Tag Archives: baking

Win Nadiya’s Deluxe Baking Set for Kids worth £25

We were sent the Nadiya Hussain Deluxe Baking Set for Kids for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

The boy and I have been baking together for years, he’s keen to make and eat the fruits of our kitchen labours, but he sometimes finds some of my grown-up equipment a bit big or heavy to use. This is clearly a bit of a universal problem, as Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain has launched a range of kids baking kits, making it easier for kids to get involved in the kitchen with their own utensils.

Nadiya's Deluxe Baking Set for Kids worth £25

The new range of Nadiya Hussain’s Bake Me a Story baking sets come in three different styles – Deluxe, Savoury and Simple. Each set includes a set of special recipe cards from Nadiya’s new book and is designed to give children the confidence to bake from scratch.

The Deluxe Set we were sent costs around £25 and provides all the tools needed to bake the recipes that are included in the box. The set includes a whisk, spatula, rolling pin, 12 silicone cupcake cases, a sieve, 3 cookie cutters, a mixing bowl, measuring spoons, the all important apron and six easy to make recipes written by Nadiya.

Nadiya's Deluxe Baking Set for Kids worth £25

I was really impressed when I unpacked the box. The set is so good that most of it had made its way into general baking use in my kitchen. Even if I’m baking by myself, I will likely reach for some of the kit included, it’s so good. I was especially impressed with the cookie cutters, which have a silicone edge on one side, so when you are pressing out the cookies you’re not in danger of cutting your fingers too.

I also like the silicone cupcake cases, which are great for saving on waste. The rolling pin was as lightweight as it could get away with and was really easy for my son to use. Together we baked a batch of gingerbread biscuits and we both enjoyed using all of the colourful equipment provided.

Nadiya's Deluxe Baking Set for Kids worth £25

There are other sets in the range and they are all great for encouraging kids to get in the kitchen.

The Savoury set (costing around £19.99) again includes all the tools needed to make the recipes on the five included recipes and includes a spoon, measuring spoons, a chopping board, mixing bowl, apron and a safety knife and a fish slice.

For those taking their first bite at baking opt for the Simple Set (£14.99). This contains a rolling pin, whisk, spatula, three cookie cutters and six silicone cup case cases – everything needed to make the three recipes included.

Nadiya's Deluxe Baking Set for Kids worth £25

Everything is designed to be safe for kids to use and fun too and everything is easy to clean and dishwasher safe too. The Deluxe Baking Set has so much in it and would make a great gift for an aspiring baker or keen cook. It’s made for children aged 4+ and it was just right for my 9 year old son. It wasn’t too babyish, it is just good quality baking equipment for kids.

WIN A Nadiya’s Deluxe Baking Set for Kids

To be in with a chance to win a Nadiya’s Deluxe Baking Set for Kids worth £25, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will be sent a Nadiya’s Deluxe Baking Set for Kids.
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7. The winner will be contacted within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
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Party Recipe: Jam and Cream Sponge Cake

This week sees the 75th anniversary of VE Day and many people across the UK and beyond will be marking the date. We will be taking part in a community zoom celebration, so I’ve been busy baking a lovely Jam and Cream Sponge Cake to have with a nice pot of tea.

I baked this deliciously light sponge cake filled with lovely purple (the royal colour) mulled wine jam. I’d like to think the Queen would approve of my simple but very yummy jam and cream sponge cake.

Patriotic Jam and Cream Sponge Cake

To find out how to make my Jam and Cream Sponge Cake, read my recipe below…

Patriotic Jam and Cream Sponge Cake

Serves 16
A classic Victoria Sponge layered with Mulled Wine Jam and Chantilly Cream.

Ingredients
300g caster sugar
300g softened butter
6 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp milk
300g self-raising flour
1.5 tsp baking powder

For the filling
1/2 Jar Mackays Christmas Preserve (mulled wine jam)
200ml double cream
1 level tablespoon of icing sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Instructions
Heat your fan oven to 190c. Butter three 20cm sandwich tins. In a large bowl, beat your butter and sugar together until fluffy (I used a hand mixer). Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and combine, then add the flour and baking powder and mix together until you have a smooth batter.

