Happy Easter

IMG_0870I think it was 2016 that I first come across the concept of the Creme Egg “Scotch Egg”. As a vegetarian, I often find myself adapting traditionally meat-based dishes into something using different ingredients, but I loved the idea of taking something savoury and making it sweet too.

I found lots of recipes online, but I wanted to do things slightly differently as I wanted to achieve a crumb coating, rather than a chocolate based coating. The steps below are less of a recipe, more construction suggestions.

 

Creme Egg Scotch Eggs

  • I used 2 packets of mini Creme Eggs. A lot of the recipes I looked at online used full size Creme Eggs, but for me the smaller size was perfect.
  • For the covering, I went for a cake pop style mixture, I crumbled 200g chocolate cake and mixed in 150g of chocolate icing. This creates a mixture that is easy to mould around the eggs. After coating the eggs I put them in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the mixture firm up.
  • For the outside coating I went for a biscuit base. I crumbled 75g of shortbread biscuits, getting the crumbs as fine as I could. I melted 75g milk chocolate. I dipped each covered egg in the chocolate and rolled this in the biscuit crumb to fully coat. I would recommend using one hand to get the egg coated in chocolate and the other hand for the biscuit mixture. Let the chocolate set before serving the eggs.

2017 so far – the year of Chocolate?

The start of 2017 came with a trip to London to see the stage show Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I also indulged my sweet tooth with a trip to Fortnum and Mason for cream puffs (expensive but amazing!), a Baileys Hot Chocolate on the Carousel Bar at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and a Red Velvet cupcake from the Primrose Bakery.

(I forgot to take a picture of the cupcake, but I DID take a picture of the delicious Bermondsey Porter Cake that I had from Peyton and Byrne when we popped back to London to see The Lion King a month later.)

On returning to Yorkshire, I went with some friends to see The Witches in Leeds.

I was feeling inspired to work on some sweets of my own (not ones laced with Formula 86 or with the ability to transform you into a blueberry!) and, luckily, for Christmas I received a copy of Hope and Greenwood’s Sweets Made Simple. I decided to have a go at English Almond Butter Toffee. I’ll definitely make this again. It was a bit of a challenge, but it was so tasty and moreish.

Love is … Chocolate Chilli mug cake

Mug cakes cooked in the microwave were really popular last year, which I found amusing as we’ve made cakes in the microwave at our house from being children. My sister’s favourite was chocolate sponge, mine was golden syrup sponge. I thought I’d update the flavourings with something she likes as an adult; chocolate and chilli.

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Chocolate and Chilli Microwave Mug Cake (serves 1)

30g chocolate
25g butter
1 tsp chipotle Chilli powder
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg
5 tbsp self raising flour

1. Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave in a large mug, heating slowly and stopping to stir frequently, so the chocolate doesn’t burn.

2. Mix in the remaining ingredients, stirring well.

3. Microwave for 1.5 minutes.

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.

 

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.

Guilty pleasures

I think my guilty pleasures in the kitchen is cooking with chocolate bars. I particularly love an opportunity to include Mars Bars in my desserts and baking.

For a quick treat that is super easy to make and only requires a few ingredients I can recommend Crunchie Rock Road. I used this recipe from Maison Cupcake, but left out the marshmallows in order to make it vegetarian.

Processed with Snapseed.

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Marshmallows and Movies

The challenge for today’s post was to write about some of my favourite films. My list would include Strictly Ballroom, Big Fish, Edward Scissorhands, Notting Hill, Clueless, The Little Mermaid, Heathers, Forrest Gump, The Notebook, Mulan, Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, Muriel’s Wedding and The Help. And when watching movies I like to have something yummy to snack on …

One of my missions when I began this blog was to master vegetarian marshmallows.  I’m still working on that aim!  In the meantime, I though I’d check out some mixes that are available, the first one being Ananda’s Vegan Marshmallows.

The box contains two sets of mixture.

I used one packet and made around 75 marshmallows.  I kept some white and used food colouring to turn some pink.Ananda's vegan marshmallows

The marshmallows were very soft and squidgy.  They improved in texture after a few days when they developed more of a crust.

So, once I had them I needed to use them to indulge in all the desserts I’d been missing out on.

I wanted to make Smores, (which are melted marshmallows, usually grilled over a fire or BBQ, squidged between two chocolate digestive biscuits – chocolate side in).  Unfortunately I found the marshmallows were too soft to stay on a skewer long enough to toast them – they just fell off.

Smores

I had similar issues when making Rocky Road, particularly as the marshmallows melted into the chocolate.

Rocky Road

Where they did come into their own was in making Marshmallow Toffee Bars, which I haven’t had since junior school.  Eating these made me very happy! I used this recipe.

Overall, I was impressed with the mixture and would purchase it again.  Based on the FAQ’s on the site, I’m going to try heating the syrup for longer and hopefully my next batch will be a little firmer.

Marshmallow Toffee Bars

Marshmallow Toffee Bar