How to Make Homemade Rough Puff Pastry

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry – Don’t be scared of making your own puff pastry, really simple to make, it just takes a little time but the results are oh so worth it!

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Homemade rough puff pastry is honestly really easy, it just needs a little bit of time.

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

Have you ever thought about making your own puff pastry? Of course you haven’t. Why would you? You can buy lovely blocks of puff pastry ready made from the supermarket. And anyway, from what you’ve seen on the Great British Bake Off, it looks ridiculously complicated doesn’t it? I love GBBO, but if I have one little niggle with the show (ok it’s a fairly sizeable niggle, just ask my family and friends…), it’s that they over-complicate the simplest of things. I realise it’s all for dramatic effect, but I think they genuinely put folk off making stuff that isn’t really that hard.

I tried making my own puff pastry a few years ago when I was going through an ‘experimental’ stage (just in the kitchen mind!). I used a James Martin recipe, and the result was the lushest, butteriest puff pastry. And it was really easy! Honest! I’m not going to lie, nine times out of ten, I’ll use shop bought puff pastry. Why wouldn’t I? It’s really good and really convenient. But when I’ve got a little more time on my hands, and feeling a little bit more extravagant, I make my own (about once a year). This does take a bit of time, so only make it when you’re going to be home for a while. But the length of time is mostly the pastry sitting in the fridge, so you can be doing a multitude of other stuff at the same time. Believe me, this is totally worth a go.

Ingredients (makes approx. 500g of pastry)

300g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
225g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 tsp lemon juice
about 160-170ml cold water

1. In a large bowl mix together the flour and salt. Add the cubed butter.

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

2. Mix the butter into the flour without breaking up the lumps. I use a fork to stir through.

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

3. Add the lemon juice to the water, then gradually add it and mix to a stiff dough. I start using the fork to bring it together, then use my hand to bring it into a ball. Just use as much water as needed to bring it all together.

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

4. Flour your work surface and place the ball of dough onto your surface.

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

5. Roll the dough out to a long thin rectangular, about 40x15cm. You’ll notice the lumps of butter in the dough. Use your hands to straighten the edges a bit.

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

6. Fold the top third of the dough down.

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

7. Then fold the bottom third up on top.

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

8. Turn the pastry sideways as in the pic, and then press down on the edges with the edge of your hands to seal it.

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

9. Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

10. Take the pastry out of the fridge after 15 minutes (if you leave it longer it doesn’t matter, you just want it cold) and repeat the above process a further 4 times.

So take off the cling film and place on the floured surface (I never clear up between rolling out so I’m just ready to go):

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

Roll out to a long thin rectangle:

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

Fold down the top third, then fold up the bottom third:

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

Turn and seal edges (it’ll start to properly resemble a block of pastry):

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

Place back in the cling film and then back into the fridge for 15 minutes:

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

On your final roll your pastry will look something like this:

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

 

The blobs of butter won’t be noticeable and you should see streaks of butter throughout.

After the final rolling out and folding, place your pastry back into cling film and back in the fridge, this time for at least 30 minutes (the trick to puff pastry is keeping the butter cold). You can now leave your pastry in the fridge until you’re ready to use it, if it’s longer than 30 minutes it won’t matter. Once you’re ready to use your pastry, take it out of the fridge and use it like you would a shop-bought block of puff pastry.

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.comHomemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

So, have I  convinced you? Is that not super easy? A little bit of faffing about, but like I said, most of the time is spent with the pastry sitting in the fridge so you could be doing whatever else takes your fancy in the meantime.

Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

If you’re contemplating making sausage rolls for the festive season, this pastry will take them to the next level. Check out my sausage roll recipe for a sausage roll that will seriously impress your family and friends 😉

Happy cooking!

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Homemade Rough Puff Pastry - This is definitely not something anyone should be scared of, it is really simple to make, just takes a little while but the results are oh so worth it! | thehecticcook.com

Homemade Sausage Rolls

Homemade Sausage Rolls – You haven’t had a sausage roll until you’ve had a homemade sausage roll!

