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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Happy blog birthday to me!

Rainbow cake to celebrate my blog's first birthday

Rainbow Cake

Not a recipe this one. Just a bit of a thank you, really. I’ve been writing this blog for a year now, and it makes me really happy. As much as anything it’s a great way for me to keep my recipes, but I do enjoy sharing my baking and this way I get to share it with all of you who read it.

Along the way, even before I started, there’ve been some people who’ve been super supportive and encouraging. I want to say a little thank you to a few. They’re all lovely folk, and you could do worse than follow them (on Twitter) or check out their blogs.

Firstly, The Ginger Bread Lad, one of my favourite baking bloggers, who was always so nice about my baking on Twitter and suggested I give blogging a go. Definitely one to watch, this one – I expect big things from him in the future. Have a look at his recipes here.

Then there’s Alice. Lovely Alice. Encouraging me to blog doesn’t really cover it. Nagged. Pestered. Bullied. Even came round my house and helped me get it working properly and gave me a 101 in WordPress. If you’re lucky enough to know Alice (and if you live in Brighton, I’d be surprised if you don’t, networking queen that she is), then her generosity of spirit knows no bounds. She’s also a good excuse for me to come up with more gluten-free baking. Check out her Gluten-Free Dining Guide.

The delightful Arusha Elworthy lent her magnificent skills by creating my logo. I particularly love my little pink-haired, leopard-aproned baker (me in cartoon form, even though my hair is no longer pink). Thank you for making me look so adorable!

My most unusual recipe to date has to be my Gluten-Free Bacon and Peanut Butter Brownies, created for the Pork Princess herself, Nicole ‘Snafflepuss’ Healing. She was even kind enough to re-blog my recipe on her blog, where you can find plenty of good stuff to read about all sorts of things. She’s also a marvellous yoga buddy.

Speaking of buddies, Hannah is my good Bake Club buddy. And she’s a dab hand with the old crochet hook, crafty mare, and made me the most amazing birthday present of some beautiful pink lips and a cake, which I proudly wear daily and get lots of compliments on. That’s them in the picture below. See how clever she is?! Oh, and she guest-blogged some tasty little biscuits.

Beautiful crochet brooches, handmade for my birthday by Hannah.

Birthday lips and cake

Endless encouragement and offers of help come from my favourite glamour-nerd on the street, Amy Blackburn. I’ve known and loved her long time, and I’m inspired and delighted by her success setting up her own business. If you like geeky, comic book stuff and super cute clothes then Geek La Chic is the place for you.

A few friends in Twitter-land, who I hope one day to meet for real, also deserve mentions for all their retweets, confidence boosting and even trying out my recipes. Thank you Faye, Dodie, Mike, Jacquie (perhaps better known as Bite Me Brighton) and Julie – you’re all awesome and deserve a huge slice of cake.

Whilst there’s no recipe this time, I did make myself a big old blog birthday cake. I would have blogged it, but honestly, though it looks pretty good in the picture there were a few disasters with this along the way. You’re bound to find a decent recipe for rainbow cake online, and I know that Holiday Baker Man is kindly willing to share his expertise if you are brave enough to give one of these mammoth cakes a go. Still, for all its issues, it didn’t half look impressive when I cut a slice!

There are plenty more people I probably should have thanked (ooh it’s all gone a bit awards ceremony speech), but I don’t want to run the risk of boring anyone so much they never come back to look at my recipes. So to all of you who’ve ever read my little blog – thank you!

Seven layers of colourful cake

Rainbow birthday cake

 

Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Millionaire’s Shortbread

Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Millionaire's Shortbread

Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Millionaire’s Shortbread, a pimped up version of a classic.

My friend Tora and I have been making salted caramel millionaire’s shortbread for years – both of us are obsessed with salted caramel. But then I thought, there’s not many things in life that aren’t improved by a little peanut butter. So I did this. And it was good.

You can easily omit the salt from the caramel if you want as the peanut butter will most likely be a bit salty anyway. But if you are using it, always add your salt last and in tiny amounts, tasting as you go. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away if you add too much!

This is pretty rich, so I definitely suggest cutting it into small portions.

Peanut Butter Salted Caramel Millionaire’s Shortbread

For the peanut butter shortbread:

  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 30g smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 225g plain flour

Heat the oven to 180C and grease and line a tin (approximately 25x20cm) with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, vanilla and sugar. You can use an electric whisk for this but if your butter is nice and soft then it won’t take much work with a wooden spoon. Once well mixed, add the flour and rub it in with your finger tips until it’s the consistency of bread crumbs. Tip the mixture into your lined tin and squash and press it down and into the edges of the pan until you have an even layer – use your knuckles or the bag of a large spoon. Prick it all over with a fork and put it in the oven. Bake at 180C for 5 minutes, then turn down to 150C and bake for a further 30-35 minutes until evenly golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool a little before you’re ready to apply the caramel.

For the peanut butter salted caramel:

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 397g condensed milk (that’s the standard size in the UK. It wont matter if it’s a few grams more or less)
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • up to 1 tsp sea salt

You can make the caramel whilst the shortbread is in the oven. In a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat. Once the butter is melted add the condensed milk and golden syrup and continue to heat, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. Seriously, don’t be tempted to leave this and do something else – the high sugar content means that it can easily catch and burn – I’ve made that mistake in the past and it’s frustrating and a waste when you have to chuck a batch of burnt caramel away, not to mention the mess it makes of the pan. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, hot enough to boil but not vigorously, and be careful as you don’t want to get splashed with it as it’s super hot. The caramel is ready when it’s, well, caramel coloured. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter. Before adding any salt, taste a little bit (blow on it first and be very careful not to burn your tongue). Add the salt a pinch at a time, tasting after each addition. Once you’re happy with it, pour it over the cooked and slightly cooled shortbread. Spread it out with a spatula until it’s reached the edges and you have an even layer. Leave it to cool, or even put it in the fridge to set up a bit before you add the final layer of chocolate.

For the chocolate:

  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 100g dark chocolate

(To be honest, it won’t matter if you just use milk chocolate, but I prefer a mix of milk and dark) Melt the chocolate, either in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, or in short, 20 second bursts in the microwave, stirring in between zaps.

Once melted, pour over the shortbread and spread it to the edges. Give it a shake and a sharp rap on the kitchen counter to get a nice even finish. Leave to set in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. Remove from the pan, peel off the greaseproof paper and use a big sharp knife to cut into portions (I got 32 pieces out of this). This should keep well for 3-5 days in an airtight container, but I doubt it’ll last that long once anybody tries it!

If you’re as big a fan of salted caramel as I am, check out my other recipes here. Or if it’s peanut butter that floats your boat, have a peek at these.