Category: Comforting

For the times when you need the edible equivalent of a hug.

Bakewell Blondies

Bakewell Blondies

Bakewell (almond + cherry) is one of my favourite flavour combos to work into new bakes, especially as you can get so many different types of almonds and cherries! In these I use almond extract, ground almonds and blobs of marzipan, paired with frozen cherries in the mixture and glace cherries on top! All incased in a fudgy blondie cake, studded with chunks of white chocolate!

Recipe

Makes 12 blondies

Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 170g butter
  • 220g light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 1 large egg
  • 210g plain flour
  • 75g white chocolate
  • 75g marzipan, torn into small chunks
  • A few drops of almond essence
  • 50g cherries (I use frozen as it’s cheaper but you can use fresh if you prefer)

To decorate

  • 50g cherries
  • 200g icing sugar

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 9” square tin with butter and baking paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a large bowl by putting it in the microwave for 20 second bursts. Add the sugar and vanilla and whisk until combined.
  3. Add the egg and whisk again to combine. Then add the flour and whisk again to make a smooth batter.
  4. Take the white chocolate and chop it into rough chunks. Then add this chopped chocolate to the blondie mixture. Add the marzipan bits, almond essence and cherries and mix it all together.
  5. Pour the batter into the lined tin. Bake the blondies for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and still a little fudgy in the middle. Leave to cool and then cut into 12 slices and enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Raspberry and White Chocolate Blondies

Raspberry and White Chocolate Blondies

Blondies are my go-to comfort bake and I think they’re never better than when you add a handful of raspberries to the mixture to give a gorgeous sharpness to pair with the fudgy white chocolate blondie!

Recipe

Makes 16 squares

Time: 45 minutes (including baking time)

Ingredients

  • 170g butter
  • 220g light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 1 large egg
  • 210g plain flour
  • 150g white chocolate
  • 50g raspberries (I use frozen as it’s cheaper but you can use fresh if you prefer)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 9” square tin with butter and baking paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a large bowl by putting it in the microwave for 20 second bursts. Add the sugar and vanilla and whisk until combined.
  3. Add the egg and whisk again to combine. Then add the flour and whisk again to make a smooth batter.
  4. Take the white chocolate and chop it into rough chunks. Then add this chopped chocolate and the raspberries to the blondie mixture and stir it in.
  5. Pour the batter into the lined tin. Bake the blondies for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and still a little fudgy in the middle. Leave to cool and then cut into 12 slices and enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Veggie Stack Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

Veggie Stack Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

Summer has hit and what screams summer more than a good BBQ? Normally I’d reach straight for the beef burgers when at a BBQ, but after these I don’t think I’d look for the meat again!

Recipe

Makes 4 burgers

Time:

Ingredients

  • 4 beetroot burger buns (see recipe below) or regular burger buns

For the Crispy Aubergine Steak

  • 1 aubergine
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 50g sesame seeds
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika

For the Sweet Potato Fries

  • 1 large sweet potato (or 2 medium)
  • 2 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika

For the Filling

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 50ml mayonnaise
  • 2 balls of mozzarella
  • 2 beef tomatoes
  • A few handfuls of fresh basil
  • 4 tsp pesto

Method

  1. Begin by making the crispy aubergine steaks. Cut the aubergine into 1cm wide discs.
  2. Place the discs into a bowl, sprinkle with a little salt and leave for 30 minutes to rest.
  3. Wash and then dry the aubergine.
  4. In a wide bowl mix together the breadcrumbs and salt.
  5. In another bowl beat together the eggs, salt, pepper, and paprika with a fork.
  6. Take one of the aubergine discs, dip it into the egg mixture so it’s coated all over and then dip it into the crumb mixture so it’s covered all over with crumbs. Repeat with the rest of the aubergine.
  7. Fill a deep, wide frying pan with about ½ cm deep of oil and place over a medium high heat. (A good way to check the temperature it to take a leaf of a fresh herb or something equivalent and throw it into the oil, it should bubble and simmer like crazy. Remove the herb and then you’re ready to go!).
  8. Carefully place the aubergine steaks into the oil and deep-fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  9. Take the aubergine out of the oil and place on a plate lined with kitchen roll to soak up the excess oil.
  10. Now make the sweet potato fries. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
  11. Wash and then slice the sweet potato into batons. Place them into a bowl and add the oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Stir until evenly coated and then tip out into a large roasting tin.
  12. Spread the fries out so they are as spread out as possible and then roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, stirring them halfway through cooking so they crisp up evenly.
  13. Whilst waiting for the fries to cook move on to the rest of the fillings. Take the garlic and crush it into a bowl. Add the mayo and mix to combine. Set to one side until needed.
  14. Take the mozzarella and slice it into discs about ½ cm wide. Do the same for the beef tomato.
  15. Now assemble the burgers! Slice your burger buns in half. Spread 1 tsp of the pesto over the base bun and 1tsp of the garlic mayo over the top bun.
  16.  Place one of the aubergine steaks on top of the pesto. The layer up some of the spinach leaves, tomato, mozzarella and basil. Place the top bun on top and enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

 

