Rum and Raisin Shortbread!

Apologies for the recent hiatus; I won’t bore you with the details but let’s just say a break up and a fire are just highlights of what has turned my life upside down over the last few months – there’s been more going on than in a soap!

Anyway, more importantly, I have discovered spiced rum… It’s such a unique taste and really stands up well in baking. I’ve been making shortbread a lot recently and it’s one of my boyfriend’s favourite things for me to bake. His favourite ice cream flavour is rum and raisin and one day, I suddenly thought about combining the two and thus, rum and raisin shortbread was born! I soaked the raisins in rum before putting them into the shortbread and then used the leftover raisin rum to soften fudge and then drizzled the fudge over the base of the biscuits to add a little extra! These are so popular, I get asked to make them all the time; they’re smooth for a shortbread and everyone just loves them; give them a go yourself and see! (Please excuse the photo, it was only a quick snap and they were eaten too quickly for me to take proper photos!)

Rum and Raisin Shortbread

Ingredients

225g unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

225g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

185g raisins (I use a mix of golden and flame raisins but any will do)

Spiced rum (enough to cover the raisins in the pan)

Ready made, soft fudge (amount depends on how much fudge you want on each biscuit)

Method

  • Place the raisins in a saucepan and add the spiced rum so that it almost cover the raisins.
  • Preheat the oven to 150C/Gas 2
  • In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fully incorporated and fluffy.
  • Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture.
  • Remove the raisins from the rum and stir them into the biscuit mixture until equally incorporated.
  • Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and place on ungreased baking trays about an inch apart to allow for spreading. Flatten the biscuits slightly.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until they no longer look wet but are only just starting to brown at the edges.
  • Remove from the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes on the tray and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Whilst cooling, place the fudge in a saucepan over a low heat and place about a tablespoon of the raisin rum over the fudge. Allow the fudge to melt completely and add more rum to taste.
  • When the biscuits are cool, turn them over and drizzle the liquid fudge over them.
  • Allow the fudge to harden slightly and then enjoy!

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Turtle Cheesecake (and no it’s not made with turtles!)

Who doesn’t like a good cheesecake? I am certainly addicted to them but for some reason, I’ve never tried to make one. However, this all changed when the guys at work kept talking about how much they love cheesecake and how I should make one. I’d recently read a blog post over at the brown-eyed baker about a turtle cheesecake that consisted of oreo base, caramel and pecans, vanilla cheesecake and chocolate ganache. The moment I mentioned this to everyone at work, they insisted on me trying to make it and wow am I glad I tried.

This is undoubtedly the best cheesecake I have ever eaten and my colleagues definitely agreed. An oreo base is always a great start to a cheesecake but this cheesecake was so decadent and delicious. The vanilla cheesecake was smooth and flavoursome and I thought that the combination of such rich elements would be too much but it wasn’t, the balance was exactly right and I could definitely easily eat a whole slice. For those of you who are a bit confused about the name, I was too when I first read it because in the UK, we don’t have turtle sweets! All I know is that turtles are American sweets that look like turtles and consist of caramel, nuts and chocolate. Don’t worry, it’s not real turtle!

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I used the recipe here.

It was time consuming but was simple to do and definitely worth the effort. You really won’t regret making this. I used a ready made caramel sauce though instead of making a salted caramel because I didn’t wanted salt in mine and it still worked really well.

Definitely, try this!!

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Mini Apple Pies

First of all, apologies! It’s been almost a month since I last posted a recipe, ridiculous! For those of you who have Crumbs and Sprinkles on Facebook, you’ll know that I have been working a lot recently… When I say a lot, I mean getting up at 5 in the morning and not getting back from work until midnight. Sufficed to say, I’ve barely had time to bake, let alone blog, which is very saddening! However, today I finally had a day off and not only have I baked my first cheesecake (recipe and photos to come soon), I am also finally able to post about the mini apple pies I made a few weeks ago! I asked my Facebook friends which recipe they’d rather hear about grissini or apple pies and apple pies prevailed so here they are!

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These apple pies went to work with me on a long stint so unfortunately, I could only manage a quick photograph of them in their tin before I went to work but I still think they look almost as good as they tasted! I used a basic sweet pastry recipe and filled it with an apple fruit filling that I added cinnamon to. The result ended in something very addictive… I particularly liked the depth of flavour of the pastry, I think the sugar added an extra flavour to it and the balance between pastry and apple was perfect. These were a lot simpler to make than I thought they would be and produced a delicious snack or dessert.

