Sunday, 15 March 2015

Smore Than Peanut Butter Cookies - Recipe

Love peanut butter ? Love Nutella chocolate spread ? Love marshmallows ?

If the answer to the above three questions is "yes" - then you will adore this simple recipe for these divine sandwich cookies. Honestly - these are SO easy to make, you may wish to make them with your kids.


250g of chunky peanut butter
250g of soft brown sugar
65g of desiccated coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg

For the filling

nutella chocolate spread

You will either need two x revolutionary macaron mats (use large side) - or trays prepped with baking paper. I like to use the macaron mats as my cookies all end up perfect shape and size.

I've actually forgotten how many cookies this made as it's a couple of weeks since I originally made them and didn't get round to writing up the recipe....oops ! I'm pretty sure it made 20 sandwich cookies / 40 cookies if unfilled.

Literally, mix all ingredients together by hand with a wooden spoon - adding desiccated coconut last. First time I tried this, I did it with a hand mixer and almost burned out the motor.... it was smoking a bit !

Damper your hands and roll into small balls - about the size of a 20p in diameter - then flatten a little in both directions with a fork. These cookies don't spread.

Bake at 175deg C for 10 mins, until golden. Allow to firm up on the mats before transferring to a wire rack to totally cool.

Filling your cookies :

First of all, pair your cookies. I like to lay them out in rows with tops and bottoms opposite to each other. I do the exact same when I make macarons....

For the filling in these, I like to use the large pink and white type marshmallows - those made by Princes are really nice, as are Sainsburys.

One marshmallow is enough to fill two sandwich cookies.

Put two or 3 marshmallows on a saucer and blast in the microwave for a few seconds until all melted and puffed up. Take a spoonful of mallow at a time and put on to one cookie bottom. Don't go too mad - as it will spread. Do the marshmallow bit on half of all the cookie and LEAVE for at least 10 mins.

Put nutella chocolate spread on the base of the other half of the cookies.

Once the mallow has stiffened up and turned firm but sticky, you can eventually sandwich your pretty little cookies together and enjoy.

Little word of warning - if you sandwich them too early, they will slide apart and end up a sticky mess - so it is worth waiting :-)

Sarah-Jane Nash - - March 2015

Beef Biryani - A One Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Recipe

I really cannot tell you enough how much I adore my electric pressure cooker.... It's revolutionised my kitchen..... My old stove top pressure cooker has long gone. The electric one is SO much better. 

It's silent. The heat on the stove doesn't need adjusting. It automatically seals when it gets to pressure. It keeps warm after cooking has finished.....

Basically, I can go and get on with ANYTHING else I fancy in the house and just let the pressure cooker simply get on with it..

I'll be honest - I have two. I have one at home and one at work ! I use the one at work for homemade soups for lunch (given I often end up feeding staff too), casseroles etc. I waxed on about them so much that my mum and my best friend now have them too and I believe love theirs as much as I do mine.

First - a little word about cooking rice in a pressure cooker.

Cooking rice and pulses is so quick and easy in the pressure cooker. I often cook just rice to serve alongside something else.

If you are just cooking rice, use 1 cup of WASHED, long grain rice. Add a little salt, a tiny dribble of oil (to prevent foaming) and 1.1/2 cups of water. Bring to pressure and cook for 12 minutes for perfect rice. 

If you haven't washed the rice first, there will not be enough water. I don't wash it after cooking and there will be no liquid left to drain.

I never cook less than 1 cup of rice in my pressure cooker. Always make sure it's at least 1/5th full and never more than 1/2 full with rice / pasta / pulses to allow for expansion. Of course - you can cook far more rice than one cup if you wish to - just use the 1:1.1/2 ratio of rice to water.

For this recipe, as there is already liquid in the pot - I don't add as much water....

This recipe is enough to feed 4 people. If you have a 6ltr electric pressure cooker, there is enough volume in the pot to double this recipe if required.

Ingredients :

500 > 600g stewing beef ( I like skirt as a cut)
150g greek or thick yogurt
1.1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp garam masala
3 cardomom pods (cracked open - I use the bottom of the jar !)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
2 heaped tsp chilli powder
2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 cup milk
1 cup long grain rice
2 medium onions
handful of fresh coriander

For this recipe, the meat really needs to marinade for at least a couple of hours or overnight (if you have time) to infuse the flavours.

