Ginger Barley & Rye Biscuits

When I was a kid, ‘baking’ meant using some kind of cake or cookie mix, mostly because it was convenient when my parents were busy, the instructions were easy to follow, and the results were still tasty. But using these mixes didn’t leave much room for creativity, and some of the ingredients were pretty questionable. I was so excited to move out into my own place (with a fully functioning oven) since this meant I could finally start making some of my favourite baked goods from scratch!

You can imagine I was a little sceptical when we received a biscuit mix as part of our goody bag after the British 10K… but I finally got around to making it today and ended up pleasantly surprised. Sweetpea Pantry has a whole range of baking mixes (for biscuits, cakes, pancakes, etc) that are based on wholegrains and contain no refined sugars (unlike the mixes I used to rely on).

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I received their Ginger Giggles Biscuit Mix, which includes the following ingredients: stone ground wholemeal plain flour, rye flour, wholegrain barley flour, unrefined dark muscavado sugar, flaxseed, ground ginger, mixed spice, cinnamon and sodium bicarbonate. All I had to add was butter, honey and an egg white.

The instructions were straightforward, and it was fun cutting out different shapes for the biscuits – I had to freestyle most of this, as I didn’t have any cookie cutters (but the rustic look is in trend… right?).

 

The biscuits turned out crisp around the edges and slightly moist and chewy in the centre. They’re not overly sweet, and have a lovely spiced flavour.

 

All in all, I’d recommend this to busy bakers, or even if you want to make a healthier version of your favourite baked good!

Classic Carrot Cake

Weekends are for baking so on Friday evening, I decided to make one of my favourite cakes – carrot cake! Ever since coming to the UK, I’ve become addicted to this sweet, rich dessert so I wanted to find a perfect recipe to make it at home.

I find recipes like this – where you basically dump everything into a huge bowl, mix and then bake – so satisfying and therapeutic. While I appreciate using actual technical skill to make perfect macarons, for example, sometimes after a long week, all you want is a simple, (fairly) effortless recipe. The result here is an incredibly moist and warmly spiced cake, which can be enjoyed as afternoon tea, after dinner and even for breakfast.

Usually, I love the combination of carrot cake and cream cheese icing, but I’ve opted for an icing sugar drizzle for this recipe as it keeps the cake lighter (and means that it’s more justifiable to have several servings in one sitting!).

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Ingredients

 

  • 160 g light brown sugar
  • 145 ml vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 160 g grated carrot
  • 100 g raisins
  • 175 g plain flour
  • 2¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / 350°F.
  2. Line your baking tin with parchment paper.
  3. Put the sugar, oil and eggs into a mixing bowl and lightly whisk until combined.
  4. Add in the grated carrot and raisins and mix gently.
  5. Sift in the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  6. Fold everything together.
  7. Transfer the carrot cake mixture into the baking tin.
  8. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.
  9. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, and then on a wire rack.
  10. For the frosting/drizzle, beat the icing sugar and orange juice until smooth, then drizzle over the cake in any way you like!
  11. Serve and enjoy!

(Recipe adapted from bbcgoodfood.com)

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Matcha & White Chocolate Blondies

Matcha (Japanese green tea) is one of my favourite flavours in the world – I love the tea on its own, but I’m also obsessed with matcha ice cream and desserts. On its own, matcha can be slightly bitter, which I think can be nicely balanced out by the sweetness of white chocolate.

This recipe makes approx. 16 blondies, which are great for a dessert, a snack or even breakfast (at least I did!). They’re dense, cake-y blondies with a lovely hint of matcha.

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Ingredients

  • 200 g butter (unsalted)
  • 200 g soft brown sugar
  • 150 g white chocolate
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tsp matcha powder (I used Bloom’s Supercharge Matcha)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / 350°F.
  2. Line your baking tin with parchment paper.
  3. Melt the butter and mix in 100 g of the chopped white chocolate.
  4. Stir until the white chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and sugar together until pale.
  6. Sift in the flour and baking powder, matcha powder into the egg and sugar mix.
  7. Add the vanilla extract.
  8. Pour in the cooled chocolate butter mixture and fold everything together.
  9. Transfer the blondie mixture into the baking tin.
  10. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.
  11. Melt the remaining 50 g of white chocolate and drizzle over the cooled blondies.
  12. Enjoy with a scoop of ice cream or a cuppa tea!

(Recipe adapted from Teapigs.com)