Gold Star Cashew Brittle

I called this ‘Gold Star’ brittle because I sprinkled little edible gold stars on it as a festive touch…and also because it’s worthy of accolades. A gold star would most appropriate- it’s a total winner. 

You could make it and gift it for Christmas and people will kiss your face. 


Though, as wonderful as it is with smooth, creamy cashew nuts, it would work with any kind of nut. Peanuts are traditional for brittle, but cashews just seemed a little more special and Christmassy.


Cashew nuts are simply fabulous- I love their rich flavour and creamy texture, and they have just the right amount of ‘bite’, I find. I love chunky Brazil nuts and waxy pistachios… but cashews have got it just right. I used roasted and salted nuts here for the fullest flavour. 

Then cover those cashews in a hard, buttery, golden, brittle caramel and…well…heavenly. It is impossible to stop at one piece, seriously. A sprinkle of fleur de sel (or a good quality sea salt) contrasts perfectly with the brittle and gives that salty/sweet balance that’s so irresistible. 


This brittle is brilliantly giftable because it’s easy, it doesn’t have to look perfect (so no pressure- its beauty is in the ruggedness!), it keeps brilliantly, it doesn’t need special storage conditions, and it is delicious! 

Just smash it into pieces, and put in an airtight container like a jar if it’s going to be hanging around for a bit…or just a cellophane bag if you’re giving it to someone straight away. 


You can add sprinkles or edible glitter (or whatever you like) to the top. Just add them while the brittle is cooling for best stickability. Chocolate chips would also work!


There’s just one ‘fussy’ thing about this recipe. It is truly easy to make- but you will need a sugar thermometer. I know there are many brittle recipes that claim to be makeable in the microwave, or simply by timing the bubbling of the mixture on the stove. If you’ve found that these types of recipe work for you, then more power to you. Unfortunately, I have had bitter disappointments (sometimes literally) this way. I need precision! Boring, but with it comes guaranteed sweet success. Throwing ruined nuts and sugar away makes me want to cry!

Sugar thermometers (actually, just ‘food’ thermometers) aren’t expensive and they are very useful, especially for sweet making. I really recommend you get one. (And then don’t run it through the dishwasher.) You need to heat this brittle mixture to an exact temperature to ensure it’s the right consistency when it sets. 


The only other thing about this recipe that might be slightly unusual for a U.K. recipe is that it uses corn syrup, which is an ingredient from the US. I have had best results making brittle with corn syrup than with golden syrup (the UK’s equivalent, sort of). This is because corn syrup is an ‘inverted’ sugar syrup, and golden syrup is only ‘partially inverted’. Invert sugar syrup helps to prevent sugar in the mixture from crystallising, meaning you get a smooth brittle. I have made this recipe with golden syrup, but it definitely comes out smoother with corn syrup so it is worth trying to get hold of it. Also, golden syrup has its own distinct flavour so if you make it with that, expect to be able to taste that unique flavour (not at all unpleasant! Just different.) whereas corn syrup is just sweet; it doesn’t really have a flavour to compete with the nuts, which I prefer. 

You can buy Karo corn syrup from several major supermarkets in the U.K. now – I believe Ocado, Tesco and Asda all sell it. Sometimes it’s in the ‘American food’ section of large supermarkets. 
I hope if you make this brittle, you love it as much as I do. And Ed does. Not that he gets to eat much of it with me around. 


Recipe: Gold Star Cashew Brittle


200g Cashew nuts (preferably roasted and salted)

60ml corn syrup

60ml water

60g unsalted butter

225g caster sugar

1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Fleur de sel or a good sea salt, like Maldon sea salt

Sprinkles or decorations, optional (I used edible gold stars, available from Waitrose)

How To Make It:

1. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat (preferable! Nothing sticks to them!) or baking parchment and place it on the counter next to the stove (you want everything ready because you will need to work quickly).

2. Put the cashews in a bowl next to the stove. Get your bicarbonate of soda ready to add later on. Don’t add it yet!

3. Put the water, caster sugar, corn syrup and butter in a saucepan (you need reasonably high sides to your pan because it will froth up when the bicarbonate of soda is added later, so don’t use a frying pan or other shallow pan). 