It's very simple. Take all the spices, garlic, ginger, yogurt plus 1 tsp of the salt and mix with the beef. Set aside in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

When ready to cook, finely chop 1 onion. Turn on the electric pressure cooker. If it doesn't have a brown function, just set it to 15 mins on any cooking section and cancel it when you are done

Add a tablespoon of oil and add the chopped onion. After a minute or two, add the marinaded meat and brown for a few minutes to enhance the flavour. Add in 150mls of boiling water and then bring to pressure for 30mins. If I was using chicken instead of beef, I'd just cook it for 10 mins instead of 30. Skirt is a tough, stewing cut of been but very tasty - if I was oven cooking skirt, I'd give it a good 3 hours to get it as tender as this !

When the 30 mins are up, wait 5 mins for the pressure to drop before carefully releasing any excess steam. Open the pressure cooker and add the 1 cup of washed rice and 1 cup of milk.

If you like coriander, finely chop the stalks and add these now. Reserve the leafy green tops as garnish. Give a good stir and replace the lid. Reset the cooker to cook for 12 minutes.

With about 5 mins left to go, finely slice the remaining onion. Fry in some oil until golden and crispy (almost over-done).

As soon as the beeper on your oven goes, carefully release steam. As we know there is very liquid left, it is safe to do so and won't spurt liquid out the vent (soups etc need to be left to drop pressure naturally before opening).

The biryani may initially look a bit wet - but inside about 60 seconds, the excess moisture will soon evaporate off.

Serve dressed with crispy fried onions and leafy, fragrant coriander.

Sarah-Jane Nash - - March 2015

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Herman The German - A Cinnamon, Apple and Raisin Coffee Cake Recipe

Have you heard of Herman The German ?

Well - it's a kind of sweet sourdough starter that was doing the rounds a few years ago. The whole point is that you were given some of this starter to keep, feed and nurture and bake into a cake and had to give several lots of it away to friends. You know - pass it on and keep the thing going..

Some people loved it, for others it was a nightmare and some I'm sure will have slung it straight in the bin.

The thing with sourdough starters is that it's a living breathing yeast. It's a lot easier to look after than you may think and will happily live in airtight container in your fridge for a few months between feeds. Give it a little attention a day or two before you wish to use it, and it'll burst back into life.... you'll literally see it bubbling away and coming alive.

I guess I was lucky as back then, I didn't get landed with Herman. However, several years later and with a love for sourdough - I've been WAITING on him landing in my lap..

No such luck.

Waiting no longer, I took some of my dormant rye / white mix sourdough bread starter from the fridge and fed it with 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 cup of plain flour and 1 cup of milk (as required in place of water in a sweet starter.) It's been quite some time since I last used it, but within 36 hours, it was burbling away and ready to bake.

I swear - this is probably THE best cake I've ever eaten. I've made it several times now and it's still in the number 1 slot. It's not a looker, but boy does it taste good and is an awesome tray bake recipe.


Makes two 8 x 8" cakes - I used 8" square silicone bakeware moulds.

2 cups of sweet sourdough starter
2/3 cup oil
2 eggs
2 cups of plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of raisins
1 eating apple, chopped
1/2 eating apple grated

Mix all wet ingredients in one bowl, and all dry in another - then combine. This will make a VERY thick batter - almost heading towards a dough consistency. That's ok. Spread half the mix into each mould / baking pan.

I lined the bases of my moulds with baking parchment. It was not really required as even without cake release or greasing / flouring - this recipe did not stick.... but it did make removal from the moulds in one piece much easier.

For the topping

1/2 cup of soft brown sugar
2 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix the topping ingredients together and then drop "blobs" all over the top of the batter. As the cake cooks, this will form little gooey caramel like puddles in the top of the cake.

Bake at 160 to 170 deg C Fan oven for 30mins

1.1/2 cups of walnut halves - chopped
1 1/2 cups of icing sugar - to finish

After removing the cake from the oven, add a little boiling water to the icing sugar and mix to a thick paste. Scatter over the chopped walnuts and then use a fork to drizzle icing over the top of your cakes.

