How To Make Homemade Smartie Cookies.

These sweet snacks used to be my absolute favourite treat when I was younger. After talking to my sister about them recently we discovered you cannot find them ANYWHERE. I looked all over and searched high and low in pretty much every supermarket and online (that’s how desperate I became for my sugary fix) and started to feel like this is the hidden conspiracy item or I was a victim of the Mandela effect; did they even exist? Did I make them up and had been living in a cookie induced lucid dream for years?!

Also, side note, if someone finds these being sold somewhere real soon I’m going to sound like such a weirdo conspiracy theorist aren’t I! If I get a comment from someone saying they bought these in Tescos just a few days ago I’m going to actually go mad. But anyway!

So I made some of my own that I think taste pretty similar to the real deal and how they used to taste but given the fact that it’s been the best part of about 10 years since I remember having one they might not be bang on but they still tasted pretty good so if you fancy making some of your own give this recipe beneath a go.

image_6483441 (41)

Ingredients:

  1. 150g softened butter
  2. 150g soft light brown sugar
  3. 75g caster sugar
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 large Egg
  6. 250g plain flour
  7. 1 tsp baking powder
  8. A pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. (optional)
  9. smarties (other sugar shelled chocolates are also available)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and if you wanna be super organised (unlike me basically) line a baking tray as well.

  • Firstly, combine the softened butter and sugars in a large bowl. The more I’ve gotten into baking over the last few years, I think you actually really notice the difference when using cold butter, room temperature butter or softened in your bakes. By using room temp or softened butter it enables the sugar and butter to mix together a lot quicker and a lot easier. Plus it means you don’t have to have a mini bicep workout in the kitchen. In this recipe I used both white caster sugar and light brown sugar. The addition of the brown sugar gives the bake a darker golden colour and a slightly more fudgy taste.

 

  • Combine the egg and the vanilla extract together then pour into the sugar and butter mixture and stir until fully blended. Even though there’s a lot of sugar in these super sweet cookies by adding the vanilla extract gives the cookies an extra, deeper flavour throughout. Most supermarkets stock extracts or essences in the home baking aisle and if you want to make this recipe your own you could try using different flavourings like almond, coffee, caramel or even a salted caramel essence instead of vanilla.

 

  • Once all the wet ingredients are fully combined sift in the dry ingredients until it’s formed a dough like consistency. I added in the spices in at this point it’s completely optional I only used a small amount as I didn’t want it to overpower the whole thing but I felt that it just added a little something extra.

 

  • Place the dough in the fridge for about 30-40 minutes to let the flavours develop and the dough to harden up.

 

  • I sliced the cookie dough into 1 inch thick circles, rolled it into a ball between my hands and placed on a tray. I then pressed in a handful of smarties into the cookie and then baked for between 10-12 minutes until golden.

Perf with a cup of tea or glass of milk or eating every single one after the other when no is looking…

 

smartie cookie

 

 

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Best Brownies EVER.

browniess

I won’t lie, these are the only tall, dark and handsome things on the internet you’ll ever really want and need in your life right now. They’re sweet, they’re rich and they’re bad for you but above all, they defo won’t let you down or ghost you like Reece from tinder might do. (No offence to any Reece’s from Tinder). I actually discovered these from my Mum who usually sticks to a Jamie Oliver recipe with her twist on it. Obvs that recipe was before he turned all melodramatic about 2 for 1 pizzas and whether or not a vimto has one or more sugars in. This recipe is certainly not the healthiest, not a pinch of superfood in this and it’s so delicious.

I am not one to toot my own horn but this recipe is quickly becoming my go-to for impressing people with my fine kitchen skillz.  Because I want to be a bit of a Rahul from Bake Off about this all and I want you all to actually like me and be my friend consider this my way of baking this for you…kinda. The method to these are a little bit different to any of the ways I’ve baked brownies, or any other baked good for that matter, so even though it might seem a little bit mental…stick with it. k?

browniesss

 

You will need:

  • 250g butter,
  • 1tsp coffee granules,
  • 200g dark chocolate,
  • 80g cocoa powder,
  • 65g plain flour,
  • 1tsp baking powder,
  • 4 eggs,
  • 360g caster sugar.

HOW TO:

First off, line a square tin or any shaped tin of your choice, with parchment paper or grease it with butter and preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.

