Recipe Post: Old School Chocolate Tarmac / Chocolate Concrete / Chocolate Crunch

I think this old school cake has a different name depending on where you went to school and when.  I know it as Chocolate Tarmac, or just plain old Tarmac.  If you’ve not experienced this cake before then you’ve missed out.  The only way I can describe it like a chocolate shortbread but less biscuit like, and more cake like – great description huh!!

What you need:

1 greased and lined 8″ sandwich tin
200g plain flour
200g granulated sugar
50g cocoa powder (don’t be tempted to use hot chocolate powder)
100g butter

 

 

What you do:

  • Preheat your oven to 180°c.
  • In a mixing bowl mix the flour, sugar and cocoa.
  • Melt the butter (either on a hob or in microwave) and add to your dry ingredients.
  • Using your fingers rub in the butter until you have a crumble consistency.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and pat it down so it becomes compacted.
  • Bake for 20 mins.
  • Sprinkle on a little extra sugar, if required, straight out of the oven.

Serve as a dessert à la school with chocolate or pink custard or on its own with a nice cup of tea!

Not gonna lie this is the one of the best things I’ve baked in flippin’ ages and got the thumbs up from my overly cake fussy daughter!

Do you remember having this at school? If so, what did you call it? 

Until next time…Happy Baking!

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: Weight Watchers Breakfast Bread (or French Toast / Eggy Bread to you and me)

Whatever you call it, be it Eggy Bread or French Toast this quick breakfast is great for a weekend treat (especially as I adapted from savoury to sweet!).  Ok, so not technically a bake but still this is a tried, tested and adapted Weight Watchers recipe.  I fancied something different for my brekkie and the Weight Watchers app does have lots of recipe inspiration and this fitted what I had in the fridge.

What you need:

Makes 4 servings

4 eggs
4 slices Weight Watchers thick wholemeal bread
4 tbsp skimmed milk
Low calorie frying spray (e.g Frylight)
Vanilla essence, if required
Cinnamon, if required

What you do:

  • Lightly beat the eggs and milk together.
  • Add some vanilla and cinnamon if required, mix.
  • Put the bread in a shallow dish and cover with the egg mixture.  Allowing to soak in….repeat for all slices of bread.
  • Mist a large frying pan with cooking spray and heat.
  • Fry the bread until golden.  Recipe states 2-3 minutes, realistically this took mine closer to 12 minutes.

I’ve never made this before and it was really quick and easy, however the cooking spray is not ideal for getting a golden brown or stopping the bread stick to the pan.  Next time, I think I’ll sacrifice 1 of my daily points and use oil instead.  In all honesty, I didn’t think I was going to like it as I don’t like fried eggs.  However, they were really quite yummy.  I do surprise myself sometimes.

I served my Eggy Bread with a couple of teaspoons of vanilla yoghurt and some fresh blueberries.  Next time, I’ll add cinnamon.

If you are following the Weight Watchers Flex plan, these equate to 2 points per slice!

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!