It was National Cheesecake Day on July 30th, 3 days after my partners birthday & he wanted Cheesecake for his dessert. We must have went through every flavour on the planet until he decided that it was Crunchie he was going to settled for. To be honest I was glad as I do love a Crunchie Bar, it’s just that lovely melt in the mouth honeycomb that I like. This was delicious!
Makes a Deep fill 9″ Cake
300g Cream Cheese (I use Philadelphia & full fat, it dosen’t work with the lighter one)
150ml Double Cream
80g Icing Sugar
3 Cadburys Crunchie Bars – Blitzed in a processor
1 tsp vanilla essence
13 Digestive Biscuits – Blitzed in a processor
50g Melted Butter
Milk Chocolate shavings for the topping
Grease and line the bottom of a springform tin with greaseproof paper, set aside
Mix the melted butter with the crushed Digestives and spoon into the tin, pressing down with the back of a spoon until compact and smooth. Chill in the Fridge for about 1 hour
Meanwhile, mix the cream cheese, crushed crunchie bars and Icing Sugar together in a bowl with a hand mixer.
In a separate bowl whisk the double cream and vanilla essence until soft peaks form.
Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mix, don’t over mix as you want to leave as much air in as possible. Once your biscuit base has set, gently smooth the cream cheese filling on top, return to the fridge and allow to fully set for at least 12 hours or preferably overnight.
Remove from fridge about 10-15 minutes before you are ready to serve and shave some milk chocolate over the top, or you could grate or break up another crunchie bar for extra flavour. Yum! Remove from Cake tin and slice.
This can be kept in the fridge for about 2-3 days.
Sunday for me is a chillout day and normally a baking day, so today I decided to give these a go for our Sunday Brunch picnic at home. Sugar & Spice & all things nice……so yummy!
150g Strong White Bread Flour
1 packet 7g Dried Yeast
15g Caster Sugar (plus 40g for Topping)
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Bicarbonate Soda
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
40g Butter (plus 30g melted for coating)
50g Chocolate (if using a dip)
Melt butter and milk in pan on low heat, do not boil, needs to be lukewarm about 40 deg.
Place strong white flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix. Make a well and pour in the melted butter and milk mixture.
Mix everything together until a soft dough forms and knead either using a stand mixer with dough hook or on a work surface with your hands for about 8-10 minutes. Grease a bowl and place the dough in, leave to rise for about 90 minutes or until doubled in size.
Knock back the dough and cut into 4 equal sections. Roll each section into a long rope approx 50cm long.
To make the Pretzel shape, curve the rope into an upside down U Shape, then twist the ends together twice, each time left over right. Bring the ends of the rope up to the top of the curve (loop) and press down to secure.
Preheat your oven to 200 deg and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Bring a pan of water to the boil. Place 1/2 tsp of Bicarbonate Soda into the pan of water for each Pretzel, 1 at a time using a slotted spoon, slowly lower the pretzel into the water on the slotted spoon, leave for about 10 secs, lift out the spoon & drain the water then place onto the baking tray. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile mix the caster sugar & cinnamon together in a bowl.
As soon as the Pretzels come out of the oven, brush with the melted butter and leave to cool for a few minutes. Once cooled toss in the sugar mix and serve straight away.
Melt chocolate with a little milk to serve. (if desired)
For a while now I have been trying to perfect my Empire Recipe, and finally I have found a ratio of ingredients and cooking times that work perfectly. (please bare in mind that not all ovens are the same, so you timings may vary slightly). The traditional Scottish way is to decorate with a Jube Jube (they are like big jelly tots), although most people tend to put a cherry on top. To be honest it’s whatever you like, there is no right or wrong. I have even experimented with alternative decorated toppings.
As the Covid19 Lockdown is slowly and gently easing, we are now allowed to travel to the mountains again. We have longed to get back outdoors and into the picturesque landscape we call home. The Scottish Mountains are my headspace, a place where I grow, think, be at peace, laugh and get fitter…lol! To read more about the Scottish Munros, Corbetts, Grahams etc, head over to my travel post https://theweecaledoniancook.com/2020/07/08/a-list-of-scotlands-mountains/.
Anyway, back to food, my first passion. To walk or climb the Scottish Mountains you need energy firstly (then waterproofs…lol), so I made these to pack and take with us for a wee boost when needed. Great for a pre workout snack too & also Gluten Free.
Makes about 16
For the Balls:-
4 heaped tbsp of Crunchy Peanut Butter (good quality, I use Whole Earth)
200g chopped mixed nuts & raisins (I used a food processor to chop finely)
2 tbsp Icing sugar
Dark or Milk Chocolate, 1 tbsp Butter – Melted together
I was looking through all my recipes the other day and came across this one from my Gran’s old Cookbooks, one I hadn’t tried before. So with the wet weather to day was that day I was going to try these. Back in the day my gran always used margarine for baking, personally I think butter is a much better flavour so this was the 1 thing that I changed & I added in some pistachios to the base to give it a bit more crunch.
Makes about 16-20 squares (depends on how big a slice you want…lol!)
For the Base:-
200g Digestives, crushed
50g Light Brown Sugar
1 heaped tbsp Cocoa Powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 heaped tbsp desiccated coconut
40g Chopped Pistachios
1 egg beaten
For the Peppermint Centre:-
3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
230g Icing Sugar
Green Food Colouring
For the Chocolate:-
140g Milk Chocolate (55% cocoa) I use Lindt, definitely my favourite.