You haven’t had a sausage roll until you’ve had a homemade sausage roll.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

I always make sausage rolls at Christmas. I don’t know if it’s just me, but to me sausage rolls mean Christmas. We tend to have them on the big day itself, either as a light lunch or a late supper, depending on when we have the main event (this has changed over the years from early afternoon to dinner time – I like it later as it gives me the whole day to prep/eat/drink – I once drank a whole bottle of prosecco whilst making Christmas dinner….but I digress). You get some lovely shop-bought sausage rolls, but if you’ve never made your own, you’re honestly missing out. These are really tasty, and really simple.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

Let’s talk pastry. I usually buy the shop stuff. It’s good; it’s easy; it’s convenient. Nine times out of ten, I’ll use a nice block of shop-bought puff pastry. However. During a rather enthusiastic baking spell a few years back, I decided to make my own. How hard could it be? The answer is actually not hard at all. Don’t go believing the theatrics of GBBO. Making puff pastry is not particularly hard. It does take a bit of time, but most of that is to chill the pastry. So I’ve written a separate post here about making puff pastry. However, if you can’t be bothered with that just use a block from the shop.

Ingredients (makes about 24)

500g block of puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
plain flour for dusting

Filling:

400-500g sausagemeat
50g breadcrumbs
sage, about 6 leaves chopped or 1 heaped tsp of dried
1 small apple, grated
seasoning
2 tbsp ketchup/caramelised onion chutney/condiment of choice (optional)

Notes:

  • Quantity of sausage meat is not exact because different shops sell it in different sized packs, so use whatever you have between those quantities (mine was 400g on this occasion).
  • The last ingredient is totally your call. Sometimes I like some extra flavour to my sausage rolls, sometimes I just like to leave them traditional. You could even split the filling and add extra flavour to one portion whilst leaving a portion plain. The choice is yours (on this occasion I added 2 tbsp of ketchup – saves having to dunk them once they’re made). 

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

1. Preheat your oven to 200°C (fan) / 425°F / Gas 7.

2. In a large bowl mix the filling ingredients together with your hands. Season well.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

3. Take your pastry out of the fridge. Cut it in half, and roll the first half out on a lightly floured surface to about a 42x10cm rectangle.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

4. Take half of your filling and squeeze it out into a long log shape, placing it in the middle of your pastry strip.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

5. Brush both long edges with the beaten egg, then fold one side over, followed by the second side, and seal well.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

6. Turn the long roll over so the sealed edge is underneath, and place on a tray. Repeat the process for the second roll, then place the tray in the fridge for about 10 minutes to chill.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

7. Take out of the fridge and cut each into about 12 pieces (or whatever size you like for your sausage rolls). Space out on your baking tray (I tend to spray my tray with cooking oil before placing the sausage rolls on it to prevent them sticking) and brush each roll with the beaten egg.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

8. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and cooked through.

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

If you can resist eating about 5 of these straight out of the oven then you’re a better person than me!

Freezing

You can also make these to freeze, which is really handy at this time of year:

After cutting them up and brushing with the egg (step 7), place them on a tray, slightly spaced apart, then place them in the freezer for about an hour. No need to cover. Once they’re frozen take them out and pop them in a freezer bag, seal and place the bag back in the freezer until you need them. When you want to cook them, place them on a tray and pop in the oven (same temps) for 30-35 minutes until golden and cooked through. No need to egg wash as you’ve already done this. Easy!

Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

If you’ve got a Christmas party this year that you need to take a nibble to, make some of these, and I promise they will go down well.

Happy cooking!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:63]

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Homemade Sausage Rolls - You haven't had a sausage roll until you've had a homemade sausage roll! | thehecticcook.com

 

 

 

 

 

Triple Chocolate Fudgy Brownies

These super chocolatey, fudgy brownies are filled with milk and white chocolate chunks. Super easy to make, they’ll become a baking favourite.

Chocolate brownies that are fudgy and full of chocolate chunks, just like they should be.

Triple Chocolate Fudgy Brownies - Gorgeously fudgy squares of chocolate brownie filled with milk and white chocolate chunks. | thehecticcook.com

I’m a bit confused. It doesn’t take much. Bear with me on this one. Can I call these ‘triple’ chocolate fudge brownies? It’s the brownie bit that’s confusing me.  These brownies contain 2 different types of chocolate chunks, plus the chocolate of the brownie. Hence why I’ve gone for the word ‘triple’. But is that latter chocolate already a given? Because brownie is already chocolate? Am I misleading people by calling these Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownies? Should they just be ‘double’? Confusion reigns.

