Easy Pantry Recipes

I struggled for what to write here as anything I first attempted sounded flippant and vapid, making light of the situation and circumstances that each and every one of us are living through at the moment. What I wanted to do was…well to do “something“. I firmly believe in the calming and therapeutic powers of being in the kitchen. At the best of times baking for me offers a respite from daily chores and frantic everyday life, a place to get my headspace and mentally “breathe”.

My baking activity has definitely had an upsurge of late. In the uncertain circumstances of the world today I find there is a calming certainty in knowing that if I mix a certain bundle of ingredients together a known result will be achieved. Focusing on the task at hand helps to redirect my attention and anxiety away from the unnerving headlines and statistics we’re being bombarded with- a calm in the eye of the storm, no matter how briefly. I guess that’s what I’m trying to do here-  pass on these moments of calm to you in some small way. 

The recipes here offer little moments of indulgence and respite with minimal ingredients and skill needed. Hopefully most of the ingredients called for are already staples in your pantry or, failing that, will prove easy to get hold of. I hope you enjoy taking some time out and baking them.

Stay safe out there folks, see you on the other side.

You can find some further information on mental health considerations during COVID-19 Outbreak here

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Shown here served with crème anglaise

Chocolate Soufflé

Serves 4

Ingredients

• 2 cups chocolate hazelnut spread (I use Nutella – surprise!)

• 5 eggs

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C).
  2. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and place into two separate bowls
  3. Mix the chocolate hazelnut spread into the bowl with the egg yolks
  4. In the second bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form
  5. Fold 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the chocolate/egg yolk mixture until fully incorporated. Add the remaining egg whites to the mixture and fold gently, but thoroughly, until the mixture is smooth
  6. Pour the mixture into the greased ramekins and bake for 15-17 minutes until risen
  7. Serve immediately
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Shown here served with crème anglaise


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Shown here served w/ Blueberry, Rosemary & Juniper berry conserve

Soda Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk*

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F
  2. Line a tray with baking parchment and dust lightly with flour. Set aside until needed
  3. In a large bowl combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Whisk to combine and break down lumps. Make a well in the centre
  4. Pour in most of the buttermilk
  5. Using one hand stir the flour into the liquid from the outside of the bowl, turning the bowl as you do. Continue until the mixture comes together in a soft dough that is not too wet or sticky (you may need the remainder of the buttermilk here)
  6. Turn the dough out into a lightly floured surface and knead lightly for a few seconds. Don’t over-knead here- you just want to do it enough so that it holds it shape. Don’t do it to the extent that you would with standard bread dough!
  7. Using your hands, lightly floured, pat the dough into a round shape about 2 inches thick. Transfer to the floured baking sheet
  8. With a knife (I use a bench scraper) score a cross into the top of the loaf, so that it goes almost all the way through the thickness and over the sides of the loaf
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 15mins then reduce the heat to 400°F and continue baking for an additional 20mins until cooked. The baked loaf will be deep golden in color and sound hollow when the bottom of it is tapped
  10. Remove and cool on a wire rack
  11. This type of loaf will cool with a hard, crispy crust. If a softer crust is desired wrap a clean kitchen towel around the hot loaf and allow it to cool

*If you don’t have buttermilk to hand you can make your own by combining 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon squeezed lemon juice or distilled white vinegar in a jug. Stir to combine and leave to sit for 15 mins. After 15 mins the liquid will have thickened slightly and small curds can be seen. Use in the recipe as required. Any remaining milk can be stored in the fridge.

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White Bread Bloomer

  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons quick action yeast
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 Olive oil
  • 1 1/4cups warm water

