Jammie Dodger biscuits are one of my favourites, I remember eating them as a child and always picking them first out of biscuit selection boxes. They have such a fun appearance – with the splash effect on the biscuit and heart shaped hole revealing the jam in the middle. It’s no wonder they are the most popular kid’s biscuit in the UK! I’ve incorporated yummy Jammie Dodger biscuits into these soft gooey blondies, as well as adding some extra strawberry jam (because that’s the best bit!) If you’ve not heard of blondies before, they are the white chocolate version of brownies, and if you enjoy these you’ll love my Raspberry & White Chocolate Blondies too!
I started by melting the butter and golden caster sugar together in a pan on a low heat.
Once the butter was melted, I took the pan off the heat and added the white chocolate. I left it for a couple of minutes, then stirred it in.
I added the eggs, whisking as I poured them in to make sure the mixture didn’t cook the eggs. Then I stirred in the vanilla.
Then I added the flour, and poured the batter into a lined traybake tin. I placed the Jammie Dodger biscuits in a neat pattern on top, then added blobs of strawberry jam all around the biscuits, once I was happy with the amount of jam I swirled it around using a butter knife.
I baked the blondies on 160C Fan/180C/350F, Gas Mark 4 for 30 minutes until they were golden brown all over. I left them to cool completely in the tin before removing and slicing into pieces.
I didn’t want to cut up the biscuits, but if you want to make the pieces smaller I like to cut them diagonally into triangles. Or you could use mini Jammie Dodger biscuits. You can also add more jam if you want to, or a different flavour of jam.
These blondies were an absolute hit with my friends! They are so yummy, the sponge is sweet from the white chocolate, the Jammie Dodger biscuits are delicious of course and the extra bits of jam are definitely the best bit!!
Pre heat your oven to 160C Fan/180C/350F/Gas Mark 4, and grease and line a 12" x 9" traybake tin
Melt the butter with the golden caster sugar in a pan on a low heat
Once the butter has melted, take the pan off the heat and add the white chocolate. Leave it for a couple of minutes to melt, then stir together. Leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes
Break the eggs into a bowl and add them to the mixture, keep whisking as you pour them in to make sure the mixture doesn't cook the eggs. Then stir in the vanilla extract
Add the flour and whisk it in, then pour the batter into the lined traybake tin
Place the Jammie Dodger biscuits in rows on top of the batter, then added blobs of strawberry jam all around the biscuits, once you are happy with the amount of jam, swirl it around gently using a butter knife
Bake the blondies for 30 minutes until they are golden brown all over. Leave them to cool completely in the tin before removing and slicing into pieces.
This week on The Great British Bake Off was biscuit week. Sue Perkins was missing from the episode this week due to a family bereavement at the time of filming, so Mel held down the (gingerbread) fort. The previews of the episodes showed several disasters and collapses so I was expecting a lot of gasps and tense moments!
For the first challenge the judges requested 24 crisp and identical iced biscuits. Mary warned against being over ambitious, she wanted absolutely perfect biscuits with the same thickness and texture. Paul seemed quite happy just to be getting a whole load of biscuits to eat. I loved Michael’s beer biscuits, and the judges loved them too. They said they were uniform, crispy and had good flavour. Tom made some coffee and chai spiced biscuits and he got a Paul Hollywood handshake!
Louise made sheep shaped bara brith biscuits and she had some disasters along the way as she dropped a whole tray of biscuits. Paul said her biscuits were more like scones as they were so soft. Val made ice cream biscuits and she knew she needed to improve on her presentation, although throwing a batch of biscuits on the floor and springing a leak from her piping bag didn’t help. Mary was quite critical of them saying they were not finished well – harsh words from Bezza!
Kate chose lavender and bergamont for her biscuits flavours, which Paul said he didn’t like, but upon tasting them he seemed to change his mind! Benjamina made chocolate orange flower bouqet biscuits, they looked fantastic and I really think she is one to watch. Candice ended up making 48 biscuits as she made sandwiched biscuits with a salted caramel filling. Her fondness for lipstick was also noticed by Mel and Candice said she would wear a different colour each week. I think this is a clever way of standing out and could become a signature look for her, much like Richard Burr’s pencil behind the ear in season
This week’s technical challenge was 12 Viennese Whirls filled with buttercream and jam. They were following a Mary Berry recipe. Mary said the biscuit had simple ingredients but the bakers needed to make sure the butter was soft enough otherwise the mixture would be too stiff for piping. She also wanted to see the swirl after the biscuits were baked, and she expected the bicuits to be very short in texture and crumbly with good proportions of buttercream and jam.