Triple Chocolate Fudgy Brownies - Gorgeously fudgy squares of chocolate brownie filled with milk and white chocolate chunks. | thehecticcook.com

No matter though, these are pretty god damn chocolatey brownies. It’s a really straight-forward recipe, no need even to melt chocolate. The chocolatey-ness of the brownie comes purely from the cocoa. So don’t skimp on the cocoa. Use good stuff. I do tend to use Cadbury Bournville Cocoa because I know it’s good, although I’ve just bought Asda’s own, so I’ll let you know how that pans out. But whatever you do, don’t use drinking chocolate or the like. This needs the chocolate hit you’ll only get from good quality cocoa.

Ingredients (makes 9 large squares)

350g (2 cups) sugar*
75g (3/4 cup) cocoa powder
50g (1/3 cup) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs, beaten
220g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
100g (1 cup) white chocolate, chopped into chunks
100g (1 cup) milk chocolate, chopped into chunks

Note:

* I tend to use mostly granulated sugar in my recipes now. I haven’t been able to find any difference compared to caster sugar here, and I recently discovered it’s a third of the price!

1. Preheat your oven to 170°C (fan) / 325°F. Line and grease an 8″ square baking tin, or a tin of similar volume (I tend to use greaseproof paper and groundnut oil, but vegetable oil or butter will do fine).

Triple Chocolate Fudgy Brownies - Gorgeously fudgy squares of chocolate brownie filled with milk and white chocolate chunks. | thehecticcook.com

2. In a large mixing bowl stir together the sugar, cocoa, flour and baking powder.

Triple Chocolate Fudgy Brownies - Gorgeously fudgy squares of chocolate brownie filled with milk and white chocolate chunks. | thehecticcook.com

3. Add the eggs, melted butter and vanilla, and mix well until thoroughly combined.

Triple Chocolate Fudgy Brownies - Gorgeously fudgy squares of chocolate brownie filled with milk and white chocolate chunks. | thehecticcook.com

4. Add the chopped chocolate chunks and mix well.

Triple Chocolate Fudgy Brownies - Gorgeously fudgy squares of chocolate brownie filled with milk and white chocolate chunks. | thehecticcook.com

Note:

I actually ended up using this white chocolate with cookie in it:

Triple Chocolate Fudgy Brownies - Gorgeously fudgy squares of chocolate brownie filled with milk and white chocolate chunks. | thehecticcook.com

This is purely because it’s what Asda substituted my bar of white chocolate for. I think I’d stick to straightforward white chocolate in the future though as the little bits of cookie, once baked, are rather hard (my poorly tooth will testify to that – probably the Universe’s punishment for sneaking brownie). You can obviously add any chocolate as your chocolate chunks, but the mix of white and milk, I think, is a winning combo as they offset the rich chocolatey-ness of the brownie perfectly.

5. Pour your brownie mix into the prepare tin and level.

Triple Chocolate Fudgy Brownies - Gorgeously fudgy squares of chocolate brownie filled with milk and white chocolate chunks. | thehecticcook.com

6. Bake in your preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes. Remove and leave to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Triple Chocolate Fudgy Brownies - Gorgeously fudgy squares of chocolate brownie filled with milk and white chocolate chunks. | thehecticcook.com

If when you go to cut your brownies up you find them a bit too gooey in the middle, just chuck them in the fridge and let them firm up. They’ll then be lovely and fudgy which is no bad thing in a brownie. Just store them in the fridge.

Triple Chocolate Fudgy Brownies - Gorgeously fudgy squares of chocolate brownie filled with milk and white chocolate chunks. | thehecticcook.com

How simple was that? And the result is a gorgeously fudgy and chocolatey brownie, filled with chunks of milk and white chocolate, with that lovely crisp top you expect of a good brownie.

Triple Chocolate Fudgy Brownies - Gorgeously fudgy squares of chocolate brownie filled with milk and white chocolate chunks. | thehecticcook.com

Happy cooking!

If you like a good traybake why not give my Mars Bar Slice or Chewy Flapjack a go? Both really simple but deliciously good!

Mars Bar slice - really simple, incredibly tasty treat made from Mars Bars and rice cereal | thehecticcook.com  Chewy Flapjacks - These are possibly the best flapjacks you'll ever find. Chewy, buttery, syrupy, delicious! | thehecticcook.com

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Triple Chocolate Fudgy Brownies - Gorgeously fudgy squares of chocolate brownie filled with milk and white chocolate chunks. | thehecticcook.com

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Chewy Flapjack

Chewy Flapjacks – These are possibly the best flapjacks you’ll ever find – chewy, buttery, syrupy and delicious!