Method

  1. Lightly oil a large bowl and set aside for the dough later
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the flour, salt (to one side), yeast (to opposite side) and brown sugar
  3. Add in olive oil and 250ml warm water and mix on low setting to combine the ingredients. Add in remaining water, if needed, to achieve a soft, slightly sticky dough. Continue to knead in the machine for a total of 7 minutes. Proceed to Step 4.(If you’re mixing the traditional way, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and shaping you hand into a “claw shape”, with fingers slightly spaced, mix by hand until all the ingredients come together in a ball. Tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and continue to knead for 10 mins until the dough is soft and slightly sticky)
  4. Tip the dough from the mixer bowl into the prepared oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling-wrap and set aside to proof for at least 45 minutes, or until doubled in size
  5. Once the dough has finished proofing, tip out onto a lightly oiled surface. Punch down the dough to knock bar the air and reduce it in size
  6. You can either leave it as one large load or divide into two for 2 smaller standard sized loafs
  7. Once the dough has been knocked back use oiled hands to shape into an oval shape and transfer to a large flour dusted baking sheet
  8. Cover with oiled cling wrap, set aside and leave to double inside for apx 30-40mins
  9. Whilst the dough is having it second proof, preheat your oven to 425°F
  10. Once the dough has proofed and risen, bake in the preheated oven for 15mins, after which reduce the temperature to 390°F and bake for further 10-15mins until deep golden in color and the base of the loaves sound hollow when tapped
  11. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on a rack
  12. Baked loaves can easily be frozen and saved for later. Wrap in cling wrap, place in plastic bag, seal and place in freezer. Defrost for a few hours when needed

PB & J Oat Bars

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, plus extra for the tin
  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 8 tablespoons grape jelly (or favourite fruit flavour)
  • 1/2cup light brown soft sugar, packed
  • 2 cups rolled oats

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F . Butter and line the base and sides of a 9” square cake tin with baking parchment
  2. Set aside 3 tablespoons each of the peanut butter and jam in separate bowls for later. Combine the remaining peanut butter, jam, butter and sugar into a pan over a medium heat and stir until everything has melted together. Quickly stir in the rolled oats, then leave to cool for 5 mins
  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and gently press down with a small measuring cup
  4. Dot over the reserved peanut butter and jam, then bake for 20-25 mins or until golden brown. Leave to cool completely in the tin, then turn out onto a board and cut into bars (2 x6)
  5. Bars are best kept refrigerated in a sealed container for 2-3 days


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Easy Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degree
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) oe using an electric hand-mixer beat the butter and icing sugar together well.
  3. Slowly add in the flour (I use 1/4 cup increments) until it has all been added in. Once it all in, crank up the speed on you machine and whip it for 6 minutes. The mixture will become light and exceptionally fluffy
  4. Using a small cookie scoop (size about 1- 1/2 tablespoon) scoop the dough out onto the prepared  baking sheets
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes until bottoms of the cookies are browned.
  6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes on the trays. Transfer to a rack to cool complely
  7. Baked cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week 

In the photographs shown I put a cherry on top of each prior to baking. The pre-baked cookies can be left plain or topped with whatever you like from your pantry such as chocolate chunks; nuts; candy pieces…whatever you have to hand in your pantry.

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Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes 18-20

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 Egg

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree. Line 2 cookie sheets with baking parchment
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a hand-held electric mixer, mix the ingredients together until well blended
  3. Using a small cookie scoop (about 1-1/2 tablespoon size) scoop doughballs on to ungreased cookie sheet
  4. Using a fork press down in one direction and then press again from the other side to form a criss-cross pattern on top
  5. Bake for 12 minutes
  6. Allow them cool on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely
  7. Baked cookies will keep for 3-4 days at room temperature in a sealed container

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Homemade Butter

I posted the recipe for this a couple of years ago. It such an easy thing to do but a lot of people think of it as a daunting task. You can find the recipe/method here

Minneolas Tangelo & Cardamom Cheesecake

Okay I’m not gonna lie about this recipe- it came about completely by accident. Whilst looking for other ingredients for another recipe I stumbled up Minneolas Tangelos. Color me intrigued! These rather cute little citrus fruits are a hybrid between the grapefruit and the tangerine. The resulting fruit combines the sweetness of the mandarin with the tart flavors of the grapefruit, and has a wonderful juiciness, combination of sweet/sour flavors and is exceptionally easy-to-peel. The pear-shape of the fruit is also were it gets it’s other moniker from “Honeybell”.

I was hankering after a baked cheesecake and coming across them seemed too coincidental to ignore. Plus it was an ideal excuse to try something new and adventurous in the kitchen. The resulting flavour of the fruit is light and summery without having an overwhelming tartness. Adding cardamom to the base gives some complimentary citrus notes to the tangelo filling while at the same time cutting through the rich, creamy texture.

*In this recipe I use the terms Minneolas Tangelo, Tangelo and Honeybell interchangeably.

