Thumbprint Biscuits

This is such a simple recipe, and perfect for kiddies to make.  Try your hand at this frugal, and exceedingly yummy recipe.  All in all, I think it cost approximately 45p to make 12 biscuits…

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Ingredients

50g butter – softened
75g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cap vanilla essence
100g plain flour
Jam / Nutella / Lemon Curd
Method
 
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line your baking tray with greaseproof paper.
2. Using the back of a large, wooden spoon, cream the butter in a large bowl, then add the sugar. Continue to cream together.
3. Add the egg yolk, and vanilla essence, and continue stirring with the wooden spoon.
4. Add the flour, part by part, and combine thoroughly. When it becomes difficult to mix, get your hands in there to form a dough ball.
5. “Pinch an inch”, and roll in to ball shapes. Place on the lined baking tray.
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6. Use your thumb, and press down in the middle of each ball, creating a well.
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7. Add a teaspoon full of your jam (or Nutella / lemon curd), ensuring that the mixture doesn’t overflow too much.
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8. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
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9. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the baking tray for approximately 5 minutes or so, before placing them on a cooling wire rack.
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10. Enjoy!!
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Peanut butter bites

I have to admit, I am not a fan of peanut butter.  Peanuts are ok, but when they’ve been made in to a spread, I’m not keen.  My husband and eldest son, on the other hand, love the stuff.

Several months ago, I tried out a recipe for peanut butter truffles, but they just weren’t the same as a regular truffle should be, so I changed the name to peanut butter bites.

This recipe is SO simple, and can be made using vegan friendly products (if you are a vegetarian / vegan).

There’s no baking involved, and very little “heat” needed, so give it a go.  I think it took me about an hour to make them – from start to finish; and the whole outcome cost less than £2.

If you have any fancy boxes, you could even pop a few of the bites in to a box, tie a ribbon around, and you have an amazing, homemade, frugal gift.

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Ingredients

270g (9.5oz) peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

40g (1.4oz) unsalted butter

140g (4.9oz) icing sugar

Chocolate (I used 300g / 10oz, but I had some left over)

Sprinkles (optional)

Method

  1. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  2. Ensure that you have enough room to fit the baking sheet in to your fridge – this is very important!
  3. Put your peanut butter and butter in to a microwavable bowl, and heat on full power for 15-30 seconds.  I checked after 15 and 20 seconds, but needed longer, so I allowed for the full 30.
  4. Transfer the butter mixture in to a mixing bowl, and mix thoroughly, until the butter and peanut butter have combined.
  5. Carefully sift in the icing sugar, bit by bit, and mix well.  I used about a third at a time.  Ensure that you have thoroughly mixed in the icing sugar to the butter mixture.
  6. Using your hands, break off a little of the peanut dough, and roll quickly in between your palms to make a ball, approximately 1 inch in diameter, and place each ball on to the lined baking sheet.  If, like mine, towards the end of the dough, it stops wanting to stick together, squeeze it a little in your palms to soften, and roll into a ball again.
  7. Place the baking sheet in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
  8. After about 20 minutes, break up the chocolate in to small pieces, and place in a glass bowl – be sure that the glass bowl can sit on the top of a pan of water.  The base of the bowl should not touch the water.
  9. Bring the pan of water to the boil, and allow the chocolate to melt completely.
  10. When the chocolate has fully melted, switch off the heat, and bring out the peanut butter bites from the fridge.
  11. Roll each bite in the melted chocolate, allowing any excess chocolate to drip off.  I used two forks, and gently tapped the fork on the edge of the glass bowl to allow the excess chocolate to come away.
  12. Place the now chocolate covered bites back on to the baking sheet, and repeat until you have covered all peanut bites.
  13. When you have completed covering the bites, if you wish, you can cover them in sprinkles, or (as I did) just sprinkle a couple on the very top.
  14. Return to the fridge for approximately 20 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.

Enjoy!

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Shortbread & Coconut Shortbread

It’s Gnings’ last day in school tomorrow, as he is breaking up for Christmas.  I can’t believe how quickly it has come around!

I’ve been struggling for ideas on what he should give to his teacher, and two teaching assistants, as a gift for Christmas; and with money being a bit tight too (I’m still on maternity leave), I didn’t really want to spend a lot.  So I thought, everyone loves biscuits, so that’s what we’ll do.  And that’s what we did!

