Author: <span class="vcard">aimeelf6</span>

Maple, Pecan & Chocolate Bars

Maple, Pecan & Chocolate Bars

maple, pecan and chocolate barsmaple, pecan and chocolate bars

These maple, pecan and chocolate bars are the product of my constant note taking when eating any kind of baked treat. The notes section on my phone is overflowing with light-bulb ideas in the middle of the night, childhood favourites to recreate and ingredients I’ve deciphered mid-chew. Some could say baking obsessed, I prefer passionate…!

The chocolate bars are inspired by an unassuming treat sitting by the tills in Abokado – similar to Itsu they serve up sushi, salads, hot noodles and a handful of baked treats. I picked up their Maple & Pecan bar on a whim, not expecting much more than a quick treat for pudding. But I LOVED it! It had a gorgeously moist biscuit base which was bursting with flavour and a really thick layer of dark chocolate on top that provided a delicious snap. I just knew that I needed to recreate it and whilst I haven’t created an exact replica, I love how the chocolate bars have turned out!

maple, pecan and chocolate bars

My chocolate bars have quite a flapjacky taste and texture, but with the added crunch of chopped pecans and crushed digestives. I’ve also substituted some of the golden syrup out for maple syrup, which goes perfectly with the chopped pecans. Although the inspiration for these bars was more biscuity than flapjacky, I actually really like the additional texture that the oats provide. Is there anything better than the buttery smell of flapjacks baking either??

maple, pecan and chocolate bars

One thing I didn’t change at all was the thick layer of dark chocolate on the bars. I really think dark chocolate is a must here, as it balances out the sweetness of the flapjack base. I would also always advise buying the best quality chocolate you can when it is simply being melted onto a bake. It really does make the world of difference! For reference, I always use Green & Blacks cooking chocolate.

The chocolate bars are super simple to make and are almost a one bowl job! I did leave mine overnight in the fridge to set, but its not essential. So long as the chocolate is hard you will be able to cut them into neat little rectangles. Just be careful they’re not all gone the same day, as they’re so moreish!!

Maple, Pecan & Chocolate Bars

Yield: 12

Maple, Pecan & Chocolate Bars

Ingredients

    Base
  • 90g plain digestives (about 6)
  • 75g pecans
  • 60g soft brown sugar
  • 250g rolled oats
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 115g golden syrup
  • 50g maple syrup
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
    Topping
  • 200g dark chocolate

Instructions

  • Firstly, preheat the oven to 150C and grease and line a 23cm square baking tin, then set aside.
  • Crush the digestives into small pieces and chop the pecans roughly and then add them both to a large bowl. Then add the sugar and rolled oats and set aside until needed.
  • In a large pan, stir the butter, golden syrup, maple syrup and vanilla over a low heat until blended together. Then take off the heat and pour into the dry mixture, mixing well. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for 30 minutes or until the surface is lightly browned. Then place onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the topping, melt the chocolate over a bain-marie ensuring that the base of the bow doesn't touch the water. Then pour onto the cooled base and spread evenly with a palette knife.
  • Leave to set for 2 hours and then cut into rectangles.
  • http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/11/07/maple-pecan-chocolate-bars/

    Treacle Tart

    Treacle Tart

    treacle tarttreacle tart

    Treacle tart has never interested me. I’ve always thought it was sickly, cloying and designed for children. Until I spent a week at Ashburton Cookery School. We made an insane amount of cakes, bread and patisserie. Its funny how much you can make when someone else is doing the weighing, measuring and washing up at the end….! One of the mornings we made a treacle tart for lunchtime pudding, and I was adamant I wasn’t going to like it.

    There I was spoon in hand ready to be disappointed and bereft of pudding when low and behold, it was actually a delight! The texture was more cakey than I was expecting and the zing of lemon zest cut right through the golden syrup, ensuring it wasn’t cloyingly sweet like i’d envisioned. Sometimes its the simplest of desserts that can really captivate and remind you of home. The buttery pastry and sweet smell of golden syrup really reminds me of being a child hovering around my mum in the kitchen.

