Baking- M&M Cookies

During the first lockdown I was obsessed with baking cookies and tried a new recipe almost every week. People eventually had to tell me to stop because I was ruining their diets, and then things went back to some kind of normal (i.e. busy) and I had to stop.

I recently had the urge to make cookies again, so with a few days off work and a good browse of my absolute favourite baking blog; Jane’s Patisserie (seriously, she can do no wrong, every recipe just works) and a bit of input from Bob I decided to make M&M Cookies.

I love m&ms, and whilst I don’t usually favour a chocolate dough for cookies I couldn’t bear to not follow the recipe to a tee, and I’m bloody well glad I did.

I might not have Jane’s presentation or food photography skills, but these cookies still look pretty damn good to me. And they tasted it too. Baked for exactly 11 minute, these are slightly crispy on the edges but soft and chewy in the middle.

I don’t predict this batch of cookies hanging around long, and luckily I have the remaining 750g of a kilo bag of m&ms that I picked up in Costco to whip up some more.
I’m not posting the recipe directly as I really, really feel you NEED to visit Jane’s site and see it for yourselves (recipe here). Anyone else a Jane’s Patisserie fan girl? I know it can’t just be me…which recipe am I going to pick next?

Baking- Cornflake Tart

I’ve started to feel quite nostalgic lately, in terms of blogging this means returning to the kind of content that I used to share; outfit posts, wish lists and of course, recipes. In terms of recipes, and food in general I’m definitely veering towards childhood favourites and retro treats right now- a combination of lockdown blues and general Winter cravings.

After a lengthy discussion about cereal at work, that somehow turned in to a chat about puddings and comfort food classics I decided that the only way to use up the box of Cornflakes languishing in my pantry was to whip up one of the only redeeming features of school dinners- Cornflake Tart.

I used this recipe from BBC Good Food (one of my favourite places for reliable recipes) and it couldn’t have been simpler. I used pre-made pastry, which I usually buy frozen and find impossible. This time I picked up a fresh pack and it was so much easier to work with. In times gone by I made my own pastry from scratch, but it never really comes out right anymore and this was so much less faff!



  • STEP 1Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Unroll the pastry and briefly roll out on a lightly floured work surface until it’s large enough to fit a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Use the rolling pin to lift the pastry over the tin, then press into the corners and sides so the excess pastry hangs over the rim. Trim this away, leaving just a small amount of excess hanging over the rim.
  • STEP 2 Line the pastry with baking parchment and fill with baking beans or uncooked rice (I used rice, you need more than you think!) Bake for 15 mins. Remove the parchment and beans/rice, then bake for another 5-10 mins until just golden. Remove from the oven and trim any excess pastry from the edges using a serrated knife.
  • STEP 3Heat the butter, syrup and sugar in a small pan with a pinch of salt, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Fold in the cornflakes to coat in the butter mixture.
  • STEP 4Spoon the jam into the cooked pastry base, then level the surface. Tip the cornflake mixture over the jam and gently press down until all of the jam is covered with a layer of the mixture. Return the tart to the oven and bake for another 5 mins until the cornflakes are golden and toasted. Leave to cool until just warm before slicing and serving with custard.

My presentation skills may be rustic looking at best, but this was a real hit. Lightly golden pastry, the cheapest strawberry jam I could find (for authentic school dinner taste!) and Cornflakes mixed with butter, sugar and syrup. The smell of this baking alone makes any effort worth it. Just add a healthy dose of custard and you have the ultimate mood lifter in a bowl. Now, what comfort food creation to whip up next?

Spreading Summer Fun with Macabella

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of a delivery from Macabella, the makers of the most divine chocolate base spread ever. I’ve featured, and baked with the brand before as well as giving the spread itself a glowing review so I was more than excited to get the chance to work with them again.

By way of introduction for those who don’t know, Macabella spread is a heavenly fusion of chocolate and macadamia nuts which comes in two varities- velvet smooth and crunchy. It’s now available to buy from Ocado at £3 for a jar- and trust me, it’s well worth every penny.