Classic Cinnamon Buns

Classic Cinnamon Buns

 

Recipe

Makes 12

Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 75g soya margarine
  • 250ml soya milk
  • 14g fast action dried yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 45g caster sugar
  • 450g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

For the filling

  • 100g soya margarine
  •  50g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 tbsp soya milk

Method

  1. Melt the butter in a small pan. Add the milk and warm through until body temperature (about 38C if you have a thermometer).
  2. Add the yeast to the milk, stir to mix through and then leave for 10 minutes to activate.
  3. Put the salt, sugar and flour into a bowl. Pour over the milk and stir to make a sticky dough.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a worktop and knead for 5-10 minutes, until the dough is stretchy, smooth and not quite as sticky.
  5. Lightly oil a bowl (I find pouring a little oil onto a piece of kitchen roll and rubbing that inside a bowl works well). Then tip the dough into the bowl, cover with cling film and leave for 1 hour to rise.
  6. When the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured worktop and knead it for 5 seconds to knock out the extra air.
  7. Shape the dough into a rectangle and roll it out so it’s roughly 60x40cm.
  8. Use a palette knife of spatula to spread the soft margarine (for the filling) over the dough in an even layer.
  9. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and then sprinkle it over the butter in another even layer.
  10. Roll the dough sheet up, long edge to long edge to get a long sausage. Use a ruler and a sharp knife to mark every 1.5 inches along the roll and then cut at these points.
  11. Line a deep roasting tin with butter and baking paper. Transfer each bun to the tin, in 4 rows of 3. (You might need to gently nudge the buns into more of a circle shape if they got squashed during cutting).
  12. Cover the tin with clingfilm and leave to rise for 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
  13. Beat the egg in a small bowl until runny and smooth. Add the milk and whisk again to combine. Brush this mixture over the buns to glaze.
  14. Bake the buns in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and risen.
  15. Leave to cool for 30 minutes and then enjoy!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

Double Chocolate Blackberry Brownies

Double Chocolate Blackberry Brownies

It’s blackberry season again!! This is such a big thing in my house as we live in the countryside, so we watch the blackberries over the season from mid-August to start of October, by which point they’re juicy and sweet and beautiful. We literally can’t leave the house any more without my mum bringing tubs for foraging (one time we even took a fishing net to catch apples in – it was strangely effective!) So now that we have tubs and tubs of blackberries in the fridge it’s time to start getting creative again!

It’s no secret that I’m a complete brownie freak. I like to make them, smell them, eat them, jazz them up, play around with them and generally appreciate their existence. So it’s no surprise that I ended up making some these swanky blackberry brownies. I’ve also added in some booze in here because it works so so well with chocolate! I’m not much of a drinker (relatively speaking) and so I’m only just discovering it’s value in cooking – but boy does it give this a nice lil’ touch! Of course though, if you wanna make these t-total you can leave out the alcohol and soak the blackberries in some spices (a pinch each of ground cinnamon and ginger are good!) and Ribena to give them a touch up.

As term hasn’t started for me yet (I know we start super late!) I’m in the process of bouncing between home and my uni house to make the most of the time I have free to do that. When I went home the other day I came up with these (as you can’t not appreciate having a fully stocked kitchen when you’re in one!) and luckily I managed to have a few left to take back to Oxford with me. One of the things I love most about baking is being able to share what I make with friends, and it’s something I really don’t do enough of any more. But these went down a treat so I can definitely see them becoming a favourite in our house!

Recipe

Makes 12

Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

For the Brownie

  • 220g Butter
  • 280g Dark chocolate
  • 4 Medium eggs
  • 280g Caster sugar
  • 60g Plain flour
  • 150g White chocolate, roughly chopped

For the Icing

  • 200g Blackberries
  • 10ml Chambord
  • 40ml Creme de Cassis
  • 175g Icing sugar

To decorate

  • Fresh blackberries
  • 50g Dark chocolate
  • Ice cream to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Begin by prepping the blackberries for the icing. Place the blackberries, chambord, Cassis and 25g of icing sugar in a bowl, mix together and then set aside to macerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Now move onto the brownies. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Grease and line a 15×15 cm loose tin with butter and baking paper.
  3. Put the butter and chocolate into a metal or glass bowl over a pan of simmering water and leave to melt.
  4. Take another bowl and whisk the eggs until pale and fluffy with an electric whisk. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until it leaves a trail when the whisk is taken out (around 5 minutes should do it).
  5. Fold the chocolate into the eggs, sieve in the flour and add the chopped white chocolate. Mix everything together until just combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and sprinkle over half of the macerated blackberries. Then bake the brownies for around 20 minutes until a crust has formed on top and it feel slightly firm. Set aside to cool.
  7. Whilst the brownies are cooling, move onto the icing. Sieve the remaining blackberries, pressing the berries into the sieve with the back of a spoon to release the juices. Then mix a little of this juice into the icing sugar, 1 tsp at a time until a smooth, pourable icing is made.
  8. Turn the brownies out onto a serving board. Once completely cool drizzle the icing over the top. Scatter over some fresh blackberries and finish with some flakes of dark chocolate. These are really good served warm with ice cream!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x