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Mini Egg Chocolate Tart

I’m a pretty positive person overall but I have had a few rants recently about the tiny size of the mini egg bags. I’m not sure if they’re getting smaller or my appetite for mini eggs is getting bigger (very possibly both) but this simple puff pastry tart needs 3 whole bags of mini eggs. When I say 3 whole bags I’ve obviously accounted for the rouge eggs that find their way into the kids (and my) mouths while baking….

If you’re finding this recipe via Google or Facebook then there’s a handy cook along video with my eldest on my Instagram highlights here https://www.instagram.com/baking_with_kids

You will need a baking sheet lined with baking paper.

Ingredients

  • 500g all butter puff pastry
  • 200ml maple syrup
  • 50g butter
  • 50g light brown soft sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g milk chocolate
  • 3 bags of mini eggs (240g)
  • 50g white chocolate

Preheat the oven to 200°C

Roll out the puff pastry to a large rectangle nearly the size of your baking sheet. Score a line approx 1 inch in from the edge and gently score the surface of the pastry.

Pop into the oven while you make the filling. (Or 20 minutes if you’ve taken longer than us to make the filling)

Combine the maple syrup, butter and sugar in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and butter has melted.

In the meantime break up the milk chocolate and pop into a heatproof bowl. Pour the hot syrup mixture over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted.

Stir in the eggs and 1 bag of mini eggs.

Remove the pastry from the oven and push in the middle where its puffed up.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the centre of the pastry and return to the oven for further 15 minutes or until the mixture has set. (It will still have a bit of a wobble to it).

Allow to cool before decorating.

Break up the white chocolate into a microwave safe bowl. Melt using short bursts of 10-15 seconds in the microwave, stirring well in between.

Drizzle over the tart and top with the remaining mini eggs. We smashed ours up a bit but that’s totally optional.

Enjoy ideally warm with a scoop of ice cream.

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Caramel egg tarts

These Caramel Egg Tarts may look like a bit of a challenge to bake with kids but they are actually pretty simple.

There’s 3 stages to the tarts;

  • Pastry – the perfect cooking activity for little ones.
  • Caramel – grown up job if you’re cooking with younger kids but older ones can totally embrace this challenge.
  • Chocolate ganache – bit of heat but younger kids can get very involved with supervision. Again older kids can boss this.
  • So if that feels do-able to you then why not ‘crack’ on with these eggscellent Easter treats! (Those are the only egg puns this Easter…I promise).


    You will need


    4 individual tart tins or one 8″ loose bottom tart tin, baking paper and either baking beans or dried lentils to blind bake.

    Ingredients

    For the pastry

    • 120g butter
    • 250g plain flour
    • 30g caster sugar
    • 1 egg
  • For the caramel

    • Tin of condensed milk (397g)
    • 50g salted butter
    • 50g light brown sugar
  • For the toppings

    • 100g dark chocolate
    • 100ml double cream
    • 50g, white chocolate (optional)
    • At least 2 caramel eggs
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C

    For the pastry

    Kids love making pastry – fact! If yours are anything like mine, the fun starts at making a tremendous mess rubbing the flour and butter together and really kicks in once they start eating raw clumps of dough… but as the caramel making is a bit of a grown up job its best to turn a blind eye to the mess and let them enjoy the pastry mess making.

    So in this fashion rub the flour and sugar together in a large bowl until it resembles chunky breadcrumbs. Add the egg and mix to form a firm dough (if it’s a little on the dry side add a few drops of very cold water gradually until the pastry comes together).
    Roll the dough out to about the thickness of a pound coin and place into the tart tin(s). Don’t worry about neatness here. If need be, just press the pastry in, making sure it comes up the sides of the tin and there are no holes where the caramel might leak out later.

    Cover the pastry with a square of baking paper and fill with the baking beans or dried lentils.
    Bake for 10 minutes, then carefully (grown-up-job alert) remove the beans/lentils and baking paper, and return to the oven for another 5 minutes until the pastry base is golden.

    Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin to cool completely.

    To make the caramel

    Add the condensed milk, butter and sugar to a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved.
    Turn the heat up to medium and continue to stir until the mixture has thickened (if you’re baking with younger kids you may want to utilise screen time whilst you crack on with this but older kids will have no problem with the constant stirring).
    When the caramel is thick enough that you can draw a line through to separate it with a spoon and it takes a couple of seconds to come back together, you’re good to go!
    Gently pour the caramel over the pastry and leave to cool while you make the ganache.

    For the ganache

    Break up the chocolate into chunks and place into a heatproof bowl.
    In the microwave heat the cream to almost boiling and pour over the chocolate. Leave it to sit for 30 seconds or so then stir until you have a smooth thick chocolate cream.

    Spoon about 2 tablespoons of ganache over the top of the caramel.

    If using white chocolate to decorate, melt using short bursts of 10-15 seconds in the microwave and drizzle on top in whatever style you fancy.

    Finally chop the caramel eggs in half along the joined edge and place on top of the tarts.

    Serve with a good pour of double cream if your feeling extra 😉
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    Chocolate Orange Brownie Crinkle Cookies


    Ooh Chocolate Orange Brownie Crinkle Cookies. That’s a bit of a mouthful… I thought of abbreviating them to COBCCs but it sounded too much like cobcocks when the kids said it, which did not do justice to the delicious, melt-in-the-mouth, chocolately goodness that is these cookies. (Not saying there’s not a market for cobcocks, just not here)

    Now the brownie crinkle cookie is not a new concept, however when I was looking for recipes to make my own they were all a bit scary.

    At least 3 recipes were very specific on the egg whisk time and one warns of disaster if you don’t use two separate types of pretty niche cocoa powder.

    I thought if ever there were a recipe that needs the ‘Baking with Kids’ treatment, it’s this!

    It’s still a little more work than your standard 1 bowl cookie recipe but soooo worth it!


    You will need a big mixing bowl and a smaller microwave safe bowl. 3 baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper and a whisk (electric is easier).

