Category: Sweets

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

peanut butter energy balls

Is it too late to say Happy New Year? I hope 2018 has treated you all well so far, and you aren’t beating yourself up too much over new years resolutions!

After the gluttonous festive period I thought I’d go down the slightly healthier route for my first bake back, with peanut butter energy balls. Bake is a bit of a stretch, as they take about 5 minutes to make and only see the inside of a fridge. But they’re so tasty I couldn’t not share the recipe!

peanut butter energy balls

Energy balls are abit of a ‘trendy’ bake, but don’t let that put you off. They’re full of goodness, and really do give me an energy boost throughout the day.

The energy balls are simply dates, oats, peanuts, peanut butter and a dash of oil to bind. Medjool dates are best to use as they’re super soft and sweet, but regular dry dates are fine to use too – and easier to find! You’ll just need to soak them in some warm water for 5 minutes first to soften up.

The texture of the energy balls is what I really love. They’re almost chewy, and substantial enough that you feel like you’ve had a proper snack. Not like some ‘healthier’ snacks which leave you feeling just as hungry. They’re also sweet enough that you feel like you’re having a treat, but not sickly so!

peanut butter energy balls

All you need to do is blitz the oats and peanuts in a food processor then add the dates, peanut butter and oil. Roll them into balls and then chill for at least 20 minutes before eating them. It’s really as simple as that!

They can then be kept in the fridge for a few weeks, which is great as the mixture makes about 25 balls. Pop some in your lunch box to keep you going through that 3pm slump! Or have a couple as a post-dinner treat!

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Yield: 25 balls

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

Ingredients

  • 400g medjool dates (or dried dates, if you can't find medjool)
  • 100g oats
  • 100g roasted peanuts
  • 4tbsp organic peanut butter
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Pit the medjool dates and leave to the side. Or if using dried dates, place them in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes.
  • Place the oats and peanuts into a food processor and blend until combined. Then add the dates, peanut butter and oil and blend until you form a thick paste.
  • Roll them into balls and place in the fridge to firm up for 20 minutes before eating.
  • Notes

    Energy balls can be kept in the fridge for a few weeks.

    http://bakingwithaimee.com/2018/01/10/peanut-butter-energy-balls/

    Edible Christmas Gifts: Candy Pretzel Rods

    Edible Christmas Gifts: Candy Pretzel Rods

    candy pretzel rodscandy pretzel rods

    For the last in my edible gift series, I give you candy pretzel rods! Probably the most American sounding and tasting treat on my blog, its the perfect combination of salty and sweet. I’ve seen these on Pinterest for a few years now, but have never been able to find pretzel rods in the UK – until now! I found them in Whole Foods a few weeks back and was sooo excited! You absolutely could make these just by dipping regular shaped pretzels, but I just think the rods look so cute.

    candy pretzel rods

    candy pretzel rods

    I feel abit of a fraud calling this baking, when its literally just melting some chocolate and dipping the rods. But that does make it the perfect lazy afternoon bake, especially with kids in tow! I decided to just stick to milk chocolate and white candy melts, though with candy melts or even food colouring you could really go to town! Red & green pretzel rods would look super festive!

    For the decorations I bought festive sprinkles and shapes, but again you could coat them in anything you fancied! The American pretzel rods that I’d seen on pinterest are sometimes covered in M&M’s and all kinds of small candy, but I could only find thin rods and they looked a little ridiculous! Please do let me know if you happen to find fatter pretzel rods though, the possibilities would then be endless!

    candy pretzel rodscandy pretzel rods

    The salty pretzel rod perfectly complements the sweet chocolate coating, making these ridiculously moreish. You can easily eat 3-4 in one go without really thinking! And as they’re only small, and it is Christmas you definitely don’t need to feel guilty about it.

    Wrapped up with some twine and popped in a treat bag I think the pretzel rods are such a cute treat, and they look so festive! I also love that in the UK its not such a traditional sweet, making them all the more interesting and unique.

    Let me know if you make them!