Selasi had made them before and when he noticed his mixture was too stiff for piping he decided to beat it more to soften it. Michael also had his own technique for solving this problem – he put it in the microwave. A few of the bakers decided to chill the biscuits before baking, but Tom noticed this wasn’t mentioned in the recipe so he decided to just bake his biscuits. Despite his previous experience, Selasi came last in the challenge. Louse was 10th, Michael 9th, Candice 8th, Tom 7th, Rav 6th, Val 5th and Andrew 4th. Benjamina won 3rd place, Jane came 2nd and Kate was the winner!
This week’s showstopper was quite the request… a 3D gingerbread story, which must say something about them, be at least 30cm high and feature 8 characters or objects. Gingerbread usually contains black treacle and/or golden syrup as they both flavour and colour it, all of the bakers used these ingredients except for Selasi who was using honey instead. Kate went all out with her flavours by making three different kinds of gingerbread including a lemon and cardamom flavoured one.
Candice made a gingerbread pub to represent the pub she grew up in as a child. She put so much thought into each element. The ‘floor’ was a sticky gingerbread cake to represent a sticky pub carpet, and the pool table was made using jelly. It was very impressive! Michael and Rav both made Christmas scenes, and Selasi and Louise both went for churches. Meanwhile Benjamina was constructing the Chrysler building in New York and Val was building the Empire State in gingerbread.
Both Louise and Val had disasters, collapses and breakages. Andrew did very well with his punting in Oxford scene. Michael’s Christmas scene was messy and simplistic, but Paul said his gingerbread was the best. The judges loved Candice’s pub, Paul called it superb and Mary called it smashing. Rav’s gingerbread was burnt, and the judges couldn’t taste any ginger in Selasi’s church.
Louise was the one to leave this week as she had a lot of disasters this week. Candice won star baker this week, mostly due to her smashing showstopper. Mary said it would be remembered forever. Next week is bread week!
I decided to make the technical challenge of Viennese Whirls this week. I have made them before, but I’ve made iced biscuits and gingerbread houses before too and these were the most delicious option in my opinion. I wanted to mix it up a bit and change the flavours so they were a bit different from the traditional kind. I used a Hairy Bikers recipe for the biscuit base, as when I made Cherry & Almond Viennese Swirl Biscuits in the past it worked really well for me.
To make the biscuit dough I creamed together 250g butter, 250g plain flour, 50g icing sugar, 50g cornflour and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
I used a 2 inch (5cm) cutter and a pencil to draw guidelines on my baking paper. I flipped the paper over so the pencil was on the bottom.
I put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. I tried a couple of ways of piping them, and I thought starting the swirl in the middle and working out looked the best. I kept piping until all the mixture was gone. I baked them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes, let them cool on the tray for 5 minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack.
While they were cooling I made the mascarpone filling. I creamed together 50g butter and 175g icing sugar, then I added 125g mascarpone and 1 tsp vanilla extract. I used an electric hand mixer to do this as it made sure the mixture was not lumpy, and it made it nice and thick. I put it in the fridge to chill for an hour so it was stable enough to pipe.
To sandwich the biscuits together I piped some of the mascarpone filling on one half, and spread some blackcurrant jam on the other half (about 1 tsp). I sandwiched them together and the biscuits were ready.
The texture of the biscuits are soft and buttery, and the mascarpone filling is fresh and sweet against the tangy fruit of the blackcurrant jam. They are heavenly!
To make the biscuit dough cream together 250g of the butter, the plain flour, 50g of the icing sugar, the cornflour and 1/2 tsp of the vanilla extract
Use a 2 inch (5cm) cutter and a pencil to draw guidelines on baking paper. Flip the paper over so the pencil is on the bottom and line two baking trays with it
Put the biscuit mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe them out onto the baking paper, start the swirl in the middle and work your way out. Keep piping until all the mixture is gone
Bake them on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 minutes, let them cool on the tray for 5 minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack
To make the mascarpone filling cream together 50g of the butter and 175g of the icing sugar, then add the mascarpone and 1 tsp of the vanilla extract. Use an electric hand mixer to do this if possible. Put it in the fridge to chill for an hour so it is stable enough to pipe
To sandwich the biscuits together, pipe or spread some of the mascarpone filling on one half, and spread some blackcurrant jam on the other half (about 1 tsp). Sandwich them together and the biscuits are ready!