    Makes 15 cookies

    Ingredients

    • 200g dark chocolate (we used 100g Orange Bournville and 100g supermarket own brand)
    • 100g butter
    • 2 medium eggs
    • 150g caster sugar
    • 100g soft brown sugar
    • 125g plain flour
    • 20g cocoa powder
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 Terry’s chocolate orange



    Preheat the oven to 210°C/ Gas mark 7


    Get your biggest bowl out first (bigger bowls help avoid devastation level mess- I mean there’ll still be mess, just not quite as tear inducing) and crack 2 eggs in.Add the sugars and whisk until pale and about double the size. Kids love an electric whisk so if your kids are a bit bigger, you can let them whisk away while you melt the chocolate…

    • In your smaller microwave safe bowl, break up the dark chocolate to small pieces and melt using short bursts of 10-15 seconds in the microwave (be sure to keep stirring regularly to avoid burnt bits). When the chocolate is nearly all melted, add the butter for the last 15 seconds. Stir the melted butter through the metled chocolate.
      Pour the choccy-butter mixture into the whisked egg mixture and stir until just combined (my little ones loved watching the chocolate swirl into the paler egg mixture).Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix to form a thick batter.
      Drop heaped dessert spoons of mixture onto the lined baking trays with plenty of space in between. We put 5 to 6 blobs in each tray. Bake for 6-8 minutes until the edges are getting crinkly but the centre is still raw, then quickly remove from the oven, add a segment of chocolate orange and pop straight back in the oven for a further 4-5 minutes. Keep an eye on them, as the oven is set pretty high, they really don’t need very long.
      Allow to cool completely on the tray before lifting off and enjoying.
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    Iced Gems

    I sometimes feel that if I lived in a sunny country I’d bake once in a blue moon. It seems most of my recipes are born out of ways to entertain the kids on a long rainy day and we seem to get alot of these in South Wales. Today however has been the longest rainy day ever. I think partly because we are still in lockdown and partly because we were supposed to be on a family holiday in Butlins this week. So instead of chilling with a cold gin whilst the kids watch a pantomime, I’m eating my feelings – in iced gem form.

    Iced gems are another one of those treats that you love to eat but would never think to make yourself. Whereas I haven’t gone to the effort of making cute little bags with polar bears on, I have cracked out the piping bag so I would count these as easy to medium on the effort scale!

    You will need a baking tray lined with baking paper, piping bag and open star nozzle (we use Wilton 1M)

    Ingredients

    • 150g plain flour
    • 120g butter at room temperature
    • 75g caster sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 200g icing sugar
    • Pinch of cream of tartar or few drops lemon juice (optional)
    • Food colours of your choice gel or paste

    Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6

    In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the butter and flour until it resembles chunky breadcrumbs. (The kids preffered method is to pinch the butter into the flour, which is great for developing fine motor skills. My preferred method is to throw everything in a stand mixer in a futile attempt to contain the mess).

    Mix in the sugar and the yolk of the egg to form a firm dough.

    Scatter plenty of flour over the already trashed countertops and roll out the dough to about the thickness of a pound coin.

    Using the large end of the piping nozzle, cut small rounds of dough and place on the baking sheet.

    When all the dough has been used and the tray full of little circles, pop the whole tray in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes (this stops the dough from spreading too much in the oven).

    Remove from the fridge and bake for about 8 minutes until the biscuits are starting to lightly brown at the edges.

    You’ll have to keep a close eye on them as they are so small they can burn easily. Remove and set aside to cool.

    While the biscuits cool make the royal icing.

    Whisk the white of the egg with the lemon juice or cream of tartar if using, until thick, white and able to hold it’s own shape.

    Gradually add the icing sugar until fully incorporated. It may resemble toothpaste but this is totally fine.

    Pop the nozzle into the piping bag (ideally you’ve given it a little wash in the meantime) and snip the end of your using a disposable bag.

    Using a wooden skewer or thin clean paintbrush, paint lines of food colouring up the bag.

    Spoon in the icing mixture and tie the end of the bag using an elastic band or food bag clip.

    Ensure the biscuits are cool before piping the icing splodges.

    To pipe, squeeze the bag directly over the biscuit, then release while lifting the bag off. Theres a video on my Instagram of my 5 year old doing this which may be helpful.

    Once all the biscuits are iced, leave to air dry for about 4 hours if you like your icing solid. If not then tuck right in!

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    Lockdown Blondies


    Or are they brownies? Well they’re blondies that after 10 weeks of lockdown are now mostly brownies…

    When the salons open they’ll be full blondies again but for the meantime they’re embracing their delicious chocolatey roots.

    So like many, I have not had the super productive, glow up version of lockdown that I envisioned back in March.

    Now that the end is vaguely in sight, I have at least managed to write my first blog post in six months.

    So whereas I haven’t finished writing the first draft of my cookbook (or the first chapter) I have at least managed one vaguely topical recipe.

    These are my classic brownies topped with a rich, sweet blondie topping made from condensed milk. Many blondie recipes are more like cookie bars than white chocolate versions of brownies but not these so be prepared for some gooeiness!

    You will need a 9″ square cake tin or brownie tray, lined with baking paper.

    Ingredients;

    For your brownie roots

    • 200g butter
    • 150g plain chocolate
    • 300g white sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 70g plain flour
    • 50g cocoa powder


    For the blondie topping

    • 1 tin condensed milk
    • 100g white chocolate (melted)
    • 50g white sugar
    • 50g salted butter
    • 100g plain flour
    • 1 egg


    Preheat the oven to 160°C

    The easiest way to make these brownies is to have 2 large bowls on the go at the same time; one for the brownie mixture and one for the blondie mixture.

    One of the bowls (for the brownies) will need to be set over a pan of gently simmering water on the stove so a ceramic, glass or metal bowl is best for this.

    In your brownie bowl, break up the dark chocolate then add the 300g sugar and 200g butter.

    Pop on top of a pan of simmering water and stir until the chocolate and butter have melted together into a lovely chocolate lava.

