Cakes & Bakes: Peanut butter brownies

Slice of home-made peanut butter brownie and mug | H is for Home #recipe #brownies #baking #cookery

We’ve got a wonderful recipe for you this week – delicious peanut butter brownies. And there’s a bonus for some of our readers who have certain dietary requirements.

Peanut brownies mixtures | H is for Home

This peanut butter brownie recipe is taken from a cook book of low FODMAP dishes. FODMAP is an acronym for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols”. It’s a diet recommended for people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease, functional bowel disorder, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Coeliac Disease. Don’t let the fact that you’ve got a healthy digestive tract make you think that this brownie’s not for you – it’s amazing!

Peanut butter brownie batter in square tin | H is for Home Spooning warmed peanut butter into peanut butter brownie batter | H is for Home
Peanut butter pattern in peanut brownie batter | H is for Home Cooked peanut brownies | H is for Home

Slightly crispy on the outside… soft, sweet, chewy and gooey on the inside. Eat it hot or cold… on its own, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or thick pouring cream.

Sliced peanut brownies | H is for Home

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Peanut butter brownies
Yields 6
Cook Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 175g/6oz of unsalted butter
  2. 200g/7oz dark chocolate
  3. 75g/3oz crunchy peanut butter
  4. 125g/4½oz smooth peanut butter
  5. 3 eggs
  6. 175g/6oz of caster sugar
  7. ¼tsp of salt
  8. 50g/1¾oz self-raising flourHome-made peanut butter brownies ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6
  2. Grease a 30 x 20cm (12 x 8 inch) brownie tin and line it with parchment paper
  3. Put the butter, chocolate and crunchy peanut butter into a heat-proof bowl on a saucepan of simmering water over low heat and warm until just melted
  4. In a separate, small saucepan, gently warm through the smooth peanut butter
  5. Put the eggs, sugar and salt into a large bowl and whisk until the sugar has dissolved
  6. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the melted chocolate mixture and self-raising flour
  7. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin
  8. Drizzle over the smooth peanut butter in 3-4 straight lines, then 'drag' through the peanut butter with a skewer or toothpick to create a marbled effect
  9. Bake for 20 minutes, until the cake is just firm to the touch, but has a slightly fudgy texture
  10. Allow to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes then lift out the block onto a board using the lining paper and cut it into 6-9 squares
  11. Serve warm or cold, on its own or with a scoop of ice cream or pouring cream
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Adapted from The Low-FODMAP Recipe Book
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Fig, almond and walnut loaf

Fig, almond and walnut loaf | H is for Home

Recently, we’ve been challenging ourselves to get by on a weekly food budget of £30.00 for two. We’ve been managing very well to date; buying carefully, preparing sauces in bulk (some which we freeze for future meals) – and using up tinned foods that have been half-forgotten in the cupboard.

Tinned figs | H is for Home

One of those tins were these Baldji’s Kalamata fresh figs in syrup. I think I bought them over a year ago with the intention of making some sort of dessert. After looking for a little online inspiration, I found a River Cottage recipe for fig, almond and walnut loaf.

Mixture of eggs, bicarbonate of soda and pouring in coconut oil

Their recipe included dried figs and water so I simply used the equivalent weight of the tinned figs and their syrup. I also needed to double the cook time from 20 to 40 minutes.

Fig almond and walnut loaf mixture | H is for Home Fig almond and walnut loaf mixture | H is for Home

Once the mixture was ready to put into the tin and on to the oven, I must admit, it didn’t look promising. It had the colour and consistency of refried beans. A bit of a grey, purple, sludgy slop!

Fig, almond and walnut loaf | H is for Home

Luckily, looks were deceiving as it turned out very well – delicious in fact. A few people have tried it – some would prefer it a little sweeter, so sugar, Stevia or agave could be added. We found that a drizzle of honey on the top of a slice was the perfect addition. The flavour works really well with the figs and gives that extra sweetness too.

