Recipe: Buttery Almond Biscuits (Bondkakor)

During lockdown I did a lot of baking. Like a lot a lot. Our 5pm tea time break was holy and I tried to make sure we had nice treats to enjoy each day.

It was a fun game of finding ingredients and trying to think of what to make with them. I made these particular biscuits when we were low on eggs. It felt so satisfactory to be able to make something delicious (and trust me when I say these biscuits are buttery and scrumptious!) even when you can’t get hold of something as basic as eggs.

But I urge you to make them even if you have plenty of eggs on hand, because they are so so good! I baked half in the Aga and half in a regular oven at a later time (the dough freezes really well!), and they were definitely best when baked in the Aga, so if you have or have access to one, don’t hesitate to make these!

Bondkakor (Buttery Almond Cookies), makes about 60

Translated from and adapted after Ica’s recipe.

30 g whole almonds

150 g plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

80 g caster sugar

1/2 tbsp golden syrup

1 tsp water

100 g butter

Chop the almonds roughly. Pour the flour and bicarb into a bowl and mix. Add sugar, syrup, almonds, water and butter. Work the ingredients into a dough. Shape into two rolls, each approx 3 cm in diamanter. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for a few hours to firm up. Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C. Cut the rolls into 5 mm thick slices and place on parchment paper covered baking trays. Bake in the middle of the oven for 5-7 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Recipe: The Easiest Scones!

When I saw Rosie make these on her Instagram in the middle of lockdown, I decided to try them straight away. I already have a great scone recipe on the blog, courtesy of Paul Hollywood, but these seemed a lot easier and quicker to make.

I even managed to get hold of clotted cream, so two days in a row we had freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream with our tea. So yummy!

These are definitely your everyday type of scones. The ones you whip up just before eating them, and I think they are intended that way. If you’re putting on a whole afternoon tea spread I would make the Paul Hollywood ones though, as they are more like the ones you get in a nice restaurant. Less rustic.

I can’t stress enough how easy these are to make! If you haven’t made scones before or are a bit scared of baking, this is the recipe to try. Line up the ingredients and have the tea, clotted cream and jam ready!

The easiest scones, makes about 16

Adapted from Rosie The Londoner’s recipe.

8 heaped tbsp self-raising flour

quarter pack of butter (about 62 g), cubed

150 ml milk

pinch of salt

Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. Add the flour and salt to a large mixing bowl and add in the cubed butter. Use finger tips to break up the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs in texture. Make a well in the middle and pour in the milk. Use a knife to bring it together into a sticky dough. Dust a surface with flour and place the dough on it. Sprinkle some flour on top and pat the dough until approx 1.5 inches thick, taking care not to knock the air out of it or work the dough too much. Cut out scones with a cookie cutter or a glass. Keep going until all the dough has been used. Place the scones on a parchment lined baking tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes and let cool on a wire rack. Split the scones open to serve.

Recipe: Rhubarb Pavlova

When I put this on the table at a dinner party before lockdown (the last dinner with friends in fact) I got so much praise. To me, a pavlova is easy to make, and even more importantly, to make ahead! But I agree it looks impressive and inviting with it’s fluffy white meringue and pillowy whipped cream topped with gleaming pink pieces of just-soft-enough-rhubarb.

That dinner in March seems forever ago now, but thanks to the forced Yorkshire rhubarb, it was rhubarb season both then and now, giving us a link back to that more carefree time.

But as we are now allowed to see friends again, let’s celebrate it with a really good pudding!

Rhubarb Pavlova, serves 6-8

140 g egg whites (4)

220 g caster sugar

8 g / 1 tbsp corn flour

4 g  / 1 tsp white wine vinegar

3 dl whipping or double cream

400 g rhubarb

400 g rhubarb, ends trimmed

200 ml water

200 ml caster sugar

Beat the egg whites until foamy and add the sugar bit by bit while beating until stiff peaks. Add corn flour and vinegar and fold it in with a spatula. 