Ingredients

Base

  • 1 1/2cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Filling

  • Three 8 oz packs cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided 
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs
  • Juice of 1 Minneolas tangelo (Honeybell)
  • Zest of 2  Minneolas tangelos (Honeybell)
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Method

This cheesecake is best made the day before you plan to eat it. The extra time in the refrigerator will help firm it up and the flavours to intensify.

To make the crust/ base

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  2. In a  bowl combine all the base ingredients and stir to ensure they’re well and evenly mixed
  3. Press the graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of an 8″ springform pan. Gently press down on the crumbs using a small (1/4) measuring cup, or your fingers, until the crumbs are an even layer at the bottom of the pan
  4. Bake the crust, on the bottom 1/3 shelf, for 10 mins. After baking remove and set aside to cool until needed later
  5. Keep the oven on at the current temperature. Move on the prepare the filling

To make the filling

  1. Wrap the cooled tin with a triple layer of aluminium foil. Do this gently so as to ensure you don’t damage the baked crust. Once you have triple-wrapped the tin, set aside and prepare the filling
  2. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1 package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch together on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each. Here I find that beat for 3 minutes after each package on medium speed proves effective
  3. Beat in the remaining sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each to make sure they’re incorporated
  4. Add in the tangelo zest, juice, and mix to incorporate. Beat in the cream until just completely blended. The filling will look light, airy, and smoot. Be careful not to overmix! Check the paddle attachment as sometimes the zest can stick and gather here. If it does simply scrap off into the mixture and fold in using a spoon or spatula
  5. Gently pour the batter over the cooled crust
  6. Place the cake pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes halfway (about 1 inch) up the side of the springform. Bake until the edge is light golden brown, the top is light gold, and the center barely jiggles, about 1 1/4 hours. If the cake still feels soft around the edge, let it bake for 10 minutes more
  7. When the baking time is up, turn off the heat but leave the cheesecake in the oven with the oven door open a crack (you can use a wooden spoon to help here) for the next 2 hours. After this take the cheesecake out of the oven and remove it from the water bath, transfering to a wire rack, and let cool for another 2 hours minimum.  After this, leaving the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold before serving, preferably overnight or for at least 6 hours

To serve

  • Release and remove the side of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one, rinsing the knife with warm water between slices.

Refrigerate any leftover cake, tightly covered, and enjoy within 2 days, or wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.

Here I finished mine with a slice of candied Honeybell and some candied Honeybell peel. My advice would be to skip trying to candy the slices of fruit. Part of the attraction of the Honeybell is that it is quite easy to pull away from its rind and de-segment. This however has the downside that when you trying to flip the slices in sugar syrup they easily break  up. In fact the one centre slice that you see above was the sole survivor of 5 slices that I initially wanted to have candied. A much easier and straightforward garnish is to candy some sliced peel pieces (as I have on the perimeter of the finished cheesecake above).

These steps are entirely optional. You can finish the cheesecake whatever way you wish to your personal taste

  • Remove the rind from a Honeybell, trying to keep it as intact as possible. Using a teaspoon scrap away the bitter inner white rind. Slice the remaining outer orange rind into strips just less than 1/4″ thick
  • In a pan I combined 1 cup water with 1 cup of fine granulated sugar, bring to a boil and then reduce to a summer
  • Add in the Honeybell peel strips and stir to coat. Leave in the simmering liquid for 30 mins appx until the strips are translucent
  • While the strips are cooking line a baking sheet with baking parchment
  • After 30 mins carefully remove the strips from the sugar syrup with tongs and toss in some fine granulated fine sugar. When coated set on the baking parchment and leave overnight to dry out. Use as desired

St. Patrick’s Day Recipe Bundle

This bunch of recipes started as an idea where I wanted to do something drawing inspiration from my childhood in Ireland to my current life here in Toronto. It also helped that St. Patrick’s Day was impending so that provided a nice motivational kick. I’ve included three (or should it be four?) recipes here as frankly I couldn’t decide which to include for a single recipe post. However, I do think it works quite nicely to chart the influences on my passion for baking. I shall try to keep the background blurb short as I have to admit not being a fan of rambling anecdotes myself on recipe posts (“Seriously Janice- get to the recipe already! No one actually cares about your traumatic experience with bangs and how it rekindled your childhood love of popovers…)

In the meantime have a great St. Patrick’s Day. Eat (plenty); Drink (responsibly) and Be merry (it goes without saying).

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibhe!