    I made my classic shortcrust pastry for the tart rather than a sweet pastry. I always prefer shortcrust to cut down the sweetness (especially with a treacle tart!) and it holds up really well in the oven with hardly any shrinkage. Though the real key to that is making sure you chill the pastry well in the fridge before blind baking.

    Ashamed as I am to admit it, I had no clue that breadcrumbs were a vital part of a treacle tart! Anyone else?! They provide the sticky and stodgy texture that is so familiar, but in this recipe the quantity of breadcrumbs is halved to make room for ground almonds. They keep the tart really moist and add the cakey texture that I like so much. Finally the lemon zest adds a really interesting citrusy tang that cuts right through the sweetness, finishing the tart off perfectly.

    treacle tarttreacle tart

    Treacle tart is perfect for pudding after a Sunday roast, especially in Autumn now its getting colder. The tart is best served warm on the same day as baking, and as it only takes 20 minutes in the oven it can be popped in as soon as your roast is out!

    Let me know if treacle tart reminds you of fond childhood memories, and if you weren’t a fan then I promise you will be now!

    Treacle Tart

    Treacle Tart

    Ingredients

      Pastry
    • 225g plain flour
    • 1tbsp caster sugar
    • pinch of salt
    • 120g unsalted butter, diced and chilled
    • 2tbsp ice-cold water
      Filling
    • 250ml golden syrup
    • 125ml double cream
    • 1&1/4 large eggs
    • 1 lemon
    • 50g ground almonds
    • 75g fresh breadcrumbs

    Instructions

  • For the pastry, mix the flour, caster sugar and salt together into a bowl. Add the diced butter, rubbing in with your hands until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water 1tbsp at a time until the dough starts to come together. Turn out onto a lightly floured worktop, and knead until it comes together to form a uniform dough. Don't handle it too much. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Once chilled, roll the pastry out on a floured work surface into a rectangle about 2-3mm thick. Line the tin with the pastry and then pop back in the fridge for 30 minutes until firm. Then pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4.
  • Once the pastry is firm, line it with baking paper and fill with baking beans. Then bake for 20 minutes.
  • Whilst the pastry is baking, place the golden syrup in a pan and gently warm. In a separate bowl mix the cream, eggs and grated lemon zest, then add the warm golden syrup (make sure its not too hot or it will cook the eggs).
  • In a separate bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and ground almonds together and then make a well in the centre. Pour the golden syrup mixture into the well and mix until smooth.
  • Once the pastry is baked, remove from the oven and remove the beans and baking paper. Then return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes until the pastry is dry.
  • Fill the baked pastry case with the treacle mixture and then bake for 15-20 minutes or until the filling is just set.
  • Serve warm.
  • Notes

    Recipe adapted from Ashburton Cookery School

    http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/10/29/treacle-tart/

    Salted Turtle Cookies

    Salted Turtle Cookies

    salted turtle cookies

    Back in 2011 I spent a summer in Ohio working as a front gate photographer at Cedar Point. It was one of the best summers of my life, and introduced me to a whole host of American candy and treats. Step in the turtle candy; a cluster of pecans, enrobed with caramel and covered in chocolate. I had turtle fudge, turtle ice cream, turtle brownies…the list goes on! Its just the perfect combination, and turtle cookies are my favourite.

    salted turtle cookiessalted turtle cookies

    The recipe makes an abundance, which believe me is not a bad thing! The turtle cookies are so moreish its unreal and they’re the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea. They’re also quite therapeutic to make, as you roll, dip and roll again. Though it does make for messy hands!

    You’ll need to set aside some time for these as you need to chill the dough in the fridge for an hour before you begin the rolling process. Creating the classic rugged effect around the edge of the turtle cookies is actually pretty simple. Firstly you’ll need to roll the dough into balls before dipping them in to frothy egg whites, this acts as the ‘glue’ when you roll the dough balls into crushed pecans. Finally, once you’ve placed the balls onto a baking tray you need to create the dent with the back of a spoon for your delicious salted caramel filling. Its as simple as that!

    salted turtle cookiessalted turtle cookies

    Now the salted caramel filling is actually the biggest cheat of them all. It’s simply melted toffee sweets with double cream and a big pinch of sea salt flakes on top- so sue me! But it works so well and makes for a deliciously chewy filling to the turtle cookie. Turtle candies don’t usually use salted caramel, but I thought it balanced out the whole cookie so well and added a different dimension of flavour.

    salted turtle cookies

    I really love the simplicity of this recipe, especially considering how delicious the turtle cookies are! Let me know if you make them, or are also a turtle fan!