Divide the meringue in two, shaping two circles on two parchment clad baking trays. 

Bake in the middle of the oven, for 60 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the cooling oven with the door open until the oven has cooled down. 

Cut the rhubarb into 4 cm long pieces and place in an ovenproof sig with sides. Bring sugar and water to the boil in a saucepan. Pour the syrup over the rhubarb and place in a 100C oven for 30 minutes. Leave to cool completely. 

Lightly whip the cream. Place one meringue round on a cake plate. Spread with whipped cream and drizzle with rhubarb syrup. Place the other meringue round on top. Spread with whipped cream and top with rhubarb pieces and syrup. Decorate with a sprig of mint.

Recipe: The Perfect Lemon Drizzle Cake

In these strange times I have baked more than ever. Partly because tea and cake in the late afternoon every day has been a lovely ritual in an otherwise chaotic and strange time.

I’ve made some old favourites (my favourite chocolate cake, the yummiest carrot cake, tosca cake and of course a classic Victoria sponge) but I’ve also tried some new recipes. And this lemon drizzle cake recipe, courtesy of baking queen Mary Berry, was of course perfect in every way.

It’s incredibly easy to make (place all ingredients in a bowl and mix) and utterly delicious. I love the crunchy top (finally that substituted bag of granulated sugar was put to good use!) and the perfectly balanced lemon flavour.

My only problem was that I was out of self-raising flour, but it was easily substituted by plain flour and baking powder (2 teaspoons of baking powder for each 150g plain flour) and worked perfectly.

Mary Berry’s lemon drizzle cake, serves 8

Adapted from Mary Berry’s recipe.

175 g caster sugar

175 g self-raising flour

175 g softened butter

3 eggs

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

¾ level tsp baking powder

For the lemon drizzle topping:

100 g granulated sugar

juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Beat together the eggs, flour, caster sugar, butter, baking powder and lemon zest until smooth in a large mixing bowl and pour into a buttered loaf tin.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 40 mins, or until golden brown, shrinking away from the sides of the tin and springy to the touch.

While the cake is still warm, make the lemon drizzle topping. Mix together the sugar and lemon juice, and pour over the warm cake. Leave to cool a little and loosen the sides of the cake, then lift the cake out of the tin.

Recipe: Gingerbread Sponge with Cream Cheese Frosting and Pomegranate Seeds

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I first made this cake for a book club meet-up and it went down so well I made it one December weekend as well. And that’s also when I tweaked the recipe to what it is below. The original recipe called for lingonberry jam which I omitted even the first time, but I thought the spices could come through a bit more as well and after my tweaks I’m very happy with it!

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So next time you want a festive cake, try this! I promise it’s a welcome change from mince pies and other cakes heavy on dried fruit. This is still a spiced cake but much lighter and, dare I say – fresher – with its cream cheese frosting and juice bursting pomegranate seeds!

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Gingerbread sponge with cream cheese frosting and pomegranate seeds, serves 8

Adapted from Brinken Bakars recipe.

75 g butter

1 1/2 eggs

135 g caster sugar

125 g plain flour

3 tsp ground cinnamon

3 tsp ground ginger 

1 tsp ground cloves 

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

150 g buttermilk 

Pre-heat the oven to 175C. Butter a baking tin. Melt the butter and put aside. Mix flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and bicarb in a bowl. In another bowl whisk eggs and sugar pale and fluffy with an electric whisk. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix well. Add the buttermilk and lastly the melted butter and mix well. Pour the batter into the baking tin and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes. 

Cream cheesefrosting

75 g softened salted butter

80 g icing sugar 

1 tsp vanilla

150 g cold cream cheese (preferably full fat Philadelphia) 

110 g pomegranate seeds

Cream the butter for approx 5 minutes using an electric whisk. Add icing sugar and vanilla and beat for another few minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until well incorporated. 

Let the cake cool and put it on a cake plate. Spread the frosting on top and decorate with pomegranate seeds. 

