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When it is so cold I really enjoy a hot dessert to warm me up. Of course the traditional British dessert has to be a crumble, and I really enjoy apple crumble. But if you want to make the most of the seasonal fruit it is nice to try something a bit different. I had a couple of punnet of plums to ripen at home, they are cheap and last quite a while, and their sweet mellow flavour is great. Add to that a bag of red or blood oranges which are also in season right now, and a plum and blood orange cobbler was the result.

Blood oranges are such a vivid colour, their blood red juice and flesh works so well in a whole host of recipes. I’m pinning loads of blood orange recipes on Pinterest right now as a lot of food bloggers are enjoying them too. Plum fillings in cobblers or crumbles often have orange juice and cinnamon to enhance the flavour of the fruit, so I thought I would try incorporating blood orange into a plum cobbler with a scone topping and see how it would turn out. Happily it turned out to be a tasty combination and this dessert was delicious with double cream on the side.

Even the fruit filling on its own had such a warming flavour from the added spice. Perfect to warm you up on a chilly day when the temperature has not hit double figures. I reduced the sugar in the fruit so the orange adds a nice tang in contrast to the sweetness of the plums, delicious! The sumptuous colours of the fruit are just so pretty too.

Plum and Blood Orange Cobbler

  • 420 g plums (stones removed and sliced I used African Rose plums)
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 30 g light muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
For the cobbler topping:
  • 200 g self-raising flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 30 g unsalted butter (in cubes)
  • 30 g light muscovado sugar
  • 100 ml semi-skimmed milk
  1. Slice the plums, peel the oranges and slice into pieces, saving 6 pieces for the topping. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (C), fan oven.

  2. Place the fruit into a large ceramic dish, and sprinkle over the sugar and cinnamon.

  3. Make the cobbler topping, place the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.

  4. Rub in the butter, then stir in the sugar.

  5. Make a dip in the centre and add the milk. Stir until it comes together as a soft dough.

  6. Place the dough on a board lightly floured and knead it for a minute. Then split into six equal pieces and form round scones shapes, flattened on top.

  7. Place the six cobbles on top of the fruit mixture in the dish, and top each one with a slice of blood orange. Brush the cobbles with a little milk.

  8. Bake at 180 degrees (C) for 30 minutes, until golden on top. 

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Whether you call it chocolate fridge cake or tiffin, there is nothing easier really than a no-bake treat which you can whip up in no time. Mint aero chocolate fridge cake has to rate alongside those good old no-bake favourites Mars Bar slice or rice krispie bars for me, with the added bonus of including my favourite mint chocolate treat! No-bake slices like this really remind me of childhood and eating tiffin with fruit and nuts alongside the biscuits I think.

It is so easy to make, just melt together your chocolate and golden syrup, then add crushed biscuits and Mint Aero bubbles, cover it all with more chocolate and chill it in the fridge. I tend to use the microwave to melt my ingredients as it is so quick and easy and makes the whole process even faster!

To top my mint aero chocolate fridge cake I have used a layer of green candy melts, and then covered the top with halved Aero bubbles, but you would swear as you eat it that it is mint chocolate as well. It must be trickery from the flavour of the Aero. The colour matches the Mint Aero bubbles perfectly and being so easy to melt (candy melts don’t seize) it is a great and simple way to finish off a traybake.

What with being so easy to make, mint aero chocolate fridge cake is perfect for bake sales, a spot of weekend baking or whatever occasion you feel would best be served by a rich chocolate treat. For me that could just be a Monday afternoon!!

If you’ve read my blog before you’ll have seen my love of Mint Aero bubbles I am sure – my most popular post ever which went viral a few years ago was my slow cooker mint aero bubble chocolate cake. There is something about bubbly mint chocolate that you just can’t beat!

I just love the Aero bubbles inside the chocolate and biscuit layer, their green colour just peeks out when you slice in. Minty treats through and through!

Tip! When slicing this traybake up, it is best leave it out of the fridge for a few minutes to soften, then use a large kitchen knife to slice into pieces.

It is so easy to make I made a quick video to show you how simple it is to whip one up.

Mint Aero Chocolate Fridge Cake

A no-bake chocolate slice filled with Mint Aero bubbles and topped with green chocolate, perfect for bake sales

  • 550 g milk chocolate
  • 85 g butter
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 200 g digestive biscuits
  • 2 large packs Mint Aero bubbles (113 g each pack)
  • 300 g green candy buttons (I used PME light green)
  1. Line a tin 20 cm x 30 cm with baking paper.

