Wednesday, 1 July 2015

AlphaBakes July 2015

The sun is shining, Wimbledon has started and there's a heatwave. Hurrah for summer! Welcome to July's AlphaBakes. If you haven't already seen last month's "O" round up on Caroline's blog, do check it out. This month the random letter generator has come up with ... U
Look forward to seeing all your Unique U entries! Entry is via the linky tool below and if for some reason it's not working then please email by 25th July 2015.

Quick reminder of the rules....

1. Post your RECIPE on your blog and link it to The More than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes, stating the relevant month's host. If you do not have a blog, email us a picture and a brief description of your entry which we will include in the round-up at the end of the month.

2. You can use your own RECIPE or someone else's RECIPE. The recipe can be sweet, savoury or a mixture! Anything goes as long as the random letter is predominantly featured in the recipe as one of the main ingredients or flavours or in the name of the bake itself (i .e . not as a garnish , or using 'flour' for the letter F!) You can also republish old posts/RECIPES but you must include the information for this challenge as stated in these rules.

3. Add the logo to your post and add 'alphabakes' as a label to your post.

4. Entry is via the linky tool below. Alternatively, you can email your entries to by midnight (GMT) 25th of each month. Please include:

  • Your name (that you want included in the round up or we will use the name of your blog) 
  • Your blog post URL 
  • RECIPE title 
  • Photo of RECIPE (to be included in the round up) 
5. You can submit as many entries as you like.

6. You do not have to participate every month to join in.

7. You may submit your entry to other challenges as long as it complies with their rules.

8. If you use twitter, please use the tag #alphabakes and mention @bakingaddict and @Caroline_Makes. We will retweet all those that we see. 

9. Have fun! :) 

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Oreo Pie

Hi everyone. Sorry for the long absence. It's just been crazy busy lately with lots going on. I will be posting less for the next few months until things settle down but will still continue to co-host AlphaBakes with Caroline. I do appreciate the loyalty from my regular readers and still enjoy reading all your posts when I can. 

I've been wanting to make this for a while so I'm really pleased that I got the chance recently and I can tell you that it was well worth the wait. It's a very rich, decadent dessert and you only need a small slice. It has an oreo biscuit base, covered with homemade caramel and topped with rich, dark chocolate ganache and a generous sprinkling of sea salt. It's a no bake recipe but it does take some time as each layer has to set before you put the next layer on. I used Hans Sloane Ecuador 70% chocolate beads and it worked beautifully in this recipe as it gave the pie the rich, dark chocolate taste which paired well with the sea salt flakes and caramel. If you use a sweeter chocolate then the pie will be too sweet and you won't get the lovely contrast.

I'm sending this to AlphaBakes hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes. The letter this  month is O for Oreo cookies.

Cook Blog Share hosted by Lucy from Supergolden Bakes.

Recipe of the Week hosted by Emily from A Mummy Too.

Tasty Tuesdays hosted by Vicki from Honest Mum.

 only 5 ingredients required - brown sugar, double cream, chocolate beads or chocolate chips, butter and oreo cookies 

 oreo cookie base 

 making the caramel 

 caramel is almot ready!

 look at that lovely caramel 

 the smudge is from the cling film before the caramel set 

 luckily it's covered in a thick layer of chocolate ganache 

 served with fresh raspberries and raspberry ripple ice cream 

Makes 1 large 10 inch pie

For the base
2 packs of 154g Oreo cookies
100g butter

For the caramel
260g light brown sugar
225g butter
120 mlsdouble cream

For the chocolate ganache
250ml double cream
340g Hans Sloane Ecuador 70% chocolate beads

To serve
Sea salt flakes
Fresh raspberries
Raspberry ripple ice cream

  • Start by making the oreo base - place the oreo cookies in a food processor and blitz until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add the butter and pulse briefly.
  • Spread the oreo base on the pie tin and smooth out the top making sure that the base goes up the side of the dish as shown.
  • Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to set.
  • In the meantime, make the caramel by placing the butter and brown sugar in a medium sized pan.
  • Heat gently over a medium heat until bubbles start to form. 
  • Remove from the heat and leave for 1 minute.
  • Gently whisk in the double cream and continue whisking until the caramel is smooth.
  • Set aside to cool for at least 15-20 minutes.
  • Take the oreo base out of the freezer and pour the caramel layer on top.
  • Return to the freezer for 20-30minutes to set.
  • Make the chocolate ganache by gently heating the cream until it just bubbles.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate beads.
  • Continue stirring until the mixture is smooth.
  • Remove the oreo pie from the freezer and pour the chocolate ganache on top.
  • Refrigerate until set.
  • Before serving, add a generous sprinkle of sea salt on top of the pie.
  • Slice and serve with fresh raspberries and a scoop of ice cream. 