    Salted Turtle Cookies

    Yield: 20 Cookies

    Salted Turtle Cookies

    Ingredients

      Cookies
    • 125g plain flour
    • 28g cocoa powder
    • pinch of salt
    • 134g caster sugar
    • 115g unsalted butter
    • 1 large egg, seperated
    • 2tbsp whole milk
    • 1tsp vanilla extract
    • 180g pecans
      Salted Caramel
    • 45ml double cream
    • 14 soft toffees
    • 2tsp sea salt flakes

    Instructions

  • Firstly combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl, then set aside. In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Then add the egg yolk, milk and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Reduce the speed to low, and add the flour mixture until just combined. Wrap the dough in cling film and place into the fridge for an hour to chill until firm.
  • Preheat the oven to 175C and line two baking trays with baking paper. Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until just frothy and set aside. Finely chop the pecans and place in another small bowl.
  • Roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls, dip in the egg whites and roll in the chopped pecans. Evenly place the balls onto the prepared baking trays and using a teaspoon make an indentation in the centre of each ball. I found it helped to dip the spoon into a glass of warm water between each indent.
  • Bake until just set, about 12-15 minutes and then re-press the existing indentations with the teaspoon. Leave on the baking tray for a few minutes to cool before placing onto baking trays.
  • For the salted caramel filling, place the toffees and cream into a bowl over a bain-marie and stirring occasionally heat until smooth. This will take about 10 minutes. Carefully fill the cookies with the caramel mixture and sprinkle over sea salt flakes.Then leave to cool completely.
  • http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/10/23/salted-turtle-cookies/

    Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

    Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

    Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

    I’m a big fan of Birthdays, especially other people’s as its the perfect excuse to make a giant delicious cake! It was my Mum’s birthday last weekend, and I was really keen to create something that included her childhood love of honeycomb. So, ta dahh! The chocolate honeycomb genoise was born 🙂

    My mum used to tell me about her and my uncle’s trips to the cinema when they were little. They’d go to the ‘pictures’ on a Saturday morning, my Nan would give them 2 and 6 pence in old money (12.5p to you and me!) and that’d see them to/from the cinema, buy them both a ticket AND sweets! Its just crazy when you think about it now. I really remember that Mum’s sweet of choice was always a block of honeycomb. No chocolate coating like in the Crunchie you get today, just pure honeycomb.

    What’s actually weirder than the crazy low prices is that they would walk into a film halfway through! Films played on a loop back then, so you would watch the film to the end and then watch the start that you’d missed when the film begun again. SO WEIRD.

    Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

    Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

    I wanted to keep the sponge quite light, so I decided to make a genoise sponge. A genoise has hardly any fat and instead includes a lot of heavily whisked eggs to create an airy sponge that can be sandwiched with richer fillings! I wanted to make a more traditional buttercream this time, rather than my fave swiss-meringue, so the lighter sponge seemed perfect. The key to a good genoise, is whisking your eggs enough to get to the ribbon stage where a thick ‘rope’ of mixture falls and dissolves slowly on the surface of the mixture. This required about 6-7 minutes of intense whisking, so I’d definitely recommend an electric whisk otherwise it’ll take you much longer! Who needs the gym right?