The Great British Bake Off is back for it’s seventh year on our TV screens and this means that my yearly ‘bake along’ commences too. If you’re new to my blog – hello! And also, you won’t know that I’ve been baking along to The Great British Bake Off for 4 years now, with this year being my fifth year! I started doing this in order to increase my skills and expand my baking repertoire. I’ve learnt so much and baked such a wide variety of things that I may never have tried otherwise. I’m excited to get started on another year of baking adventures. If you’d like to check out all of my past GBBO bakes click here.
As usual the bakers this year are a mix of ages, professions and ethnic backgrounds. There’s Val who’s 66 and loves exercise, Ed Sheeran and “listens” to her bakes. Andrew who’s 25 and designs jet engines for a living. Candice who’s 31 and a PE teacher. And Rav who’s 28 and is into vegan baking and far eastern cuisine. It’s so hard to tell at the start who will go the distance!
The first challenge for the bakers was to make a drizzle cake, and it must be moist. Paul said they are taking the challenges back to basics, so making it easier, but the judging would only get harder! Mary wanted the twelve new bakers to be inventive.
Any bakers doing a two layer cake were asked by Paul and Mary if they were putting the drizzle on both layers – which is a massive flashing warning light to the bakers that this is what they should be doing! First week nerves hit everyone, Lee immediately hit issues as his mixture kept separating. Selasi was the most laidback baker in the tent, when he forgot to put cinnamon in his cake batter he just put in the drizzle instead. Jane forgot to add ground almonds so had to make her cake again.
This week’s technical challenge was jaffa cakes. This entailed making a fatless genoise sponge, and orange jelly, and neatly covering them in chocolate. Mary said they are a great British classic and she wanted them to be absolutely perfect. No pressure bakers!
Some of the bakers made the sponge by whisking the eggs and sugar over simmering water, none of them knew how long to bake the sponge for, and a couple of them got confused on which way round the sponges should be. Andrew did all of his upside down, then almost presented them with the chocolate on the bottom, not sure if he’s eaten jaffa cake before?! Unfortunately that meant he came last, Lee was eleventh, Val tenth, Louise ninth, Rav eighth, Jane seventh and Benjamina sixth. Candice made it into the top five with fifth place and Kate came fourth. Michael was third, Tom second and Selasi was first.
The showstopper challenge was to make a mirror glaze cake, which should be as shiny as a mirror, and cover the entire cake. The sponge must also be a genoise. Mary was looking for sheer perfection and Paul wanted something that would stick in their minds. There was a great variety of flavours from salted praline with white chocolate from Benjamina, matcha tea from Michael and
Candice had a lot of trouble making her genoise sponge, she made them multiple times and even chucked one across the tent like a frisbee! Tom, Benjamina and Val also made their sponges more than once. The cakes, once baked and cooled had to be covered with a base layer, or crumb coat, of either ganache or buttercream. There were the first tears of the series from Benjamina as her swiss meringue buttercream was too runny, Sue was there to offer comfort and kind words.
Jane got great results from the judges, with both her flavours and appearance getting praised. Rav’s mirror glaze also looked good, the Paul didn’t like the texture of his cake. Despite having too much gin in his drizzle cake, Tom didn’t have enough alcohol in his mirror glaze cake this time! Unfortunately for Michael the judges didn’t like matcha tea, although I thought his presentation looked stunning. Kate’s cake was very messy, but Mary liked the gooseberry flavour.
Selasi was praised for his cake as he was the only one to do a fruit glaze and fill his cake with a set mousse, Mary said it was a joy to eat and Paul said it was simple, elegant and beautifully flavoured. Val’s cake looked good, but she’d used caster sugar in her buttercream. Lee’s cake had a messy appearance on the outside and the sponge was dry. Louise had no mirror glaze at all, but her cake was delicious. Benjamina had a simple but good looking cake, with lovely flavours. Candice had a good mirror glaze, but her vanilla genoise was not cooked well. Andrew’s cake looked stunning and Paul called it fantastic all over.
Lee was the first baker to leave the tent, as he did badly in all three challenges he was the obvious choice. Jane got star baker which surprised me to be honest as I really thought Selasi deserved the title. Next week is biscuit week!
I decided to make this week’s technical challenge – Homemade Jaffa Cakes. Partly at my boyfriend’s request, and partly because they looked really yummy! I followed Mary Berry’s recipe for them and changed a couple of bits here and there to suit.
I started by making the orange jelly the night before as it takes a couple of hours to set. I used a sachet of Robinson’s orange jelly as it was the only one in the supermarket suitable for vegetarians, I found it in Asda. I followed the instructions on the packet and I also added the zest of 1 orange. I added a small amount of orange food colouring too as I wanted it to be brightly coloured when the jaffa cakes were cut into. I lined a baking tray with cling film for the jelly to set in one even layer.
