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!

Monday, 13 April 2020

Milk and White Chocolate Malteser Traybake Cake


Hi Readers,

I'm in the process of updating a number of my old favourite recipes (thank you Google who no longer picks up some of my old posts).

Today it's one of my favourite things - the milk and white chocolate maltester tray bake cake.

It's a no bake, set in the fridge kind of cake, which is perfect for baking with kids.  My Maltester tray bake cake is delicious and still a family favourite even now.



So my other love is chocolate. Lots of it.  Give me it in milk, dark or white format.  Throw in vanilla or chilli if you like.  I don’t care.  It’s chocolate.  I like it melted, spread on toast, in hot drinks and even in my candles.

You get it… I LOVE CHOCOLATE.   It’s definitely one of life’s little pleasures. Even when it’s the day before payday, I can still afford a bar of Galaxy before the gas bill.

So, when I found this amazing recipe at bakingmad.com I couldn't resist it.

The recipe was first shown on Channel 4, so I knew before I started that it was unlikely to go wrong.

Chocolate Honeycomb Squares (taken from Bakingmad.com)

100g unsalted butter
200g milk chocolate (I used a supermarket cake covering)
3tbsp golden syrup
225g digestive biscuits broken down (own label products are great for this)
1 family bag Maltesers (chopped)

Topping
100g chopped Maltesers
50g melted white chocolate (I used a value own label product which did the job)
70g melted milk chocolate (I used a supermarket cake covering)

 
Lay out your ingredients before you start


Get ready for some biscuit bashing!!

Method

  1. Line a square 20x20cm tin with greaseproof paper.
  2. In a medium pan placed over a gentle heat, melt together the butter, chocolate and syrup. Stir the mixture continuously as it begins to melt, once it is smooth and everything combined, remove from the heat and place to one side. The golden syrup gives it a great flavour!
  3. Using a sharp knife, roughly cut the honeycomb balls. Place digestive biscuits in a bag and lightly crush with a rolling pin so you have nice chunky pieces. Add these to the cooled chocolate mixture and stir to incorporate. Pour into your lined square tin, press down with a metal spoon so you have a smooth, even surface and place in the fridge to chill until set. (Around 1 hour).
    Ready to chill in the fridge
  4. To decorate, melt the milk chocolate. Spread a layer of melted milk chocolate over the surface of the chilled fridge cake and smooth out. Then sprinkle over the top of the melted milk chocolate your chopped Maltesers. Using a teaspoon, drizzle over the top of the cake with lines of melted white chocolate. Using a sharp knife, first score into squares, then cut through the score marks.
    Decorated and ready to be scored
Store in refrigerator until serving. The traybake will keep in an airtight container, in the fridge for a few days (but I guarantee it wont last that long)!
Let's eat!!!

Claire’s Baking Tips
  • Silicone bakeware is ideal for this as it’s flexible and is easier to prize the cake out once chilled. 
  • Don’t worry if you are on a budget – own label ingredients are absolutely fine to use.
  • Don’t break the digestives too small, as the cake will lose its bite.
  • Try this recipe if you want to impress with something that’s really easy.  Even the most novice baker can give this a go, as there’s no cooking involved, only melting chocolate.


I’m now thinking of other ways to put my own spin on this recipe.  I’m thinking about trying a mint aero version next.  Or perhaps Galaxy Minstrels with freeze-dried raspberries?

Until next time, happy baking! 


Mint Aero Traybake


So after the success of the recent White and Milk Chocolate Malteser traybake (and inspiring some non baking friends to try it out) I stuck to my guns and tried the recipe again with some cheeky changes.

Half the fun of baking is creating something new from an existing recipe.

So, I took the bakingmad recipe from last time and swapped the Maltesers for Mint Aero Bubbles (another one of my vices!)

It worked.  Thankfully.  I was concerned that the lack of crunch in the Aeros would make for a very soft traybake, so I compensated for this by making the biscuit pieces a bit bigger this time.  

The other thing I realised – let the melted chocolate, butter and syrup mix cool a little before adding the Aero.  Because it’s a softer consistency than Maltesers, it has a tendency to melt into the mixture, leaving a nice mint taste but a lack of bubbles. Obviously you don’t want the mix to be so cold it’s almost set, but leave it a few moments before pouring the Aeros in and mixing them with the biscuits.

My other learning curve, was don’t add green food colouring to melted white chocolate.  I thought I’d be smart and colour the white chocolate green for the mint theme, but when I added the food colouring to the melted chocolate, it thickened it up instantly and wouldn’t pour.  I then popped it back in the microwave to reheat and… it went solid.  So solid (like the 00s band… remember them… 21 seconds?!) that I had to chisel it out of the cup.  Baking Fail.

So this time I topped the traybake with halved mint aero balls and white chocolate, however it also works with milk choc. Chocolate and mint is always a winning combination.

So here’s how to make it…


mint aero traybake what claire did

Mint Aero Traybake (adapted from Bakingmad.com)

100g unsalted butter
200g milk chocolate cake covering (I used Silver Spoon)
3tbsp golden syrup                                                   
225g digestive biscuits broken down (own label products are great for this)
1 family bag Mint Aero Bubbles (halved)

Topping

½ family bag Mint Aero Bubbles (halved)
200g melted milk chocolate cake covering or white chocolate if you prefer

Method

1. Line a square 20x20cm tin with greaseproof paper.

2. In a medium pan placed over a gentle heat, melt together the butter, chocolate and syrup. Stir the mixture continuously as it begins to melt, once it is smooth and everything combined, remove from the heat and place to one side. The golden syrup gives it a great flavour! Leave to cool slightly.

3. Using a sharp knife, roughly half the Mint Aero Bubbles. Place digestive biscuits in a bag and lightly crush with a rolling pin so you have nice chunky pieces. Add these to the cooled chocolate mixture and stir to incorporate. Add the halved Mint Aero Bubbles at a point when the mix is cool enough not to melt completely. Pour into your lined square tin, press down with a metal spoon so you have a smooth, even surface and place in the fridge to chill until set. (Around 1 hour).

Keep the bubbles halved - any smaller - they will get lost


Keep the biscuits a decent size as the Mint Aero Bubbles are soft

Big bubbles!!! Add the chocolate once the mix has cooled a little

4. To decorate, melt the milk chocolate cake covering or white chocolate, depending what you prefer. Spread a layer of melted chocolate over the surface of the chilled fridge cake and smooth out. Leave to cool for a few minutes. Then sprinkle over the top of the melted chocolate your halved Mint Aero Bubbles. Using a sharp knife, first score into squares, then cut through the score marks.

5. Store in refrigerator until serving. They will keep in an airtight container, in the fridge for a few days (but I guarantee they wont last that long)!

mint aero traybake what claire did


Claire’s Baking Tips

  • Don’t be afraid to use cake covering. It’s ideal for these recipes, as standard chocolate has a tendency to separate when the butter and syrup is added.
  • Don’t add the aero bubbles right away, as they will melt.  Let your mix cool ever so slightly, so the bubbles hold their shape. 
  • Experiment!  Most chocolate products in share size bags will work as part of this recipe.