Mini Apple Pies

Ingredients

350g plain flour

200g cold butter

100g golden caster sugar

pinch of salt

1 egg yolk

2 capfuls of vanilla extract

2 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon milk to glaze

1 can apple fruit filling

Cinnamon to taste

Method

  • Put the flour and butter in a bowl and rub together until the mixture is the consistency of breadcrumbs and then stir in the sugar and salt.
  • Put the egg yolk into the flour mixture with the vanilla essence and stir with a knife. 
  • Add the water gradually and stir with a knife until it begins to clump together, then make a ball with it using your hands and knead until smooth.
  • Put the pastry in the fridge for an hour. Put the apple fruit filling in a bowl and add a sprinkle of cinnamon to it, stir to combine.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C fan and roll out the pastry to about 5mm thick. Cut out circles to fit your cupcake tray (I used a shallow cup rather than a deep muffin tray to ensure a balance between the pastry and apple flavours). Place the pastry circles in the wells of the tray (I greased the wells slightly before doing this but I don’t think it’s always necessary).
  • Fill each cup with the apple mixture but do not over fill, otherwise filling will ooze out of the pies.
  • Re-roll the pastry and cut out smaller circles to make the pie tops. Dab milk along the edge of each pie, place the top circle on and seal each pie.
  • Glaze them with milk and stab the tops once with a knife so that a small hole appears and can allow for steam to escape whilst baking.
  • Cook for 15-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Enjoy!
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Nutella Biscoff Cookie Bars

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Wow! Work’s been  ridiculously hectic recently; I haven’t had a day off in three weeks and that means that I haven’t been able to tell all of you lovely people about these gorgeous nutella cookie bars that I made a few days ago! I always have half a tin of condensed milk left after I make a batch of flapjacks and I never know what to make with them. Thank goodness for this recipe!

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I have been eying this recipe for a while now but not had an excuse to try it out yet but this was the perfect reason and I even decided to swirl some biscoff in as well as bits of nutella. The bars were quite crispy and crunchy but the very middle was softer. The combination of nutella and biscoff is fantastic as sometimes you get an intense kick of nutella but sometimes, it’s of biscoff! It added to the variety of each bite and these were completely addictive warm and dipped in cold milk. I used the recipe over at Butter Baking here but I added nutella and biscoff, rather than just nutella. Delicious!

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Flapjacks!

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Both my mum and my boyfriend absolutely love flapjacks so they are requested fairly often wherever I am! Given that I was making so many, I decided to develop my own ultimate recipe for flapjacks. Unfortunately, my mum and boyfriend both loved completely different types of flapjack so now I have two perfect recipes!

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This recipe is for the gooey and thick flapjack, with a strong demerara flavour, rather than the thin, crispy flapjack with a strong syrup flavour. These are quite rich but always very popular and they’ve been featuring in our lunchboxes all week and proved rather popular at work too! They are so easy to make as well so if you like flapjacks, definitely try this recipe.

Flapjacks

Ingredients

300g butter

340g demerara sugar

4 serving spoons golden syrup

1/2 tin condensed milk

500g good quality oats

Method

  • Melt the butter completely in a saucepan over a low heat.
  • Add the sugar, by sprinkling into the butter to avoid lumps, and melt into the butter completely.
  • Add the golden syrup and mix.
  • Add the condensed milk and mix.
  • Fold in the oats and leave to soak slightly. Ensure that all the oats are covered in the syrup mixture and that the sugar is completely incorporated.
  • Pour mixture into a lined baking tray, don’t squish down.
  • Bake at 160C for about 15 minutes, until it is just brown around the edge and wobbly in the middle.
  • Score where cuts will be but don’t take it out of the pan yet.
  • Leave to cool and then, enjoy! Image

 

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Cinnamon Roll Doughnut Pie! Oh yes…that’s what I said.

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So, recently I made mini cinnamon roll doughnuts and they seemed to be a rather popular blog post! They were also very popular with me; bite size, full of flavour, fluffy and fresh! My love of these mini delights got me thinking about how I could develop this recipe and make it even better. I’ve recently been watching ‘Unique Sweets’ and it really inspires me to try to make something a bit different. I saw one that visited Momofuku milk bar and they make some very interesting pies, such as the crack pie and grasshopper pie, they looked incredible. Hence, the idea for cinnamon roll doughnut pie! A shortcrust pastry crust, cinnamon roll sauce, topped with doughnut batter packed full of chocolate chips to give it that extra flavour and texture.

ImageI was actually surprised at how well this turned out and how addictive it was. The doughnut layer was a little thick but still fluffy and flavoursome. I think when I make this again, I will extend the pastry out to the sides of the case to give it that extra bite and I will put in more sauce to ensure that you always get a kick of cinnamon in every bite.

This pie was really something new that I’d never tried before and it was still so simple; give this a go!

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You can find the basic recipes for the sauce and doughnut batter here or here. You can buy shortcrust pastry if you wish or use any simple recipe to make your own, which is always better and more satisfying, I find.

As for assembly, I simply lined a greased pie dish with pastry, added a little semolina to the base, followed by the cinnamon sauce. I folded 200g chocolate chips into the doughnut batter and gently spooned this on top of the cinnamon sauce in the pie dish.

I then baked the pie at 180C for 20 minutes and turned down the temperature to 150C and continued to bake the pie until a skewer inserted into the doughnut layer came out clean. Don’t worry about the edge browning slightly but it shouldn’t burn.

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Nutella Cookies stuffed with Biscoff Spread!

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So…biscoff… a spread made of biscuits? Who knew? Well, I didn’t know about this magnificent treat until a few weeks ago and I definitely didn’t think I’d be able to find any in England but low and behold, on the bottom shelf at my supermarket, there it was! Imagine my delight! Within five seconds, my brain was buzzing with the possibilities of what I could bake with it and a jar was already in my basket.

