Saturday, 12 December 2015

Chocolate ginger fridge cake

A few months back I bought some crystallised stem ginger but still hadn't got around to using it yet. I saw it again in my baking drawer last week and noticed that it will soon go out of date. Ginger is a lovely warming spice this time of year so to use it in a bake in December is perfect. I came across this recipe from Good Food and I love fridge cake anyway, who doesn't?! But the addition of stem ginger plus the swap to ginger biscuits makes it totally different, but in a good way. A better way in my opinion.

Be warned though that if you don't like ginger biscuits or stem ginger then this definitely isn't for you. But as I love them both then this recipe is definitely in my top 10 favourite bakes. It may even be in my top 5!

Easy as pie to make, as are all fridge cakes, you can put this together quickly in the morning to serve up for tea time.

The ginger nut biscuits do take some effort to crush up, they're one of the hardest biscuits, so I recommend using a food processor and use the pulse button. You don't want fine crumbs, you definitely need some good chunky bits remaining.

300g ginger nut biscuits
300g dark chocolate
100g butter
100g golden syrup
140g crystallised stem ginger

Begin by lining an 8"x 8" baking tin with baking paper and get on with crushing the biscuits either by hand or in the food processor with the pulse button. Put into a large bowl. Chop up the stem ginger and add to the biscuits reserving some to put on the top of the finished fridge cake.

Put the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water and stir occasionally until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Pour it over the biscuit and ginger pieces and mix together well with a wooden spoon.

Tip into the tin and flatten out the mixture to the edges. Top with the remaining stem ginger and pop into the fridge to set (at least 2 hours) then cut into pieces. How small or big they are depends on you!

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Mincemeat & White Choc Traybake

This recipe is perfect if you like the flavours of mincemeat but can't quite eat a full mince pie. This is much more subtle in taste than a mince pie but is still very festively apt at this time of year.

The recipe is by this year's GBBO winner Nadiya and I was surprised to see it's made with plain flour and no rising agents. But I stuck with it. It does produce a slightly denser cake but with the mincemeat I think it worked well being a bit denser than I'm used to.

Give it a go and see what you think. I think this will feature next Christmas too for sure!

225g soft brown sugar
225g unsalted butter
4 eggs
200g mincemeat
Zest of one large orange
2 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp nutmeg powder
200g plain flour
100g white chocolate
100g double cream

Preheat the oven to 190/170c fan. Line and grease an 8" x 8" tin or a tin around this size you can find.

Cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one until well incorporated. Add the mincemeat and orange zest and mix well.

Sift the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg and add to the wet mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon until combined. Spoon into the tin and smooth out to level the top off.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean. While its cooling get on with the ganache.

Break the chocolate into a bowl. Boil the cream, add to the bowl of chocolate and stir until everything is well combined and the mixture is glossy. It will thicken on cooling then spread on top of the cooled cake.

Cut into slices and serve

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Christmas popcorn

Time to bake for my son's school Christmas fair and I've mulled over so many different ideas but while wrapping Christmas presents yesterday, I was watching Jamie Oliver and he was making Christmas popcorn. What a fab idea I decided.
I've not used anything like Jamie's recipe, which I'm sure is amazing and I've pinned to do another day, but I thought I'd have a go at my own recipe combining all my favourite Christmas spices.

I decided to use golden caster sugar as its a bit more caramelly than caster and dark brown sugar would be too much here. I also decided it would be fun to mix the popcorn up with Christmas edible sprinkles. You could choose whatever you wanted. And you don't need to stop there! You could add anything else in. Maybe so chocolate chips, dried cranberries or even some salty pretzel bits. The possibilities are endless.
I decided that it would look nice for the fair if I wrapped them up in sweet cone bags. I unfortunately don't have any nice ribbon in, but you could get some lovely Christmas ribbon and tie them up to give away as presents. This is one present I'd very much like to receive!

I made enough for 12 bags, so just half or quarter this quantity if you want to make it as a Christmas snack to munch on while you watch your favourite Christmas film.

300g corn kernels
200g golden caster sugar
2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Edible sprinkles

First you need to prepare the sugar mix. Measure out the sugar and add the spices and mix together.

I make the popcorn in two batches: Get a large pan with a lid and add a tablespoon of oil. Put on a high heat and add 150g corn kernels. Shake in the oil then leave a few minutes until it starts to pop. Be patient, it will happen. Shake the pan every 20 seconds or so to ensure as many kernels pop as possible but don't leave on the heat too long or you'll burn the popped kernels. Just listen until the pops become less frequent. Be careful taking the lid off and then pour over half the sugar mix. Shake the pan, it's a great workout, so all the popcorn becomes coated then tip into a large bowl. The sugar will melt and caramelise around some of the popcorn.

Repeat the above step to cook the second batch of popcorn kernels.

Add the sprinkles or extras of your choice then either bag up or eat straight away. Some of the sugar and sprinkles will settle at the bottom of the bowl so share that out between the bags before you tie them up.

Christmas popcorn. I don't think it actually gets any better!