Sliced fig, almond and walnut loaf | H is for Home

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Fig, almond and walnut loaf
Ingredients
  1. 100g/3½oz dried figs
  2. 100ml/3½ fl oz water
  3. 60g/2oz walnuts
  4. 175g/6oz ground almonds
  5. 3 large eggs
  6. 80g/3oz melted coconut oil or unsalted butter
  7. 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  8. 1tsp cider vinegar
  9. Pinch of saltHome-made fig almond walnut loaf ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/Gas mark 2
  2. Line a 500g/1lb loaf tin with baking parchment
  3. Roughly chop the figs and add them with the water to a small saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer gently until most of the water is absorbed
  4. Blitz the figs in a food processor until they form a coarse paste
  5. Add the ground almonds and process again until damp crumbs form
  6. Add the walnuts and salt and process again briefly until they're coarsely chopped. Set aside.
  7. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat eggs and bicarbonate of soda with an electric hand whisk until frothy
  8. Whilst still beating, slowly drizzle in the coconut oil/butter in a thin stream and continue beating until the eggs are pale, thick and doubled in volume
  9. Sprinkle vinegar over the eggs and beat briefly to distribute evenly. Work quickly as the vinegar will activate the bicarbonate of soda
  10. Tip the nut mixture onto the eggs and fold in thoroughly with a metal spoon until the nuts are evenly distributed
  11. Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean. Give the loaf more time to bake and perhaps turn the temperature down if it browns too fast
  12. Cool on a wire rack before eating
Notes
  1. You can store the loaf in an air-tight container in a cool place for up to 3 days - or slice & freeze for up to 2 weeks
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Adapted from River Cottage
Adapted from River Cottage
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Swiss roll

Home-made Swiss roll | H is for Home #recipe #baking #cooking #cooking #cake #swissroll

Our food cupboard is full to bursting with last year’s home-made jams, jellies and other preserves. This year’s preserves have no place to live! One of the best ways to use up a fair amount of some of that jelly is to make a Swiss roll. Any excuse to make cake!

Egg yolks, sugar, vanilla extract and melted butter | H is for Home

If you look on the internet, you’ll find a lot of debate about what constitutes a ‘proper’ Swiss roll. Vanilla sponge or chocolate sponge? Jam on its own or jam and whipped cream together? Whipped cream or buttercream?

Whisked egg whites | H is for Home

For the purposes of this post (and our own personal preference) we’re going vanilla sponge with raspberry jelly.

Swiss roll batter poured evenly into a baking tray | H is for Home

You can buy a specialised Swiss roll cake tin for the job, but I’ve used a large, shallow baking sheet. I like my roll to have thinner, but a greater number of layers.

Sprinkled vanilla-infused granulated sugar | H is for Home

To attain a lovely, light sponge, cake flour is preferred. It’s much more widely available in the USA, but you can knock up a decent approximation yourself. For every 130 grams / 4¼oz of flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornflour. Just make sure you sift them together really well to combine.

Scoring the Swiss roll sponge to aid rolling | H is for Home

There are a couple of tips for a successful rolling stage. Roll the sponge whilst it’s still warm, allow it to cool, unroll it, spread the jam/jelly/cream/buttercream and roll it back up again. The other tip is to make a straight, shallow groove along the entire width, about 1cm from the edge from which you begin the roll to help get it… rolling. Perhaps my photo above can better explain what I mean!

Home-made Swiss roll | H is for Home

Delicious with an afternoon cup of tea – or served as a dessert with whipped cream.

Slice of home-made Swiss roll with whipped cream and fresh raspberries | H is for Home

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest.

Swiss roll
Ingredients
  1. 4 eggs, separated
  2. 125g/4¼oz caster sugar + 2 tbsp extra for sprinkling
  3. ½tsp vanilla extract
  4. 50g/1¾oz butter, melted
  5. 130g/4½oz cake flour
  6. ¼tsp fine salt
  7. Almost a full jar of jam or soft-set jellyHome-made swiss roll ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease and line the bottom and sides of a Swiss roll tin or large baking tray with parchment paper
  3. Sift the flour(s) and salt into a mixing bowl from a height to incorporate air
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the caster sugar, vanilla extract and the egg yolks until the mixture is pale, airy and shiny
  5. Whisk in the melted butter
  6. Fold the flour carefully into this mixture, trying not to beat too much air out of the mixture. Set aside
  7. In another mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks (use a stand mixer/electric whisk for ease and speed)
  8. Gently fold the whites into the mixture in three stages
  9. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and tilt from side to side to cover evenly
  10. Gently bang the tin on to the workspace a couple of times to get rid of any air bubbles
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and springs back when pressed with a finger
  12. Spread a clean, damp tea towel on a work surface
  13. Cut a piece of greaseproof a little larger than the tin, lay it on the tea towel and sprinkle over the extra caster sugar
  14. Loosen the sponge around the edges and then invert on to the paper with one of the short sides facing you
  15. Trim the 4 edges using a bread knife to neaten
  16. Gently score a straight line from end to end around 1cm from the edge closest to you
  17. Whilst still warm, roll the sponge up as tightly as possible, rolling the paper in with it using the damp tea towel as an aid. Leave rolled up tightly until cooled
  18. Unwrap, flatten gently and spread with jam. Roll back up without the paper
  19. Slice to serve (with whipped cream and fresh summer berries)
Print
Adapted from How to cook the perfect...
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Red Leicester cheese scones

