Classic Peanut Butter and Cacao Bites

This is a super easy, simple snack – only five ingredients! So I am keeping this post super simple too…

These are perfect for a little pick me up and last about 1 week in an airtight container. Not only are they simple to make there is hardly any washing up! Win win in my eyes!

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Ingredients

90g Oats

35g Honey

70g Crunch Peanut Butter

15g Cacao Powder

2 tsp Sesame Seeds

 

Method

Begin by placing all the ingredients a bowl. Give it a good stir, add two tablespoons of water to loosen up the mixture. Keep mixing until the mixture comes together.Screenshot_20170518-180336

Take a tablespoon of the mixture (approx. 20g) and roll into a ball. Continue doing this until all the mixture has finished, it should make around 12.

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Munch away! These are also perfect with a cuppa 😉

 

 

Adult Brownie Scotch Eggs

Many things led to this recipe! I’ve lived in Dublin now for 7 months (SEVEN! Wow, time has flown by!) and I realised I hadn’t cooked or baked with Guinness. This is poor on my side, one: I live in the home of Guinness and two: The Boy works for them, which has meant we have a lot of Guinness in the house! Plus Easter is just around the corner so we all need a good themed Easter recipe in our lives. Also, why should kids get all the chocolatey goodness…

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Ingredients

Brownies

130g Butter

200g Caster Sugar

3 Eggs

125g Plain Flour

½ tsp Baking Powder

150ml Guinness Extra Foreign Stout

Buttercream

150g Icing Sugar

300g Butter

60ml Baileys

2 tbsp Cocoa Powder plus extra for dusting

 

6 Crème Eggs

 

Method

Pre heat the oven to 160°C (fan)/180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line a 25x19cm tin.

Melt the butter in a medium sized bowl and stir into the cocoa until it forms a paste. Slowly add 100ml of Guinness, it will foam! Slowly mix together, this is why you need that medium sized bowl! Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until nice and pale. Add the flour and baking powder and fold together until smooth.  Repeat with the cocoa powder and remaining Guinness.

Bake in the oven for around 20-25 minutes. They should be soft to touch but baked all the way through, insert a skewer to check they are done. Set aside, and leave to completely cool.

Whisk together the icing sugar, butter and baileys until light and fluffy. Take about a third of the buttercream and place in another bowl. Add the Cocoa Powder and whisk until smooth to make your cocoa buttercream for the outside of the scotch eggs.

If you have a food processor, place the brownie in and pulse until they look like breadcrumbs. If you don’t, don’t worry! Break up the brownies into small ish chunks, using your electric whisk, on the lowest setting whisk until they break up and again look like breadcrumbs.

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Mix the brownie breadcrumbs with Baileys buttercream! Using your hands separate the mixture into 6 balls, approx. 135g each. In your hand, flatten one of the balls, place the crème egg in the middle and fold the brownie mixture around the egg. Squeeze together until you have a smooth ball. Repeat with the other crème eggs.

In a bowl add some cocoa powder ready to cover the scotch eggs

Now it gets messy…

One at a time – using a palate knife, cover the ball in the cocoa buttercream. Place in the bowl of cocoa powder and light roll around until they are completely covered. Repeat until you’ve finished all six!

ENJOY!

 

(N.B –  remove the alcohol and this is great to make with kids – you can even cover in sprinkles instead of cocoa powder!)

Summer Fruit and Thyme Jam AND Bakewell Tart recipes

HAPPY SUNDAY!! It’s spring time (ish!) and I’m getting into preserves and fermenting recently. I think it’s great to stop wasting food but also I find it’s really therapeutic. It’s great to get a product at the end that shows such love and care. It’s also a great way to liven up your cupboard – no more plain strawberry jam for us! You can also use smaller jars and give them to friends and family as gifts.

I know these berries aren’t in season, they literally are called Summer Berries but I’m new and wanted to try with some fruit I knew before doing anything too crazy. I used frozen berries but you can obviously use fresh when they get into season. 

And what’s better than using your homemade jam in a Bakewell tart! It’s also a great way to show off, how many times can you say that it’s completely homemade. So here are the two recipes for you…but don’t worry if you don’t like Bakewell Tarts, the jam goes fantastically on toast (even with some cheeky peanut butter too!)