    Remove from the heat and add the 3 eggs, cocoa powder and 70g plain flour. Mix until combined then crack on with the blondie topping.


    Break up the white chocolate into a  microwave safe container.
    Using short bursts of 10-15 seconds and stirring well in between, melt the white chocolate in the microwave.


    In your 2nd large bowl beat the 50g butter and 50g sugar together until smooth.

    Mix in the tin of condensed milk, egg and flour and finally stir in the melted white chocolate.

    Transfer the brownie mixture into the prepared tin and spread into all the corners evenly. Spoon the blondie mixture on top of the brownie mixture and gently smooth the top with the back of the spoon.

    Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes and then place a sheet of foil loosely over the top and continue to bake for a further 20 minutes.

    The top should be quite golden but the inside will have a slight bit of a wobble. This is ideal if you like a gooey brownie but if you prefer cakey give them another 5 to 10 minutes.


    Allow to cool as much as possible before slicing to serve.

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    Cheesy Garlic Buns

    Yes another bun! I do love bread in all its forms but its definitely on the messiest end of the Baking With Kids scale. If home made focaccia is a 10 and going to the shop and buying a doughnut being a 1 (it’s still a messy business with little ones), then these cheesy garlic buns are a solid 9 on the messy scale.

    But the kids love it and the resulting buns are a delicious savoury treat which are well worth the clean up!

    You will need a 12 hole muffin tray, well greased, and a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

    Ingredients

    • 450g strong white flour
    • 3 level teaspoons fast action yeast
    • 300ml warm water
    • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
    • 30ml sunflower or vegetable oil
    • Teaspoon salt
    • 175g grated mature cheddar
    • Generous teaspoon garlic granules
    • Generous teaspoon dried basil

    In a jug, measure your warm water, then add the sugar and yeast and stir.

    Leave to sit while you measure the flour and salt into the mixing bowl.

    Pour the yeasty water into the bowl and add the oil. Mix well to form a sticky mess dough.

    Knead for 10 minutes or until the dough becomes elastic in texture (about 10 minutes on medium-low in the mixer). Pop back into the bowl and cover with a tea towel.

    Place the bowl somewhere warm (near a radiator or airing cupboard) for an hour and a half or until double in size.

    Generously flour your worktop and rolling pin (yes more mess) and roll out the dough to a large rectangle of about half inch thickness.

    Sprinkle the grated cheese over half the dough rectangle and top with the garlic and basil.

    Fold in half to tuck the cheese into its doughy bed, then cut 8- 10 even strips from the dough.

    Twist each strip from the bottom so it starts to curl in on itself, and roll to form a loose ball.

    Place into the greased muffin tray and pop back into a warm place for about 40 minutes or until nearly doubled in size again.

    Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6.

    Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes or until deep golden colour throughout. If you’re able to tap the bottom of a bun it should sound a bit hollow.

    Allow to cool a bit before serving. Best served warm and cheesy 😃

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    Spiced Chocolate Orange Babka Buns

    I had never heard of babka before I started baking with kids and my eyes were opened to the amazing variety of different cakes and breads from the talented bakers of Instagram.

    Each year a lovely community of social media bakers take part in a bakealong that runs in line with The Great British Bake Off. You can recreate a bake from the show or make your own recipe that corresponds with the weekly challenges. When festival buns came up, I couldn’t resist a chance to finally try my hand at babka, but with my own spin.

    These spiced chocolate orange babka buns came about as I had the ingredients in my cupboard and love christmassy flavours. I never intended to write up the recipe but after sharing the photos in Instagram I had so many lovely messages asking for the recipe I thought I’d get myself in gear and write it up 😀 I was also lucky enough to win this weeks bakealong so these are now Prize winning Babka Buns!

    It’s a long one and would be a huge undertaking with smaller children so have a good read through and please hit me up with any questions you may have!

    Happy Babka Baking!

    Ingredients

    You will need a 12 hole muffin tray well greased.

    • 600g strong white bread flour
    • 50g butter
    • 50g caster sugar
    • 1 large egg plus 1 yolk
    • 10g fast action yeast
    • 300ml just warm water
    • 2x tablespoons cocoa powder
    • Grated zest medium orange
    • 100g dark chocolate chips

    For the filling

    • 150g soft butter
    • 1 tsp mixed spice
    • 100g soft brown sugar

    For the orange glaze

    • 50ml orange juice
    • Teaspoon mixed spice
    • 150g caster sugar

    Maybe it’s just me or the soft water in South Wales but I always seem to make the stickiest bread doughs. They do produce lovely soft breads though so it’s worth the webby messiness in the process. These Babka Buns are once again, super sticky before the first proove so if your making with your little ones, prep with towels nearby and sleeves rolled up. Always a good idea to keep rings off fingers too 😀

    Measure your warm water into a jug, then stir in the sugar and yeast. Leave to sit for 5 minutes or until the surface of the water becomes frothy.

    In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (at slowest speed) or large bowl, mix the butter into the flour. Add the eggs and frothy yeast-water and continue to mix either by hand or in the mixer into a sticky dough.

    Continue to knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until its smooth and elastic (it will still be very sticky), then divide into 2 halves.

    Add the grated orange zest to one half, kneading in well, and pop into a greased bowl and cover.

    Add the cocoa powder to the remaining half, again kneading in well. Pop into a greased bowl and cover.

    Leave the doughs to proove for about an hour and a half or until doubled in size.

    Flour your work surface generously and roll out your orange flavour dough to a rough rectangle shape. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the dough.

    Roll out the chocolate dough again to a rough rectangle and place gently on top of the orange dough, sandwiching the chocolate chips between the layers of dough. Don’t worry if the two doughs aren’t an extact fit, they’ll be knotted up before baking so there’s plenty of room for rough edges.

    Pop onto a baking sheet and leave to proove for a further 30-45 minutes or until puffed back up to double height.

    Preheat the oven to 200°C

    You can make the filling in this time if your feeling super organised.

    To make the filling just mash the butter, spice and sugar together in a bowl and set to one side.

