Pumpkin Pie Bars

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It's finally October! Autumn is my favorite time of year, both sartorially and culinary. The month of cosy jumpers without the need for a coat, cute ankle boots with thick black tights and wide brimmed hats. I love it

Pumpkin, Pie, Bars, Spiced, Autumn, Halloween

 More than that, it is finally season appropriate to start putting pumpkin in everything.  From drinks to cakes to a hearty risotto, there's barely a meal goes by in my home that doesn't feature those sweet orange gourds.  I can't be the only one, right?!

Pumpkin, Pie, Bars, Spiced, Autumn, Halloween

Pumpkin pie bars are the perfect way to ease you into the season. Soft and delightfully spiced with a nip of dark rum, these cosy bars will have you dreaming of orange leaves and crisp afternoon air.

Pumpkin Pie Bars


140g light brown sugar
100g rolled oats
120g plain flour
150g unsalted butter, cold

1 can of pumpkin puree (I used Libby's)
2 large, free range eggs
110g caster sugar 
30g self raising flour
1tsp ground nutmeg
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1/4tsp ground cloves
1/2tsp ground ginger
1/2tsp salt
50ml dark rum
1tsp vanilla extract
flaked almonds


Preheat the oven to 160C and grab a 33x23cm disposable foil tray (try these

To make the base place the sugar, oats and flour in a large bowl and stir together.  Add the butter in and rub together with your fingertips till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Press this mixture into your tray and bake for around 18 minutes, until golden brown.  Set aside to cool while you make the topping.

To make the topping put all of the ingredients, except the almonds, into a large bowl and beat until combined and smooth.

Pour the pumpkin mixture on top of the cooked and cooled base, spreading it out into an even layer and sprinkle with a handful of flaked almonds.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until firm to the touch.  Leave to cool completely before cutting into bars and serving.

Malted Chocolate and Oreo Ice Cream

I hate the Summer!  There, I said it!  I spend the vast majority of the sunshiny months in an epic huff, demanding that people stay out of my personal space and frowning angrily while clutching an ice cold bottle of water in my clammy little hands.  Luckily my nearest and dearest know how to handle me when the mercury starts rising.  More often than not, I can be tamed with a simple ice cream cone at the breezy Northern seaside.

Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

This summer, work commitments and insane storms have meant I've been unable to make many trips to the coast;  the few evenings and afternoons I've had spare have seen thunder and lightning like I have never seen before.  This means I've had to make my own ice cream, plop it in a waffle cone and happily lick away while watching the heavens light up from the comfort of my living room.

Chocolate ice cream recipe

Normally, if I'm out, I'd never go for a chocolate ice cream.  I'll always favour a fruity number over a chocolatey one, but homemade chocolate ice cream is different.  It's so much more delicious than a store bought variety, richer and smoother.  I seriously can't sing its praises enough, add some chocolate stuffed Oreos into the mix and this baby is just heavenly.  I can see a lot more home made ice cream in my future, I just hope you'll allow me to share my frozen adventures.

Malted Chocolate and Oreo Ice Cream

750ml whole milk
250ml double cream
6 large egg yolks
140g caster sugar
100g milk chocolate, chopped
100g plain chocolate, chopped
150g Ovaltine
1 pack of chocolate stuffed Oreo cookies chopped into small pieces

To make the base custard bring the milk and cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Once the milk is simmering whisk the egg yolks with the sugar till creamy. Pour the warm milk onto the eggs, whisking constantly.  Pour the custard back into the saucepan and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes, whisking constantly.  The custard is ready once it's thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
Once thickened, place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl and pour over the hot custard. allow the chocolate to melt and stir in, add the Ovaltine and mix until combined.  Pop the bowl in the fridge for a few hours to cool completely.

Once cool churn the custard in an ice cream machine, following the manufacturers instructions.  Once thick and creamy, transfer to a freezer proof container and freeze until ready to serve.  

If you don't have an ice cream machine just pour the custard into a large freezer proof container and place in the freezer.  Every two hours stir the ice cream with a fork, after around 6 hours the ice cream will be ready.

Jack Daniels and Coke Cupcakes

You guys don't half love a boozy bake.  Whenever I look at my blog stats one particular post always stands out in terms of popularity, my gin and tonic cupcakes.  I've seemed to shy away from cupcakes on my blog; probably because I bake them at work all day, every day, but that's enough of that.  What a way to reintroduce cupcakes than with these super kick-ass Jack Daniels and Coke blighters.  

Jack Daniels, Whiskey Chocolate Cupcakes

These delightfully squiffy babies consist of a cola sponge, hollowed out and filled with a Jack Daniels spiced chocolate ganache. They're then topped with a swirl of Jack Daniels butter cream, followed by more ganache and a jelly cola bottle.  I'd recommend these cupcakes for any adult occasion but I can't help but notice how perfect they'd be for Fathers Day, what a coincidence that it's coming up next week!

Jack Daniels, Whiskey Chocolate Cupcakes

I'm already planning a bit of a cuptail (that's a cocktail cupcake to you and me) series for my blog, combining my passion for cake and a good old booze.  What cocktail would you like to see magicked into a cupcake wrapper?

Jack Daniels and Coke Cupcakes
Makes 20 - 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
250ml full fat Coke
250g unsalted butter
85g cocoa powder
220g plain flour
400g caster sugar
2tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
250ml soured cream

For the ganache:
600g plain chocolate
300ml double cream
4tsp Jack Daniels

For the Buttercream:
250g butter, softened
750g icing sugar
4tbsp Jack Daniels
4tbsp milk (more if needed)

Preheat your oven to 175C and line two cupcake trays with liners.  In a large saucepan bring the coke and butter to a simmer until melted together.  Sift in the cocoa powder followed by the sugar, whisk until combined.

