Pret’s Dark Chocolate Vegan Cookies

Pret’s famous and well-loved vegan cookie filled with crunchy pieces of almond and chunks of dark chocolate!

Following on from my last blog post and recipe for these Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes, I thought I’d continue with all things chocolate and share the latest vegan cookie to come out of my kitchen since I baked these Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I’m probably a wee bit late jumping on this bandwagon, but if you didn’t know already the popular sandwich shop chain, Pret A Manger released their famous Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cookie recipe last year. I’ve seen lots of fellow vegan bakers making these cookies and they always look super delicious and get me craving a chocolate cookie every time I see them.

Pret describes this cookie as a rich dark chocolate cookie, studded with melting chocolate chunks and crunchy almond pieces, enriched with almond butter and sprinkled with a little sea salt. Sounds yummy, right?

I haven’t baked many vegan cookies before, so I was apprehensive trying out this new one. I didn’t have any almond butter in so I used peanut butter instead and my cookies came out incredibly well. You can use any nut butter you have in to make these cookies and also if you don’t have flaked almonds why not try adding some chopped hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts or leave them out entirely and add even more chocolate.

Before going vegan, these Triple Chocolate Cookies were my go-to chocolate cookie to bake. I didn’t want to miss out any longer enjoying chocolate cookies, so when I first saw Pret’s vegan cookie recipe I knew instantly that I just had to give the recipe a shot.

The measurements in this recipe are pretty exact. As with all baking I really do recommend using a pair of kitchen scales to make sure everything is weighed correctly and your cookies bake perfectly.

In all honesty, I didn’t spend ages photographing these cookies because I so desperately wanted to eat them! I love how all the chocolate chunks go gooey when baked, in literally every bite of these cookies there was an explosion of dark chocolate in my mouth.

For a dark chocolate lover, these cookies are heavenly.

Thank you to Pret for sharing this scrumptious cookie recipe with the world. My plan next time I bake these is to prepare a double batch because eight cookies wasn’t enough!

(Makes 8)

Ingredients:

43g caster or granulated sugar

112g dark or light brown sugar

40g flaked almonds, lightly smashed up – you can use whole almonds chopped into small pieces or another nut of your choice

112g dark chocolate pieces – chocolate chips or chopped up chocolate will both work

205g plain flour

20g cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

4g salt

65g coconut oil

72g almond butter – I used peanut but any nut butter will work

100g golden syrup

40g water

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line two large baking trays with silicone baking mats or parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine both sugars, the almonds and chocolate. Add the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt (it’s recommend you sift the dry ingredients). Mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. In a small bowl or jug, whisk together the coconut oil, almond butter, golden syrup and water until mixed. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and mix until a dough comes together.
  4. Divide the cookie dough into 8 equally sized portions and roll into balls. Spread the balls of cookie dough out onto the baking trays and flatten slightly with your palm.
  5. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies have flattened, the edges are crisp and the centre of each cookie is still soft. Mine took 10 minutes to bake. Allow the cookies to cool for 15 minutes on the baking trays. As the cookies cool, I like to press extra chocolate chips into the tops. The cookies will keep for up to 3 days stored in an airtight container.

Another scrumptious vegan cookie recipe for you to bake next!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Enjoy!

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Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan chocolate fudge cupcakes with decadent chocolate buttercream. This recipe makes a dozen delicious chocolate cupcakes that are a breeze to make and taste like they’re from a bakery!

Chocolate cupcakes that are perfect for simply any celebration or occasion, but especially great to bake in time for Easter!

These chocolate cupcakes are soft, fluffy and topped with ultra smooth and creamy chocolate buttercream. One bite of these cupcakes and no one will guess they’re vegan.

The cupcake batter takes all of just 10 minutes to prepare. Start by making a vegan ‘buttermilk’ and to do this you’ll mix plant milk with vinegar – this mixture will help the cupcakes rise as they bake. In a mixing bowl you’ll combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Next, add oil and vanilla extract to the vegan ‘buttermilk’ mixture you prepared at the start of the recipe. Add that to your dry cake mix ingredients and then add plant milk/coffee and whisk until you have a smooth batter.

As with most chocolate cupcake batters, this one is runny so I’d recommend pouring the batter into a jug or using an ice cream scoop to distribute between the paper liners.

Bake the cupcakes until risen and springy to the touch. Then leave to cool completely, but as they cool you can make the buttercream and leave it in the fridge ready to decorate the cupcakes later on.

For this vegan chocolate buttercream, I swapped the butter for vegan baking spread, the icing sugar and cocoa powder is kept the same and then to lighten buttercream I’d normally add some double cream (I prefer adding cream instead of milk) so I switched my usual double cream for oat cream.

Testing out this vegan chocolate buttercream, I would say that the oat cream/plant milk is totally optional. I prefer a super creamy buttercream so add this extra ingredient to loosen my buttercream. However, even without the vegan cream the buttercream is easy to pipe, so don’t go out of your way to get vegan cream especially as your buttercream will taste great and have a wonderful creamy texture.

I usually make chocolate buttercream with melted chocolate, but I’d seen a lot of vegan chocolate buttercream recipes called for cocoa powder, so I decided to stick with adding cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate this time. This decision did have an added benefit too as it meant I could keep my supply of dark chocolate for future bakes and to snack on when I’m in need of some chocolate!

