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 though 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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Vegan Brownies

Supremely fudgy chocolate brownies made completely vegan. You wouldn’t guess these chocolatey brownies are dairy free and made without any butter or eggs! 

Hey readers! Today I’m changing it up and sharing a vegan bake I’m hoping you’ll fall in love with these brownies just as we have! Sometimes I like to delve in and do something different, come out of my comfort zone and share some vegan bakes.

My sister and I are both really into vegan food and we’re on the quest to find lots of vegan recipes to make. We’ve recently started switching our usual milk based products for plant-based alternatives and you really can’t tell the difference – such as this Creamy Porcini Mushroom Pasta we now make this yummy Italian pasta dish with oat cream and it tastes amazing and in our porridge for brekkie we use oat milk. It’s great to see how many vegan products are hitting our supermarket shelves, there’s a lot more choice available.

Back in January when partaking in Veganuary we baked some vegan recipes for the blog – I discovered a great Vegan Banana Bread and during January I started my journey to find a vegan brownie recipe. Unfortunately my baking that day didn’t go entirely to plan and I wasn’t successful finding the perfect vegan brownie recipe. The brownies I made were not pleasant at all, they were stodgy and didn’t have the texture I was aiming for, however we reluctantly tasted them, but they were thrown straight in the bin and the search for a blog worthy vegan brownie continued!

These brownies I photographed for my blog are only the second time I’ve baked vegan brownies so I was elated to finally land on a brilliant vegan brownie recipe and one I was happy enough to share.

Making a delicious vegan brownie isn’t an easy task. But these brownies are truly incredible, they’re rich even without butter, fudgy without eggs added and taste so chocolatey thanks to addition of both dark chocolate and cocoa powder. I wanted to bake a brownie that didn’t use any unusual ingredients a lot of vegan bakes call for. Many vegan brownie recipes ask for flax eggs, but I figured like myself most people don’t have flaxseeds/linseeds and other ingredients in their pantry or readily available where they live around the world.

Whilst we’re on the subject of vegan recipes, I’ve also got a number of vegan friendly savoury and sweet recipes of which I’m always looking to expand and add more to. Check them out below – most of them are savoury, so I’m endeavouring to share more vegan bakes in the future, so watch this space…

Here are some of my vegan recipes listed below for you to try:

Basic Homemade Granola

Chickpea Tikka Masala

Mexican Red Rice (Arroz Rojo)

Mum’s Apple and Blackberry Crumble – this recent recipe on my blog is easily made vegan by swapping the butter for vegan butter or dairy-free spread

Paprika Roasted Potatoes

Patatas Bravas

Perfect Popcorn

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce and Penne all’Arrabbiata

Vegan Banana Bread

White Bread Rolls and 50/50 Bread Rolls

Which is your favourite: the centre or edge piece of brownie?

The brownies in the centre are definitely my go-to, I love brownies super fudgy so I love a centre piece of brownie because they’re always extra gooey. If you like those warm, molten chocolate lava cakes then take one of these brownies and give it a quick blast in the microwave and it goes all soft and gooey – your kitchen also gets filled with a divine chocolate aroma when they’re heated up!

If you feel like switching the recipe up a bit, I’ve seen lots of recipes where bakers have swirled melted peanut butter or cookie butter spread into the brownie batter before baking, so next time I’ll be trying that.

These brownies are addictive and I had ZERO control around them, I found it hard work resisting going back for piece after piece of brownie, but luckily for me I had some willing taste testers who didn’t mind having a helping of these fabulous brownies too!

(Makes 16)

Ingredients:

200g dark chocolate – I use 74% cocoa solids but ensure the chocolate contains no milk

140g plain flour

200g caster or granulated sugar

20g cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

80ml vegetable oil

240ml plant milk – I like using soya milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Half a packet (approx. 7) Oreo cookies, Biscoff, Bourbon Cream Biscuits (all three of these are suitable for vegans) – these are optional

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 20cm square cake tin with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Break the dark chocolate up and add to a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie) – make sure the base of the bowl is not directly touching the water. Gently melt the dark chocolate until it’s smooth.
  3. In a large mixing bowl sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder. Give these ingredients a quick whisk together to combine then whisk in the oil, plant milk and vanilla extract until you have a smooth batter. Finally whisk in the melted chocolate until incorporated.
  4. Transport the brownie batter to the lined tin. At this point you can top the brownies with vegan biscuits/cookies or extra vegan chocolate chips/chunks. We topped ours before baking with half a packet (7 biscuits/cookies) Oreos broken into smaller pieces.
  5. Bake the brownies for 25-30 minutes. Leave to cool completely in the tin before cutting to 12-16 squares. We left ours overnight before cutting. The brownies will keep stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Recipe adapted from Sweetest Menu

Enjoy!

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Mum’s Apple and Blackberry Crumble

Autumn isn’t complete without a serving of my mum’s apple and blackberry crumble recipe! This classic British pud is perfect served with lashings of warm custard, a scoop or two of ice cream or pouring/whipped cream. This simple 5 ingredient pudding is a crowd pleaser and incredibly easy to make. 