4. Heat the sugar mixture on a medium to high heat, stirring occasionally with a spatula. Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the mixture. As soon as it gets to temperature (149 degrees Celsius/ 300 degrees Fahrenheit), the next steps will have to be done quickly, so get ready! 

5. As soon as the mixture reaches 149 degrees Celcius/300 degrees Fahrenheit, remove it from the heat and briskly stir in the bicarbonate of soda. It will fizz and froth. 

6. Add the nuts and quickly stir to coat them, then equally quickly, tip them out onto your silicone mat/parchment and arrange with your spatula. Sprinkle on the fleur de sel or sea salt, or whatever toppings you prefer. 

7. Leave to set (a couple of hours) before smashing into pieces with a rolling pin and devouring. 

Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake with Maple Drizzle


Well, it’s been a while since my last blog post. A really long time. I have quite a good excuse for not being as attentive to my blog as I perhaps should be, though. Over the last year, I’ve produced my most wonderful and scrumptious creation ever. My daughter, the beautiful Ariel.


She is nearly 4 months old now, and she’s bringing us a lot of joy every day. Today, she giggled for the first time, and my heart melted into a puddle! She is the best thing. We are very much in love with her.

Now that Ariel is a not a newborn any more, it’s easier to keep her entertained while I do things around the house. It’s also easier to get food shopping done! As a result, I’ve been making the effort to plan nice dinners and make desserts and cakes again.

As it’s autumn, I’ve got pumpkin fever like the rest of the blogosphere. Actually, I’m a little slow on the pumpkin posting. The blogosphere has actually¬†now moved on to Christmas! Ah well. I’m not finished with pumpkin just yet! As you may know, my favourite way to eat pumpkin is in cakes and cookies.

I bought a new bundt tin the other day, so what better than to take it for a spin with a pumpkin cake recipe?

This bundt cake is full of autumn flavours: moist pumpkin, spices and vanilla, and rich flavourful pecans. The maple drizzle adds an almost smoky tone, and it’s lovely and sweet which pairs well with the cake, which isn’t overly sweet itself.


Some people are put off bundt cakes in the fear they might be dry- and I get the concern. Bundt cakes have a lot of surface area which potentially makes for a lot of crust.

But no such fear with this beauty. It is moist and lovely. I’ll tell you how come:

  1. This cake uses pumpkin purée, which contains a lot of moisture.
  2. This cake is made with oil rather than butter, and has oil from the ground pecans in the mixture, both of which keep the cake soft.
  3. We won’t overbake this cake, so it won’t dry out. Agreed? There’s no tough crust on this cake.

And not that one should rely on icing for moistness (I’ve perhaps said ‘moist’ a few too many times now), but it also has a delicious maple drizzle.

This cake keeps really well too, and will be great even after a few days. I’d aim to eat it all within 5 days though. If it lasts that long.


Enjoy the rest of autumn!


Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake with Maple Drizzle

Ingredients for Bundt Cake

435g plain flour

290g caster sugar

175g light brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

425g pumpkin puree (I used 1 x 425g can)

240ml vegetable oil

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

150g pecan nuts, chopped finely (reserve some for scattering on the top of the cake, if you want)

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I used freshly grated)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons mixed spice

3/4 teaspoon salt

Non-stick baking spray

Some milk for thinning the cake batter, if necessary

Ingredients for Maple Drizzle

75g icing sugar

Approx. 1 tablespoon maple syrup

How to make it

Bundt Cake

  1. Put the eggs and sugars in a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix together until pale and thickened.
  2. Add the vanilla, pumpkin and oil and mix to blend well.
  3. In another large bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, mixed spice, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Make sure they are well blended together.
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix until just combined. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture, and then the final 1/3. Do not overbeat the mixture, you just want the ingredients to be blended until there are no streaks of flour left.
  5. Gently stir in the pecans.
  6. The mixture will be a soft ‘dropping’ consistency (i.e. if you pick some up on a spoon and turn the spoon over, the mixture will ‘drop’ off easily). It should not be stiff. If it is too stiff, trickle in¬†a little milk (tablespoon at a time) until the correct consistency is achieved.
  7. Spoon the mixture into a 10-cup volume bundt tin which has been sprayed liberally with non-stick baking spray (or alternatively, which has been well buttered and floured). Give the bundt tin a gentle shake to ensure the mixture has gotten into all the crevices of the bundt tin. The mixture should not come any higher than 1 inch from the rim of the tin or it may overflow.
  8. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake at 175 degrees Celcius for about an hour (start checking it at 50 minutes), until a wooden skewer poked into the cake comes out with a couple of crumbs clinging to it, or clean.
  9. When the cake is baked, remove it from the oven and leave to cool completely in its tin before turning out and decorating with the maple drizzle. If the cake has risen and domed above the rim of the tin, you can trim this domed part off with a bread knife (and eat the scraps!).

