You can’t go wrong with banana and peanut butter, and as there are lots of families at home at the moment, I thought I’d post a recipe which delivers on that flavour combination but is super simple to make and portion. I’ve added brown butter to the batter but you could just melt it normally, and feel free to substitute the spelt flour with plain (although spelt is actually all I could find in my local supermarket and works well in this recipe).
Ingredients (makes 10-12 good sized cake bars in a 7×10 inch tin)
- 150g butter
- 2 eggs
- 4 medium sized bananas (or 3 large), very ripe and roughly mashed up
- 75g Greek yoghurt, full fat
- 130g light brown soft sugar
- 225g spelt flour
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2tsp ground mixed spice
- 1 1/2tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 115g smooth peanut butter
- 115g softened butter
- 200g icing sugar
- pinch salt
- Handful of salted peanuts, roughly chopped
- Extra cinnamon, for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease and line a 7×10 inch high sided baking tin.
- Place the butter in a saucepan and gently melt, then turn up the heat and let it brown until it foams and smells nutty. Set aside to cool a little.
- In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, mashed banana, yoghurt and sugar. Once the butter is lukewarm stir that in too. Briefly whisk the spelt flour, baking powder, spices and salt together in a separate bowl then add to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined then pour the batter into the prepared tin.
- Bake the cake for 25-35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Leave to cool completely in the tin.
- While the cake is cooling, make the peanut buttercream. To do this place the butter and peanut butter in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment) and mix with electric beaters (or the paddle attachment) until well combined and slightly whipped. Add the icing sugar and salt and briefly stir with a wooden spoon (to prevent a cloud of icing sugar), then return to beating on a high speed until you have a light and fluffy consistency.
- To assemble, take the cooled cake out of the tin and roughly ripple the buttercream all over the top. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and a little cinnamon. Slice up and serve.
These bars are the perfect grab and go treat to keep you going on a hectic day- I love my rhubarb and ginger jam sandwiched between the peanut butter flapjack and nutty topping, but you could choose any marmalade or jam in your version.
- 75g coconut oil
- 175g peanut butter (or another nut butter ie. almond, cashew)
- 150g dark brown soft sugar
- 4tbsp golden syrup
- 300g porridge oats
Filling and topping:
- 200g rhubarb and ginger jam (or your favourite jam- fig or raspberry would work well)
- 200g flaked almonds
- 75g pecans
- 75g brazil nuts
- 100g caster sugar
- 2tbsp water
- Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a brownie tray.
- For the base place the coconut oil, peanut butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan. Melt together over a medium heat. Tip the oats into a large bowl and add the melted liquid. Stir together until well combined then pack down into the prepared baking tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
- For the topping, heat the caster sugar and water together over a medium heat. Allow the sugar to dissolve then pour into a bowl along with all the nuts. Stir together to coat.
- Now you can assemble the next layers. Spread the jam all over the flapjack base and spoon on the nuts in an even layer. Press down the top then bake for 15-20 minutes, until the nuts are golden brown.
- Cool then slice into bars.
Alternating layers of brown sugar cake and chocolate sponge sandwiched with peanut buttercream, chopped peanuts, salted caramel sauce and chocolate ganache make up this look-at-me celebration cake (and ode to the Snickers bar)… A bit of a project? Yes. Worth it? Definitely!
For the chocolate sponge:
- 50g dark chocolate (melted and cooled)
- 250g soft butter
- 250g soft light brown sugar
- pinch salt
- 100g cocoa powder
- 250g plain flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 225ml milk
For the brown sugar sponge:
- 4 eggs
- 165g dark brown soft sugar
- 150g self raising flour
- 20g melted butter
- 60ml boiling water
For the peanut buttercream:
- 150g smooth peanut butter
- 100g soft butter
- 500g icing sugar
- 5tbsp milk
For the ganache:
- 100g dark chocolate
- 100g milk chocolate
- 200ml double cream
For the salted caramel:
- 150g caster sugar
- 150ml water
- pinch salt (to taste)
- 75ml double cream
For decoration (optional):
- chopped peanuts
- chocolate shards
- chopped Snickers bars
- thin ganache to create drips
- excess caramel
- Preheat the oven to 160c. Grease and line two 7 inch cake tins ready for the chocolate cake layers.
- To make the chocolate cake, cream together the butter, sugar and salt.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
- Now sift in about two thirds of the cocoa, flour and baking powder. Fold, then incorporate the melted chocolate with the same gentle action.
- Fold in the rest of the dry ingredients followed by the milk. Distribute this batter between the two cake tins and bake for 30 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted).
- Cool the cakes in the tins for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Line the cake tins again and increase the oven temperature to 170c. Now you’re ready to make the brown sugar sponge layers!
- To make this sponge place the eggs and sugar in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) then whisk until light and voluminous (about 10 minutes). Sift in the flour and fold, then add the melted butter and boiling water to the side of the bowl. Fold very gently to retain the air then distribute between the tins. Bake for 25-30 minutes until springy (or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted).
- When the brown sugar sponges are cooked, cool in the tins for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. You should now have four cake layers (two chocolate and two brown sugar) and are ready to make the fillings.
