Recipe Post: Triple Chocolate Scones

So here we have another tried and tested recipe from the National Trust’s Book of Scones.  Now readers, I followed the recipe to the letter and whilst they looked ok, they were pretty dry and needed more chocolate.  Despite smelling divine during the mixing process this didn’t translate through to the bake.  On reflection, I’m probably going to stick with the more traditional fruit based scone.  If you get better results, do let me know 🙂

 

 

 

What you need for approx 10 large scones:

500g self-raising flour
70g cocoa powder
1 heaped tsp baking powder
70g soft brown sugar
140g butter, cubed
115g white chocolate drops
115g milk chocolate drops
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
Approx 200ml milk

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 190°c.  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and sugar into a mixing bowl.
  • Add the butter and rub in using your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add 75g of each of the chocolate drops and stir in.
  • Make a well in the middle of the mixture, add the eggs and vanilla.
  • Gradually add the milk to make a damp dough.
  • Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 4cm thick.
  • Stamp out the scones using an 8cm cutter and place on the baking tray.  Brush the tops with milk.
  • Bake for approx 16-18 minutes.
  • Melt the remaining white and chocolate drops and drizzle over the scones.  This was a disaster, the chocolate would just not drizzle nicely!

I wasn’t sure what the best thing to serve chocolate scones with is – maybe clotted or whipped cream or smothered in custard so you can’t taste how dry they are 🙂 and next time I still need to roll the dough out thicker and more evenly – some of them were a little on the slim side!

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Recipe Post: Blueberry and Lemon Scones

Hey…I’m back with a novice baker baking blog on this fine Sunday! My lovely daughter bought me the National Trust Book of Scones for Christmas and this is my first tried and tested recipe from that book.

This blueberry and lemon scone recipe is a favourite of Hanbury Hall and Gardens in Worcestershire.  I visited here back in April 2015 but can’t recall if I sampled their scones.

So…is it scone to rhyme with cone, or scone to rhyme with gone?  I tend to sway to cone myself 🙂

 

What you need for approx 10 large scones:

500g self-raising flour
125g caster sugar
125 butter (diced)
Zest of 1 lemon
100g blueberries
150ml milk

To decorate, if required
100g icing sugar
Lemon juice

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 190°c.  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Sift the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl.
  • Add the butter.
  • With your fingertips rub together until it looks like breadcrumbs.  I tried using the dough hook on my freestanding mixer but it didn’t work so I had to use the old-fashioned method!
  • Add the lemon zest and blueberries, stir in.
  • Add the milk a little at a time to make a soft dough.
  • Turn out onto lightly floured surface and roll out to approx 3cm thick.
  • Stamp out your scones using a 7cm cutter and place on baking tray.  I brushed on a little milk here.
  • Bake for approx 12 – 18 minutes until golden brown.  Mine took the full 18.
  • Cool on a wire tray.
  • If required, make some lemon icing by mixing the icing sugar with the lemon juice and drizzle over the cooled scones.
  • Serve with a cuppa 🙂

These lightly-scented lemon scones are really delicious.  I wasn’t sure whether to serve them with butter and jam etc as you normally would a scone but I decided to go without.  Wise decision as they weren’t dry and didn’t need the butter/jam added.  Next time I need to roll the dough out thicker and more evenly – some of them were a little on the slim side!

Until next time…Happy Baking!

Eton Mess Cake

This recipe is courtesy of the BBC Good Food website which I picked as I had some end of life strawberries to use up and was perfect for afternoon tea with the family when they recently visited.

What you need:

225g plain flour
100g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
200g golden caster sugar
175g unsalted butter
5 tbsp double cream
1 tsp vanilla
5 large eggs
400g strawberries – ½ roughly chopped, ½ finely sliced
4 meringues nests (roughly broken up)
Sprinkle of icing sugar, to serve

What you do:

  1. Grease and line a deep traybake tin (ideally 20x30cm, although mine isn’t quite that).  Heat your oven to 160°c.
  2. Melt the butter then take off the heat and stir in the cream and the vanilla.
  3. Mix the flour, almonds, baking powder and ¼ tsp fine salt and set aside.
  4. Put the caster sugar and eggs into a large bowl, and whisk with electric whisk until very thick and foamy, this takes about 5-6 mins.
  5. Pour in the butter mix, whisk, then add the flour mix and whisk briefly again until mixed.
  6. Stir in the chopped strawberries, then pour the batter into the tin and level the top.
  7. Sprinkle the sliced strawberries and meringue over the cake.
  8. Bake for 40-45 mins until risen and a skewer comes out clean.  I did end up increasing my oven’s heat to 180°c for the final 15 mins as it wasn’t baking or rising.
  9. Cool for 20 mins in the tin, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  10. Serve with a sprinkle of icing sugar if required.