Maple Drizzle

  1. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl.
  2. Trickle the maple syrup into the icing sugar, whisking constantly until a thick but runny glaze forms. You may need less or more than 1 tablespoon of maple syrup- see Notes below.
  3. Drizzle onto the cooled bundt cake and scatter reserved chopped pecans over the top, if you wish.


  • Be careful not to overbake, otherwise the bundt will be a bit crusty. My cake took 1 hour 5 mins to bake but yours might take less or more time because ovens vary to some extent.
  • Environmental factors like humidity in the air can affect how much liquid you need to make the drizzle, which is why I haven’t given a precise measurement for the maple syrup. Just¬†add the maple syrup about a teaspoon¬†at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

Cake Batter Ice Cream With Many Sprinkles

_MG_6076I always want ice cream more when the weather’s cold. It’s a very unimaginative association thing, I think. Anyway, it’s been very cold here in the middle of England recently, and the nagging need for¬†ice cream has been stronger than ever.

Mainly, I just buy ice cream and I’m OK with that. Because to be honest, I find making ice cream a bit of a¬†chore. I don’t like ice cream makers¬†much (and I ceased to own one several years ago), and I certainly can’t be bothered to make ice cream that needs to be ‘churned’ by hand (i.e. you make the mixture, freeze it, and then stir it regularly over¬†several hours so that it freezes smooth and not ice-crystally).


But, I’ve always wanted to try a make-by-hand, ‘no-churn’ recipe. Mainly because it utilises one of my favourite baking ingredients, sweetened condensed milk. This stuff is a real multi-tasker and a kitchen hero, I reckon. And it’s the secret to easy, no-churn ice cream.


To make this ice cream, you simply mix condensed milk with whipped cream, and stir through flavouring and add-ins as you please. Then you freeze it. And that’s it. Smooth, creamy ice cream that you didn’t need to attend to on an hourly basis. Hooray!


I decided to channel cake mix flavouring to this batch, and added vanilla (two types), a tiny amount of almond extract, and sprinkles for that nostalgic ‘can-I-lick-the-spoon’¬†cake batter flavour. It really does taste (and look) extremely like vanilla cake mix. Especially pre-frozen! Lick the spatula once you’ve put it in the tin to freeze, and tell me if I’m wrong. It’s delicious and you might be tempted not to freeze it – but do. Because then you’ll have cake batter ice cream, and that’s just even better. Creamy, rich and studded with little sugar hits.

If you wanted to go all out on the cake batter theme, you could add in some imitation butter flavouring. I didn’t because I’m scared of what ‘imitation butter’ actually is. But prejudices aside, I imagine it could work brilliantly here!

Best eaten with a cherry on top.


*Note* Make sure your sprinkles are the kind that can stand up to being stirred through a ‘wet’ batter. Many sprinkles available¬†in the supermarket are simply sugar strands which dissolve when they hit moisture. Instead, you want a ‘waxy’ sprinkle, like ‘jimmies’, which won’t dissolve.

Recipe:  Cake Batter Ice Cream with Many Sprinkles


  • 1 can (397g) of condensed milk
  • 500ml double (heavy) cream
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or use another teaspoon of vanilla extract)
  • A couple of drops (no more!) of almond extract (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 120g (this is quite a lot – you can just add¬†less)¬†‘waxy’ sprinkles, like jimmies


1. Whip the cream until just until soft peaks form.

2. Empty the condensed milk into a large bowl, and stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.

3. Fold the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture until incorporated and smooth.

4. Gently stir in the sprinkles and salt until they are well combined.

5. Pour the mixture into a loaf tin, and smooth the top with a spatula.

6. Wrap the loaf tin several times in cling film, making sure you press the cling film down against the ice cream mixture do there is no gap between the cling film and ice cream.

7. Freeze for several hours, until solid (I left mine overnight).

8. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before attempting to scoop and serve.

