Dairy Free Peanut Butter Brownies

IMG_6948

I’ve long wondered what peanut butter brownies taste like, and now I know. These are a doddle to make – done and dusted in under 45 mins. Not bad for a work night when you’ve run out of cake and need a chocolate hit quick stat! They’re very rich so eat is small pieces! The original recipe is here but I’ve tweaked the method, mainly because I didn’t read it properly but they don’t seem to have suffered for it…

For 16 squares you need

  • 225g peanut butter
  • 200g plain chocolate
  • 280g light soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g plain flour

Gently heat the chocolate, peanut butter and sugar in a pan until gloopy.

Beat in the eggs one at a time then add the flour. Scrape into a lined brownie tin and bake at 175 degrees for 25-30 mins. You want a serious amount of goo left in the middle once cooked as they’ll firm up on cooling.

Cut into 16 squares and devour. They’re especially nice served warm with raspberry sorbet.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love soft, squidgy cookies, especially when they have peanut butter in them. This recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook.

For about 30 cookies you need
225g softened butter
200g soft brown sugar
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
240g crunchy peanut butter
340g plain flour
2.5 tsp bicarb
75g chocolate chips

Begin by creaming the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla and peanut butter. Once these are combined add the flour and bicarb and mix until a soft dough forms. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Place dessertspoon mounds onto a lined baking sheet, ensuring they are well spread out. Bake in a 170 degree oven for about 10 mins until cooked and lightly browned.

Leave to cool for a few mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Delicious with a glass of milk or a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate Cointreau Torte aka orgasm on a plate

This is the recipe you need to make when you want something simple to make but drop dead gorgeous in yer mouth. It’s ridiculously simple to make but it tastes amazing. It’s based on St Delia’s Chocolate truffle torte.

For 10-12 portions you need
300g plain chocolate
150g milk chocolate
600ml double cream
75ml liquid glucose
75ml cointreau
100g amaretti biscuits, crushed

Begin by melting the chocolates and glucose together in a bain marie. Leave to cool for 5 mins.

Whip the cream to floppy, no more. If you go to soft peaks the torte will be too difficult to mix and loose the wonderfully soft texture you want.

Line a 23cm springform tin with baking paper and oil the base and sides. Sprinkle over the biscuit crumbs.

Once the cream is whipped, mix half of it into the chocolate, then mix in the rest of the cream. Mix thoroughly then scrape into the tin. Cover and chill for at least 2-3 hours. Best served with fresh fruit or lashings and lashings of single cream.

"Millie’s" Cookies (soft squidgy cookies)

These cookies are ridiculously easy to make but they taste AMAZING. You can alter the additions with whatever you fancy or have to hand. I am in use up my store cupboards before we move mode at the moment so we had macadamia nut, cranberries and white chocolate and plain chocolate chip for the boy who refused the extra addition of ginger or apricots, boo.

The recipe is adapted from this one.

For about 36 cookies you need
250g butter, softened
250g caster sugar
200g soft light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
450g self raising flour
2 eggs

For the macadamia, cranberry and white chocolate cookies you also need
75g chopped macadamia nuts
75g dried cranberries
100g white chocolate chunks

For the plain chocolate chip cookies you also need
100g plain chocolate chips

Begin by creaming the butter and sugars in a free standing mixer for 3-4 mins until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix thoroughly. Add the flour and mix well.

If you’re making just one sort of cookie then add your chosen additions to the dough and work in thoroughly. If, like me, you wanted to do more than one sort simply halve the dough and add your ingredients to each bowl, mixing well.

Onto lined baking sheets, place spoonfuls of the dough, well spaced apart. You don’t need to squish them down as they’ll do this naturally as they cook.

Bake at 175 degrees for 10 mins until they are starting to go a light brown colour. Leave to cool for 2-3 mins on the tray before attempting to remove as they will be VERY soft. Leave to cool for a further 5 mins or so then try not to eat an entire batch in one afternoon. They freeze well and retain their chewiness upon defrosting. Nomtastic.

Salted Caramel Shortbread Slice aka Millionaire’s Shortbread

This is to die for. Literally. Scroll down the list of ingredients and you’ll see why. But don’t let that put you off. In the immortal words of Masterchef’s Greg Wallace it’s got the perfect buttery, biscuity base topped with oozing salted caramel and then a thick layer of slightly bitter chocolate. An orgasm on a plate if you will. What’s not to like… Adapted from Nigella’s Roxanne’s Millionaires Shortbread in Domestic Goddess.