Allow to cool before serving.

Sarah-Jane Nash - - Jan 2015

Monday, 19 January 2015

Simple Banana, Oat and Raisin Cookies - Recipe

I rattled up a batch of these really simple Banana, Oat and Raisin cookies before work last Saturday morning. They really are seriously easy and quick to make. In despite of this, they are ludicrously tasty and relatively healthy too ! 

Kids visiting with their parents were only too happy to wolf down two or three each. Little hands kept creeping back to the tray for another. They are quite dense and chewy - but not overly so.

We often have overripe bananas that end up in the bin. I know you can freeze them and make them into cakes and ice cream.... but this is so simple with just a few ingredients. I'm sure I'll be making them again soon.

I used my Revolutionary Macaron Mats for ease. A spoonful of mixture into each marked circle produced 45 little banana cookies. This mixture does not spread. Just flatten a little with the back of a fork or spoon.


3 ripe bananas - mashed
2 1/2 cups of porridge oats
1/3 cup oil
1 cup of raisins
100g crunchy peanut butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup of golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat fan oven to 175 deg C

Literally just mix all of the above ingredients together and sit aside for 15 mins or so whilst the oven preheats.

Spoon on to trays lined with silicone baking sheets - or alternatively on to macaron mats.

Bake for approx 15 mins until golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack and then serve.

Sarah-Jane Nash - - January 2015

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Chocolate High Heeled Shoes and Making Chocolate Boxes

This is one (of many) of our new product releases this often. Our 8 cell Chocolate High Heeled Shoes silicone bakeware mould from is a perfect size for two-bite novelty chocolates - which look adorable in these easily made little gift boxes.

The chocolates made in this mould are approx 50mm wide and are therefore also perfect size for using as cupcake toppers.

If you need some guidance in how to temper chocolate, please see our previous blog post on Tempering

Our moulds are made from 100% food grade silicone and are also suitable for many craft purposes such as making wax melts, resin and soap.

Adorable - aren't they ? Lovely high heeled stilettos you can munch on ! What woman doesn't love chocolate and shoes.....

Anyway - this blog post is a quick guide on how to make the charming little gift boxes.

It's quick, easy and only costs a few pennies. Use some pretty patterned A4 stock card. Generally, this starts around 20p per sheet. We have a selection in our ebay store.

I like to use plain card on the bottom and a patterned card for the lid - but you can use two pieces the same if you wish.

You will need a Crafter's Companion "The Boxer" scoring board. The Boxer makes it a dawdle to make gift boxes in just about any shape and size you fancy. There is a Youtube video I did last year on how to make more complicated sectional gift boxes that suit novelty chocolates made in our 4+1 and 6+1 range.


Start with two pieces of your chosen stock card. Both pieces must be exactly the same size.

I cut my TWO pieces of card to 23cm x 9.5cm.

One sheet of A4 stock card (if making same colour top and base), is sufficient to make a full box. If you take care when cutting the card, you can also cut a piece 180mm x 40mm from the left over piece - which may be used as a divider between layers of chocolates.

Before you start, look closely at your Crafters Companion The Boxer Scoring Board.

On one side, there are imperial / inch measurements and it's metric / cm and 0.5cm increments on the other side of the board. For this box, I'm using the metric side.

You will also see on the left hand side there is a marker for BOX LID on one end and BOX BASE on the other.

It is important that you take note of this ! By scoring one card using the BOX LID lines and the other using BOX BASE lines, the two pieces will fit beautifully together. Get it wrong and make two lids or bases and they simply won't work .....

We use the exact same process to make the base and the lid, but just turn the scoring board round after making the lid to create the base. Don't worry - your board also comes with an instruction sheet. I promise though - it's VERY easy !

Ok - so turn your card so the coloured side or pattern is facing down. Line your card up with the edge of the board and using the scoring tool, score a 2.5cm fold in the card all the way round.

Once you have done this, turn the board round 180degrees and use the opposite end to score 2.5cm lines right round on your base card.

