Gruffalo Biscuits (recipe)

In case you haven’t noticed, World Book day is almost upon. Here is my very easy and most favourite chocolate biscuit recipe with a little Gruffalo twist.

IMG_20150305_122602980

You need:

225g Margarine/Butter

115g Caster Sugar

225g Self raising Flour

2 tbsp (tablespoon) Cocoa Powder

1tsp (teaspoon) Vanilla Extract

50g Flacked Almonds

Pre-heat your oven to 180oC and grease a baking tray.

  1. Cream the margarine and sugar together until well mixed. Add vanilla extract.
  2. Stir in the flour and cocoa powder. It should now be thicker than a paste but more sticky than a dough.
  3. Roll into small balls (you should be able to make 16-20) and place them spaced out on your baking tray (you may need a couple of trays depending on size). Push down gently with your fingers so they are a little less ball like and more biscuit like (you can see the ridges in the picture). These do spread in the oven so don’t completely flatten them.
  4. Now it’s time to add the claws. Take 3 flacks of almond and put them into the front of the biscuit. Repeat until you have ‘clawed’ all of the biscuits.
  5. Bake in the oven for 13-15minutes. When they come out, leave them to cool for 5 minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack. They need time to set slightly. If you try and lift them off too early, they will crumble (if they do crumble, they make a really nice crumbly ice-cream topping, so it’s not the end of the world!).

There you have it. Your own Gruffalo Paw Biscuits!

IMG_20150305_122602980

My Kransekake Show Stopper

In honour of the Great British Bake Off final tonight I thought I’d share with you my favourite bake.

IMG_20150314_130007763

This is a Kransekake. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a Scandinavian celebration celebration cake made, basically from marzipan. Yummy!

Last Christmas, they featured a recipe for this on the GBBO Christmas special. You can find the original here. I’ve made a few tweaks to the recipe, hopefully to make it nicer and a better size for a normal celebration. It’s probably worth noting here that you make it over two days but each stage is actually fairly quick and easy to do.

What you’ll need:

For the Kransekake:

250g Ground Almonds

250g Icing Sugar

2 Egg Whites

2 teaspoons Almond Extract

Clingfilm

Kransekake Tins (this is ideal but you can try and do it free hand)

For Icing:

300g Icing Sugar mixed into a thick paste with a little Almond Extract and Water

What to do:

First, make the dough by mixing the almonds, icing sugar, egg whites and almond extract together in a bowl.

IMG_20150313_120120665

(Sugar and Almonds)

IMG_20150313_120045905

(Add eggs and extract)

IMG_20150313_120632181

Work together until they make a kind of firm paste. Wrap in clingfilm and leave in fridge over night.

When you get it out the next day you will find that it’s firmed up. Prepare your tins by lightly greasing them; pre-heat the oven to 200oC and lightly dust an area to roll the dough out, with icing sugar.

IMG_20150314_094323693

Divide the dough into 3 pieces then divide those into 3 more rough pieces. Start rolling one piece into a sausage roughly the same width as your finger.

IMG_20150314_094410425

You want it to be the right length to go round the smallest ring in your tin. Put the remainder dough aside to use later (as the rings grow bigger, you need less dough at the beginning and more dough later).

IMG_20150314_095817236

Starting from the smallest rings in each tin, repeat until you have used up all the dough. I always have a little left over which I roll out and use as a tester piece (in other words, an excuse to sample the yummy cake without ruining it!). You won’t fill up all the rings on the tins but I’ve found this is more than enough for a party. Bake for 8-10min or until golden brown.

Leave to cool in tin until hard, then transfer to cooling rack.

Once completely cooled you can ice it. Make the icing and put it in a piping bag. I’ve done it before by dripping it from a teaspoon and it does work but you get a much nicer effect if you pipe it!

IMG_20150314_124736781

Apologises for the terrible picture, my camera gave up! Start with the largest ring and zigzag all the way round. Put the next largest ring on top (the icing below holds it in place, which is why it can’t be too runny). Repeat, working your way down (or rather building your cake up). At the end, if you want to, you can add extra decorations. Use the icing to stick it on.

IMG_20150314_130007763

Well there you have it. Your very own Kransekake. It really does taste as good as it looks!

Banana Cake

I’ve heard this called ‘Banana Loaf’, ‘Banana Bread’ and ‘Banana Cake’. Whatever you call it, there’s no getting away from the fact that it’s very yummy. It’s very easy to make which makes it perfect for doing with children and freezes well, meaning you can make it well in advance.

IMG_20140312_130319156Ingredients:

4oz  Margarine

6oz  Sugar (can be any kind. I use the Demerara sugar as I like the flavour)

8oz Self Raising Flour

2 Eggs

2 large or 3 medium Banana’s (it’s best to use very ripe, almost brown banana’s)

Pre-heat your oven to 180oC

IMG_20140312_105020029

Mash the banana’s in a bowl with a sturdy fork and then put to one side.

IMG_20140312_105342151-001

In a separate  bowl, cream the butter and sugar.

IMG_20140312_105442380Once it’s mixed together, add the eggs and mix.

IMG_20140312_105546953Then add the banana’s that you’ve already mashed.

IMG_20140312_105647131Mix together.

IMG_20140312_105803912Add the flour.

IMG_20140312_105842660Mix until it comes together.

IMG_20140312_110100780Put it in a loaf tin. If you aren’t using a silicone loaf tin like I am here, you will need to line your tin. I like my silicone tin as, as long as you are careful, you can ease it out without needing to line it. It’s worth noting that my tin won’t give you the perfect loaf shape as the sides move slightly.

IMG_20140312_130227890Cook for 40 minutes at 180 oC then turn the oven down to 150 oC and bake for further 30 minutes.

IMG_20140312_130319156Take out and turn out onto a cooling rack. Resist the temptation to eat it straight away (it smells really yummy)!