Traditional flapjacks are chewy, oaty, sweet and syrupy. And these are possibly the best flapjacks you will ever taste 🙂

 

Chewy Flapjacks - These are possibly the best flapjacks you will ever find. Chewy, buttery, syrupy, delicious! | thehecticcook.com

Over the summer we went camping. Yup, all 6 of us. In a very large tent. It was great. Really. I actually thoroughly enjoy camping – when Hannah isn’t getting confused in the middle of the night and weeing on her brother. Reason I’m telling you this (apart from the fact I’m a blogger and oversharing is my thing) is that we went to a pub for a drink whilst on said camping trip, and thought we’d get the kids a wee snack. They were selling homemade flapjack (bit random for a pub, I know) and it was awesome. Like, really good. I love flapjack anyway, but this made me want to get home and try to recreate it asap. It took me two attempts, but I think I may well have cracked it. Seriously, I’m dead chuffed with this. It’s so bloody good. And I’m British, so not comfortable blowing my own trumpet. But this stuff rocks.

Chewy Flapjacks - These are possibly the best flapjacks you will ever find. Chewy, buttery, syrupy, delicious! | thehecticcook.com

Ingredients 

360g (4 cups) porridge oats
300g (approx. 1.5 cups) unsalted butter
200g (3/4 cups) golden syrup
150g (1 cup) soft light brown sugar
120g (1 cup) sultanas
1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat your oven to 170°C (fan)/325°F.

2. Butter/oil your baking pan really well (no need to line, just grease it really well).

Chewy Flapjacks - These are possibly the best flapjacks you will ever find. Chewy, buttery, syrupy, delicious! | thehecticcook.com

3. Melt the butter, syrup and sugar together in a small pan on the hob over a low heat. You don’t want this to boil so go slow. Remove from the heat once everything has fully melted.

Chewy Flapjacks - These are possibly the best flapjacks you will ever find. Chewy, buttery, syrupy, delicious! | thehecticcook.com

Chewy Flapjacks - These are possibly the best flapjacks you will ever find. Chewy, buttery, syrupy, delicious! | thehecticcook.com

4. In a large bowl (and I stress the word large as I have a tendency to start with too small a bowl) measure out the oats, salt and sultanas. Mix well.

Chewy Flapjacks - These are possibly the best flapjacks you will ever find. Chewy, buttery, syrupy, delicious! | thehecticcook.com

5. Add the melted butter mixture to the oats and stir until thoroughly mixed, and all the dry mixture is coated in the buttery mix.

Chewy Flapjacks - These are possibly the best flapjacks you will ever find. Chewy, buttery, syrupy, delicious! | thehecticcook.com

6. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and pat down really well with a metal spoon (it’ll stick like crazy to a wooden spoon). The more you pat it down, the better it will hold together and the chewier a flapjack you’ll get.

Chewy Flapjacks - These are possibly the best flapjacks you will ever find. Chewy, buttery, syrupy, delicious! | thehecticcook.com

7. Bake in your preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until nicely golden. The edges will brown quicker – you want a nice colour on the whole tray but take it out before the edges start to turn black. The longer you cook it, the chewier it will be.

Chewy Flapjacks - These are possibly the best flapjacks you will ever find. Chewy, buttery, syrupy, delicious! | thehecticcook.com

8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes before cutting the flapjack into squares, in the pan. The flapjack will be a bit crumbly to cut at this point, especially with the sultanas making it a bit difficult to slice through, but press the crumbly bits down and leave to cool completely before removing the flapjack squares from the pan. It will come together as it cools, hence the importance of leaving it to cool before removing from the pan.

Chewy Flapjacks - These are possibly the best flapjacks you will ever find. Chewy, buttery, syrupy, delicious! | thehecticcook.com

If you like a flapjack that holds together well, has a lovely chewiness to it, and that is buttery and syrupy, this could well be the flapjack for you. I originally made them in an 8×8″ pan. They were lovely and thick, but not very easy to cut in half for the kids (this was important as I’d calculated the calorie content of each square and it was fairly horrific – I’m not telling you it as I don’t want to scare you). So I made them again in my 13×7″ traybake pan, they came out lovely, and I felt less guilty about feeding them to the kids. If you have a pan that’s similar in size (by area) to a 13×7″ I’d bake the flapjack in that (9×9″ would work well). If you don’t care about the calorie content of each square and want your flapjack a bit thicker, use an 8×8″ pan and cook it for a little longer.

Chewy Flapjacks - These are possibly the best flapjacks you will ever find. Chewy, buttery, syrupy, delicious! | thehecticcook.com

Happy cooking!