  2. Place 250 g of the milk chocolate in a bowl with the butter and golden syrup. Melt. I did this in the microwave, 2 x 60 seconds on high, stirring in between each minute.

  3. Place the digestive biscuits in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin to crush them.

  4. Stir the digestives into the chocolate mixture. Now wait a minute or two before you add one bag of the Aero bubbles, to stop them melting. 

  5. Press this mixture into the lined tin with a wooden spoon.

  6. Melt the remaining 300 g of milk chocolate and pour over the top to fill in any gaps and smooth it over.

  7. Chill in the fridge until set.

  8. Melt the green candy melt buttons and pour over the top, smoothing it over quickly. 

  9. Cut the second bag of Aero bubbles in half and scatter over the top to decorate, then press down lightly so they stick to the green layer. Chill again until set.

  10. Cut into pieces and serve!

Prep time given does not include the time for chilling in the fridge.

 

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With this chilly weather the slow cooker comes into its own for warming dishes to ward off the chill. Making the most of the seasonal veg, my slow cooker lamb and savoy cabbage casserole is easy to make and perfect to serve up to the hungry hordes after a long day at school or work. And since lamb always makes me think of Spring, we can eat this and look forward to the Spring days and forget about the winter.

Easy to Prepare

I managed to prepare this dish, sling it in the slow cooker, then get on with my work on a day I was working from home and had loads to do. As there is no complicated prep to do it doesn’t take long at all to prepare the vegetables, fry off the lamb (this ensures you get a great flavour and seals the fat into the meat) and pop it in the crockpot. If you need to leave early for work, you can even prepare the veg the night before and leave them in a tub in the fridge, to save on time.

Lamb Casserole

We tend to have a beef stew or chicken casserole usually so a lamb casserole makes a nice change and went down very well with the family. Savoy cabbage pairs so well with lamb and I also really love mint sauce so made sure I included some in the recipe in with the lamb stock, and the resulting minted lamb casserole tastes just divine. By coating the diced lamb in flour after frying it off this ensured that the gravy thickened as it cooks and was not too thin. The gravy is the best bit for me, I will be found dipping a bit of crusty bread in the pot to get the last of it!


Full of Veg

I squeezed as many vegetables as I could into this lamb casserole, so you don’t need to serve any on the side if you don’t want to as you already have a good serving. Peas, carrots and savoy cabbage and onion are all in there. Even the kids liked the savoy cabbage cooked this way and didn’t feel the need to pick any bits out. Winning!

Slow Cooker Family Dish

My slow cooker lamb and savoy cabbage casserole is going to be a real family favourite here this winter I can tell. From the delicious aroma that fills the house – what is it about lamb cooking? – to the fact it is so easy to make and can be served with your favourite side – we like it with creamy mash or crusty bread – there is not a single negative I can find about this dish. If you want to serve up a comforting dish to keep the family going whatever the weather, this ticks all the boxes.

Now that you are here, don’t miss out – my Recipe Index is full of slow cooker recipes your family will love (other favourites right now at my house are slow cooker sausage casserole, slow cooker moussaka and slow cooker shepherds pie). Subscribe by email today and never miss a recipe! Follow me on Facebook or Youtube too! I’m also on Twitter and Instagram.

Slow Cooker Lamb and Savoy Cabbage Casserole

A minted lamb casserole made in the slow cooker, perfect for winter and full of vegetables

  • 600 g diced lamb
  • 3 tsp plain flour
  • 1 large onion (diced)
  • 3 medium carrots (chopped)
  • 350 ml boiling water
  • 2 lamb stockpots/stock cubes (I used Knorr lamb stockpots)
  • 70 g fresh peas (shelled)
  • 90 g savoy cabbage (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp mint sauce
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  1. Dry fry the diced lamb in a pan to brown it and seal it. Once browned all over, remove from the heat and coat the lamb in the plain flour.

  2. Place the onion, carrots, peas, savoy cabbage and lamb in the slow cooker pot.

  3. Pour over the boiling water and add the lamb stockpots or cubes, tomato puree, mint sauce, rosemary and season to taste.

  4. Cook for 4-5 hours on high, or 7-8 on low.

  5. Serve!

What’s your favourite winter dish? I wonder how many votes there would be for a good lamb casserole or beef stew.

