I Heart Jammy Dodgers

When I was a kid I didn’t reach for the Jammy Dodgers at birthday parts, or have the small packets in my lunch box. I had never had jam, because I didn’t like the look of it. Yes. I was the fussy child who would only eat certain foods. I was the child your mom did not want coming round for tea. As an adult I have tried to eat all the things I sneered at as a child. I have had jam since I was a child, but I realised I still had never had a Jammy Dodger. I was scrolling through recipes on Jane’s Patisserie (which is my favorite website for baking) when I saw this one and thought why not make my own and try them.

I still have not had a Jammy Dodger from the well-known brand, but I liked these and everyone who tried one loved them as well. I baked these for everyone in my office after I noticed that we ran run out of biscuits! Oh the horror! They all said that they were really good and liked the shortbread biscuit. These were easy and fun to make, and the heart centres made me feel like they were slightly Alice in Wonderland themed.

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To make your own Jammy Dodgers you will need:

  • 250g Unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 150g Icing sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 350g Plain Flour
  • 200g Jam

Instructions

Using an electric whisk, beat together the butter and icing sugar until it is smooth and combined. Once combined, add in the plain flour and egg yolks and whisk again until you get a dough. You can whisk by hand, just make sure you have the muscle power to do so. Wrap the dough in some Clingfilm and refrigerate for at least one hour. I accidently left mine in for approximately 2-3 hours and it was very difficult to roll, so don’t leave it in for too long.

Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 180C/160D/Gas Mark 4 and line two-four large baking trays with parchment paper.

With half of the dough, roll out the dough to roughly the thickness of 1-2 £1 coins and cut out your biscuit shape. Then, using a smaller cutter in another shape, like a heart, cut out another shape in the middle so that you’ll be able to see the jam once they are assembled. You can take all the spare bits of dough you have left and continue rolling them out to make the biscuit tops of your jammy dodgers until there is none left. Put the biscuit tops on to your baking trays and bake for 10 minutes, until they are a light golden brown.

Using the other half of your dough, roll the dough to the same thickness and cut out the same shape, the same number of times you were able to cut out the tops, but don’t cut out the middle bits this time! Put these onto your trays and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Once they have chilled, you can bake them in the oven for the same amount of time as the biscuit tops.

You want the dough to be cold before going in the oven, so if you are worried it has warmed up too much from handling it, just put the cut out shapes in the fridge for 10 minutes before baking.

Once the biscuits are baked leave them to cool on a baking tray. Once they have completely cooled, on the whole biscuits, spoon a larger teaspoon of jam into the centre and spread it out, but don’t spread it out right to the edge. Press the biscuit top on top so that the two biscuits are aligned. This should give you a jam biscuit sandwich, just like in the photos J

You can dust with some icing sugar, but I forgot this stage and went straight into eating them. You may have more patience than I do.

Enjoy!

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I was worried that the biscuit would be crumbly and when you bit into it, and it would fall apart letting the jam go everywhere. But, the recipe for these biscuits has a nice soft shortbread texture. No jam down the shirt. These lasted well for four days in a cake tin, they may last even longer, but they had all been eaten by then so I guess we will never know. I have really been enjoying baking things I would have turned down in the past just because I didn’t like the look of it. I never knew what I was missing. These were delicious and I would recommend giving them ago, you could make them with different cut out shapes in the middle and use different jam flavours.

Toodle pip! x

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Lemon Meringue Pie… I was inspired by Bake Off!

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I absolutely love The Great British Bake Off! I only started watching it about two years ago, but I watch the older episodes whenever I can. I would love to be a contestant on Bake Off (but that is never going to happen now there is no Mary Berry, or Mel and Sue), but I am put off by the difficult and elaborate bakes they have to make. If you watch the older episodes you’ll see that they make the easier bakes like cookies and cupcakes. These I can bake. A lion made out of bread, I cannot. Don’t get me wrong I admire and watch in awe at every episode of Bake Off, every contestant is an amazing baker. Every contestant raises the stakes for those who will be baking the following year. I would only have been able to compete in the first season (if that!) and even then I probably would have been booted out in the first week.

However, on last week’s episode I watched the bakers make a citrus meringue pie, and I thought; hang on a tick, I think I could give that a jolly good go. I got out my Tanya Bakes recipe book (kindly given to me by my lovely boyfriend) and found her recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie. I had never had lemon meringue pie before, so I had no idea what it should be like or even if I would like it, but I knew my mom liked it. My mom said she preferred this pie when it had a buttery biscuit base which this recipe has. So I popped down to Waitrose, got the ingredients, and started baking!

