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Baking Craft

Scumptious Marbled Easter Chocolates 

This is a cute Eastery version of my Scrumptious Chocolate Block recipe from my book Girls’ Night In. So you have seen these in expensive chocolatiers, now is the time to make your own. Using Easter shaped cookie cutters you can theme your chocolates. They make gorgeous gifts for your loved ones, or even pop them into plastic bags and scatter them around an Easter Egg Hunt! Its best to use quality chocolate for them to be absolutely scrumptious. It’s a fun one you can make to your own tastes, adding more or less of one type of chocolate and sprinkling over nuts or candied fruits for extra interest.

INGREDIENTS

6 x 200g bars of best quality chocolate, dark, milk or white.

Sprinkles

Small Easter cookie cutters

Silicone Swiss roll baking sheet 

Flat baking sheet

METHOD

Choose a minimum of 2 x 200g bars of the same chocolate for your base.

In separate heatproof bowls, break the chocolate into small squares and melt over steaming water. Stir until smooth.

Place the Swiss roll sheet into the metal baking sheet for stability. 

Pour the base chocolate, in this case dark chocolate in first, then the milk and white, creating lines as you pour.

With a metal skewer make zigzags in lines to disrupt the chocolate. 

Next sprinkle lines of 100s & 1000s along the chocolate. 

Allow to cool slightly before you transport to a shelf in the fridge.

Once it is hard, remove from fridge and cut out the shapes, you can dip the metal cutters into some very hot water to make it easier to cut.

Once cut out, place back in the fridge until ready to serve. Or put into gift bags as a wonderful Easter treat! 

Baking

Earl Grey Tea Cookies with Lavender Marshmallow Centres

I drink a cup of Earl Grey tea EVERY morning, my favourite hands down is the Clipper Tea blend. I’ve fallen in love with a book I received this Christmas on marshmallows so as my new baking inspiration I have created these delicious biscuits combining the two.

They are bright, fragrant and gooey! Just perfect to cheer up a gloomy wintery afternoon.

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Baking Christmas

Candy Cane Three Chocolate Yule Log

For me Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a Chocolate Yule Log, this year I have come up with a modern twist on an old classic, filled to the brim with chocolate. Inside is a milk chocolate buttercream, wrapped in a dark chocolate sponge then finally smothered in a white chocolate mousse. Defiantly an eye catching alternative!

All the chocolate that was used in this recipe was from Weiss.

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Baking Christmas

Luxury Festive Hot Chocolate

I’ll admit that I’m slightly obsessed with hot chocolate, once you learn to make your own, there will be no powdered version for you! It’s so simple all you need is milk and chocolate… and sprinkles.

 

INGREDIENTS

Whole milk

Chocolate dark or milk chocolate best quality buttons or broken ( I’ve used Weiss Chocolate), 35g per 3/4 pint of milk

Ground cinnamon, pinch of

Ground ginger, pinch of

Sqirty cream

Festive sprinkles

Oreo biscuit

 

METHOD

Fill your glass full of milk, then pour that milk into a saucepan.

Bring to the boil, sprinkle over the cinnamon and ginger. Remove from the hob add the broken up chocolate, stir vigorously until dissolved.

Pour the hot chocolate into the glass or mug.

Add the sqirty cream to the top and decorate with sprinkles and Oreo biscuit

Baking

Festive Spiced Poached Pears in Dark Chocolate Ganache

This wonderful dessert is perfect for a dinner party, soaked in festive spices the flavour literally sums up Christmas. It’s best to soak them for 1-2 days before serving which makes them utterly delicious. When it comes to choosing a pear, a Conference pear is a classic with its long thin shape but I have used French Mouneyrac which are shorter and fatter with more of a perfume-y flavour. Make sure to use a really good quality dark chocolate ( or milk if you don’t like dark) I have used Weiss Chocolate Galaxie Noir

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Makes 6 pears

INGREDIENTS

for the pears

1kg golden caster sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

4 strips of lemon zest

2 star anise

1 vanilla pod

8 cloves

1 2inch length of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

6 almost ripe pears, peeled with bottoms sliced a little so they can stand

for the chocolate ganache 

500ml double cream

350g dark chocolate

 

METHOD

Using a saucepan big enough to hold all the pears, fill half way with water and bring to the boil.

Add all the dry ingredients ( except for the pears) and simmer for 15 minutes giving the syrup a stir every so often.

Drop in the pears and simmer on low for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until they feel soft.

Turn off heat and set aside until cool.

Place in large tupperware container and cover fully with syrup. Leave in the fridge until you are ready to serve. Keep for up to 4 days.

To make chocolate ganache, simply bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and vigorously stir in chocolate chips or broken up pieces until fully melted.