Top the cupcakes with grated dark chocolate, vegan mini speckled chocolate eggs or your desired cake decoration. If these cupcakes appear on your table over Easter I really do hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

120ml plant milk (I use soya but any plant milk will work)

1 and 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

200g caster/granulated or dark/light brown sugar

180g plain flour

40g cocoa powder, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

80ml vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

120ml plant milk + 1 teaspoon instant coffee – the milk will need to be warmed before adding the coffee

Chocolate Buttercream: 

150g dairy-free baking spread

400g icing sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

30g cocoa powder, sifted

2-3 tablespoons vegan cream or plant milk (optional) – add enough until the buttercream has reached your preferred consistency

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
  2. To make the cupcakes: In a jug, mix together 120ml plant milk with the vinegar and leave it to one side – this makes a vegan-style buttermilk and will help the cupcakes rise when baking.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Whisk together until combined.
  4. Now add the oil to the plant milk/vinegar mixture you prepared earlier and mix together. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients along with the vanilla extract.
  5. Heat the remaining 120ml plant milk until warm (approx. 30 seconds in the microwave will do or place on the stove top and heat until warm) and add the coffee. Stir to dissolve the coffee in the milk and then add this mixture to the other ingredients.
  6. Whisk until you have a smooth batter free of any lumps. Distribute the cupcake batter between the paper liners and bake for 18 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre of one of the cupcakes. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  7. To make the buttercream: In a large mixing bowl, cream the dairy-free baking spread until softened – about a minute or two should do. Now add the icing sugar in two batches, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and continue mixing for a further 5-7 minutes until the buttercream is pale and creamy.
  8. Add cocoa powder and the vegan cream/plant milk (if using) and mix for another 30 seconds until thoroughly combined. Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with piping nozzle and decorate the cupcakes. You can spread the buttercream on each cupcake if you prefer. Decorate the cupcakes further as desired.

The cupcakes will keep stored in airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to a week.

Enjoy!

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Vegan Scones

Classic English scones made with vegan ingredients. Made without any dairy or egg, these scones are gorgeously fluffy and will be greatly enjoyed with dairy-free whipped cream and jam.

The next vegan bake I wanted to tackle for my blog was scones. I’ve already found some great vegan bakes like this banana bread, these brownies, these cookies and these flapjacks. With every new blog post I’m adding to my vegan recipe collection and I’m really enjoying discovering loads of yummy vegan recipes. I’ve also been testing out some vegan cake recipes, one was very successful (I hope to share it soon in time for Easter) and another not so successful that I’ll need to go back and work on.

This time last year I baked these (3 Ingredient) Lemonade Scones and ever since posting they’ve become one of the most viewed recipes each day. I haven’t eaten scones in a while, but recently I’ve really wanted to bake a batch.

If you were blind taste testing these scones, you really wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the vegan version and a recipe that includes dairy ingredients.

Scones just HAVE to be served with cream and jam. For us vegans, there’s many wonderful vegan alternatives to our usual favourites. Before I went vegan, I would bake with copious amounts of double cream, but thankfully now I don’t miss out as I use an oat-based whipping cream alternative which is equally as fabulous.

You cannot even tell the difference between this non-dairy whippable cream and double cream, it’s absolutely amazing and a lovely treat piled on top of these yummy vegan scones with jam. In my recipe notes below I’ve listed the brands of vegan ingredients I used.

These are a vegan version of traditional English scones. I’ve had questions before about adding sultanas to the scone dough, I’d recommend adding about 100g of sultanas to your scone dough, you could even add the same amount of vegan chocolate chips/chunks instead of dried fruit if you fancy something different!

When serving these scones I went for raspberry jam, but you can serve the scones with any jam you like such as apricot, blackcurrant or keep it classic with a delicious strawberry jam. Another favourite jam of mine is plum jam, I have fond memories of making plum jam with my grandma and grandad a number of summers ago.

Just look at how fluffy and cake-like these vegan scones are!

As with every vegan recipe I’ve made so far, I have always been a bit worried when starting off whether they’ll be any problems with the recipe and will it taste good enough to share on the blog. I’ll never share any recipe I’m not proud of, I only want you to have fun in the kitchen and enjoy baking as much as I do.

These scones require a handful of ingredients: self-raising flour, baking powder, salt and a few tablespoons of sugar, fridge cold dairy-free baking spread and plant milk (I used soya milk). Simply sift together the dry ingredients, then using your fingertips rub the baking spread into the dry ingredients until you have a fine breadcrumb mixture. Gradually add the plant milk and very gently mix by hand until a soft dough has formed. Place the scone dough on a piece of baking parchment and press out until it’s 2cm in thickness. Leave the scone dough to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Resting the scone dough makes it’s easier when it’s time to cut the scones out the dough. Take a 6cm scone cutter and stamp out 6-8 scones and now place the scones on a large baking tray that’s been lined with a piece of parchment paper. This step is optional, but if you have the time now you’ll need to freeze the scones for 15 minutes as this ensures when the scones bake they’re uniform in shape.

Once the scones are ready to bake, all that’s left to do is to brush the tops lightly with extra soya milk. I also sprinkle the tops with a tiny bit of sugar, I used caster sugar but even some demerara sugar would add a lovely crunch to the top of each scone. This is a trick I used to do when I worked as a tearoom baker baking gluten-free scones and customers always loved it, so I’ve used that same idea here with these scones.

