Thursday, October 23, 2014

Choc chip spiced banana loaf

I was really enjoying the taste of the pumpkin pie spice, and we had some bananas going spare... so Spiced Banana Loaf was born!!
It went down a storm with The Team, and the select few taste-testers who were lucky enough to get some.  A definite winner for next autumn!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Peanut butter butterscotch scotcheroos

I liked the sound of this recipe, so felt I just had to investigate further.  I had been lucky enough to receive some Hershey's Butterscotch Chips as a gift from a pupil who had been on holiday to Florida over the summer, and was keen to try them out.
This recipe is a no-bake one, and is basically rice crispy treats with added melted peanut butter and then a layer of the melted butterscotch chips on top.

It sounds a bit crazy with all those flavours, but it was so easy to eat!  We chopped it into bite-size pieces, then managed to bite our way through the entire tin in just a few days.  The Team could probably make a dessert like this themselves, with minimal supervision, so this is going into the must-bake-again folder.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Mixed birthday cupcakes for a man

When it comes to birthday treats for men, well, you need to know if they have a sweet tooth.  See many men prefer crisps to chocolate, and well, that's a whole new ballgame then.  
Luckily this chap was partial to chocolate, and vanilla.  So these mixed classic cupcakes were a doddle, and the blue, green and yellow designs - perfect!
Happy 60th birthday to a great guy...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Honey Joys, or maybe cornflake crispy cakes

When I was a young girl, in a land far, far away, Kellogs Cornflakes had recipes on the side of the box.  As did Rice Bubbles and other breakfast cereals I'm sure, but I specifically remember those two. As I do now, my Mum used to bake with us as young kids, and the recipes on the side of these boxes were some of our favourites.  The Rice Bubbles (or Rice Crispies, as they're known here) one requires an ingredient that seems to only exist in that other land, but the Cornflakes one is easy to do anywhere in the world.  In fact, the actual recipe I use is cut from a box, about 20 years ago perhaps!

Suffice it to say, Mini-1 had a friend over to play and Mini-2 didn't fancy whatever game it was they were playing, so asked to bake instead - as you do.  We had made Honey Joys a month or so ago, so still had lots of cornflakes leftover.

A little aside.  I just Googled honey joys and was astounded to get links!! Those two links are different, but for the exact same recipe.  That is just so cool!  I had no idea it would be out there - isn't the web great?

So, as you can see from the recipes, they are super quick and easy to make.  The UK conversions are 90g of granulated white sugar and 150g of cornflakes.  And that's it.  It's seriously that quick and simple.
I find that you need to let them cool in the baking trays for a while, so that they harden in the correct shape.  And they do last in a baking tin for storage, but never for long chez Becca - they're far too more-ish for them to stick around long!  Even Mr Becca has been known to eat a few in a row.
These ones have pretty sprinkles added to them - it doesn't affect the taste at all, but the children thought it looked nicer.  If you make some, do come back and let us know how you got on!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Spice, homemade

Lots of American recipes I see now use Pumpkin Pie Spice in them.  I have checked closely, but nowhere sells it.  So then I checked my trusty friend, Google, and hey presto!  I found a recipe (or twenty!). 

I signed up a while ago to the Betty Crocker website, as they do so many different items and hav so many recipes from which to choose.  So when I saw that Betty had a recipe for spice mix, well, that just had to be the one I chose. 

As you can see on my photo, I didn't use quite all the right amounts.  And to be perfectly honest, I found it too heavy on the cloves even with these proportions.  So I added in another 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, to take off a bit of the clove taste, and it works better for me.

If you make some, do let me know what you think - and how much you enjoy baking with it.  Mmm, smells like Autumn!!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Pumpkin spice chocolate brownies

Thanks to the delicious chocolate chip pumpkin loaves I'd made a few days ago, I had more pumpkin puree to use.  I had looked out recipes for Pumpkin Snickerdoodle cookies, and Pumpkin cheesecakes, and Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and so on and so forth.  But these American recipes seem to make huge quantities, like 4 dozen cookies, or 9" large cakes, and we just can't eat that much food quickly enough that it's fresh.  And as crazy as it sounds, we don't always have taste-testers handy to help us eat up all the delicious baking and cooking we do.  (if at this point you'd like to volunteer your services, leave a comment below, thanks)

So, I figured chocolate brownies with the delicious addition of pumpkin plus the relevant spice mix would work.