For 24 pieces you need
225g plain flour
75g fairtrade caster sugar
375g unsalted butter
397g can sweetened condensed milk
4 tablespoons golden syrup
250g fairtrade plain chocolate
2 tsp salt, preferably something flaky like Maldon

Begin by making the shortbread. Place the flour, sugar and 175g of butter in a food processor and blitz till it turns into sandy rubble. If you don’t have a food processor you can do this by hand by rubbing the fat into the flour and sugar.

Tip the sandy mixture into a lined 23x23cm tin and press down. Bake in a 160 degree oven for 35-40 mins. You want a crisp, golden brown bottom so take care not to have the oven too hot or it will brown before it cooks through.

Meanwhile make the salted caramel by placing the remaining 200g butter into a pan with the condensed milk and golden syrup. I learnt previously when I made this that using a cheap pan separates the butter fat out and splits the caramel. This is NOT a good thing. I managed to resolve it by beating the caramel in the pan submerged in a washing up bowl of cold water but it’s tricky so I recommend using a pan with a deep a base as possible (a Le Creuset is brilliant but admittedly perhaps too middle class for this…). Anyways. Melt the butter into the condensed milk and syrup and then bring to the boil stirring constantly until it’s thickened and a light golden brown in colour. This will take about 20-25 minutes and can’t be rushed. To ensure you don’t let it catch you need to take it slow and steady, stirring all the time. Beat in 1 tsp of the salt and leave to cool.

The shortbread should be baked by now, and if it is, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 15-20 mins before pouring the likewise cooled caramel over the top. Tilt the tin to coat the base properly then sprinkle over the remaining 1 tsp of salt. Leave to cool while you melt the chocolate.

Melt the chocolate in a bain marie/bowl over a pan of water. I like to use 75% plain and 25% milk chocolate on mine, but do as you wish. Once the chocolate has melted, pour over the caramel, again ensuring it’s covered properly and leave until fully set. This means overnight unless you cheat like me and put it in the fridge.

Cut into squares and scoff. Yum. Yum. Yum.

Banana Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars (v)

This recipe is adapted from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible. It’s dead simple, very yummy and makes cooked banana taste nice (I usually can’t stand it cooked in anything unless it’s well and truly mushed up). It’s a bit crumbly and liable to disintegrate round the edges but it’s perfect with a morning coffee and is a reasonably healthy energy boost.

For about 8 bars you need
75g wholemeal flour
11/4 tsp baking powder
75g demerara sugar
75g porridge oats
100g vegan spread or butter if you’re not vegan
1 banana, sliced into 5mm slices
25g plain chocolate chips

Blitz everything apart from the chocolate chips in a food processor until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Line a 2lb loaf tin and put half the shortbread mix in the bottom. Press down. Lay the banana slices on top and then cover with the remaining shortbread. Press down firmly and scatter over the chocolate. Bake in a 180 degree oven for about 25 mins. Leave to cool and then carefully slice and scoff.

Celebration Chocolate Cake

This cake has done the rounds on an internet forum I am a member of, and I book marked it as one to make to welcome Lex home after he’d spent the summer with his dad this year. It looks impressive but is actually a doddle to make and decorate, and any kid (or adult for that matter!!) that sees it can’t resist breaking out into a huge grin. You can put whatever you want round the sides and on the top. I was under strict orders from the boy with what I included but let your imagination run wild!

Our cake is a chocolate orange marble cake with chocolate orange buttercream icing and milk and orange chocolate kitkats. For other flavours, amend the recipes below to suit your tastes 🙂

For 8-12 slices you need
Orange cake batter
3 eggs
zest and juice of one orange
6oz self raising flour
6oz caster sugar
6oz vitalite

Chocolate orange cake batter
3 eggs
zest and juice of one orange
4oz self raising flour
2oz cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
6oz caster sugar
6oz vitalite

Chocolate Orange Buttercream Icing
225g vitalite
475g icing sugar
50g cocoa powder
zest of one orange

To Decorate
1 pack of 8 x 2 finger orange kitkats
1 pack of 8 x 2 finger milk chocolate kitkats
1 packet peanut M&Ms
1 packet yorkie chocolate drops
Jelly stars
Edible silver stars

You will also need
A ribbon to decorate
2 x 8 inch round cake tins, lined and greased
Cake stand or plate

Begin by making the cake batters. In separate bowls cream together the vitalite and sugar, beating for 10 mins until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, alternating with the flour or flour and cocoa mixture. Finally add the zest and juice and thoroughly incorporate.