 

If you’re looking for some more traybake ideas then check out my Mint Chocolate Brownie Slice, Mars Bar Slice and Nutella Magic Bars.

Chocolate Mint Brownie Slice -  Rich chocolate brownie topped with a delicious mint layer, topped with more chocolate = heaven | thehecticcook.com Mars Bar slice - really simple, incredibly tasty treat made from Mars Bars and rice cereal | thehecticcook.com Nutella Magic Bars - A biscuit base topped with Nutella and chocolate morsels, encased in a gooey caramel, these Nutella Magic Bars are sublime! | thehecticcook.com

Slutty Brownies

Erm what diet…?

I was first introduced to these brownies by my lovely friend Sarah, who shares both my passion for cooking, and my love of eating. This sometimes gets us into trouble. A typical ‘Girls Night’ usually includes a bottle (or two) of Prosecco, several tubs of Ben & Jerry’s, and multiple bags of Cadbury chocolate. She’s such a bad influence…

I was, however very grateful for this introduction. The original idea was that of a blogger by the name of The Londoner (the woman is a culinary mastermind). The name comes from the fact that these brownies are oh so easy, and a good bit filthy. And boy are they easy. Now, I like to make life simpler at every opportunity. However, I’m a bit of a baking snob, and think the instant mixes you can buy from the supermarkets are a waste of money. Baking is generally not that difficult, and not actually a great deal more effort than these mixes require.

However. In the case of Slutty Brownies, much of the attraction to the recipe – apart from the promise of a truly decadent cookie/brownie combo – was the use of the instant mixes. The original recipe is a layer of cookie dough, a layer of Oreo cookies, and a layer of chocolate brownie. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t make the cookie and brownie from scratch. If that’s what you want to do, go for your life (I have a damn good cookie recipe, and an equally good brownie recipe on this blog). I just couldn’t be bothered. That’s a fair amount of work, and the whole allure of this slice is its simplicity.

This recipe has been added to a little – it was Sarah’s suggestion to add the caramel (see what I mean about a bad influence??). And I had a tub of Marshmallow Fluff so I had to throw that in for good measure. Feel free to leave these out if you’d rather (although why you would…?).

Ingredients

1 packet of cookie mix
1 packet of brownie mix
2 packets of Oreos (double stuffed are even better!)
1/2 tin of caramel
‘some’ marshmallow fluff
1-2 eggs
oil/butter

Slutty Brownies | thehecticcook.com

1. Preheat your oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas 3. Make up the cookie mix as per the packet instructions, but add a little more butter/oil (depending on make). About 5g/1tsp more will suffice, enough to keep the cookie moist as it is baked for longer.

Slutty Brownies | thehecticcook.com

Also add about 5ml more water. I used a 275g packet mix from Morrisons, to give you an idea of quantity.

Slutty Brownies | thehecticcook.com

2. Line an 8×8″ tin (or equivalent size) with greaseproof paper (i.e. place paper in the tin, nothing fancy).

Slutty Brownies | thehecticcook.com

3. Flatten the cookie dough into the tin with your hands. It’ll be quite thin, but that’s how it should be.

Slutty Brownies | thehecticcook.com

4. Arrange the Oreos on top of the cookie dough. Sixteen Oreos will fit perfectly in an 8×8″ tin, so requires 2 packets. If you just have one packet, space the biscuits out a bit more.

Slutty Brownies | thehecticcook.com

5. Splurge the caramel over the Oreos – I filled the holes between biscuits then spread over the top. Half a tin will be enough.

Slutty Brownies | thehecticcook.com

 

Slutty Brownies | thehecticcook.com

6. I then added dods of marshmallow fluff. This was pretty superfluous, you don’t need to. But I have a serious addiction to marshmallow, so this seemed like a good idea (and it was). It’s completely up to you though if you follow this.

 

Slutty Brownies | thehecticcook.com

 

Slutty Brownies | thehecticcook.com

7. In the same bowl as before (lets not make more washing up than we need to) make the brownies exactly as per the packet instructions – mine required 30ml of oil, 45ml of water and 1 egg).

Slutty Brownies | thehecticcook.com

Cover the caramel coated Oreos with the brownie mix, smooth it over and than pop this into your preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Slutty Brownies | thehecticcook.com

If at all possible, leave the brownie in the tin until it has completely cooled, then pop it in the fridge for at least an hour to firm up before trying to cut it. Alternatively you can just go at it with a spoon straight from the oven. Add some ice-cream and you have a winning dessert!

