Thursday, 30 July 2020

Healthier Banana, Walnut and Nutella Muffin Recipe

Readers, here we are, not in lock down, but almost locked down, sort of locked down, not sure if we’re meant to be locked down?!   The banana baking is still going strong. Admit it, you’ve all made banana bread this year haven’t you?  Covid sent you racing to the banana and baking aisles in the supermarket I believe? 

 I tried to not make banana bread but instead, turn the leftover bananas into a banana based snack that was a little different.  I’ve tried to make these banana muffins slightly healthier by halving the sugar content and added a little sweetness with a drop of Nutella in the middle of each.  To keep the healthy banana muffin vibe going, there’s oats in with the mix (good for slow energy release) and also walnuts, for some good fats.

healthier banana, walnut and nutella muffins

This healthy banana muffin recipe will make 12 decent sized muffins, which are great for a breakfast to go or a mid-morning snack.

If you decide to try these healthy banana, walnut and Nutella muffins, please let me know, or share a photo with me over on Instagram!   Also, if you like baking, why not try my healthier carrot cake recipe I also shared in lockdown?


Banana, Walnut & Nutella Muffins 

Ingredients

200g (1.6 cups) self-raising flour

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

115g (½ cup) caster sugar

¼ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup oats

Nutella – ¼ tsp per muffin

2 large mashed bananas

2 medium eggs

1.5 cups vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

 Demerara sugar, halved walnuts and oats to finish.

Method 

  1. Preheat oven to 190c/170c Fan. Add 12 paper cases to a muffin tin.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.
    how to make banana, walnut, and nutella muffins what claire did recipe
  3. In a separate bowl, mash your bananas, add the eggs, vanilla essence and vegetable oil. Mix to combine all wet ingredients.
    how to make banana, walnut, and nutella muffins what claire did recipe
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together.  You mix should be fairly thick and lumpy. 
  5. Add half the mix to the paper case, then add a ¼ teaspoon of Nutella to each paper case.  Add the remaining mix on top, so cases are around ¾ full.  
  6. Top each muffin with a sprinkle of dermerara sugar, oats and half a walnut.
    how to make banana, walnut, and nutella muffins what claire did recipe
  7. Transfer to the oven and bake for approximately 18-20 mins until muffins are cooked through.
  8. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then serve with a cuppa.  These are also really good warmed for 20 seconds, in the microwave, the day after!


banana, nutella and walnut muffin recipe from What Claire Did

Monday, 22 June 2020

How To Paint a Geometric Painted Wall

Readers, how is lockdown going for you all?  Staying sane? Painting fences?  Doing DIY?

We moved into our New Build last year and waited as long as we could before we started to decorate.  I’m nervous about using wallpaper on new walls and also know it’s a bit of a pain to get down again, so anything we’ve attempted so far, has been paint only.

Over on Instagram, I’ve seen loads of cool techniques with paint, including geometric walls.  For those of you who don’t know, geometric painted walls are created by making patterns using masking tape, then painting the sections in different colours. When you peel away the tape, there’s a base colour left underneath which breaks up the sections and creates a geometric pattern.

geometric painted wall what claire did

Painted geometric walls are really easy to achieve, look great as a painted feature wall in a room and can be toned in to work with other colours in the room.  Our geometric painted wall took a Sunday afternoon and evening to complete (so around 8 hours, for 2 coats of paint) and is an amazing addition to downstairs.

I’ve pulled together a What Claire Did, Top Tips Blog Post, showing you how easy it is to create a geometric painted wall in your own home!

 If you're a keen DIYer why not check out my post on up-cycling furniture

Watch YouTube

We had no idea how to do this and went straight to YouTube to watch some time lapse videos of other DIYers creating their geometric painted walls first.  It looked easy and turns out it is.

 

Use Frog Tape

I cannot state this enough. Spend the money, buy good masking tape.    We used the green 36mm Frog Tape to create the gaps on the walls between colours. Make sure to mask off the skirting, edges, ceiling and any plugs you have.  Make sure the tape is properly stuck down at the edge, as this is what you’ll peel back to create the straight lines on your geometric wall.

I’d highly recommend Frog Tape for general painting as well, not just for geometric walls, as there’s no paint bleed and the finish is much better for a professional looking job.

frog tape geometric painted wall what claire didfrog tape geometric painted wall what claire did

Stick to A Few Colours and Tones

This is really important, keep to 3 or 4 colours max.  You want it to look stylish, not an art project unless you’re into that.

We used two colours – a jewel toned emerald green, a dark grey and a lighter grey.

Less colours and shades or tones of the same colour, keep it looking clean and not “too much”.


geometric painted wall what claire did

Pick A Base Colour

We were fortunate the wall was painted white underneath, so we could get straight to masking the pattern on our geometric painted wall.  Think about what colour you want where the strips are pulled off.  If you want anything other than the colour the wall already is, you’ll need to paint the entire wall first, let it dry for a few days/weeks, then start the process of painting on top.  Leave PLENTY OF TIME for the paint underneath to dry, before you start more colours on top.