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Traditional Plain Soda Bread w/ Blueberry, Rosemary & Juniper berry conserve

This is where I began. Well, I mean my love of baking. Soda bread was the first recipe that my mom showed me how to make in the kitchen. The bread is simplicity itself with  little or no baking skill required. The conserve recipe is my substitute for the sticky jam jars of childhood. If you asked me to sum up childhood memories of baking it would be of freshly cut warm plain soda bread, slathered in butter and jam. And now I pass it on to you to make your own memories.

Plain soda bread

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk*

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Method

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F
  2. Line a tray with baking parchment and dust lightly with flour. Set aside until needed
  3. In a large bowl combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Whisk to combine and break down lumps. Make a well in the centre
  4. Pour in most of the buttermilk
  5. Using one hand stir the flour into the liquid from the outside of the bowl, turning the bowl as you do. Continue until the mixture comes together in a soft dough that is not too wet or sticky (you may need the remainder of the buttermilk here)
  6. Turn the dough out into a lightly floured surface and knead lightly for a few seconds. Don’t overknead here- you just want to do it enough so that it holds it shape. Don’t do it to the extent that you would with standard bread dough!
  7. Using your hands, lightly floured, pat the dough into a round shape about 2 inches thick. Transfer to the floured baking sheet
  8. With a knife (I use a bench scraper) score a cross into the top of the loaf, so that it goes almost all the way through the thickness and over the sides of the loaf
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 15mins then reduce the heat to 400°F and continue baking for an additional 20mins until cooked. The baked loaf will be deep golden in color and sound hollow when the bottom of it is tapped
  10. Remove and cool on a wire rack
  11. This type of loaf will cool with a hard, crispy crust. If a softer crust is desired wrap a clean kitchen towel around the hot loaf and allow it to cool

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*If you don’t have buttermilk to hand you can make your own by combining 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon squeezed lemon juice or distilled white vinegar in a jug. Stir to combine and leave to sit for 15 mins. After 15 mins the liquid will have thickened slightly and small curds can be seen. Use in the recipe as required. Any remaining milk can be stored in the fridge.

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Blueberry, rosemary & juniper berry conserve

Ingredients

  • 4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons dried juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary (6 inch length apx)

Method

  1. In large pot combine the blueberries, juniper berries, sugar, lemon juice and water
  2. Stir over a medium heat until the mixture becomes loose and the berries start releasing liquid
  3. When the berries have soften and you see more liquid add in the spring of rosemary, ensuring it is submerged in the liquid
  4. Continue over a medium, stirring occasionally, for 30mins until the fruit has broken down and slightly thickened
  5. Remove from heat, transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature and infuse
  6. When cool place in a sterilised jar. Serve with traditional soda bread

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Báirín Breac (Irish Barmbrack)

As a kid I hated dried fruit. Hated it with that primal fervour only a child can manifest when presented with something they don’t like. Not only was barmbrack out- also Christmas cake, fruit cookies and anything else harbouring any sign of a shrivelled morsel. Interesting then that as an adult I can have a hankering out of the blue for something with dried fruit. Perhaps making up for lost time? Whilst more traditional to see it at Halloween, barmbrack for me is synonymous with my roots in Motherland Hibernia. Here I’ve made some additions and substitutions- mead in addition to the traditional tea steeping fluid to give a little extra indulgence; Red Fife flour to add an extra layer of nuttiness to the loaf; and cranberries as, even after all these years, candied peel still abhors me. 

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cup black tea, freshly made
  • 1/4 cup mead
  • 3/4 cup dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 cup All Purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup Red Fife flour (or substitute wholewheat)
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg, beaten

To finish

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

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Method

  1. Put the raisins, sultanas and cranberries in a large heatproof bowl, pour over the tea and mead. Stir to combine ensuring all the fruit is wet. Leave to soak overnight, or minimum 6 hours, stirring occasionally 
  2. Heat the oven to 350°F and grease 4.5″ x 8.5″ loaf tin pan and line with baking parchment
  3. In a second bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, spices and salt, making sure you break up any lumps in the sugar, then stir in the fruit mixture (including liquid), beaten egg and vanilla extract. Mix well to combine
  4. Tip the loaf mix into the tin, smooth the top and bake for 80 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. (If the top looks to be going too dark or burning on top towards the end, cover loosely with foil)
  5. Take out of the oven, leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a baking rack
  6. Whilst the loaf is cooling make the sugar syrup.
  7. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water. Heat the sugar and water over a high heat until the sugar has been dissolved. Bring to a boil and continue stirring over a high heat for 1 minute
  8. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before applying to the loaf
  9. When the loaf has been turned out on to the rack, liberally brush the top and sides with the cooled syrup
  10. Allow to cool fully to room temperature before slicing and serving
  11. Serve slathered in fresh butter and with a hot cup of tea for the quintessential Irish experience.
  12. Store the baked loaf wrapped in wax paper, or baking parchment, in an airtight container. The taste and texture of the remaining loaf will improve over time becoming more “fudge” like.img_3501