    Slice your puffy rectangle of dough into 10 strips down the long edge.

    Gently flatten the middle of each strip and add a layer of the spiced sugar filling. Fold the strip in half lengthways (so side to side rather than top to bottom) and twist the strip until it starts to curl onto itself. Curl into a gentle ball and place into the muffin tin.

    Repeat with the remaining strips of dough.

    Pop into the oven for 30 minutes or until a deep golden colour. It may be worth making the glaze in this time.

    For the glaze again just pop all the ingredients into a saucepan. Stir gently over as low heat until the sugar has melted and the mixture just begins to thicken slightly.

    Whilst the buns are still warm brush generously with the glaze. These babka buns are definitely best enjoyed warm and perfect when eaten on the day of baking.

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    Pumpkin Bread Rolls

    My eldest girl lives for Halloween and all things spooky. So as soon as the pumpkins hit the shops we really have to reel her in.

    From late September she has been angling to go pumpkin picking and now eight out of ten doodles involves a pumpkin headed scarecrow. Her pumpkin love has spread to her sister who has taken to calling her tangerines ‘mini pumpkins’…

    As we’ve now entered October, I’m going with ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’. I’ve seen a few exotic looking pumpkin bread recipes but this has been given the BWK treatment.

    The batch makes 6 good sized individual bread rolls, and the recipe is super simple. A basic bread dough, with soft cheese and an easy glaze for the lovely orange colour.

    Top Tip before you start and if you’re new to bread making, dough rises quickly in warm, humid environments. So if your dough is taking its sweet time, you may want to pop it in a warmer location.

    You will need a baking sheet, lined with baking paper.

    Ingredients:

    For the dough

    • 400g strong white flour
    • 2x teaspoons fast action yeast
    • Teaspoon of salt
    • 30ml vegetable oil
    • 250ml warm water
  • For the filling
    • 6 x heaped teaspoons soft cheese (we uused primula)

    To finish

    • Plenty of plain string
    • 1 small egg beaten
    • Few drops orange food colour
    • 2 French beans – chopped into 6 half inch pieces

    Firstly you have been warned of the messiness involved when baking with kids. This bread dough starts off really sticky so be prepared with a few towels nearby and sleeves well rolled.

    In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or large bowl, add all the dough ingredients and mix well to form a sticky mess dough.

    Continue to knead for 5 to 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

    Pop back into the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave for an hour and a half or until at least doubled in size.

    Divide the inflated dough into six portions of roughly equal size. (This is a great activity for little ones to move on from a sensory activity to fine motor and problem solving).

    Flatten out each portion and add a teaspoon of cheese into the centre. Pinch the dough around the cheese to form a ball.

    The next bit may be more of a grown up job, depending on the age of the kids you’re cooking with.

    Roll the dough balls in flour to ensure the surface is no longer sticky.

    Cut lengths of string apx 35cm long and wrap around the balls of dough, crossing underneath as you go to form sections. Try not to tighten the string; the dough will puff up around it afterwards.

    Preheat the oven to 220°C/ Gas mark 7.

    Place on a lined baking sheet and leave for 40 minutes or until the rolls have puffed up to about an extra third of their size.

    In a mug or jug, mix the egg with a few drops of orange food colour.

    Brush the rolls with the egg mixture and pop into the oven for 30 minutes or until the bottom of the rolls sound hollow when tapped (grown up job).

    Allow to cool slightly before carefully removing the string.

    Top with a piece of French bean to serve 🎃🎃🎃

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    Fondant Fancies

    I really wanted to try and embrace the summer holidays with sunny optimism, healthy treats and lots of organised fun like some sort of pinterest ninja mum. But as you can see from these fondant fancies and the air of despair wafting around the South Wales area I have failed (on week 2). We were camping the first week of the hols which helped but with my car being in the garage and an unholy amount of housework to be done I thought we may all benefit from a few days ‘in the house’. Naive me thought I’d potter about and get on top of the housework (impossible). In fact one day at home, with the kids and a careless lead to the below google search at 5pm…

    So the healthy snacks went out the window for the day and in comes these beauties! Sweet, buttery sponge with a slightly sharp lemon curd filling, creamy buttercream and a white chocolate drizzle. Pretty high on the sugar chart but they are small so a perfect size for little ones with minimal wastage 😀.

    These fondant fancies can be a bit fiddly for little hands so keep a realistic expectation of the neatness levels. The below photo are mostly my creations…

    And these are my kids masterpieces…

    They absolutely loved the whole process though and it saved me being nagged for a few hours so win-win all round!

    You will need an 8″ square cake tin or brownie pan, lined with baking paper.

    Ingredients

    • 200g butter
    • 200g caster sugar
    • 4 eggs
    • 200g Self Raising flour
    • Teaspoon lemon extract
    • Rind of half an orange

    For the filling

    • 3/4 tablespoons Jam or lemon curd

    For the buttercream

    • 200g butter
    • 400g icing sugar
    • Tablespoon milk or boiling water

    To cover

    • 600g ready to roll icing or fondant
    • Few drops food colour paste or gel
    • 50g white chocolate

    Preheat the oven to 170°C Gas mark 3

    In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until soft and creamy.

    Crack in the eggs and fish out the inevitable bits of shell from toddler egg smashing, then mix well.

    Add the orange zest and lemon extract, then mix in the flour to form a thick batter.

    Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden. The centre of the cake should spring back when touched (by a grown up, definitely not recommending the kids poke the oven-hot cake).

    Whilst the cake is cooling make the buttercream and colour the icing.

    Beat the butter until soft and gradually add the icing sugar until pale. Beat in the milk or water to form a creamy and fluffy buttercream.

    If your colouring the fondant icing now is a great time to do this too. Just knead the colour gel or paste into the icing or, if your a smarter person than me, just buy icing in the colour you wanted in the first place 🤷🏼‍♀️.

    When the sponge is completely cool slice horizontally and spread the jam or curd over the sliced section, replace the top of the cake and slice into small cubes (apx 4cm).