Chocolate Pretzel S’mores

S’mores made with fluffy,¬†toasted marshmallow sandwiched between two chocolate-covered pretzels. ¬†Simple and so tasty! Campfire entirely optional.


As a little kid, I was fascinated by the food I saw on TVs and in movies. (I still am.) One of life’s greatest mysteries for me when I was younger was ‘what precisely¬†is a Twinkie?’* They were mentioned so often in American films, and I loved the name. I knew they were a treat, but what were they exactly? When my older brother went to study¬†in the USA for a year, he asked me what I wanted him to bring home for me. Obvs, the answer was a box of Twinkies. I would finally find out what they were! They turned out to be highly processed, factory-made vanilla sponge cake fingers, filled with a synthetic, white, imitation-vanilla goo. A.k.a: Heaven. They were everything the name suggested, and I ate them with great satisfaction.


The other American treat I always wondered about was ‘s’mores’. I finally cottoned on to what they¬†were when watching a movie where they made s’mores over a campfire.* Ah-ha! A Graham cracker (otherwise known as a Digestive to us Brits), combined with¬†melted chocolate and toasted marshmallow. Divine. But it would be years before I embraced my inner girl scout and made them. Once I did, I never looked back.

*Before you judge me, remember that this was pre-Google. Thank you.

IMG_0041 (1)

But it occurred to me the other day as I chomped through a bag of chocolate covered pretzels that I have been missing a trick- surely, toasted marshmallow sandwiched between two of the aforementioned pretzels would do the trick extremely nicely? Reader: I tried it. And the results were so good, I had to share.


If you make these (and please do), I recommend you go all traditional and eat them soon after making, while the marshmallow is still warm and gooey on the inside, crisp and toasted on the outside.

The pretzels are wonderful, because you occasionally get a little crystal of salt in the mix, which is the perfect foil for the sugar. Delish.

These s’mores couldn’t be easier to make – just a bag of chocolate pretzels, and a bag of marshmallows! Now that’s the kind of shopping list I like.

Ed and I ate the whole lot in one go did thorough taste testing to make sure they were good enough to put on RGB.  They passed our rigorous testing, phew!

IMG_0059 (1)


Try them and let me know if you like them as much as we do. You get extra points for making these round a bonfire!


How to make Chocolate Pretzel S’mores


A quantity of marshmallows

Chocolate covered pretzels (Cadbury, M&S and Aldi all sell them) – you will need twice as many pretzels as you have marshmallows


1. Preheat your grill/broiler to a medium heat.

2. Spread your marshmallows evenly over a baking sheet which has been lined with either a silicone baking mat or greased parchment paper.

3. Put the marshmallows under the grill and watch them like a hawk until the tops have toasted a golden-brown colour, about a 60-90 seconds. (Don’t walk away – they burn really easily!) Remove from under the grill and set aside.

4. ¬†Using a palette knife,¬†smear the sticky marshmallow¬†as best you can on a chocolate¬†pretzel (you may want to lightly grease your knife but don’t overdo it, or the marshmallow might not stick to the pretzel).

5. Take another pretzel and use it to scrape the remaining marshmallow off the knife. Smoosh the pretzels together to make a mallow sandwich.

6. Repeat until you’ve used up all your marshmallows and pretzels.

7. Devour.

(Alternatively, (carefully) toast the marshmallows on a stick over a bonfire or campfire, and then squish between two chocolate pretzels, and eat!)

Madeleines with Fiori di Sicilia

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a fan of ostentatious, OTT desserts. I love a layer cake with several different types and flavours of icing; I think edible glitter is possibly the greatest invention to ever grace the baking world; I consider that it is never a waste of time to spend hours making sugar flowers or waiting for your Pavlova meringue to dry out if it means you get an amazing pudding at the end.


But as much as I love these treats, there is a large space reserved in my heart for the simple, pared-down, yet perfect cake; and in my mind, this is epitomised by the adorable, quintessentially French, petite Madeleine.