I’m really excited to be collaborating with a fellow baking blogger today! Together Becky Anne Bakes and myself have been working on a collaboration to both share an autumn recipe that features blackberries! I have my mum’s classic Blackberry and Apple Crumble recipe to share with you today and make sure to head over to Becky’s blog and check out her yummy Blackberry Bakewell Tart recipe – this is certainly on my autumn baking list now. She has so many other delicious recipes you’ll be tempted to bake like these autumn inspired Apple Crumble Millionaires Shortbread and these Spiced Plum Flapjacks.

It feels as though autumn has arrived here in England and I couldn’t be more excited for all the autumnal desserts and recipes I’ll enjoy over the next couple of months, a few weeks ago we were in the middle of a heatwave and now it’s turned much cooler. So now it’s finally cool enough to be in the kitchen with the oven switched on, I’m ready to let my autumn baking/recipes commence!

Spoon/sprinkle the crumble topping on top of the fruit that’s in your baking dish. Using the back of the spoon, press the crumble mixture down slightly. The photo below shows you how your crumble should look before baking.

During the summer as it’s usually too hot to bake, apart from being in the kitchen at work I prefer to limit my time in the kitchen at home and spend more time outside enjoying the weather and doing all the fun activities the summer opens doors to. But if I am in the kitchen and feel like creating some recipes for my blog then in the summer I tend to focus my time on no-bake treats. My lockdown summer has been full of delicious recipes including this Biscoff Cheesecake, No-Churn Oreo Ice Cream, Strawberries and Cream Shortbread Sandwiches, Nutella Cheesecake and when it finally cooled down I got back in the kitchen again and baked these Chunky Milk Chocolate Pecan Cookies!

We eat apple crumble most Sunday’s during the autumn and winter after a roast (vegetarian in our household). This is one of my mum’s recipes, in fact it was the first recipe I had to make during my food technology lessons at secondary school. I remember being a nervous 11-year-old starting my first year of secondary school and being so worried I would mess up a simple crumble recipe.

Now fast forward 13 years later and now I’m a professionally trained chef, I’ve worked in different catering establishments and have also a food blog (I still enjoy working on so much!) that’s read by people all across the world. It’s crazy to think how much has changed since I attended my first food technology lesson all those years ago and was a frightened student who didn’t realise everything would be alright in the end!

We picked all the fruit for this recipe whilst out for walks in the local countryside. Every year I love picking blackberries and because we’ve had great weather near the end of our summer the blackberries are beautifully sweet and delicious – it’s been a wonderful year for British blackberries!

 

I hope you’ll love my mum’s crumble recipe as much as our family does! This really is a winning autumn/winter recipe – the fruit is naturally sweet and tastes wonderful and the crumble topping reminds me of shortbread with its luxuriously buttery and comforting taste.

(Serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

4 medium apples – I recommend Braeburn, Bramley, Cox, Granny Smith or Golden Delicious

125g blackberries, fresh or frozen

250g plain flour

150g butter (salted or unsalted), at room temperature, softened slightly and cut into 1cm chunks – I get my butter out about an hour before baking

75g caster or granulated sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C / 180°C Fan / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
  2. Prepare the fruit by peeling, coring and cutting the apples into 1-1.5cm chunks (you don’t have to be too accurate with the sizing). Place the apple chunks in a large baking dish. Top with the blackberries.
  3. To make the crumble topping: Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and rub the butter into the flour until you have a fine breadcrumb texture – you can do this step in a food processor but it’s really so easy you don’t need to use any specialist equipment! Now stir through the sugar.
  4. Evenly spread the crumble mixture over the top of the fruit covering it completely. Using the back of a spoon, gently press the crumble mixture slightly down on top of the fruit.
  5. Bake the crumble for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden in colour on top and the fruit is cooked – this might take longer depending on your oven. Leave the crumble to cool for a few minutes before serving with warm custard, pouring/whipped cream or ice cream.

Recipe Notes:

  • Taste your fruit before placing in the baking dish and if you feel it’s very tart and needs a bit more sweetening then add about a tablespoon of extra sugar on top of your fruit layer before topping with the crumble mixture.
  • Add a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or mixed spice on top of the apples if you fancy.
  • If you don’t have blackberries, then you can leave them out of the recipe entirely or substitute with raspberries or any kind of frozen fruit you have in.
  • You can use brown sugar instead of caster/granulated for a slightly more golden looking crumble.
  • Also, if you want to you can add a handful of rolled oats to your crumble mixture – we do this sometimes and it tastes great!
  • The baked crumble is best eaten straight away fresh from the oven. I recommend reheating it in the oven until warmed through opposed to microwaving it.

Enjoy!

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Chunky Milk Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Thick and chunky chocolate and pecan cookies are chunkier and even yummier than your average cookie. These decadent cookies are packed with gooey milk chocolate chips/chunks and toasted pecans – a flavour match made in heaven! 

Thick and chunky (copycat London’s Crème dessert shop / New York City’s Levain Bakery) cookies have been popular on the internet recently and I couldn’t resist any longer so I’ve decided to share my new favourite chunky cookie recipe with you today!