    Spread a thin layer of buttercream over the four sides of each cube and add a small (half teaspoon) blob of buttercream on top.

    Roll out small balls of icing to circles of apx 15 cm and cover the cake cubes, smoothing the icing down the sides as you go.

    When all your cakes are covered, melt the white chocolate using short bursts of 10 seconds in the microwave and drizzle over the top. Pop into the fridge to set.

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    Lemon Lemon Lemon Cake

    Yes that’s a lot of lemons! My eldest is one of those people who can eat lemons like an apple- no flinching at any sourness, thoroughly enjoying it as if it was as sweet as a grape. I’m not one of these lucky few and take my lemons with a good side of cake.

    This Lemon Lemon Lemon Cake is so named as it’s a classic lemon drizzle cake, with a a homemade lemon curd and topped with lemon buttercream and meringues. A beast of a recipe for little ones which is why I would say there are 3 stages of technical difficulty;

    If you’re just here for a lemon drizzle recipe then the cake itself is easy and fab to make with little ones- stick with this and you’ll have a yummy, baked-from-scratch lemon cake and a far more chilled out afternoon…

    If you want something a bit more special, (grandad’s birthday perhaps) treat yourself and make the curd too. Older kids can get on with this as the method is simple and you can increase the recipe and jar extra curd for future use. You just need to keep the heat low and remember to keep stirring. Younger kids would have to sit this bit out though.

    If you’re feeling extra (and brave) and fancy the most EPIC of all lemon cakes ever, then go full hog with the meringues and buttercream! There will be loads of mess, sticky hair and more dirty dishes than you thought you had…but it will be a full day’s activity and absolutely delicious too!

    Recipe

    For the cake

    • 150g Butter
    • 150g Caster sugar
    • 3 Eggs
    • 175g Self raising flour
    • Grated zest and rind of 1 small lemon
    • Teaspoon lemon extract

    For the drizzle

    • 50ml lemon juice
    • 100g icing sugar

    For the lemon curd

    • 75ml lemon juice
    • 150g caster sugar
    • 75g butter
    • 2 large eggs and 1 yolk beaten together (keep the remaining egg white)

    For the meringues

    • 1 egg white
    • 50g caster sugar
    • Half tsp lemon juice

    For the lemon buttercream

    • 150g butter (fairly soft)
    • 300g icing sugar
    • Generous teaspoon lemon extract

    So if your taking this in stages the first would be the curd: fine for older kids but not great for little ones due to the heat. So as above I would take the below as stage 2 of the lemon cake; one difficulty level above lemon drizzle, but one level difficulty below lemon meringue cake.

    Start by making the curd (this can be done a few days in advance and popped into a clean jar).

    In a saucepan over a low heat, stir the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the butter and stir until melted. Continue to stir on the low heat and slowly pour in the heated eggs in a slow stream.

    Now just keep on stirring for about 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens to custard consistency. Once thick remove from the heat and pour into the jar. Allow to cool completely before using.

    For the cake

    Preheat the oven to 170°C /gas mark 3.

    Grease and line (with baking paper) 2x 7″ sandwich tins, a deep 6″ round tin or a 1lb loaf tin.

    In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Mix in the eggs, extract and lemon zest and juice.

    Finally add the flour and mix until you have a slightly lumpy batter.

    Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

    Allow to cool slightly in the tin before removing to cool completely.

    When the cake is nearly cool, make the drizzle by mixing the lemon juice and icing sugar together to have a slightly runny icing.

    Poke holes into the top of the cake(s) using a fork or metal skewer and drizzle the lemon icing over.

    For the meringues

    Preheat the oven to 140°C /gas mark 2

    Line a baking tray with baking paper

    My kids love make meringues, partly because I let them hold the whisk and partly because I let them pipe the shapes. It does make for some interesting little meringues. So if you are looking for an aesthetically pleasing cake, you may want to try a few swirls yourself before handing the piping bag to the little ones.

    On the subject of whisks, I fully recommend an electric whisk for this- I’ve not attempted meringues with a hand whisk but imagine you’d have arms like popeye by the time your egg white whips up…

    Pop the egg white in a clean bowl and whisk until white and frothy.

    Gradually add the sugar while whisking. Your egg mixture will become glossy, very white and thick. Whisk in the lemon juice and continue to whisk until the mixture holds a shape when the whisk is lifted out.

    Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe swirls onto the baking sheet. Alternatively if you’re not piping bag confident, spoon heaped tablespoons of mixture directly on the sheet.

    Bake for 12 minutes in the centre of the oven then turn off the heat and allow to cool completely inside the oven.

    For the lemon buttercream

    OMG if you’ve made it this far give yourself a massive pat on the back! As I’ve said this Lemon Lemon Lemon cake is EPIC and not undertaken by the faint hearted so well done. I bet you’re thinking next time I’ll just stick to the lemon drizzle but wait! Once you have a big slice of Lemon Lemon Lemon cake and taste the fruits of your labour, it will all be worth it!

    So this last bit is easy. Using the electric whisk, beat all the buttercream ingredients together until thick and creamy! Voila!

    To assemble the Lemon lemon Lemon Cake

    Sandwich the cakes together with a generous layer of lemon curd.

    Spread a layer of lemon curd on the top of the cake and pop into the fridge to firm up a bit.

    Either pipe the buttercream or spread over the top and sides of the cake, covering as much as you can (if you fancy piping lemon Roses there’s a quick video on my Instagram higlights).

    Finally arrange your meringues however you like in and/or around the cake and drizzle with yet more lemon curd (the kids took care of meringue placement and lemon curd drizzling following my buttercream piping- you may want to try a similar compromise).

    Enjoy the most lemony of all the lemon cakes!

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    Maple Butter Pecan Traybake

    Possibly my favourite traybake ever!

    I’m definitely a pecan person. I absolutely love them (especially at Christmas, covered in cinnamon sugar) but the kids don’t particularly rate them quite so highly…until this cake.

