Sticky marzipan and cherry buns

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Stick marzipan and cherry buns (makes 12)

150g butter
150g caster sugar
2 large free range eggs
150g self raising flour
1 tsp almond extract
75g glacé cherries, washed and halved
50g marzipan, cut into 5mm cubes

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Prepare a bun tray by lining with bun cases.

2. Cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, alternating with mixing in some of the flour. Once all the flour is stirred in, add the almond extract.

4. Stir in the cherries and the marzipan pieces.

5. Divide the mixture between the bun cases. Bake for 20 mins until golden and risen.

6. If you want to ice the buns, I would suggest starting with this recipe here.  I made a wet style icing, but you can make something firmer and good for piping if you want by playing around with the volumes of ingredients.

 

Chocolate thumbprint cookies

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100g Butter, at room temperature
100g Caster Sugar
3 heaped tablespoons Cocoa powder
Pinch of Salt
1 tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
175g Plain flour
100g White chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

2. Cream together the sugar and the butter. Then mix in the cocoa powder until well combined.

3. Add the salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and flour and mix briskly together.

4. Prepare 2 large baking sheets by covering them in baking paper.

5. Roll the mixture into walnut sized balls and place on the baking sheets, keeping them well spaced. Press your thumb into the middle to make a indent.

6. Bake in the oven for 7-9 minutes for a chewy texture. You can leave them in longer if you want a firmer texture.

7. When you take the biscuits out of the oven, press your thumb into them again to make sure the dent remains.

8. Allow the biscuits to cool.

9. Melt the white chocolate.  I do this in the microwave, but take care to melt the chocolate gently as it can easily burn. Use the chocolate to fill the indent. Allow the chocolate to set. (If, like me you are taking these biscuits to a Lego themed event you can top them with a Lego brick modelled from modelling icing.)

This recipe is based on a recipe from A Pinch of Yum.

 

Mincemeat Flapjack

Hope 2017 is getting off to a good start for everyone. I’ve been busy, but going to try and make more of an effort this year to document my meals and culinary outings on this blog. Like many households, we’re still working our way through the leftover food from Christmas, and trying to make sure we don’t waste food. This recipe is an attempt to finish off the jar of mincemeat left over from mince pie making.

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Festive flapjack

Mincemeat flapjacks (makes large 12)

300g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
250g Demerara sugar
450g rolled oats
5 heaped tbsp mincemeat

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease and line a 25cm square baking tin.

2. Add the butter, golden syrup and sugar to a pan and heat the mixture gently, stirring until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.

3. Tip the oats into the pan and mix well until the oats are completely coated.

4. Put half the flapjack mixture into the tin and press down into an even layer.

5. Gently spread the mincemeat over the flapjack. Tip the remaining flapjack over the top and gently spread out and flatten the top.

6. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. These flapjacks should be soft and chewy so you want the top to be a golden brown colour. Check them after 25 minutes, but be aware you may need to give them a bit more time to ensure the flapjack is firm enough to stay in shape when cool. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before marking the squares with a sharp knife. Leave to cool completely before removing the squares from the tin.

Cookie monster

If I was asked to pick my favourite flavour of cookie, I’d have a challenge on my hands. In my old office at work we developed a bit of an obsession with White Chocolate and Raspberry. Oatmeal and raisin is an old favourite. I’m also partial to Smarties cookies. I came across a recipe for raisin and oat cookies but decided to shake it up a bit by using chocolate covered raisins.

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Chocolate raisin and oat chunky cookies (makes 15-20)

100g butter at room temperature
50g granulated sugar
50g soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
100g porridge oats
100g self-raising flour
75g chocolate covered raisins

1. Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare 2 large baking trays by covering them with baking parchment.

2. Mix the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and egg together.

3. Stir in the oats, flour and  chocolate raisins.

4. Put teaspoons of the mixture onto the baking tray and press down slightly. Leave some room to allow them to spread a little.

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. Leave to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully. These are best eaten on the day you make them.

Night in – Butternut squash muffins

I’m still posting for the Blog Everyday in September challenge, but it’s been tough to keep up this weekend. The post for day 23 (Friday) was meant to be about staying in watching TV in your PJs and I’d planned to write about snacks to nibble on while catching up on your viewing. Instead I ended up at a fantastic cocktail making event and didn’t get into my pyjamas until well after midnight – oops!

So after a hectic weekend, I’m having a quiet Sunday night relaxing and my snack of choice was these Butternut Squash muffins.

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The recipe I started with was from the Lakeland magazine, but I didn’t add the crumble topping and I substituted some of the ingredients.

Butternut Squash muffins (makes 10 – 12)

100g wholemeal self-raising flour
100g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground mixed spice
1 small orange, juice and zest
2 eggs
125ml vegetable oil
100g Demerara sugar
200g butternut squash, finely grated

1. Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare a muffin tin by popping muffin cases into the holes.

2. Grate the butternut squash and put it to one side.

3. Mix all the other ingredients together in a mixing bowl. It’s best not to overmix muffin mixes so just mix it firmly and thoroughly. Gently stir in the grated butternut squash.

4. Divide between the 12 muffin cases, filling them 2/3rds full.

5. Bake for 25 minutes.

 

Let them eat cake

I’m really proud of myself for sticking with the ‘Blog Everyday in September’ challenge so far. It’s not been easy, but I’ve enjoyed pushing myself. Today’s theme was Holiday Essentials, which is another subject that doesn’t fit easily with a cooking blog. I haven’t cooked anything exciting today to tell you about either, so I’m going to share some cake recipes I’ve enjoyed over previous months. (And of course eating cake when on holiday is on my essential list of things to do!)

Raspberry and lemon polenta cake

Amaretto cake from The Clandestine Cake Club cookbook

Spiced Sweet Potato Cake

They are all delicious and I’ll be making them all again.

Things I’m looking forward to

Today the challenge is to blog about things you are looking forward to.

I generally spend a lot of time looking forward to trips, holidays and days out. In the next few weeks I have lots planned: a trip to the cinema to see the new Bridget Jones film, a cocktail making class, afternoon tea, a tour of a retro garage with my dad, a trip to London to see Aladdin the musical, an indoor ski-ing lesson and our holidays to Menorca. (I like to stay busy!)

I look forward to spending time with my family and friends, relaxing at home with my pets and husband, trying new experiences and discovering new places. I’m also looking forward to getting started on a new book – Dorothy Koomson’s ‘The Flavours of Love’.

This weekend we enjoyed a fantastic trip to Glasgow.

I didn’t have room in my bag to bring back treats for my work colleagues so I made some shortbread for them. I use this recipe from Lorraine Pascal and it always turns out well.

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