Divide the mixture equally between the three tins, you can weigh them to make sure they’re fairly equal if you’d like. Bake in your pre-heated oven for around 20 mins until golden and they’re cooked through. Remove from the tins and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

To make the Chantilly cream, beat the cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy. I used my hand mixer for this and it took just a few minutes.

To assemble the cake, choose the most attractive of the three sponge cakes and save that one to go on the top. You may need to cut the top of some of your layers to make them flatter so they sit more comfortably on each other. Put the bottom layer on your serving plate or cake board. Put a teaspoon of jam on the plate and put your bottom layer on that. It will help it stick to the board. Cover that first layer with your jam and put the second layer on top. Gently press the layers together. Top your second layer with the cream and put your top layer on top, sprinkle with icing sugar or decorate as you wish.

Notes

The cream is fresh so the cake will need to be eaten fairly quickly or refrigerated. If you want to keep it for a few days it might be best to not have the cream in between layers, maybe kept in the fridge to indulgently dollop on the side.

My Patriotic Jam and Cream Sponge Cake would make the prefect addition to a celebratory street party or a refined afternoon tea round at Buckingham Palace. It’s so quick and easy to make, it’ll leave you plenty of time to make a few plates of cucumber sandwiches and mix up a jug or two of Pimms for the party!

Patriotic Jam and Cream Sponge Cake

What’s your favourite celebratory bake?

Patriotic Jam and Cream Sponge Cake

I have to say, this sponge recipe is absolutely magic, I use it as the base for all my sponge cake bakes now; from butterfly cakes, cupcakes, sponge puddings and good old Victoria sponges, it’s light every single time. I can’t fault it.

Jam and Cream Sponge Cake

Recipe: Wild Garlic and Parmesan Focaccia

Being in lockdown isn’t easy. Some days I find myself going a little stir crazy, some days I’m listless in bed, other days I’m bursting with energy. I’m trying, where I can to just go with my mood rather than force myself to do things. Over the weekend the sun shone a little and I managed to leave the house and take the dog for a short walk on the field by my house. Along one shady side of the field is a path which in the spring in fringed with wild garlic. I can never resist pulling a few leaves and taking them home to make wild garlic scones or something equally lovely with them. Whilst it was quiet, I grabbed a handful of wild garlic, then headed home to bake some wild garlic and Parmesan focaccia, because everyone else is baking bread during lockdown, so why shouldn’t I?

Recipe: Wild Garlic and Parmesan Focaccia

Focaccia is a pretty simple bread to make, it just takes quite a lot of time. From picking my wild garlic, to pulling my bread out of the oven took the best part of five hours, but it was five hours very well spent. Before I began I checked in with my lovely Italian friend, Sherwin. He is a keen baker and gave me some top tips for tip top focaccia. His advice was as follows…

Focaccia is a high hydration dough so it is sticky and wet. Use oil instead of flour when hand kneading the dough on a work surface and preferably a slow first rise of 12 hours in the fridge, but an hour at room temperature will do. Use well oiled hands  when transferring and shaping the dough into a baking tray making sure not to knock out too much of the air. You can put rosemary, olives, cherry tomatoes, courgette or cheese. Enjoy!

I followed his excellent advice. I chose to prove my dough for an hour in the warmth of my bedroom and then topped it with wild garlic and Parmesan. The result was like the best garlic bread you’ve ever had.

Wild Garlic and Parmesan Focaccia

Ingredients
500g strong white bread flour
1 and a half teaspoons of salt
2 sachets dried easy blend yeast
Olive oil, lots
400ml cold water
More olive oil for drizzling
20g wild garlic leaves, washed and finely chopped
30g finely grated Parmesan
A sprinkle of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Recipe: Wild Garlic and Parmesan Focaccia

Method
Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and the water into a large bowl. Gently mix together with your hand to form a dough, then knead the dough in the bowl for five minutes.