    I have recently discovered Moose Maple butter (a blend of maple syrup, butter and pinch of salt) and I couldn’t wait to try it in cake form: so this Maple Butter Pecan Traybake was born!

    The kids are now total pecan converts (yes I’m aware covering them in delicious cake and buttercream may have helped).

    They both wanted huge slices and actually finished them, which was mildly upsetting as I was hoping to scoff their leftovers…

    A soft, buttery sponge with maple buttercream and little chunks of roasted pecans throughout: actual heaven in traybake form!

    You will need an 8″ square cake tin or equivalent deep baking tray, lined with baking paper.

    Ingredients

    For the cake

    • 150g butter
    • 100g caster sugar
    • 50g soft brown sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 banana
    • 100g chopped pecans
    • 175g self raising flour
    • Tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

    For the topping

    • 150g maple butter (if you cant get your hands on maple butter use 125g butter and 75ml maple syrup)
    • 300g icing sugar
    • Tablespoon boiling water
    • 9- 12 half pecans (to decorate)

    Preheat the oven to 180°C.

    Spread the chopped pecans over a baking tray and pop into the oven for 5 minutes until just starting to turn deeper brown in colour.

    In a large, toddler safe bowl, mash the banana until pretty gooey.

    Add in the butter and sugars (and maple syrup if using) and mix well until creamy.

    Beat in the 3 eggs. My youngest loves cracking the eggs which means I either have to spend 5 minutes fishing out bits of rouge shell or accept this particular cake may have more ‘texture’ than initially intended.

    Add in the flour and chopped pecans and mix well to form a thick batter.

    Pour into the prepared cake tin and place in the middle shelf of the oven.

    Cook for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

    Allow to cool completely before decorating.

    To make the buttercream

    Using an electric whisk or shed loads of toddler-stamina, beat the maple butter (or butter and maple syrup) until soft, then gradually add half the icing sugar.

    Add the hot water and the rest of the icing sugar whilst beating until you have a smooth and fluffy buttercream.

    Spread evenly over the cake and top with the pecan halves.

    Depending on your preference you could have 9 massive slices, 12 normal slices or 16 small slices (but then you’d end up eating 3 so you may as well go big or go home 🤣).

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    Creme Egg Doughnuts

    Is it me or has Easter been a looooong time coming this year? I feel like I’ve been secretly hoarding chocolate eggs for months and it is in the top 10 most difficult things ever to not binge-eat them when the kids are in bed.

    We’ve previously made skinny doughnuts but these are definitely not so skinny… soft baked doughnuts topped with chocolate, icing and of course creme eggs! Perfect for an Easter treat or to use up any leftover chocolate after Easter Sunday.

    You will need 2x 6 hole doughnut moulds (we got ours from Amazon) well greased.

    Ingredients

    • 400g self raising flour
    • 185g caster sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 250ml milk
    • 50g butter- melted

    To decorate

    • Pack mini Cadbury creme eggs
    • 100g dark chocolate
    • 400g icing sugar
    • Few spoonfuls water
    • Orange food colour

    Preheat the oven to 180°C

    In a large bowl mix the flour and caster sugar until combined.

    Mix the eggs into the milk. Add the butter and mix well.

    Pour the milk mixture into the flour and sugar and give a good whisk.

    Divide into the doughnut mould and bake for 12-15 minutes or until raised and golden.

    Remove from the mould and allow to cool completely before decorating.

    Break the chocolate into pieces and pop into a microwave safe bowl. Melt in the microwave using short bursts of 20 seconds and stirring well in between.

    Divide the icing sugar into 2 bowls and add water a teaspoon at a time until you have a thick but runny liquid. Add a few drops of orange food colour to one mixture and mix well.

    Drizzle the white and orange icing and chocolate over the donuts to decorate. We had a few variations…

    Top with the eggs however you fancy and enjoy 😁

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    Forest fruit Chocolates

    Possibly one of the worst things that can ever happen to a baking addict happened this week…my oven broke! Well more than broke it full on EXPLODED! Now I’m not one for drama (lies) but I have never seen so much broken glass in my entire life!

    In all fairness it did happen after the kids were in bed and no one was hurt so it was pretty lucky timing. It has meant however that any Mothers Day baking has been put on pause.

    I’ve been thinking of making more confectionary for a while and being oven-less this week has given us the perfect opportunity. These are a recreation of my favourite chocolate-box chocolates, fruit cremes. Sweet, melt in the mouth, fruity filling covered in smooth milk chocolate!

    A quick note about the fruit puree. We heated some frozen forest fruit berries from Asda until soft then blended with a stick blender. The recipe will work just as well with other fruit purees but try and choose tarter fruits to balance out the sweetness.

    You will need 2 baking sheets, lined with baking paper and loads of bowls and spoons.

    Ingredients

    • 50g forest fruits, pureed
    • 500g icing sugar
    • 50g marshmallows
    • 50g butter
    • 300g milk chocolate

    If you have a stand mixer this is a brilliant time to use it (fitted with the paddle attachment), if not get your largest bowl out.

    Mix the butter into 100g of the icing sugar until you have a smooth buttercream.

    Pop the marshmallows and a tablespoon of water in a microwave safe bowl. Heat the marshmallows in the microwave in 10 second bursts, mixing well in between until melted (they will be extremely sticky) and stir quickly into the buttercream mixture.

    Gradually add the rest of the icing sugar whilst mixing, then add the fruit puree spoonful by spoonful until you have a very thick mixture (depending on how liquid your puree is you may not need to add it all).

    Spread over the prepared baking sheet and chill for at least 30 minutes.

    In the meantime prepare the chocolate by breaking into small pieces and melting in a microwave using short bursts of 30 seconds and stirring well in between.

    Remove the fondant mixture from the fridge. Take a tablespoon full, roll into small balls, dip into the chocolate and set onto the second lined baking sheet.

    Chill in the fridge until set.

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    Chocolate Beetroot Cake

    I know; two chocolate cake posts in a row! But after acquiring a metric ton of beetroot from my in-laws’ farm it would have been silly not to make a cake with at least some of it.