To make the sponge I started by greasing a muffin tin with butter.
I used an electric whisk to whisk up 1 large egg and 25g caster sugar for 4-5 minutes until it was thick and pale. I then gently folded in 25g self raising flour.
I only got enough for 10 sponges, so I made another lot of mixture and greased up another muffin tin.
I baked each lot of sponges on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 9 minutes, turning the tray around in the oven after 7 minutes.
I tipped the jelly out onto some baking paper and cut out circles using a 1 1/2 inch cutter.
Then I melted 250g dark chocolate and gently covered the top of each cake using a spoon. I then used a fork to give the top some texture. I put them in the fridge to set the chocolate.
Then I tucked in! These are so satisfying to eat, breaking through the crisp dark chocolate to find tangy orange jelly and light as air soft sponge is a great feeling. One that can too easily be enjoyed over and over and over again…!
Line a baking tray with cling film and follow the instructions on the packet to make the jelly, also add the zest of 1 orange. Add a small amount of orange food colouring too at this point if desired. Pour the jelly into the lined tray and leave in the fridge to set for approx 2 hours or overnight
Grease two muffin tins with butter or margarine
Use an electric whisk to whisk up the egg and caster sugar for 4-5 minutes until it is thick and pale
Gently fold in the self raising flour
Bake on 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 9 minutes, turning the tray around in the oven after 7 minutes
Gently tip the jelly out onto some baking paper and cut out circles using a 1 1/2 inch cutter
Melt the dark chocolate and gently cover the top of each cake using a spoon. Then used a fork to give the top some texture. Put them in the fridge to set the chocolate
As I am a huge fan of ice cream, finding new ways to enjoy eating it is high on my list of favourite activities. As is discovering new exciting flavours of ice cream. A few days ago I had a jaffa cake flavour one that was very delicious, and now I’ve been lucky enough to try Häagen-Dazs’ new flavour – Mango & Raspberry. I am already a huge fan of their Salted Caramel flavour (which I highly recommend!) and so I was really looking forward to seeing what the new flavour would be like. I also decided that rather than just eat it alone, I’d sandwich it between two rich chocolate cookies.
The ice cream is a creamy mango flavour, swirled through with raspberry. To make the cookies I followed a Double Chocolate Cookies recipe I’ve made before, but added dark chocolate chips instead of white chocolate, and I doubled the recipe to allow for sandwiching!
I creamed together 350g light brown sugar and 150g butter. I then added 2 eggs and 2 tsp vanilla extract and whisked in.
I melted 300g dark chocolate in a glass bowl over gently simmering water.
I added 200g self raising flour and 50g cocoa powder to the mixture, followed by the melted chocolate, and mixed well.
I then added a packet of dark chocolate chips and folded them in. I chilled the mixture for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Using my hands I made small balls out of the mixture and flattened them before placing them on a lined baking tray.
I baked them on 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 12 minutes. I let them cool for 10 minutes on the tray before moving them to a cooling rack.
Once the cookies are fully cool, I loaded one up with Häagen-Dazs Mango & Raspberry ice cream and sandwiched another on top. I also added some fresh raspberries. Wow these were certainly decadent!
You have no choice but to dig right in! The fruity mango & raspberry ice cream is the perfect filling between the dark chocolate cookies. These are a indulgent dessert to end a meal, or a sweet summertime snack. Not that you need hot weather to eat ice cream, I certainly don’t!
Healthy baking is all the rage right now, The Great British Bake Off even did a ‘free from’ themed episode this year which included dairy, gluten and refined sugar free challenges. We’re all more aware of what we’re eating and we’re being told we need to cut down on certain foods. I’ve always maintained that moderation is important, so it nice to add a healthy element to baked goods where I can. These Golden Oat Raisin & Almond Cookies are packed with wholegrain goodness plus oats, almonds and raisins. A tasty treat with hidden health benefits!
I was sent two bags of Marriage’s The Master Millers Golden Wholegrain Flour to bake with and I decided to make these cookies with the plain flour. Using wholegrain flour in your baking is an easy way to get more fibre in your diet. Marriage’s Golden Wholegrain Flour contains twice the amount of fibre than regular white flour. Current guidelines recommend that we should be eating 18g of fibre per day, and research has shown that only 5% of people in the UK manage to meet this target, so we need all the help we can get!
I toasted 100g almonds in the oven on a lined baking tray for 5 mins at 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5.
I chopped them up into pieces.
I creamed together 100g butter with 200g soft brown sugar. I then whisked in 1 tsp vanilla, 1 egg and 1 tbsp golden syrup.