Take a pair of scissors, and cut little v's out to create the folding tabs for your box. This needs done on each piece of card on two (opposite) ends only. I prefer to do this on the shortest sides.

Ok ? See - it's easy.....

Fold the card along the score lines to crease. You may wish to use the side of the scoring tool to get a nice crease.

Apply a little all purpose glue to the front of the tab ends. We're going to fold these in behind to form our box lid.

Hold for a few seconds until the glue grips. If your glue does not dry quickly, you may wish to use a paperclip rather than hold it.

Repeat for the base of the box. As long as you made a base and a lid, both parts with slot together beautifully.

If you cut your card nicely, you will have had enough card for a divider too. Pop 4 chocolates into the base of the box, put the card strip on top and then insert another 4 chocolates.

Hope you find this simple guide to making gift boxes useful !

Sarah-Jane Nash -

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Fondant Fancies - Cutest Little Teatime Cakes (Recipe) - Made the Easy Way !

Fondant Fancies are great little British retro / vintage style teacakes that commonly grace cake stands that used to be typically served on Sunday afternoons many UK households.

Afternoon tea isn't something most people do these days - it's far more common to go out for afternoon tea as a special treat or to purchase a "tea" at a cafe / restaurant / event.

Saying that - fondant fancies remain as popular and well loved as they have ever been. Most of us tend to buy them in packets these days and they are not a popular choice for home bakers.

Why ? Well - if you watched The Great British Bake Off (GBBO) last year - you'll realise why these pretty little cakes aren't made at home by more bakers..... They're renowned for being tricky little blighters to make.

Doing them my way makes it so so much easier ! 

Mary Berry is one awesome woman and don't forget that GBBO is a competition and a real challenge. I wanted to make fondant fancies and have them turn out perfect - with minimal mess and minimal fuss. If you've ever tried cutting a whole cake into squares and then dipping the mini cakes into gloopy fondant, you'll realise it's a messy, crumby affair and there can be a number of casualties !

Well - none of that here. I made 14 fondant fancies and every single one of them turned out just great.

To make these, you will need 2 x 6 cell silicone cube moulds, a small metal spatula (or flat granny knife), a cooling rack and a massive silicone mat (or a big tray to sit the rack over)

RECIPE - enough to make 12 large fondant fancies.

Cream the butter and sugar with a hand mixer. Beat in the eggs one by one, and then follow by adding the flour and extract.

Line your 2 x 6 cell 2" square cube moulds using two x 2" wide strips of baking parchment which have been lightly greased. This makes it SO easy to get them out later without any damage or loose crumbs and is honestly worth the effort !

Place the two moulds on a baking tray. Split the mix evenly between the 12 cells. Bake at 170 deg C for approx 20 minutes until lightly golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool. Once cooled, hold two opposite paper strips and your mini cakes will lift clean out the mould. When paper is removed, they will have lovely straight sides with sharp edges.

Use a serrated knife to remove the top. Pipe on a little blob of butter cream on to the flat top of each cake and then chill for at least 20 mins.

Take 750g of block fondant. You can buy this in any supermarket isle. Often also known as sugar paste, regal ice and others. Supermarket own brand is fine.

Make sure the fondant has been at warm, room temperature. Chop it up into small pieces. Add a couple of tablespoons of water and start to beat with a paddle attachment in a stand mixer. You can also do this by hand - but it takes a bit of effort !

If making these by hand, I'd suggest putting the chopped fondant and water in a glass bowl and sit over some hot water for 10 mins to soften before starting..

Add some more hot water, a tablespoon or so at a time and beat until a smooth, thick, runny, pouring consistency is achieved.

Have a glass of hot water to hand and a flat knife or small spatula.

Place the cakes on the rack over a large silicone work mat or tray (the mat makes for very easy clean up later !)

Pour or spoon the fondant over the cakes. If it does not totally cover the cake, dip the spatula in hot water and then use it to level out the fondant / cover any gaps.

Once done, leave for the fondant to dry before transferring to your cake stand or into paper cases. Our American Jumbo paper cake cases are a perfect size to pop your fondant fancies into !