Slutty Brownies - ridiculously easy and unbelievably delicious, these Slutty Brownies need to be tried! | thehecticcook.com

The first time I made this I actually had to make half with caramel and half without. Have I mentioned the Husband’s weird dislike of caramel? Anyway, in my humble opinion the caramel takes it to a whole different level (thank you Sarah!).

Happy cooking!

Slutty Brownies - ridiculously easy and unbelievably delicious, these Slutty Brownies need to be tried! | thehecticcook.com

 

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:13]

 

 

 

 

Sugar-Free Banana Cake

Sugar-Free Banana Cake – with no added sugar, just the sweetness of bananas and sultanas, this is a healthy treat the kids will love.

Something I never expected about becoming a parent was just how emotional it would make me. Prior to kids, I was fairly unemotional. Indeed the Husband referred to me as ‘the Ice Queen’ (he’s a charmer). However now, I have actually cried at an advert. And a music video. It’s just wrong.

One of the strongest emotions you feel as a parent though, which I really wasn’t expecting, is the GUILT. It’s worthy of capitals. I think our generation has it fairly tough. We’re bombarded from the media about how we should be parenting. Internet; News; TV; even social media. We’ve all seen the Facebook posts about how little Johnny could write his name at one year old. Or how Betsy Sue was potty trained at six weeks. Or all the articles floating around about how we shouldn’t sleep with our kids. And the ones about how we should sleep with our kids etc etc.

No Added Sugar Banana Cake - with no added sugar, just the sweetness of bananas and sultanas, this is a healthy treat the kids will love | thehecticcook.com

I try not to get too caught up in most of it (I tryI don’t always succeed), but the one area that does seem to get under my skin is food. What we should, and shouldn’t be feeding the kids. Recently I’ve been getting fairly paranoid about sugar. It’s definitely becoming the demon ingredient. I’m not about to get into the ins and outs of why sugar is (potentially) so bad for us – I’m trying not to add another layer of guilt onto you parents out there – but I have been looking at recipes that I can interchange with my usual recipes, sneaking ‘slightly healthier’ snacks into the kids. Don’t get me wrong, they still get those crappy little cheap yogurts from Asda (42p for six don’t you know?!), ice-cream on a Saturday, pudding on a Sunday etc. I’m not about to win Parent of the Year here. But I’m easily assuaged, and this makes me sleep better at night.

So this banana cake recipe comes from a BBC Good Food recipe, and I haven’t actually made any drastic changes to it. Bear in mind, this is not my Banana & Sultana Cake – it’s not as sweet; it’s a good bit denser; it has an almost ‘healthy taste’. But it’s actually really quite tasty, and the kids love it. Oh and I appreciate that it isn’t actually ‘sugar-free’, but it is processed sugar free, which is a winner in my eyes 🙂

Ingredients

50g unsalted butter, melted
3 bananas, mashed (the older the better)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
125g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
75g sultanas

1. Melt the butter in a large, microwavable bowl (it takes about a minute, but do it in 30 second intervals). Then mash the bananas into the melted butter.

Sugar-Free Banana Cake | thehecticcook.com

Sugar-Free Banana Cake | thehecticcook.com

Sugar-Free Banana Cake | thehecticcook.com

2. Add the egg, vanilla and milk, and give it all a good whisk.

Sugar-Free Banana Cake | thehecticcook.com

Sugar-Free Banana Cake | thehecticcook.com

3. To this mixture add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sultanas. Give the mixture a good stir.

Sugar-Free Banana Cake | thehecticcook.com

Sugar-Free Banana Cake | thehecticcook.com

The original recipe calls for wholemeal flour, which is what I used, but only because I had it in the cupboard. I’ve also made it with white self-raising flour, and it made very little difference. It just depends exactly how ‘healthy’ you want to be.

I also don’t pre-mix my dry ingredients. Just make sure that when you add them to the bowl, you spread the baking powder and cinnamon out a bit, so there’s no risk of getting a clump of either.

4. Pour the mixture into a lined loaf tin (I use liners, which are an absolute godsend) and pop into a preheated oven at 160ºC (fan)/320ºF/Gas Mark 3 for around 35-45 minutes.

Sugar-Free Banana Cake | thehecticcook.com

I have a love/hate relationship with loaf cakes, because I always find they take longer to cook than any recipe ever says. Mine took at least 45 minutes, but check after about 35 minutes as all ovens vary. It should turn lightly golden on top, and a skewer/knife should come out clean. Chuck some foil on top to cover if it looks like its starting to brown too much.

