Sweet, Traybake

Standby Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate brownies are fab!
I especially love the ones that are all sticky in the middle and have a slight crunch on the top, I think these are usually called American Brownies but the recipe I made at the weekend was from an Australian, and it works brilliantly.

When we went on holiday to Australia last year (oh where is the time going?!) for my birthday my Auntie and Uncle gave me a cookbook from an Australian Chef called Donna Hay. As you probably already know that I love cookbooks so I was really chuffed with it.
One day watching TV I noticed that Donna’s show was on so I watched it and she made this recipe – Standby Chocolate Brownies

It looked so easy to make so I had a go and was so impressed with the results. Strangely, these brownies don’t actually have any chocolate in at all, yet you would never tell as they taste so chocolatey (I don’t even know if that is a word).

If you ever need a simple easy recipe that is so easy to throw together, but that looks and tastes impressive then I would recommend it.

Sweet, Traybake

Accidental crunchy dark chocolate and amaretto flapjack

Last night I made some dark chocolate and amaretto flapjack for my husband… but this time I was disappointed with it!

I have made it so often and never had a problem with it before so I don’t know if it is because I used a different brand of porridge oats or because I cooked it in the oven for 3 minutes longer but they weren’t the nice chewy flapjack they usually are… I made crunchy flapjack.

I think there has long been a debate over people who like their flapjack crunchy and those who like it chewy but in our household it is chewy which always win.

The difference usually between chewy and crunchy is in the amount of butter or syrup that is put into it and the length of cooking time, so the flavour is always the same; it is just the texture which changed.

Flapjack is so easy to make but it is difficult to get it absolutely perfect every time.
Usually I use the cheapest porridge oats I can buy from our supermarket (I don’t know why but I have always found that these work the best), margarine, brown sugar and golden syrup. It does have the advantage of making them very cheap to make as well as easy.

Unfortunately this time I had to use the premium brand oats as they had sold out of my cheap ones.

So this is the recipe which makes a crunchy flapjack.
Next time I will try it again with my usual oats and another tablespoon of syrup to make them chewy… and I would also add a bit more amaretto.

Crunchy dark chocolate and amaretto flapjack

500g premium porridge oats
200g margarine
160g light brown sugar
2 tbsp Golden Syrup
2-3 tbsp amaretto liquor (or a few drop of almond essence if you don’t want any alcohol)
80g dark chocolate

Pre-heat the oven to 200c
In a large pan gently melt the margarine, brown sugar and golden syrup till it combines together into a nice dark mixture with no sugar crystals left. You don’t need to get this too hot, just hot enough to melt everything.
Then add the amaretto liquor.
Take it off the heat and mix in the porridge oats.

Whilst the mix is cooling a little take a 100g bar of dark chocolate and use a large knife to cut 80g into chunks. I say to use a 100g bar because then it leave a few squares of chocolate to eat yourself afterwards.
You can use dark chocolate chips if you want instead.

Mix these quickly into the flapjack and then put it all into a smallish rectangle baking tray.
Pat it down firmly with your hands making sure it is all pressed to the edges.

Bake in the oven for 28-30 minutes until brown all over.

Once it comes out of the oven and is still warm, use a palate knife to cut the mixture into squares.

Cover with a piece of kitchen roll or a tea towel and leave it in the tray for 3-4 hours or overnight till it has cooled. Then you can store the flapjack in an airtight container till it has all been eaten.

Sweet, Traybake

Get up and Go Bar

Yesterday at work I was feeling tired and finding it hard to get through a busy Tuesday, not too unusual but is still hard when you’ve lost your get up and go attitude that you started the day with.

So at lunch time I nipped to the supermarket to try and find something to eat that would be both healthy and give me lots of energy.

I managed to seer myself away from the chocolate and ended up buying a seed bar, which is like a flapjack but instead of oats it is packed with seeds, nuts and fruit and although my dad would call this ‘rabbit food’ it was very nice… but expensive!

I decided that I would eat the one I had bought but I would find a way to make an alternative which would be cheap and easy but just as nice and nutritious. I find that I don’t eat enough nuts and seeds as I should because I am not too keen on them on their own but I should as they contain a lot of vitamins that I should eat.

This recipe uses a little bit of a cheat, but a cheaper alternative to buying all of the fruit, nuts and seeds separate – using a muesli cereal with all of these in.

Although this recipe has a feeling of being saint-like, it still isn’t perfect as it uses Golden Syrup but you can just think of this as being a nice sugar boost. If you like you can swap this for honey but I unfortunately hate honey so I won’t.

If you can’t find a cereal ready mixed like this then make you own using a base of:

50% muesli mixed with a little bit of desiccated coconut (about a tbsp)
25% seeds or nuts
25% dried fruit

If the muesli already contains a lot of dried fruit in it then you don’t have to worry about adding more – it’s a bit of a judgement depending on the brand you use but will still work!

Get up and Go Muesli Bar

80g Brown Sugar
50g Butter
50g Margarine
250g Museli/seed/fruit mix
2tbs Golden Syrup (or honey if you like it)

Heat the oven to Gas Mark 5 (190 c)

1. Over a low heat melt the butter and the Margarine in a deep saucepan then add the sugar and 2 tablespoons of golden syrup*
3. Mix in the oats
4. spread the mixture evenly over a non stick baking tray. Smooth over with a knife making sure the mixture is even.  I find it nicer to pat into the tray using my hands, messy but good.
5. Place the baking tray onto the middle shelf in a preheated oven (gas mark 5, 220 C) and bake for approx. 15 minutes.  Take out when the mixture starts turning a golden brown.
6. Stand for a minute or two, then score the mixture with a knife into you portions
7. Cover the tray with kitchen roll or a tea towel and leave for a couple of hours to cool before trying to get it out of the tray.

*For a hint put the tablespoon into a cup of boiling water as it will help the golden syrup slide off the spoon.