Summer Fruit and Thyme Jam

650g Mixed Berries (I used blackberries, raspberries, red currents and black currents!)

1tbsp water

35ml lemon juice (approx. half a lemon or use pre juiced)

550g Caster Sugar

1.5tbsp thyme, finally chopped

 

Yields approx. 0.5l

 

Place all the berries with the water into a deep, heavy bottomed pan and place on a low heat for 10 minutes to soften. Add the lemon juice and sugar, stir and bring to the boil until it reaches 104°C.

While you are doing this sterilise your jars! Turn your oven to the lowest setting and place your jars in there for about 15 min.

Take the jam off the heat and use the wrinkle test to check it’s ready. Do this by placing a spoon in the jam, using another spoon, on the back of the spoon push a strip through the jam. You are looking for it not to spring back. Stir through the thyme leaves

Spoon into your jars and seal! Your jam should last 6-12 months unopened. Once opened consume within 4-6 weeks.
Bakewell Tart

Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

150g butter, chilled

25g icing sugar

1 large free-range egg, beaten

Frangipane Filling

150g butter, softened

150g caster sugar

150g ground almonds

1 large free-range egg, beaten

1 tsp almond extract

Icing

300g icing sugar

1 tsp almond extract

3tbsp Water
Method

First start with the pastry. Measure the flour into a large bowl with the cold butter. Using your finger tips, rub the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add in the icing sugar and stir using your hands. Pour in the beaten egg and mix to form a soft dough. It can be a tad sticky but it will be fine. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, approx 5mm thick. Place into your 23cm/9in fluted flan dish. Pop in the fridge for 40 minutes. 

Pre heat your oven to 180C Fan/200C/Gas Mark 6.

Scrunch up some baking paper and place on top of your pastry. Fill with baking beans, or in my case uncooked rice! They both do the same trick! Just make sure you push it into the corners. Bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and take out the rice and bake for a further 7 minutes. Remove and reduce the heat of the oven to 160C Fan/180C/Gas 4 Leave to cool while making your filling.

For the frangipane, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the ground almonds, egg and almond extract and mix.

Place 5tbsp of your lovely homemade jam into the cooled pastry case. Spread evenly, making sure you get into the edges. Top with your frangipane mix. Carefully push this to the edges making sure you can’t see any jam. A spatula is the easiest way for doing this. Bake for 30–35 minutes, until golden-brown and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tin.

For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Stir in the almond extract and about 3 tablespoons cold water to make a smooth, fairly thick icing. When the tart has cooled completely, spoon the icing on top and spread to form a smooth surface. Leave to set the icing to set (I know it’s hard! But you’ll hate yourself if you don’t) serve in slices. I recommend some yogurt and some raspberries to top it, makes a great dessert! 

Homemade Brownies – the ultimate treat!

Having a good baking week, marshmallows last week and now brownies!

So with winter seem to be wanting to stick around you can’t go wrong with lots of baking!! I’m sure you’ve just realised I am not good with the cold, and I’m very much a summer baby. I think in a previous life I could have been a bear, they seem to have the right idea of hiding from the winter cold and hibernating until spring. Everyone knows when I think it’s time to hide as the space boots (aka winter, furry, warm boots) come out and the brogues go into hibernation too!

My go to sweet treat is Brownies…the soft gooey, just holding their shape ones! That with a cup of tea is my perfect evening, oh and I guess the boy being there makes it nice too. This is my favourite recipe for brownies; they are versatile so you can add a topping or ingredients in them if you want to jazz them up. They make a great dessert for dinner parties too. Cut them into smaller squares and layer them with cream and berries in a nice glass!

I know a lot of people will see this and go “No real chocolate! These can’t be that good!” but trust me they are. Good quality cocoa powder can work wonders. Don’t use drinking powders as that has additional sugar in which won’t give the same depth as a rich good quality powder.

I did these ones in an 8”x12” Riess enamel tray! Depending how thick/big you want them you can do them in anything from an 8” square tin to 9”x13” just adjust the cooking time – thick ones will take a lot longer!

Ingredients

4 Eggs

450g Caster Sugar

Add to Sugar

150g Plain Flour

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

135g Cocoa Powder

150g Butter

 

Method

Pre heat the oven to 160°C (fan)/180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line an 8”x12” tin.

