Peanut Brittle – Recipe

So simple to make, especially for a quick and easy make, but a bit of a nightmare to clean the pan afterwards!

If you are looking for a traditional peanut brittle recipe, look no further.  This recipe literally has only two ingredients…  Suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and is also (relatively) healthy.

Ingredients

 

120g granulated or caster sugar

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120g peanuts (shelled and “skinned”)

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The above ingredients are so versatile…  It is literally the same amount of sugar to peanuts, or you can really push the boat out and use cashews (yummy)!

Method

  • Line a baking tray with greaseproof / baking paper.

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  • Measure out your sugar, and put in a thick-based saucepan, over a low-medium heat.  Try not to stir the sugar until it starts turning in to liquid…  Instead, move the pan in a circular motion to move the sugar around.

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  • When the sugar starts to melt, it will start turning in to a caramel colour…  Stir, using a metal spoon until all of the sugar has completely melted.

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  • Turn off the heat, and remove the pan to a “cool”, but heat-proof surface.
  • Add the peanuts directly to the syrup that you have made, and continue stirring, until all the peanuts have melded together, and it becomes difficult to stir any more.

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  • Spoon the mixture out on to the already lined baking tray.  Try to level out the mixture as you go, so it is only “one peanut high”.

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  • Leave to cool completely before you break it up to enjoy.

NOTE:

Melted sugar is basically lava.  DO NOT allow any children to come in to contact with it until it is fully cooled.

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My Nan’s Bread & Butter Pudding – Recipe

Talk about a comfort food!  This is a perfect pudding to make and enjoy, whilst waiting for Spring to turn up.  I know, I know – it’s officially Spring already, but it’s still chilly out there!

This recipe takes about 15 minutes to make, and then a further 45 minutes to “bake”.  I asked for the help of Gning with this one…

Ingredients

100g sugar

3-4 tsp sweet mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.)

4 eggs

1l milk (whole / full fat works best)

A few handfuls of sultanas

8 rounds of bread (approximately…  You may need more, depending on the size of the ovenproof dish you use)

Butter – to grease the ovenproof dish

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 190ºC (170ºC for fan assisted ovens).
  • Grease your ovenproof dish with butter.
  • Measure out your sugar, and combine the sweet mixed spice, stirring thoroughly.  I assigned this task to Gning.
  • Measure out your milk, and crack the eggs straight in to it.  Use a whisk to combine it…  This was another task assigned to Gning.

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  • (Optional) cut all the crusts off the bread.
  • Butter one side of each round of bread, and slice in half – side or diagonally, your choice.  Fill the bottom of the ovenproof dish with the sliced bread (butter “up”).
  • I asked Gning to sprinkle some of the sugar mix over the bread, followed by a handful of sultanas.  Repeat this step until the ovenproof dish is full.
  • Pour the egg-milk mixture over the top of the layered bread, and allow to “soak” for 10-15 minutes.  Don’t worry if it looks like you have too much milk…  You don’t.  It will all set wonderfully.

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  • Place in the middle of the oven, and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Your pudding should be ready when it is a lovely golden colour.
  • Serve immediately – with or without cream; or you can leave the pudding to “set”, and serve it cold.  Yummy!

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Barbara’s Shortbread

An incredibly simple recipe, using only 3 ingredients.  Easy to make, and especially good for you to help kiddies make themselves!  A frugal recipe, that costs approximately 20p for 12 biscuits!

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Ingredients

2oz butter

1oz caster sugar, plus extra to finish

3oz plain flour

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C for fan assisted ovens).
  2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  3. Using the back of a wooden spoon, beat the butter and sugar together, until creamy.
  4. Stir in the flour, part by part, until fully combined.
  5. Turn the dough out on to a slightly floured work surface, and roll to approximately 1.5cm / ½ inch thick.
  6. Cut out “fingers”, or shapes, using cookie cutters, and place them on the lined baking tray.
  7. Optional: Using a fork, prick the shapes.
  8. Sprinkle the top of the biscuits with the left-over caster sugar, and chill for 20 minutes.
  9. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  10. Allow to cool on the tray, then enjoy!

 

Lush Fudge – Pic heavy

This is a very easy recipe, but can be rather tricky to master (as you can see in the photo documentation!!).

**WARNING – NOT recommended for diabetics!**

Ingredients:

397g can of condensed milk

150ml full fat (blue top) milk

450g brown sugar

115g butter

Optional –

Flavouring of your choice

Chocolate chips

Fruit of your choice

Nuts of your choice

Method:

1.  Line a 20cm square tin with baking / greaseproof paper.

2.  Put the condensed milk, milk, sugar and butter in to a large pan, on a low heat.  Stir constantly until all the sugar has melted.  (It doesn’t look very nice at this point, but don’t worry).  Blue nails are optional in this recipe 🙂

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3.  Turn the heat up and bring to the boil…  Do not stir at this point.

4.  Turn the heat down, so the mixture is now simmering, and stir constantly for 10 – 15 minutes.  Make sure that you are constantly scraping the bottom of the pan, as you don’t want the sugar mix to burn.DSCN0383

***WARNING – This mixture can be VERY hot, and WILL burn you if it touches you when it spits.  I speak from experience***

5.  If you have a sugar thermometer, test the temp for 118C.  If you do not have one, it’s still easy to check.  Simply put a drop of the mixture in to a jug of ICE COLD water – a soft ball of fudge should form.

