Sunday, 22 December 2013

Need a last minute Christmas gift? Chocolate Bark!

If time has caught up on you and you're suddenly left without a gift for one of your Christmas guests, have no fear. This homemade chocolate bark recipe is seriously impressive and more importantly ridiculously easy to make. We used Barkat gluten free pretzels and a handful of other yummy treats to decorate our chocolate so feel free to choose anything that takes your fancy and sprinkle it over the melted chocolate. We've experimented with Jelly babies to candy sticks to coffee beans- use your imagination (or whatever you have in your cupboards!) This is a great one for the kids to get involved too!


However much chocolate you would like- try and buy the highest quality you can (either Dark, milk or white)
Classic toppings: raisins, cranberries, pistachios, hazelnuts, coconut flakes and more and more and more.
Exciting toppings: candy canes, popping candy, honeycomb bites, gluten free pretzels, popcorn and more and more and more.


* Gently melt your chocolate either in the microwave (stirring at 30 second intervals) or over a saucepan of water (making sure the water does not touch the chocolate)
* Pour the melted chocolate into a lined baking tray.
* Cover the chocolate with your decorations (we think the more the merrier for this!)
* Place in the fridge to set (approximately 40 mins)

That's all there is to it! We like to break the chocolate into bitesize pieces and then wrap in cellophane with a big ribbon!

Homemade gifts make celebrations that bit more special sometimes!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Homemade Tasty Christmas Gifts

Sometimes it is far more special to receive a handmade gift than another generic box of shower gel or a Christmas jumper which will never see the light of day. For our third 'festive bakes' installment, how about making an edible gift?

Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti

These biscuits taste delicious when dipped into a hot chocolate on a cold winter's night. Wrap them up in cellophane and a big red ribbon and you will be making someone very happy indeed!

We use Barkat gluten free all purpose flour mix and baking powder to make these lovely treats!

1/4 cup light olive oil
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups Barkat all-purpose gluten free flour mix
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Barkat gluten free baking powder
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups pistachio nuts

* Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C.

*In a large bowl, mix together the oil and sugar until well blended. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts, then beat in the eggs.

* Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder; gradually stir into the egg mixture. Mix in the cranberries and nuts by hand (get your hands dirty!).

* Divide dough in half. Form two logs (12x2 inches) on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. (Warning: the dough may be sticky; wet hands with cool water to handle the mixture more easily).

* Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until logs are light brown. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 135 degrees C.

* Cut logs on diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. Lay on sides of the parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until dry; cool.

* The colours of the fruit and nuts make the biscuits look so festive!


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Countdown to Christmas- Baking treats

Christmas is only 15 sleeps away!

During the countdown to Christmas we've decided to share a festive foodie recipe every day! If you like the sound of any of the dishes, get baking and share with your friends and family- let's get a festive baking trend going!

Today we are rustling up Frangipane mince tart! This tart is crumbly, rich and when paired with high quality mincemeat, it makes an extremely tasty, festive treat!

Serves 8:

175g Barkat all purpose flour mix
75g butter, cubed
25g caster sugar
1 egg

Half a 410g jar good mincemeat

Almond filling:
75g butter
75g caster sugar
2 eggs
75g ground almonds
25g Barkat all purpose flour mix
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

about 75g icing sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
about 50g toasted flaked almonds


1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC, and put a heavy, flat baking tray into it to heat up. You will need a 33cm x 10cm x 3cm rectangle tin.

2. First make the pastry, either by the usual rubbing-in method by hand or measure the flour and butter into a processor and process until rubbed in. Add the sugar and mix for a moment, then add the egg and water. Process until the mixture just holds together.

3. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface and use to line the flan tin. There will be ample pastry. Prick the base of the pastry using a fork.

4. Next make the filling. Process the butter and sugar until creamy, add the eggs and blend, then mix in the ground almonds and almond extract.

5. Spread a thin layer of mincemeat over the base of the pastry and spoon the almond mixture on top.

6. Sit the tart tin on the hot baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden brown.

7. To finish the tart, make a glacé icing from the icing sugar and lemon juice, adding water to make it a pouring consistency. Spread over the tart and sprinkle with flaked almonds.

Serve warm or cold.

If you want to serve this on Christmas day, the pasty-lined flan tin can be kept (covered in clingfilm) for up to 12 hours. Or you can prepare the entire pie (Up to the end of stage 6) and freeze it until the day.

This tart tastes fantastic with Brandy cream!

Get ready for many more Christmas bakes this month!