I mixed in 125g oats, 1 tsp baking powder and 125g Marriage’s The Master Millers Golden Wholegrain Plain Flour.
Then I added the chopped almonds along with 100g raisins.
I used my hands to shape pieces of the mixture into balls which I then flattened down. I put them onto a lined baking tray leaving room for them to spread.
I baked the cookies on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 15 minutes until they were lovely and golden.
I sent these with my boyfriend to take into work with him as I not only have my own colleagues requesting bakes, I also have his colleagues asking for them too! It’s great to have a wide audience of willing volunteers to eat my bakes. The cookies went down really well and I grabbed one when they were still warm, which really is one of the best parts of baking. They were so yummy, I would call these a hearty and comforting bake that makes you feel very homely – if that makes sense!
Toast the almonds in the oven on a lined baking tray for 5 mins at 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5. Then chop them up into pieces
Cream together the butter and sugar. Then whisk in the vanilla, egg and golden syrup
Mix in the oats, baking powder and flour
Then add the chopped almonds along with the raisins
Use your hands to shape pieces of the mixture into balls. Flatten them down and put them onto a lined baking tray, leaving room for them to spread. Bake the cookies on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 15 minutes until they are lovely and golden.
The theme for this month’s Treat Petite was The Great British Bake Off (GBBO) and anything made on any previous series could be submitted (as long as it was given the Treat Petite treatment!) Bake off fever is continuing to sweep to the nation and I love seeing everyone’s ‘bake alongs’. It’s such an inspiring show, and I hope you’re as equally inspired by the wonderful bakes below…
Pebble Soup made this gorgeous Tear n Share Crossaint Crown. Crossaints featured in the final episode of last year’s GBBO and this take them to another level by stuffing them with tasty ham and cheese.
Only Crumbs Remain made these beautifully golden Mini Madeiras. Flavoured with lemon, they are a classic bake and the full size version featured in episode one of this year’s GBBO.
I was also inspired by episode one of this year’s series, and I gave the showstopper a go, but in miniature, with these Mini Black Forest Cakes which were my first attempt at Black Forest flavours and left me wondering why I hadn’t done it sooner!
Baking Queen submitted these dainty Mini Damson Madeira Loaves which are made with damson’s picked from her garden. I love the burst of deep purple against the golden sponge.
Photobrook Photography was brave enough to given the technical challenge from this year’s biscuit week a try and made these fabulous Arlettes. They look wonderful and I’m seriously impressed!
Sweet buns featured a few years ago on GBBO and Tin & Thyme made these stunning Liskeard Buns inspired by local history and tradition. Don’t you just want to dive into this photo and grab one?!
Biscuit week was certainly popular this year and Foodie Quine made these Gingerbread Biscotti complete with tiny gingerbread men sprinkles to decorate. These would make an amazing gift at Christmas!
Belleau Kitchen made some melt in the mouth Orange Blossom Chocolate Creams which look incredibly pretty and after they won first place at a local village show I know they would certainly be welcome on GBBO!
We are pretty familiar with Oreos now in the UK, but unlike America we don’t have easy access to all the different Oreo flavours and varieties. Well the wait is over as two new flavours are now widely available in all major UK supermarkets! I recently got sent the two new Oreo flavours being released in the UK. Golden Oreos, which have a vanilla biscuit surrounding the cream centre. And Peanut Butter Oreos, which are the standard chocolate biscuit filled with a peanut butter flavoured cream. So of course I had to bake with them, and I came up with this indulgent cheesecake for the Golden Oreos.
I started by whizzing 200g of the Golden Oreos into fine crumbs using a food processor.
I added 50g melted butter to the crumbs and then pressed it into a springform tin, making sure it was compact and even. I chilled it for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Using my Kenwood kMix Hand Mixer I whisked up the egg whites of 3 eggs until stiff.
In a separate bowl I mixed together 575g full fat cream cheese, 3 egg yolks, 135g caster sugar and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
I added the egg whites and folded them in gently.
I poured the mixture over the chilled biscuit base and baked it for 40 minutes on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Make sure to put the tin onto a baking tray as I had some butter leak out of the tin while it was cooking and it got all over the bottom of my oven – not a fun clean up job! I let it cool fully to room temperature before decorating. Unfortunately my cheesecake decided to do it’s best impression of the Grand Canyon!
I whipped up 200ml double cream and spread it over the top of the cheesecake.
I broke up the leftover Oreos and sprinkled them all over the top, finally I melted 5 blocks of white chocolate and drizzled it all over the cheesecake.
