Caramel Muffins

When I last visited the supermarket (how is it that a simple trip to the supermarket is now the most exciting part of the week), I spied a sign for a delicious looking caramel muffin in the coffee shop window. Now a caramel muffin sounds like a great idea, why haven’t i thought of that before? It’s funny how I usually get inspiration from so many different places, now it’s either from a screen or a brief trip out of the house. I do hope that when this is all over we don’t take simple luxuries, like eating out, browsing the shops or just the signs of bustling life for granted.

Since we as family have become rather fond of the new caramel filled Nomo bars (simply the best free-from alternative to a Cadbury’s Caramel that you are likely to find), I had the idea of stuffing the muffins with a square to give a gooey caramel chocolatey centre. This results in a filling that remains gooey even once the muffins have cooled, and an oozy chocolatey caramel simply has to be a good idea. These muffins don’t need the icing, but it does add a bit of extravagance that is very welcome in the rather dismal winter of 2021.

Caramel Muffins

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

makes 6 large muffins

20g caster sugar

25g soft brown sugar

1/2 tbsp baking powder

125g plain flour

pinch of salt

55g dairy-free margarine, melted

75ml dairy-free milk

75ml dairy-free yogurt

30ml golden or maple syrup

1/2 tsp caramel essence (optional)

6 squares of Nomo caramel filled chocolate 

for the icing:

40g dairy-free margarine

80g icing sugar

splash of dairy-free milk

  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 do not want any clumps of raw flour but do not over-mix, a little lumpy is good.
  3. 1/4 fill the liners and then place a square of the chocolate in the middle. Cover with the remaining muffin mix.
  4. I topped mine with some Demerara 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. If icing, whisk together the icing ingredients and pipe rosettes on the top of each muffin, topped with another square of caramel chocolate if you wish.

Biscoff Caramel Crispy Bites

Wow, this summer has been such a proper heatwave it’s be a struggle to do much baking. You’ll have noticed a distinct lack of new recipes in recent weeks; somehow even turning the oven on is the last thing I want to do when the temperature is in the 30s. Don’t worry though, there are plenty (and I mean plenty!) of recipes in the pipeline 🙂

As an allergy family always looking for something new and interesting, I still make goodies in a heatwave, preferably without turning the oven on. Step forward the magic no-bake recipe, an absolute winner in a midsummer heatwave, and perfect for getting the children involved.

These Biscoff caramel crispy bites were inspired by a current craze for Lotus Biscoff spread at Little S’s school and a need to avoid chocolate due to the unfortunate habit it has of melting in the heat! Sadly, chocolates and heatwaves just don’t mix.

These mini bites are sweet, crunchy, crispy and terribly moorish. You could make them bigger but they’re seriously sweet treats and so I think small is good. Be prepared to dive in for another though 😉

Not only do they not melt, they travel well making them perfect for picnics and keep for up to a week in the fridge. Pretty ideal if you have a summer holiday jam packed full of activities and not a moment to bake!


Biscoff Caramel Crispy Bites

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

makes about 30 mini bites

200g golden syrup

100g caster sugar

100g Biscoff spread

2 tsp caramel essence

100g rice Krispies

  1. Line a baking tray with non-stick parchment
  2. In a saucepan, mix together the syrup, sugar, Biscoff and essence. Gently heat until the sugar has dissolved and you have a smooth thick mixture.
  3. Stir in the rice krispies and mix well
  4. Pour into the lined tray and level off. Leave to set in the fridge for at least half an hour.
  5. Cut into cubes

Caramel Crispy Bars

No word of a lie, these chocolate coated caramel crispy cakes are as addictive as a banned narcotic. I’ve made four batches in the past few weeks and before I could blink they’d all been hoovered up! You will make plenty of friends if you bring these to the cake sale – that’s if your new friends are quick enough to grab one before it’s too late. They only lasted a couple of minutes at yesterday’s charity bake sale… whole tray, gone in no time.

This is really my take on those Rice Krispie squares, which are sweet and gooey and for me: reminiscent of the treats a friend’s mum used to make with melted Mars Bars when I was young. It’s by no means guilt-free munching, but these bars are arguably healthier than those featuring melted Mars Bars and still just as delicious. I’ve combined syrup, sugar, Lotus Biscoff biscuit spread with vanilla for a wonderfully more-ish result that keeps you reaching for another.

I would definitely recommend a dark chocolate coating, any sweeter chocolate would push the needle on the sugar scale to overload, and besides the dark top contrasts so nicely with the lighter crispy base. This is most definitely another recipe to keep close to hand for those baking emergencies I was talking about last week.

Caramel Crispy Bars

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


makes about 16

120g caster sugar

170g golden syrup

100g Lotus Biscoff biscuit spread

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g Rice Krispies

75g dairy-free dark chocolate

20g dairy-free margarine

  1. Melt together the sugar and syrup until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the Lotus spread to make a thick smooth mixture.
  2. Stir in the Rice Krispies and ensure they are well covered with the gooey syrupy mix
  3. Press into a lined baking pan [a small brownie pan is ideal] and place in the fridge to firm up
  4. Melt together the chocolate and margarine. Pour over the caramel crispy cake and spread out. I like to make a pattern with a fork to make it look pretty!
  5. Leave to set and then slice into squares or rectangles.


