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Cranberry, Pecan and White Chocolate Cookies  

Wishing all our bakers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Cranberry, Pecan and White Chocolate Cookies

Makes 30

150g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
75g rolled oats (not instant)
125g soft butter
75g dark brown sugar
100g caster sugar (superfine)
1 egg (large)
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g dried cranberries (or dried fruit of choice)
50g pecans, roughly chopped
150g white chocolate chips (or chocolate of choice)

Preheat the oven to 180oC/ 350°F/gas mark 4.

Measure out the flour, baking powder, salt and rolled oats into a bowl.

Put the butter and sugars into another bowl and beat together until creamy — this is obviously easier with an electric mixer of some kind, but you just need to put some muscle into otherwise — then beat in the egg and vanilla.

Beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and oat mixture and then fold in the cranberries, chopped pecans and chocolate chips.Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into a ball with your hands, and then place them on a lined or greased baking sheet and squish the dough balls down with a fork. You may need two baking sheets or be prepared to make these in two batches.

Cook for 12 to 15 minutes; when ready, the cookies will be tinged a pale gold, but be too soft to lift immediately off the tray, so leave the tray on a cool surface and let them harden for about 5 minutes. Remove with a spatula to cool fully on a wire rack.


Snow-Flecked Brownies  

Snow-Flecked Brownies

375g best quality dark chocolate
375g unsalted butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
6 eggs (large)
350g caster sugar (superfine)
1 teaspoon salt
225g plain flour
250g white chocolate buttons or chips, or white chocolate chopped into chunks (or your own choice of chocolate)
2 tsp icing sugar, for dusting

Tin measuring approx 33cm x 23cm x 5.5cm

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/350F.

Line the sides and base of a 33 x 23 x 5.5com baking tin with foil or baking parchment.

Melt the butter and dark chocolate together in a large heavy based pan.

In a bowl or wide mouthed large measuring jug, beat the eggs together with the caster sugar and vanilla extract.

Allow the chocolate mixture to cool a little, then add the egg and sugar mixture and beat well. Fold in the flour and salt. Then stir in the white chocolate buttons or choped white chocolate. Beat to combine then scrape and pour the brownie mixture into the prepared tin.

Bake for 25 minutes, You can see when the brownies are ready because the top dries to a slightly paler brown speckle, while the middle remains dark, dense and gooey. Even with such a big batch you do need to keep checking on it: the difference between gungey brownies and dry ones is only a few minutes. Remember, too, that they will continue to cook as they cool.

To serve, cut into squares while still warm and pile up on a large plate, sprinkling with icing sugar pushed with a teaspoon through a small sieve.

Do make the entire recipe, although it might seem a lot - I promise they will get eaten! Of course you could halve the quantities and make 10 brownies in a smaller tin (9inch).


White Chocolate & Orange Cookies  

"Utterly divine"

White Chocolate & Orange Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

115g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar (superfine)
1 egg
Grated zest of 1 orange (2 to 3 tsp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ baking powder
¼ tsp salt
225g white chocolate chips (milk or dark chocolate)

Preheat the oven to 190oC/170oC fan oven/375oF/Gas mark 5.

Beat the butter and sugar. Add the egg, orange zest and vanilla extract.Sift together the dry ingredients.

Stir the dry ingredients and chocolate chips into the butter mixture and combine.

Roll into balls. Use your fingers to flatten onto a non-stick baking sheet 5cm/2in apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool for five minutes and transfer to a cooling rack.

When cool, store in an airtight container for up to four to five days.


St Clement's Drizzle Cake  

St Clement’s Drizzle Cake

175g caster (superfine) sugar
175g softened butter
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
4 tablespoons milk
2 eggs
175g self-raising flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 180oC/fan 160oC/gas 4.

Grease and line the base of 1 large (900g) or 2 small (450g) loaf tins.

Place the caster sugar, butter and zest of the lemon and orange in a bowl and beat together until pale and creamy. Add the milk, and then beat in the eggs, one at a time, with a spoon of flour to prevent the mixture from curdling. Mix in the remaining flour. Spoon into the prepared tin/tins and level the surface flat.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes for a large cake or 30 minutes for the smaller cakes until they are golden and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

While the cake is cooking, place the lemon and orange juice in a saucepan, bring to the boil and allow to reduce in quantity to about 3 tablespoons. Leave to cool, and then stir in the granulated sugar so it just starts to dissolve.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick several times with a skewer, then slowly pour the lemon and orange sugar all over the top, letting it soak into the cake. Leave to cool completely in the tin before turning out and cutting into slices to serve.