 

Irish Cream Nanaimo Bars

While the previous recipes had their roots firmly planted in childhood memories and influences, this is a blatant (and heady) nod to the influences of my current home. Numerous Canadian baked goods have won me over – butter tarts; beaver tails; Pouding Chomeur but the Nanaimo bar truly hits my sweet Achilles heel. And how do you make something that perfect better? Why by adding booze of course! More specifically Irish Cream. Take your pick of the ones available out there but my preference is for the stalwart that is Baileys. Not that I’ve made trays of liqueur riddled sweet bars in order to research. Of course not!

Makes 24

Ingredients

Bottom Layer

  • 1/2 cup of salted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups of graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces, chopped and toasted

Middle Layer

  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 2 -3 tablespoons of Irish Cream liqueur, I use Baileys
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch

Top Layer

  • 3/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 separate tablespoons of butter

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x9inch baking pan with parchment paper
  2. For the bottom layer, in a medium bowl, combined the sugar and melted butter. Stir until the sugar is nearly dissolved. Add in the graham crumbs, shredded coconut, cocoa, chopped chocolate and walnut pieces. Combine well. Add in the beaten egg and again mix well to combine
  3. Press the mixture into the lined baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, remove and set aside to cool (I usually cool mine in the fridge as i make the middle layer)
  4. Whilst the bottom layer is cooling prepare the middle layer
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer (paddle attachment fitted) combine the icing sugar, softened butter, cornstarch and liqueur. Beat on slow until all ingredients are combined and then increase the speed to high for a few minutes until the mixture is whipped and fluffy. Spread the whipped mixture evenly over the cooled bottom layer. Place in the fridge to cool while you make the top layer
  6. Combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of butter in one heatproof bowl and the white chocolate chips and the other tablespoon of butter in another heatproof bowl. Melt both bowls of chocolate, one at a time, set over a pan of hot water. Spoon dollops of each melted chocolate over the cooled middle layer and using a knife spatula or spoon swirl together to evenly coat the top of the mixture
  7. Place in the fridge and chill for minimum 2 hours before slicing (4x 6) and serving.
  8. Keep the bars refrigerated for up to 3 days in a closed container, or frozen for up to 3 months


Semlor Buns

Pancake Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday. Call it what you will- it’s an annual day with it’s roots in guilt-free indulgence before the long Lenten period of abstinence prior to the Easter celebration of faith. Having grown up in Ireland it usually meant pancakes. Stacks of pan-fried, chewy batter usually soaked in cheek-puckering amounts of Jif lemon juice and liberally sprinkled with caster sugar.

Times change and I guess so do tastes. Piles of pancakes no longer ignite childhood delight. So this year I decided to try something different and was not disappointed! Hailing from Nordic regions the “Semla bun” (Semlor pl) is a spiced bread bun, predominantly filled with an unctuous almond paste, topped with whipped cream, and dusted with a snowy layer of icing sugar (because you can never have too much decadence on Fat Tuesday!)

As with the etymology of  so many pastries and breads there are numerous versions and methods out there depending on how deep you dig. I went with the classic, and probably best known, Swedish version with some slight tweaks. The dough I use is my “go-to” enriched dough with the addition of the required ground cardamom. The inclusion of this spice not only gives the dough a depth to it’s sweet taste, but also a heady fragrance which whafts of indulgence.

The finished and filled buns are exceptional when eaten fresh and on the day. Should the need arise they can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days. But some words of caution here – the longer they are kept in the fridge the drier and tougher the buns will become. If you do this they’re best removed from the fridge about an hour before eating so they are allowed to come to their ideal serving at room temperature. Guess this means all the more reason to eat them all in one go?