    Edible Christmas Gifts: Candy Pretzel Rods

    Yield: approx. 50 pretzel rods

    Edible Christmas Gifts: Candy Pretzel Rods

    Ingredients

    • 2 x pack of pretzel rods
    • 250g milk chocolate
    • 250g white candy melts or white chocolate
    • 4 x packs of festive sprinkles

    Instructions

  • Firstly, lay all the sprinkles flat onto separate plates and lay a large sheet of baking paper onto a flat surface.
  • Break the milk chocolate up into small pieces and place into a heat-proof bowl. Then put the bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring every now and then until the chocolate is melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and individually dip half of the pretzel rods into the chocolate, then roll in the sprinkles to completely coat. Place onto the baking paper to set and repeat until all of the milk chocolate is used.
  • Then, place the white candy melts into a heat-proof bowl and melt like the milk chocolate. Dip the remaining pretzel rods into the candy melts and roll in the sprinkles to completely coat. Then place onto the baking paper to set.
  • Leave the pretzel rods to set for 30 minutes, before keeping in an air-tight container or wrapping in twine and placing in treat bags to gift.
  • Notes

    Any flavour chocolate, any colour candy melts and any kind of sprinkles can be used - the recipe is more of a guideline!

    http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/12/10/edible-christmas-gifts-candy-pretzel-rods/

    Edible Christmas Gifts: Strawberry Jam

    Edible Christmas Gifts: Strawberry Jam

    strawberry jamstrawberry jam

    The second in my edible Christmas gift series is dedicated to the art of jam making! Strawberry Jam is a favourite amongst adults and children alike, and I don’t know anyone who’d turn down a jar of the homemade variety! Like most edible gifts it’s actually really easy to make, but looks so impressive! And you can really go to town with festive decoration on your jars.

    strawberry jam

    This recipe makes ALOT of jam, so you will need a large pan to make it in! I didn’t anticipate quite how much jam, and ended up in catastrophe. I took my eye off the pan for literally a minute – rookie mistake! – and next thing I know, its boiled over and lava-like jam is running down the side of my oven…all over the halogen hobs…into my oven gloves that were hanging on the oven…and all over my decorative tea-towel. ….Yes that’s a thing!

    It was a disaster. And obviously, with it being so hot I was pretty much helpless until it’d cooled down a little. Lessons learnt here? Use the biggest pan possible, and DON’T take your eye off it!

    strawberry jam

    Making jam is a simple concept; boiling sugar and fruit over a high heat until you reach the setting point. What you need to take into account however is the amount of pectin contained in your fruit of choice. Pectin is a gelling agent that causes jam to set, it occurs naturally in some fruit and is absent in others. Strawberries in particular are quite low in pectin, whereas apples and pears have a high count. Thankfully, nowadays our lives are made really easy with specific ‘jam sugars’ that have pectin included!

    That’s not to say that you couldn’t make a jam using normal sugar and low-pectin fruits, but you’d have to boil it for so long to get to the right setting consistency that you’d have to sacrifice yield and flavour!

    strawberry jam

    strawberry jam

    For my strawberry jam, I use a 1:1 ratio of fruit to sugar, with the addition of the juice of one lemon. It makes enough jam for 4 standard jam jars – I used two large and one standard…but that’s because I lost a fair bit in the aforementioned jam disaster :(.

    You will need to make sure to sterilise your jars before pouring your jam in as this ensures you kill all bacteria. I find the easiest way is to pop them in the oven for 20 minutes at Gas Mark 1/140C/120C Fan. You’ll need to time this, so that the jars are still warm when you fill them with your freshly set strawberry jam. The only other prep you need to do, is place a few saucers into the freezer. You’ll use these later to test if your jam is set.

    I love this strawberry jam recipe, its perfectly set and just sweet enough. Please do let me know if you gift any jars!

    Edible Christmas Gifts: Strawberry Jam

    Yield: 4 standard jars

    Edible Christmas Gifts: Strawberry Jam

    Ingredients

    • 1kg fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and dried
    • 1 lemon, juiced
    • 1kg jam sugar

    Instructions

  • Firstly, place a couple of saucers into the freezer. Then wash your jam jars thoroughly and place on a baking tray. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 1/140C/120C Fan.
  • Place the strawberries and lemon juice into a large pan, cutting any large strawberries in half. Meanwhile, put the jam jars in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Place the strawberry/lemon mixture over a low heat for a few minutes to soften, then add the sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Once the liquid is no longer grainy, boil steadily for six minutes or until at setting point. To test if the jam is set, spoon a little onto one of your frozen saucers, leave for a minute and then mark a line through the jam with your finger. If the jam crinkles and separates without flooding back, your jam is set. If it floods, re-boil the jam for 2 minutes and then test again. Repeat until your jam is set.
  • Set your jam aside for a few minutes to cool, and skim off any scum that's appeared with a slotted spoon. Pour your hot jam into your freshly (and still warm!) sterilised jars and seal immediately.
  • http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/11/30/edible-christmas-gifts-strawberry-jam/

    Edible Christmas Gifts: Salted Caramels

    Edible Christmas Gifts: Salted Caramels

    salted caramels

    I’m BIG on Christmas. I have about 9 Christmas jumpers waiting patiently in my wardrobe until its acceptable to wear them and I had my first Christmas sandwich in October… But one of my favourite festive activities in the run up to the big day is making edible gifts. And salted caramels always feature heavily.