Next you need to stretch and knead the dough by hand in the bowl for about five minutes.

Tip the dough onto a very well oiled work surface and then knead some more for about five more minutes. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover and leave somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size, this takes about an hour. I put mine on my bed as my bedroom is the warmest room in the house, but whatever works for you.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Tip the dough out of the bowl and flatten the dough onto the tray, push the dough into the corners, cover with a large plastic bag or cling film, making sure it does not touch the top of the dough, then leave to prove for one hour.

Preheat your oven to 220C or Gas mark 7.

Using the tips of your fingers, dimple the focaccia all over, so it is covered in little dents. Sprinkle over the wild garlic and Parmesan, adding a generous twist of freshly ground black pepper and some sea salt. Drizzle over some more olive oil and then put in your pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.

Once it’s baked and out of the oven; drizzle with a little more olive oil and it’s ready to eat, hot or cold.

It is the most delicious bread I’ve made and if you can get your hands on some wild garlic, it’s well worth making yourself.

Recipe: Wild Garlic and Parmesan Focaccia

Recipe: Easy Easter Chocolate Tart

One of my favourite (and incredibly easy) things to make is an indulgent chocolate tart. Made with dark chocolate it is a delicious and pretty adult dessert. If dark chocolate isn’t your thing, you can swap it out for milk chocolate and enjoy a more family friendly pudding. I’ve jazzed up my usual chocolate tart for Easter and, well it was so popular that is disappeared within the hour!

Easter is undoubtedly a time for chocolate. If you can’t indulge your sweet tooth now, then when can you? This chocolate tart is really very simple to make, especially if you cheat and buy ready made pastry, and would be fun for kids to join in with too.

Recipe: Easy Easter Chocolate Tart

Easy Easter Chocolate Tart

Ingredients:
For the pastry –
4oz plain flour
2oz butter, cubed
A pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons of cold water
-or- a packet of ready rolled shortcrust pastry

For the filling –
150g single cream
2 tablespoons of sugar
150g good quality dark chocolate, or milk chocolate if you prefer

2 bags of mini eggs to decorate, 3 if you’re a nibbler!

Recipe: Easy Easter Chocolate Tart

Method:
Tip the flour, salt and butter in a large mixing bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Use a knife and stir in just enough cold water to bind the dough together. Do this gradually as you don’t want your pastry to be too wet. Once you’ve made the dough, cover the bowl and chill it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so before rolling out.

Or if you’re using shop bought, ready rolled pastry, take it out of the fridge about half an hour before you want to use it.

Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 5 or 190°

Take your pastry and roll it out to the thickness of a pound coin. You can either roll it out on a floured surface, or between two pieces of baking parchment. I find the baking parchment method quicker and a lot less messy.

Grease a 20cm tart tin and carefully put the pastry in the tin, pressing it against the sides. Let the pastry hang over the sides of the tin, you can trim it later. Prick the base all over with a fork. Top the pastry with a sheet of baking parchment and cover with baking beans, bake in your pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.

Remove the baking beans and parchment and pop back in the oven for another 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once cool, carefully with a sharp knife trim the pastry so it is flush with the top of the tin.

While your pastry is cooling, warm up your cream and sugar in a saucepan. Finely chop the chocolate and once the cream is simmering, turn off the heat and add the chocolate to the pan. Leave for a minute and stir until the mixture is smooth, like really thick hot chocolate.

Carefully fill the tart case with the melted chocolate mix, level it off and make an artistic swirl or ripple on the top if you want. Decorate with your mini eggs however you want. Put your tart in the fridge for a minimum of two hours, or overnight if you wish.

This chocolate tart is very, very rich, so a little goes a long way. It also makes an excellent pudding for Easter!

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might like these mini egg cookies or these peppermint crunch slices!

