Archive of ‘Bars’ category

Peanut Butter Granola Bars – Guest Post on The Worktop

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Happy New Year to all!  Is it still ok to say that?  We’re just passed a fortnight in to January so I may be pushing but let’s just throw caution to the wind.  How is twenty-fifteen treating everyone so far?  I’m struggling to cope because I am currently diary-less!  It’s not fun.  There are plans to be made, lists to be written and appointments to be scheduled!  My order of a brand new ‘brilliant violet’ Moleskine Daily Diary has gone missing…sad times.  They have finally agreed to resend the diary so hopefully by the end of the week I’ll be back on track!

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So todays post is has a good new year, new start vibe to it.  A healthy recipe to brighten up those diets, detoxes or healthy eating kicks we’re all on and a new friend!  Making new blogging friends will be going on my list of intentions for 2015 (which I obviously can’t write yet because I don’t have a diary to write them in!) and thanks to the Blogger Cookie Swap I took part in last year I discovered a beautiful breakfast blog based in London called The Worktop.  Tina runs the blog dedicated to yummy breakfast recipes and great breakfast and brunch spots in London, a source I will be referring to the next time I’m in town for sure!  (more…)

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Pumpkin Pecan Squares

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I hope everyone had a fun Halloween weekend.  Did you go out guising? Or trick or treating if you’re not from the UK. Me and a few friends dressed up to watch scary movies, eat Chinese and give our bags of sweets to the neighbourhood children.  One of my friends was really excited about giving out sweets as this was her first Halloween in her own house, she really went all out.  We all carved pumpkins and she made up 50(!) bags of sweets.  Sadly it was a bit rainy out and we only got three callers at the door.  Hey, at least that meant there was lots of leftover sweeties for us!

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I dressed up as a vampire.  Sadly that didn’t help me to find a Damon Salvatore but it was fun none the less!  I don’t know if you’ve ever dressed up as a vampire but of course I wanted to have some good fangs.  To the joke shop I headed to buy a set but when I got them home they were a bit of a disaster.  It doesn’t help that I’ve had the teeth removed that you are supposed to fix them to (ahh…childhood braces coming back to haunt me) but it just wasn’t happening.  So where does one turn when in need of DIY fangs?  PIntrest of course!  I found a very helpful tutorial for using fake nails and denture cream to create fangs.  It sounds awfully strange but it worked like a dream!  Just some tips for next year. (more…)

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Strawberry and Blackberry Crumble Bars

Strawberry & Blackberry Crumble Bars

Crumble is not necessarily the first dessert that comes to mind in late spring.  Although I adore it, when it is warm(er) outside it is normally a refreshing cold dessert or fresh fruit that your taste buds are craving.  These bars solve that problem and make crumble, not only a warm weather friendly dessert, but also portable! Sounds pretty good to me.

These strawberry and blackberry crumble bars have everything that is good about a crumble – crunchy topping, hearty oats, tart fruit – and shove it all atop a chewy, butter shortbread base.  The biscuit base is earning its keep, it bring a lot to the table, so to speak.  Firstly it holds everything together making these perfectly portable and a certain hit at picnics.  Secondly, and to be honest this part was a bit of a surprise to me, the biscuit is texture perfection.  The edges are crisp, as you would expect, but the centre absorbs some of the fruit juices meaning it bakes up slightly chewy.  Wonderful!

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This recipe could be adapted all throughout the year too, to reflect whatever fruit is on hand.  Even in the summer there are a multitude of different fruits that would work really well.  Peaches, nectarines or apricots would turn soft and sweet, even if they are a little under-ripe the heat will sort them right out.  You would also substitute any other berries, or add some rhubarb.  Apple in the autumn?  Mincemeat at Christmas?  This is a hardworking recipe, definitely a keeper! (more…)

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Chocolate & Coconut Macaroons

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I found this cookbook in my grandparents house a couple of years ago when we were tidying it up to sell.  It was published in the early 1970’s by local Inverness newspaper the Highland News and is made up of recipes submitted by readers from the area.  Everyone who has submitted a recipe has there name and address published as a footnote, I can’t imagine that happening nowadays!

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The name ‘Highland Housewives Cookbook’ sums up exactly the style of the traditional, classic recipes.  My Granny’s copy has been well used and my favourite thing about this copy is that she has written the date beside some of the recipes she must have made, the earliest I could find was 1983.

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I’ve flicked through this book many times looking at all of these dates but it was only last week when I was searching for a recipe to post that I spotted this…’Kirsty, Sunday, 1995′ next to the millionaire shortbread recipe.  That’s me, at 10, baking millionaire shortbread with my Granny on a Sunday afternoon, which is really weird as I mentioned this exact thing a few weeks back when making the fudge for this recipe.

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My second favourite thing about this cookbook is this girl, from one of the first pages…

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…she’s so sassy and stylish, even with a pan on her head!

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The idea behind this book so very charming, it seems much more personal having the contributors information beside their submission.  I think it would be really fun to release an updated version of this book back in Inverness.  It would be really interesting to see how the recipes people are using have changed and adapted or if the classics really are still popular.  I’m fairly certain we wouldn’t need recipes titled ‘Cooking by Electriciy’ or ‘Cooking by Gas’ but back then they wouldn’t have needed ‘Meals in Minutes’ or ‘Low Carb/Fat/GI/Insert Other Diet Trend Here’.  I’m happy to coordinate and recipe test the new book (I’m certain a lot more goes in to publishing a cookbook than that) if anyone out there is interested in paying me!

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So, until that day, I shall continue to bake and publish right here.  I was looking for a quick, tasty recipe that included coconut – I had an open bag that needed used up.  This perfectly fits the bill and I adore coconut macaroons, it was win-win.

The quote from the contributor, Mrs M Norris, states ‘…this is a treat for all the family.  My mother handed on to me this simple recipe many years ago.’

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Chocolate Fudge Shortbread with Pistachios and Sea Salt

chocolate fudge shortbread with pistachios and sea salt

The smell of boiling butter, sugar and condensed milk is extremely evocative for me, and I had actually forgotten that until I made the fudge in this recipe.  It’s an overwhelmingly sweet smell with a slight waft of burnt sugar every so often.  It reminds me of being younger and baking millionaire shortbread with my mum and granny on a Sunday afternoon.  Once the caramel is on the shortbread and the leftovers cooled in the pan, finishing the remains off with a teaspoon in such a treat….but I digress, this is not a millionaire shortbread recipe!

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A couple of weeks ago I made cookies with chocolate, fudge and peanuts which proved to be a delicious flavour combination.  This got me thinking…how else could I combine biscuit, fudge, chocolate and nuts.  As you will have noticed from the title of this post, these squares don’t exactly have a catchy title but I simply couldn’t miss anything out as each element is extremely important to the overall flavour.

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The shortbread, buttery and crisp,  gives you a solid base to hold on to for the few seconds it takes to devour and the texture contrasts with the creamy fudge.  The fudge is excellent, takes a little while to make (see below) but is most definitely worth it. Dark chocolate is essential here because we have a whole lot of sweetness below.  I chose pistachios to sprinkle generously on top but peanuts would also have worked really well.  The pistachios just look so pretty though and I love them.  Just as the chocolate mellows out the super sweet fudge the sea salt cuts through any sickly sweetness and intensifies the flavours.

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