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Right now I’m trying to base a lot of my meals on vegetables, as I need to get back to healthy eating after Christmas, as I am sure many others do too. I am following WeightWatchers Flex at the moment, and on this chickpeas (as well as bean, tofu and lentils) are now zero points. So what better excuse to make a healthy chickpea meatloaf. It is meat-free, filling and very low in points on WeightWatchers Flex, at only 3 SmartPoints for the whole thing.

I was vegetarian when I was a teenager and still enjoy a lot of vegetarian dishes to this day. Have a look in my Vegetarian section of my recipe index for all my veggie recipes, including lots of slow cooker vegetarian dishes. What I loved about this chickpea meatloaf was that it was so easy to put all the ingredients together, then blend in my food processor, and then bake. Just get the ingredients together, whizz, and you are almost there. It contains chickpeas, sweetcorn, red and green peppers and roasted vegetables so is full of veggie goodness.

Once baked, this chickpea meatloaf is golden brown, with a wonderful texture and is full of flavour. The outside forms a crust and the inside remains soft after cooking, firming up if you leave it to stand for longer or reheat the next day. I enjoy it both warm, as part of a main meal, and also cold with salad and a wrap. As it is based on chickpeas it is filling and high in protein, as well as being low in calories.

If you are looking to increase your veggie meals, you should try this chickpea meatloaf, especially if you have got into a rut with serving the same meals each week. It makes a lovely change from curries, bolognese and chilli, those favourite family dishes.

Watch my video for this recipe and see how easy it is to make!

Chickpea meatloaf

A delicious vegetarian dish based on chickpeas and vegetables, ideal for WeightWatches Flex or Freestyle programs, low in smartpoints and full of flavour

  • 1 400 g tin chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 red pepper (chopped)
  • 1 green pepper (chopped)
  • 0.5 small tin sweetcorn (drained)
  • 1 small bowlful cold roasted vegetables
  • 4 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 0.5 tsp oregano
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend.

  2. Transfer to a lined loaf tin and bake at 170 degrees (C) for 45 minutes.

  3. Allow to cool slightly and then serve.

3 SmartPoints for the full chickpea meatloaf.

The chickpea meatloaf will be quite soft after baking. If you leave it to stand it will firm up. You can also store in the fridge and reheat the next day.

Pin my chickpea meatloaf for later

 

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Happy New Year! Now that I am back to work after the Christmas/New Year break and the children are back at school, it is definitely the best time of year to let the slow cooker take the strain. Comforting dishes seem to be the order of the day and make it welcoming to come home after a long day, when dinner is waiting for you already.

Thanks very much to those bloggers who contributed their slow cooked dishes in December. What with all the preparations for Christmas I am amazed that everyone found time to still post recipes, and this month there were two delicious slow cooked main dishes and two slow cooked desserts, so why not try them out this January to break out of the rut of sticking to the same old meals. To get the recipes just click on the links under the photos.

If you are a blogger and have a slow cooked dish this January, then scroll to the bottom of the page where you will find the new January Slow Cooked Challenge linky. For readers of my blog, this is a great place to find new slow cooked recipes for new inspiration in the kitchen!

DECEMBER 2017 SLOW COOKED CHALLENGE ROUNDUP

What a perfect winter warmer dish to start with – lamb hotpot from Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen is a delicious traditional favourite that the whole family will love. Slow cooked in the oven for three hours, I imagine this just fills the house with wonderful aromas as it cooks. I need to dig out my casserole dish and make this.

Just look at the amazing colour of slow cooker chicken and chorizo stew from Curly’s Cooking! I would love to be having this tonight with tortillas and sour cream. It looks so delicious and full of flavour. I’ll try this with a bit less chilli when I make it for the kids though – haha!

The perfect pudding for winter has to be rice pudding for me. That creamy goodness, that delicious skin (yes I like the skin on rice pudding), it really can’t be beat. Slow cooker rice pudding from Cooking with kids looks just how I remember rice pudding when I was a child, simply delicious and lovely with some jam or mincemeat stirred through it.

I used up the rest of the Christmas Baileys in my slow cooker Bailey’s chocolate cake!