So small, soft and delicate. Like a shell-shaped ‘fairy-cake’. (Remember fairy-cakes? Not cupcakes, which tends to be larger, and covered in a rich icing – I’m talking about the fairy-cakes of childhood, really quite tiny compared to cupcakes. Light and fluffy, vanilla or lemon-flavoured, and probably only covered with a simple¬†glac√© icing (made from just water and icing sugar), if anything. They were something to whip up with mum or grandma on a Saturday afternoon; they graced every childhood¬†birthday party I ever went to. Eating madeleines sort of evoke that fairy-cake nostalgia for me‚Ķ even though madeleines are far more sophisticated a cake, bien s√Ľr.)


My mum bought me a madeleine mould for Christmas, and this is the first time I’ve used it. It’s a silicone mould, rather than a metal one, and I must say it worked superbly! (In the past, I’ve had both good and bad experiences with silicone bakeware‚Ķ I’d say, if you’re thinking of buying any, to do your research carefully. My experience tells me that for small bakes – like cupcakes, madeleines or mini loaves – a sturdy silicone mould can work well (I’ve had good ones from Ikea). But for larger things like cake pans, I’d always recommend metal.)


Madeleines are traditionally flavoured with vanilla or lemon, or sometimes almonds, and are eaten warm out of the oven (suits me!). A delicate, sweet treat with afternoon tea. I couldn’t decide how¬†to flavour mine‚Ķand then inspiration struck. A while ago, I bought some ‘Fiori di Sicilia’ (which gorgeously enough, means ‘flowers of Sicily’), an oil-based flavouring traditionally used in Italian panettone. The aroma of Fiori di Sicilia is hard to describe, but it’s a dreamy blend of vanilla, oranges and lemons, plus a number of other floral extracts you can’t quite put your finger on‚Ķ it’s fragrant and unique and it just smells wonderful. I think Ambrosia, the food of the gods, must taste like Fiori di Sicilia.


A few drops are¬†all that’s needed- less is more when it comes to this flavouring. And indeed, my most trusted taste-tester (who¬†luckily is also my husband) pronounced the flavour ‘perfect – subtle but just enough.’ And I hadn’t tipped him off on what to say, or anything.


In fact, he thought the whole little cake was ‘perfect’, and I have to say I agree. Simple things, made with lovely ingredients, are so often the best. (Note to self.) So try to use the best unsalted butter and the best quality vanilla (if you’re using it rather than Fiori di Sicilia) that you can in these madeleines, to really let the flavours shine through.

Enjoy them with anyone old enough to eat a cake. My one-year-old niece Gracie can vouch for the fact that toddlers love madeleines as much as anyone, and can put a fair few away!



– You can buy Fiori di Sicila online here and here.

– If you can’t get hold of Fiori di Sicilia (or you don’t want to use it), use 1 teaspoon vanilla extract instead.

РMy Madeleine mould has 9 impressions, but this mixture makes about 20 Madeleines (depending on how big the impressions are). I just did batches back-to-back: after removing the baked Madeleines from the oven, wait a few minutes and then gently pop the cakes from the mould/tin and put on a baking rack to cool. Re-grease the mould/tin if necessary and refill with more Madeleine mixture, and put the mould/tin back in the oven to bake the second round.

Recipe: Madeleines with Fiori di Sicilia


2 large eggs

100g caster sugar

100g plain flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, if you prefer)

100g butter, melted

3 tablespoons of milk

How to make them

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat. Once melted, remove from heat while you get on with the other steps.

3. Grease a Madeleine tin with baking spray (my method of choice) or with a little of the melted butter.

4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until the mixture is thick, pale and frothy (a few minutes). I used my KitchenAid for this step but you can certainly do it by hand.

5. Add the flour and baking powder, and whisk for a minute to combine.

6. One at a time, add the Fiori di Sicilia, melted butter and milk, whisking all the time to combine.

7. Using a spoon, divide the mixture between the impressions in the Madeleine mould/tin, allowing the mixture to come very near to the top of the impression. (If you have mixture left over, pop it in the fridge while the first round of Madeleines bake – you can do the rest afterwards (see Notes above).)

8. Put the filled mould/tin in the oven and make for 8-10 minutes until the Madeleines are risen and golden brown. (I found that mine needed the full 10 minutes.)

9. Remove the Madeleines from the oven and after a minute or so, gently prize the little cakes out of the mould with a small palette knife or rounded table knife. Leave on a cooling rack to cool, but eat while still warm.

