Tag Archives: chocolate

Day One – 30 Days of Creativity 2012 – Hokey pokey, honeycomb, sponge toffee

Today’s theme on the 30 Days of Creativity Inspiration Calendar is ‘Friday’.

Where to start with an inspirational theme of a day of the week? Something Rebecca Black-related? Something literal?

Soon ‘that Friday feeling’ popped into my head and I was transported back to my childhood:

So, on a slight tangent from the original inspiration, I decided to make homemade Crunchie bars – ie. cinder toffee/sponge toffee/honeycomb/hokey pokey/whatever else you care to call it, covered in milk chocolate.

A quick search of the internet and flick through various books revealed a wide variation in recipes for honeycomb, some very much more complicated than others! I decided to keep it simple and went with this recipe from The Guardian which also explains the science (‘and magic’) behind making it. I overcooked my first attempt and ended up with a burnt-tasting sticky mass, then tried again (the quantities of ingredients required for this are so small that it’s not a big deal to have a few attempts). Second time, I managed not to burn the mixture. A taste test revealed a lovely honeycomb with a light texture and just a hint of caramel. I broke it into shards which I then dipped in melted chocolate and left to set in the fridge.

Took the results into work today and they were *very* well received. The chocolate-coated honeycomb was generally considered to taste almost exactly like actual Crunchie bars, praise indeed!

Which ads made a lasting impression on you as a child?



Adventures in baking: Millionaire’s Shortbread

Millionaire's Shortbread

Once again, I’ve been trying out my baking skills for my willing taste testers. This time it’s the marvel that is Millionaire’s Shortbread, a classic British favourite consisting of layers of shortbread, caramel and chocolate. It looks like it’d be complicated to make, but although it was a bit time consuming, most of the time was spent just waiting for the separate layers to cool down. I had about five recipes in my recipe folder for this (and could have found many other versions online), so I’ve combined them into my own new recipe.

250g plain flour
80g golden caster sugar
175g butter, cubed (I used salted for that hint of salt-caramel flavour)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g butter
100g brown sugar (I used light brown soft sugar)
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 x 397g tin condensed milk
200g milk or plain chocolate, broken into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 180C. Rub in the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (this bit can be done in a food processor or mixer but I prefer the hands on approach). Add sugar and vanilla extract. Form into a dough and knead lightly on a floured surface. The mixture might seem quite crumbly to start off with but just keep at it and it will all work out OK!

Press the dough into an approx 23 x 20cm baking tin that has been lined with baking paper. Bake for about 25 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.

Whilst the base is cooling you can make the caramel. Melt the butter in a pan, then add the brown sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk. Mix well, then allow to bubble gently, stirring often. After about ten minutes the mixture will have noticeably darkened and thickened and at this point you can try what is known in expert confectionery circles as the ‘soft ball test’ which basically involves dropping small amounts of the caramel into a glass of cold water to see if the drops form into soft balls. If they do, the caramel is ready; if not, give it a little longer then try again. Once the caramel is ready, remove from the heat and pour over your shortbread base. Leave to cool.

Once it’s set, melt the chocolate, either slowly and carefully in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water, and pour it over the caramel layer. Put the shortbread in the fridge for a few hours until the chocolate has set, then remove and cut into squares or slices. Serve, to much “mmmm”-ing from your friends, family and colleagues!

Millionaire's Shortbread

I hope you enjoy the recipe – any suggestions or problems, let me know.


The best chocolate crispy cakes ever

Or so I’ve been told!

Mars Bar Crispy Cake

My lucky colleagues received more sweet treats from my busy kitchen last week  – this time it was Mars Bar Rice Crispy Cakes.

These are no ordinary crispy cakes, as the caramel and nougat from the Mars Bars adds a certain sweet gooey chewiness. I thought I’d share the super-easy recipe with you all so you can have a go at making your own.


5 Mars Bars (or equivalent non-branded version)
120g rice crispies
200g milk chocolate
50-75g butter (I usually measure this by eye rather than weight but roughly 50-75g should do it)


  1. Melt four of the Mars Bars with the butter – this can be done in the microwave in short bursts but be careful not to scorch the chocolate
  2. Mix the melted chocolate and butter  mixture into the rice crispies, ensuring that all the crispies are evenly coated
  3. Spoon the mixture into cake cases
  4. Melt the milk chocolate – again, this can be done in the microwave if you’re careful (and feeling lazy) or there’s the good old-fashioned bowl-over-a-pan-of-boiling-water method
  5. Spoon melted chocolate onto the top of each ‘cake’ and top with a small chunk of the remaining Mars Bar.

Happy baking!


Button Wednesday: Chocolate buttons, with a difference

I stumble across button-related items all over the place, but I found the particular item I’d like to talk about today linked as part of a blog post from the excellent moo.com on self-promotion. While the ‘button candy’ featured in the main part of the post looks pretty cool, I fell in love with the ooh-shiny candy buttons in the ‘creating button candy‘ link and decided I must make some!

Bake It Pretty Candy Buttons
Bake It Pretty Candy Buttons

 Trouble was, the site the button moulds were featured on was based in the USA and the postage was prohibitive. So I set out on a mission to find a UK stockist and stumbled across Cakes, Cookies and Crafts where the postage is much more reasonable. It’s surprisingly easy to whip up your own batch of chocolate-y button goodness (as evidenced by my blurrily photographed attempt here). I’d like to work out some interesting things to do with them (as opposed to just stuffing my face with them in a sugar-induced frenzy). I think they’d make good cupcake or fairy cake toppers, or even sprinkles for ice cream sundaes. Any suggestions?

Buttons + chocolate = amazingness!

Disclaimer: Neither moo.com nor Cakes, Cookies and Crafts have asked me to big them up, I just felt like it 🙂