Recipe: Easy Easter Chocolate Tart

Recipe: Wild Garlic and Parmesan Scones

Every year in March and April, the hedgerows and lanes hereabouts are abundant with wild garlic. When the wind blows in the right direction, we get a gentle whiff of garlic and off I go with a paper bag to collect a few leaves to cook with. One of my favourite ways to use it is in wild garlic and parmesan scones, which go really well with soup, or as a savoury snack with some good butter.

Of course when you’re foraging it pays to know a little of what you’re doing. Wild garlic can look pretty similar to other plants, some of which may be poisonous, but you can generally tell what is and isn’t wild garlic by the smell, which is, well, garlicky.

When you go foraging it’s important not to pick too much of anything. Take just what you need and save the rest for the wildlife or other foragers. If you’re foraging for wild garlic, you don’t need much anyway. It’s pretty pungent and a few leaves go quite a long way. I tend to try to pick the younger leaves in spots where I think (hope) dogs haven’t been. I always wash my wild garlic leaves before I use them anyway. You can find out more about wild garlic here.

Recipe: Wild Garlic and Parmesan Scones

These wild garlic and parmesan scones are very delicious. They’re everything you want from a savory scone. I sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on the top which makes them extra delicious. This recipe makes about 8 big scones, though you could cut them smaller if you prefer.

Wild Garlic and Parmesan Scones

Ingredients:

125g butter
450g self-raising flour
50g finely grated parmesan cheese
5 wild garlic leaves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Big pinch of salt
Milk to mix, I used about 1/3 pint
Rock salt

How to make Wild Garlic and Parmesan Scones:

Pre-heat your oven to 190° and put a sheet of baking parchment on a large baking tray.

In a large bowl rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips, until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the parmesan, wild garlic, bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt and toss together. Little by little add the milk, mixing with your hands until it makes a soft dough.

Tip the dough onto a floured surface and pat or roll it until it’s 1.5-2cm thick. I usually shape the dough and pat it down with my hands because it gives a slightly more rustic finish which I like. Cut the dough into rounds, don’t twist the cutter because this can prevent the scone from rising.

Recipe: Wild Garlic and Parmesan Scones

Put the cut scones on the baking tray, brush them with milk and if you like sprinkle a pinch of rock salt on the top of each one. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they’re nice a brown and hollow when you tap them underneath.

Serve hot from the oven with lashings of butter, or with soup or a ploughman’s lunch.

If you enjoyed this, you might also like these blueberry and buttermilk scones.

Recipe: Wild Garlic and Parmesan Scones

Easy recipe: Homemade Chocolate Jazzies

A few weeks ago I was mooching around one of my local charity shops when I spotted a silicone baking mold for a pound. They can be quite expensive, so I snapped it up and took it home. I think it was originally designed for small cupcakes or muffins, but this had homemade chocolate jazzies written all over it.

As a working from home mum I am often called upon to help entertain a child or two for the odd day during the school holidays. I don’t mind this as for me it’s probably easier to entertain two seven years olds, than one seven year old who is just so “boorrEDDD” of my company. I like to have a few crafts, activities and bakes up my sleeve to entertain any young visitors we may have; so I thoroughly cleaned my silicone mold and tucked it away for a rainy day.

Easy recipe: Homemade Chocolate Jazzies

As a keen baker I always have a good variety of sprinkles in my cupboard. For some reason kids love sprinking almost as much as eating the sprinkles. I had quite a few little jars which probably needed using up. Making homemade chocolate jazzies is a really good way of using them up. You could give each child a different kind of sprinkle so they know which jazzies are theirs, or they can mix and match.

I made some sparkly chocolate cups for Mother’s Day back in the spring, they are very similar to those, but slightly smaller and with billions more sprinkles.

Homemade Chocolate Jazzies

Ingredients:
250g of milk chocolate
Cake decorating sprinkles, stars, silver balls, whatever you fancy

You will need:
A saucepan, a glass bowl which will sit in the pan, but so it doesn’t touch the bottom; a metal spoon, silicone baking molds.