Buttered, home-made red Leicester cheese scones | H is for Home #recipe #scones

We watched Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain’s new BBC cooking series this week. She made Eton mess cheesecake, smoked haddock welsh rarebit and red Leicester cheese scones. It all looked amazing but as we’re afternoon scone lovers, that was the one I wanted to recreate the most.

Flour and grated red Leicester mixture | H is for Home

Nadiya gave viewers a really useful scone-making hint that I’d never heard before. She advised when cutting out the rounds, don’t twist the cutter as this makes the scones lean when rising during baking. One to remember!

Cutting red Licester cheese scones from dough | H is for Home

The other revelation was using onion salt in the recipe. We have some pots of wonderful Cornish Sea Salt, one of which is onion flavoured. I find ‘regular’ onion salt tastes a bit strong, but this one is more subtle – so I added double the ¼tsp measure she sets out. It worked perfectly.

Brushing the tops of red Leicester scones with milk before they go into the oven | H is for Home

The entire process took half an hour from start to delicious end. Nadiya served up hers with her own home-made chive butter; however, plain old salted works a treat too. I reckon red Leicester cheese scones would be successful as part of an alternative ploughman’s lunch – served with cold meats, boiled eggs, salad and pickled onions & red cabbage. Great for picnics, drinks parties or afternoon teas too..

Cooked red Leicester cheese scones cooling on a wire rack | H is for Home

Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest.

Red Leicester cheese scones
Yields 9
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 175g/6oz self-raising flour
  2. 50g/1¾oz strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  3. ¼ tsp onion salt
  4. 55g/2oz unsalted butter, room temperature
  5. 25g/1oz red Leicester, grated
  6. 150ml/5fl oz whole milk, plus 1tbsp extra for glazingHome-made red Leicester cheese scones ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas mark 7
  2. Grease or line a baking tray with baking paper
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the flours, onion salt and butter into a bowl and rub together using your fingertips until you get a fine breadcrumb consistency
  4. Mix in the cheese
  5. Make a well in the centre and add the milk
  6. Bring the dough together with your hands, being careful not to knead or the dough will become tough
  7. Dust the work surface with flour and press the dough out to the thickness of about 2cm/1in
  8. Cut out the scones using a 5cm/2in circular cutter and place onto the prepared tray
  9. Bring the offcuts together gently, again being careful not to knead and cut out as many circles as possible until there's no dough remaining
  10. Brush the tops with milk and bake for 12-15 minutes until the tops are golden and well risen
  11. Allow to cool for a few minutes on a wire rack
  12. Serve warm with butter
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Adapted from Nadiya's British Food Adventure
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Rhubarb upside-down cake

Slice of home-made rhubarb upside-down cake with cream | H is for Home

We planted a rhubarb crown in a dolly tub in our garden about 3 years ago. Gardening/allotment experts say you should allow a young plant at least a year without harvesting to encourage vigour. We’ve finally felt able to pick a few stalks this year.

Rhubarb plant in a vintage dolly tub in our garden | H is for Home

I’d normally use it to make a crumble however, I’ve never made a rhubarb upside-down cake before and thought it would go down a treat.

Soft brown sugar and butter in a cast iron skillet | H is for Home

I tweaked a recipe I found on the Guardian website. The results were so delicious, I’m already planning on reusing the recipe to make a pear upside-down cake next week.

Sliced rhubarb in a cast iron skillet | H is for Home

I love the pretty patterns that you can make with fruit on the ‘top’ of upside-down cakes.

cake batter ingredients | H is for Home

The cake batter is one of the easiest I’ve ever thrown together. It calls for vegetable oil instead of butter, a couple of eggs, caster sugar, flour and baking powder – just mix the wet into the dry ingredients. It takes all of about 3 minutes!

Cooked rhubarb upside-down cake still in the skillet | H is for Home

The soft brown sugar and butter in the base of the skillet came together to form the most wonderful, chewy caramelised edges.

Home-made rhubarb upside-down cake | H is for Home

It was lovely with a little pouring cream but it would be equally good – hot or room temperature – with vanilla ice cream or on its own.