    I think a handmade gift is such a lovely thing to treasure, and if you’re a bit strapped for cash (which who isn’t around this time?!) its also really handy as you seem so thoughtful without making yourself bankrupt in the process. Go you!

    salted caramels 2

    Salted caramels especially always go down a treat. I mean, who can resist the salty sweet combination? Definitely not me!

    Now I know salted caramels can seem a little intimidating, and you do need to be prepared before you start with all your ingredients measured and ready. But! They really are so achievable, and once you’ve mastered the basics you can begin experimenting with different flavours. I’ve made chai-tea caramels before, and tried passion fruit caramels in Paris this year that I’d love to recreate. So please don’t be put off by the thought of boiling hot sugar… just keep calm and carry on.

    You will need a candy thermometer for this, as you need to heat the sugar to an exact temperature to ensure they are set but still chewy. I have a Salter digital thermometer and its honestly the best I’ve tried. It was under £15 and can also be used as a meat probe, which also comes in really handy at Christmas time!

    salted caramels 3

    The biggest problem I think people have with making caramel is that they can’t resist stirring the pan, which results in crystallised sugar and a big old mess. RESIST the wooden spoon! Honestly, your sugar is fine sat there by itself with only a few swirls of the pan every now and then. If you know there are major heat spots on your hob, you can turn the pan every now and then to distribute the heat more evenly. Just don’t stir it!

    Whilst your sugar is dissolving you need to be gently warming the double cream, butter and sea salt flakes in a small pan. Then as soon as the caramelised sugar has turned a warm golden brown colour you need to (slowly!) pour the cream mixture in. I say slowly, as it will boil up at this point so please be careful!

    Now is your exciting chance to use your wooden spoon that I know you’ve been itching to get out! Stir in your vanilla and then cook for 5-10 minutes until you reach 120C on a candy thermometer. This is extremely hot (obvs!) so again, please be careful! As soon as it reaches 120C you need to pour it into a prepared pan – see what I mean about needing to be organised?

    Then you can pop it in the fridge to set, and await praise from your friends and family over your culinary delights!

    salted caramels 4

    Once they were cool, I wrapped my salted caramels up in parchment paper and then popped them in brown paper bags to give them a cute old-fashioned sweet feel. You could buy festive sweet wrappers and bags if you really wanted to go to town though!

    I hope that’s enticed you to try making salted caramels gifts for Christmas, or just for yourself!

    Edible Christmas Gifts: Salted Caramels

    Yield: 30 Caramels

    Edible Christmas Gifts: Salted Caramels

    Ingredients

    • 300g caster sugar
    • 60ml golden syrup
    • 120ml water
    • 225ml double cream
    • 75g unsalted butter
    • 2tsp sea salt flakes, plus more for sprinkling
    • 1/2tsp vanilla extract

    Instructions

  • Firstly, grease and line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with baking paper, then grease on top of the paper lightly. Make sure the baking paper drapes over at least two sides.
  • Then in a deep pan combine the sugar, golden syrup, 120ml water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue to boil until the caramel is a warm golden brown colour. Don’t stir – just swirl the pan every now and then to mix, being careful not to let it burn.
  • In the meantime, bring the cream, butter, and sea salt flakes just to a simmer in a small pan over medium heat. Then remove from the heat, and set aside to keep warm until needed.
  • When the caramelised sugar is the right colour, slowly add the cream mixture to the caramel – be careful as it will boil up violently. Then stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and boil again over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 120C on a candy thermometer. As soon as its reached 120C very carefully pour the caramel into the prepared pan and place in the fridge until firm.
  • Once cooled and firm, cut the caramel into small rectangles and wrap in baking paper.
  • http://bakingwithaimee.com/2017/11/22/edible-christmas-gifts-salted-caramels/

    P.S. Apologies for the slightly sporadic posting! I’m currently moving flats which has taken over my life. Hopefully I’ll be back to Sunday posting soon 🙂