How to make your chocolate jazzies:
Boil some water and pour the water into your pan so it’s about 3cm deep. Carefully place the glass bowl in the pan making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. This is called a bain marie.

Break your chocolate up into small pieces and put it in the glass bowl. The water in the pan needs to be at a gentle simmer, not bubbling and boiling. Stir the chocolate until it is melted.

Easy recipe: Homemade Chocolate Jazzies

Once the chocolate is melted, with a spoon scoop out some melted chocolate into each of the molds. Try and put an equal amount in each. If you’re good at this there might be just enough left over for some spoon licking afterwards. Gently shake the silicone tray so the chocolate settles.

Once you’ve used all of your chocolate, take your chosen sprinkles and sprinkle as much or as little as you like over the top of each chocolate. Leave them to cool for at least two hours. If you need them to set a bit faster for impatient boys, pop them in the fridge.

Easy recipe: Homemade Chocolate Jazzies

To serve, make sure they are properly set and carefully pop them out of the molds. You might want to be careful and tip them out onto a tray or over a dish to catch any excess sprinkles. We had many excess sprinkles because the boys were very enthusiastic about the sprinkling.

Easy recipe: Homemade Chocolate Jazzies

The homemade chocolate jazzies went down an absolute storm. The boys really enjoyed making them. They’re incredibly simple to do and they also really enjoyed eating them and sharing them too. My chocolate jazzie experiment was a success!

PS. If you’re wondering they they’ve got blue hands, we played with blue slime while the jazzies set and the slime coloured their hands for the day. They do have clean hands, I promise!

Easy recipe: Homemade Chocolate Jazzies

Easy Recipe: Quick Coffee Cupcakes

There’s nothing quite as good as a cup of coffee in the garden with a little sweet treat to go with it. This week I knocked up a batch of my quick coffee cupcakes and sat in the garden in the last of the sunshine before Storm Hector swept in and spoiled all our summer fun.

Cupcakes are something I make quite a lot of at home. They’re so quick and easy to do and I often have a fresh batch of buttercream in the fridge for emergencies. I know this is potentially an unpopular opinion, but cupcakes are just buns with fancy icing. If you can master a basic swirl people think you’ve got mad baking skills. I’m not going to win any prizes for my decorating, but I can do some basic piping, enough to turn a humble bun into a cupcake. If I can do it, you can too!

Easy Recipe: Quick Coffee Cupcakes

These quick coffee cupcakes are great to make in a hurry. I piped plain vanilla buttercream on these, but if you’re baking for a real coffee fan, then you can easily make coffee buttercream. You can ramp the coffee flavours up further by adding a Roasted Coffee Cacao Truffle from Beech’s Fine Chocolates to the top, this turns a simple cupcake into a lovely grown up after dinner treat!

Win a selection of Beech's Fine Chocolates Gourmet Packs

Quick Coffee Cupcakes

Ingredients:
150g butter or margarine
150g caster sugar
3 eggs (large)
150g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 heaped teaspoon of instant coffee dissolved in 1/2 tablespoon of milk

For the buttercream:
250g icing sugar
250g butter (softened)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beech’s Fine Chocolates Roasted Coffee Cacao Truffles

Method:
Pre-heat your oven to 180° and put paper cases in a bun or a muffin tray.

Cream your butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and using a hand mixer combine until the batter is smooth and airy.

Dollop a large dessert spoon of the cake batter in each case and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave cool on a rack.

While your cupcakes are cooling, sift your icing sugar and beat together with the softened butter. Add your vanilla extract and beat it in thoroughly.

Once your cupcakes are cool, put your vanilla buttercream in a piping bag with a star piping nozzle – I use a Wilton 2D nozzle. I did a standard buttercream swirl, if you’re not sure how to do it, watch this short video.

I then decorated the buttercream swirl with a Roasted Coffee Cacao Truffle from Beech’s Fine Chocolates. Serve with a cup of very good coffee.

