Strawberries and Cream Puff Pastry Tarts

The strawberries used in this recipe were kindly gifted by McLauchlan’s of Boxted fruit farm

The easiest five ingredient dessert! Flaky puff pastry filled with whipped vanilla cream and sweet summer strawberries. 

These easy Strawberries and Cream Puff Pastry Tarts are a delicious summer dessert idea and take less than 30 minutes to prepare! I often pick up a pack of readymade (and ready rolled) puff pastry to transform into a dish or dessert of some kind.

My mum inspired me with this recipe and she’s been making these puff pastry tarts for as long as I can remember, both with sweet and savoury fillings.

Today I’m filling these puff pastry tarts with a classic British summer combo: strawberries and cream.

You can however add any fruit to these such as chopped kiwi, mango or passionfruit pulp. Another of our favourite combinations is peaches and raspberries to make a melba fruit tart.

This summer, I’m happy to be working again with my local pick your own fruit farm, Boxted Berries and share another recipe on their website using the strawberries from the fruit farm. Last year I shared these scrumptious Strawberries and Cream Shortbread Sandwiches. I kept with the same theme for this recipe as you can’t go far wrong with a classic strawberries ‘n’ cream dessert in my opinion!

Heading down to McLauchlan’s fruit farm is something I’ve done since I was very little (I will turn 25 years old this summer!) and still enjoy venturing down to get strawberries every summer if given the chance.

The best part is that you get to taste a few strawberries as you pick and decide which variety you want!

This year I’ve created a recipe that’s vegan friendly. If you didn’t know already, most brands of puff pastry you find on the supermarket shelves are vegan, but always double check the packet to make sure it’s suitable for vegans.

These tarts can be made vegan or non vegan, I only had to make one swap with regular double cream and switch that for whippable oat cream. I added some vanilla and icing sugar to mine to make a simple Chantilly whipped cream to fill the tarts. You could add a different flavouring such as lemon/orange extract or zest.

Taste your strawberries to check how sweet they are. Sometimes a little sprinkle of caster/granulated sugar is needed if the strawberries are lacking sweetness, if you do add some sugar to yours it will make the strawberries release their natural juice. I found when decorating the tarts just a dusting of icing sugar over the top added enough extra sweetness for me.

Assemble the tarts near enough just before serving. Once the cream goes into the pastry cases, the puff pastry will start to lose it’s crispness and goes softer. The separate components can be prepared ahead of time and put together when ready.

To decorate, push down the puffed pastry in the centre so you’re left with a hollowed out middle, pile the cream in and then scatter the strawberries over the top of the cream filling. Before adding the cream to the centre, you can add a spoonful of lemon curd or jam if you fancy. Also, the top can be decorated with a melted chocolate of your choice!

(Makes 8)

Ingredients:

320g sheet of ready rolled puff pastry, take out from the fridge 10 minutes before baking

250ml double cream or plant based alternative

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons icing sugar, plus extra for serving

Approx. 250-300g strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped into quarters or small pieces

Method:

  1. Start by taking the puff pastry out from the fridge and allowing it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C / 180°C Fan / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
  2. Take the puff pastry and roll it out on a work surface, take a sharp knife (or pizza wheel) and cut the pastry in half vertically down the centre, then cut each half again vertically down the centre once again. Finally, cut across the entire piece of pastry horizontally, now you will have eight rectangular pieces of puff pastry.
  3. Place each piece of pastry between two large baking trays (I put four pieces on each baking tray) and using a sharp knife, score around the edges leaving approx. a 1cm border. Bake the pastry for 15-20 minutes until well risen and a light golden colour. Once baked leave the pastry to cool down completely.
  4. Get the fillings ready by whisking the cream with the vanilla and icing sugar until soft peaks form. Cut the strawberries up and set aside at room temperature.
  5. When ready to serve, take the puff pastry case and press down the risen centre gently with your hand or the back of a spoon. Fill the centre with the whipped cream and pile the strawberries on top of the cream. Dust liberally with icing sugar and serve. The tarts best eaten straight away.

Try my Strawberries and Cream Shortbread Sandwiches next!

Enjoy!

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Vegan Biscoff Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan chocolate cupcakes with Biscoff buttercream. These decadent cupcakes are drizzled with melted cookie butter spread and decorated with crunchy speculoos.

Cupcake Day is on June 17th this year and there’s nothing like cake to bring everyone back together. Last year I created a recipe for Marble Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Buttercream to raise awareness and vital funds for Alzheimer’s Society’s annual Cupcake Day. This year I’ve got another cupcake recipe to inspire you to take part and a host your own Cupcake Day for this important charity.

We love cupcakes and any cake for that matter! I’ve added a different flavour to our favourite Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes and that new tasty addition is Biscoff.

If you’ve not tried this dreamy spread before then you’ve been missing out! It has a lovely caramelised flavour with a hint of cinnamon, ginger and other spices. Once I’ve opened a packet of biscuits I find it hard to stop eating them, one is never enough!

I’m going through a bit of a Biscoff craze lately after buying a massive 700g jar and having that in the kitchen made me want to create a new Biscoff bake for the blog. Asides from adding Biscoff to buttercream, I’ve been having it on my breakfast bowl of porridge with strawberries or spread on a couple of crumpets – two breakfast ideas I highly recommend!

The chocolate cupcakes are the same as my original recipe, but instead of chocolate buttercream I’ve made Biscoff buttercream. I use the smooth spread, but the crunchy spread can also be used.

The cupcake is fudgy, moist and rich in chocolate flavour. While the Biscoff element features just in the buttercream and decoration, once the cupcakes are cooled you can cut out of the centre and fill with a spoonful of Biscoff spread. I didn’t do this, but I think it’s a great idea!

The buttercream is made like a regular buttercream, but to make sure it’s completely vegan we’re using a dairy-free baking spread, icing sugar, Biscoff spread and some plant cream/milk. It has just the right balance of creaminess and caramelised flavour.

The cupcakes can be decorated however you want. I pipe my buttercream on top of each chocolate cupcake, then drizzle melted Biscoff spread and crushed Biscoff biscuits over the top. I love how simple the decoration is and makes the finished cupcakes look so tempting.

(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

Biscoff Buttercream: 

150g dairy-free baking spread

300g icing sugar, sifted

150g crunchy or smooth Biscoff spread

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, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Whisk together until combined.
  4. Now to the dry ingredients add the oil, the plant milk/vinegar mixture you prepared earlier 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. Now continue mixing for a further 5-7 minutes until the buttercream is pale and creamy.
  8. Add the Biscoff spread and give that a quick mix. Now add 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, I decorated mine with a drizzle of melted Biscoff spread and crushed Biscoff biscuits before serving.

The cupcakes will keep stored in airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Marble Cupcakes with Milk Chocolate Buttercream

No-Bake Biscoff Cheesecake

Enjoy!

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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, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Whisk together until combined.
  4. Now to the dry ingredients add the oil, the plant milk/vinegar mixture you prepared earlier 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 3 days.

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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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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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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