Melt the butter and stir into the cocoa until it forms a paste and set aside. Whisk the eggs and sugar until it is pale and ribbons form. Add in the vanilla extract and whisk again. Add the flour and whisk until smooth followed by the cocoa paste.

Bake in the oven for around 30-35 minutes. They should be soft to touch and when a skewer is inserted it won’t come out completely clean as you want them to stay gooey.

Either serve straight away or cold later on. If you decide later on you want them warm, you can wrap individual pieces in cling film and place in the microwave for 30-1 minute, until warm and gooey again.

 

You can top with the following if you fancy it –

Marshmallows – nicely sprinkle over evenly about half way through your baking time

Salted Caramel– swirl and drizzle onto the brownie before baking

Nutella – melt approx. 150g so its thinner and drizzle over the top

Crunch Peanut Butter – 100-150g chopped roasted salted peanuts, mix some into the mixture and sprinkle some on top!

 

Almond and Vanilla Marshmallows

It’s cold and dreary outside which has meant a lot of hot beverages in the Young-Isard household. I’m currently addicted to almond milk hot chocolates! I was sat on the sofa and was getting annoyed that we never had marshmallows in the house to accompany my lovely hot chocolates. So instead of buying some (way too easy an option!) I ran to the shops and picked up some gelatine to make my own!! So here are my Almond and Vanilla Marshmallows…

If you don’t like almonds, don’t be put off, just replace the extract with another flavour of your choice or do all vanilla!

Enjoy!

 

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Ingredients

60g Icing Sugar

60g Cornstarch (or potato starch)


Pink Almond Layer

60ml water

½ tsp almond extract

2 sachets of gelatine (26g)

¼ tsp red food dye

170g caster sugar

175g golden syrup

Pinch of salt

60ml Water

 

White Vanilla Layer

15ml water

½ tsp vanilla paste

1 sachets of gelatine (13g)

85g caster sugar

90g golden syrup

Pinch of salt

30ml Water

 

Optional…

100g dark chocolate

50g flaked almonds, finely chopped

 

Method

In a small bowl sift the sugar and cornstarch together. Using a pastry brush coat a 28x18cm tin with vegetable oil (or an oil with no flavour) and sprinkle over the icing sugar. Tip the left overs back into the bowl and save for later.

Start with the almond layer. In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer!) add the 60ml water, ½ tsp almond extract, 2 gelatine sachets and ¼ tsp food dye and leave to stand. While this is setting, in a saucepan add the 170g sugar, 175g golden syrup, pinch of salt and 60ml water. Place on a medium heat and give a quick stir. Place in a thermometer; I’ve got a digital one it makes life so much easier. Though it is not essential a normal sugar thermometer will do the job. Heat the mixture to 115°C (240°F), remove from the heat immediately. Turn on your mixer (carefully if you’re using a hand mixer) and slowly drizzle the sugar mixture into the gelatine gradually. Once it is all in turn the speed up and whisk for about 10 minutes until the mixture is fluffy and still slightly warm. Grease up your spatula with vegetable oil and spoon the marshmallow into your tin.  Spread it out evenly. Once it’s all flat, tap the tin on the surface. It will release the air bubbles.

Clean your equipment ready to make the white vanilla layer.

Repeat the process with the Vanilla ingredients.

In your bowl add the 30ml water, ¼ tsp vanilla paste, and 1 gelatine sachet and leave to stand. While this is setting, in a saucepan add the 85g sugar, 90g golden syrup, pinch of salt and 30ml water. Place on a medium heat and give a quick stir. Place in your thermometer. Heat the mixture to 115°C (240°F), remove from the heat immediately. This will happen a lot quicker than your almond layer as there is a lot less mixture. Turn on your mixer and slowly drizzle the sugar mixture into the gelatine gradually. Once it is all in turn the speed up and whisk for about 7 minutes until the mixture is fluffy and still slightly warm. Grease up your spatula with vegetable oil and spoon the marshmallow over the pink layer.  Spread it out evenly. Once it’s all flat, again tap the tin on the surface.

Dust will your icing sugar/cornstarch mixture. Leave to set for at least 1 hour!

