Millionaires

There’s been a bit of a trend over the past few weeks with my bakes being around requests made from colleagues. The first of these being the ‘Key’ Lime Pie, which was a success. The second being the caramel custard doughnuts, which were not so successful, definite room for improvement. When shopping at the Trafford Centre last weekend I stumbled across the Lakeland store (a new addition to the shopping centre. Unusual that it is all on one floor compared to the other stores I’ve visited) I purchased a doughnut making kit so will need to find a weekend where I can use this for attempt two. Now, the request for this bake came from my boss. She wanted a millionaires peanut butter caramel shortcake. Straight away, I started searching for a recipe and it didn’t take long to find. A shortbread biscuit base with a peanut butter filling, then a caramel layer¬† topped with a chocolate layer (recipe here). Now, my boss didn’t want a shortbread biscuit base, she wanted the same base that I’d used for the ‘Key’ Lime Pie. Experimentation time!!!!!

So, I used the basic biscuit base recipe for the ‘Key’ Lime Pie and decided to add a handful of peanuts to the biscuits before crushing to add a bit of texture and nutty flavour. I then used the peanut butter icing layer from the Good Food recipe I’d found to get the peanut butter element in. I also sprinkled on a handful of peanuts for good measure. I decided to not include the caramel layer for a number of reasons; I was worried that it would make the slice too sweet, I didn’t think I had enough room in the tin I had used, I didn’t have enough time. Rather than using the suggested dark chocolate, I used milk chocolate so that it wasn’t too bitter (only had 85% dark chocolate in the house). I then decorated the chocolate with the suggested caramel sauce.

Caramel and Peanut Butter Biscuit Slices

Cuts into 8 pieces

  • 300g Hob Nobs
  • 150g butter, melted
  • 50g peanuts, plus handful extra
  • 70g butter
  • 110g smooth peanut butter
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 150g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 70g dairy fudge
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Whizz the biscuits and peanuts to crumbs in a food processor (or put in a strong plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin). Mix with the melted butter and press into the base and up the sides of a 17cm square tin. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and cool.
  2. To make the peanut butter layer, melt the butter and peanut butter in a small pan and mix until smooth. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl, then pour in the hot butter mixture and stir to combine. While the mixture is still warm, pour over the base and smooth out with a spatula. Sprinkle over the handful of extra peanuts. Chill for 2 hrs until set.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Meanwhile, put the toffees and the milk in a small saucepan and gently heat. They will clump together and struggle to melt at first, but keep heating and eventually they will turn into a runny toffee sauce.
  4. Remove the tin from the fridge and pour the chocolate over the salted caramel layer, tipping the tin to spread the chocolate over the surface. Use a spoon to quickly drizzle the caramel over the chocolate in a thin loopy pattern. If the toffee starts to get too thick, add a splash more milk or cream and pop it back on the heat until runny. Put the tin back in the fridge to chill for 2 hrs before slicing.

These went down a treat at work. My boss felt it ticked all the boxes she wanted (though she did suggest not adding the peanuts into the base as didn’t add anything). Others felt that the caramel layer was needed as it would take it to the next step. I felt that the biscuit base was too crumbly which may have been caused by the addition of the peanuts, therefore I’m in agreement that these do not need to be there. But, all in all, I am happy with how it turned out.

Caramel and Peanut Butter Biscuit Slices

On Thursday, my sister and I got to visit Nutters in Norden to take part in one of their Masterclasses (thank you mum and dad for paying). We watched Andrew Nutter prepare a three course meal (and a soup) before getting to sit down and eat the courses for our lunch. The menu was: Pardon Peppers with Chilli and Ginger Salt; Pumpkin Soup En Croute; Roast Hake with Smoked Haddock Potato Cake and Frazzled Pancetta; Dingley Dell Pork Belly Confit with Black Pudding and Creamy Lancashire Arancini; Pear and Almond Tart. Below is a picture of what we got to eat for lunch.