    Chocolate and beetroot might be a classic cake combo but it was a new venture for me and the girls. Whereas the end result is a deliciously fudgey chocolate cake, the batter is very much grated veg floating in egg and sugar so the bowl-licking was unusually brief for once!

    In all seriousness this is our new favourite chocolate cake, so much so that we’ve made two this week alone. It’s great covered in chocolate buttercream or iced with fondant for a celebration like this version for my mother-in-law’s birthday.

    You will need an 8″ deep cake tin, well greased or lined with baking paper.

    Ingredients

    • 250g cooked beetroot (grated)
    • 100g dark chocolate broken into pieces
    • 50g cocoa powder
    • 100g caster sugar
    • 150g soft brown sugar
    • 250g self raising flour
    • 200g butter
    • 3 eggs

    Preheat the oven to 160°C.

    Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, using short bursts of 20 seconds in the microwave and stirring well in between.

    As with the majority of cakes we make, there’s more madness than method in the making. The best advice I can give is start with butter and sugar and you can’t go far wrong from there…

    Mix the butter and sugars until well combined before adding the beetroot, and eggs.

    Add the chocolate, flour and cocoa powder and mix well to form a thick batter.

    Pour into the tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

    Allow to cool completely before decorating.

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    Chocolate Sponge Cake

    Everything is a phase apparently, in baking trends, fashion and of course parenting- I’m really hoping that’s the case as my 2 and a half year old seems to be in a year-long phase of not sleeping through, spilling drinks for fun and attempting to run into traffic.

    On those days when it seems like the kids’ ‘pain in the bum’ phase is never ending, it’s worth remembering that chocolate cake is a constant. It never goes out of fashion and it’s a great way to take the edge off a two year old’s tantrum.

    Although I’m a huge fan of chocolate cake, there are surprisingly few of them on the blog. This is a classic moist chocolate sponge which is great on its own or with whatever buttercream or toppings you like.

    You will need two 8″ deep sandwich tins, well greased or lined with baking paper.

    Ingredients

    For the cake

    • 250g Self Raising Flour
    • 250g caster sugar
    • 100g light brown sugar
    • 75g cocoa powder
    • 100ml boiling water
    • 100g creme fraiche
    • 200g butter
    • 5 eggs

    For the buttercream

    • 200g butter (at room temp)
    • 400g icing sugar
    • 15ml boiling water
    • 150g white chocolate, broken into pieces (you can use milk or dark chocolate for a different chocolate flavour)

    Preheat the oven to 170°C Gas Mark 3.

    Kid Job- In a large bowl mix the butter and the sugars together until smooth and creamy.

    Grown up and kid job- one by one, crack in the eggs and mix in. Kids generally love a chance to crack an egg or two and if you don’t mind fishing out the lumps of shell, this is a great way to boost their confidence in the kitchen. Add creme fraiche until you have a clumpy batter.

    Grown up job- In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa powder with the boiling water to form a thick paste. Add the cocoa paste to the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well.

    Kid job- Stir in the flour until just combined (don’t worry if it looks lumpy) and pour as evenly as possible into the cake tins.

    Grown up job- Pop into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

    Allow to cool slightly in the tins before removing.

    Whilst cooling prepare the buttercream.

    Using a hand whisk or a fork and lots of stamina, beat the butter, icing sugar and water together until pale and fluffy.

    Using short bursts of 15 seconds, melt the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, stirring well in between each heating.

    Pour the melted chocolate into the buttercream while continuing to mix until it’s fully incorporated.

    Once the cakes are cool sandwich with the buttercream and pipe or spread a generous layer over the top. I quite enjoyed piping ours until the kids decided it needed sprinkles…

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    Olive Oil Cake

    Im so sorry. It’s been a little while since I’ve written up a recipe for the blog so please accept my apologies, particularly to my email subscribers as the Instagram and Facbook pages have been updated pretty regularly.

    In order to drum up some level of sympathy I’ve decided to make a list of all the things that have caused my 2 year old to have a meltdown today (n.b this list is by no means exhaustive).

    1. Wanted to wear Moana socks. No, not those Moana socks, the ones with Elsa on (which are in fact, not Moana socks at all).
    2. Wanted to walk ahead of her sister on the way to school, not alongside.
    3. Sister went to school.
    4. Sister came out of school.
    5. Wanted round doughnut to be a triangle.
    6. Our house is now on the wrong side of the street (we have not moved house).
    7. Wanted sweetcorn on the cob not off!
    8. Wanted to go to soft play.
    9. We went to soft play.
    10. Did NOT want to leave soft play…

    It seems the only thing pacifying my teething 2 year old currently is baking and Blippi… so of course we’re baking.

    This Olive oil cake came about as a returned favour for one of my sisters, who is vegetarian and lactose free. The oil replaces the need for butter and keeps the cake moist and delcious for at least 3 days.

    You will need an 8″ deep cake tin, well greased or lined with baking paper.

    Ingredients

    • 3 eggs
    • 200g caster sugar
    • 220g self raising flour
    • 100g ground almonds
    • 225ml Olive oil
    • Juice and zest 1 lemon
    • 200g glaće cherries washed and dried (optional)

    In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until light, a bit foamy and increased in volume by at least a third.

    Continue to whisk whilst slowly adding in the olive oil.

    With a metal spoon, fold in the flour, almonds and lemon to form a thick batter.

    Gently stir 150g of cherries in, keeping the rest aside to decorate (the amount of cherries is not an exact science- I’m pretty sure more cherries were eaten during baking than in the finished cake).

    Pour into your prepared cake tin and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

    We iced ours with a basic glaze made mixing 200g icing sugar with a teaspoon lemon extract and a few drops of water, then topped with the remaining cherries. (I’d even managed to get the kids out of their pjs and into day clothes whilst the cake was in the oven- go me!)

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    Bacon Brie and Cranberry Quiche

    Ahhh it’s Christmastime. Everyone is next-level busy but I’ve just about found a moment to type up this yummy quiche recipe! So as I know you’ve got lots on I’ll spare you the updates and skip straight to the recipe 😉

    You will need a 23cm quiche or flan dish, well greased or lined with baking paper.