(Makes 6-8)

Ingredients:

350g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons caster or granulated sugar

95g vegan dairy-free spread

150ml plant milk – I use soya milk

Jam and vegan whipped cream/ crème fraîche, to serve

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together. Give the dry ingredients a quick mix and then add the vegan spread. Using your fingertips, rub the spread into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Gradually add the milk bit by bit and mix until you have soft and smooth dough – you might need to add a dash extra milk to help bring the scone dough together.
  3. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll the dough out until it’s roughly 2cm in thickness. Carefully transfer the scone dough a baking tray lined with a piece of baking parchment and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up – this makes it easier to cut out the scones later on.
  4. Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge and take out a 6cm cutter (fluted or plain is fine) and stamp out 6-8 scones. Place the scones onto another baking tray lined with parchment paper leaving about 2cm between each scone and place in the freezer for 15 minutes – this is optional you can bake the scones straight away if you prefer.
  5. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 220 / 200 Fan / Gas Mark. Brush the tops of the scones with extra plant milk and sprinkle with some extra sugar to a crunchy top. Bake the scones for 15-20 minutes until they’re lightly golden. Leave the scones to cool on a wire rack before enjoying with jam and vegan whipped cream.

The scones will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days, they’re best enjoyed on the day they are baked.

Recipe Notes:

  • I use Pure Vegan Baking Spread but I’d also recommend Flora Plant Butter (Salted or Unsalted) – this is a block vegan butter I’ve used in other recipes and it will be fine to use to make these scones.
  • If you like dried fruit in your scones, you can add 100g of sultanas to your scone dough or for something different try adding the same quantity of vegan chocolate chips/chunks.
  • For the vegan whipped cream, I recommend Oatly Whippable Creamy Oat – this is the best whippable dairy-free cream in my opinion compared to other brands I’ve tried.

More vegan bakes to try!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan Flapjacks

Vegan Banana Bread

Enjoy!

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Vegan Flapjacks

Four ingredient vegan-friendly flapjack recipe! These chewy oat bars are a popular treat in the UK and are a sweet and squidgy bite of utter heaven!

I first shared my go-to flapjack recipe nearly 6 years ago (wow time has flown by!) and as I’ve very recently turned vegan, I’ve been baking and experimenting in my kitchen with lots of vegan bakes since the start of the year.

These British Flapjacks have overtaken my many other recipes and are now the most viewed recipe on this blog near enough every single day. If you’ve ever tasted a British-style flapjack, then you’ll understand why they’re so well liked. I mean what’s not to enjoy about a gooey oat bar made with butter, sugar and lots of golden syrup?

Flapjacks are a fantastic recipe to easily veganise because it’s only the butter that needs swapping for a plant-based alternative.

As I mentioned above these are British-style flapjacks, when I posted my flapjack recipe on the blog many years ago, readers from the US were confused and thought I’d gone completely bonkers as flapjacks in North America are actually pancakes. This side of the pond, when we talk about flapjacks we are in fact referring to these chewy oat bars!

On a recent weekend off work, it snowed heavily where I live, we cosied in at home and spent the weekend watching films, our Gilmore Girls box set and I did some baking to keep myself busy. I wanted to prepare something comforting but that was also easy to make, homemade flapjacks are the first recipe I turn to when I want to bake but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.

Flapjacks are pure comfort food to me, no-frills, just simple and incredibly delicious.

Get creative and add different ingredients to your batch of flapjacks, before baking why not stir through some chocolate chips or nuts! Or once the flapjacks are baked and sliced up, top them with a drizzle of cookie butter, peanut butter or dark chocolate.

Flapjacks make a great energising breakfast, mid-morning snack to power you through your working day or for an afternoon pick me up!

(Makes 12-16)

Ingredients:

175g vegan butter – a vegan block plant butter or spread will both work

175g golden syrup

175g dark or light brown sugar

350g rolled oats (I like using jumbo rolled oats)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 150°C / 130°C Fan / 300°F / Gas Mark 2. Line a 20cm / 8-inch square cake tin with greaseproof paper and grease well. Set aside.

2. Start by melting the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the golden syrup and sugar and continue to cook and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Stir through the oats. Once the oats are completely covered, spread the mixture out into the lined tin. Press down well with the back of a spoon or a spatula until firm.

3. Bake for 40 minutes, the flapjack should be slightly golden around the edges. Once cooked allow to cool in the tin completely – as they cool the flapjacks will crisp on top slightly. I recommend leaving the flapjacks in the fridge to set before slicing – I leave mine overnight and slice up the next day. Once cooled slice into 12-16 squares or 24-32 mini flapjack bites. The flapjacks will keep stored at room temperature or in the fridge for up to a week, but they’re not likely to last that long!

Enjoy!

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Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

A classic bake made vegan. Soft and chewy vanilla cookie dough packed with gooey dark chocolate. These are the BEST vegan chocolate chip cookies you’ll ever make!

 

I have a treat for you today if you love chocolate chip cookies as much as I do. In my opinion, there’s really nothing better than a plate of homemade cookies fresh from the oven, sitting on the countertop ready to be eaten.

If you’ve been looking for a great vegan cookie recipe, then your search is over, as today I’m sharing the BEST Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies you’ll ever taste!

As I mentioned in this blog post, as of the start of 2021 I’m now following a vegan diet. I’d been vegetarian for a couple of years and decided the next step for me is embracing a totally plant-based diet. There are so many amazing vegan foods available, so we’re absolutely spoilt with the selection of choice we have and recipes we can veganise!

I get asked why I’ve decided to go vegan, there are many reasons but here I hope to inspire you too to delve into vegan baking and cookery with the new style of recipes I’m going to be sharing.

I’ve been on the quest to find lots more vegan recipes I can share on my blog. As I’m still very new to vegan baking, I want to showcase basic vegan baking recipes to start with. In the future I’d like to diversify and share vegan cakes, cupcakes, more cookies and some savoury recipes too. My sister has also made us some yummy vegan bakes, including Millionaire’s Shortbread and Banoffee Pie which we’ve all thoroughly enjoyed!