Pin these slow cooked winter warmer recipes for later

SLOW COOKED CHALLENGE JANUARY 2018

If you are wondering what the Slow Cooked Challenge is, it is a monthly blog challenge for food bloggers, in which recipes made using a Slow Cooker/Crockpot, or using a Slow Cooker function in an Instant Pot or Multi Cooker, or by slow cooking in the oven or Aga, or any other slow method of cooking you can think of, are welcome! There is no theme for the recipes, you can link up any kind of slow cooked recipe. I look forward to seeing your Slow Cooked dishes!

If you would like to take part, then please follow these rules:

  • Make your recipe in your Slow Cooker or other slow cooking method and post a photograph and the recipe, or a link to a recipe, on your blog
  • Link to BakingQueen74 and add the Slow Cooked Challenge logo (above) in your post
  • Comment on the host blog post (this post)
  • Comment on/social share eg on Twitter or Facebook some of the other entries, let’s make a Slow Cooking community
  • If you are on Twitter, tweet your post to @BakingQueen74 and use #SlowCookedChallenge and I will re-tweet it
  • I will also: comment on all entries, pin your entry on the Slow Cooked Challenge Pinterest Board, Flip your post on FlipBoard and Yum your recipe if you have a Yummly button
  • A full round up of all the entries will be posted on the host’s blog at the end of the month, with the new linky for the next month
  • Please do not publish recipes from cookbooks on your blog without permission, they are copyright.
  • If you are using recipes from another website, please link to the recipe on the website rather than publishing the recipe.
  • Recipes must be added to the linky by the 30th of each month.

I look forward to seeing your January slow cooked recipes!

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As the year comes to a close, it is time to take stock and make plans for next year. This is also the time of year when I celebrate my blog birthday, as it was in January 2014 that I started posting regularly, so with my four year blogiversary coming up soon, it is once again time to look back and see which posts have been the most popular on my blog. Amazingly, last year’s year in review post was pretty well received in itself (top ten slow cooker recipes of 2016) so I decided this year to do something similar but also take a slightly different focus and see which of the new slow cooker recipes that I posted during 2017 have had the most views, in my top ten slow cooker recipes of 2017. It is also quite interesting for me to compare back with my earlier annual roundups (2014 and 2015 reviews) and see which type of recipe seems to be preferred. I’ll try to take this into account when creating recipes in 2018!

The most popular of the 2017 slow cooker recipes I’ve posted was this delicious slow cooker mozzarella and herb soda bread from June. Such a great side dish with salads in the summer or with a hearty stew in the winter. Slow cooker baking is one of my favourite pastimes, do check out my Recipe Index for loads more slow cooker bakes.

The second most popular slow cooker recipe of 2017 was my slow cooker pesto and sweet potato chicken, posted in March, a bright and fresh dish which is great for a healthier choice and really does show that a slow cooker isn’t just for stew. This will be in my slow cooker shortly once I’ve cleared all of the Christmas goodies out of the kitchen in a few days time.

The next recipe just sneaks in as it was posted right near the end of 2016, delicious slow cooker blueberry and banana bread, made using coconut oil and maple syrup, so it is refined sugar free and a healthier bake! Such a fun recipe to make and enjoy.

The fourth most popular slow cooker recipe of 2017 is another healthy one – slow cooker chicken and sweet potato tagine, from January, filled with vegetables and chickpeas this is a great option which is full of flavour and colour and perfect for both winter and summer.

After all of those healthy options an indulgent one had to sneak in! Extra thick and creamy slow cooker hot chocolate, posted in November, is perfect for a cold day when you need to be warmed up. I love how you can make a whole potful and help yourself when you want a mugful.

Next was my slow cooker moussaka posted in September, which my whole family loved and we enjoy as a new addition to my meal rotation. Using half fat creme fraiche, lighter cheese and only a little oil for the aubergines means this too is a healthier switch from a standard moussaka recipe, although you wouldn’t really notice as it seems so creamy.

Another sweet recipe has also crept in, in the shape of my boozy slow cooker salted caramel fudge as posted in November, which was great for Christmas gifts. I still have a little piece I saved in the freezer calling my name!

Next in line was my slow cooker lamb curry, posted in January 2017; in this recipe I make the curry sauce on the hob first and reduce it down quickly so it is thickened and doesn’t become too runny from the long cooking time. A real favourite when you are out of the house all day.

This next recipe, posted in February, is a very tasty vegetarian option, great if you want to increase your plant-based meals. A whole spiced cauliflower is simple to cook in the slow cooker and delicious served with raita and rice.

The last one of my top ten slow cooker recipes of 2017; last but not least, is this warming slow cooker honey mustard sausage and leek casserole from March, an ideal winter warmer to get you through the cold months.