Jammy Doughnut Muffins  

Jammy Doughnut Muffins

Any flavoured jam would be equally as delicious to use in this bake as opposed to strawberry and raspberry. You may have some delectable homemade jam(s) you wish to use or what about the sublime Dulce de Leche, (“toffee sauce”) even a thick vanilla custard or stewed apples. The amount of baking powder is correct in this recipe, I know it seems a vast amount but it does work.

Makes 12

275g (10 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
3 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
100g (4 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
2 eggs
200ml (7 fl oz) milk
75g (3 oz) unsalted (sweet) butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 tsp strawberry or raspberry jam
For The Toping
100g (4 oz) unsalted (sweet) butter
150g (5 oz) granulated sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

You will need 12 hole muffin tin lined with paper cases.


Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl, and stir through the sugar. In large jug, lightly beat the eggs then add the milk, cooled butter and vanilla extract and beat together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients stir gently until just combined. (Do not over mix, its fine to have a few lumps in the mixture.) Spoon half the muffin mixture into the base of each paper case. Top each muffin with a teaspoon of jam. Now equally between each paper case, top with the remaining muffin mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes until well risen, golden and firm to the touch.

For The Topping: melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Spread the granulated sugar in a wide, shallow bowl with the cinnamon if using. When the muffins are baked, leave in the tin for 5 minutes. Dip the tops of the muffins in the melted butter and then roll in the sugar. You can serve these muffins warm or cold; however, I do prefer to eat them whilst warm.


Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting  

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves 12

180g (6½ oz) self-raising (self-rising) flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
Pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp mixed spice (Pumpkin pie spice)
2 eggs
150 ml (5 fl oz) vegetable or sunflower oil
200g (7 oz) soft light or dark brown sugar
300g (11 oz) grated carrots
100g (4 oz) sultanas
75g (3 oz) walnuts, chopped (optional)
Cream Cheese Icing
75g (3 oz) cream cheese
75g (3 oz) softened butter
125g (4½ oz) icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
For Decoration
Sprinkles or walnut halves - optional

You will need a 13cm x 23cm (5 in x 9 in) loaf tin, oil and line the loaf tin with greaseproof paper.


Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas mark 2. Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl and leave aside. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, now add the oil, brown sugar, grated carrot, sultanas and chopped walnuts. Stir in all sifted dry ingredients and bring the mixture together with a wooden spoon. Turn into the prepared tin, smooth the top of the mixture and bake in the oven for 1 – 1¼ hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make The Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together in a bowl until combined. Add the vanilla extract, icing sugar and mix to combine. Using a palette knife, spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cooled cake. Add the sprinkles or walnut halves if desired. Served cut into slices.


1. You can play around with the dried fruits and nuts and use, raisins in place of sultanas and pecans in place of walnuts for alternatives.

2. I would advise you to store this cake in a cool place due to the cream cheese icing.

3. If using plain (all-purpose) flour - The rule of thumb is that for every 100g (4oz) of flour you will need to add 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

Happy Carrot Cake Baking!


Chocolate Orange Drizzle Loaf Cake  

Chocolate Orange Drizzle Loaf Cake


For The cake
175g (6 oz) softened butter
175g (6 oz) caster (super fine) sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
175g (6 oz) self-raising flour, sifted
2 tbsp milk
For The Orange Syrup
Juice of 1 orange
100g (4 oz) granulated sugar
For The Topping
50g (2 oz) dark chocolate or milk chocolate – your choice
Sprinkles of choice (optional)

You will need a 900g (2 lb) loaf tin – greased with a little butter and lined with greaseproof paper or non-stick baking paper.


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

In a mixing bowl, add the butter and sugar and beat together until light and fluffy in appearance. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well until fully incorporated. Add the orange zest, flour and milk and fold in gently with a spatula or large metal spoon. Turn into the prepared tin, smooth the top of the mixture and bake in the oven on middle shelf 35 -45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. When cool make little holes in the cake with a skewer, (this is important for pouring the syrup onto the cake to ensure the syrup soaks in fully.)

For The Orange Syrup

Put the orange juice and granulated sugar into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil for a couple of minutes. Pour over the top of the cake. When all the juice has soaked in, carefully remove the cake from the tin.

For The Topping

Melt the chocolate by placing a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted, pour over the top of the cake. Either smooth the top over with a spatula or make a little pattern with the prongs of a fork. Add sprinkles if desired, leave chocolate to set before cutting into the cake.

Happy Baking!