Serve with chopped nuts and vanilla ice cream.

at home with Hannah Baking Lifestyle Parties

My Halloween Party Table

img_5404This is the third year in a row we have hosted a baby & toddler halloween get together, so I conclude this may be becoming a tradition! As a kid I do remember going trick or treating, but costumes were most defiantly hand made and not readily available in supermarkets. Sweets were most defiantly not Halloween branded, you’d be lucky to get a Quality Street. One of our neighbours used to actually give away his 1p & 2p collection in little brown bags! But this year the shops have grown their ranges massively and there are some fantastic things you can get. Needless to say, I do love Halloween and luckily so does my son!

I have a bag of props in the attic that are mainly bought from the pound shops. Much like Christmas, I buy a few new bits every year and chuck out the ones that are a bit passed it. This year I bought a giant glitter skull from Sainsbury’s and my Fred and Friends cookie cutters, which I am obsessed with ( see above and below). You can see them here on Amazon, they are amazing!

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Baking

Aga Pavlova with soaked summer fruit 


Being at the cottage in Dorset, it’s fun to get to grips with baking in the Aga, here’s a simple show stopping pudding that is great for the family to share.

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Baking

Heavenly Elderflower Cupcakes Recipe

IMG_0483These beautiful cupcakes pack a punch with the most wonderful floral flavour. Why not try making your very own cordial to go into them, heavenly.

Ingredients

180g unsalted butter, softened
180g caster sugar, sieved
3 large free range eggs
5 tbsp elderflower cordial see recipe here
180g self-raising flour, sieved

Icing

110g unsalted butter,softened
300g icing sugar
3 tbsp elderflower cordial
50g cream cheese

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180° gas mark 4.

Line a 12 hole muffin tin with matching paper cases.

Using a kitchen aid or electric whisk cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. This can take a good 5 mins to do, the colour should be almost white.

Next add the cordial to the mixture and blend well.

Then add the three eggs one at a time.

Finally add the flour and fold in until the mixture is evenly combined.

Place heaped tablespoons of the batter into the cases and bake for around 20mins until cakes are golden and a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool fully on a wire rack.

4For the icing, cream the butter, icing sugar and cordial together for 3 – 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the cream cheese until you have a thick, creamy icing. Spread or pipe over the cupcakes and decorate.

*Adapted from Waitrose.com recepie

Baking Drink

A Years Supply of Elderflower Cordial Recipe!

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I have very vivid memories as a kid of our annual elderflower picking trip, it always felt very exciting and a little bit naughty as we would literally jump out of my mums cream 2CV somewhere along the railway lines near our house and grab as many of the flower heads as we could before speeding off ( I say speeding, not sure a 2CV can do that!). We would get the lot home and my mother would boil down the sugary mixture on the hob, the smell was evocative. We would drink most of it before it even got cool, but that was part of the fun. To be honest as I grew up, I forgot the joys of elderflower. It wasn’t until about 6 years a go I noticed a resurgence on the supermarket shelves when Belvoir released the very prettily bottled elderflower cordial and I began to get a taste of it again. This time of year, the flowers grow everywhere, in parks, by railway lines and in unkept front gardens! As I live in an urban part of London you wouldn’t necessarily think there would be lots of green space, but there is so much to be foraged, even in the city, so get hunting.
This recipe includes citric acid, which may be trickier to purchase than simply going into a local chemist ( as apparently addicts use it to shoot up, eek!). So I would suggest make things simple and buy it on amazon click here !
N.B. this recipe makes 8 ltrs of the cordial, thats around 6-8 bottles. If this is too much for your requirements you can half the ingredients required.
Ingredients

40 heads of elderflowers

4 unwaxed lemons

3ltrs water

5kgs white sugar ( granulated or caster)

160g citric acid

plus…

extra large saucepan

muslin or thin tea towel

colander

Sterilised bottles for the syrup

Method

To clean your elderflowers, firstly give them a good shake outside, as there may be a few little insects hiding. Next wash them with cold water in the sink. Trim the stems right up to the base of the flowers.

Place the flowers into an extra large saucepan, then grate the zest of the 4 lemons on top. Slice the lemons into rounds and add to the pot.

Add the citric acid.

Next add the 3ltrs of water and put on the hob to boil. Once it has reached boiling point turn off hob and leave to one side. I would suggest leaving mixture to stew for 24 -48 hours.

To strain away the flowers and lemons, line a colander with the muslin ( I used one of my sons old ones!) then in batches ladle liquid through into a saucepan.

Pour the sugar on top of the liquid and place on the hob to boil for 5 minutes.

Allow to cool fully before dispensing into the serialised bottles.

Check out Pintrest for a list of inspiring elderflower drinks ideas