Woah! January where did you go? Last thing I remember was being sat in front of a burning fire place in the deep depths of the countryside with a blanket over my knees whilst balancing a lap top and cup of hot coco, writing my edible Christmas gifts blog!
So… no blog in January. I know, disgraceful! But I promise I have not been resting on my laurels. I had quite a month and I am rather caked out. But my love holds strong!
So the purpose of my first February blog is to share with you recipes from my January adventures. Wonderful recipes both naughty and nice – borrowed, adapted or developed by myself. I Love finding new recipes and featuring them on the blog. I own a lot of recipe books written by famous bakers but I think it’s important to support other baking bloggers and there wonderful recipes. I also develop recipes myself and in the strangest of places. My favourite place to write new recipes is on the night bus home!!
The Cake Diaries started the New Year with a wonderful photo shoot and lots of time writing press releases and the like. We had a great time on set eating a lot of cake and generally messing around. But oh, how I missed the safe place of my kitchen that week.
…but I had no reason to worry as the week after I was at London Men’s Fashion week developing new recipes for John Galliano at the Mansion Magiela show.
The order was short notice and needed new desserts designed for a Macrobiotic diet. Macrobiotics is a diet revolving around the eating of grains, supplemented with certain fruit and vegetables. No processed or refined foods.No unnaturally occurring sugar and free of most animal products. Most recipes were developed on the top deck of a night bus, as usual. It was a crazy rush and had me locked in the kitchen for 2 nights in a row, but great fun and a great success. Here is one of the treats I made for Galliano personally.
Please excuse this rather badly lit photo it was about 11pm at night and I was exhausted. But believe me when I say how comforting this desert was. Beautifully spiced, hearty and healthy. I ate it warm (10 minutes out of the oven) at about 11.30pm with a big glass of milk. I slept so well that night.
Date and Raisin Tarts – Dairy free, wheat and gluten free, refined sugar FREE!
This will yield 6 tarts. Go for a tart dish similar in size to your own palm. This recipe is a perfect, quick and tasty recipe to fix a sweet tooth.
480ml Almond Milk
400g mix Dates and Raisins
150g chopped Almonds
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Cinnomon
1 tsp Baking powder
Method – Pre heat your oven 180.c/350.f
1 – Grab your food processor and throw in the almond milk, dates, raisins, maple syrup and all nuts. Blend into a rough ‘spread’ like consistency.
2- In a separate bowl add the oats, all spices and baking powder.
3 – Add the food processed ingredients to your bowl and bring together.
4 – Grease tart dishes with coconut oil or olive oil.
5 – Pack the mixture into the tart dishes and add some pecans to decorate the tart for gorgeousness.
6 -Bake in the middle of the oven at 180.c/350.f for 20 – 25 mins depending on your oven.
Week 3 -The Cake Diaries was picked as one of the lucky few to feature at the Rainsborough Square Artisan food market.
“showcasing a select group of exceptional British and international produce from independent producers to celebrate Fulham’s rich foodie history” – Rainsborough Market.
I spent the next week running around London gathering ingredients, designing my stall and branding all sorts of things ready for my first ever stall! (Stressed? Me? Yes, totally!!) Mostly, I ran around in a circle going ‘I don’t think I know what I’m doing’. But enjoying myself immensely. I rewarded myself with practise baking and tasting new recipes like Greek orange yogurt and olive oil cake or pretzel choc chip cookie bars!
It was a great surprise to be asked and I was delighted to be involved. It was a terrific day full of cake, friends and meeting lovely new clients. It was the first really cold day of the year here in London, so forgive me if you came to the stall and found me blue lipped and shaky handed!
Here is one of the recipes I featured on the stall.
Salted Caramel Peanut butter Blondies
These are gooey centred and buttery crusted naughtiness. They were one of the most popular deserts on the stall. It was helpful to have a fantastic coffee stall next to us as these Blondies went perfectly with The Colombian Coffee Companies full bodied, bright and buttery coffee.
Peanut Butter Salted Blondies? I am a nut butter nut. So much so I now make my own as I get the jitters if there isn’t a full jar in house. I love cashew nut, almond butter and hazelnut but especially peanut butter. It will ever have a special place in my heart and stomach! I regularly use it in my baking so when deciding on making Salted Caramel Blondies I just had to get some of my beloved peanut butter in there. Boy does this work! Usually, I would go for the crunchy kind rather than the smooth but the smooth just works so well for a really velvety, luxurious feel to the Blondie. Texture is king here…or Queen.
Lets get started!
First, lets make the salted caramel sauce. Here I am featuring the recipe from Sally of Sally’s baking Addiction. There are lots of different recipes for this heavenly sauce (Jamie Oliver also makes a nice one) but Sally’s is my favourite. She has a joyful website full of colourful naughtiness.
Find her recipe here. http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/homemade-salted-caramel-recipe/
WARNING! Please be warned, when you add the butter to the melted sugar it spits like crazy so protect your hands with a tea towel and stir like crazy!!
Salted Caramel Sauce Ingredients
(Here I have developed my own Blondie recipe from a base recipe by Girl on a Mission. I am virtually high fiving her now).
200g Light Brown Sugar (you can use Granulated Sugar but I prefer to use unbleached Sugars where I can)
90g Salted Butter
1 tsp Salt
120ml Double cream
Salted Caramel Peanut butter Blondies
250g Unsalted butter
200g Light Brown Muscavardo Sugar (packed)
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
2 pinches Salt
1 tsp baking Powder
250g Smooth Peanut butter (I use Whole earth as it’s organic and free from Sugars)
Method – makes 12
Pre heat oven to 180.c, Line a 13inch x 8inch tin with baking paper
1 – Melt butter in a sauce pan over a moderate heat SECRET BAKING TIP ALERT FOR FUDGY CENTRES (when making something like a Blondie or American style cookie there are a couple of ways to make them ‘Fudgy’. One is to take them out of the oven a few minutes before the recipe describes so they are slightly rawer in the middle or to melt your butter. Due to the water content in the butter when melted it becomes more glutinous when mixed with dry ingredients. Creating lovely fudgy centre).
2- Allow sugar to cool off a little. A couple of minutes will do. In a mixing bowl whisk eggs and Vanilla essence together, then add sugar and slowly add your butter while stir gently with your other hand.
3 – Now, the best bit. Add your smooth peanut butter to the wet ingredients and bring together that luxurious velvety consistency I was talking about earlier.
4 – Add your flour, baking powder and salt.
5 -In your lined tin spread out a 1 and a half cm layer of the mixture. Then with a spoon blob on your Salted Caramel Mixture. How generous you are is obviously up to you but to get that caramel flavour really coming through go big.Transforming your Blondie from delicious to true decadence.
Best enjoyed at 4pm in the late afternoon energy dip with coffee or after dinner curled up in front of a gripping drama on the telly box. I recommend Broadchurch (who doesn’t)!
Next Week I will be sharing a new recipe I have developed that I can’t seem to get enough of. I take them everywhere.
Butternut squash and roasted pecan brownies
Dairy free (vegan), wheat free and oil free. Using a small amount of naturally occurring sugar.
These are not to be missed!
Healthy, clean eating, feel good food.
If you have any questions regarding recipes don’t hesitate to get in touch. I would love to hear from you.
I look forward to seeing you again next time.
The Cake Diaries xoxo