So it was a varied list of recipes that were the most popular, as you can see! If I check the most popular posts overall this year, there are a few changes from last year. The most visited posts this year in order were:

So all that remains is for me to thank anyone either reading now or who has read and shared my posts this year. I really appreciate it! New in 2017 was my YouTube channel where I have posted some slow cooker and baking videos and will continue to do so next year, time permitting! – if you would like to subscribe to my videos on YouTube I would love it.

You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and subscribe to receive posts via email.

Have you tried any of my top ten slow cooker recipes of 2017? If you do try my recipes do tag me on social media with @bakingqueen74 and #bakingqueen74 so I can see!  I look forward to sharing more recipes with you in 2018. If there is anything you’d love to see do leave me a comment on social media! Happy New Year!

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Its Boxing Day, there is food all around me, and a lot of booze. So my thoughts seem to turn to making a rich and velvety chocolate cake spiked with Baileys, with Baileys buttercream! It is the holidays after all I tell myself! My slow cooker Baileys chocolate cake is fudgy and indulgent and perfect to enjoy in the Christmas holidays.

A velvety soft and fudgy cake made with buttermilk and Baileys, it is more like a dessert than a cake, and the thick layer of Baileys chocolate buttercream on top adds to the deliciousness! Perfect to make for a festive get together or of course just for yourself if you are a Baileys fan like me! The cake recipe is based on my slow cooker creme egg chocolate cake which is a great one for Easter time, the basic cake works so well.

For the icing, a basic buttercream is livened up with a spoonful of Baileys and some cocoa powder to give it a lovely rich colour. All my favourite things together!

If you have some left over from Christmas Day Baileys cream would be lovely over my slow cooker Baileys chocolate cake too. Or ice cream when the cake is still warm…. I must stop!

Slow cooker cakes are something I love to make, you can go and do other jobs in the house while you are baking without that fear of the cake burning. Check out all my slow cooker recipes in my Recipe Index, you can also subscribe by email so you never miss a post. My YouTube channel is here if you’d like to subscribe,

Slow Cooker Baileys Chocolate Cake

A rich and fudge chocolate Baileys cake with chocolate Baileys buttercream frosting, ideal for Baileys Irish Cream lovers and to enjoy in the Christmas period of indulgence

For the cake:
  • 100 g butter (softened)
  • 125 g caster sugar (I used golden)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 120 g self-raising flour
  • 30 g cocoa powder
  • 80 ml buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp Baileys Irish Cream
For the icing:
  • 50 g butter (softened)
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 1 tsp Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  1. Cream together the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy.

  2. Add the eggs one by one and mix well.

  3. In a separate small bowl, mix together the flour and cocoa powder. Add about a third of the flour and cocoa powder and mix, then add a third of the buttermilk. Continue adding the flour and cocoa powder and buttermilk alternately until it is all used up.

  4. Add the Baileys and mix well.

  5. Prepare your slow cooker. I made this in a round 3.5 litre slow cooker, to produce a round cake. If you are using a different size or shape slow cooker you’ll get different results and most likely a less deep cake. If using a 6.5 litre slow cooker double the ingredients!

  6. Spray the slow cooker pot with cake release spray to prevent the cake sticking if it comes out of the cake case.

  7. Place two large cake cases in the slow cooker pot. These fit well in a round 3.5 litre slow cooker. If you are using a large slow cooker you could put the cake cases in a metal or silicone cake tin.

  8. Spoon the cake mixture into the case.

  9. Place a tea towel under the lid (this prevents moisture from dripping onto the cake) and cook on high for approx 1.5 hours or until a cake tester or skewer comes out clean. Keep an eye on it as the time taken really depends on your slow cooker, and do watch out for burning.

  10. Once done, remove the slow cooker pot from the slow cooker using oven gloves. Wait a few minutes for the pot to cool down, then use the edges of the cake case to remove the cake from the pot. Place it on a cooling rack to cool fully.

  11. In the meantime, make your icing. I used a stand mixer for this, beating the butter well until very soft, then adding the icing sugar little by little on low speed until light and fluffy. Then add the Baileys and cocoa powder and beat again.

  12. Once the cake is cool, spread the icing over the top of it. 

Don’t forget to pin this Slow Cooker Baileys Chocolate Cake recipe for later!!