Sugar-Free Banana Cake - with no added sugar, just the sweetness of bananas and sultanas, this is a healthy treat the kids will love. | thehecticcook.com

5. Take the cake out of the oven, and leave to cool (out of the tin) on a rack.

I’m not about to have an argument about whether this cake is ‘sugar free’ – it clearly isn’t; there’s natural sugar in the bananas, and the sultanas. But its a damn sight healthier than some of the cakes and snacks I feed the kids (not mentioning Nutella Magic Bars at all here). Give this a go, especially if you’re trying to allay some parental guilt.

Happy cooking!

Chocolate Mint Brownie Slice

Chocolate brownie and mint join forces to create this amazing traybake. A must for all chocolate mint fans.

I have a bit of sweet tooth. Ok so the Husband is currently guffawing into his tea. Fine, it’s maybe more than a bit. It’s maybe more like a whole mouthful of sweet teeth. I keep seeing all these tv programmes about how bad sugar is for you, and the celebrities giving it up left, right and centre. And I have tried. But I can’t. I just can’t.

I have a particular fondness for cake. So much so, that just over a year ago I started a cake club with a few of my friends. We started off trying new things, having a theme each month, and experimenting with what we made. That has since turned into just any excuse for us to get together of an evening once a month, without any screaming children, drink some wine, and eat cake. Needs must.

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So this was my last bake for Cake Club (it deserves the capitals). I’m an absolute sucker for chocolate mint. I’d happily chomp my way through a box of After Eights given half a chance – or if the guilt didn’t set in. So I’d seen these knocking about Pinterest for a while, and decided it was time to give them a go. I used my own recipe for the brownie, and made something up for the mint layer. Thankfully it worked, and the result was a pretty god damn good slice of deliciousness.

Ingredients

Brownie:

200g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
250g unsalted butter, softened
300g caster sugar
100g plain flour
50g cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla

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1. Line and grease a 9″ tin, or a similarly sized tin. You can see that by ‘line’, I was highly precise. I used some groundnut oil to grease, but you could use spray oil or melted butter.

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2. Melt the dark chocolate, either in the microwave in 30 second bursts (stir well between each time, as chocolate burns pretty easily), or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water on the cooker. Set this aside to cool slightly.

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3. Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. I used a hand mixer this time which takes a bit more mixing than my standing mixer, but this is what adds lightness to your mixture so you can’t really be half-arsed about it. Then beat in the 3 eggs and finally the vanilla.

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4. In a separate bowl sieve the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder. It’s best to sieve these ingredients to avoid any lumps.

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5. Add the melted chocolate to the butter/sugar mixture and fold in. Try to be as gentle as possible to retain as much air in the mixture as possible.

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6. Add the dry ingredients and again fold everything in together. This is quite a thick brownie mixture – often brownie mixes are fairly liquid.

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7. Fill your pre-lined tin with this mixture and smooth out as much as possible. It’s so thick this mixture, that it takes a bit of effort to get it into the corners, and evenly spread – the baking parchment moves about a lot and makes it quite fiddly, but the parchment is a godsend when you have to take the slice out of the tin.

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8. Bake this for 30 minutes at 160°C(fan)/300°F/Gas 2. Don’t worry about whether the centre is cooked or any such gubbins at this point. Just trust the process. Let the brownie cool completely on a wire rack (still in the tin), then put it in the fridge for at least an hour to fully cool. The trick with brownie is to cook it at a lowish heat until its not quite done, then cool it completely once out so that it retains that lovely gooey middle we all love, but you can slice it fairly easily.

Mint Layer:

100g unsalted butter, softened
400g icing sugar
3 tbsp milk
3 tsp peppermint extract
green colouring

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9. Start to beat the butter and icing sugar (no need to sieve) together, then add the remaining ingredients and beat and beat and beat some more, until you have a lovely light fluffy minty green buttercream. This is where standing mixers come into their own – I had no idea buttercream could be so fluffy and gorgeous until I owned my mixer. However, if you don’t have one, at least use a hand mixer (beg, borrow or steal if necessary) and beat it until you’re thoroughly bored. Then beat it some more. I promise you, the more you beat it, the better it will be.

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10. Layer the mint buttercream onto the brownie (still in the tin) and spread it evenly to fully cover the bottom layer. Chuck this into the fridge for at least half an hour to let the buttercream harden.