If you wanted to up the coffee content of your coffee cupcake, you could add some coffee to your vanilla buttercream. Dissolve some coffee in a splash of milk and beat it through thoroughly.

Easy Recipe: Quick Coffee Cupcakes

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like these popcorn cupcakestangy marmalade cupcakes or romantic rose cupcakes.

Easy Recipe: Quick Coffee Cupcakes

Recipe: Popcorn Cupcakes – perfect for movie night!

Popcorn is one of the most popular snacks in the UK. It’s considered to be a lighter, healthier snack option. Whether is really is or not is up for debate, but it is a movie night essential. These days you can get all kinds of different flavours of popcorn. I’m a traditionalist and I like sweet popcorn, or that toffee covered popcorn which makes my teeth tingle.

A little while ago I received a bottle of Monin Popcorn Syrup. It’s the kind of thing you might use in coffee or cocktails, but I had different ideas. I really fancied making some popcorn cupcakes.

Recipe: Popcorn Cupcakes - perfect for movie night!

My popcorn cupcakes turned out really well. They had a good popcorn flavour but were not overpowering. They were a big hit with the boys too and I know I’ll be making these again and again.

Popcorn Cupcakes

Ingredients:
4oz butter or margarine
4oz caster sugar
2 eggs (large)
4oz self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon of Monin Popcorn Syrup

For the buttercream:
250g icing sugar
250g butter (softened)
1 teaspoon of Monin Popcorn Syrup
Bag of your favourite popcorn

Method:
Pre-heat your oven to 180° and put paper cases in a bun or a muffin tray.

Cream your butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and using a hand mixer combine until the batter is smooth and airy.

Dollop a large dessert spoon of the cake batter in each case and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave cool on a rack.

While your cupcakes are cooling, sift your icing sugar and beat together with the softened butter. Add your Popcorn syrup and beat it in thoroughly. Taste your buttercream, you might want to add a bit more syrup if you want a stronger flavour. You can always add more, but you can’t take it away!

Once your cupcakes are cool, put your popcorn flavoured buttercream in a piping bag with a star piping nozzle – I used a Wilton 2D nozzle. I did a standard buttercream swirl, if you’re not sure how to do it, watch this short video.

I then covered the buttercream swirl with popcorn. If you start around the bottom of the swirl and made sure as much of the buttercream is covered in popcorn. Gently press the popcorn into place on the buttercream and your cupcake is done and ready to be enjoyed on movie night!

Recipe: Popcorn Cupcakes - perfect for movie night!

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like my tangy marmalade cupcakes.

Recipe: Popcorn Cupcakes - perfect for movie night!

Easy Recipe: Sparkly Chocolate Cups

I love getting homemade cards and gifts from my son on Mother’s Day (and any other day he wants to make me something). As you can probably imagine, we’re quite big on baking at home and we bake for almost any occasion. I’m a firm believer in making life easy for myself. Whilst I’m happy to bake a fairly complex cake, there’s definitely space in my kitchen for incredibly simple recipes. I’ve made these Sparkly Chocolate Cups for Mother’s Day. They’re very, very easy to make and perfect for kids to make with a little adult supervision.

Easy Recipe: Sparkly Chocolate Cups for Mother's Day

Not only are they great for kids to make, if you lack confidence in the kitchen, these are so easy to make and look pretty impressive too.

Sparkly Chocolate Cups

Ingredients:
250g of good quality dark or milk chocolate
Cake decorating sprinkles, stars, silver balls, whatever you fancy

You will need:
A saucepan, a glass bowl which will sit in the pan, but so it doesn’t touch the bottom, a metal spoon, some cupcake cases – I used silicone but paper ones are fine.

How to make your chocolate cups:
Boil some water and pour the water into your pan so it’s about 3cm deep. Carefully place the glass bowl in the pan making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. This is called a bain marie.

Break your chocolate up into small pieces and put it in the glass bowl, the water in the pan needs to be at a gentle simmer, not bubbling and boiling. Stir the chocolate until it is melted.