Disclaimer: I was sent some Hans Sloane drinking chocolate beads for review purposes to create a recipe. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own. This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

3 nut butter chocolate cookies with marshmallow

The cookie monster is back! This is an absolutely delicious cookie which incorporates all of my favourite flavours. The base is a chocolate and 3 nut butter cookie with the addition of peanut butter chips and hidden marshmallows inside. I felt like baking cookies one evening and had a look in the pantry to see what was available and this is what I came up with. I overbaked my cookies a little but luckily the marshmallow was still ooey and gooey as you can see! It has a dark chocolate base paired with saltiness from the nut butter and peanut butter chips and sweetness of the marshmallows.

I'm sending this to the No Waste Food Challenge hosted by Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary as I used up the end of a jar of 3 nut butter and opened packs of mini marshmallows and peanut butter chips.

 adding the lovely nut butters

 adding peanut butter chips 

 place a small scoop of cookie dough on a baking tray and flatten it. Top with mini marshmallows. 

 Cover with another flat disc of cookie dough and press together 

 melted marshmallow inside!

Makes approximately 20 cookies of the size shown

113g butter
50g brown sugar
50g caster sugar
125g three nut butter (use any nut butter as an alternative)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
125g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
100g peanut butter chips (you can also use white chocolate chips or plain chocolate chips)
approximately 100 mini marshmallows (I used about 4-5 per cookie) 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  • Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the nut butter and egg.
  • Stir in the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Finally add the peanut butter chips.
  • Place a small scoop of cookie dough on the lined baking tray and flatten with your palm to form a disc. Repeat with the rest of the cookie dough.
  • Place 4-5 mini marshmallows on top of each flattened cookie dough. Cover with another piece of cookie dough and press to seal the edges.
  • The cookies look quite large so allow enough space for spreading between each cookie before baking.
  • Bake for approximately 10 minutes.
  • The cookies will still be soft when you take them out of the oven but will harden as they cool on the sheet. 

Sunday, 31 May 2015

AlphaBakes "Q" Roundup

Welcome to the Q roundup for AlphaBakes. It's not the easiest of letters so it was great to see the variety of entries which included sweet and savoury dishes. Tomorrow is officially the start of summer and it will also be the start of June AlphaBakes hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes. I hope it's an easier letter than Q and one that coincides with summer but we will have to wait and see! 

My co host Caroline from Caroline Makes made a Butternut Squash, Fennel and Goat's Cheese Quiche for her new year's day buffet party but had not gotten round to blogging about it until now. It's good timing as it's a delicious entry for AlphaBakes this month. Caroline says that as quiches can be eaten cold, they are great for buffets or picnics or al fresco lunches!

Next is my entry which is also a savoury dish. I made Mini Pork Pies with Quails Eggs. It was my first time working with hot water crust pastry and I was really pleased with the final result. They looked impressive and tasted amazing, much better than shop bought one. The star of course was the Quails egg. I served them with salad for lunch but they are also good for lunch boxes and picnics.

Caroline is back with Ham and Cheese Quesadillas. They are quick and easy to make and she made use of ingredients in her fridge as she was going on holiday to Mexico. A quesadilla is basically a tortilla filled with cheese and anything you fancy, folded over and fried or grilled on both sides.

Next is Kate from the Gluten Free Alchemist who baked a Cheddar, Gruyere and Bacon Quiche which is of course gluten free! Her daughter's favourite filling is cheese and bacon which is also one of my favourite fillings as you just can't go wrong with classics. Kate made this earlier in May to highlight Coeliac Awareness Week in UK.