Quick Hot Cross Buns {no yeast, no kneading!}

There’s a lot of love for Hot Cross Buns in the RGB household (and in my entire family in general): even the aroma of the spices and sultanas are enough to elicit appreciative “mmmmm” sounds throughout the homestead. And because they’re traditional Easter fayre, scoffing them down at this time of year is extremely easy to justify. Hurrah!


As much as I love baking (and I have a special love for the magic of yeasted doughs, which to me is the most fascinating of all the chemistry that happens in my kitchen), I am the first to admit that the timescales involved in producing home-baked goods are not always that convenient when you have a busy life. Sometimes, you just don’t have time to prepare¬†a batch of yeasted bun dough (including giving it a 10 minute knead), wait¬†for it to¬†proof (rise) for a couple of hours, then ‘knocking it back’ and shaping it into bun shapes, and then leaving it for a second rise for another hour before the buns¬†are even ready to go in the oven.

But this speedy and simple recipe means that in less than an hour, you can have a batch of these tender, spiced, fruit-filled Hot Cross Buns on the table. No waiting, just buns for tea. Double hurrah! If only everything in life was so simple, eh?

So what makes these Hot Cross Buns so rapido? Basically: the fact that it is¬†not yeast that’s used to¬†raise the dough (which takes a number of hours), but baking powder and baking soda instead – this type of mixture is known as a ‘quick bread’. These leavening agents react with the acid in the buttermilk (and actually, baking powder has its own acid mixed in to react with anyway, which is clever), and bubble up with carbon dioxide, making our buns voluminous in next to no time.

Anyway, these¬†buns aren’t made in the traditional yeasted way, but¬†rest assured that the end product is still a delicious, tender-crumbed bun, spicy and fruity… a taste of Easter-time.


I recommend you eat them fresh (within 24 hours of making). As home bakers, we don’t have access to the preservatives used by commercial bakeries (probably a good thing!) and so these will start to get a bit stale after a day or so. This recipe only makes 8 buns, so you should be able to polish them off in no time! (But you could always toast them if they’ve become a bit firm, they make great toast.)

So‚Ķif you’re short on time, and have a craving for Hot Cross Buns that will not go away no matter how many times you sniff the sultana packet¬†(true story), I highly recommend you give this recipe a go. I was so pleased with how these buns¬†came out, especially¬†given the time to effort ratio.


You can make crosses on the buns out of dough, if you like, and bake the buns with the cross in situ‚Ķ or you can pipe the crosses on after the buns have baked, like I’ve done here (I used royal icing, but for a small quantity it might be easiest to use melted white chocolate, or even glac√© icing. That’s because royal icing requires egg white, and you might not want to use up a whole egg for just this small amount. I’ve put the directions for making glac√© icing below). Of course, if you don’t¬†want these scrummy buns to have an Easter connotation, you could simply leave off the crosses. Then you could eat them all year round…

I’d love to know if you try these buns, and what you think of the ‘quick’ method!



Recipe: Quick Hot Cross Buns


355g plain flour (plus more for sprinkling on the work surface later)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

30g sugar (3 tablespoons)

135g sultanas

60g chopped mixed orange and lemon peel

300ml buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, you can use mix¬†a good tablespoon of lemon juice / white vinegar with 300ml milk – leave it to stand for 10 minutes until it’s slightly thickened before using)

50g butter, melted

Egg or milk to glaze the tops of the buns with

How to make them:

1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Celsius. Grease the base of a baking sheet or 9 x 13 baking tin with butter.

2. Put the flour, sugar, spices, salt, baking powder, baking soda, sultanas and peel into a large mixing bowl, and use a large whisk or spatula to combine the ingredients well.

3. In another bowl or a mixing jug, combine the buttermilk (or milk + lemon juice if using) and the melted butter together. Don’t worry if the butter solidifies a little in the buttermilk.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and use a spatula to combine the ingredients until a dough forms, about 1 minute’s worth of mixing, pushing and folding.

5. Tip the dough out onto a surface you’ve dusted with plain flour, and knead the dough a few times until it’s smooth. It will be pretty sticky.

6. Dusting your fingers with flour, pinch off enough dough to roll into a bun about the size and shape of a pool/snooker ball. Place the bun on the baking sheet. Repeat for the other 7 buns, dusting your hands with more flour as needed.

