Thursday, 6 October 2011

Butterscotch Marshmallow Bars

Time has come around to make another bar and what better way to satisfy my sweet tooth with butterscotch and marshmallow all wrapped together in a gooey chewy bar.

Lined my tin with greaseproof paper, it is the tin that is now always used for bars as it is deeper but slightly smaller than the dimensions given in the cook book. Always worked out well previously and don't have another choice really.

Firstly the dough base is to be made. This is just icing sugar to give it a sweet edge plus flour and butter, rubbed together with your fingertips until the dough starts to form. Press it into the tray, making sure to go up the sides a little to hold the mixture in. Bakes for just over 20 minutes until the edges are brown but the middle is pale still. The marshmallows are then just sprinkled on top of the cooling base. This is also the only oven part of the recipe, the rest is all hob and cooling.

Next it to make the butterscotch part, which seems the longest bit of all. Two types of sugar (light brown and caster) are added into a saucepan with golden syrup and water. You let it boil away until it gets to the soft ball stage. This seemed to take forever but I thought we had finally got there so moved onto the next stage of stirring in the butter and then letting it boil for a few more minutes.

The rest of the ingredients are added to this mixture off the heat so in goes the crunchy peanut butter, double cream and vanilla essence. I was stirring and stirring away to get it all melted together but it didn't seem to look right. Put it down to the peanut chunks in it so carried on pouring it over the marshmallows on the base. This is then left for a few hours or overnight to set. We left it for ages but it didn't seem to be setting very well. The marshmallows hadn't quite been covered so much as melted and formed a layer on the top also. I decided to pop it in the fridge for an hour just to try and firm it up a little more. This didn't seem to work much either so I bite the bullet and cut a slice out.

It was difficult to cut as the melted marshmallows had formed a thick layer on top and the bars were still rather squishy themselves. Once I had a cut away section I could see that the butterscotch part and the peanut butter seemed to have separated and all the butterscotch then seeped into the available gap from the missing piece. It was too sickly once I tasted it so safe to say I made a complete hash of it. I guess I didn't leave the butterscotch on the hob long enough after all. Might not be attempting this recipe in a hurry again.

Mixed Berry Muffins

It was a long time ago that I baked these muffins and I am only just getting round to writing about them. I went for the mixed berry ones to ease myself from the sweet cupcakey flavours into the more savoury tastes of the muffins slowly. Thought it was about time to hit the nail on the head and crack on with them.

Oven on to preheat and I set off filling my muffin tin with cases as I usually do for the cupcakes. I then saw the picture from the cook book in which they have used a silicone tray. I have one myself so put all the cases back into their tin and greased up the silicone one instead. Once it has been buttered I popped a case in and yet it didn't fit so well so had second thoughts, like any woman, and went back to the usual tin.

Faffing with over and off we go with the recipe itself. Using many of the standard ingredients I do for a cupcake, the sugar, baking powder, salt and additional bicarb of soda went into a bowl together. The milk is mixed with the eggs and vanilla essence and then poured into a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Once this is incorporated you add the butter which has already been melted. Usually the butter is the first to be mixed in but it time has come to be almost last for a change. Whisked everything together then sorted out the most important ingredient – the berries.

The recipe uses blueberries and raspberries and this is what I stuck to. I managed to get fresh ones thankfully, as when I have used frozen in the past I have forgotten to defrost them in time and had a scramble on my hands. The berries are folded in by hand and then into the cases the batter went.

I think I used about 2 tablespoons of mixture per case, this is what I tend to get for all cakes in this tin. Now for the unusual part, sprinkling some of the remaining sugar on top of each muffin. You have to leave some behind at the beginning of the recipe see, caught you out there didn't I! It did seem rather a lot of each muffin though and I had made 14 instead of the stated 10-12 so some of the sugar went back into the packet, once I decided they had all been showered in enough of it.

This recipe also doesn't state how long to bake the muffins for, just stays until they are golden brown on top and bounce back when pressed gently. I tried 20 minutes which is the time for cupcakes and had a check on them them. They weren't quite golden brown yet so another 5-10 minutes did the trick. Can't be exactly accurate with the timings, baked them so long ago my memory isn't great on this point.

The smell was lovely and by coating the berries in flour before they were added to the batter I managed to stop them all sinking to the bottom so they were spread nicely throughout the sponge. They tasted as a muffin should, you know the difference between a muffin and a cupcake, a slightly denser sponge. The berries added a nice tang to them whilst the sugar on top had given them that nice crunchy crispiness. They went down a treat with my pregnant sister in law, who is now due in a few weeks (come around so quickly) and the remaining muffins went with hubby to work. Although I did enjoy a few, there were not something that I would eat 14 of lol.

(In my silliness I also forgot to take of photo of these particular bakes, sorry :S )