    The honey buttercream is a proper back to basics recipe – butter and icing sugar. Bam. Done. Except I added a squirt of honey to add to the honeycomb theme. I definitely recommend making this in a stand mixer if you have one, and leaving it to beat for a good 5 minutes at least. It turns so deliciously creamy, obviously you can do this with a hand mixer or just a spatula! Though your arm might be dead after the egg whisking for the genoise…

    Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

    Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

    The honeycomb is actually my favourite part to make, as the science behind it is just so cool! Geek glasses on please; when the bicarb is added thermal decomposition occurs meaning that the bicarb releases carbon dioxide. This is then trapped in the viscous mixture, leaving behind the lattice structure that sets hard. I just think its fascinating! It does mean you have to be pretty quick though, as it starts to set!

    I crumbled up the honeycomb and sprinkled it over the middle layer of buttercream which added a really nice texture. The best part about this cake is that even with the honeycomb decoration on top, you’ll be left with a bag full of honeycomb for yourself! You could go wild and chuck it all on top of the cake, or you could melt some chocolate and make your own Crunchies! The possibilities are endless, and as long as you keep it air-tight it’ll last you months. Providing it lasts that long anyway…

    Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

    The final touch I added was a sugar syrup to keep the sponge moist and light. I didn’t add any flavour to the syrup, though you absolutely could! I really do think it added to the finished cake.

    This chocolate honeycomb genoise is a real crowd pleaser and perfect for a celebration! Check out my timelapse video below of how I assembled it!

    Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

    Yield: 12

    Chocolate Honeycomb Genoise

    Ingredients

      Honeycomb
    • 200g caster sugar
    • 5tbsp golden syrup
    • 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
      Chocolate Genoise
    • 40g vegetable oil
    • 30g cocoa powder
    • 65g plain flour
    • 4 large eggs
    • 130g caster sugar
    • 2 pinches sea salt
      Sugar Syrup
    • 100ml water
    • 100ml caster sugar
      Honey Buttercream
    • 300g unsalted butter
    • 500g icing sugar
    • 100g clear honey

    Instructions

  • Firstly, to make the honeycomb, line a 20cm square tin with baking paper and grease the paper with butter.
  • Mix the sugar and golden syrup in a deep saucepan and place over a medium heat. Once all the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and simmer until the caramel turns the shade of a copper penny. Immediately add the bicarb, and beat with a spatula to fully incorporate. The mixture will be foaming and very hot, so be careful! Scrape straight away into the prepared tin and leave to harden at room temperature. This will take about an hour. Then smash into pieces ready to sprinkle over the cake.
  • To make the genoise, line the base of two 8" baking tins making sure not to grease the sides. Then preheat the oven to 175C.
  • Sift the cocoa and plain flour into a small bowl and set aside. Add the eggs, sugar and salt to a large bowl and using an electric whisk or stand mixer whisk for 6-7 minutes until tripled in volume, light coloured and a thick rope of mixture falls and dissolves slowly on the surface.
  • Add a third of the flour mixture to the eggs and fold with a spatula until almost combined. Then repeat with the other third of flour, and then the final third. Place the oil into a small bowl, and fold in a quarter of the flour/egg mixture ensuring its fully combined. Pour this mixture back into the flour/egg mixture and fold again until all just combined.
  • Evenly pour the mixture into both baking tins and bake for 20 minutes until the cake has risen and feels firm to touch.
  • Cool for a few minutes in the tin, and then using a knife scrape around the edges of the cake taking care not to tear the cake. Then invert the cakes out of the tin and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • To make the syrup, place the water and sugar into a small saucepan over a high heat. Simmer until all the sugar has dissolved and set aside to cool.
  • To make the honey buttercream, place the butter into a bowl of a stand mixer or use an electric whisk to beat until smooth and lightened in colour. This will take a few minutes.
  • Add the icing sugar in stages, ensuring it is thoroughly combined between each addition. Finally, add the honey and continue to beat for a further 4-5 minutes until smooth.
  • Finally, to assemble place one of the genoise sponges onto a cake board or serving plate and using a pastry brush dab over half of the sugar syrup.
  • Then spread half of the buttercream onto the cake, and sprinkle a layer of honeycomb. Add the second genoise sponge on top, and dab the remaining sugar syrup all over the sponge with the pastry brush.
  • Spread the remaining buttercream on top of the cake, and decorate with more honeycomb.
  • http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/10/15/chocolate-honeycomb-genoise/