In a large jug whisk together the eggs and soured cream until smooth, slowly add the egg mixture to the cola, whisking constantly.  Add the flour and baking powder, fold together till everything is smooth and silky.  Fill the cupcake cases 3/4 full and bake for twenty minutes.

While the cakes are baking prepare the ganache.  Break the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl, set aside.  In a small saucepan bring the double cream to a simmer, once small bubbles start to form pour the cream over the chocolate and leave for two minutes.  Stir till smooth and combined before stirring in the Jack Daniels.  Set aside to thicken slightly while you await your cupcakes.

Once your cupcakes are baked and cooled use an apple corer, or a sharp knife to hollow out the centre of each cake.  Fill each hollow with ganache and set aside while you make your butter cream.

For the butter cream place the butter and icing sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, cover with a tea towel and mix on a medium speed.  Once combined add the Jack Daniels and the milk and mix, again on a medium speed.  If the frosting is still too thick to pipe add a splash of milk until you reach a good consistency.  Pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake before dolloping some more ganache on top followed by a jelly cola bottle.


Homemade Chicken Gyoza

My name is Katie and I'm a gyoza addict!  Barely a week goes by when I don't fill my greedy little face with these delicious dumplings.  Sadly going to Wagamama numerous times a week was getting a little expensive, what with the sides of noodles and katsu (that you simply must order with your gyoza) so I bought the book and set about making my own at home.

Homemade gyoza recipe

 The great thing about this recipe is it makes an absolute truckload, or thirty five if you prefer numbers, and they freeze perfectly so you always have access to dumplings.  Simply pop the finished dumplings on a tray in the freezer for an hour before portioning them up into little bags and stashing for later munchies. 

I do have a lazy girl hack when it comes to folding your gyoza, buy one of these.  Who has the time, or skill, to stand and hand crimp thirty plus dumplings, not me!  This little gadget saves so much time and ensures your dumplings all look beautifully uniform.  If you do want to try your hand at the authentic way here's a great link for perfecting your technique.

Homemade Chicken Gyoza

These babies are so tasty and so easy, if you're a gyoza addict like me I implore you to fill your freezer.  There is nothing more comforting than knowing you have frozen gyoza (and frozen cookies) at hand for any hangry emergencies.

Homemade Chicken Gyoza

Chicken Gyoza
(Adapted from Wagamama Cookbook)

200g free range chicken breast, minced or chopped in a food processor
2 garlic cloves
1tbsp grated ginger
100g chinese leaf
100g white cabbage
100g water chestnuts
2tbsp soy sauce
1tbsp sesame oil
1tbsp fish sauce
1tsp sugar
2tbsp chopped chives
salt and pepper
gyoza skins (buy them frozen from your local chinese supermarket)

Blitz the ginger, garlic, chinese leaf, cabbage and water chestnuts in a food processor till finely chopped.  Mix with the remaining ingredients, except the gyoza skins, till everything is evenly distributed.

Place a teaspoon of the mixture in the middle of each gyoza skin, dampen the edge with a little water before folding and crimping either by hand or gadget until you've used all of your chicken mixture.  You should get around thirty five dumplings.  Now, either cook them up or you can freeze them in smaller portions for future use.

To cook, get a large heavy bottomed frying pan and heat 1tbsp oil over a high heat.  Place no more than five dumplings in the pan and fry for two minutes to get that delicious crispy bottom.  Pop three tablespoons of water into the pan and immediately cover the pan with a lid, turn the heat down to medium and allow to steam for two minutes.  Once the two minutes are up remove the pan from the heat and allow to steam for a further two minutes.  Your dumplings are now ready to eat, serve with a little soy sauce and chilli oil.


Kick Ass Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I, along with everyone else in the world, am constantly on the search for that one chocolate chip cookie recipe that just kicks the ass off every other cookie recipe.  I've tried countless varieties, and while none of them have been particularly bad, none of them have took my breath away either.  To be perfectly honest, it's not really a bad quest to be on.  Even a mediocre cookie is pretty damn tasty fresh from the oven.

The only chocolate chip cookie recipe you'll ever need.

So far, on my epic journey I've met a few contenders for the throne but these babies have usurped the lot.  Bend the knee and swear alliance to the new king of the North, the chocolate chunk cookie.  Yeah, I may have been watching a little too much Game of Thrones, say something!

The only chocolate chip cookie recipe you'll ever need.

The only thing I'd recommend doing with this recipe is doubling, even tripling the quantities and freezing cookie shaped portions.  Hot cookies, fresh from the oven on demand.  You're bloody welcome!   The frozen cookies should only need two minutes longer on the cooking time, but that might as well be an eternity when your tummies a-rumbling.

The only chocolate chip cookie recipe you'll ever need.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

125g unsalted butter, softened
2tbsp caster sugar
2tbsp demerera sugar
170g light brown sugar
1 large egg
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp baking powder
220g plain flour
200g plain chocolate chopped into chunks
sea salt to finish

Preheat your oven to 170C and line three baking sheets with grease proof paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a large bowl and hand held whisk, cream together the butter and sugars till light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla, beating till incorporated.  Slowly add the flour and baking powder and mix to get a dry, slightly crumbly looking dough.  Stir through the chocolate chunks.

Take tablespoons of the cookie dough and shape into rounds, placing on the baking tray as you go making sure you leave enough room between cookies for spreading.  Sprinkle each cookie with a tiny pinch of sea salt before baking for 10 - 12 minutes.  Once baked allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling, that is if you can restrain yourself.

Pour yourself a cold glass of milk and dig in!

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