Snickerdoodles

Nope, I didn’t know what these were either, I just made them for the name. But they did not let me down!

Imagine a biscuit, which is a bit like a cake but tastes like a cinnamon sugar donut. That is a Snickerdoodle.

They are a lot more known in America it seems, but I think Britain should bite the biscuit and get involved too, these things are incredibly moreish. I have eaten 5 already today.

Snickerdoodles

Sorry to Snickers fans, they are not included in the recipe, but I reckon you should buy a Snickers anyway, and melt it over one of these doodles with some ice-cream- Snickersnickerdoodles.

This is Nigella Lawson’s recipe with a tweak!

You will need:

  • 80g wholemeal plain flour
  • 170g plain flour (alternatively use 250g of plain and no wholemeal flour)
  • 250g plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 125g butter, at room temperature
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar

1) Cream together the sugar and butter until it is fluffy.

2) add the egg and vanilla essence and continue to whisk it until smooth and creamy.

3) In a separate bowl combine the flour, nutmeg, baking powder and salt, then add it to the butter mix and stir with a metal spoon until it is all mixed into a dough.

4) On a plate, spoon out the sugar and cinnamon. Roll walnut size pieces of dough into balls in your palms, then roll them in the sugar and cinnamon. If you are unsure of the size of a walnut (I was…) then imagine a large Brussels sprout, or a golf ball.

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

5) place your Doodles onto baking parchment, you can get up to 32 of them out of the dough! Or you could try making giant ones.

Snickerdoodles

6) Bake at 180 degrees for 15 mins, then remove to cool.

Eat them warm with tea, or dipped in jam. They’re just as great cold. Let me know what you think of them!

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

 

Snickerdoodles

Snickerdoodles

Lemon Meringue Pie

A zingy lemon filling with a golden crisp top meringue and absolutely no soggy bottoms. Mary Berry would be proud.

Happy April!

I hope you are all owners of slightly rounder stomachs in the wake of Easter, if not please come and help yourself to my chocolate before I resemble Augustus Gloop.

The sun is shining today, so maybe spring has finally arrived (touch wood, white rabbits). Either way, I am going to provide you with a springy zingy recipe to celebrate, and bombard you with cheesy puns and sayings along the way.

This is the first Lemon Meringue Pie I have ever made, so it’s proof that anyone can make it with success. The proof is in the pudding!

Lemon Meringue Pie

I was helped by life long best friend Polly Wicks (can’t get rid of her), who was especially good removing egg shells and taking pictures. There were a few ups and downs along the way; at one point it nearly fell on the floor, which I’m sure Mr Pigley would have been very happy about. But we made it out the other side mostly unscathed.

Confession: I didn’t make the pastry due to time constraints, laziness, and a short attention span. Next time I will I promise!

Also, before we start I would like words with whoever invented the spelling for Meringue. Seriously give me a break, my spell check has never had to work harder.

Lemon Meringue Pie

You will need:

  • Sweet short crust pastry- bought or made. Don’t feel guilty if you cheat, Delia does it!

For the filling:

  • 2 level tbsp cornflour
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • finely grated zest of 2 large lemons
  • 125ml fresh lemon juice (from 3-4 lemons)
  • juice 1 small orange
  • 85g butter , cut into chunks
  • 3 egg yolks and plus 1 whole egg

For the meringue:

  • 4 egg whites at room temperature, avoid all yolks!
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 2 level tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

1) First you need to bake your pastry so that it retains it’s shape and there is no soggy business. Roll it out and lay it into your 23 x 2.5cm pastry tin with push out base. Leave the excess over the edges as the pastry shrinks in the oven, you can cut it off afterwards. I didn’t do this… I call it literal shortcrust pastry.

Bake it at 180 degrees for 15 mins with greaseproof paper and rice on it to weigh it down and stop the pastry rising.

2) Remove the greaseproof and bake for another 4 mins.

Lemon Meringue Pie
“Short crust” pastry

3) Leave this to one side and begin to make your filling. For this you need to stir your sugar, cornflour and lemon juice together on a medium heat in a pan. Do this until it is slightly sticky, then add your zest and orange juice, plus however much water you need to make the orange juice up to 200 ml.

4) Stir until thick, bubbling and smooth. Then remove from the heat and stir in the butter chunks until melted.

5) Beat in the egg yolks and whole egg- save the egg whites for the meringue. The trick with separating egg yolks is to crack the egg in half, keeping the yolk as a whole in one half of the shell and the white dribbles out. I’m always scared when I do this! But try this tutorial.

6) The mix will be thick, yellow, custard looking and jelly like. Remove it from the heat and now make the meringue.

Lemon Meringue Pie

7) Beat the 4 egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Make sure there is no yolk or shell in the whites- polly was in charge of this!

