Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies – Cookie Swap!

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Tis the season for gift giving.  Even better if those gifts are baked, sweet and delicious!  That’s why as soon as I found a cookie swap that was open to people in the UK I thought…where so I sign up!  The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is hosted by Love & Olive Oil & The Little Kitchen and all money raised goes towards the US based Cookies for Kids Cancer charity.

The cookies I made this year come from the Top with Cinnamon cookbook, but with a little spin on the recipe, of course.  I adore malt flavoured things, especially biscuits – those really plain Malted Milk biscuits are one of my favourites – so I opted to add a little malt powder and I didn’t bother browning the butter because a) I’m a little lazy and b) I didn’t want to distract from the malt and the chocolate by over complicating things.

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A little side note about the chocolate is that I picked up a bag of chocolate chips from a local Chocolatier, based here in Inverness town centre.  The Chocolate Place is a lovely little shop at the end of Academy Street with some delicious looking chocolate gifts, perfect for stocking fillers!  Take a look at their website as they have an online shop which delivers throughout the country.  The chocolate chips were great, I always go for dark chocolate in baking and these had a deep flavour with that hint of bitterness that you need.   (more…)

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Banana, Cranberry & Honey Loaf

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There should be a banana bread for every season.  In spring, with it’s fresh mornings, bright evenings and new blooms, banana bread should be kept pure and simple.  Rich in flavour, dense in texture and a celebration of the pure banana experience.  In summer you want to kick it up a notch by flinging in some pineapple and shredded coconut, or a burst of citrus with lime juice and zest, or a generous handful of summer berries to add some summertime sass to your favourite banana loaf recipe.

By the time Autumn rolls around you’re through with fruit and salad and any pretence at healthy snacks, you want indulgent treats to help you suffer the wind, rain and ever darkening days.  The only answer?  NUTELLA!  Yes, the autumn banana bread must surely contain a substantial swirl of my favourite thing to come out of a jar.  Some sort of peanut butter concoction would also be perfect, just don’t forget the chocolate chips. (more…)

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Cranberry Curd

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This curd has turned out to be one of the most delicious things I’ve ever made.  I keep trying to dream up what I can put it in to next.  It was originally born from having left over cranberries and SO MANY left over egg yolks from macaron making last week.  To me, all curds are delicious, particularly when they have a tart edge to them, so using cranberries seemed to be a perfect idea.  

This cranberry curd would make a delicious sponge cake filling, would work wonderfully paired with super sweet and crunchy meringue or even on a simple slice of toast.  This batch was made to be used as a filling for macarons at my next food fair but I will have lots more egg yolks coming my way so I foresee many more batches in my future.  It may even end up as Christmas presents!

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I suggested using it in our Christmas trifle, in place of raspberry jam between the trifle sponges….didn’t go down well!  A recipe tweak too far I believe!  Don’t mess with greatness.

The curd is sweet but has the tartness that you associate with cranberries.  My mum said the curd reminded her of rhubarb, which I agree with, it’s the acidity that does it.  You could definitely experiment with this curd too.  Add some zest or cook the cranberries with Christmas spices (such as cinnamon sticks and cloves)…experiment!  Let me know how you get on.

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Winter Food Fair

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At the weekend I had a stand at the Highland & Moray Food & Drink Festival.  This was my second time at the food fair and I can safely say experience definitely helps when it comes to these things!  I was much less stressed and far less sleep deprived that the fair in the summer.  Unfortunately the turn out wasn’t quite as good but it was still a good day and hopefully there were lots of new and happy customers.

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On the menu were cupcakes….Gingerbread (a slightly modified version of these Gingerbread Cupcakes), Vanilla, Caramel Apple (the Spiced Apple Cupcakes, with the addition of buttercream and salted caramel drizzle), Chocolate & Peanut Butter and Squash and Orange (my Pumpkin & Orange Cake turned in to cupcakes and with butternut squash replacing the elusive pumpkin).

macarons, in Peppermint, Gingerbread and Chocolate flavours…

mincemeat crumble bars (I replaced the fruit layer in my Strawberry & Blackberry Crumble Bars with homemade mincemeat, fresh cranberries and clementines)…

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cranberry and orange shortbread (which was a festive version of this Coconut & Lime Shortbread)…

….as well as bags of peanut butter fudge, biscotti and coconut macaroons.

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I’m going to be a another fair from the 5th – 7th of December at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness so if you happen to be a local reader please come along and say hello, it’s free!  The fair…not my baking, please pay me for baking or it will be a very sad Christmas at my house!

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Life Lately

Hi blog readers!  You may, or may not, have noticed that I’ve taken a little leave of absence over the past couple of weeks.  This is mainly because I was down on a wee holiday to London last week but this week I am preparing for a Christmas fair so I have been baking up a storm but sadly without any time for photographing or recipe writing!

So instead of a new recipe I’m going to share with you some photos of what I’ve been filling my days with recently.

Christmas macarons for my Ever So Sweet homebakery.

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