40g Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa)
1 tbsp butter
Use a 9″ square baking tin and line with baking paper or foil
In a saucepan over a low heat melt the butter, stir in sugar & cocoa powder, bring off the heat and whisk in the beaten egg, return to heat and whisk until thickened, this only take a minute or 2. Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract, digestives, pistachios and coconut, mix together so everything is coated well. Using a spoon, spread the biscuit base mixture into you baking tin and smooth. Refrigerate for about 1 hour until hardened.
Using a mixer, stand or hand whichever you have, beat the butter until smooth. Add the icing sugar, milk, peppermint essence and food colouring and mix until blended. Smooth this mixture over the top of your biscuit base and return to the fridge to set for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt your chocolate with the butter in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water and allow to cool slightly. (about 5-10 minutes)
Pour chocolate over the buttercream and smooth, return to the fridge to allow chocolate to harden. (about 30 minutes).
Once chocolate has hardened you can now decorate (if you wish), I just drizzled some green icing over the top and returned to fridge to set.
To prevent the chocolate from breaking when cutting into slices, remove from fridge and bring to room temperature. I made that mistake of slicing too soon and my chocolate cracked.
Any doughnuts I’ve made I normally fry but I decided to give the baked kind a go. I bought a doughnut tray ages ago and forgot all about it until I was clearing out my cupboards…lol! Having loads of colours in my baking drawer I went for it and got my creative flare going. I’ve loads more ideas now, so watch this space on my designs coming soon.
Makes 8-10 – Large size doughnuts
90g Butter, Softened
130ml milk at room temperature
1 Dried Yeast Sachet
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
270 plain flour
Melt some butter and glaze the doughnut pan. Preheat oven to 160 deg fan.
Pour milk into a mixing bowl & add the yeast, salt, egg, sugar, vanilla and flour and mix until combined into a smooth dough. Add the butter and mix for 4-5 minutes.
Cover and allow to rest at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
Using a piping bag, pipe the dough evenly into your moulds, smooth down with a little water on your fingertip. Cover the tray and allow to rise at room temperature for about 45 minutes.
Bake in centre of oven for about 15-20 minutes.
Remove doughnuts carefully from tray and allow to cool on a wire tray.
Meanwhile for the toppings:- Mix some icing sugar together and add your choosen food colouring, Not too thin, you want it quite thick. If using chocolate, melt your chocolate accordingly. (In a microwave for 30 secs, then stir, then 30 secs and stir until melted.)
Once doughnuts have cooled, simply pour over the icing and decorate with any sprinkles, nuts etc if you have them. Allow icing and chocolate to harden before devouring.
I hope everyone is doing o.k. in these unusual times. If you are like me, I get bored very easily and need to be doing something productive with my day, so today I was talking to a friend and saying how we miss our coffee & cake dates at our fav coffee shop, then idea to use up whatever was in my cupboards to bake a cake and have a virtual coffee & cake date. I do love pistachio’s and always have some on hand, so this little cake bite was perfect.
Makes about 16 squares
150g shelled pistachios
200g milk chocolate (I used Dairy Milk bar)
200g golden caster sugar or light brown sugar
200g soft butter
200g Self raising flour
50g butter for chocolate
100g icing sugar
Preheat oven to 160 deg and line a square tin (approx 20cm) with baking paper
Mix up 125g of pistachios and 75g of the milk chocolate with 100g sugar in a blender until finely chopped.
Tip into a bowl with the remaining sugar, butter, eggs, flour & milk with a pinch of salt and mix thoroughly.
Empty the mixture into your prepared tin and bake for about 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, break up the chocolate and place into a microwave bowl with the 50g of butter, microwave for 1 minute, remove and stir together until fully melted. Next pour the icing sugar into the chocolate and beat together until combined and thick.
Pour over the top of the cake and even, using the remaining chopped pistachios, sprinkle over the top and allow to set. Cut into bite slices. Serve with a yummy cuppa!
Today was a day of using up leftovers and I had bananas that were crying out to be used. This little recipe is so easy to make and delicious too, you can store for 2-3 days in an airtight container or freeze if you are making a large batch. Gluten Free too.
A great healthier option too with the oats having 4 grams of fiber & 6 grams of protein. In addition to fiber, oats are rich in magnesium, zinc and iron. The bananas which are loaded with fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and various antioxidants. The Peanut Butter is a good source of magnesium too.
A great grab & go breakfast option or simply a little snack in between meals.
200g Scottish Oats
60g Peanut Butter
2 small bananas, mashed
3 tbsp Maple Syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Dark Chocolate squares, chopped (or you can used choc chips)
Preheat your oven on fan to 175 deg and grease a muffin tin.
Put ALL ingredients into a bowl or mixer bowl and combine together.
Pour into muffin tin, filling approx 3/4 way.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean and muffins are set.
Remove and allow to cool for a few minutes. If freezing allow to cool completely.
I am always trying to improve my recipes and my icing for my Empire Biscuits just wasn’t right, so I decided it needed to be a bit harder and went for Royal Icing. Turned out this is much better as it goes hard pretty quick. Good if you want to decorate them.
Makes enough for a 20cm Cake or 12 biscuits.
400g Icing Sugar
2 egg whites or egg white powder
1/2 tsp water
Using a whisk, bring the egg whites to a frothy consistency
A little at a time spoon in the icing sugar (& yes it WILL go everywhere, this was my kitchen worktop after….lol)
Add the little water and whisk until you get stiff peaks.
Now you are ready to use. At this point you can use food colouring and colour to decorate your biscuits of cake.
I made some Scottish Empire Biscuits using my trusty Recipe.