With my vegan baking, I’ve already mastered Vegan Brownies and Vegan Banana Bread, next after those I wanted to discover a great vegan cookie recipe. I was skeptical when testing out vegan cookie recipes, the first time I baked vegan cookies they didn’t look too promising, but after letting them cool on the baking trays and tasting them we couldn’t stop eating them. The only problem with the first batch of cookies is they spread a lot in the oven and joined up on the baking trays. They were thinner and crispy, but I prefer a slightly thicker and chewier cookie with crispy edges.

You wouldn’t even know these cookies are vegan. They taste just like a classic chocolate chip cookie without dairy or eggs.

My taste testers couldn’t even tell these were vegan and they happily demolished the cookies within a couple of days!

This cookie dough is so simple to make and you can make it all by hand. However, you can use an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer if you have either of those in your kitchen.

So let’s have a quick rundown of how to bake these cookies!

Start by taking softened plant butter (I recommend block plant butter instead of using a vegan baking spread as that has too high water content for baking) and mix that with (dark or light) brown sugar until creamy and super fluffy. Using all brown sugar adds a delicious caramel flavour and keeps the cookies super chewy. Now add the soya milk (or another plant milk of your choice) and the vanilla extract. After you’ve mixed the wet ingredients together, now add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until a cookie dough forms. The last step in preparing the cookie dough is folding through the dark chocolate chips/chunks until distributed.

You don’t have to chill the cookie dough, but I always chill my cookie dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so it’s less sticky and easier to roll when I’m ready to bake the cookies.

The cookies are best enjoyed fresh from the oven, once they’ve cooled for about 10-15 minutes they’re still slightly warm and the chocolate is ultra gooey. As they cool and time goes on, the chocolate in the cookies will harden a little but the cookies will remain chewy and soft textured.

You see that bowl of dark chocolate in the photos? It was the perfect snack to munch on while taking photos of these cookies. I just couldn’t stop my hand reaching for them and the cookies…

Next time I bake these cookies I might try adding some different flavourings, inspired by these Chunky Milk Chocolate Pecan Cookies I’ll add some toasted pecans to my next batch. The choices of add-ins are absolutely endless, you can add orange zest, desiccated coconut, spices like cinnamon or ginger or chopped up salted pretzels.

Whether you follow the recipe below exactly or add your own flavour spin, I really do hope you enjoy baking these incredible vegan cookies!

(Makes 18-20)

Ingredients:

112g (1/2 cup) vegan butter – use block plant butter not a spread

200g (1 cup) dark or light brown sugar

60ml (1/4 cup) plant milk – I like using soya milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

250g (2 cups) plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)

1/2 teaspoon salt

175g (1 cup) vegan dark chocolate chips/chunks, plus extra to press into the tops of each cookie

Method:

  1.  In a large mixing bowl cream the softened plant butter with the sugar until creamy and fluffy.
  2. Now add the plant milk and vanilla extract and mix to combine.
  3. Place a sieve over the top of the mixing bowl and sift all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cornflour and salt) and mix until a dough starts to come together.
  4. Stir through the chocolate chips/chunks until evenly distributed throughout the dough. Cover the bowl and leave the dough in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes – this an optional step but I find it makes rolling the cookie dough easier, you can skip this step and roll the cookie dough straight away.
  5. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line two large baking trays with baking parchment or silicone baking mats. Divide the dough into 18-20 equally sized pieces – I weigh mine to be exact (aim for 45g portions). Place the balls of cookie dough out on the baking trays and leave room between each piece of cookie dough to allow the cookies to spread.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until they’ve turned a light golden colour. Once the cookies are out of the oven press a few extra chocolate chips/chunks into the tops of each cookie if desired.
  7. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking trays – as they cool they’ll firm up.
  8. Once the cookies are cooled store them in an airtight container. The cookies will keep for up to 3 days, but like most baked goods they’re best enjoyed on the day of baking. Try the cookies with a glass of plant milk or scoops of vegan chocolate or vanilla ice cream for a delicious vegan dessert!

Recipe from Loving it Vegan

More vegan bakes to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Vegan Banana Bread

Vegan Brownies

Enjoy!

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A Tribute To Our Grandad ❤️

Today on the blog my big sister Becca and myself are sharing a tribute to our grandad, Peter.

Our grandad passed away at the end of December and today is his funeral. This past month and a bit has been a sad time for our family with the sudden loss of our wonderful grandad.

He left behind his wife of 61 years, our grandma Marjorie, our auntie and uncle, our parents and six grandchildren. We wanted to share some of our favourite stories and photos in memory of our grandad as we celebrate his life today.

Grief has been a difficult situation for us to deal and come to terms with. At 26 and 24 years old, we luckily haven’t experienced much grief before in our lives. Grandad is the first person we’ve ever lost in our adult life and we’re dealing with this loss along with our family one day at a time. We know we’re both very lucky and we couldn’t be more grateful for all the supportive and caring friends and family we have who have reached out and are helping us all through this hard time. Reading the cards and hearing how highly people thought of our grandad is so lovely.

Grandad was a truly remarkable man and a true gent. He was the most caring, gentle, polite and loving man. Every single person speaks of our grandad as a gentleman and a family man, and that really is the perfect way to describe him. You honestly would never of met a kinder man and we’re extremely lucky to have had such an amazing person in our lives for as long as we did.

Grandad was the biggest supporter of us both and constantly encouraged us. Grandad would call Becca ‘The Roving Reporter’ as she’s a journalist and grandad was proud of me being a trained chef and food blogger. We all definitely have a sweet tooth in our family and shared the same love of desserts!

Whenever our grandparents came round the house, we’d all sit together and discuss the stories Becca had written about for work and I’d tell them what I’d been up to at work and show them what recipes I’d been creating for my blog. Grandad was amazed to hear my blog receives readers from all corners of the world.

