

1. Preheat the oven to175°c. In an electric mixer, whisk together the butter with both sugars until light and fluffy.

2. Turn the mixer down slightly and add the eggs one at time.

3. Once fully incorporated add in the flour, gum, salt, baking powder and vanilla extract and mix together then add in the peanut butter and chocolate chunks and thoroughly mix again.

4. On some prepared baking trays put a good dollop of the mix, ensure there is enough space between them when they spread out on the tray, depending on which tray I use I can either fit 5 or 6 per tray.

5. Put in the oven for 10 minutes until they start to spread out and go slightly brown but they should still look a bit soft in the middle as this will keep them gooey and soft. Leave them on the tray to cool, if you transfer them to a wire rack as this point they will fall apart.

6. Once cooled and set, enjoy!

Nutritional Information

Calories: 201

Protein: 3.3g

Carbohydrates:  22.5g

Of which is sugars: 13.4g

Fibre:  0.7g

Fat: 10.7g

Of which is saturated: 4.8g

Gluten Free Avocado Brownies

I’ll be honest; I’m not someone who’s a massive avocado fan. I don’t mind a bit of guacamole but I won’t eat it in a salad or on toast. I keep seeing all these recipes to make various chocolaty goods with avocado, so I thought I’d give it a go. I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I really couldn’t taste any avocado in the brownies but found they gave it a really nice texture and one I preferred over the buckwheat brownies I’ve made previously when attempting gluten free baking.

This recipe is so easy to make as well as it only required 1 baking tin and a food processor which is always a positive because, as much as I enjoy baking I do not love the washing up that inevitably ensues. I was rather chuffed with how fudgy and rich these brownies turned out, having only had relatively inconsistent success with gluten free baking, I was dubious as to how much I would genuinely enjoy these or if I’d end up eating them just because I’d made them and not wanting to waste them. But, thankfully, I really like these and would definitely consider making them again, despite being moreish you can’t eat too many due to how rich they are.

 

Ingredients

2 Eggs

100g Dark Chocolate

1 large Avocado

1 Cup Cacao Powder (You can use normal cocoa powder but you may want to reduce the amount of sugar, depending on how sweet you like it)

½ Cup Caster Sugar

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 tsp Baking Soda

2 Tbsp Water
image

 

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180⁰c. In a food processor blitz the avocado until it’s completely smooth, you may have to stop and clean down the sides a couple of times to avoid any bits.
  2. Add the baking soda, eggs, sugar, cacao powder and 1 tablespoon of the water and thoroughly mix.
  3. Melt the chocolate then add to the mixture and blitz until the chocolate is fully worked through. If the mixture is looking a bit thick then add the second tablespoon of water.
  4. Tip the mixture in a greased baking tin and pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Check the brownies regularly with a skewer and once it comes out clean remove from the oven and leave in the tin to cool before removing and finishing on the wire rack.
  5. Cut into pieces and serve, I like mine with a dusting of icing sugar.image

Nutritional Information

Calories: 217
Protein: 5.9g
Carbohydrates: 25.6g
Of which is sugars: 18.3g
Fibre: 5.7g
Fat: 10.8g
Of which is saturated:4.6g

 

Recipe slightly tweaked from here 🙂