Then I put the butter into a microwave safe jug or bowl and heat it for 30 seconds at a time until it is fully melted. You could do this on top of the stove or even in a bain marie if that is easier for you. To the melted butter add the coffee granules you don’t taste the coffee element by adding this it just helps to enhance the richer, chocolate flavour. Add your chopped chocolate to this mixture at the same time as the coffee too, letting it mingle with the hot butter, leave it for about 2 minutes or so and then come back and stir it all together until it has all melted and is a smooth, glossy chocolate liquid. At this stage it’ll still be really warm so you could either put let it cool somewhere, place it in the fridge for short intervals making sure it’s not in there too long in case it’ll set. I actually use the very unorthodox method of putting the plug in my sink and putting cold water in. Just enough water that it comes up to where the chocolate mixture is in the jug, allowing no water actually into the mix.

Whilst that is cooling I crack the eggs and put them in a stand mixer, if you don’t have one of these you could use a hand whisk it might just take you a little longer but think of the muscles you’ll be using! Slightly ironic thought that for a brownie recipe but hey. To that I add in the sugar. If you want a richer, fudgier, more of a molasses taste, I’d suggest using a darker or demerara sugar. I used caster sugar.

I mixed it for about 5 minutes or so until the eggs and the sugar were lovely and combined and plenty of air was whipped through so it had pretty much doubled in size.

When the chocolatey, buttery mixture was cooled whilst the mixer is on a slow speed Ioured in the chocolate a little at a time careful not to knock any of the air out and gradually added more and more until it was all fully combined.

Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder a little at a time, folding it through gently.

Once it’s all fully combined you can pour it into your prepared tray or if you wanted to jazz it up a bit and add chopped fruit like cherries or some crushed nuts, oreos, peanut butter cups (shout out to Reece from Tinder we knew we wouldn’t have seen the last of you just yet) or a handful of pretzels now is the perfect time to mix it through or push some into the top of the batter once it’s in the tray.

I baked it between 20-25 minutes, checking it halfway with a skewer. I found to get that extra crackly top is once it’s out of the oven, hold it about 8 inches above a cooling rack and drop it down on the surface several times. My dog wondered what on earth I was doing but it helps to crack the top surface (of the brownies not your kitchen work tops).

Leave to cool and then cut into little chunks. ENJOY. ❤

 

brownies
Look at that crackly top tho?????

brownies1

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

MUCH LOVE. x

Winter Warmer Bean Chilli.

chilli

Chilli con Carne is one of my all time favourite dishes to eat and also to make. It’s so versatile and you can change up the whole meal with different sides, different ingredients and different spices every single time. Also in my opinion it makes it one o the harder dishes to recreate as I’m always adding in different little bits every time I can never go back and make the same bowl of it. Everyone in my household eats meat apart from me but whenever I cook I always like to do something non meaty for them. Hence why I decided to treat them to this fab bean chilli this evening. I should add that I’m not one of those hardcore veg heads that force everyone to eat tofu and quorn (I mean I am trying *very* hard for them to all try a Linda McCartney sausage even just a tiny bite but no such luck so far.)
The great thing about chilli is that there is so much room for personalisation, if you like yours with some spice and a bit of kick then you can add as many chillies and chilli flakes as you like, I’ve heard of some people adding a couple of squares of good quality dark chocolate to make the mixture smoother and creamier or even a dollop of marmite to give it that salty, well marmitey, flavour.. If you can’t face a meal without meat (my sister to a t) then you can add some diced bacon or pancetta. The possibilities are endless.
So I thought I’d impart my wonderful knowledge and wisdom of this with a fab chilli recipe because it is so ridiculously easy to make and is so tasty and warming especially in the coming colder months.This was to die for and literally a one pot dish. I honestly thought they were a myth or clickbait seen on Pinterest.
I’m not one for complicated recipes if I have to flambé anything I’m out, this one pot dish is super duper simple there’s literally no room to go wrong.
 Oh I should also add that these measurements may seem proper huge but this made 12 portions so was perfect for leftovers the following day, lunches or even popping in the freezer cos you never know when you might need an emergency bean chilli??

You will need:
  • 1 large carrot.
  • 1 large celery stalk.
  • 1 medium red onion.
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped. I roasted it as well so it was easier to squish with a back of a knife. I’m getting proper technical here, watch out Gordon Ramsey.
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes.
  • 1 tblsp tomato puree.
  • 1 tsp chilli powder.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1 bay leaf.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika.
  • 1 400g tin butter beans.
  • 1 400g tin kidney beans.
  • 1 400g black beans.
  • 1 small tin baked beans (cheating IKR but it works).
  • Handful of chopped coriander leaves.
  • sweetcorn.