I think I managed to make about 50 stars, and 35 “gingerbread” biscuits.  The stars cost approx. 50p, and the “gingerbread” ones about 75p.

Here’s the recipe:~

125g butter, softened

55g caster sugar

180g plain flour (all-purpose)

OPTIONAL – (1tbsp desiccated coconut)

Drop of water

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C (170C for fan assisted).
  2. Line a baking tray (or two) with greaseproof paper.
  3. Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and cream together, using the back of a large, wooden spoon.
  4. Sift in all of the flour, in one go, and stir it all together using the spoon (this is also the part where you will add the coconut – if you are going to.  This worked absolutely wonderfully).  When you’re unable to stir any more, use one of your hands to start “bringing the mixture together”, in to a dough.
  5. Add just a drop or two of water – just enough so the mixture starts to meld nicely.  Don’t add too much, otherwise it’ll end up all sticky, and icky.
  6. Once the dough has formed a lovely ball, turn out on to a work surface, that has had a ‘scattering’ of icing sugar (powdered / confectioners sugar), and roll out with a rolling pin, so that it’s about 1cm thick.
  7. Cut out your required shape(s) – squares, rectangles, circles, stars, etc. – and place on the lined baking tray.
  8. Lightly prick the top of the biscuits with a fork, and sprinkle a little more caster sugar on the top of each.
  9. Throw them in the oven (well, not literally) for 15-20 minutes, or until a golden brown colour.
  10. Allow to cool fully before digging in.  Be careful though!  They are incredibly moreish.

Excuse the pics – my camera is playing up a little 😦

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And this is how I packaged them up – all ready for Gningy to take in to school tomorrow:

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Homemade Toad in the Hole

Ooo, you’re in for a treat today, stalkers.  Today I’m making a ‘Toad in the Hole’ from scratch…  No cheating here!  I have even made the batter from scratch today 🙂

If you’re curious as to what a “Toad in the Hole” is, simply keep scrolling…  Or, you can always Google for pictures.  No, it’s not an actual frog in a hole…  It’s pork sausages baked inside a Yorkshire pudding.  And it’s so easy and cheap to make…  It’s also a family favourite.

Ingredients

8 pork link sausages

Oil (vegetable, olive, sunflower…  The choice is yours)

100g plain flour

1 egg

150ml water

150ml milk (full fat / whole milk is best)

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 220C (200C for fan assisted).
  • If required, separate your sausages, and line in the base of an oven proof dish, ensuring enough of a gap in between each sausage.
  • Drizzle about a tablespoon of oil over the sausages.

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  • Place in to the oven for about 20 minutes or so, until the sausages have started to brown.
  • Now it’s time to make the batter!  Sieve the flour in to a mixing bowl, and make a ‘well’ in the middle.
  • Crack the egg in to the well, and mix lightly.
  • Add the milk and water slowly to the flour mixture, stirring constantly.  I put the water and milk in to a jug, and poured in to the flour mix whilst using an electric whisk.  The mixture should be of a creamy texture when it’s all combined.

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  • When the sausages are cooked, quickly pour the flour mixture over the top of the sausages, and return to the oven for a further 30-40 minutes.

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  • The batter mix should be a lovely golden brown colour when done.

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  • Serve one its’ own or with a yummy gravy.  Enjoy x

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Sweet Egg Bread Breakfast

As Donut was kind enough to wait until 7am to wake up (very proud), I gave him his bottle, and I wondered what I should make for breakfast this morning.

I have a tendency to buy eggs, pop them in the fridge (although, technically, you shouldn’t store eggs in the fridge – they should be kept at room temperature – it’s just that my kitchen is SO hot!) and then forget all about them.  What usually happens next is that I fancy a fried or scrambled egg, so I go to the fridge, and then cringe as I look at the “use by” date.

Today was no exception…  I opened the fridge, and I starred at the five eggs that were sitting in the fridge.  They were still in date, as I had only purchased them on Thursday evening.  I realised that I had also only 6 rounds of bread left…  Now breakfast is an easy choice when you have these essential ingredients.

If you use 2 rounds per person, this breakfast costs approx. 50p per person.