There’s nothing particularly healthy or reduced anything about this recipe so I had a day off from the dieting plan!

Until next time….happy baking!

#Recipe – Apple & Cranberry Traybake

So, who’s watching the new series of the Great British Bake Off then? Me, me, me! I admit, I miss Mary in particular but I’m not bothered who’s presenting it as long as it’s on the tele, ok the adverts are a pain but does anyone watch live tv anymore? That’s why we have recorders (or whatever they’re called).  Anyway, this week was fruity cake week and they were warned that they’re hard to get right.  And oh weren’t they right.

I was given a windfall of fruit this week, mostly apples and rhubarb so then went scouring the Weight Watchers site for a suitable recipe (because I’m still on that diet..sorry lifestyle change) or something that I could adapt and therein lay the problem – I thought I could adapt an established recipe and get away with it and so , I could have named this post several titles: Recipe for Disaster, When Things Don’t Go To Plan, How to Waste Time and Food or Disaster Baking to name but a few.

If you’re interested this is the recipe:

You need:
50g caster sugar
100g low fat spread (I used Flora light)
1 medium egg
250g apple sauce (chunky, from a jar)
150g white self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp level ground cinnamon
40g dried cranberries
2 medium apples, cored and thinly sliced

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to gas 4 or fan 160°c.  Line a rectangular baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  • Keep back 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar for topping the cake later, beat the remainder with the low fat spread until creamy.
  • Add the egg and the apple sauce and beat again.
  • Sift in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix well.
  • Stir in the cranberries, then turn into the prepared tin.
  • Arrange the apples on top in four rows.  Sprinkle on the reserved sugar.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes .
  • Cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then turn out onto cooling rack and cut into 16 squares.

Now, I had so many apples and was looking for a way to reduce the calories so I thought hey I’ll make my own apple sauce! Good hey! I used about 8 apples of varying sizes and types, peeled, cored and sliced into chunks, put them in a saucepan with about 1/4 pint water and 50g caster sugar, boiled, then simmered until the apples were mushy.  This was a success! Yummy apple sauce.

The cake was a disaster!

I substituted the jarred apple sauce for my own, ensuring all excess water was drained off and swapped the cranberries for a bit of rhubarb.  Sounds ok doesn’t it? Nothing too dramatic going on here!

What I wanted

What I Got

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My cake didn’t rise, it took over an hour to ‘bake’ (after I’d taken it out and then put it back in) and it looked vile.  I did try a bit and whilst it was edible I wasn’t prepared to serve it up to my work colleagues.

So what went wrong?

The oven probably needed to be at a higher temperature other than that I don’t know.

So let’s hope for something better next time….

Fatless Victoria Sponge #Recipe

Continuing my baking theme of trying to find healthier baking alternatives, here’s a fatless Victoria sponge recipe that I’ve tried and tested recently and served up for my book club.  It was touch and go whether or not the middle of the cake would be edible and I did make a quick trip to the shop for emergency cake just in case!

What you need:

150g self-raising flour
150g caster sugar
6 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract*
No added sugar strawberry jam
Strawberries*
1 tsp icing sugar to decorate
Frylight (or alternative low calorie cooking spray) for greasing

*optional extras

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 170°c.  Using Frylight grease and line 2 x 7″ baking tins with greaseproof paper.
  • Using the whisk attachment on a free-standing mixer whisk together the eggs and sugar until the mixture has tripled in size.  This does take a good 7-10 minutes – keep going, it does happen!
  • Carefully fold in the flour with a metal spoon – try to knock out as little air as possible to ensure a good rise.  However, be aware that although you think you’re mixing the flour in, it will also sink to the bottom so be sure to mix to the bottom of the bowl!  This happened to me and I had to mix in the flour in the baking tin – oops!
  • Divide the mixture between the 2 prepared tins.
  • Bake for approximately 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown.
  • Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack.
  • Spread one sponge with the jam, add the strawberries if required.
  • Put the other sponge on top and sprinkle with icing sugar to decorate.

Results

Fortunately there was only one pocket of flour discovered in the cake so that was better than I expected and I didn’t need the emergency cake supplies after all.  As the cake is so light it will take on the shape of whatever you put in so mine wasn’t a perfect circular shape due to the greaseproof paper folding in slightly.

If you’re following the Weight Watchers plan, as am I, then I managed to get 9 pieces from this cake and pointed it at 8 points per slice.  A shop bought slice of Victoria Sponge ranges between 6 and 30 SmartPoints depending on shop and portion size so I’m quite happy with this at 8 points as it was a good sized piece and no sacrifice made in terms of taste.

I’m struggling to find a fat and sugar free sponge recipe so if anyone has one please do let me know.

Until next time…Happy Baking!