You now have options! Either cut them into small or large squares, covering in the icing/starch mixture and leave them plain. Or if you cut them into larger squares you can dip them in dark chocolate and then into chopped almond flakes or just leave them as dark chocolate! To do this, melt the dark chocolate with in a glass bowl over simmering water in a pan or in the microwave on 15 second bursts. Chop the nuts and place in a small bowl. First dunk the marshmallows into the melted chocolate, about 1/3 up. Either place onto some baking parchment to harden or into the almonds. Leave to set.

Now snuggle down with a hot chocolate and your marshmallows and watch the world go by!

 

Vegan Peanut Butter Brownies

When I last saw my sister-in-law she mentioned she was looking at going vegan. She is already a vegetarian so not a complete change of diet. It did make me realise that I wouldn’t be able to bake for her and the family if I didn’t come up with some dairy free sweet treats! A mixture of this and my healthy eating but craving chocolate I wanted to come up with something that covers both. 
So here are my fudgy, sticky vegan (and gluten free) brownies…with a hint of banana too…

They are approx 145 calories per bite, though this seems a lot remember there are no refined sugars or flours. So at least you know it’s all good, natural stuff 😊

Ingredients 

Brownies 

250g Peanut Butter, smooth (I use Meridian which is 100% Peanuts!)

75g Maple Syrup 

1/2 tsp Baking Powder (Gluten Free) 

35g Cacao Powder (I use Choc Chick organic) 

Pinch of Salt

1/2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste 

115g Banana 

Ganache

20g Cacao Powder

20g Maple Syrup 

10g Coconut Oil, melted

Peanut Butter Topping
 

30g Peanut Butter

5g Coconut Oil, melted 
Method

First pre heat the oven to 170C and line a 8″ square tin.

This is a super easy recipe as you put all the brownie ingredients, except the banana, into a mixing bowl and give them a good whisk. When combined add the banana and mix until smooth.

Fill the tin, trying the make as smooth as possible as the batter is very thick and doesn’t change too much in the oven. Bake for 20minutes.

While it is in the oven in two separate bowls mix up the two toppings. Again very simple, pop the ingredients in each bowl and whisk up with a fork or electric mixer. The ganache should be quiet thick and the peanut butter a little runner…

When the brownie is baked (it showily still be slightly soft) remove from the oven and take out of the tin. Leave to cool completely.

First take the chocolate ganache and dollop randomly over the top of the brownies. Do the same with the peanut butter. Using a skewer or knife swirl them together. Don’t over do it though! You want to be able to see the two separate toppings.

Cut into 16 bite size piece and enjoy.

Andrew’s Mars Bar Crispies

So it’s coming up to Christmas which means I start to get requests from the family what to bake when I come home. This isn’t a Christmas recipe at all, it just happens to be my brother-in-law’s all-time favourite thing I make. At every opportunity possible he asks for it – I think it might even make it into his Wedding Dessert Table! It makes me smile how the thing he likes most in the simplest thing in my “cookbook”! It shows that things don’t always have to have all the frills on to be considered a great recipe. I enjoy making it and I love how excited he gets. So for me these Mars Bar Cakes have become all about him and without fail whenever I make them I send him a photo! So this great recipe is dedicated to my Brother-in-Law…

They are best eaten on the day they are made but do last a few days in an air sealed container (well that’s if there are any left!). Now pop the kettle on and get baking!

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Ingredients

7 Mars Bars

170g Butter

170g Rice Crispies

300g Milk Chocolate, Melted

Method

Line a L34.5 x W24.4 x D2cm baking tray. You can use a smaller one if you want them a little thicker. Cut the mars bars into small chunks and place into a saucepan with the butter. Melt on a low heat continually stir so that it doesn’t catch and burn. This is actually why my brother-in-law gets me to make them, my sister is too impatient and has burnt the mars bars on many occasions! So remember really slow and steady wins this race!

In a large mixing bowl, pour in the rice crispies and make a well in the middle. Pour in the melted mars bars mix. Using a metal spoon, mix it together until the rice crispies are completely coated. Spoon the mixture into the baking tray and lightly press it down, insuring you get it into the corners. While this is cooling, melt the chocolate until it is silky smooth with no lumps.This can be done either in the microwave in 30 second intervals or in a glass/heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water ensuring the bowl does not touch the water. Pour the chocolate over the mars bar crispies. Leave to set before cutting into squares, either bit size or bigger if you’re feeling a little greedy.