Chocolate caramel popcorn cookies

chocolate popcorn cookies, vegan Here’s a handy way of perking up a batch of chocolate chip cookies. The popcorn gives an added textural dimension and the caramel essence gives an delicious unexpected flavour. Make sure the popcorn is well popped though – finding any hard kernels in your cookie would not be a nice surprise!

Chocolate Caramel Popcorn Cookies (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan) 20141011-080129.jpg makes 12-16

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/3 cup oat milk
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp caramel essence
  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup popcorn
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade, grease two baking sheets.
  2. Whisk together the sugar, oil, milk, cornflour and essence until to looks like a thick caramel. Sift in the flour, salt and bicarbonate and bring together to a soft dough. Stir in the popcorn and chocolate chips.
  3. Roll into conker sized balls and place well apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes until starting o turn golden.
  4. Leave to cool on the baking sheet for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack.

chocolate caramel popcorn cookies, dairy free, egg-free

Caramel marble cake


This recipe was devised due to spying a little bottle of caramel essence in Waitrose. Caramel was one of my childhood favourite flavours and I thought it would make a nice change from chocolate (besides I still haven’t stocked up on safe dairyfree cocoa powder!) Marble cakes are unfailingly pretty and sometimes it’s good not to have an overload of icing (although I’m not sure my children would agree!)

Ideally made into a loaf shape, this marble cake will delight and surprise, and the added soft brown sugar sprinkled on top gives a wonderfully crunchy topping. This recipe got a 10 out of 10 from our guests too, so maybe it’s one worth bookmarking!

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


  • 200g self raising flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 150ml oat milk (or milk variety of choice)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caramel essence
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar, for sprinkling

– Preheat the oven to 200 Degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 5. Line a loaf tin and set aside.
– Using two bowls – sift 100g flour into each bowl. Sift in 1/4 tsp salt into each bowl.
– Add the caster sugar to one bowl, and the soft brown sugar to the other.
– In a jug combine the sunflower oil, oat milk, lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda. Whisk to combine.
– Pour half the wet ingredients into each bowl of dry and gently mix to form a smooth batter.
– Add the caramel essence to the batter containing the brown sugar.
– Dollop in alternate batters to the loaf tin. Swirl around with a blunt knife – ideally try to bring the batter at the bottom to the top to give a nice neat swirl.
– Sprinkle with the remaining tbsp of soft brown sugar.
– Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.
– Cool a little in the tin before moving to a wire rack.


Millionaires’ Shortbread

Millionaires’ shortbread seems to be a staple coffee shop sweet treat, and it’s certainly a tempting one with its crumbly shortbread base, gooey caramel and dark chocolate. I understand its roots are Australian and it’s been around since the 1970s at least. I thought it was about time to make a dairy free version. These caramel squares worked superbly well using oat cream and dairy-free spread rather than the usual dairy ingredients.

This is a good traybake shortbread to have in your repertoire as it’s good for sharing, easily cut into squares for packed lunches or picnics and keeps well.

Millionaires’ Shortbread (dairy-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)


makes about 12 bars

  • 225g plain flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 150g dairy-free spread
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup oat cream (or soya cream)
  • 2 tbsps Demerera sugar
  • 1/3 cup golden syrup
  • 2 tbsps dairy-free spread
  • 100g dairy-free dark chocolate

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/gas mark 4
– Line a 9 inch square baking dish with parchment
– Stir the sugar into the flour
– Rub in the spread and vanilla until the dough comes together into a crumbly mass
– Press the dough into the baking dish
– Bake for about 20 minutes until the shortbread starts to turn golden at the edges.
– Meanwhile, make the caramel
– In a saucepan, melt together the sugars, syrup and cream
– Stir in the spread, then bring to a bubbling simmer
– Simmer until the caramel is almost hard ball stage (drop a drizzle into a bowl of cold water and if the caramel forms a squishy ball when pressed together its ready)
– Pour over the shortbread and leave to cool
– Once set, melt the chocolate I a microwave or over a Bain Marie. Spread over the cooled caramel layer and leave to set. If desired sprinkle the chocolate with flakes of fleur de sel for a salted caramel effect.
– Cut into small bars


Caramel Sauce

You don’t get to eat much caramel if you’re on a dairy-free diet. That’s a shame, as caramel has always been a favourite of mine (mmm, Cadbury’s Caramel!) and has a lot of sweet uses. Also, Big S really doesn’t like bananas so I though a banoffee concoction might appeal to her sweet tooth. As it turned out she loved the caramel but still didn’t like the banana…. oh well, I tried!

This is the recipe used for the caramel sauce – I used some for my banoffee pudding pots (recipe to follow) and will have to think of a use for the rest of the sticky sweet sauce currently sitting in the fridge…. any ideas?

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

  • 1/2 cup oat milk
  • 1/2 cup dairy-free spread
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsps syrup (golden or maple)
  • 2 tbsps cornflour

– Pour the oat milk into a sauce pan. Add the cornflour and gently dissolve over a low heat.

– Add the other ingredients. Melt the spread and dissolve the sugar.

– Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the sauce has thickened enough to easily coat the back of a spoon.

– Cool