A friendly giant from the Schwarzwald

A friendly giant from the Schwarzwald

People I know with December birthdays tend to get a little uppity about their limelight being stolen by a certain other, late in the month, celebration that seems to encroach on their fun. Sam is no exception to this rule, stating that no C-word related shenanigans can take place until after the 13th… which is fair enough. I’d totally have a tantrum if the attention wasn’t firmly on me!

So I thought I should make an effort to bake him a cake – something we realised I’d never done for him before. When it comes to cakes, he’s all about chocolate, the more the better. But for his ultimate dessert, we have to have a throw-back to the 80s. We’re talking the quintessential powerhouse dinner party menu of the time: prawn cocktail, steak and finished with a large slab of Black Forest Gateau.

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But as it’s Christmas and I rarely stick with run-of-the-mill, I thought I’d try my hand at a roulade version of a BFG (see…the title always makes sense eventually!)

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The Day Chocolat’s Juliette Brioche Got Battered…

The Day Chocolat’s Juliette Brioche Got Battered…

Bread scares me. Not the finished article, I don’t have an irrational fear of a crusty baguette. But the making of it fills me with bread dread. Kneading is not my forte and the time required to prove this, prove that, prove you’re a good enough baker…  *Sigh*.

Which explains to some extent why I’ve fallen very behind in my Bake Off Challenge bake-along. I’ve been dodging week 3: Bread Week. 

So I thought I’d double up and do two week’s worth in one go for Monday Munchies. 

And don’t you just love the title? I do. Except it’s a lie as I didn’t make brioche. And yes I know it’s ‘Binoche’ but the former worked better. It does have chocolate in it though!

And the battered part? Well, that covers week 4 – a first for Bake Off with Batter Week. I am definitely earning my bread and batter… (sorry).

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Cake or Biscuit?

Cake or Biscuit?

Vull moon. ‘Arf moon. Total eecleeepse.

These words possibly mean nothing to anyone outside of the UK, but if you’re over the age of about twenty, they should be synonymous with an advert for little discs of joy: Jaffa Cakes.

What are they? Are they a cake of a biscuit? Biscuits go soft if you leave them out and cakes go hard – these defy logic and don’t really do either. They’re in the biscuit aisle, but technically shouldn’t avoid the associated tax because of the chocolate. Very confusing!

One thing is certain though, these sponge-y, orange-y, chocolate-y treats are delicious and moreish: I’ve been known to consume a packet in one go. Shush, don’t judge… I’m sure there’s only about eight in a box… And yes, I’ve used them in a classroom situation too.

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So when I saw one of these speedy cooking videos, that seem to do the rounds on Facebook, for a giant Jaffa cake, I just knew I wanted to try it for Monday Munchies! I mean, everything is brilliant in miniature but small things made to epic proportions are equally as appealing!

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Have a Cup (cake) of Irish Coffee!

Have a Cup (cake) of Irish Coffee!

Monday Munchies nearly became a disaster I gave up on this week. It was early Sunday morning, so my excuse is that I wasn’t fully functioning. It sounds better than admitting I’m useless and don’t bother to pay attention to things! You see, it wasn’t until I got a little whiff of something yeasty, that I realised the flour I’d used for a traditional cupcake was actually a ciabatta bread mix! That could have been interesting…

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Starting again, I was intent on creating something that still fit with the month of Halloween. I’ve always been good at making butterfly buns, being my go-to cupcake bake since I was old enough to cream butter and sugar, but delicate little insects aren’t very sinister are they? So, I decided I’d rename them BAT-erfly buns. Tenuous? Yep…plus I’m all about cheesy word play!

Unfortunately, I was foiled again when the chocolate buns came out the oven – they had risen a little too much, which meant they were not going to be very helpful when it came to making bat wings. I’m sure if I was better at decorating bakes, or could make some sugar-crafty awesomeness, I could have persevered. But I’m not and I didn’t. So the compromise was…

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

IMG_4593 (2)Yeah, I’m not great with a piping bag, but hey-ho…they taste wonderful!

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Dobby is delicious…

Dobby is delicious…

Everyone apparently loves a good Brownie. Well, except me it seems. Yes, I’m odd – I wouldn’t care if chocolate didn’t exist and find most Brownies boring, brittle and bland. Plus, they’re not a patch on Blondies!

However, for this week’s Monday Munchies, I’m sharing the one Brownie recipe I love (so far!) – a chewy, gooey version that is kept moist by the addition of raisins and marshmallows. Super quick to make and will keep fresh for well over a week – assuming you can keep your mitts off them!

I’m all for tenuous links to posts and titles though and as I’m trying to stay in the vein of ‘all things Halloween-y’, I thought I’d bring you a little folklore background.

Brownies may be everyone’s go-to traybake, but did you also know it’s the name of a little creature (Kreacher?), traditionally found in tales from Northern England, Scotland and Scandinavia?

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