HOW TO:

To start off I finely diced a stalk of celery, a carrot and a small red onion and fried it off in the pot with a good glug of olive oil, crushed garlic and a pinch of salt. Once that had cooked through and turned a more translucent colour which took about 10 minutes. After that I poured a tin of chopped tomatoes into the pot. Leaving that to simmer a bit, I actually used my handheld immersion blender and just blended the mixture a handful of times. That was more for my personal preference as I didn’t want big tomatoey lumps. (also what I look like on holiday. A big tomatoey lump..)
From there I added in all of the spices and the bay leaf. I never really thought much about cooking before but you are really building flavours upon flavours. That way you can taste a bit see if you need to add anything else or realise your culinary expertise that you’ve made a pretty banging pot of flavours so far.
To save time and energy I use tinned beans. You can use dried beans but it just takes a bit longer as you have to leave them soaking overnight aaaaaand I couldn’t be bothered for that. Sooooorrry.  So yeah where was I? I added in all my funky tins of beans. Even my baked beans, ok I know the whole of Texas and Southern American states will be wanting to burn my kitchen down for that but in my opinion it really works. I had put a sprinkle too much chilli into this and when I say a sprinkle it was practically like a truck had reversed up and dumped a whole skip full of the stuff. Plus I  really needed something to reduce it’s thickness and flavour.
I throw that in the pot. Not literally that would be messy and not to mention reckless. Pls don’t throw anything on my recommendation. Yeah so add in all the tinned things or the beans you’ve been soaking overnight, if you do that…I just want to say I’m already so proud of you. Leave it to simmer gently over a low heat for like 20 minutes, enough time to peg some washing out. I sound like Bree Van Der Kampf but that is genuinely what I did.
In that time you can come back stir it all through and be delighted with the delicious smokey smells filling your kitchen as we speak. And that is literally your one pot chilli done. I don’t even know if I can call it a chilli? Maybe like a bean stew would be more appropriate.
If you want to make yours a bit thicker, I mix a spoonful of polenta (or flour whatever suits you) with some water until it forms a slurry like that consistency and then combine that with the chilli. If you mix the flour or polenta or whatever thickening agent right into it it can create just lumps and pockets of flour and that is really not ideal.  (I’m using some cracking terminology here aren’t I)
Once made you can either eat it immediately, don’t even bother putting it in a bowl just grab a spoon or ladle, depending on your mood and eat it ALLLL. Or heat it up just before serving, y’know whatever you’d rather.
SO hey presto. You made yourself a delicious, heart warming, good for the soul bowl of food. I’ve served this to the meatiest of all meat eaters and they even went back for seconds. I’m fairly certain lions on the prowl for their next slither of food would rather eat this than their usual prey (once again, do not hold me to these ridic claims)
So sit down with a good book and a big spoon or gather round the dinner table for some wholesome home cooking. You can serve this with rice, cornbread which I made for the first time today and it is absolutely divine. On top of a jacket potato or even batch prepare on a Sunday for a whole week of meal preps If you’re that way inclined. I am forgetful and lazy I don’t think I’ll ever be a meal prepper unless it’s cooking a pizza and separating the leftover. cold slices for work lunch. Jokes there’s never any leftover slices. This is great family food as you can lay the table with guac, salsa, tortilla chips and sour cream and all dig in and have a Texan feast.
MUCH LOVE.

The BEST Biscuit Barrel Recipes.

My name is Abbie and I am a self confessed biscuit addict. I LOOOOOVE them and in Britain we are blessed to have so many different types that I could easily put on an extra 3 stone just with a cup of tea and 47 packets of biscuits. Everyone has a different favourite from jammy ones, to chocolatey ones, to little ones with dried fruit your nan will always have in stock to the plain hobnobs that are pillars of the biscuit world. I could ramble on for hours about the little treats, SO much so I thought I’d save myself from growing another thigh and try my hand making some of my own. I found these biscuit cutters on Amazon here or you could get them direct through the Dexam website. I got these quite a while ago actually and may have forgotten about them a little bit until I rediscovered I had them lurking at the back of a cupboard. With these biscuit cutters you can make your very own homemade bourbon biscuits, custard creams, iced party rings and jammie dodger style treats. Perfect for being dead showy offy if you have pals over, if you want to impress at a tea party or if you just want to treat yourself, cos why ever not!?

biscuit flatlay

I was dead chuffed at how easy these all actually were to do and make. Not just making the biscuit dough but also the cookie cutters were so easy to use too. Something you could easily do with children I’d say as they could decorate, personalise and make their fav snack. I’ll share with you the recipe and ingredients beneath for each one so you if you want to replicate them this step-by-step guide will walk you through it.

party rings picture

Starting off with these iced ring biscuits as seen above look just like Party Rings and don’t taste too dissimilar to them either! This one makes a ton of biscuits; easily about 25 or so. For this you will need:

  • 100g of butter cut into cubes.
  • 100g caster sugar.
  • 1 egg.
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  • 200g plain flour.