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These spiced crackle cookies are perfect for Christmas gifts, so if you are going for edible gifts this year then these would make a wonderful addition to your other homemade creations. Easy to make, tie them with festive ribbons or butchers string to make them look pretty to give as presents. I’ve made them for my daughters to have as a special treat for their after-school snacks for a couple of days, and to take to their Christmas parties at school.

All the spices of Christmas, ground cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mixed spice and nutmeg, make these cookies taste amazing and the kitchen smells so festive as they bake.

Drifts of icing sugar make these spiced crackle cookies look festive even if there is no snow where you are. Sadly the light sprinkling of snow we had where we live in Surrey last weekend has long gone and with it the likelihood of a white Christmas here. Such a shame but it is normal for it to be colder in January and February than in December of course.

The eagle-eyed among you will notice that the crackle effect on my cookies is not that easy to see. As the cookies are quite light in colour there is not such a great crackle effect as with chocolate cookies where the icing sugar and dark cookie contract much more, and I also think my dough needed to be chilled for longer. But it is all real-life here so here are my spiced crackle cookies anyway! I would recommend leaving the mixture for two hours at least to chill in the fridge before shaping the dough and then baking. Mine was chilled for one hour and it spread quite a lot, which is what you want to avoid to get a better crackle effect.

These are lovely chewy cookies, crisp around the edges. Very moreish, I’ve had to hide the rest away so there will be some left for snacks and to stop me snaffling them all. I’ll make another batch hopefully to give as gifts when we visit friends and family over Christmas.

Spiced Crackle Cookies

Delicious chewy cookies with all the warming spices, perfect for gifting

  • 215 g plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 0.5 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 230 g caster sugar
  • 110 g unsalted butter
  • A small bowlful of icing sugar
  1. Place the flour, spices baking powder and salt in a bowl, mix and set aside.

  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until it is light and fluffy. 

  3. Add the eggs and mix well.

  4. Gradually beat in the flour and spice mixture until well combined.

  5. Place the whole bowl in the fridge and refrigerate for at least two hours.

  6. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  7. Using a dessertspoon, take spoonfuls of the cookie dough and then form them into small balls of approx 2 cm diameter by rolling them in your hands.
  8. Roll each ball in the bowl of icing sugar until covered completely.
  9. Space the balls out on the baking trays as they will spread as they cook. 

  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. The cookies will harden as they cool.

  11. Allow to cool, sprinkle with more icing sugar and enjoy.

More festive cookie ideas from me and my blogging friends:

Pin my spiced crackle cookies for later

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If you need to make a festive bake for a Christmas treat, a special “North Pole tea” for the kids or a Christmas bake sale then I have got you covered. My Christmas chocolate shortbread is a delicious layer of buttery and crumbly chocolate shortbread topped with a thick layer of chocolate and decorated with crushed candy canes, marshmallows and gingerbread man sprinkles. Easy to make, quick to bake and even easier to eat!

If you are like my kids then you would want a slice of this every day in the run up to Christmas, although that won’t actually be happening clearly. As a special festive treat this is just right though and great to share with friends. Serve it up with with a hot chocolate (my thick and creamy slow cooker hot chocolate would be ideal) with whipped cream, marshmallows and candy canes for the ultimate Christmas treat!

It couldn’t be easier, the shortbread only take about 20 minutes to bake then once it has cooled cover it in melted chocolate and decorate with crushed candy canes, mini marshmallows and gingerbread man sprinkles. Kids will love to help decorate this almost as much as they like to eat it.

We found these candy canes (as well as the marshmallows) in the pound store, the red and green stripes make the shortbread look extra Christmassy we thought. You can get all kind of festive items in the pound shops right now which makes Christmas baking a lot cheaper, I think it is a lovely way to have fun with kids.

If you are baking for a Christmas bake sale for work or school to raise money for a charity or good cause, one large shortbread will make 6-8 slices which you can wrap in festive cellophane and tie up with red and white string to make it look extra special. That’s if you can stop small (and large) hands from stealing it before it gets there…

I am sure candy canes weren’t really a festive treat in the UK when I was a child, they seem to be an import from the States. I do like their peppermint flavour though and they add a nice crunch to bakes. I’ve also got a recipe for slow cooker candy cane fudge which you might like.