7. Brush the tops of the buns with beaten egg, or milk, if you want them to come out shiny.

8. If you want to put crosses on the buns, mix a little water with a little flour until you have made a thick paste or dough, and apply it in a cross shape to the tops of the buns (this is optional – you can always add the cross later if you want).

9. Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes, until they are golden brown and sound ‘hollow’ when you tap them on the base. I baked mine for 24 minutes in total. About 10 minutes from the end of the baking time, you might like to lay a sheet of aluminium foil loosely over the top of the buns so that they don’t over-brown.

10. Remove from the over and leave to cool for 15 minutes or so. Enjoy the buns while still warm, with lashings of butter and a cup of tea.

Notes **If you want to add the crosses after the buns have baked, it’s probably best to wait until the tops of the buns are completely cool to the touch – then simply melt a handful of white candy melts or white chocolate in the microwave (do so in 20 second bursts to avoid scorching the chocolate) or in a bowl suspended over a saucepan of simmering water, and drizzle the chocolate over the buns with a teaspoon.

Or you could make a simple glacé icing  Рput 3 or 4 tablespoons of icing in a small bowl, and add a few drops of water at a time, whisking whisking whisking, until you have a thick sugar glaze. Then just drizzle it over the buns.**

Mini Eggs Rocky Road

It’s almost Easter and that means Cadbury Mini Eggs are out in force! Hurrah! I love ’em. I would go as far as to say that they’re my favourite festive chocolate at Easter-time‚Ķfollowed very closely by Malteaster Bunnies, which are just amazing. I love me some malty chocolate.


But anyway, snapping myself out of my chocolatey reverie:¬†I¬†had the idea for this rocky road when I was chomping through some pebbly Cadbury Mini Eggs recently‚Ķhow great would they be as a bar? With marshmallows! And something else‚Ķbut what? I settled on some crumbled meringues in the end. A light, crisp, melt-in-the-mouth contrast to all those solid choccy eggs. (I didn’t make the meringues btw, that would have been a lot of effort just¬†for something¬†to crumble up in rocky road. Lazy, I know. #notsorry)


Turns out that my idea to make these bars isn’t unique in the slightest – I thought (hoped) it might be and that I would be hailed as a genius‚Ķbut a Google search revealed that many¬†people have made versions of this¬†rocky road already. Ah well, good to know there are lots of fans of the petit oeufs out there.


These rocky road bars¬†couldn’t be simpler to make – melt dark chocolate (preferably 50%+ cocoa solids to counteract the sweetness of the other ingredients), butter and golden syrup (or corn syrup) together, then stir in mini marshmallows, meringues and a heck of a lot of sugar-shelled chocolate eggs-¬†feel free to use whatever brand you like, but as you know,¬†I used Cadbury Mini Eggs. Leave to set and photograph with cross-eyed chicks perched all over it. Job done!

(These chicks were divas to work with. But once we had established that¬†they had to stand up straight, I think you’ll agree they smoulder in front of the camera.)


A quick and easy Easter treat, packed with chocolate eggs, marshmallows and meringue. I think I’ll have another piece…

So what do you think? Mini Eggs for the win as ultimate Easter chocolate?

Recipe: Mini Eggs Rocky Road

Makes 12 squares


400g dark chocolate (50%-60% cocoa solids is good)

3 tablespoons golden syrup or corn syrup

125g unsalted butter

650g Cadbury Mini Eggs

75g mini marshmallows

30g meringue, crumbled into pieces

Pinch of salt (optional)

How to make it

1. Break the chocolate into pieces and put in in a saucepan over a very low heat, together with the butter and syrup. Let the ingredients melt, and stir gently occasionally to combine.

2. Take the chocolate mixture off the heat and leave to cool slightly.

3. Meanwhile, cover a chopping board in foil, and lightly grease with butter.

4. Add the mini marshmallows and chocolate eggs (reserving about 200g of the eggs to put on the top as decoration), and the pinch of salt if using, and stir throughly to cover in the chocolate mixture. Then carefully mix in the meringue pieces.

5. Tip the rocky road mixture onto the foil-covered chopping board, and with a spatula, form the rocky road into a rough square or rectangle shape (or whatever shape takes your fancy). Scatter the reserved eggs over the top and press them into the rocky road.

6. Leave the rocky road to completely set, which will take a 3-4 hours (you can speed up the process by putting it in the fridge). Then cut into pieces, and enjoy.