I loved the final look of the cheesecake, it looked so indulgent! The cheesecake itself is really light and moussey because of the addition of whisked egg whites. The Golden Oreos tasted delicious, they have a beautiful vanilla flavour and the creme centre is fabulous as usual. This cheesecake was a huge hit with my boyfriend and his friends!
NB. I was sent the oreos for free to bake with, all opinions are my own.
Start by whizzing up 200g of the Golden Oreos into fine crumbs using a food processor
Add the melted butter to the crumbs and then press the mixture into a springform tin, making sure it is compact and even. Chill it for 30 minutes in the fridge
Using an electronic hand mixer whisk up the egg whites of the 3 eggs until stiff
In a separate bowl mix together the cream cheese, egg yolks, caster sugar and vanilla extract. Add the egg whites and fold them in gently
Pour the mixture over the chilled biscuit base and bake it for 40 minutes on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Make sure to put the tin onto a baking tray as butter may leak out. Let it cool fully to room temperature before decorating
Whip up the double cream and spread it over the top of the cheesecake
Break up the rest of the Golden Oreos and sprinkle them all over the top, then melt 5 blocks of white chocolate and drizzle it all over the cheesecake
We’re on week two and that means biscuits on The Great British Bake Off. The first challenge was to make Biscotti – an Italian, twice-baked biscuit. They had to make 24 of them whilst maintaining consistency. Paul and Mary were looking for a dry biscuit with a good snap, but not so dry it breaks your teeth!
There was some really experimental and unusual flavours being used in the biscotti. Alvin flavoured his with jackfruit, which is very popular in South East Asian cooking. Ian added rosemary to his mix, and Ugne used white wine and goji berries. We also found out that Paul (the contestant Paul, not Paul Hollywood) used to be a cold stream guard aka one of those guards in the big black fuzzy hats that stand outside Buckingham Palace!
The biscotti had to cool before it’s second bake, que a lot of baking tray wafting from the contestants. I was impressed with Mat’s dedication to uniformity, he used a ruler to measure each biscuit before slicing! My favourite’s were Tamal’s Cinnamon, Maple & Cranberry Biscotti. They looked amazing, but the judges felt there was too much going on in terms of flavour. Ian got glowing results for his addition of rosemary to his biscotti Dorret didn’t do too well as Paul said her biscotti had no flavour.
This week’s technical challenge was to make eight Arlettes. Of course, no one had heard of them! They are biscuits made from puff pastry and rolled to be wafer thin and create a pretty swirl. They originate from France and are cinnamon flavoured. Paul was rubbing his hands together and grinning quite wickedly at the thought of the bakers trying to make these!
The bakers struggled with time as they had to fold the dough and chill it several times, they also weren’t sure at which stage they should add the cinnamon, and which way to roll up the dough. Marie really struggled as her oven wasn’t set correctly and only presented four Arlette’s, which meant she came last. Paul and Nadiya didn’t do very well either. First place went to Dorret with Flora in second and Ian in third.
I was really excited by the showstopper this week as it sounded so fun and really opened up the opportunity to be creative. We have some really imaginative bakers on the show this year! They were asked to make 36 biscuits, presented in a box also made out of biscuit, but a different kind of biscuit. Mary wanted them to be ambitious, show a variety of techniques, and of course taste amazing!
For the box, most contestants went for gingerbread and shortbread as they are sturdy. For inside the box both Ian and Paul made pink macarons, both Flora and Mat made earl grey flavoured tea bag shaped biscuits, Alvin went for brandy snaps and Nadiya chose fortune cookies (pictured above). Ugne made some traditional Lithuanian biscuits, Tamal made checkerboard shortbread and Dorret made some green tea flavoured frog biscuits, although Paul Hollywood though using a cookie stamp was a ‘shortcut’. Not sure if I agree, surely he didn’t expect her to cut out 36 frogs by hand?! Oh wait, he probably did…!
Ian very cleverly made a cylindrical box using a tin he had made himself, which impressed the judges. Sandy was the only one to make a savoury biscuit box using sundried tomato and parmesan flavours. Mat made a fire engine box which I thought looked brilliant! And Paul agreed, calling it ‘fantastic’. Both Alvin and Nadiya didn’t manage to finished their boxes, with Alvin unable to construct his and Nadiya unable to decorate hers. Despite that, both their biscuits were really impressive and well made.
Marie left us this week, the judges felt her bakes were too simple and she wasn’t pushing herself out of her comfort zone. Ian won star baker, deservedly so! Next week it’s time for bread week, or as Mat would say, a doughverload!