Dollop spoonfuls of each mixture across both tins, and once all the batter is in, swirl to mix lightly for the marbled effect.

Bake at 170 degrees for about 25-30 mins until the cakes are well risen, starting to shrink away from the sides of the tin and fully cooked. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a cake rack to finish cooling completely.

Beat the icing ingredients together for 10 mins until light and fluffy. Use to sandwich the cakes together and then cover the outside of both cakes with a good layer of icing. Once you have done this, start to stick your kitkats (or chocolate finger biscuits or whatever else you have chosen!) to the outside.

Then add your decoration of choice. Some people like to just cover with maltesers or other sweets, but my cakes were very deep, and there wasn’t a lot of overspill room above the kitkats so I used giant chocolate buttons and then filled the inside with other sweets.

Finally, tie the ribbon around the outside of the cake (this helps to ensure the kitkats don’t fall off as well as giving an extra wow factor ;-)) and scoff. I recommend palming the children off on to grandparents once the sugar rush hits mwahahahaha!

Easter / Ishtar Chocolate Egg Nests (v)

Easter isn’t Ishtar without these nests. I prefer to use a base of butter, golden syrup and drinking chocolate/cocoa for the chocolate rather than melting chocolate as they remain softer and nicer to eat that way. This is a great recipe to get the kids to do, or to make to bring back memories of the last day of school!

For 10-12 nests you need
6 shredded wheat, crushed
100g butter or vegan spread
4 tbsp golden syrup
4 tbsp drinking chocolate or cocoa powder
Chocolate eggs to decorate
Paper muffin cases

Melt the butter, golden syrup and drinking chocolate in a pan gently. Mix into the crushed shredded wheat and then spoon into cases. Leave an indentation in the middle for the eggs to nestle in to. Top with eggs and leave for an hour or so to set. Yummy!

Cadbury’s Creme Egg Brownies



A brownie adorned with a cadbury’s creme egg showed up in my newsfeed on Facebook earlier in the week, so I decided to treat us to some for Easter. I’ve used mini creme eggs as the large ones would have made them too sickly (imho!). The brownie recipe I have used is my tried and tested adaptation of the Hummingbird Bakery’s plain chocolate brownie which is chewy and moist and delicious. Enjoy!

For 12 portions you need
200g good quality plain chocolate
125g butter
150g plain flour
325g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

6 mini cadbury’s creme eggs

Melt the chocolate and butter. Once melted and cooled slightly, mix in the other ingredients. Pour the batter into a lined swiss roll tin and bake at 160 degrees for about 15 mins. 


Carefully cut the eggs in half, but don’t worry too much if they break a bit. After 15 mins, take the brownies out of the oven and push the halves of eggs into the semi cooked batter. Place them back in the oven for a further 15 mins to finish cooking. 

Leave to cool for 10 min before removing from the baking tin and slicing into generous squares. Happy Ishtar!


Black and White Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream Snadwiches

This pic got rather a lot of likes on instagr.am the other day, proper food porn! And utterly delicious to eat too, if a tad messy! Making the cookies with vitalite not only makes them easier as you don’t need to remember to leave the butter out or faff about softening it if you forget; but it also gives them a better texture. Contrasting the dark bitter chocolate with the white sweet chocolate works really well. I prefer the two flavours to adding in milk chocolate too for triple chocolate cookies. This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s totally chocolate chocolate chip cookies from Nigella Express.

For about 20 cookies, depending on size, you need

125g dark chocolate
150g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
1tsp bicarb
½ tsp salt
125g vitalite
75g soft light brown sugar
50g white sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
350g white chocolate chunks or chocolate cut into chunks

Ice cream of your choice to serve.

Melt the dark chocolate in a bain marie and leave to cool slightly.

Beat the sugars and vitalite in a free standing mixer until light and fluffy. Then add everything else, mixing thoroughly.

Place teaspoon sized blobs onto a lined baking tray. You should be able to get 9-12 cookies on a normal sized tray and they don’t spread that much whilst cooking. 

Cook in a moderate (170 degree) oven for 10 mins until cooked but not browned. Leave to cool on the tray for a few mins. If you try and move them too soon they will break but they will harden upon cooling. 

Sandwich your favourite ice cream in the middle and scoff. Nomtastic!