Jen from Chardonnay & Samphire made Roasted Vegetables with Quinoa and Moutabel which is one of her favourite work weekday lunches. The dish is made from quinoa with chargrilled aubergine and tahini stirred through, which is also known as Moutabal/Baba Ganoush and originates from the Middle East. It looks like a tasty and delicious lunch.

Suelle from Mainly Baking made a Cheddar and Jalapeno Cornbread with Quark. She used a recipe from the Fabuloous Baker Brothers which uses quark instead of sour cream or buttermilk which is common in other recipes. It was very cheesy and well spiced and she served it with a spicy ratatouille.

Our first sweet entry comes from Choclette from Tin and Thyme. She was preparing to go on holiday to North Wales so wanted to use up some ingredients in her kitchen which included bananas, yoghurt and eggs. She baked this Quick Banana and Rum Soaked Raisin Bundt which looks really impressive. It was flavoursome as you can expect from the ingredients and had a lovely spongy texture.

Another sweet entry comes from Jean from Baking in Franglais with her Rhubarb Queen of Puddings. She followed a recipe from BBC Good Food and used rhubarb and ginger. It was a technical challenge on the Great British Bake Off as there's quite a few components to this recipe. The contestants had to make their own jam for the filling, homemade custard and meringue for the top. I think it looks really impressive and I can see why it's called the Queen of puddings. 

The final sweet entry is from Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe. The inspiration came from Pinterest and they were packaged in a hamper of goodies for her mum for Mother's Day. Her Apple Rose Tarts which contain Quince Jelly were packaged amongst other goodies in a homemade woven paper box which was also inspired by Pinterest.  

Caroline completes the round up with her Fennel, Quinoa and Broad Bean Summer Salad inspired by Deliciously Ella. She took this to a barbeque party to celebrate her boyfriend's mum's 60th birthday. It's a really colourful summery salad and certainly makes a change from lettuce, tomato and cucumber! 

That's the end of the Q roundup. Thank you again to those who joined in this month and apologies for the delayed round up as it's been a crazy busy month. Remember to check out Caroline's blog tomorrow to find out what letter we are using in June and I'll see you all back here in July. 

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Hans Sloane chocolate beads cookies with cranberry or ginger

I love cookies. They are my favourite baked goods and I love experimenting with different flavours and textures. A classic chocolate chip cookie is my all time favourite and it's a very versatile base to start from. I looked in my store cupboard to see what I could use as additions and found an opened pack of crystallized ginger and a pack of dried cranberries that was nearing it's expiry date. As I'm not a fan of ginger I decided to bake 2 types of cookies - one with ginger and one with dried cranberry. The cookies were absolutely delicious. The dark chocolate beads gave an intense chocolate flavour and paired well with the dried cranberries and the crystallized ginger. J tested both and it was difficult to pick a favourite but the ginger one won out in the end. The best thing about this recipe is it's versatility as you can add any additions you like to this cookie - dried fruit, nuts, coconut, candy. 

 adding chocolate beads to the mixture 

 adding dried cranberries

 adding crystallized ginger 

 cranberry and chocolate cookie 

 ginger and chocolate cookie 

Recipe adapted slightly from BBC Good Food
Makes approximately 40 cookies depending on size of cookies.

150g butter
80g brown sugar
80g caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
225g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g Hans Sloane rich dark chocolate beads
100g dried cranberries or ginger or other additions

Note - I made 1 batch of cookie dough then divided it into half. I added 50g of dried cranberries to one half and 50g of crystallized ginger to the other half.

  • Preheat the oven to 180C and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper. 
  • Cream the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. 
  • Add in the egg and vanilla bean paste.
  • Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Stir in the Hans Sloane dark chocolate beads.
  • Add in any additional flavours - dried cranberries or crystallized ginger. Alternatively you can just use chocolate beads.
  • Use a small ice cream scoop to scoop out cookie dough and place them spaced apart on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for approcimately 8-10minutes or until golden brown. 
  • The cookies will still be soft but will harden once it's cooled on the baking tray for about 5 minutes.
  • Place on a cooling rack until fully cooled then store in an airtight container. 

Disclaimer: I was sent some Hans Sloane drinking chocolate beads for review purposes to create a recipe. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own. This is not a sponsored post.