I’m not a huge fan of biscotti, and I have made it once before, but I was a bit pushed for time this weekend as I went to Aberdeen to visit my brother. I would have liked to have given the biscuit box a try, maybe when I have more time! I loved how Tamal dipped his in chocolate so I decided to do the same as I think it improves the presentation and overall look of the biscotti.
I started by toasting 145g blanched almonds. I laid them out onto a lined baking tray and popped them in the oven on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 8 minutes.
Once they were toasted I left them to cool, then chopped them up.
For the biscuit dough I weighed out 260g plain flour, 150g granulated white sugar, 1 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt. I mixed them together.
In a separate bowl I beat 3 eggs with 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp almond extract. I also added the zest of 1 orange.
I mixed the wet and dry ingredients together, along with the chopped almonds, which made a very wet dough.
I carefully shaped it on the baking tray into a rectangle, it was approximately 35cm long and 10cm wide. I didn’t bother rolling it on the work top as it was far too wet.
I baked the dough on 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2 for 35 minutes. Depending on your oven it will take 30-40 minutes. I left it to cool for about 30 minutes.
I used a serrated knife to carefully slice the cooked dough. I baked the slices again for 20 minutes, turning them over at the 10 minutes mark. They were nice and crisp and when I pressed them in the middle there was no give.
For the final touch I melted 130g dark chocolate and dipped in one of the edges of each biscotti. I left them to set on some baking paper.
I was really pleased with my second attempt at biscotti! It went much better this time and I actually really liked them! So they must’ve been alright. The almond flavour was lovely and the orange came through, if you wanted a stronger orange flavour you could double up the zest quantity, but I was happy with how these turned out. They were just crunchy enough so no risk of any teeth breaking! I think I’m going to go and have one with a hot drink…
This Friday is Save the Children’s annual Christmas Jumper Day. The charity work around the world saving the lives of children and fighting for their rights. A lot of people I know are having Christmas Jumper Day’s at work and donating to the charity. I was contacted by both Save the Children and a company called The Biscuiteers, who make bespoke biscuits about the day and I was inspired to not only get my Christmas jumper on, but also to make these gorgeous snowflake biscuits and spread the word about this fantastic cause!
Here’s me in my Christmas jumper! And the biscuit likeness sent to me by The Biscuiteers, isn’t it fantastic?! Their speciality are beautifully iced biscuits that they send out in gorgeous tins.
I am also submitting this post to Patience Brewster‘s Cookie Exchange. They make Christmas ornaments and gifts.
To make the dough for the Snowflake Biscuits I first creamed together 230g butter and 225g caster sugar. I then added 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp almond extract and mixed well.
Finally I added 385g plain flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tbsp baking powder and mixed to form a dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 1 hour.
I got the snowflake cutters from Lakeland and they are pretty tricky to use because they are so intricate. I found the best way was to roll some of the dough out onto baking paper, press the cutter in, then gently peel the baking paper away. The dough will stay in the cutter.
Using a lollipop stick I first poked out the holes of the snowflake, then holding the dough filled cutter close to a lined baking tray, I used the lollipop stick to gently poke the dough to get it come out of the cutter. I did get a few lollipop stick indentations, but they disappeared after baking.
I filled my baking tray full of snowflake shape dough using all four different shapes from the cutters.
I baked them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for around 8 – 10 minutes, until they were just going golden at the edges.
To make the icing I mixed 1 egg white with 225g icing sugar in my food mixer until thick. I piped it onto the biscuits using lot of different patterns. Snowflakes are unique after all! I used some sprinkles and glitter as well for decorations.
Although the cutters are tricky to work with, the effect is amazing and they look so stunning and even prettier when decorated!
Here are some more I decorated the next day but didn’t get a chance to photograph in the day light.
I am also entering these into myself and Cakeyboi’s monthly challenge, Treat Petite. I’m hosting this month and the theme is Christmas.
To make the dough cream together the butter and caster sugar. Add the egg, vanilla extract and almond extract and mix well
Add the plain flour, salt and baking powder and mix to form a dough. Wrap it in cling film and chill it in the fridge for 1 hour
Roll the dough out onto baking paper, press the cutter in, then gently peel the baking paper away. The dough will stay in the cutter
Using a lollipop stick gently poke out the holes of the snowflake, then holding the dough filled cutter close to a lined baking tray, use the lollipop stick to gently poke the dough to get it to come out of the cutter
Bake them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for around 8 - 10 minutes, until they are just going golden at the edges. Leave to cool
To make the icing mix the egg white with the icing sugar in a food mixer until thick. Pipe it onto the biscuits and add sprinkles and glitter as desired
Week two on The Great British Bake Off was Biscuit Week. The bakers first challenge was to make 36 savoury biscuits, of any flavour they liked, but that could be eaten with cheese. Of course when making so many biscuits, consistency of the size, bake and colour of the biscuit is paramount. Mary wanted them to either have a nice crumble or nice snap depending on the type of biscuit. I’ve made some pinwheel biscuits this week and you can find the recipe at the bottom of the page.