6.  If you want to add any of the optional ingredients, do it now.

7.  When it’s ready, remove from the heat, and beat constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and begins to set.  This should take approximately 10 minutes.

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8.  You now have to work VERY quickly, and pour the mixture in to the prepared tin.

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9.   Leave to cool before cutting in to squares.  The cooling and setting should take approx 1 hour.

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As you can see, mine didn’t turn out quite as I would have liked it to.  However…  It still tasted nice – the hubby and the Gning certainly like it – and it was my first time!

Cooking up a storm…

So today I decided that I was going to have a baking day.

I had wanted to make cupcakes for a while now, and with it being Easter weekend, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to make my Easter nest cupcakes…  But that wasn’t good enough for me.  So I made some giant meringues too!

So here’s the cupcakes:

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And another shot up close…

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Here’s how to make them:

Cupcakes:

Preheat your oven to 150C (for fan assist)

Place paper cupcake cases in a cupcake tin (I made 24 with this amount)

In a large mixing bowl, add 8oz self-raising flour, 8oz caster sugar, 8oz butter, 4 large (free range) eggs and 3 caps of lemon flavouring.

Whisk it all together using an electric mixer.  Once it is all creamed together, scoop evenly in to the cupcake cases.

Bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes (remember the skewer test!  The skewer must come out clean).

Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Butter frosting:

Cream 5oz butter in a large mixing bowl.

Add 10oz icing sugar, spoon by spoon, and ensure all is mixed together thoroughly.

Scoop in to a piping bag, then pipe a ‘nest’ on the top of each cake.

Add one, two or three Cadbury’s mini eggs in the middle.

Ta-da!!

So how about my giant meringues?  They’ve turned out super scrummy!!

Let’s do the ‘how to’ first, as I do have a couple of pictures along the way…

What you need:

4 large egg (you’ll only need the whites)

4oz caster sugar

4oz icing sugar

Here’s what to do:

Preheat the oven to 100C (fan assisted).  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Place the 4 egg whites in a large mixing bowl.  Using an electric whisk on a medium speed, whisk them until they appear ‘stiff’.

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Keep going until you are confident enough to do the ‘head test’.  This is where you hold the bowl, upsidedown, over your head.  Don’t worry!  The mixture should be stiff enough not to move, and it will form little ‘peaks’ when you lift the mixture with a spoon / whisk.

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Now it’s time to add the caster sugar.  You can turn the electric whisk to a high speed now.  Add the sugar, one spoonful at a time.

Keep mixing until the egg whites look ‘silky’ and smooth.

You can now get rid of the whisk and grab a large metal spoon.

Add the icing sugar, bit by bit, and use the large metal spoon to ‘fold’ the icing sugar in.

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Once complete, the mixture should look ‘silky’ and smooth, but you shouldn’t see any powder residue…

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Spoon the mixture directly on to the grease-proof lined baking tray, in ‘blobs’.  Or, if you’re feeling artistic, fill up your piping bag, and create little ‘wisps’, or clouds, or nests…

Pop the trays in the oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Do *NOT* open the oven door during this time-frame.

When your timer goes off, ‘tap’ on the meringues.  They should sound hollow, and be a creamy / golden brown colour.

Ta-da!  Done.

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And just to show you exactly how large these beasts were…

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Basic Vanilla Biscuit Recipe

I needed an alternative recipe to impress my work colleagues, and as it’s the middle of the year (and nowhere near Christmas), I didn’t think the spiced stained window biscuits would be suitable.  Instead, I have adapted the recipe to make a simple, basic, vanilla biscuit base for you to enjoy.  You can even add your own twist to them!  Suggestions for alternatives are lower down in this post…

Ingredients

250g butter, softened

140g caster sugar

1 egg yolk (from a large egg…  Sorry, you’ll have to waste the egg white on this one)

2tsp vanilla essence

300g plain flour

Decorations:  hard boiled sweets, sprinkles, chocolate chips, whatever you like!

Method

1.  Preheat your oven to 180C (170C for fan assisted).

2.  Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

3.  You’re supposed to use the back of a wooden spoon for all this, but I used an electric whisk on the slowest speed…  It worked perfectly fine 🙂  Cream the butter.

4.  Add the sugar and cream together.

5.  Add the egg yolk and vanilla essence .

6.  Gradually add the flour…  I continued to use my electric whisk with no problem here.  Towards the end of adding all of your flour, you will notice the mixture not sticking together…  It’s ok…  Now is the time to get your hands involved.

7.  Put some flour on your hands, and knead the dough together into a ball.

8.  On a floured workspace, roll out the dough to approx. 1cm thick.

9.  Use cookie cutters to cut out your biscuits, and lie them on the papered tray.  Alternatively, cut out your desired shape with a knife (careful!).

10.  Decorate your biscuits any way you please…  Push in the chocolate chips, sprinkle with sprinkles (ha!), cut out smaller shapes in the middle and add a hard boiled sweet…  Whatever you please, but bare in mind that whatever you decorate them with will be baked!

11.  Place in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes.

12.  If you’d like to decorate your biscuits with icing, ensure that they are fully cooled down before doing so.  This can take approx. 30 minutes.

Enjoy them!

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**Try adding lemon juice instead of vanilla essence…  Yummy

**  Replace 1 tablespoon of the flour for 1 table spoon of cocoa powder…  Mmmm