Fluffy vanilla pancakes

Fluffy vanilla pancakes

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Happy Pancake Day!

Here’s a quick and simple recipe for you guys to make fluffy, sweet, pillowy pancakes. You don’t need buttermilk or anything fancy for these, and you should have everything you need already in the pantry/fridge!

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If you’re making these for a group larger than 2-3 then double/triple the recipe accordingly. You can stir chocolate chips through the batter for chocolate chip pancakes too!

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Double Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Double Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

 

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Once you start making banana bread regularly, you kinda can’t stop. I mean, I actually buy extra bananas I have no intention of eating just to make banana bread. Sometimes you need a little variation though, and injecting every element of this loaf cake with chocolate is the best way to do just that – trust me! The bananas lend the familiar fudgy texture, but the taste is chocolate and nothing but. And it’s really quite simple… At this rather tense time in third year the bakes have to be simple as the essay questions most certainly are not. Sigh, you guys have read about the deadline struggles for the last year and a bit so I won’t bore you. Just know, many tens of thousands of words (not including this blog post) have been written over the last month! 😦 Having said that, I’m not sure I’m ready to leave the security of full-time education and enter the big bad world… *heavy breathing*

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Anyway, find a large-ish bowl and a whisk and let’s get this chocolatey show on the road.

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Maple Pecan Pie Slices

Maple Pecan Pie Slices

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Firstly, Happy New Year to you all! Hope you have all had an amazing Christmas and holiday break. Over here at BBH, we are starting as we mean to go on – by eating! These little slices of pecan pie heaven are EVERYTHING. My mum even said they were the best things I’ve made – big statement coming from my biggest critic. You only need one bowl and a whisk and it’s super easy to throw in the oven!

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There’s a soft, buttery shortbread base topped with a melt-in-the-mouth maple caramel filling packed to the brim with sweet pecans. The slices are pretty heavy so you only need a tiny bit to satisfy all your pecan pie cravings. I added an optional extra layer of coconut caramel spread and desiccated coconut in between the base and the filling – it just added to the indulgence. If you can’t get hold of this spread, you can use any spread you like to make the bars more exciting – try peanut/almond butter, cookie butter or even Nutella for a super decadent treat.

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Mocha Cake with Biscoff Cheesecake Filling

Mocha Cake with Biscoff Cheesecake Filling

 

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This was one of those cakes that kinda fell together. An amalgamation of well-known flavours and a few different textures that seemed to really work. It’s certainly a ‘showstopper’ kind of cake and wouldn’t look out of place at a Christmas/New Years dinner table, or a birthday party. This particular cake served as my brother’s 25th birthday cake – we wasted no time in reminding him that he is now a quarter of a century old. The glitter is super festive/glam in keeping with the December theme!

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Cake decoration is a very personal thing. If you’re a regular decorator it’s likely you’ll have developed a style and flair that you add to your cakes, so that people know they’re your cakes. If you’re not a seasoned cake decorator, there is no reason you can’t add your own style to cakes that reflects your own personality, or indeed the person who the cake is for. I hope this cake inspires you to get in touch with your creative side and gives you a few ideas if you’re stuck! It kinda reminded me of a more polished, less complicated version of my own birthday cake. (If only my brother were more polished and less complicated than me…)

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The cake itself is my usual, ride or die chocolate sponge cake that I use in ALL layer cakes. It’s an adaptation of a hummingbird bakery recipe that I’ve been using for years. Adding additional flavours allows you to personalise the cake and adapt it to fit any flavour profile. The cheesecake filling is, IMHO, the best filling for a large celebration cake. It’s not as sickly sweet as buttercream and adds a different flavour and texture – not dissimilar to mousse. To add another depth of flavour, add another spread or sauce in between each layer – why not 😉 ’tis the season, after all.

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Christmas: Chocolate Biscuits & Tree Decorations

Christmas: Chocolate Biscuits & Tree Decorations

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*cue Michael Bublé* – what does this guy do for the other 11 months of the year? That is the real question.

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Christmas baking always gets me in the mood for Christmas, I was a little stuck for ideas this year and although I LOVED last year’s Christmas bake (still my favourite bake to date), I didn’t fancy making another gingerbread house and opted for something easier and quicker. These little chocolate biscuits are the perfect gift, tree decoration, gingerbread substitute, accompaniment to your morning cup of tea. Take them to school, uni, for work colleagues or keep them all to yourself. Basically a festive jack of all trades. These will stay good for a couple of weeks once iced and kept in an airtight tin.

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It’s been a bit of a whirlwind few weeks over here, Storm Desmond caused a huge powercut – we got evacuated from campus with half an hours notice and off I trotted home for Christmas a week early… With three of my flatmates bundled in to the back of my tiny car! We kinda turned up at my parents’ house and demanded TLC after our traumatic powercut experience. Once drama queens… Always drama queens. Regardless, it was nice to get an extra week’s holiday and sleep in my own bed! Unfortunately, amongst all the haste, I left loads of baking stuff up in Lancaster and subsequently couldn’t bake half the things I’d planned for you guys! Improvisation will happen though, don’t worry. I gotchu guys over the festive period. I gotchu.

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A bit of festive bokeh.

I’m slightly conflicted when it comes to the nomenclature associated with cookies/biscuits. In the UK, a biscuit is well, a biscuit (think digestive biscuits). And a cookie is you know, a cookie (think Maryland cookies). In the USA, they refer to both of the above as cookies and call their scones biscuits… (?!?!) For the purposes of this blog post and keeping my readers over the pond happy, I will refer to these biscuits as both cookies and biscuits.

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This recipe makes quite a lot of biscuits. But that’s NEVER a bad thing and you probably have all the ingredients in your cupboards anyway. Icing the little decorations on them is SOMUCHFUN. But if you have small children, it could get messy. Still super fun, but icing may or may not end up all over the place. I’m a 21-year-old, fairly calm and collected individual – I iced these alone and icing still ended up on the ceiling. *mops ceiling furiously before my mum finds out*

I also wanted to show you guys that you can make festive and Christmassy shapes WITHOUT special cookie cutters! I (badly) drew a Christmas tree shape and a gingerbread man shape on a piece of card, cut it out and used it as a stencil on the dough. It worked perfectly and I didn’t need to buy any more tools that would end up clogging the cupboards for the rest of the year!

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