 

 

Recipe: chewy chocolate cookies (gf)

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These deliciously chewy chocolate biscuits happen to be gluten-free, and that’s why I decided to make them in the first place; for a friend who can’t have gluten, but as I suspected they were so lovely that I will keep making them for myself as well.

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Because they don’t contain gluten-free flour they’re not a regular cookie made into a gluten-free version. Instead the technique is completely different using eggs and corn flour to bind a mixture of mainly melted chocolate. Yes, they’re THAT chocolate-y!

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Gluten-free chocolate cookies with sea salt, makes 20-25

Translated from and adapted after Brinken Bakar’s recipe.

135 g caster sugar

40 g butter, softened

2 eggs

45 g corn flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

250 g dark chocolate 

120 g white chocolate, chopped

sea salt

Pre-heat the oven to 160C fan. Melt the dark chocolate in a Bain Marie and leave to cool slightly. Whip the butter with electric beaters fir approx 2 minutes, then add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs; first one, then whisk and then the other and whisk. Mix corn flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and add to the egg mixture. Add the melted chocolate. If the mixture feels too runny leave it to thicken for while. When the mixture is cool, add the white chocolate. Spoon out the mixture onto baking tray covered with parchment paper. Scatter with sea salt and bake in the oven for 8-9 minutes. Leave to cool. They are best stored in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Recipe: chewy toffee cake

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I had the best neighbours when I was little. Agnes and her husband Claes. Claes was nice, but it was Agnes I adored. Mainly because she spent so much time with me. I could come and go at theirs as I liked. She let me try on allof her high heeled shoes in her shoe wardrobe (I aspire to having one of those one day) and she played with me. I think she adored me too, as she seemed to enjoy playing with me as much as I enjoyed playing with her.

This cake recipe is hers, and one I wrote down a very long time ago, but it has since been forgotten in my quest for new and exciting recipes. But when I was home this summer mamma suddenly thought of it and we found the recipe neatly written down by hand in my first recipe book. It’s full of treasures and one day I will take the time to read them all.

Thank you, Agnes, for being an extra granny through my childhood. And for this cake!

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Chewy toffee cake, serves 8

2 eggs

240 g caster sugar 

1 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp cocoa

1/2 tsp salt

100 g melted butter

90 g plain flour 

1/2 tsp baking powder

Beat eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add vanilla, cocoa, salt, and butter and mix. Then add flour and baking powder. Mix well. Pour into a buttered springform and bake for 20m minutes in 175C oven. It should still be a little gooey in the middle. Leave to cool and serve with lightly whipped cream. 

Recipe: rhubarb custard tarte

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Spring. For me it’s about feeling the sun on my face. Shedding a few layers of clothing and watch all the flowers blossom.

And I get terribly excited about the fresh produce. First the wild garlic, then the asparagus, rhubarb and new potatoes.

At the moment we can enjoy all these things and it makes me rather giddy with happiness! FINALLY winter (although it wasn’t an awful one in London this year) is over!

To celebrate the arrival of Yorkshire rhubarb to the shops a few weeks ago I made a lovely puff pastry tart with pink lovely rhubarb (cooked just enough to still be a little firm) and a glorious custard. Eating this in the sunshine makes me so happy!

Custard rhubarb tarte, serves 6-8

Translated from and adapted after Tidningen Hembakat’s recipe.

1 roll all butter puff pastry

Custard (oven proof):

1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla

300 ml milk

50 g caster sugar

3 egg yolks

50 ml corn starch 

25 g butter

Warm milk, sugar and vanilla in a nonstick saucepan. Mix the egg yolks with corn starch in a bowl. Add the warm milk to the egg mixture a little by little. Then return the mixture to the saucepan and warm on medium heat until the mixture has thickened, approx 2 minutes. Whisk continuously. Remove from the heat and stir on the butter. Pour into a bowl, cover with cling (all the way down on the mixture) and leave to cool. 

