Brownies with a Biscoff Swirl

Brownies are such a popular and useful sweet treat. They work equally well as a cake, snack or a pudding; we particularly like a warmed brownie with ice cream and caramel or magic chocolate sauce – mmmmm pure pudding heaven.

I have’t posted a brownie recipe for absolutely ages, but last week I came across some pictures of beautiful brownies which featured a yummy swirl. This got me thinking, brownies are delicious but they’re not overly sweet, so a swirl to sweeten the overall effect would work a treat. Biscoff spread is such a great nut-free spread and is delicious with chocolate, so my decision of flavour combos was a real no brainer!

To counter the sweet swirl, I have made these brownies extra rich and decadent with plenty of melted chocolate stirred in, giving a luxurious and intensely chocolatey effect. There are what you may call brownie perfection.

Brownies with a Biscoff Swirl

 

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

4 tbsp cocoa powder

150g self-raising flour

110g caster sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 tbsp flavourless oil, I use sunflower

250ml dairy-free milk

100g dairy-free chocolate, melted

4 tbsp Biscoff spread

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Line a brownie tin with parchment
  2. In a bowl, mix together the cocoa, self-raising flour, caster sugar and salt.
  3. Pour in the oil, milk and vanilla and mix to form a smooth batter
  4. Stir in the melted chocolate (this will make the batter much stiffer)
  5. Transfer to the lined brownie tin and level off.
  6. Warm the Biscoff spread so it becomes runnier, dollop over the brownie batter and using the handle of a wooden spoon swirl it though
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. It should be a bit gooey looking in the middle. Cool fully in the tin before cutting into portions.

 

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

In response to my cookie loving Instagram followers, here is the keenly awaited mini chocolate chip cookie recipe. 🙂

I have many many cookie recipes on my blog, but I haven’t created a new one for a while. I seem to keep going back to old favourites such as my amazingly delicious chocolate sable cookies, which unfailing get requested every few weeks. Even though those sables are hard to beat, sometimes a slightly less intense chocolate cookie is required, and this inspired me to get creative with a standard chocolate chip mix.

There are so many finishes to a chocolate chip cookie; some like them chewy, soft, crunchy, or crispy that it’s hard to know what makes a perfect variety. However, these mini chocolate chip cookies are pretty awesome with a deliciously more-ish soft and chewy texture with a crispy edge, almost hitting all the requirements of a an ideal chocolate chip recipe in one biscuit. My top tip is that the key is caster sugar for crisp and soft brown for chewy – combine the two and you have perfection!

I’ve made these mini, because it immediately makes them cuter, more desirable and well you can just eat more mini cookies which can only be a good thing when they’re this good 😉

Perfect mini chocolate chip cookies

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, can be soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

 

makes about 30 or so

100g soft brown sugar

75g caster sugar

125g dairy-free margarine

1/2 tbsp vanilla essence

225g self-raising flour

pinch of salt

80g chocolate chips

1 tbsp dairy-free milk

  1. Cream together the margarine and sugars until light and fluffy
  2. Add the vanilla, flour and salt and mix well to form a soft dough. Stir in the milk and chocolate chips.
  3. Wrap and place in the fridge to firm up
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/gas mark 4. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
  5. roll the dough into olive sized balls and place a little apart on the lined baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes until puffed up and golden.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

 

Biscoff Spiced and Stuffed Muffins

What’s better than a wonderful Biscoff spiced muffin? Well obviously a Biscoff spiced AND stuffed muffin! 😋

This muffin recipe is a real winner, it lends itself to many flavours and produces the exact authentic muffin texture of bouncy sponge and an exterior that stands up to being packed in a lunch box and lasting til midday. As you might have noticed, I’m still on a packed lunch vibe, and these muffins will definitely feature in Little S’s lunch this week. (That is if they don’t all disappear before!)

Biscoff Spiced and Filled Muffins

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 12

50g caster sugar

35g soft brown sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

250g plain flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp speculaas spice (or sub 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger and 1/4 tsp ground cloves)

115g dairy-free margarine, melted

150ml dairy-free milk

150ml dairy-free yogurt

75ml golden or maple syrup

6 tsp Lotus spread

  1. Heat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade. Fill a muffin tray with liners.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Pour in the wet ingredients and combine. You want not clumps of raw flour but do not over-mix, lumpy is good.
  3. 1/4 fill the liners and then dollop 1/2 tsp of Lotus spread on top. Cover with the remaining muffin mix.
  4. I topped mine with some pearl sugar, but it’s not necessary
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until risen and golden and a knife comes out clean.
  6. Cool on a wire rack.
  7. Drizzle with water icing before serving if you like.

Marmite Scones

Are you a Marmite lover or a Marmite hater? There seems to be no in-between and we’re a family that contains both, so it’s always a quandary as to whether to use it as a flavouring or not. Although to be fair there are far more Marmite lovers, so the savoury yeasty spread often wins.

I find that savoury snacks are lacking for Little S – there are so many things she can’t have when out people would reach for a savoury option. That’s where the marmite comes in. Little S really doesn’t like marmite but she loves these deeply savoury scones, somehow the marmite-y flavour turns into a more appealing savoury taste when it’s added to a bake. Savoury scones make a perfect tasty snack or side to a big bowl of soup, or just a speedily made change from a bread roll. The beauty of scones is that they take little time to make and bake, so once you feel confident you can whip up a batch in no time at all. Serve with extra marmite if you’re on the fan side!