Grandad lived a long and fulfilled life. Like us he was born and grew up here in North Essex. He was an only child, and growing up he lived on a farm with his mum Violet and dad Charles, who was a farmer. Grandad went to the local grammar school and during his career he worked in accountancy, and later on he worked as a local government officer in the education department which covered all the local schools. He was admired and well respected for the work he did whilst working in that role.

He did his military service for the British Army in Tripoli, Libya. Over the years we loved hearing all the interesting stories he had to tell us about his time serving in Libya.

Grandma and grandad met in 1956 and later married in 1960. Their relationship was a true love story. Grandad treated grandma like a princess because he was an absolute gent and their marriage was full of love and respect for one another. I told my mum that if I’m with someone one day who’s half the man grandad was then I’ll be very lucky. They welcomed their first child, our uncle, the following year and our mum was then born a few years later.

Our grandma and grandad loved holidays in the UK during their life together and their favourite destination was the Isle of Wight. They also loved day trips going down to the West End in London to see musicals and spending the warm summer days down at their beach hut on the Essex coast.

Grandma and Grandad on their wedding day

Grandad with our mum

More happy times and funny memories over the years were the summer holidays when we’d spend a lot time at grandma and grandads house. When we were little girls, Becca and I would go round to grandma and grandads and we’d have a good dance around the front room where they had a record player. Grandad would be in charge of the putting the music on and our favourite song to dance to was ‘Don’t’ Go Breaking My Heart’ by Elton John and Kiki Dee – it’s still a favourite song of ours to this day! Whenever we listen to that song it always puts a smile on our faces and takes us back!

We’d also had lots of fun in the garden playing games and using grandads wooden tennis rackets and cricket bat that he would get out of the shed when we were there. Grandad was a big England and Essex cricket fan and went to see Essex play several times with my other grandad.

When I started going to school in the year 2000, I would only do a morning at school as I was born at the end of July and the students born later in the academic year would do half days instead of a full school day. My grandma and grandad would pick me up as both my parents were working and I’d go home to theirs and have lunch. They’d cook me a scrumptious lunch (my absolute favourite as a child) of roast chicken, mashed potato and iceberg lettuce. I’d have lashings of salad cream on top of my lunch. My grandad even joked that once I did a full day at school, the local supermarket would wonder why their sales of salad cream were suddenly so low!

Between us all we would take grandma and grandad out for the afternoon to down to Manningtree waterfront on the River Stour. We’d bring along coffee/tea and some biscuits (or a bake I’d made for my blog) with us and if the weather was nice we’d sit on the benches, and in the cooler months we’d stay in the car and have a chat. We’d also go to down to garden centres and cafés and have some cake on our trips out with each other.

This Christmas wasn’t the usual for anyone, but I’m so thankful we had one last Christmas (2019) with grandad. I had Christmas Day off work last year and we cooked a tasty dinner for everyone to enjoy. We had my mum’s side of the family round for our annual Christmas Eve get together and we served up a table full of nibbles and homemade cake. We all spent the evening together, exchanged and opened our presents from one another and had a fantastic time. Grandad was with grandma and surrounded by all his grandchildren and he had a blast. Christmas Day (2019) we had grandma and grandad round for lunch and looking back at the photos we took before we ate, grandad looked so happy and that means a lot to us all because we really all did have a fabulous last Christmas together.

Tonight grandad we’re having a meal to celebrate your life, we’ll enjoy a plate of fish and chips in your honour and we’ll raise a glass to you. You taught us so much, we learnt to be more content and happy and also to smile every single day.

We will always remember the fantastic and truly special times we all had together. Sitting in the garden during the spring and summer with our rabbits whilst enjoying drinks and ice cream, trips down to the seaside, going to see shows with you, meals out and the smile on your face when you were enjoying a custard tart, raspberry trifle, slice of Victoria sandwich or lemon meringue pie (all your favourite desserts). We’ll all miss those times, but we will cherish the memories.

We all love you so much and miss you tremendously. You were the best dad and grandad anyone could wish for, you’ll be forever in our hearts. ❤️

3 Ingredient Oreo Fudge

Amazing three ingredient white chocolate Oreo fudge – this scrummy fudge recipe takes less than 15 minutes to make and no scales or specialist equipment is needed! 

Fudge is a quintessential Christmas recipe to make and one type of confectionery I’m sure we all make over the holidays. I’ve previously shared an Oreo fudge recipe, but with that recipe I used this Vanilla Clotted Cream Fudge as a base and added some chopped up pieces of Oreo. This Oreo white chocolate fudge is SO much easier and quicker to make and saves you all the elbow grease that my other recipe requires!

Several fudge recipes have appeared on my blog over the years I’ve created content for it. I love adding pieces of chopped up biscuit/cookie to fudge mixes. I’ve added bourbon cream biscuits and custard creams to make Bourbon Biscuit Fudge and Custard Cream Fudge. Now it’s time to turn to one of my other favourite biscuits/cookies: Oreos!

Oreo fudge is completely fail-proof, there really isn’t much skill involved but the end result is utterly delicious. The white chocolate flavour is incredibly good, it’s super creamy and every bite of the fudge you get a taste of the chocolatey Oreos.

Oreo + white chocolate = an absolutely heavenly combo!

To make the fudge you’ll start by simmering a some water in a pan and then place the white chocolate and condensed milk in a heatproof bowl and place that atop the simmering water (make sure the base of your bowl is not directly touching the water). Heat it very gently and stir until it’s melted and smooth. By the time these two ingredients are melted you’ll have a thick mixture. Now off the heat add 3/4 of the chopped Oreos and stir until they’re mixed through the fudge.