Nutters

Afterwards, my sister came back to mine and did a spot of baking. One of her favourite bakes is Millionaires Shortbread. So, in a week we’ve had the classic and the twist on a classic. Now these were very tasty. The shortbread wasn’t overly sweet meaning that the slice was too sickly (could possibly manage two if you wanted to be naughty).

Millionaires Shortbread

Finally, with it now moving into Autumn, I love making soup as a warming lunch. A couple of weeks ago, me and Mr W were in Scotland and called upon some friends (another Mr and Mrs W) and were given a bowl of lovely home-made Carrot and Orange soup (made by other Mr W). Now, Mr W took a liking for this soup and requested the recipe. So today, I made it. Now, at first, Mr W didn’t think it tasted as strongly as orange as other Mr Ws did but he did think it was still tasty. The more he ate, the more he felt the orange did come through. What I like about this soup is that the orange adds a subtle sweetness that doesn’t overpower the overall flavour of the soup. Thank you Mr and Mrs W for the recipe (and home-made bread. We had to make do with shop bought rolls today, they were still good, just not as good).

Carrot and Orange Soup

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Lets try again

Now, a few weeks, my sister and I went to a cookery class at a cookery school in Wilmslow. We went after work and spent a few hours making and eating Mexican Street Food. We were part of a small group and had the opportunity to make our own corn tacos, chipotle chicken, corn salsa, guacamole and black bean tostadas. We then helped in the making of green rice, radish pickle and churros with chocolate sauce. Finally, we got to eat our tasty little feast. We both thoroughly enjoyed it and are looking into to doing another class in the future. If anybody lives in the Manchester area and enjoys cooking new foods, I strongly urge you to take a look at their website (here). Below is a snapshot of my little feast.

MexicanStreetFoodNow, to the reason for why you are probably reading this blog. What have I baked this week? Well, this bake actually started last week when I promised my colleague some of her favourite home-made cake. The one she calls ‘the cake with the yoghurt’. What it is actually called is Caramel Apple Loaf Cake. So, last Monday, I told her that I would be baking it that night and that I would bring some up to her the next day. As with most of my bakes, it took a little longer to cool than I wanted it to. I got a little impatient and decided that it was cool enough to remove from the tin and decorate. Below is a picture of the consequence of my actions.

Splat

Cue Tuesday morning when a rather upset colleague turned up at my desk expecting cake. She was hoping I would have scraped some up off the floor for her (I was tempted, it did look rather tasty) Instead, I promised her that I would bake it for her at the weekend when I would have time to let it cool. I would put aside some extra large slices just for her.

So, come Sunday morning, I went to the local supermarket to get my missing ingredients and started on making the cake. It then had the whole afternoon to cool before I decorated it (just in time for Mr W and I to have a ‘sample piece’ of course).

Moist apple cake. Crunchy walnut pieces. Gooey caramel topping. Just what you want for Autumn.

 Caramel Apple Loaf Cake

Caramel Apple Loaf Cake (8-10 slices)

175g baking margarine

175g golden caster sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

225g plain flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

4 rounded tbsp fat free Greek Yogurt

2 eating apples

50g walnuts, roughly chopped

50g dairy toffees

2tbsp milk

  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan. Grease a 2lb loaf tin and line the base and ends with a long strip of baking paper.
  2. Beat together the sugar, butter and vanilla extract until pale and then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour, cinnamon and yogurt. Peel, core and chop the apples into small chunks and add to the bowl. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon.
  3. Scrape into the tin, smooth the top and scatter the walnuts down the middle, squashing down gently. Bake on a middle shelf for 1 hour 20-30 minutes, until a skewer come out clean. Cool in the tin (important step!).
  4. To decorate, put the toffees in a small bowl with the milk. Gently heat, stirring until the toffees have melted into a smooth caramel sauce. Cool for about a minute whilst you turn out the cake. Slowly drizzle the sauce over the top of the cake. Leave for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe taken from Good Food