Makes 12

Ingredients

Buns

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 stick butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup tepid water
  • 4 cups strong bread flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg, beaten for bun wash

Filling

  • Crumbs from bun centres
  • 3 1/2oz marzipan, cooled to fridge temperature
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Finish

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Icing sugar to dust

Method

  1. Heat the butter and milk together in a pan until until butter is melted. Remove from heat add vanilla extract and leave to cool, stirring occasionally
  2. Combine yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in a jug. Add tepid water, mix and leave to active for 10mins until frothy
  3. In a bowl of stand mixer combine flour, salt, cardamom, cinnamon and whisk together to combine
  4. To the flour mixture addd cooled milk mixture, yeast mixture and egg
  5. Set on low to combine the ingredients. Once combined continue to form a dough and knead in mixer for 6 mins on low, or knead  by hand for 10 mins
  6. Remove from stand mixer bowl and place in an oiled bowl to proof for 45-1hr until doubled in size
  7. Remove from bowl and on an oiled surface punch down and knock air back. Divide dough batch into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls
  8. Set equally and well spaced on a lined baking sheet and allow to second proof for 30-45mins
  9. Preheat oven to 400
  10. Brush the proofed buns with egg wash and bake in oven for 10-12mins until golden
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack
  12. When buns have completely cooled, use a sharp serrated knife and cut the tops from them (about 1/2 inch from top). Set aside for later
  13. Remove the insides from the buns whilst leaving the outer shell intact and place crumb filling into a bowl
  14. Grate in cooled marzipan and add milk and cream. Mash/ stir until a paste is formed. Depending on the amount of crumb filling used from the buns, you may need slightly more liquid- what you want is a thick, spoonable paste
  15. Divide and spoon the marzipan crumb paste into each of the buns
  16. Set aside when each of the buns has been filled
  17. In a bowl add the vanilla extract to the whipping cream and whip until stiff peak stage
  18. Fit a piping bag with a star tip nozzle, fill with the whipped cream and pipe in a circular motion to cover over the filled bun holes
  19. Top with the saved bun lids from earlier
  20. Dust with icing sugar and enjoy!

Snickers style peanut butter cookies

Well these seemed to go down pretty well when I posted about them on my social media feeds. For a while I’ve been trying out recipes looking for a good reliable peanut butter cookie, something classic and tasty that wasn’t too crispy. However- me being me I wanted to add layers of flavour. Before I knew it I had ended up with a cookie reminiscent of one of my favourite candy bars – Snickers.

A handy hint here is that dependant on the baking time a different texture of cookie will be achieved. Longer and lower for a chewier cookie. The time I give in the recipe below is for my personal preference, feel free to play around with it. If all else fails and the finished cookies are too crisp on their own you can always crumble and use as a tasty ice cream topping.

You can use either smooth or crunchy peanut butter based on your personal taste. As expected smooth peanut butter will yield a smoother cookie. I personally prefer to use the crunchy butter variety as it gives a rather nice smattering of nutty pieces through the finished cookie.

Makes 24

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy to personal taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 Caramel candies, cut into pieces
  • 4oz semi sweet chocolate, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips

Method

  1. Chop the chocolate in chunks. You don’t want too fine a piece- irregular and varied sizes look a lot better in the finished cookie. Set aside until needed
  2. Using a scissors, carefully cut the candy pieces into 3 or 4 pieces each and set aside until needed as well
  3. Beat the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until creamy (about 10 mins)
  4. Mix in the peanut butter, followed by the egg until fully combined
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the combined dry ingredients into the sugar/butter mixture. Mix until fully incorporated
  6. Fold in the chocolate chunks, the caramel pieces and peanut butter chips. Mix until thoroughly mixed through the dough (I find here it easier to fold by hand rather than using a spatula or spoon. It just depends on what you’re comfortable with)
  7. Cover the dough with cling wrap and refrigerate the dough for between 20- 30mins
  8. Preheat your oven to 325°F
  9. Using a medium cookie scoop shape the dough into 1 inch balls. Place the balls of dough about 3 inches apart on un-greased cookie sheet
  10. Bake at 325°F until light brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool in their baking sheets for a minute. After a minute, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool completely

*For chewier cookies, bake at 300°F for additional 5 to 10 minutes.

The baked cookies will keep for up to a week in an airtight container

Enjoy!