Transfer the fudge mixture to a lined square tin and top with the remaining Oreos. At this point you can decorate the top of your fudge with any other decorations/sprinkles – I topped mine with some mini white chocolate chips I had in my kitchen.

When you come to cut up your fudge you’ll get approx. 36 squares of fudge. This fudge is super sweet so you might get more if you cut the fudge into smaller squares.

The fudge will keep stored in the fridge or at room temperature for up to a week. The Oreos will soften slightly but the fudge is still delicious nonetheless.

Oreo fudge is a wonderful no-bake treat and a fantastic gift to wrap up for your loved ones this holiday season!

(Makes 36 pieces)

500g white chocolate, broken into small pieces

1 x 400g (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 x 154g pack Oreos, roughly chopped – this can be substituted with Golden Oreos or another biscuit/cookie you like

Method:

  1. Line a 20cm square tin with parchment paper – leave a little overhanging the sides to make it easier to lift the fudge from the tin later on.
  2. Place the chocolate and condensed milk in a medium sized bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water – make sure the base of the bowl doesn’t directly touch the water. Heat gently on a low heat and stir until completely melted and smooth.
  3. Take off the heat and stir through approx. 3/4 of the chopped Oreos. Spread the fudge out into the lined tin and top with the remaining chopped Oreos. At this point you can decorate the top of the fudge with any other decorations.
  4. Cover the fudge and leave it to set in the fridge for for 2-4 hours or overnight.
  5. Cut the fudge up into squares as big or small as you want – this makes roughly 36 servings. The fudge will keep for up to a week in the fridge or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

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Passionfruit and Lime Cream Pots

These 4 ingredient tropical inspired cream pots are flavoured with passionfruit and zesty lime – they’ll make a lovely addition to your Christmas menu.

Happy first day of December! It’s the last month of the year and what a rollercoaster 2020 has been. It’s crazy to think Christmas Day is less than a month away!

Have you started planning your Christmas festivities yet? I’m feeling quite organised this year, I’ve nearly got all my presents sorted out and we have our menu planned. We put our Christmas tree and all the decorations up this past weekend and I’m loving how bright and festive the house is looking with the twinkly lights and ornaments hanging on the tree.

This year we’re going partly vegan ready for starting Veganuary in January. We’ve discovered so many vegan recipes and are excited to find more. My sister and I made some delicious mushroom wellingtons for dinner one evening and they went down so well we decided they’d make a fabulous Christmas dinner, we have those planned to enjoy on Christmas Day along with all the trimmings – aka the best part of a roast dinner!

Last month I shared this divine Terry’s Chocolate Orange Traybake. That cake is super delicious and chocolatey, admittedly I can’t believe anyone could dislike chocolate, I do understand that not everybody likes chocolate as much I do and might be looking for an alternative idea. After a heavy main meal that’s rich in different flavours, it’s nice to end your meal with something light and refreshing.

For this recipe I took inspiration from these Lemon Posset. I’ve changed the flavours by adding a tropical twist and made it into a mousse textured dessert. It’s not like a manufactured mousse, these cream pots have more body and substance.

What gives these cream pots a tropical vibe is the delicious combination of passionfruit and lime. I know passionfruit can be a little pricy but it is Christmas after all and 2020 has been a year with plenty of ups and downs, so we deserve to treat ourselves as much as possible. Passionfruit is one of my favourite fruits, but when paired with a citrus fruit such as lime, it comes to life!

So let me do a run through of how to prepare these cream pots. Don’t worry if you don’t have much experience in the kitchen, this recipe isn’t overly complicated!

Start by straining the passionfruit pulp into a sieve set over a bowl or jug. Discard the seeds and squeeze and stir the lime juice into the passionfruit juice. Heat half the cream with sugar, stir until the sugar has dissolved then bring the cream mixture up the boil and simmer gently for 3 minutes exactly. Once the cream has cooked pour it into the fruit juices and stir – it will thicken up quickly and you’ll now need to leave this mixture to cool for 20 minutes. After it’s cooled, whisk the remaining cream until soft peaks have formed and then fold the passionfruit lime cream into the whipped cream. Fold until there’s no lumps of cream left and then transfer the mixture into your serving dishes.

I use a few recycled ramekins that you get those popular gooey chocolate puddings in (UK readers will know what I’m talking about) and some small glasses that had chocolate hazelnut spread in them. You can use whatever serving dishes you have, even small espresso cups would be great if you’re planning to serve more or want a petit fours sized treat.

A delicious Scottish-style shortbread biscuit is the perfect accompaniment to these tropical cream pots

Serve these cream pots with homemade Shortbread Biscuits. I wasn’t sure whether to add some desiccated coconut to the shortbread dough but in the end I stuck with my shortbread recipe as it’s always popular with my taste testers and this classic biscuit allowed the flavours in the cream pots to take centre stage. But who knows, next time if I’m feeling slightly more adventurous, then I might be tempted to give that idea a try!

Once the cream pots have had at least 6 hours to set (overnight is best as this allows the flavours to develop) they’ll be ready to serve. I recommend taking the cream pots out of the fridge and letting them sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.

I hope you enjoy these cream pots as much as we did. They’re a refreshing end to a meal, aren’t too heavy and leave you wanting more!