Don’t Buy Too Much Paint

We bought 3 full size cans for our paint job (cost around £50ish).   We had LOADS left and I mean LOADS.  We’ve since painted the downstairs bathroom, the upstairs office and a feature wall in the spare room, with the paint we used.

Tester pots are a cheap way to achieve this look on the wall.  2-3 tester pots in each shade/colour would probably allow you to do one wall in a medium sized room.

Or buy the bigger tins and do what we did – paint more walls.  By using similar colours, you create a flow throughout the rooms in the house.

 geometric painted wall what claire did

Mix Big and Small Sections

Keep your geometric painted sections in different sizes, to make the wall interesting.  The point is to create a cool pattern, not to have something measured out. Be careful not to go too small though, otherwise your wall can begin to look cluttered.  We divided a total of 14 sections across the whole wall in a mix of sizes.   Choose your main colour (in our case it was grey, in 2 shades) for the majority of the wall, then pick an accent colour (we used the emerald green) to paint in a few key sections across the wall.

geometric painted wall what claire did
Before 

geometric painted wall what claire did
After

 Bonus Tip – Be Patient

Before you start peeling off the masking tape, please make sure your paint is fully dry.  Wait at least 4 hours.  You don’t want paint runs and smudges because you peeled the frog tape off your geometric painted wall too early.  It’s worth the wait and incredibly satisfying once you start the peeling!

 


Monday, 4 May 2020

Easy Carrot Cake Traybake Slices

Readers, how are you all managing?  It's a crazy time we're living in, is it not? 

I hope you're all doing your bit to stay safe just now. I've been spending a lot of time in my kitchen recently, trying out new recipes.  My traybakes are always well received, so I've been working on a new one.

carrot cake traybake recipe by what claire did

This is a carrot cake traybake that's (a little) healthier as this carrot cake is made with a simple frosting, rather than a cream cheese one, which helps keep the calories down.  The sunflower oil also replaces butter, which I think makes it marginally better.
carrot cake traybake recipe by what claire did

This is a super easy carrot cake traybake recipe which I pulled together in about half an hour the other night. I'm sorry I took so few photos of the process - you'll just need to trust me here!

Anyway, let me know if you give this carrot cake traybake a go during lockdown (or beyond).

Stay safe out there!
carrot cake traybake recipe by what claire did


Carrot Cake Traybake Slices 

Ingredients 

1.5 cups SR Flour
1 cup golden caster sugar
1/2 cup sunflower oil
3 mediums eggs
Splash vanilla essence
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp ginger
1 large grated carrot.
Splash milk to loosen.
Icing sugar and water for topping 

Method 

  1. Heat oven to 160c fan
  2. Grease and line a 8x8in brownie pan
  3. Grate carrot into bowl.
  4. Add oil and 3 eggs and vanilla. Mix.
  5. Add golden caster sugar, mix
  6. Sift in flower and mix. Mix will be quite thick so add a little milk to loosen.
  7. Pour mix into prepared tin and bake for around 30 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Turn out onto wire rack and cool.
  9. Once cold, spread a thick icing sugar and water paste on top and allow to set.
  10. Once set, trim edges then cut into slices. Mix should make around 10 slices or 20 pieces if slices are halved.
carrot cake traybake recipe by what claire did

Friday, 17 April 2020

Smarties Cookies Recipe

Readers, this weekend, the baking went back to basics.  Cookies. Big, soft, American style. And super easy to make. I made Smarties Cookies.  I honestly love these.  Smarties cookies just remind me of being a kid. 

Plus, you can put anything in - oatmeal, raisins, chocolate chips, raspberries... you get the picture.  This time, I went back to my childhood with Smarties.

I remember as a kid, being given the odd treat with a smarties cookie on a stick from a well known high street cookie chain. I remember them being huuuuuge (possibly because I was so little) and being ridiculously chewy. Little did I know, they were so simple to make.
smarties cookies recipe what claire did

I made a half batch of the recipe as nobody was visiting this weekend and as I write this on Sunday afternoon, they are already gone.

Smarties Cookies

Recipe makes 16 cookies


Ingredients

220g unsalted butter (softened)
225g caster sugar
115g soft brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
315g plain flour
1 level teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
100 Smarties (5-6 per cookie)


Method

1. Cream butter, caster sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Use an electric mixer if you have one.
Getting ready to cream the butter, sugar and essence

2. Beat eggs together in a separate bowl and gradually add to sugar and butter mix using electric mixer until fluffy.
3. Add baking powder and salt to the flour and sift into the eggs, sugar and butter. Fold together using a metal spoon. You should create a dough, once flour is folded in. Bring together into a ball.
4. Transfer dough ball to a clean bowl and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 40 minutes, ideally an hour, until dough has firmed up.
Chilling the dough in the fridge
5. Whilst dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 190 degrees/ Fan 170 degrees/ Gas 4.  Cover baking trays with greaseproof paper.
6. Remove dough from fridge and using your hands roll 18 small balls of dough.  Place onto baking sheets, spaced well apart (no more than 4 cookies per baking sheet).
7. Flatten each ball slightly and place 5 smarties on the top of each cookie.
Make sure your cookies are well spaced out
8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are golden on top (not brown!)
9. Remove from oven, allow to cook on tray for a few moments to ensure cookies retain their shape. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Cookies cooling on the rack
10. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days... or eat immediately! 
Didn't last long...