Save the recipe to Pinterest here!

Rhubarb upside-down cake
Serves 8
Ingredients
  1. 80g/3oz diced unsalted butter and a bit more for greasing
  2. 140g/5oz soft brown sugar
  3. 4-5 stalks rhubarb
  4. 150g/5¼oz caster sugar
  5. 175g/6oz plain flour
  6. 1 heaped tsp baking powder
  7. 150ml/5 fl oz sunflower oil
  8. 2 large eggsHome-made rhubarb upside-down-cake ingredients
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Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a 30cm/12-inch cast iron skillet with a little butter
  3. Scatter the brown sugar and butter over the bottom of the skillet and put it in the oven for 5 minutes
  4. Remove the skillet from the oven and press the raw rhubarb into the melted butter and sugar
  5. Mix the sugar, flour and baking powder in a large bowl
  6. In a measuring jug, beat the vegetable oil and eggs together
  7. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix well
  8. Pour the batter over the rhubarb in the skillet and return the pan to the oven for about 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
  9. Allow the cake to cool in the skillet on the top of the stove before running a sharp knife around the rim and carefully turning the pan upside down on to a plate
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Adapted from The Guardian
Adapted from The Guardian
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/
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Cakes & Bakes: Pretzel loaf

Sliced home-made pretzel loaf | H is for Home

This pretzel loaf has been on my ‘to bake’ list for weeks. I’ve been putting it off because we’ve been having a very busy June. Instead, I’ve made a couple of recipes that were quick & easy to pull together, bake and photograph.

Sugar and bicarbonate of soda for adding to water to boil pretzel loaf | H is for Home

I needn’t have delayed, making a pretzel loaf isn’t as long, drawn out or difficult as I’d imagined. I think it was the boiling process that put me off attempting it for so long.

Pretzel bread dough formed into a ball | H is for Home

Yes, it did seem a bit strange par-boiling a ball of dough; but the technique produced a beautifully browned and deliciously chewy crust. It was a bit fiddly, make sure you use a large enough saucepan with enough boiling water. I had a pair of stainless steel skimmers which were perfect for the job of flipping the loaf over in the pan.

Home-made pretzel loaf | H is for Home

My decision to experiment with smoked salt flakes instead of traditional pretzel salt was a success – it gave it a very subtle flavour which didn’t overpower in the least.

Click here to pin the recipe for future reference!

Pretzel loaf
Yields 1
Ingredients
  1. 500g/17 oz strong bread flour
  2. 1tbsp sugar
  3. 2tsp instant yeast
  4. 1¼tsp salt
  5. 250ml/ 9fl oz full-fat milk
  6. 125ml/ 4½fl oz warm water (blood temperature)
For boiling
  1. 2L water
  2. 3tbsp brown sugar
  3. 2tbsp bicarbonate of soda
For the topping
  1. water in a spray bottle
  2. pretzel salt (I used smoked sea salt flakes)Home-made pretzel loaf ingredients
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Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast
  2. Mix for a couple of seconds on low to combine the dry ingredients
  3. With the mixer on low, carefully pour in the milk and water. Continue mixing on low until you have a smooth, soft, slightly tacky dough
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with cling film or put it inside a large, clear plastic bag and set aside somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size (about an hour)
  5. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F/Gas mark
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface
  8. Lift the dough, gently pull the edge of the dough down and tuck under. Turn the dough a ¼ turn and repeat. Do this until you've formed a cohesive round. Place the round on the clean surface and use your hands to gently turn and tighten the dough down over the surface
  9. Place on the prepared baking sheet, cover with a clean tea towel or length of oiled cling film and allow to rise while the oven preheats
  10. Bring 2 litres of water to a boil in a large stainless steel or other non-reactive pan (enamelled cast-iron, tempered glass etc.)
  11. When the water comes to a boil, add the brown sugar and bicarbonate of soda
  12. Gently lift the loaf and carefully ease the dough - top side down first - into the boiling water
  13. Simmer for about 3 minutes, flip the dough over using two spatulas or slotted spoons and simmer on that side for another 2 minutes
  14. Use the two spatulas or slotted spoons to carefully lift the dough out of the water and transfer back over to the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  15. Spritz the loaf with water and sprinkle with the coarse salt
  16. Using a lamé or a sharp knife, slice along the contours of the bread about ½cm/¼-inch thick.
  17. Bake for 35 minutes or until deep brown
  18. Transfer the loaf to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before slicing
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Adapted from Foodie with Family
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/