Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars

 

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These delicious little squares of pure goodness are almost like jam tarts, with their pastry-like base and topping and the sweet layer of raspberry jam which always seems to taste so much better when it’s been cooked. The addition of oats makes them a little bit healthier and a whole lot yummier. They’re the perfect lazy day bake because they’re just so easy and take so little time – they’re also much too easy to eat. I made these on a Sunday morning – by the afternoon they were gone without so much as a crumb left on the plate, which for my family of three must be a record.

I’ve adapted this recipe from Elissa’s blog, 17 and Baking.

This recipe yields about 12 good-sized squares.

195g self-raising flour

95g light brown sugar

½ tsp salt

150g unsalted butter

1 tsp milk

120g oats

200g jam

 

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 9”x9” baking dish.

Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and using a handheld electric whisk, mix on a low speed until a dough starts to form, then add the milk.

Knead in the oats until well combined.

Put a cupful of dough to the side – this is what will serve as the crumble topping. Press the rest of the dough evenly into the dish.

Spread the jam evenly over the top. If this stage proves difficult, you can try warming the jam for a few seconds in the microwave. Crumble the reserved dough evenly over the top.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 20-25 minutes (or until the topping is golden) and cool completely in the dish on a rack. Use a knife to loosen the sides before lifting out and cutting into bars on a board.

 

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Blueberry and Soured Cream Loaf

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This loaf tastes great whilst being really quick and easy to make. The soured cream gives it a slight cream-cheesy tanginess and the blueberries add extra flavour and moisture. It’s normal for the blueberries to sink during baking as you can see from the pictures so don’t worry if that happens to you. It also keeps very well for a few days without drying out.
Once again, this recipe is adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery’s Cake Days, which you can buy here. I promise I’ll start posting recipes from other sources soon!

Serves 8-10

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Ingredients
• 190g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
• 190g caster sugar
• 3 eggs
• 190g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 35ml soured cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 125g fresh blueberries

Recipe
Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease your loaf tin with butter and dust with flour.

Using a hand-held electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together until lighter in colour and fluffy. Break in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each is added and ensure that you scrape the sides of the bowl often to make sure all of the ingredients are well incorporated.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together before adding to the creamed mixture in three batches, lightly mixing until just combined. Add the soured cream and stir the blueberries in gently, making sure that they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the sponge is firm and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for a short while, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies

As promised, here is another recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery book Cake Days. After many attempts at making cookies that invariably ended in a hot mess on a baking tray, I tried this recipe and had great success with it. The batter isn’t runny like many others I’ve tried and holds its shape while baking, leading to lovely and round cookies. To make them slightly softer and chewier, I used dark brown sugar in place of light brown. You can adjust the amount of cranberries and white chocolate chips that you use according to your personal taste – I didn’t want mine to be too sweet so used smaller quantities than recommended by the original recipe.

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I got 8 large cookies from this recipe.

  • 135g unsalted butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 80g soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 190g plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon (I left this out)
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 60g dried cranberries
  • 60g white chocolate

Recipe
Preheat the oven to 170°C and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

Using a whisk, cream the butter and two types of sugar together until smooth and well-combined before breaking in the egg and adding the vanilla essence. Mix well.

Sift the flour, salt, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda together, then add half of this to the butter and sugar mixture and mix by hand. Add the second half and continue mixing until a dough forms. Finally stir in the cranberries and white chocolate.

Break off pieces of the dough and roll into balls about 3-4cm. Place on the baking sheets, making sure to leave enough space between balls for them to spread out whilst in the oven. I’d recommend putting no more than six cookies on each baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. As soon they turn light golden on top, remove from the oven and leave for a few minutes, then place on a cooling rack – they should solidify as they cool, which gives them a chewy texture.

cookies

Enjoy!

 

 

Boston Cream Cupcakes

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As soon as I laid eyes on this recipe, I knew I had to try it! Taking flavour inspiration from the Boston cream pie, these light vanilla sponges are filled with a vanilla custard and topped with rich chocolate frosting. Although the typical method of creaming butter and sugar together first to incorporate air isn’t used here, the cakes are amazingly airy and delicate, and as an added bonus (as if I needed to say more) they stay wonderfully moist in an airtight container for a good few days – I actually thought they tasted better the day after I baked them.

I discovered these beauties in Cake Days, a book of recipes from the brilliant Hummingbird Bakery, which you can purchase here.  It’s full of really interesting flavour combinations and I can guarantee that I’ll be posting many more recipes from the book on this blog in the weeks to come!

NB: If you prefer your frosting to be less sweet, simply change the ratio of icing sugar to cocoa powder, but make sure that the two quantities should still add up to 500g.

 

Makes about 12-16 Cupcakes

 

For the sponge:

•80g unsalted butter, softened

•280g caster sugar

•240g plain flour

•1 tbsp baking powder

•¼ tsp salt

•240ml whole milk

•2 large eggs

•1 tsp vanilla extract

 

For the filling:

•250ml whole milk

•½ tsp vanilla extract

•2 large egg yolks

•50g caster sugar

•1 tbsp plain flour

•1 tbsp corn flour

 

For the frosting:

•400g icing sugar

•100g cocoa powder

•160g unsalted butter, softened

•80ml whole milk

 

Equipment

•One or two 12-hole muffin tins

•Piping bag

•Muffin cases

 

Recipe

Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a muffin tin with cupcake cases.

Using a hand-held electric whisk, mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until the mixture starts to look like fine breadcrumbs.

Whisk the remaining ingredients in a jug, then pour in ¾ of this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed. Increase the speed to medium and keep mixing until the mixture becomes smooth and thick, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are incorporated. Add the remaining milk mixture and beat until combined and smooth.

Spoon the batter into the paper cases, filling them by two-thirds. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until well risen and springy to the touch, then leave to cool completely.

While the cupcakes are baking, make the filling. Pour the milk and vanilla extract into a saucepan and bring to the boil. In the meantime, whisk the rest of the ingredients by hand in a bowl until smooth and well combined.

Once the milk is boiling, remove the pan from the heat and pour 4-5 tablespoons of the mixture from it into the egg yolk mixture to loosen, then add this mixture to the pan of hot milk, stirring well.

Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, whisking constantly so that lumps do not form. Boil for at least a minute to make sure that the flour is cooked out completely. Once thickened, tip the custard into a bowl and leave to cool completely for 30-40 minutes.

To make the frosting, use an electric whisk to beat together the icing sugar, cocoa powder and butter at a low speed until it takes on a sandy texture. Add the milk slowly before increasing the speed to high and whisk until the frosting becomes soft and fluffy.

Using a sharp knife, make a hole in the centre of each cupcake about 2cm in diameter and 3cm deep, keeping the scooped-out pieces of sponge. Spoon the custard into the hole in each cake, then replace the sponge lid, trimming it to ensure the top is fairly level.

Smooth the frosting over the tops of the cupcakes with a a palette knife and add a swirl. Sprinkle with grated chocolate to decorate.

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Let me know how you get on if you try this recipe!