Why is baking so addictive?

I don’t know what it is but I will find any excuse to bake. I will happily admit that I am not the best baker in town but I like to give it a good go. I am guilty of changing recipes based on what I have in the house, which doesn’t always go my way. But I am a firm believer in having a well stocked cupboard and not running to the shops everyday. And I think my purse thanks me for it.

What is it about baking that is so much fun? Is it seeing a bunch of ingredients transform into something warm and delicious? Or is it the feeling of eating something afterwards that you know is slightly naughty? Yes that is probably it. We all have a dark side.

One of my (and my husbands) favourite biscuits are oatmeal and raisin cookies. I’m not sure if this is because the oats and raisins make us both feel like we are being slightly ‘healthy’, but then we are reminded by the butter and sugar in it and slowly come back to reality.

This is a very easy recipe that I got from one of Mary Berry‘s Bake Off books and it was delicious. A perfect combination of ingredients made the biscuit slightly soft and chewy rather than too crunchy.

The recipe is as follows: 125g softened butter, 150g muscovado sugar, 1 large free-range egg, 1 tablespoon of milk, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 100g self-raising flour, 75g raisins, 150g porridge oats.

Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the egg, and then place the rest of the ingredients in and fold through. It’s as easy as that! I added a pinch of cinnamon too because I love it, but you don’t have to. Place small dollops (technical term there) on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and bake in the oven for 15-20 mins or until golden. Bake at 180 degrees C/gas mark 4. Let them cool properly on a rack if you can resist eating them straight away. Enjoy!

Baking is good the for soul…go on give it a try.

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The Comforts of Baking

I have to admit it, I have the baking bug. If everything I wanted to make wasn’t made from butter, cream or sugar, I would most likely bake everyday. But then again if I did this, baking wouldn’t be such a treat.

The nation has gone baking mad, with the rising popularity of The Great British Bake off (something I am obsessed about) and celebrity chefs. There is something very soothing about combining a bunch of ingredients, placing it in the oven and seeing it transform into something comforting and delicious.

Breads, cakes, pastries and more, baking has become an art form and a science. There are an endless amount of recipes out there, all so tempting to try! So why not get in the kitchen one Sunday afternoon and whip up something that will make the whole family happy. No need for any experience, everyone has to start somewhere! The feeling of seeing the finished result of something you made from scratch beats buying a factory made cake any day.

This was a coconut and lime tray bake that I adapted from Mary Berry’s lemon drizzle tray bake, and although I know I am not supposed to alter recipes, it was delicious! A great combination and a delicious afternoon treat. Happy baking!

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Coconut cake

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Why not make your own Granola bar?

Ok so I don’t know about you but I am always hungry. I get hungry half an hour after a meal and I have no idea why. But I can’t keep eating! So I decided to make my own granola bar to give me some energy and keep me going.

These are made with oats, coconut, almonds, crushed weetabix, and dried fruit. I added some honey, brown sugar and little bit of butter to bind it all together. Now I know what you are thinking. Butter and sugar? Fattening! But if you think about how much goes into a whole batch that will make about 20 bars it’s not that much. Besides I think a bit of butter does you good…sometimes.

There’s more goodness in these bars then what you might get with the ready made ones. Who knows what they put in there! It’s so easy to make and great for a snack on the go. I know I’ll be eating them on my way to work!

There’s so many different recipes out there, you can mix and match or make one with everything that you like in it. I added vanilla paste to this to give it a nice flavour. What combinations would you like? The possibilities are endless!

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Granola Bars

What are you baking this weekend?

I try and find any excuse to bake and I think Easter weekend is the best excuse, especially when it’s ‘for your nieces’. Baking with kids makes this guilty pleasure just that little bit more acceptable don’t you think?

I don’t have kids yet (and yes you will all have to wait a few years still) but I know that I will get them in the kitchen as soon as they can crawl. Ok maybe that’s pushing it a bit but you get the idea. I think teaching children about food is a great opportunity for them to understand what they are eating. It’s also a great chance to get them to try different things, although I can’t imagine giving them aubergine curry straight away. Bless them.

I borrowed my darling nieces to experiment with for my project (no child was harmed in this process). I wanted to show the beauty of young children getting their hands dirty (i.e covered in chocolate cake batter) in the kitchen to show the importance of teaching children from a young age about food. Although I think the most I achieved was getting my nieces a bit hyper on multi-coloured sprinkles. Oh well, the project goes on! And now we have cake.

Check out my website at http://www.jbimagery.co.uk