I’ve seen enough Hallmark Christmas films (thanks to channel 5 in 2017) to know that cookie swaps are the sweetest way to celebrate the festive spirit. I also know from Pinterest that cookie swap parties are forever popular in America and look like the most calorific fun! So, what with the world going to hell in a handcart at the moment, I’ve decided that I want in. I want to spread a little light and happiness through baked goods. I’m asking you today to join me and #bakelove for the festive season.
The idea is simple: sign up now, bake early December and be assigned a stranger to give your baked goods to. Receive baked goods. Emit a warm glow as you a) eat something delicious and b) realise that there are some jolly good people in the world. Pretty simple eh?
Ok so of course this cookie swap will have to happen by post – I’ve not got it in me to organise a giant baking party (more’s the pity). But that would still be fun, right? Over in America, Food52 have been organising something like this for a few years so it can be done. I am suggesting that we keep this open to people in the British Isles in order to keep postage logistics as simple as possible. Start small and let’s see how it goes.
A few years ago, I thought that ice cream was going to be the new rock and roll – or at least the new cupcake. There is no denying that ice cream quality and flavours have gone through the roof in the past few years, but it can let you down when it comes to presentation: too hard to scoop, splodged on the plate. That is where semifreddo comes in. Ice cream’s foxy, insta-ready cousin is rich and creamy, looks great on the plate and, vitally, can be made well in advance without the need of an ice cream maker.
That last point is key, because I looked at my ice cream bowl last week (it attaches to my beloved Kitchen Aid) and it has blue goo coming out of it, a bit like the robots in that series, Humans. I have a strong suspicion it is no longer safe to use…
Caramel chocolate brownies are a proper classic, and I must have made them about six times already this year!
Half the size, all the flavour!
I have a confession. When I make these brownies, I actually make them HALF the size of a normal one – because otherwise I find them a little too much *shock face*. I know I’m not losing my sweet tooth, so maybe it is something to do with hitting middle age! With caramel sauce blobbed through the centre and Rolos on top, they give an extra layer of flavour and texture. They are so satisfying that a little does go a long way! Don’t worry, it is still a normal batch size, you just cut them as big or as small as you fancy.
You may have noticed on my social media that we saw the new year in over in Kerala in India. There is going to be a some more ‘what I did on my holiday’ on here over the coming months, but I am here today to talk about banana bread!
It was a busy holiday – seven stops in 15 days. But
absolutely everywhere we went, there was always a slice of banana bread to be
had! Either on the breakfast buffet, with tea in the afternoon, or both! So to
come home and be bereft of banana bread was a bit of a downer.
I’ve been making banana bread for years. The original recipe
was given to me by my friend Nic and I twiddle with it! This time, I decided to
add a touch of chocolate and cardamom – both of which were grown on an organic
spice farm we visited in Thekkady. But I definitely don’t want it to be a
chocolate cake so it is just a hint of cocoa.
This one is going to have you firmly divided – you will love it or hate it! Andrew rather un-poetically described these maple bacon brownies as meat and chocolate! I, however, think they are something of a sweet and salty sensation. And I have tried them out on a few people and the response has been brilliant!
Bacon is no stranger to having a sweet bedmate – bacon, maple and pancakes are a brunch institute. So adding dark chocolate to the mix and baking into brownies isn’t too much of a leap…is it?
It doesn’t matter how neglected it is (and it is very neglected), my rhubarb crown never fails to deliver. I have been handing it out to family and friends, and making cake – a rhubarb cake is a wonderful, simple thing.
My rhubarb is super tart which I love, but I appreciate that isn’t to everyone’s taste. So I looked around my kitchen for something to soothe and compliment it. A few wrinkly clementines caught my eye.