Chocolate Star Cookies
Makes approx. 15 cookies
Pre-heat your oven to 190 degrees and grease a baking tray. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder then add the butter and rub together using your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Next stir in the Golden Syrup and brown sugar.
Your mixture should start sticking together, but you may need to form the dough by mixing with your hands.
Grab small amounts of the dough and roll into balls. Place each dough ball onto your baking tray and press down (leaving plenty of space between each cookie).
Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes - they should be golden brown but still soft in the middle.
Place a chocolate star on top of each cookie while it’s still warm - the chocolate will melt slightly sticking it to the cookie but not lose its shape.
Now simply allow to cool and serve. Enjoy!
Banoffee Pie Cake
200g light brown sugar
200g unsalted butter, softened and at room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
200g self raising flour, sifted
100g chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons (45ml) full fat Greek yogurt
1 tin Carnation caramel
500ml double cream
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste or 2 tsp of vanilla extract
3 large or 4 medium bananas – ripe but not browning
1 cadbury flake or a few squares of chocolate
Pre-heating your oven to 170 degrees, gas mark 3. Grease and line two 20cm round cake tins.
Chop the walnuts and put them in a dry frying pan, heat slowly on a low heat until they turn slightly darker and give off a nutty aroma. Put aside to cool. Alternatively, little toast them in the oven when it has reached full temperature. They will brown quickly, they only need 5-10 minutes depending on the strength of your oven.
Beat the brown sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, approx. 2-3 minutes
Add the eggs one by one, beating between each addition.
Add in the flour and yogurt and fold in gently until just incorporated.
Finally, fold in the nuts.
Distribute evenly between the two cake tins, level the mixture and give the tins a light tap before placing in the oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden and firm but spongey to the touch. Do not over bake otherwise your sponge will be dry, dense and heavy.
Take out the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Allow to fully cool before filling and assembling.
To make the filling, beat the double cream with the seeds from your vanilla pod or paste/extract if using, until the cream is fluffy and holds its own shape.
Take one of the cooled cake layers, cover it in cream. Next drizzle over the caramel, and finally add a layer of sliced bananas.
Pop on the next layer and smother the top with any remaining cream, caramel, bananas and nuts.
If desired, decorate with the crumbled flake or by grating some chocolate on top for a little extra touch!
Cut a slice, dig in and enjoy!
Makes approx. 20 small stars
These can be varied by adding whatever hard cheeses you have in the fridge or some spice, herbs or poppy seeds are also a nice addition.
25g self raising flour
25g self raising wholemeal flour
50g soft butter, cut in to small chunks
100g finely grated cheese (cheddar and parmesan work well)
Preheat oven to 200°C (fan 180°C) gas mark 6
Sieve the flours in a large bowl and add the butter and the cheese. Mix by hand or spoon until it all comes together.
Roll out on a floured surface until about 3-4 mm thick. Cut into star shapes using a cookie cutter.
Place on a lightly greased or lined baking sheet allowing a little space around each for expansion. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray and then carefully transfer to a cooling rack.
The best chocolate brownies around!
250g dark chocolate
200g butter, unsalted or salted
200g caster sugar
3 large eggs (at room temperature)
125g plain flour
50g cocoa - the best quality you can source/afford
100g chopped pecans/walnuts (if desired)*
100g white/milk/dark/mint/orange etc. chocolate chunks or chips - optional extra - or chopped chocolate bars, e.g. mars bars/snickers etc., crushed Oreos - add the quantity you desire.
You will need - one 7x11inch tin lined with baking paper and lightly greased
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180 degrees (160 degrees for fan ovens). Melt the chocolate and butter together slowly. If using a microwave, do so in 30 second batches. Alternatively, using a ‘bain marie’ melt together on a low, steady heat. Allow to cool
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until very frothy and light.
Add the melted chocolate/butter to the egg mixture, and mix to combine, so that no streaks of egg or chocolate remain.
Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into the mix, fold in the nuts if using, followed by any additional chocolate, if using), mix until combined, gently/gradually. Do not over mix.
Pour into the tin and place it in the oven for 20 minutes only.
Leave to cool fully before slicing. This may take a few hours.
It may look 'stodgy' or under baked, but it will continue to 'cook' as it cools, due to the residual/continued conducting heat from the tin.
Dust with icing sugar, melt more(!) chocolate, and drizzle over the top. Enjoy as is, or serve with ice cream for a delicious after dinner treat.
* Change the flavour by leaving out the pecans/walnuts - try orange zest (on its own or with cranberries/stem ginger/cinnamon and dried cherries.)