I was impressed with all the different flavours and types of biscuits the baker’s created. There were exotic sounding biscuits like Chetna’s Fenugreek & Carom Crackers, and Iain’s Za’tar Fig Biscuits. There were also some traditional bakes like Norman’s Farthing Biscuits and Diana’s Parmesan Triangles.
Martha’s would definitely be the ones I would try first, and her Caramalised Onion and Goat’s Cheese Sandwich biscuits went down very well with Mary and Paul. Richard did very well, as did Nancy and Norman. Jordan’s Sourdough Parmesan & Chilli Biscuits were a tad overbaked, whereas Diana’s and Kate’s were underbaked.
This week’s technical challenge was another Mary Berry recipe – Florentines. 18 were required, and according to Mary they should have a delicate, lacy appearance with even distribution of chocolate. I’ve never eaten or seen Florentines before and they certainly look tricky as they are so thin! It didn’t sound like any of the bakers had made them before either.
The main struggle was getting exactly 18 and lots of the bakers weighed their mixture out. No baking time was provided so they all also had no idea how long to bake them for! Martha was the only Richard won the challenge, with Nancy second and Luis third. Iain was in last place, with Norman and Enwezor not far behind.
For the showstopper, the judges requested a 3D biscuit scene that must stand up. Precision was the most critical element of this challenge and the baker’s were making some very exciting and ambitious biscuit creations. Chetna had a large biscuit carousel planned, Diana was making a Steam Train that was baked in a cyclinder shape, and Martha was planning a Ski Village complete with a chair lift. As much as I love Norman, his biscuits were not flavoured and although he did well in the first challenge, I think he does need to start experimenting with flavour.
Richard’s pirate scene and Luis’ George & the Dragon scene were the two best showstoppers in my opinion. They were both stunning. Well decorated, well structured, and from what Paul and Mary said – tasted great! I really was blown away by both of them. Iain picked himself up again after not doing well in the first two challenges, as did Diana and Kate who all got good comments.
Enwezor stacked his biscuits and used shop bought fondant which was the final blow for him and he left the competition this week. Richard was crowned a very well deserved Star Baker!
I’m not a huge biscuit fan, although I do definitely like them, they’re not top of my list. So I find biscuit week the least interesting. I struggle even more with savoury bakes as I’m such a sweet lover! Cheese is one of my absolute favourite savoury foods and I adore Marmite. I’ve made some Cheese & Marmite Scones before, so I thought pinwheel biscuits would be equally as yummy, plus pretty too!
I started with 230g plain flour and 110g butter in a bowl. I rubbed it together with my fingers until it looked like breadcrumbs. I then split the mixture equally (I weighed it to be precise) between two bowls.
In one bowl I added 55g grated mature cheddar. I mixed it in well with a spoon and broke the grated strips of cheese up into as small pieces as I could.
I then added 1 egg yolk and mixed it in. I added some of the white to bring it together until it formed a dough.
With the other mixture I added 1 heaped tbsp Marmite and 1 egg yolk. Again I added some of the white to bring it together until it formed a dough.
I rolled out both doughs onto greaseproof paper until they were a similar size.
Then I carefully placed the Marmite dough over the cheese dough.
Slowly and carefully I rolled the dough into a tube. As you can see it makes a lovely swirl! I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for about an hour.
Using a sharp knife I sliced up the tube of dough into pieces about 8mm thin, and placed onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
I baked the pinwheel biscuits on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 20 minutes. Then didn’t seem to be fully done so I turned the oven down to 160C and gave them another 5 minutes.
I often, if not always, bake for other people, but these pinwheel biscuits were all about me! I love Marmite so much and I adored these pinwheel biscuits so much that I ate about 7 of them… If you are a Marmite fan like me you will love them too! My colleagues did a good job of eating them up too. Some of them had never had Marmite before, or were unsure about it, but they enjoyed the biscuits. I was pleased and secretly hope they will soon become Marmite lovers like me.
Next week – the GBBO bakers, and me, get to grips with bread.
I am entering this bake into Lavendar & Lovage and Hedgecomber‘s Tea Time Treats challenge, where the theme this month is Picnics. I think these biscuits would be a great treat on a picnic!