(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

1 lime, zested

5 passionfruit

100g caster or granulated sugar

600ml double cream

Decoration:

1 passionfruit – spread this out on the top of the cream pots when serving

Fresh berries – blueberries are my favourite to serve with these but raspberries or chopped strawberries taste great

Method:

  1. Firstly start by zesting your lime and set the zest aside for later on. Scoop the flesh from the passionfruit into a sieve that’s set over a bowl or jug. Push the passionfruit pulp through the sieve using the back of a spoon to extract all the juice. Discard the seeds. Squeeze the lime juice into the passionfruit juice and mix together.
  2. Put the sugar and 300ml of cream in a pan. Heat this mixture gently over a medium heat until the sugar has all dissolved, bring the mixture up to the boil and allow it to gently bubble away/simmer for 3 minutes. Take it off the heat and pour into the passionfruit and lime juice stirring to combine. Set this mixture aside to cool for 20 minutes.
  3. Now in a large mixing bowl whisk the remaining 300ml of cream until soft peaks form. Take the passionfruit and lime cream mixture into the whipped cream and fold until combined then finish by folding through the lime zest.
  4. Transfer the mixture into glasses, ramekins or small pots. Loosely cover the tops (make sure the cling film doesn’t directly touch the tops of cream pots) and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight ideally if you have the time.
  5. Serve the chilled cream pots with shortbread biscuits. The cream pots will keep stored and covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Enjoy!

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Caramelised Onion Chutney

Homemade caramelised onion chutney is a tasty addition to a cheeseboard. This onion chutney pairs well with bread or crackers and mature Cheddar cheese. 

Making homemade chutney is another Christmas food tradition of mine, every year in November or at the start of December I make a batch of caramelised onion chutney ready to enjoy over Christmas on our festive cheeseboard.

You can change around the flavourings in this chutney to suit your own palate. This time I added wholegrain mustard, smoked paprika and chilli flakes for a little kick of heat. On previous occasions when I’ve made this I’ve added fresh thyme but you can add herbs that you like or have in like thyme or rosemary. You can also add a couple of torn bay leaves for extra fragrant flavour – but remember to remove these before you put your chutney into the jars!

This condiment is extremely popular here in the UK, particularly at Christmas when served on a cheeseboard. I’ve eaten lots of readymade chutney however none of those compare to this wonderful recipe – some usually have sultanas added which is a no-no for me as I despise dried fruit like raisins and sultanas, so making your own allows you make a chutney that’s tailored to your taste requirements.

This chutney is sweet, sticky and delicious spooned on top of a cracker and some sliced cheese. But you don’t just have to serve chutney with cheese and crackers, we ate ours with vegan hot dogs on Bonfire Night last week and also we made a tasty lunch with slices of homemade Irish Soda Bread buttered then topped with sliced cheese and chutney.

Also, just an idea of something I’m planning to make for lunch using this chutney – I’m thinking of toasting a couple of slices of bread, topping the bread with a generous helping of the chutney then topping the chutney with grated cheese to make a yummy cheese toast with a difference.

We also made an epic toasted cheese sandwich only the other day for our lunch and filled the toasties with chutney. There’s loads of different ways of serving this chutney, so go ahead and experiment!

I was dubious sharing this recipe as regular visitors to my blog will be used to me sharing lots of sweet baking recipes, I rarely share savoury recipes but that’s something I like to do from time to time to keep things interesting and cater to different tastes. This recipe isn’t all savoury though, I did manage to incorporate my sweet tooth into this chutney with all the brown sugar that was added…

Lastly, if you’re trying to think of Christmas present ideas for your loved ones, then gifting someone special a jar of homemade chutney is a fantastic and thoughtful gift to include in a hamper.

(Serves 20 / Makes approx. 1 litre)

Ingredients:

1.5kg onions, thinly sliced – sometimes I use red but this time I went for brown onions

2 tablespoons oil – I used olive oil but vegetable oil is fine to use

300g dark or light brown sugar

200ml red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard (optional)

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika – regular paprika is fine to use

1/2 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan on medium heat. Sauté the onions for 30 minutes until softened and reduced by half – the onions don’t need to colour at this point.
  2. Now add 3 tablespoons of the sugar and continue to cook the onions for a further 10 minutes until they’re starting to turn golden and caramelise.
  3. Next add the remaining ingredients (the red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, mustard, paprika, salt and the remaining sugar). Cook the onions for a further 30-40 minutes until the liquid has reduced and is generously coating the onions. You can check the chutney is ready because it’ll coat the back of a spoon.
  4. To sterilise the jam jars, place your jam jars in an oven heated at 140°C / 120°C Fan / 275°F / Gas Mark 1 for 10 minutes.
  5. Carefully fill the hot jars with the chutney and leave to cool before securing the lids. The chutney will store at room temperature for up to one year, but once the chutney is opened it will need to be stored in the fridge and will keep for up to two months.

Try this chutney with some of my homemade bread/scone recipes!

Irish Soda Bread

White Bread Rolls

50/50 Bread Rolls

Cheesy Buttermilk Scones

Enjoy!

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Terry’s Chocolate Orange Traybake

Moist chocolate sponge cake topped with my favourite silky smooth and shiny dark chocolate ganache and decorated with chocolate orange confectionery. This recipe is one to bookmark for the festive season! 

So after sharing these Vegan Brownies last month, I’m carrying on the chocolate theme today with this scrumptious traybake recipe!

I’m sitting here typing away while eating a piece of this cake and writing this blog post and I’m in complete and utter cake heaven. This yummy cake is soft, spongey and has a lovely chocolate flavour and a hint of orange that comes through in the background.

Dare I say the C-word?! Christmas is getting nearer and this year I’m getting ready ahead of time and trying to get as organised as I can in time. In typical Jessica fashion, I tend to end up running out of time to share my Christmas bakes before the big day arrives, but not this year as I’m determined to get through my list of recipes to make!