Start by putting the butter, flour and sugar into a bowl and rubbing it together until it resembles breadcrumb or wet sand looking consistency. I did this with my hands even though I really dislike how it feels in my hands and how it gets under my nails. You could also use a blender or a food processor and pulse it until it’s at the consistency you need.

Once you’ve reached that stage, mix in the egg and the vanilla extract and mix together until it starts to bind and forms a dough. If it doesn’t bind as well add in a small spoonful of milk until it all comes together. Wrap in clingfilm and let it rest in the fridge for about half an hour. Once chilled, roll it out until it’s about 5-6mm thick evenly all over and cut out as many as possible or you want. Bake in an oven (preheated at 180 degrees) for about 10 minutes until they are golden in colour.

Remove from the oven and let cool fully before icing. I used a mix of icing sugar and water for the topping mixing it into a few separate bowls and adding a few different pastel to colours. To make them more your own style you could add different flavourings to the icing too.

biscuit baby

Custard Creams. 

Ok so possibly one of my favourite teatime treats. These little bitesized snacks taste all the more better knowing it took me a decent amount of effort to get to the finished thing too.

You will need:

  • 175g plain white flour.
  • 3 tbsp custard powder.
  • 1 tsp baking powder.
  • 3 tbsp white caster sugar.
  • 100g butter cut into cubes.
  • 1 egg.
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract.

Similar to the iced ring biscuits, start this by sifting the flour, baking powder and custard powder into a bowl. Add in the sugar and the cubes of butter and rub it all together with your hands until you’ve got that breadcrumby/sand consistency. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix together until to starts to form as one. If it doesn’t and is still crumby add in a splash of milk until it forms a ball. Wrap in some cling film and rest in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes.

Once set up roll out to about 1cm thickness all over use your cutter to stamp out an even number of biscuits. They have to be sandwiched together after all! Place in the oven at 180 degrees and bake off for about 8-12 minutes until golden and cooked through. Let cool thoroughly and then sandwich together with some custard powder flavoured buttercream.

Make the butter cream by mixing 100g of butter with 200g icing sugar and 3 or 4 heaped tbsp of custard powder. Mix through and then sandwich the biscuits together.

Bourbon Biscuits.

These are actually so delish I’m both equally as impressed with myself as I am with these little slices of heaven. To make these ultra gorgeous little treats you will need:

  • 50g butter.
  • 50g soft light brown sugar.
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup (if you can’t get hold of that corn syrup is very similar)
  • 110g plain flour.
  • 20g cocoa powder.
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and then add in a spoonful of golden syrup. Sift in the dry ingredients until it forms a ball. Rest it in the fridge for about 30 minutes then roll out and cut out biscuits. Bake in the oven for about 8-12 minutes or the edges have browned. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

To make the cream between them simply mix 75g of icing sugar, 50g of butter with 25g of cocoa powder. Once this has formed, spread an even amount across one biscuit and then sandwich another one on top. Et voila!

biscuit close ups

Jammie Dodgers.

These looked absolutely fab. I was well impressed with how these turned out. 10/10 would do again.

To make you will need to preheat your oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray (or two depending on how much you’ve made)

  • 250g butter.
  • 140g icing sugar.
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  • 1 egg yolk.
  • 375g plain flour.

Firstly, beat the sugar and butter together, careful not to choke in the icing sugar powder clouds, until creamed and fluffaaaaay. Mix in the vanilla and the egg yolk. Then sift in the flour and fold together until it forms a doughy ball. Set up in the fridge for 20-30 minutes and then when it’s fully chilled roll out into about 1cm thickness. Cut an even number of biscuits (cos sandwich biscuit after all) in every other one of the biscuits press the heart stamp through the centre ybake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes or until have that lush golden colour. Once cooled sandwich together with some jam, I used seedless raspberry jam mainly cos it’s red and it’s my favourite. And it’s the only one we had too.

I can’t even begin to brag about just how impressed I was with these. The stampers were super easy to use. some places said you needed to oil them, flour them or put them in the fridge to make them easier to stamp but I didn’t have ant problems with it whatsoever. I love how easy they were and they looked just like the real things. I think they’re perfect if you have allergens or intolerances so you could make your favourite teatime treat even if you’re dairy intolerant or gluten intolerant so you could use a speciality flour or a butter replacement.

You could even mix it up with the recipes and try different flavours. A couple years ago they did a Toffee dodger which I looooved so I might try doing that next with a salted caramel inside. Or you could use a different type of jam like plum or apricot. These really went down a treat with my family and my mum’s colleagues have already put in an order for some at her work. If you try these, I hope you enjoy making them as much as I did. I also drowned in washing up afterwards, what was I thinking making four different types of biscuits in one afternoon.

LOTS OF LOVE. X