You will need:

A loose-bottomed tart tin

Biscuit base

  • 400g digestive biscuits
  • 200g butter

Lemon Filling

  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • Zest and juice of 3 large lemons (I used 4 and the lemon flavour was lovely and sharp, it was just sharp enough to be counterbalanced by the sweet meringue).
  • 120g golden caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 egg, plus 3 egg yolks
  • 200ml water

Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar

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Method

To make the biscuit base I crushed the digestive biscuits in a blender, but you could put them in a closed sandwich bag and beat with a rolling pin. This is very fun if you are looking for a therapeutic way to take out your frustrations. Then melt the butter in a large saucepan. Once the butter has melted, turn off the heat, add the crumbed biscuit. I suggest using a larger pan, as I used a medium one and struggled mixing the crumbs with the butter in a limited space.  Press the mixture into the base and side of a loose-bottomed tart tin, then leave to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Whilst the biscuit base is chilling preheat your oven to 180Oc/ 350oF/ Gas Mark 4.

Start zesting, and then juicing your lemons. Measure out all your ingredients for the lemon filling, and whisk together the whole egg and 3 egg yolks. Whilst you are making the filling you will need to constantly be stirring, so make sure everything that goes into the filling is ready to be added.

To make the lemon filling mix the cornflour, lemon zest and juice, golden caster sugar and 200ml of water in a pan over a medium heat until smooth and thickened.

Take off heat and stir in the butter until melted. Keep stirring for about 3 minutes to let the mixture cool slightly. Then add your whisked eggs. I let this cool for a bit as I was worried I might accidently make scrambled eggs. Put back on the heat and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened to a consistency of custard.

Leave to cool for a minute, and then pour into the chilled pie base. Set aside.

To make the meringue, in a clean dry bowl whisk together the egg whites to soft peaks then add the sugar a table spoon at a time, and whisk until glossy and thick. I accidently added the sugar to the egg whites and then whisked. But the meringue still came out fine. You can also see if the egg whites are ready by holding the bowl upside down. Risky businesses though. Spoon the meringue onto the tart, spread carefully and give a few decorative swirls. If you are feeling fancy you could always pipe your meringue.

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Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes until the meringue is golden, then leave to cool completely before removing from the tin.

This recipe is absolutely amazing, but there is only one point where I would argue the instructions could be a little clearer. When following the first stages of making the lemon filling, I wasn’t sure how thick the mixture should be before I took it off the heat to add the butter and eggs. It tells you after you have added the butter and eggs how thick it should be, but I would have liked to know what I was trying to achieve before I took it off the heat. I had to call my mom, who had made this before, to come and help me. I secretly loved this though. I like it when I have to look to her for advice and guidance, and this was a lovely bonding moment. So if anything, I am quite glad that the recipe didn’t say, it meant I learnt some tips from my mom. I also accidently let the meringue cook in the oven for longer than suggested. The meringue was okay, but as you can see from pictures it was a little burnt on the tips. I did not mind though, I thought the meringue was cooked to a texture I really liked.

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Overall we both loved it! There was a lot of the biscuit base, which I and my mom loved, there was a good amount of meringue and the instructions were easy to follow, and made something that seemed scary to make (to me), fun to bake. The only thing I would change is the amount of lemon filling, it was the perfect amount for the middle of the cake, there just wasn’t enough to go up the sides. Don’t get me wrong, it was still yummy; I would have just liked a little more filling, but I’m not sure how much more of the ingredients would need to be added to make more.

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Once the pie had fully cooled, we both cut some large slices and enjoyed it whilst admiring our baking skills. I have honestly never been so proud of something I have baked. This recipe from Tanya’s book has me wanting to try more of her recipes for bakes I would have been too frightened to make before. I can’t wait to see what I bake next!

Toodle pip! x

My favorite things about Autumn

Yes! My favourite season has finally descended. What is not to love about autumn; the rich colours, the ability to get all cosy and the comfort food (bring on the roast dinners). In fact I can list all the things I love about autumn. So without further a due, here is my list.

