Recipe: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I strongly believe, that for every amateur baker or cook, there is at least one food item that they struggle to make. For myself, American style cookies and shortcrust pastry have always proven challenging. With cookies, every single batch I'd ever tried to make either spread into each other on the baking tray, crumbled as soon I tried to take them off the baking paper, or were overcooked. 

A fortnight ago, I became determined to overcome my 'cookie issues'. Over two weeks, I made endless batches of dough: I tried everything from refrigerating the dough overnight, to placing the baking tray in the freezer and I played around with the ingredient balances.

Finally, my two weeks of testing produced something edible. 

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Recipe: Leftover Muffin Pudding

If there’s a downside to baking all of your own bread, cakes and muffins etc, then it is certainly the potential for waste. As I share a two bedroom flat with only one other person and I bake almost everyday, there’s usually a selection of items hanging around at any one time. Generally, I use a fair bit up by taking it to work with me, but even so, there’s often a few things left.

Last Sunday, I baked a small batch of strawberry muffins. Only eight, but homebaked muffins are best eaten fresh (i.e. on the day of baking) or they go a bit dry. By last night, there were four left in my cake tin and I thought I would get creative. 

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Recipe: The Very Best Sugar Cookies

About a week before Christmas, it hit me. The Christmas baking bug. An annual occurrence, it's usually met with the outright hostility of my father and the semi-relief of my mother. Anyone, who has had the misfortune to meet my favour will agree: he is the most unreasonable person you will ever meet. His general awfulness reaches an all-time head when I am in the house and wanting to use the kitchen. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time hungry because a) He will not cook and; b) Will not - willingly - allow me to either.

However, I have grown part of a spine since then. I am so very used to being shouted  and told that I'm useless on a daily basis whilst residing at home, that I ignored him. As I do on every occasion. I ignored him and set upon my baking frenzy, drowning out the sporadic terms of abuse with the electric mixer and Christmas films.

Out of outright defiance, my natural instinct was to proceed in making the messiest and most time-consuming baked good first. Christmas cookies. But not just any Christmas cookies. Sugar cookies. More precisely, the best cookies I've made. The recipe I fall back on - with a variety of twists - whenever I'm asked to make either biscuits or cookies.

Before I start, let me warn you that this recipe will produce a LOT of cookies. See this picture?

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That's only 75% of the batch.

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Recipe: Raspberry & White Chocolate Muffins

Happy #GBBO Day!

I'm amazed that I've reached Week 4 of the series without baking a single thing. For me, this verges on criminal but is mainly the result of my hectic working life recently. I've been working 40+ hours per week, often leaving in the early hours of each morning and not returning until at least midnight. Today, I had an afternoon off. I'd been craving sweet treat all morning and by the time I arrived home,  these muffins were firmly ensconced in my mind as my chosen bake....

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Recipe: Apricot & Almond Sponge Cake

Last Friday, my parents and I stopped off at The Black Horse Inn in Grimsthorpe for dinner. As a country pub that we've frequented for a number of years, the food was predictably great (although the portions have easily halved but gone up in price in recent months, which is a bit disappointing) and the dessert in particular really hit the spot with me...

 It was an Apricot & Almond Sponge pudding, served as a sliced tray-bake with a side of custard.

In the days that have followed, I've had a hankering for a repeat of this lovely combination so I thought I'd give it ago this afternoon. And you know what? It turned out really, really well. I might even go as far as to suggest that mine is better, because of the appropriations I've made using my own time-practiced much-praised sponge cake recipe.

Here is the final product:

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