Ingredients

1 egg per person

Splash of milk

1 or 2 rounds of bread per person

A good portion of cinnamon / sweet mixed spice powder (I only have sweet mixed spice)

Splash of oil (for frying)

Golden or Maple Syrup

Method

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and a good sprinkling of your powdered cinnamon (or sweet mixed spice).
  2. Place enough oil in a frying pan, and heat gently.
  3. Dip the bread – one round at a time – in to the egg mixture, and place in the frying pan.  Sprinkle a little more of the powdered cinnamon (or sweet mixed spice) on to the bread.  **Note:  Do not “dip” more than one round of bread at a time in to the egg mixture unless you have enough room in your frying pan.
  4. Allow to fry for approx. 2 minutes, then turn over.  Add a touch more powdered cinnamon (or sweet mixed spice) to the round of bread, then allow to fry for another 2 minutes.  Turn over once more to quickly “seal” in the powdered cinnamon (or sweet mixed spice).
  5. Place on your plate, and serve either on its’ own, or with a lashing of golden / maple syrup.

This dish is best served hot 🙂

I ended up with excess egg mixture at the end, so I just put a drop more oil in the pan and poured the egg mix directly in.  It was like a sweet omelette.  Again, I poured a little of the syrup over the finished dish.

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Golden Syrup Sponge

After contemplating our finances, and wondering what we can do to keep our outgoings down, I decided that the cheapest way we can all have our cake and eat it too (literally) would be to make our own treats.

Here’s a gorgeously light and fluffy cake, that takes about 40 minutes from start to finish, and I worked out that it cost about 45p to make.

Ingredients

100g soft brown sugar

200g butter or marg, softened

2 eggs

2 tablespoons solden syrup

200g self-raising flour

Vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 170C (150C for fan assisted).
  2. Grease your cake tin and line the bottom with a sheet of baking paper, or line your cupcake tray with paper cases.
  3. Cream together the butter and sugar.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, golden syrup and a few drops of vanilla essence, then pour in to the butter-sugar mix.
  5. Using a large, metal spoon, fold in the flour, a small amount at a time.  To ensure a fluffy cake, sprinkle the flour from a height.
  6. Pour the mix in to your cake tin / paper cases.
  7. OPTIONAL – Sprinkle a little more soft, brown sugar or coloured sprinkles on the top of the cake(s).
  8. Place in the preheated oven for approximately half an hour, or until a skewer (or sharp knife) comes out clean.
  9. Allow the cake to cool slightly in the tin (approximately 10 minutes) before turning out on to a cooling rack (don’t forget to remove the baking paper from the base).

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Such a quick and easy recipe, and a major hit with the hubby and my Gning 🙂

Custom Chocolate Slabs – Pic Heavy

This is certainly one of the easiest recipes ever!!!  They are so simple to make, and take about 15 minutes to do (apart from the cooling time).  Just imagine the possibilities…

I am also pleased to announce that making these 2 chocolate bars in to 4 extravagant chocolate slabs cost me about 90p in total!!  Much cheaper than buying a bar of Dairy Milk, or a Mars bar…

Ingredients

Chocolate (white, milk or dark) – I used 2 bars of Asda’s own brand dark chocolate

Toppings (sugar sprinkles, hundreds & thousands, raisins, nuts, chilli flakes, mini marshmallows, etc.)

Method

1.  Place a glass bowl on top of a pan filled with water.  Ensure that the bottom of the glass bowl does NOT touch the water.  Line a baking tray, or somewhere flat (I used a glass cutting board this time around) with baking / greaseproof paper.

2.  Break your chocolate in to small pieces, and place in the glass bowl.  Turn up the heat.

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3.  Using a metal spoon, constantly stir the chocolate until it is fully melted.  **You need to keep stirring, as the chocolate can, and will burn if you leave it to its’ own devices.  **The glass bowl will get VERY hot, so ensure that you are using an oven glove / tea-towel to secure as you stir.

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4.  Once fully melted, using the metal spoon, scoop out the melted chocolate on to the baking / greaseproof paper in to slabs…  Try to ensure that the slabs are not too thick, as you don’t want to wait around forever for them to set afterwards.

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5.  As soon as you have used all of the chocolate up, get the glass bowl in soak, quickly…  Trying to wash dried on chocolate is not as fun as it sounds.

6.  Decorate your chocolate slabs as you see fit – whether you use dried fruit, nuts, sprinkles, chilli flakes, etc.

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(the sweet mixed spice was being mixed gently in to the chocolate here)

7.  Allow the slabs to cool for a minimum of 30 minutes…

8.  Peel off the baking / greaseproof paper and enjoy x