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  • Last Halloween I was working by myself, in a hotel, in the middle of nowhere. I like to watch the horror films, not be in the best case scenario for a slasher flick. I love horror films, and this is the time that they all come out. However, I have decided this year to watch tamer horror films; The Craft, Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic. Bit of a witch theme going on ‘ere.
  • Comfort food. This is where British food shines. Sunday Roasts, Toad in the Hole or Shepard’s pie. Meat, Carb and Gravy (throw in some veg so you don’t feel completely guilty). Plus all the candy for Halloween. On the 1 October I made a bacon toad in the hole, it was delicious. Here is the recipe I used https://realfood.tesco.com/recipes/bacon-toad-in-the-hole-with-green-beans-in-fresh-tomato-sauce.html I also used caramelised sausages for some extra flavour.
  • Duvet Days. If it is raining outside, don’t bother getting out of bed (unless you are getting tea and toast or need the loo), stay cosy and stick Netflix on.
  • Hot drinks. I am loving this gingerbread green tea, it is really getting me into the spirit of Christmas as well.
  • It’s time to start layering up, getting the cuddly jumpers out of storage, wearing nothing on your feet but fluffy socks under your ankle boots and finding that perfect winter coat that goes with your matching scarf and pom-pom beanie.
  • Bring on the rich, spicy scented candles. I have already been burning one that smells like salted caramel.
  • Staying in. The best telly comes on in the winter, and I would rather stay than brave the cold. At the moment I am trying to keep up with Bake Off and AHS, whilst re-watching Scream Queens and the Walking Dead.
  • Pumpkin everything. Candles, flavoured baked goods, soup and jackal lanterns.
  • The changing of the colours. I love watching the leaves turn pink and red, before they fall off the tree. Oh and the sound of the leaves cracking under your feet on an autumn walk is everything.
  • Guy Fawkes Night. I live in a village that holds a bonfire night which attracts nearly 250,000 people a year. There is no mobile phone signal (because of how many people go) and you can’t move. But it’s a tradition to get out the sparklers, watch fireworks and watching the neighbour’s collective garden waste burn.
  • Closer to Christmas. I have an app on my phone that counts down the days to Christmas and I have already started planning what I want for Christmas and what I am going to get other people.

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What is your favourite thing about autumn?

Toodle pip! x

 

Biscoff Baking

When I was a child I got my haircut by a woman who always gave me and my little brother a Biscoff Biscuit to eat. Now, I absolutely hated the way my mom got my haircut as a child, but I always got excited about visiting the hairdressers for the Biscoff biscuits. I have basically been finding the silver lining in everything since I was three.

I haven’t been to that particular hairdresser for about thirteen years, and it wasn’t until I came across Biscoff spread at my weekly Tesco shop that I even remembered these delicious biccys existed. I’m not sure if this spread is new, or if it has been around for a while and I’m just late on the bandwagon, but I feel like I see it everywhere now. After watching Zoella make a Biscoff cake I instantly decided that, I too, need to make that cake. My boyfriend was thrilled by this news as it meant he would be eating the spread on something, as opposed to eating it straight from the jar with a spoon. We are all guilty of having been there.

For the cake recipe I visited Jane’s Patisserie blog. Her blog is filled with loads of amazing and unique recipes that incorporate your favourite snacks or chocolates. Her recipes are also easy to follow, if I can follow it, anyone can. I did not only enjoy eating this cake, but I also enjoyed making it. However, I found that trying to eat a three layer cake was harder to get through than I thought it would be. I was literally begging people to help me eat it. So, for more digestible portions I decided to make Biscoff cupcakes instead. For this I also used Jane’s recipe.

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For the Vanilla cupcakes I used

  • 175g Unsalted Butter
  • 175g Light Brown Sugar
  • 175g Self Raising Flour
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1-2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1-2 tbsp Whole Milk

For the Biscoff Cookie Butter Buttercream

  • 150g Unsalted Butter
  • 300g Icing Sugar
  • 200g Biscoff Cookie Butter (If you can’t find the spread, crush 10 biscuits and add to the icing mixture. I use this method when I make an Oreo Buttercream. The flavour of the biscuits will come through.)

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To make the cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160 Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line a cupcake or muffin tin with 12 – 14 cases. I used a muffin tin and this made 10.
  • Beat the butter and light brown sugar until fluffy. Combine the eggs, self-raising flour and vanilla with the butter/sugar and mix well until combined. If the mixture is too stiff you can add a little bit of milk at a time to get a smooth light consistency.
  • I used about a tablespoon and a half to dollop the mixture into the cupcake cases. These should bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes or until a skewer poked into one of the cupcakes comes out clean and they are springy to touch. I found that mine took about 23 minutes to bake. Leave these to cool in the tin for five minutes before leaving to cool on a wire rack.

To make the cookie butter buttercream

  • Combine the butter and icing sugar. This takes quite a while to do. You can do this with an electric mixer on a slow speed. Start by beating the butter and then gradually add the icing sugar until it is combined and smooth.
  • Add the cookie butter or cookie crumbs and keep mixing. Add the milk gradually until you reach the desired texture you want.

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These cupcakes were just as delicious as the cake! I also find that cupcakes are more fun to eat; you can put them in pretty little cases and decorate them differently. If you like Biscoff, I would definitely recommend this recipe. On Jane’s website you can also find the Biscoff cake recipe, along with a Biscoff Cheesecake recipe. Jane’s Patisserie

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Toodle pip! x