Cookies make me so happy, I’m 100% sure eating cookies will put a smile on your face even during these tough, uncertain times. It’s something about that chewy texture with the incredible and totally irresistible gooey chocolate that’s delicious when melted as you take a bite in to a cookie that’s fresh from the oven!

I like sprinkling a pinch of Maldon sea salt on top of some of the cookies before baking. Once your cookies are ready you’re in for a treat enjoying them with a glass of milk or with scoops of ice cream!

I love all types of cookies, on my blog I have shared the classic Chocolate Chip Cookies, White Chocolate CookiesTerry’s Chocolate Orange Cookies and these insanely delicious Triple Chocolate Cookies. It’s safe to say this blog is not short of cookie recipes for you to try!

I’ve never shared a super thick and chunky cookie before and having seen these on Cupcake Jemma’s website and YouTube channel, I’ve been desperate to have a go at this recipe. Every time I watch Jemma’s team over at Crumbs & Doilies making these amazing cookies, I’ve wanted to reach right through the screen and grab the tray of freshly baked cookies instantly!

 

Milk chocolate pecan cookie dough tastes so good there might not even be any left to bake! I’m a sucker for tasting cookie dough, I can’t get enough of it!

I’ve tested out different chocolate and pecan cookies and found a couple of recipes that are wonderful. My whole family absolutely loves Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s chocolate chip and pecan cookies that feature in their SWEET cookbook – I’ve baked those cookies countless times and they never fail to impress. They’re a slighter smaller serving compared to this cookie recipe created by Crumbs & Doilies. However, lately I’ve been in the mood for a generous sized cookie to treat myself, bigger is definitely better in this case!

Personally I don’t think you can go far wrong with the classic flavour combo of milk chocolate and toasted pecan, but I’m looking forward to experimenting with variations. My sister has plans to bake birthday cake/funfetti cookies with white chocolate and sprinkles – I’m excited for those when she makes them!

If pecans aren’t your thing, then you can substitute with hazelnuts or walnuts (without the skins). Also, add different chopped up chocolate bars or if you don’t want to add nuts then you can leave them out and add even more chocolate.

Honestly, who would say no to more chocolate?

Definitely not me! Enjoy the cookies!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

100g pecans – see recipe for instructions on toasting

300g plain flour

200g self-raising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

230g butter (salted or unsalted), cold and cut into 1cm cubes

160g dark or light brown sugar

160g caster or granulated sugar

200g milk chocolate chips

200g milk chocolate, broken into big chunks

2 large free-range eggs

Method:

  1. Start by toasting the pecans, preheat oven to 170°C / 150°C Fan / 325°F / Gas Mark 3. Place the pecans in a small baking tray and toast for 10 minutes. Leave the pecans to cool and then chop or break into small pieces roughly 1.5cm in size. In a mixing bowl mix together the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt until combined. Set this aside for the moment.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the cold butter for about 30 seconds until softened slightly. Add the sugars and mix again until just combined – you don’t want to make this mixture creamy and fluffy.
  3. Now add the flour mixture and mix until you have fine breadcrumb texture. Now stir through the chocolate and nuts.
  4. Add the beaten egg and just mix until a dough comes together – be careful not to over mix. Weigh roughly 125g portions of the cookie dough and roll into a ball. Place on a lined baking tray or container and freeze for at least 90 minutes or overnight for a thicker cookie.
  5. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line two large baking trays with parchment paper and place the trays in the oven for 5 minutes to heat before spacing the rolled cookie dough balls out leaving at least 2 inches between each to allow room for spreading.
  6. Bake the cookies for 17-22 minutes. If you like a slightly underdone cookie then bake for just 17 minutes, but if you prefer your cookies more done then bake for nearer to 22 minutes.
  7. Leave the cookies to cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes then transport to a wire rack and allow the cookies to cool slightly before serving. Cookies will keep stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days – we think they taste best on the day of baking.

Recipe Notes:

  • I used a mix of half chocolate chips and 2 x 100g bars (200g in total) milk chocolate bars. Feel free to use 400g of chocolate chips or all chocolate bar in the cookie dough. Also, you can swap the milk chocolate for a mix of dark chocolate or even add some white chocolate < I’m trying this next time!
  • The recipe I followed made 12 cookies, however from my batch of cookie dough I managed to get a baker’s dozen (13 cookies) out of mine.
  • When rolling the cookie dough into balls, make sure to not form them too much. So when you’ve weighed each piece of cookie dough out just gently press into a ball.
  • I recommend freezing the rolled cookie dough balls overnight as this produces a thicker textured (and more flavourful) cookie when baked, but if you’re rushed for time or just want cookies ASAP then 90 minutes in the freezer is fine.
  • The recipe recommends baking the cookies for 17 minutes, I don’t like my cookies too underdone so I baked mine for another 5 minutes but again this all depends on how you like to serve cookies, if you prefer them softer and underdone then just bake for 17 minutes as the recipe instructs.

Milk Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Enjoy!

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