Here’s a super simple recipe which will bring a bit of festivity to your 4th of July weekend. Nothing complicated, just an easy cookie recipe and a packet of the American limited edition M&Ms. This recipe makes about 12 cookies, so just double it if you want to make a bigger batch for a get-together. Plus, they take about 20 minutes to make, including baking time, so you can also whip them up for a last minute event. Adapted from On the Table in 30 Minutes.
120g unsalted butter, softened
120g soft light brown sugar
1 and a half tbsp golden syrup
175g self-raising flour
110g red, white and blue M&Ms, plus extra to top
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and cover a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat for a couple of minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the golden syrup, and mix again. Sift in the flour, and mix until just incorporated.
Add the M&Ms, and incorporate into the mixture using your hands to form a dough.
Divide the dough into approximately 12 equal sized balls and put them onto the baking sheet. Slightly flatten each ball with your hand.
Add 3 different coloured M&Ms on the top each cookie, pressing into the dough slightly.
Bake for approximately 12 minutes, until light golden. Leave on the baking sheets for 2 minutes after coming out of the oven, before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
It’s always nice to offer something a bit different to those who don’t like to eat just regular chocolate eggs around this time of year, so today I’m bringing you three ways to make chocolate bark. Hopefully this will suit almost anyone, and I’m sure everyone would forgive you for wanting all three of these considering that Easter only happens once a year! It’s nice to have some on hand for guests, but also as super simple gifts if you wrap it up neatly, so make as much as you want. And this couldn’t be cheaper or easier to make, especially when you consider how over priced most Easter goodies are these days.
200g each white / milk / dark chocolate
Various toppings – I paired white chocolate with dried cranberries / mini salted pretzels with the milk / raisins and almonds with dark
Break up the chocolates and pop them in three separate heat-proof bowls.
Heat a saucepan of water until simmering, and put the bowls, one at a time, on top, to melt the chocolate. Ensure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water, as this can burn the chocolate.
Pour the chocolate onto baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle the toppings over the chocolate, before leaving to set. I put my mine in the fridge to speed up the process.
It can be tough to come up with healthy snacks to reach for when chocolate, or other sugary treats, seem like the easy option. Everyone gets that hunger pang in the middle of the afternoon and it can be difficult to resist all those things that you know are bad for you. Step in these delicious flapjacks, from Deliciously Ella. They require only a small amount of healthy ingredients and are a cinch to whip up when you get half an hour. I much prefer to know exactly what’s going into the food I eat, so there’s no excuse for me not to bake up a batch of these when I’m low on snacks and what something to keep me going until dinner. Give these a go, you won’t regret it.
200g / 2 bananas
6 tbsp maple syrup
6 tbsp cashew butter
4 tbsp coconut oil
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius (180 fan).
Place the oats in a large mixing bowl.
Mash the bananas with a fork and add them to a saucepan along with the maple syrup, cashew butter and coconut oil. Heat gently until the mixture forms a liquid.
Pour the liquid over the oats and stir well, so that the oats are fully covered.
Grease a baking tray with coconut oil or line with parchment paper. Transfer the mixture to the tray, pressing down firmly to compact it.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top starts to brown.
Leave to cool in the tray before slicing up into flapjacks of your preferred size.
These were some little pastries I whipped up during a Mother’s Day brunch we had at our parents’ house a couple of weeks ago – and they were just lovely. The heat from the pepper was perfectly offset with the sweetness from the onions and the parmesan was just the right thing to top it off. They are so easy to make and are the perfect finger food, so give them a go next time you’re entertaining a crowd, they’re sure to be a hit. The only tip I have is to chill the caramelised onions, so they keep their consistency better and don’t end up dripping all over the place. This recipe is from Afternoon Tea.
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
115g plain flour
60g butter, chilled and diced
1 tablespoon water
A few teaspoons of caramelized onions
15g parmesan cheese, grated
4.5-5cm cookie cutter
Crush the peppercorns with a pestle and mortar, then put in a food processor with the flour and a large pinch of salt. Pulse to combine, then add the butter and process for about 20 seconds, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. With the motor running, gradually add the water until the mixture comes together into a dough. If necessary, add a drizzle more water. Press the pastry into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill for about 15 minutes.
Roll out the pastry onto a lightly floured surface to about 5mm thick. Cut out rounds with a biscuit cutter, using all of the excess. Arrange on the baking sheet, prick with a fork and bake at 190 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Spoon caramelized onion onto the pastry discs, then top with parmesan.
225g (8oz) butter (room temperature), plus extra for greasing
350g (12oz) light muscovado sugar
4 large eggs
50g (1¾oz)cocoa powder, sifted
250g (9oz) self-raising flour
100g (3½oz)white chocolate, melted (for topping)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C/350°F/Gas 4). Grease a large traybake tin and line with baking parchment.
Place the butter, sugar, eggs, cocoa powder and flour in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on a low speed for approximately 3 minutes, or with a wooden spoon for a little longer, until smooth.
Spoon the mixture into the tin, spreading evenly, and bake for approximately 40 minutes, covering with foil for the final 10 minutes.
Test to see if they are cooked by inserting a knife into the brownie, and if it comes out clean, the brownies are ready. Leave to cool slightly before turning the brownie onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cool, melt the white chocolate and zig-zag over the top of the brownie. Once dry, cut into 12 squares.
Adapted from a recipe in Mary Berry’s Cookery Course.