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In case you were wondering, I used the above peppermint extract (mine is from Lakeland, but I think most supermarkets will have some) and green colouring (it’s a paste because that’s what I use for cake decoration, but you could use any green colouring you can get your hands on). If you’re like my lovely friend Sarah, who goes loopy at the merest hint of colouring, you can leave it out completely. It’ll still taste exactly the same, it just won’t have that amazing 70’s vibe about it.

Chocolate Top Coat:

200g milk chocolate
15g unsalted butter

11. Melt the chocolate together with the butter, again either in the microwave or in a bowl over simmering water. Pour this over the mint layer and spread to fully cover. I topped mine with some Aero mint balls for decoration.

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12. Leave the chocolate to cool and set at room temperature, then take the whole thing out of the tin (using the paper) and slice into whatever sized pieces you desire.

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I found that the longer this was left, the mintier it seemed to get. Not that it lasted that long. With the three layers, its not the quickest of traybakes to make, but its one of those first bakes that I’ll most definitely be baking again. It is truly worth it.

Anyway, I promised myself some Ben’n’Jerry’s once I’d finished this blog. So I’ll be off….

Happy cooking!

Nutella Cookie Cups

Nutella. Ah, Nutella. Whoever thought of mixing chocolate with hazelnut, and creating a gooey spread, was an absolute legend. You may have guessed I like love adore Nutella. My kids have also inherited the Nutella gene it would appear – not from their father I may add, who doesn’t like it. Between that and his dislike for caramel, I do sometimes question the fundamental basis of our marriage.

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So these little cookie cups spring up a lot on Pinterest. Thus I could go no longer without trying them out. And I was not disappointed. I made them in a mini muffin tin, however there was excess cookie dough, so I made some standard muffin tin sized cups too. These are probably too big. Except they’re not. They’re decadent. But the mini muffin cups are a great size for kids, and if you’re being good (ha, whatever).

Ingredients

220g unsalted butter, softened
200g granulated sugar
220g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
380g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 standard sized jar of Nutella (you’ll need every drop!)

1. Beat together the butter and both sugars, for several minutes, until slightly lighter in colour.

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2. Beat in the eggs, and then the vanilla. Then mix in the flour, baking powder and salt. Many recipes call for you to sieve the dry ingredients in. I didn’t. Just sprinkle them in, ensuring they get well mixed in.

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3. Grease your tin – I used groundnut oil as it has no taste, but you could use butter/margarine – and preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

4. Take spoonfuls of your mixture and roll into golf ball sized balls, then pop into your tin. The mixture should fill each hole, but only up to the top, not over.

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You’ll obviously need bigger balls (ha ha ha) for a standard muffin tin, but same rules apply – fill the hole but don’t overfill above the top of the hole.

This is rather messy. You could use an ice-cream scoop to make less mess and get more standard sized cups. I didn’t.

5. Bake these for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to golden – in my oven, the smaller size needed 10 minutes, the bigger size 12 minutes.

6. Once out of the oven you need to make holes in the middle of each cookie to make ‘cups’. For the small ones I used the end of an ice-cream scoop as it was the perfect size. For the larger cups I used a ‘cup measure’. A shot glass has been mentioned on other recipes as the perfect size. Basically find something that will make a good sized indent. Just don’t use your thumbs. The cookies are hot. It will hurt.

7. Then start to fill each cup with a spoonful of Nutella. You can choose the size of spoon, depending on how much Nutella you want in each. But if you don’t empty a jar of Nutella, you’re not putting enough in 😀

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The Nutella will melt into the warm cups. Leave to cool in the tins, or at least until they’re mostly cool. Eating whilst the Nutella is still slightly warm and squidgy is recommended for at least one. Or two.

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Whilst filling the bigger cups I ran out of Nutella – I might have overfilled. So I melted some milk chocolate and filled the last few with this, then let the chocolate cool and harden. This actually worked well, as the Husband enjoyed these and I wasn’t forced to eat all of the cookie cups . They’re also a great alternative to Nutella, if you fancied mixing them up – milk, white, dark; all would work well and be pretty darn tasty.

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Once again, when it comes to this recipe you can change it up and make all sorts of variations. Caramel would be a lovely filling. Mmmm. I might have to go try that. Maybe topped with a button, kind of millionaires shortbread-esque. Or a wee bit of peanut butter topped with chocolate. Oh wow, that could be immense. I think I might have to head off now…..

Happy cooking!