Once the chocolate is melted, with a spoon scoop about two dessert spoons of melted chocolate into each cupcake case. Gently shake each one so the chocolate settles.

Once you’ve used all of your chocolate, take your chosen sprinkles and sprinkle as much or as little as you like over the top of each chocolate. Leave them to cool for at least two hours.

Easy Recipe: Sparkly Chocolate Cups for Mother's Day

Once they’re cool you can either take the chocolates out of their cases and put them in a nice gift box or cellophane bag, or you could just present them as they are in their pretty cupcake cases.

They’re so easy to make and they look impressive, whoever you give these to will be as pleased as punch!

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like these super-easy love heart jam tarts.

Easy Recipe: Sparkly Chocolate Cups for Mother's Day

Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Barleycup Tart

Last year I seriously cut down on my caffeine intake and now I just drink a couple of cups of tea or coffee a week. These days I seem to be very sensitive to caffeine and if I have a cup of coffee too late in the day, I just won’t sleep at night. I don’t want to cut it out completely, but I do have to keep an eye on just how much I drink. With this in mind, I was sent a jar of Barleycup to try.

I’ve swapped my lunchtime coffee for Barleycup and I’ve hardly noticed the difference. Barleycup is made from roasted cereal grains and chicory roots and is free-from caffeine and contains no artificial additives. Barleycup is also gluten-free and certified by Coeliac UK.

Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Barleycup Tart

Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Barleycup Tart

Not content with just drinking it, I wondered if it would be any good to bake with. It turns out that it was. I made a variation on a chocolate and coffee tart, I made a deliciously indulgent Chocolate and Barleycup Tart which was every bit as good as the original. Here’s my recipe…

Chocolate and Barleycup Tart

Ingredients:
For the pastry –
4oz plain flour
2oz butter, cubed
A pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons of cold water
-or- a packet of ready rolled shortcrust pastry

For the filling –
150g single cream
2 tablespoons of sugar
150g good quality dark chocolate
2 tablespoons of Barleycup powder dissolved in 4 tablespoons of boiling water

Method:

Tip the flour, salt and butter in a large mixing bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Use a knife and stir in just enough cold water to bind the dough together. Do this gradually as you don’t want your pastry to be too wet. Once you’ve made the dough, cover the bowl and chill it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so before rolling out.

Or if you’re using shop bought, ready rolled pastry, take it out of the fridge half an hour before you want to use it.

Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 5 or 190°

Take your pastry and roll it out to the thickness of a pound coin. You can either roll it out on a floured surface, or between two pieces of baking parchment. I find the baking parchment method quicker and a lot less messy.

Grease a 20cm tart tin and carefully put the pastry in the tin, pressing it against the sides. Let the pastry hang over the sides of the tin, you can trim it later. Prick the base all over with a fork. Top the pastry with a sheet of baking parchment and cover with baking beans, bake in your pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.

Remove the baking beans and parchment and pop back in the oven for another 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once cool, carefully with a sharp knife trim the pastry so it is flush with the top of the tin.

Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Barleycup Tart

While your pastry is cooling, warm up your cream and sugar in a saucepan. Finely chop the chocolate and once the cream is simmering, turn off the heat and add the chocolate to the pan. Leave for a minute and stir until the mixture is smooth. Add in your Barleycup mixed with water and stir until combined.

Carefully fill the tart case with the Barleycup and chocolate mix, level it off and make an artistic swirl or ripple on the top if you want. Put your tart in the fridge for a minimum of two hours, or overnight if you wish.

To serve, garnish with raspberries or chopped nuts. It is very rich, so a little goes a long way.

I can confirm that Barleycup is a great coffee substitute in baking. It works really well, adding a slight bitter note and complexity to the tart. I’ll definitely be baking with it again, I wonder what a Barleycup and walnut cake would be like?

Recipe: Indulgent Chocolate Barleycup Tart

Note: I was set a jar of Barleycup to bake with. I have not been otherwise compensated for this post.