This time the package included a curious selection of baking accessories along with the spread, including some silicone ice lolly moulds that just begged to be used. Therefore the first recipe I present to you today is for some Macabella ice lollies that use just two ingredients- so simple it can barely be called a recipe!
For these I quite simply took 1/3 cup of Macabella Crunch and 2/3 cup of milk the blended it all together until well combined. I then divided this between four ice lolly moulds- although I could have got six from it and popped in the freezer. I think probably these would have worked better with whole milk rather than semi skimmed but it’s really down to preference- they’d probably also work well with cream for a more indulgent treat! I left mine to freeze over night but did take some out after a couple of hours to pop on some decorations.
The second thing I made was these swirly muffins, inspired by my boyfriend musing about marble cake after we saw it in a coffee shop one Saturday. These turned out so well- the spread makes the cakes super moist and provides a good contrast to the sponge and they’ve already been requested again by aforementioned boyfriend. I used a recipe I found online here but obviously used Macabella (velvet this time) instead. They were really easy to do and I strongly recommend both this recipe and incorporating Macabella in to just about anything you might be planning to bake!
Let me know if you try either of these ideas out, or what else you think I should bake with the spread.


Baking- Mini Egg Cookie Bars

I have fond childhood memories of eating mini-eggs around Easter time, they were definitely a favourite and whilst these days I’m not such a fan [the recipe changed last year and I don’t care what anyone says, I can tell the difference!] my best friend still loves them, and I love my best friend so when I saw a recipe for Mini Egg cookie bars I decided to treat her.

I’m not going to post the actual recipe for it is not mine to post, instead I’ll direct you to it’s creator- the frankly genius Jane of Jane’s Patisserie [recipe link]. This woman’s blog has some of the best recipes I’ve seen and it’s an endless source of baking inspiration for me. I’ve made a few of her recipes now including the chocolate orange cookies and each and every thing turns out perfectly each time.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some pictures of the Mini Egg cookie bars as when I posted them on social media people went crazy for them- my best friend went on to declare them the “best cookies ever” which is high praise indeed and they really are so simple to make, perfect for any Easter themed gatherings you might be going to [even if that gathering just happens to be you and a pot of tea].
The basic recipe would lend itself beautifully to pretty much any chocolate addition and I’m tempted to give it a go with Rolos sometime for a soft and gooey caramel experience. I’ll definitely be making the Mini Egg version at least once more in the run up to Easter though and will be keeping a close eye on Jane’s blog for any other Easter themed bakes she comes up with- these Creme Egg cupcakes look amazing!
Have you got any Easter baking planned? Which are your favourite baking blogs to visit?


Healthier Baking Ideas*

January is not a good month to be someone who loves to bake for other people- everyone is either on some kind of new year diet or so over-saturated with the rich foods of Christmas that they just can’t face any sweet treats. With that in mind I thought I’d explore a few ideas for healthier baking, mostly simple ingredient swaps to serve (mostly) as inspiration for myself and also to inspire my fellow baking addicts- and nab your ideas for healthier cakes and biscuits too!


One simple swap you can make is to reduce saturated fats by replacing butter with an ingredient like rapeseed oil. There are a whole host of healthy baking recipes if you click the link- I especially like the look of the date and walnut cake which of course carries the added benefits of the dried fruit and nuts.
Obviously baked goods are notoriously laden with sugar and it’s hard to avoid it completely. What you can do though is look for sweeteners that have more nutritional benefits than refined white sugar- honey, apple puree, banana or sugar alternatives such as the SugaVida I recently featured are all good substitutes. Honey is particularly good as it contains anti-oxidants, which can help the body fight inflammation, and also works as a natural anti-bacterial. You could check out Gold Bee for high-quality raw, natural honey.
You can improve the nutritional content of cakes and bakes by adding in ingredients such as flaxseeds (also a great alternative to egg in vegan baking) to boost fibre content as well as providing a good source of vitamins and minerals. You won’t necessarily taste the difference but the benefits will be there.
Using alternatives to standard white flour will also boost the nutritional content of your bakes- buckwheat or spelt flours will increase fibre whilst almond flour will add a protein and vitamin E boost.
Finally when it comes to topping your bakes try switching regular cream or icing for greek or natural yoghurts. There are plenty of recipes out there for healthier toppings and you’ll gain the calcium, vitamin B12 and probiotics that yoghurts provide.
I’d love to know what smart-swaps you make for healthier baked goods, I’m getting bored of not baking and would love to get experimenting on healthier treats that both myself and those around me can enjoy. I’m notorious for not eating my own creations and it’s about time I started!