Claire's Tips

1. Make sure cookie balls are even in size before baking otherwise you will have seriously oddly sized cookies!
2. Make sure to chill the dough, otherwise cookies wont keep their shape (cue one tray sized cookie).
3. You are aiming for a chewy consistency, so cookies should be soft when removed from oven.



Chocolate Honeycomb Crunchie Traybake

Readers, since I started taking this blogging malarkey a bit more seriously and looking at my stats, I’ve realised that it’s actually my traybake recipes which are generating the most traffic on the site.

It’s ages since I made a proper traybake and my favourite ones are those which involve a little experimentation! Cadburys Crunchie Traybake is delicious.  Honestly. I make it for so many bake sales and it always goes down a treat. 

As you all know, I love chocolate.  But if I had to pick, a Cadbury’s Crunchie would come out on top.   It has to be my favourite everyday chocolate.

Whilst working on this recipe, I considered buying a load of Crunchies and smashing them up.  Instead, I challenged myself and made my own honeycomb from scratch, for the traybake.

This is also a no-bake recipe – so it is easy to do with kids.  If you are pushed for time, you could buy some Crunchie bars, rather than making your own honeycomb.

I also swapped the standard digestive biscuit base, for a humble McVities Hobnob base…  A really good new dimension.

Chocolate Honeycomb Crunchie Traybake

Chocolate Crunchie Traybake

Ingredients (Makes 15 – 16 pieces)


For the Honeycomb:

100g caster sugar
2 heaped dessert spoons Lyles Golden Syrup
1½  teaspoons bicarobonate of soda

For the Traybake:

200g McVities Hobnob Biscuits
100g butter
2 heaped dessert spoons golden syrup
250g milk chocolate (suitable for baking – 150g for the mix and 100g for the top)
¾ of the honeycomb you have made for the base
¼ of the honeycomb for the topping

Honeycomb Method

  1. Firstly, make your honeycomb. Grease a silicone bakeware 8in square tin with a little vegetable oil.
  2. Add your caster sugar and golden syrup into a non stick pan and stir. Heat until the mix comes to the boil, then simmer over a low heat for around 5-6 minutes.  Test to see if it’s ready by dropping a little of the mix into a cup of water.  If the mix hardens quickly and is crunchy, not chewy, it’s ready. (Be careful not to burn it).
    Starting the honeycomb process

    Simmering the honeycomb
  3. Remove pan from the heat and quickly whisk in the bicarbonate of soda until fully combined and the mix has frothed up.  Then quickly pour the mix into your bakeware and allow to settle by itself. Don’t touch or it will flatten.
  4. Leave to cool and fully harden.  (I find transferring to the fridge helps).
    Honeycomb setting in the fridge
  5. Immediately put your pan and wooden spoon into hot soapy water to clean (otherwise you’ll be chiseling the mix off for hours!)
  6. Once cooled, smash up the honeycomb into small pieces, suitable for your traybake.

Traybake Method


  1. Line a square 8in silicone bakeware tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. Add the butter, 150g chocolate and golden syrup to a medium non stick pan.  Melt all the ingredients over a low heat until smooth and combined.
    Melt the ingredients in a non stick pan
  3. Meanwhile, add the biscuits to a well sealed freezer bag and crush into small pieces, for your biscuit base.
  4. Once the chocolate mix is fully melted and combined, allow to cool, off the heat, for a couple of minutes, then, stir in the biscuits and mix until fully covered.
    Mix in the biscuits
  5. Transfer the mix to your silicone bakeware and use a wooden spoon, flatten out and push out into the corners of the bakeware until you have a smooth base. Then, sprinkle around ¾ of the smashed honeycomb over the base and push down lightly so it sticks to the base, but isn't covered.  Transfer to the fridge to set for around an hour.
    Honeycomb on top of the base
  6. Put feet up and drink tea, in a chilled out fashion.
  7. When your hour is almost up, melt the remaining 100g of chocolate in a glass bowl, over a pan of barely simmering water. 
  8. Remove the traybake from the fridge and pour over the melted chocolate. Then, sprinkle over the remaining small pieces of honeycomb and return to the fridge to fully set.
    Pour over the chocolate and sprinkle with remaining honeycomb

    9. Cut into squares and serve.   The traybake will keep for around 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
Chocolate Crunchie Traybake
Serve up with a lovely cup of tea!