She likes pugs
She likes pugs

8) Add the sugar gradually with the corn flour. It will still form thick peaks and have a glistening sheen to the mix. If it is ready you can hold your bowl upside down and the mix won’t fall out!

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

I was actually very scared...!

I was actually very scared…!

9) Reheat the filling and pour it into the pastry case, then spoon on the meringue starting from around the edges or it will sink in the middle.

Lemon Meringue Pie

10) Bake in the oven for 18-20 mins at 180 degrees until the meringue is slightly golden and crisp on top. Let it cool in the tin for 30 mins, then remove and leave it to cool for another 1hr.

Lemon Meringue Piem

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Ultimate Chocolate Malteser Tiffin

Crumbly chocolate tiffin with chewy maltesers and a smooth chocolate topping.

I would go as far to say that this recipe is possibly the only reason we as a family have friends.

This has been tried and tested by every single birthday, anniversary, dinner party, wedding, christening, tea party or even non occasion the Smolen’s have attended.

It says “thank you” a lot, and “let me be in your good books” even more; bribery is a beautiful thing.

If mum makes it to take in to work, she has to leave a strip behind for us for her own good, she knows tiffin deprivation is an ugly experience.

Basically this stuff is pretty bloody amazing and I have never met anybody who has turned down a piece.

Ultimate Chocolate Malteser Tiffin

Warning 1: the mix before it is set is incredibly addictive and you will eat a lot of it.

Warning 2: If you are on a diet, erase your memory of everything that is in it and pretend it was made with carrots

You will need:

  • 1oog 70% dark choc
  • 300g milk choc (good quality)
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 3 tbs golden syrup
  • 275g crushed digestives
  • 200g maltesers

1) In a pan, gently melt the butter, 100g milk choc, dark choc and golden syrup together in a pan until it is a smooth silky saucy texture.

2) With a rolling pin, lay a tea towel over the biscuits and bash them until they are crumbs. Leave some bigger lumps in but most of it needs to be crumby.

3) Pour the bashed digestives into the chocolate and butter mix and stir it all together to make a sort of paste. Then mix in your maltesers.

4) Line a pan with greaseproof paper and spoon the mix into any shape you like keeping it about 1 1/2 inches thick then pop to one side.

5) In a seperate bowl melt the remaining 200g of chocolate. If you do it in the microwave be careful not to burn it! Then pour it as a topping onto the tiffin you just shaped. Leave to set.

6) After about  2 hours in the fridge the tiffin should be set, cut it into cubes, eat the escape crumbs and share with everyone at every occasion possible! Especially those who you want to be your friend.

Ultimate Chocolate Malteser Tiffin

Ultimate Chocolate Malteser Tiffin

Ultimate Chocolate Malteser Tiffin

Fumble

Pudding is a must for me, whether it’s a fruit salad or a giant hunk of chocolate fudge cake, it is a mandatory follow on from all meals. Unless I’m going out… in which case a cocktail is much more suited.

This ones great for summer, and can be mixed up in anyway you like to suit you. Make it healthy, unhealthy but whatever you do make it tastey.

Fumble is essentially a cold crumble. The recipe was found by my Grandma in The Guardian, and made by my mum as a traditional cold strawberry crumble, but I just can’t get enough of Fumble. I’ve found that once you have made the Fumble it’s so easy to whip up a different pudding in no time.

Fumble and Natural yoghurt. Just one fumble variation
Keep your Fumble supply in a tin for up to 2 weeks!

Here is the basic recipe, the rest is down to you!

  1. 225g plain flour
  2. 200g unsalted butter, fridge cold and cut into cubes (fridge cold is important!)
  3. 150g demerara sugar
  4. 100g oats
  5. Teaspoon of cinnamon

1) Set the oven to 180c

2) Throw all the ingredients into a bowl and use your fingers to rub in the butter to the dry stuff until you have a crumb like consistency.

3) Squidge into clumps and lay on baking parchement in a tray. Evenly spread the lumps and bake for 25 mins.

That is all it takes to get the canvas for your next month of puddings. This crumbley fumbley topping goes with just about anything. I had it with rasberries and natural yoghurt, for a heathy(ish) way to end my meal.

yum
Fumble, berries and natural yoghurt.

but here are some more exciting ideas. The way I see it each fumble variation needs Fumble (obv.) A moist maker (as joey might say) and a little extra something. Pick and choose, mix and match from the list below.

Moist makers:

Fruit yoghurt, greek yoghurt, ice-cream, angel delight, jelly, custard, whipped cream, cream.

Extra something-somethings:

Banana, berries, chocolate chunks, malteasers, toffee/strawberry/chocolate sauce, maple syrup, sprinkles.

Then add fumble

These lists are by no means exhaustive. If you come up with a creative pudding with your fumble please share it with me! Search your cupboards and see what you can do.