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I toyed with ideas for a few days but then the urge became too much and I gave in… not only to biscoff but to Nutella… I completely experimented making these cookies but they really were delicious. The edges were chewy but the biscoff stuffing made the entire centre gooey and fudgy. The chopped hazelnuts gave a different texture to the cookie and they were very addictive. A very easy bake with brilliant results.

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Nutella and Hazelnut Cookies stuffed with Biscoff Spread

Ingredients

230g Nutella

70g Plain flour

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

1 tablespoon milk

40g chopped hazelnuts

6-8 tablespoons Biscoff

Method

  • Grease a large baking sheet.
  • Place the Nutella, flour, egg, milk and vanilla extract or paste into a bowl and mix until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Fold in the hazelnuts.
  • Place 1/2 tablespoon measures of the mixture onto the baking sheet, well spaced apart and shape into round cookies. The amount of mixture should make between six and eight cookies. Flatten each cookie slightly.
  • Place 1 teaspoon of Biscoff spread in the middle of each cookie.
  • Place another 1/2 tablespoon measure of the cookie mixture on top and seal the edges slightly.
  • Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for around 10 minutes but watch the cookies carefully as the edges can burn easily.
  • Take out of the oven and cool for 5 minutes before leaving to cool on a wire rack.
  • Enjoy!Image

 

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Mini Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts!

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  I think I’m definitely going to become addicted to making mini doughnuts with my new mould; I’ve only had it for a little over a week and I’ve already made four batches! This batch was by far the best. The fusion of the cinnamon roll and the doughnut was inspired but the fact that they come in bite size portions just makes them even better! I think I’ve eaten about 12 now…is that bad?

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They were incredibly easy to make and didn’t take too long either. If some of the cinnamon mixture gets stuck in the mould when you turn out the doughnuts, don’t worry! I personally preferred the doughnuts that had slightly less sauce on because the balance between the amount of sauce and the doughnuts was much better. Be careful when adding the melted butter to the milk and egg mixture though because it can curdle very very easily. I cooled the butter, warmed the milk and egg slightly and added the butter very slowly whilst whisking to avoid curdling and that seemed to do the job.

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I used the recipe from a friend of mine’s blog, Mess Makes Food. If you haven’t seen her blog before, you need to! Some truly inspiring recipes combined with fun writing and beautiful photographs, you should really have a look! You can find the recipe here. The only deviation I made was dropping a few drops of vanilla extract into the doughnut batter as well as the cinnamon sauce.

You should definitely try these little bites; they are gooey, soft and full of cinnamon flavour and when they’re this simple to make…why not?

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Butterscotch Pudding Muffins

So the new series of The Great British Bake Off has officially started and what a series it looks to become! It’s quite shocking how far it’s come over the four series and the majority of the tasks now seem incredibly difficult! I was very impressed with some of the wonderful cakes made by the baker’s dozen but today, it wasn’t cake for me, it was muffins! Pudding muffins to be specific.

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I’ve not baked with pudding mix before but I keep seeing recipes pop up on different blogs so I was curious. I tried making a simple butterscotch pudding with chocolate chunk muffin using the recipe found here.

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Personally, I think there was a little too much flour in the recipe and I couldn’t taste the butterscotch flavour very strongly but I still enjoyed them and will be trying them again with less flour and more chocolate chunks.

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Baci di Dama (Hazelnut biscuits with chocolate, hazelnut ganache)

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I went to a friend’s wedding this weekend and it really inspired me to make something I’ve been meaning to try for a while now – Baci di Dama! It literally means ‘Lady’s Kisses’ because of the two biscuits being paired together like a kiss. I love the combination of chocolate and hazelnut, it’s a real classic and is definitely irresistible to me so when I found out about these, I was desperate to know what they were like.

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The biscuits themselves were actually really simple to make and bake; they took barely any time at all! The recipe called for melted chocolate to sandwich the biscuits together but I decided to go that bit further and make a hazelnut, chocolate ganache. If you don’t want to make one, you could use a hazelnut, chocolate spread instead, like Nutella. The biscuits were like a slightly softer and hazelnut version of amaretti biscuits or biscotti. The combination of the crunchy biscuit with the smooth and luxurious ganache was addictive but I even went further and rolled some of them in chopped hazelnuts to add yet another texture and a blast of hazelnut.

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If you can manage to buy whole hazelnuts and roast and chop them yourself, then do, I used ground hazelnuts from a bag and I think there was quite a lot of the skin left in the packet so if you can avoid this, it would be beneficial.

The original recipe for the biscuits was found here but I made the ganache by heating 120ml of double cream until it was just boiling and then poured it over 130g of chopped dark chocolate and 30g ground hazelnuts. I then let the chocolate melt for a few minutes before stirring and producing the ganache. I then used it to sandwich two biscuits together and even with two biscuits, these little baked goods were still small enough to pop in the mouth all in one go! Delicious and will definitely be making them again and exploring further.

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