Christmas Chocolate Shortbread

Chocolate shortbread topped with chocolate and decorated with candy canes, marshmallows and gingerbread man sprinkles, perfect for Christmas baking and very popular with kids

For the chocolate shortbread:
  • 125 g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 55 g caster sugar
  • 150 g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
To decorate:
  • 150 g mixed dark and milk chocolate
  • 5 candy canes
  • 3-4 large marshmallows (torn into small pieces)
  • gingerbread man sprinkles (mine are from Sainsburys)
  1. Make the shortbread. Cream the butter and sugar together until very soft.

  2. Add the flour and cocoa powder, stir with a spoon at first and then bring the dough together with your hands.

  3. Grease a 7 inch cake tin with butter and heat the oven to 180 degrees.

  4. Press the dough into the tin, flatten and prick with a fork.

  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes. It will harden as it cools, don’t worry if it still feels soft.

  6. Allow to cool then remove from the tin (use a knife around the edge of the tin then turn over carefully and remove the shortbread onto your hands).

  7. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in a bowl. Spread onto the shortbread.

  8. Crush the candy canes and sprinkle over the chocolate with the marshmallows and gingerbread man sprinkles.

  9. Chill in the fridge until set. Slice and serve!

The recipe time does not include the time for cooling the shortbread and setting in the fridge.

Pin my Christmas chocolate shortbread for later

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As Christmas nears there seems to be so much less time to do anything, plus it is cold and the evenings are dark. Using the slow cooker to make a comforting hot meal which will be ready as soon as we get home is just about my idea of heaven at this time of year. Casseroles, spicy curries, plus of course indulgent puddings are all on the menu at this time of year to keep out the chill! The Slow Cooked Challenge is the place to find slow cooker recipe inspiration for this month.

Here are the enticing November entries from the #SlowCookedChallenge, with some great inspiration to use your slow cooker for Christmas/Thanksgiving dishes, and at the end of the page you’ll find the December linky too if you are a blogger and want link up your recipe. For bloggers this is a place to share your slow cooked recipes, great for autumn and winter, and for readers this is a place for the latest blogger recipes to get you inspired in the kitchen!

NOVEMBER 2017 SLOW COOKED CHALLENGE ROUNDUP

This beautiful vegetarian slow cooker butternut dhal recipe is from Kate from The Veg Space. Doesn’t it look delicious and a great option for Meat Free Mondays.

Michelle from Flipped Out Food shared her excellent way to make your turkey stock in your crockpot, just what is needed after Thanksgiving or Christmas! I’ll definitely be making my stock this way come 26th December.

Marilyn’s Treats joined in with her slow cooker mashed potatoes two ways, another great way to use your slow cooker for Thanksgiving or Christmas side dishes.

Cooking with Kids’ recipe for slow cooker beef goulash is a meal the whole family will devour, and perfect for returning to after a long day.

My entry was dessert (again, must try harder), boozy salted caramel fudge.

PIN FOR LATER – 5 WINTER SLOW COOKER RECIPES

SLOW COOKED CHALLENGE DECEMBER 2017

If you are wondering what the Slow Cooked Challenge is, it is a monthly blog challenge for food bloggers, in which recipes made using a Slow Cooker/Crockpot, or using a Slow Cooker function in an Instant Pot or Multi Cooker, or by slow cooking in the oven or Aga, or any other slow method of cooking you can think of, are welcome! There is no theme for the recipes, you can link up any kind of slow cooked recipe. I look forward to seeing your Slow Cooked dishes!

If you would like to take part, then please follow these rules:

  • Make your recipe in your Slow Cooker or other slow cooking method and post a photograph and the recipe, or a link to a recipe, on your blog
  • Link to BakingQueen74 and add the Slow Cooked Challenge logo (above) in your post
  • Comment on the host blog post (this post)
  • Comment on/social share eg on Twitter or Facebook some of the other entries, let’s make a Slow Cooking community
  • If you are on Twitter, tweet your post to @BakingQueen74 and use #SlowCookedChallenge and I will re-tweet it
  • I will also: comment on all entries, pin your entry on the Slow Cooked Challenge Pinterest Board, Flip your post on FlipBoard and Yum your recipe if you have a Yummly button
  • A full round up of all the entries will be posted on the host’s blog at the end of the month, with the new linky for the next month
  • Please do not publish recipes from cookbooks on your blog without permission, they are copyright.
  • If you are using recipes from another website, please link to the recipe on the website rather than publishing the recipe.
  • Recipes must be added to the linky by the 30th of each month.

I look forward to seeing your December slow cooked recipes!

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