Hope you find these as easy to make as I did - they're a true delight.

Happy Baking

Sarah-Jane Nash - - September 2014

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups - and Brownies !

Love peanut butter cups ? Well - you'll ADORE mine !

Not only are these easy to make, but they knock spots off store bought and look fantastic as part of a chocolate box or on top of cupcakes, brownies etc.

To make approx 45 peanut butter cups, you will need :

150g belgian milk chocolate (preferably couverture)
100g crunchy peanut butter
50g salted butter - at room temperature
100 > 125g of icing (powdered) sugar
200g belgian white chocolate
70mls of double cream (scalded)
coloured sprinkes to decorate

First of all, put the milk chocolate in a plastic bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 30 second bursts, stirring each time. When the chocolate is about 3/4 melted, take out and just keep stirring until it is all melted and you cannot feel it if touching a tiny bit to your upper lip.

The good thing about melting couverture chocolate this way is that as long as the chocolate does not get too warm, it will stay in temper. Out of temper chocolate goes horrible - either 

Use a small paintbrush with non-shedding bristles (kept for kitchen use only) and coat the sides of each cell in chocolate. Allow to start to harden, then make a second coat. Excuse the rubbish photo from my mobile !

After making a second coat of chocolate, place the mould upside down on a cooling rack. This allows the chocolate to settle nicely on the inside and gives a nice even coating.

Once the chocolate starts to set, pop the moulds in the fridge for about 10 mins or so, so the chocolate gets really hard whilst you make the filling.

Put the peanut butter and butter in a bowl and whip until creamy. Add the icing sugar and beat some more until thick, but fairly smooth. If it's a bit like rubble, add a tiny amount of boiling water (approx 1 tablespoon will do)

Put into a disposable piping bag, and pipe a little of this mixture to a couple of mm below the top of the cell. You can then seal the top of the chocolates with some more melted milk chocolate, or make the whipped white chocolate ganache....

For the white chocolate ganache, scald the cream in a pot on the stove - or in a bowl in the microwave. Pour the hot cream over the chopped white chocolate. If it doesn't totally melt, pop the bowl of chocolate and scalded cream in the microwave and stir every few seconds until melted.

Take out the microwave and allow to cool for a few minutes, then using a hand held electric whisk, beat until the ganache starts to hold in peaks. It can now be piped on top of your chocolates and decorated with a few sprinkles.

Theses are so cute, they're irresistible.....

So - what can be better, but to pair them with some thick fudgey frosting and seriously delicious, decadent peanut butter cup brownies ? I wouldn't waste the homemade peanut butter cups in the batter though - far easier to use Reese's for baking.

RECIPE - makes 9 large brownies

For this, you need an 8" square silicone pan / mould, lightly buttered.

Pre-heat oven to 180deg C

175g of salted butter
175g of dark chocolate
3 large eggs
300g sugar
2 tsp instant coffee granules
60g cocoa powder
75g plain flour
226g pouch of Reeses Mini Peanut Butter cups - or other candy if preferred

Melt the butter and chocolate together with the coffee granules in a large pot.

Combine eggs and sugar together until just combined. Add into pot and whisk with electric whisk. Add dry ingredients and then whisk again for a short time until combined and no lumps can be seen,

Place the 8" square silicone baking pan on to a tray and use a silicone spatula to scrap the mix into the prepared pan. Pop in the peanut butter cups and press into the batter. Keep the candies 1 > 2cm away from the sides of the mould (as this bit will get trimmed off later)

Bake in middle shelf of the oven for approx 35 mins. The outside should all be set, but it will still be a little wet and have a bit of a wobble in the middle.

Remove and leave to cool, then refrigerate over night before cutting.

When chilled and firm, the brownie will release easily from the silicone pan.

Simply bend the sides down and lift out the brownie.

Place on a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, trim the outsides of the brownie off.

Cut remaining brownie into 9 squares.


100g of Sunpat ChocoNut Spread, 75g of butter, icing sugar (quite a lot) and a little hot water - whipped together until a fudge like consistency achieved.

Pipe a swirl on top of each brownie square and top with a homemade peanut butter cup.

Sarah-Jane Nash -