I used my go-to brownie recipe - you could use yours, or a packet mix, whatever you like really.  I layered in half the mixture, swirled some pumpkin across this part, then poured on the rest of the brownie batter and dolloped and swirled the remainder of the pumpkin puree on top.  I had recently found and bought Halloween coloured peanut M&M's, so sprinkled them on top.
I added the pumpkin pie spice mix to the brownie batter before I poured it in, so that it would fully mix.  I kept tasting it to check, and added 4 tsp of spice before I felt I could taste it.  This baked up quite strong-tasting, and on my first bite I must have bitten into a little puddle of ginger, so I got a little fright that they were too strongly spiced, eek!
I gave some to a friend to test, as she hadn't had pumpkin much before, and her family's verdict was that they were great - just the right amount of everything.  Team Becca liked them too, especially the edges as they were a bit less squidgy than the very middle.  I think it was more moist than usual because of the pumpkin - yummy!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Mini-2 and the Peppa Pig sandwich cookies

Every now and then, Mini-2 gets the notion to use a box mix of something from the baking aisle of the supermarket.  We've been caught out by these before, because they look nice on the packet, but the taste is never as good as we can make ourselves.  So while we have fun making and baking them, we are not usually impressed by the taste.  This time, I figured I would just go with the flow, because they were Peppa Pig and I can't get her those little edible images any other way.
We followed the recipe on the back of the pack to make the dough, and she enjoyed rolling it out.
Well, mostly she enjoyed it - sometimes the dough got stuck to the rolling pin and it all got a bit messy.
Next it was time to use a fluted scone cutter and cut our the round, and a small diameter circular cutter (neither were provided in the box)  to cut away the interiors.  So it was kind of like making Empire or Linzer biscuits.
Once the dough was baked and had cooled, you made up the chocolate spread for the interior and sandwiched a full and a cut-out cookie together.  Then it was time to pop the little Peppa Pig images out of the icing sheet and onto each cookie.  
And the final result was these super cute Peppa Pig chocolate shortbread cookies.  They look good, but sadly tasted as expected.  But we had fun, and the whole family joined in eating the end product.
This post is our own opinion and we purchased the cookie box mix ourselves, no sponsoring or free product was provided.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Chocolate chip pumpkin cake

I follow quite a few American baking blogs and Facebook pages, and at this time of year they all talk about the most wonderful sounding Autumn flavours of pumpkin, caramel, cinnamon, apple and the like.  So much so that I even made a Pinterest board just for Autumn flavours, mmm...  Feel free to follow that board, any board of mine, or even every board of mine - it'll be fun to have you along.

So anyway, one of these recipes I noticed was for a chocolate chip pumpkin cake (I don't have the link handy, but will add it in when I remember where I found it) that sounded easy and tasty.  Ok, found it! and it turns out it is actually for Easy Pumpkin bars, I must have tweaked it a little...
Although, looking at the photo I seem to recall that this may not have been quite the right recipe, because I remember halving it as I only wanted two, not four, loaves.  So I think the one I used must have been called a pumpkin loaf, or pumpkin bread.  Ah well, it will have been similar.
As you can see, the loaves are very low, so I could have just made one larger/taller one with all the batter I had... I probably made a note on the recipe to remind me of that for next time.  Because yes, dear readers, there will be a next time.  This was delicious, like an afternoon tea type of cake that suits the British palate quite well.  I have found in the past that pumpkin items tend to be incredibly moist, and not our favourite texture (like a pumpkin pie perhaps).  But this was eaten by the whole team, and all taste-testers were pleased with the texture.  Well, all the British locals were - one good friend, American, felt it wasn't quite moist enough for her!  ha ha.

You can't please all of the people all of the time, I guess...