Just a Spoonful of Sugar

How is everyone coping? It’s such a stressful time and at the same time staying home really shouldn’t be stressful, but the constant news updates and not being able to hold your loved ones close is so very hard at this uncertain time.

I myself have taken to de-stress baking. I feel anxious or stressed and I bake or cook something. Usually something full of sugar, very delicious and not so good for the thighs. If you have any semblance of self control while being at home all day, I take my hat off to you. You are winning!

If you happen to fancy trying some sugary treats to brighten yours or someone else’s day, then you are in luck! Because I happen to have 2 store cupboard essentials recipes (well my type of essentials anyway). Both these recipes are made with ingredients that are either dry ingredients that you can buy in if you haven’t got it and any left overs will keep for another recipe and wet ingredients that you should have handy. the first recipe is fool proof, no baking skills required. The second one takes a little more attention and an extra bit of equipment.

The first recipe was sent to me by a friend of mine to try. They are called Hiker Bars and it is originally a Baker Boys recipe, although I have tweaked it slightly. They are AMAZING! and everyone loved them. Needless to say they didn’t last very long.

You will need:

  • 180g Butter at room temperature
  • 270g Demerara Sugar
  • 2 Medium Eggs
  • 180g Plain Flour
  • 1tsp Baking Powder
  • 360g Raisins
  • 50g Caster sugar (You may not need it all- I didn’t)
  • Optional- Chocolate chips

1.To make the Hiker bars start by pre heating the oven to 180c. Prepare your baking tray, I used a silicone one so no need to do anything. If you are using a metal one, line with baking paper. I used 8in x 8in tray, but use what ever you have handy.

2. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the Demerara Sugar and butter together until well blended and is light and fluffy, and then add the eggs and beat them in too.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder together in to the mixture and stir in the raisins (if you don’t have raisins, other dried fruit such as currents or sultanas will do). If you are using chocolate chips as I did, add them and stir them in too.

4. Spread into the prepared baking tray, and bake for about 25 min or until cooked through. All ovens vary so keep an eye on it. When you take it out sprinkle desired amount of caster sugar over the top and leave to cool completely. When it first comes out the oven it is soft and cakey, but it will firm up once cool. I placed mine in the fridge over night.

Amazing with a cup of tea!

The next thing I made, is an all time favourite of mine!! Fudge! Having been a chocolatier in the past, Fudge was one of the most sold items even over the chocolate. Although the ingredients are simple it takes a lot of attention to make. But I do hope you have a go.

This recipe makes the best Vanilla fudge ever!!! You will need

  • 1 tin of Condensed Milk
  • 450g Demerara Sugar
  • 115g Butter
  • 150ml Milk (if using powdered milk make up as directions state)
  • Vanilla essence
  • Sugar Thermometer or thermospatula

For this recipe I decided to use powdered milk. Mainly because I wanted to see if there would be any difference in flavour. As it turns out, it tastes exactly the same. A quick tip I advise using gloves for any sugar work, because sugar burns and sticks, I speak from experience.

1.Before you start prepare your equiptment. You will need a hand mixer, and a frying pan with some cold water in, next to where you are cooking.

2.Place all ingredients in a deep pan and turn up the heat. For this recipe, you are going to need a sugar thermometer, or if your like me, a thermospatula. You can NOT leave the pan you must keep stirring.

3. Keep stirring right on to the bottom of the pan, going round the edges making sure it has no chance to burn. Checking the temperature and taking it off the heat when it reaches 116c. It should be boiling thunderously.

4. Once it has reached 116c take it off the hob, and place the bottom of pan into the cold water in the frying pan. This stops the cook, and the fudge won’t continue to heat.

5. Next you need to start beating the fudge straight away. Put in the vanilla essence at this point, approx 1-1.5 tsps will do but its to your taste. You can beat it by hand, but honestly its not worth it. Using the electric mixer, beat the fudge until it goes from shiny to flat and grainy. When you lift the mixer out it should stand on small peaks on the whisk.

6.Then pour it in to a baking tray and spread evenly. I use silicone as its non stick, but if you have metal use baking paper. Put it in the fridge until it starts to cool and go hard. the longer you leave it in the fridge the harder the fudge will be. If you like a softer fudge don’t leave it in very long. Once it is cool, chop it up.

I hope you like these recipes. If you have anything else you would like me to try and post let me know.

We will have a bit more from the garden tomorrow, instead of all the food I’ve been making. Until then stay safe, stay well, stay home.

Bye for now,

Kiera & Tony

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