As it’s now November, from today onwards until Christmas I’ll be sharing recipes for the festive season and hopefully there’ll be recipes on here for when you fancy doing a spot of home baking!

Christmas this year will be little different to anything we’ve experienced before, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate (while keeping our loved ones and ourselves safe) and have a good time with lots of yummy food on our table. I’m working this year, so we’ll be having our Christmas dinner in the evening when I’m home from work. Boxing Day will be for relaxing and eating all the leftovers – something I’m very excited about regardless of the difficult situation we’re all facing at the moment.

A big part of Christmas for me and like many others is the food, comforting recipes that put a smile on your face, something I think we could all do with now. There’s certain ingredients that remind me of Christmas, it wouldn’t be Christmastime without Terry’s chocolate orange. As my family and I aren’t fans of your typical Christmas foods like mince pies or Christmas cake/pudding we have to be a bit more creative. You can tell how much of big fan of TCO I really am because I have a number of recipes which incorporate my favourite chocolate including this cheesecake, these cupcakes and these cookies!

This year TCO has given us an extra special Christmas gift by bringing back their famous white chocolate Terry’s chocolate orange. Everyone in my house has their favourite TCO flavour, mine is definitely the classic milk chocolate, but my sister loves dark chocolate oranges.

I’ve mentioned before that I like baking traybake cakes instead of layer cakes. I find layer cakes difficult to put together and baking is all about having fun and not worrying too much – I don’t want to stress about whether the layers are all even or if my cake is going to fall apart –  this is a true story from a recent baking fail I had, I can laugh about it now but at the time I was beyond annoyed!

This is my go-to chocolate traybake. I chose to decorate mine with chocolate ganache, but you can swap the ganache for a chocolate buttercream or any favourite buttercream for that matter. I love this ganache recipe and if you feel like upping the chocolate orange flavour even more then you can use orange flavoured dark chocolate.

I used my Chocolate Traybake recipe and adapted it slightly to put a Xmas spin on the original version. I think there’s a traybake recipe for every season, in spring for Easter I love this Carrot Cake Traybake, in autumn I’m excited for my Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and now I have my Terry’s Chocolate Orange Traybake for the festive season! The final piece in the jigsaw puzzle is a summer traybake creation, but that’s something to work on next year…

So let’s run through how to prepare this scrumptious chocolate traybake. The first step is preheating your oven, once you’ve done that you’ll need to boil a kettle and mix cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda with boiling water, mix those ingredients together until combined and then leave the mixture to cool for 20 minutes. Now in a large mixing bowl, mix together the sugar and orange zest to release the natural oil in the orange, then add the eggs and vegetable oil and whisk until smooth. Add the chocolatey mixture you prepared earlier along with the flour. Give it one more quick whisk and then pour the cake batter in a traybake tin.

Bake the cake until it’s risen and a cake tester comes out without any uncooked batter attached to the tester. Now allow the cake to cool completely in the tin, as the cake is cooling it’s the ideal time to get the ganache prepared ready for decorating the cake later as the ganache will need leaving for a couple of hours to firm up.

Ganache is basically a really fancy spreadable chocolate icing. It’s not too sweet and is super simple to make: just take some dark chocolate (you can use orange flavoured dark chocolate here too) and chop the chocolate up. Place the chopped chocolate in a large mixing bowl. Take a small pan and heat double cream and a tablespoon of golden syrup until just simmering and bubbles are appearing on the surface. Pour the hot cream on top of the chocolate and stir gently until mostly melted, then stir in a tablespoon of butter. Cover the very top of the ganache with clingfilm and leave it at room temperature for two hours until spreadable.

Once it’s ready, spread the ganache evenly across the top of the cake and decorate with the chocolate orange confectionery. I went for a mix of milk chocolate and mini white chocolate orange segments and chocolate orange sweets.

(Serves 15-20)

Ingredients:

Chocolate Cake:

75g cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

200ml boiling water

370g light brown sugar

Zest from one large orange

4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

180ml vegetable oil

200g self-raising flour, sifted

Chocolate Ganache:

200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces – if you want even more chocolate orange flavour then use orange dark chocolate

200ml double cream

1 tablespoon golden syrup

1 tablespoon butter (salted or unsalted)

Decoration:

Milk Terry’s Chocolate Orange

White Terry’s Chocolate Orange – I used mini segments

Orange Chocolate M&M’s/Smarties

Sprinkles of your choice

Method:

  1. To make the cake: In a small bowl whisk together the cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and boiling water. Mix until combined and then set aside to cool for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 23cm x 30cm baking tin that’s at least 4cm deep with baking parchment.
  3. In a large mixing bowl rub the orange zest into the sugar to release the natural oil, then whisk the together with the eggs and oil until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate mixture to this and whisk again until incorporated. Finally, add the flour and whisk until  fully mixed.
  4. Pour the cake batter into the cake tin. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a cake tester when inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Once the cake is baked, leave it to cool in the cake tin completely.
  5. To make the ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium mixing bowl. Heat the cream and golden syrup in a small saucepan until bubbles just begin to appear on the surface and just before it starts to come up to the boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until mostly melted. Now add the butter and continue to stir until smooth. Directly place a piece of clingfilm on the top of the ganache and leave it at room temperature for about two hours until spreadable. Decorate the cake with the chocolate orange segments and your choice of additional sprinkles. Leave the cake to set at room temperature for a couple of hours before slicing into squares.

The traybake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. If you feel your cake is drying out, revive it by popping a piece into a microwave and heating gently until the chocolate is melted and the cake is warm – this is really yummy with the molten chocolate so I recommend you give it a try!

Enjoy!

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