400 g rhubarb, trim the ends

200 ml water

200 ml caster sugar

Cut the rhubarb into 4 cm long pieces and place in an ovenproof sig with sides. Bring sugar and water to the boil in a saucepan. Pour the syrup over the rhubarb and place in a 100C oven for 20 minutes. Leave to cool completely. 

Assembly: 

Roll out the puff pastry and place on a parchment paper lines baking sheet. Cut a thin incision only along the surfaces of the dough, approx 2 cm in from the edge, all around the dough. Prick the dough inside of the “frame” with a fork. Pre-bake the dough for approx 7 minutes (it should bake a bit but not colour) in a 200C oven. 

Remove from the oven and spread a thick layer of custard onto the dough inside the “frame” and place the rhubarb pieces on top with a little space in between. Bake for another 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven. Leave to cool and dust with icing sugar before cutting into smaller pieces and serving.

Recipe: salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread cookies

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You might have heard about these cookies already, as they almost broke the internet? If so, see this as a friendly reminder to bake them again. And if not, you’re in for a treat!

Quite literally of course, because these salty buttery cookies with chocolate chunks and a lovely edge of crunchy demerera sugar are INSANELY good. I’m obsessed and can’t wait to bake them again although I sort of know that it’s a bad idea because I will eat them all.

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I think Aliso Roman has invented the PERFECT cookie, which is no small feat. So if you haven’t already, start baking! They’re really easy to make and the reward is HUGE!

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Salted butter shortbread chocolate chunk cookies, makes 24

Adapted from Alison Roman’s recipe via Smitten Kitchen.

255 g salted butter, cold, cut into small pieces

100 g caster sugar

50 g light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

295 g plain flour

170 g dark chocolate, chopped (you want chunks, not thin shards of chocolate)

1 large egg

demerara sugar, for rolling

sea salt flaked for sprinkling

Beat the butter, caster sugar, brown sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl as needed. Add flour, and mix just until combined. Add chocolate chunks, mix just until incorporated. Mixture will look crumbly.

Divide between two sheets of parchment paper or cling and use your hands to form the dough halves into log shapes about 5 cm in diameter. Chill until firm, about 2 hours.

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, heat your oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Lightly beat the egg and open up your chilled cookie logs to brush it over the sides. Sprinkle the demerara sugar on the open paper or plastic wrap and roll the logs into it, coating them.

Using a sharp serrated knife, cut logs into 1 cm thick rounds. You’re going to hit some chocolate chunks, so saw gently, squeezing the cookie to keep it from breaking if needed. Arrange cookie slices on prepared sheets a few cms apart and sprinkle each with a few flakes of salt. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to get golden brown. Let cool slightly before transferring to the cookies to a wire racks to cool down.

Recipe: saffron cake with white chocolate

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In Sweden anything with saffron is considered Christnassy and festive, and that’s the reasoning for making this chewy saffron and white chocolate cake for the book club Christmas dinner.

It’s very yummy without being too sweet and although quite pretty it would have been even prettier with the intended icing. I was convinced I had icing sugar at home but there was none in the cupboard, so I served it plain and that worked well too. I had creme fraiche on the side (that was intended for the frosting) but lightly whipped cream works well too.

Saffron and white chocolate cake, serves 10

Translated from and adapted after Ica’s recipe.

150 g white chocolate
150 g butter
1/2 g saffran
160 g caster sugar
60 g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
Frosting:
200 ml crème fraiche
50 ml icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Garnish:
pomegranate seeds
Preheat the oven to 175°C. Butter and flour a 24 diameter springform. Melt chocolate and butter in a Bain Marie or in the microwave. Add the saffron and leave to cool/dissolve a for a few minutes. 
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowla and add to the melted chocolate. Add egg and vanilla and mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the springform and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for 23-25 minutes. Leave to cool. 
Beat crème fraiche, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth and quite set and spread ut onto the cake. Add pomegranate seeds.