I’d heard that adding cream of tartar made scones extra light and fluffy and I was desperate to try the idea out, and my it’s a great addition, the texture of these scones will blow your mind. Look at that craggy delicate texture, no heavy stodgy scones here!

Marmite Scones

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes about 8 large scones

250g plain flour

1/4tsp salt

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

25g dairyfree margarine

15g vegetable fat (or use 15g extra margarine)

150ml dairy free milk

2 tsp marmite

  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees Centigrade
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. Rub the fats into the flour until it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Stir the marmite into the milk and pour into the flour mix. Very gently bring together to form a rough dough. Be very gentle, do not knead, otherwise you’ll get tough scones and no-one wants that!
  4. Stamp out circles and place on a baking sheet. Brush the tops with a little milk mixed with marmite.
  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden and risen. 

Ginger Christmas Cake

Get your spoons ready, it’s time for ‘stir up Sunday’!

Fruit cakes are surprisingly easy to make dairy and egg-free and I guarantee the resulting cake will be hoovered up in no time. Last year we left a whole cake (only uneaten due the overkill of other options) with the in-laws and it had completely disappeared two days later! That’s pretty good going for a large fruit cake. 😉

Every year I seem to make multiple types of Christmas cakes to please the various factions of the family (and because I enjoy it): some like chocolate yule log, some like gingerbread biscuits and some love a slice of fruit cake. I’ve never been overly keen on fruit cake myself but my Christmas cake recipe has won me over – it’s fruit heavy but also light and delicate, the kind of fruit cake where you could almost have another slice.

This year I felt like making a change to my usual traditional Christmas cake and had the idea of combining a family favourite of ginger cake taste with a fruit cake base. It turns out it’s a genius combination; who could resist the spicy warming heat of ginger with the comforting hug of a traditional Christmas cake? The ginger is added in three ways for different dimensions and interest: crystallised ginger chunks, plenty of ground ginger and then a regular feeding of ginger wine for added oomph.

Let the Christmas preparations begin 🙂

Ginger Christmas Cake

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 1 12″ cake

200g sultanas

200g currants

50g crystallised ginger, chopped

100g dates, stoned and chopped

2 tbsps brandy (or ginger wine or apple juice)

350g plain flour

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp mixed spice

pinch of salt

70g dairy-free margarine

zest of 1 lemon

170g light Muscovado sugar

250ml dairy-free milk, warmed to hand hot temperature

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

  1. Grease and line a 12″ cake tin
  2. Pour the brandy/apple juice over the dried fruit and leave to steep for at least a couple of hours, or preferably overnight
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 4
  4. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger and mixed spice. Add the lemon zest.
  5. Rub in the dairy-free margarine and then stir in the sugar, and the dried fruits.
  6. Add the bicarb to the warm milk and stir until dissolved. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix to form a stiff dough.
  7. Turn into the lined cake tin and bake for 1 hour. Then turn the oven down to gas mark 3/160 degrees Centigrade and continue to bake for a further 20-30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  8. Keep wrapped in baking paper, in an airtight container until ready to decorate (if desired) just before Christmas
  9. For added moisture and flavour, pour 1 tbsp of ginger wine (or apple juice or brandy) onto the cake each week until ready to use.

Gingerbread Spiced Muffins with a Crumble Topping

There’s something so inspiring about the run up to Christmas for cooking and baking, it just makes me want to get into the kitchen and recipe develop like crazy! Maybe it’s the dark days, or maybe it’s the Christmas spices and thoughts of sharing with friends and family.

I haven’t spent enough time creating in the past few months – I’ve been doing a new job which has taken far too much of my time and energy (even on days when I’m not meant to be working), and I’ve decided that has got to stop. I need to get baking again, to test myself with new recipes and challenges because that is when I’m most energised. This week alone I’ve created three new recipes, so expect lots more posts coming up soon 🙂

Unbelievably our local Christmas lights turned on last night (it was only the 15th November!), so it suddenly felt Christmassy and I had to go a little festive and introduce some warm spice into the mix.

This is a knock out recipe for warming spiced muffins, with all the scents of Christmas rolled into one irresistible fluffy muffin topped with a crunchy crumble topping. This particular muffin recipe gives a great, authentic texture and rise which is perfect for the subtle spice. I particularly like the contrasting texture of the crumble topping, and think it really does add to the whole effect. Do add more spice if that is your preference, I kept mine subtle to please all members of the family!

These were delicious warm straight from the cooling rack, but I’m also thinking they’d make a fabulous Christmas breakfast or brunch.

Gingerbread Spiced Muffins with a Crumble Top

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 12 large muffins

85g soft brown sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

250g plain flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

115g dairy-free margarine, melted

150ml dairy-free milk

150ml dairy-free yogurt

75ml golden or maple syrup

for the crumble topping:

1 tbsp oats

3 tbsp plain flour

1 tbsp demerara sugar

1 tbsp margarine

pinch of salt

pinch of cinnamon

  1. First make the crumble top: rub the margarine into the other ingredients to make a lumpy mix. Set aside
  2. Heat the oven to 190 degrees Centigrade.
  3. Fill a muffin tray with liners.
  4. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Pour in the wet ingredients and combine. You want not clumps of raw flour but do not overtax, lumpy is good.
  5. 1/2 fill the liners and then sprinkle over the crumble top
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until risen and golden and a knife comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.