    Ingredients

    For the pastry

    • 250g plain flour
    • 125g butter or margarine
    • 50-70ml cold water
    • Big pinch of salt

    For the filling

    • 3 large eggs
    • 200ml milk
    • 200g grated chedder
    • 200g chopped brie
    • 5 rashers thick cut bacon (cooked)
    • 3 tablespoons cranberry sauce

    Preheat the oven to 170°C gas mark 4.

    In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and margarine/butter, and rub together until it resembles breadcrumbs.

    Add the water gradually, stirring as you go until you can bring the mixture to a firm dough.

    Scatter flour onto the worktop and pop your dough on top.

    Roll out to 2cm thickness and pop into a greased 9″ quiche or flan tin.

    If you have baking beans you can blind bake your pastry to crisp it up. Pop a sheet of baking paper over the pastry and top with the baking beans, bake for 10 minutes and remove from the oven. This is optional though 😁

    In a jug combine the eggs, milk, grated chedder and bacon and mix well.

    On the base of the pastry spread the cranberry sauce. Arrange the brie in thin slices on top of the cranberry sauce.

    Pour the egg mixture on top of the bacon and brie. If you haven’t blind baked cover loosely with a sheet of foil and bake for 15-20 minutes taking the foil off halfway. When the quiche is golden and raised its done 😀

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    Mince Pies

    Classic Christmas Mince Pies

    Christmastime is art and craft time for little ones. From salt dough decorations to homemade cards, your kids will be getting their hands into all sorts over the festive period. Nothing says Christmas quite like a proper mince pie though, and these are so yummy they will be the best thing your kids make this year! Buttery sweet pastry and a spicy fruity filling makes these mice pies a winter winner for the whole family.

    Ingredients

    • 200g Butter
    • 325g Plain Flour
    • 100g Caster Sugar
    • 1 Egg (beaten)
    • 400g Jar Good Quality Mincemeat

    You will need a 12 hole muffin tray, rolling pin, large round cutter and optional small star cookie cutter.

    Preheat the oven to 180◦C Gas Mark 4
    Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

    Stir in the sugar and then the beaten egg. Bring together to form a firm dough (Add a splash of water as needed)

    Roll out to ¼ inch thickness (apx width of a pound coin) and cut 12 circles using a large round cutter and 12 stars using a small star cutter.

    Place your pastry circles gently into each hole in the tray and fill with a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat. Top with a star.

    Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

    Allow to cool in the tin slightly before removing.

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    Almond Butter Cookies

    They say that with kids everything is a phase.

    This wasn’t particularly helpful in the sleepless nights phase (we’re now in the 4th year of this between the 2 kids).

    Nor what I like to refer to as ‘The Limpet phase’ where the kids just want to sit on your hip and cling to you for months on end making every task a one-handed mission.

    My four year old is now in one of those phases where if she thinks a food is something new there is 0% chance of her trying it. Nuts (in all forms) are no exception to this rule.

    I’ve tried to get creative recently by sneaking healthy food into things I know she will eat such as grated corguette into Mac n Cheese, butternut squash into curry and now almond in these (no way healthy) chocolate chip cookies.

    Of course the kids can’t get enough of them which now means I have the opposite problem of hiding food from them (and myself). Maybe this particular phase isn’t too bad…

    These Almond Butter Cookies have the look and texture of a great cookie, crispy outside and soft chocolatey inside but with the added flavor of almond. If almonds aren’t your thing, peanut or hazelnut butter would also work well.

    You will need 2 baking sheets lined with baking paper.

    Ingredients

    • 100g melted butter
    • 100g almond butter
    • 150g soft brown sugar
    • 150g caster sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 250g plain flour
    • Half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    • 200g chocolate chips

    Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas Mark 4

    In a large bowl mix the melted butter, almond butter and sugars together until smooth.

    Beat in the eggs and then add the remaining ingredients to form a firm dough.

    Roll golf ball sized lumps of dough and place, well spaced (we got a bit excited and some of ours were a bit close together), onto the baking sheets.

    Bake for 12 minutes or until they have spread out to large cookies and are golden.

    They will be quite soft at first so allow to cool on the baking sheet before removing.

    Enjoy 😀

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    Spiced Orange Millionaires Brownies

    Ok so this is the time of year when I want to go full Christmas but have to reign myself in slightly.

    The only thing stopping me going full Mariah in November is the kids who have already started asking if it’s Christmas eve tomorrow.

    6 weeks is a lifetime for toddlers so I have to go against all my will and hold fire on the fully festive bakes until December.

    Luckily for me though the kids don’t realise that these Spiced Orange Millionaires Brownies are Christmas in every bite!

    These are our classic fudgey chocolate brownies, topped with a cinnamon caramel and thick layer of orange chocolate. Delicious at anytime of year, but perfect for winter.

    You will need a 20cm brownie tin or square cake tin, well greased or lined with baking paper.

    Ingredients

    • Batch of brownie mixture
    • 397g tin condensed milk
    • 200g butter
    • 3 tablespoons honey
    • 70g caster sugar
    • Teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 200g milk chocolate chopped
    • 1 chocolate orange

    Make the brownies as per the recipe and method in the link above and allow to cool completely in the tin.

    To make the cinnamon caramel, gently heat the condensed milk, butter, sugar and honey whilst stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, again whilst stirring to ensure the mixture doesn’t burn at the base of the pan.

    When the mixture has thickened and become a darker caramel colour, remove from the heat and quickly mix in the cinnamon.

    Pour on top of the brownie and allow to set at room temperature for 2-3 hours.

    When set, melt the milk chocolate along with half the chocolate orange in a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Alternatively (and ideally if your baking with younger kids) break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a microwave safe bowl using short bursts of 10 seconds, stirring well in between.

    Pour on top of the set caramel and gently arrange the remaining segments of chocolate orange on top.

    Allow to set completely before slicing to serve.