- Start off by making the caramel. Just place the sugar and water in a heavy bottom saucepan and gently heat to dissolve the sugar (do not boil or stir, just be patient!). After the sugar has dissolved increase the heat and boil for a few minutes; once the syrup reaches a deep amber colour remove from the heat and whisk in the cream (be careful as it will spit a little). Set aside to cool slightly then stir in the salt.
- For the ganache simply chop up the chocolate and transfer to a jug or bowl. Heat the cream to just below boiling point and pour all over, allowing the chocolate to slowly melt. After a couple of minutes, stir the mixture to achieve a lovely smooth, glossy consistency. Set aside.
- Finally, for the peanut buttercream beat the peanut butter and butter together with electric beaters (or a stand mixer). Once well combined continue whisking while you add the icing sugar a little at a time. Once you’ve added all the icing sugar increase the speed and add the milk; whisk until very light, fluffy and smooth.
- To assemble the cakes stack a chocolate layer with ganache and salted caramel, followed by a brown sugar layer. Repeat this process then cover the entire cake with peanut butter icing. You can be as neat as you like! Decorate with peanuts, Snickers pieces and chocolate shards (more is more in this case!).
Meringue is a guaranteed crowd pleaser throughout the year, whether you enjoy it torched on top of lemon meringue pie or piled high with summer fruits as the base of a retro pavlova. Though these classic forms of meringue are delicious, I thought I’d try out a brown sugar variation for a richer flavour; they worked brilliantly and the brown sugar adds a deep molasses kick which pairs really well with rum caramel sauce, caramelised bananas, peanuts and creme fraiche.
Ingredients (makes 6-8 large meringues):
For the meringues:
- 225g dark brown soft sugar
- 50g caster sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- pinch salt
For the rum sauce:
- 200g granulated sugar
- 50ml water
- 40g butter
- 75ml double cream
- pinch salt
- 2-3 tbsp dark rum
For the caramelised banana:
- 100g caster sugar
- 25g butter
- 2 bananas
For the toppings:
- chopped peanuts
- some creme fraiche
- Preheat the oven to 120c. Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
- Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and add the brown sugar and egg whites. Whisk with electric beaters until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is voluminous and hot to the touch.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and keep whisking. Add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time and increase the speed on your beaters. Whisk until you have stiff peaks.
- Pile the meringue into nests on the prepared baking trays. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Switch the oven off when you can easily peel the meringues off the paper and they are crisp. Leave in the oven to cool for an hour.
- While the meringues are cooling make the caramel. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved bring to a boil and allow to turn into a deep caramel colour. Remove from the heat and add the cream, butter and salt. Whisk until smooth (it will spit). Allow the sauce to cool slightly then add the rum. Taste and add more if you feel it needs it (hardcore). Set aside.
- For the bananas, place the sugar in a heavy bottom pan. Heat, allowing the sugar to melt. Swirl occasionally but do not stir. Take the sugar to a golden colour and add the butter (it will spit). Stir together then add the banana pieces. Cook for a few minutes then turn over and remove from the pan.
- To assemble top the meringues with creme fraiche, followed by the bananas, sauce and peanuts.
These Snickers cookies sandwiched together with peanut buttercream and caramel sauce are the ultimate indulgence- you must try them!
For the cookies:
- 225g soft butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 175g dark brown soft sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 300g plain flour
- pinch salt
- 4 chopped Snickers bars
- 100g dark chocolate chips
For the caramel filling: 40g butter, 40g dark brown sugar, 40g golden syrup, 50ml double cream
For the peanut butter filling: 300g icing sugar, 50g butter, 50g peanut butter, few drops of milk
- Preheat the oven to 180c and line 2 large baking trays with greaseproof paper.
- Cream together the butter, brown sugar and caster sugar with an electric whisk or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and some of the flour then whisk again to incorporate them into the mix. Add the remaining flour and bicarbonate of soda. Mix again.
- Add the chopped snickers bars and chocolate chips then fold in with a wooden spoon.
- Roll the cookie dough into small even balls (slightly smaller than a ping pong ball) and line onto the baking trays (allowing space for spreading).
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. Once cooked allow to cool on the trays while you make the fillings.
- For the caramel, melt together the butter, sugar and syrup. Once melted, bring to the boil then add the cream off the heat. Stir and allow to cool and thicken.
- To make the peanut butter buttercream, whisk the butter until light and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and briefly whisk together, then add the icing sugar gradually, whisking constantly until you have a light buttercream. Add some milk if the frosting is too stiff to achieve the desired pipe-able consistency.
- Now it’s time to assemble your cookie sandwiches! Just take a cookie, pipe a ring of peanut buttercream around the edge, fill it with caramel and pair up with another cookie to form a sandwich.
These take no time to make and are my personal guilty pleasure; you can’t beat a chewy peanut butter cookie studded with white chocolate chips!
For these cookies you will need: 260g plain flour, 1tsp bicarbonate soda, pinch salt, 80g butter, 80g peanut butter, 150g dark brown soft sugar, 150g caster sugar, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 250g white chocolate chips (or white chocolate roughly chopped)
Preheat the oven to 180 and line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and caster sugar into a large mixing bowl.
Melt the butter, peanut butter and dark soft sugar in a saucepan. Allow to cool a little then add the egg yolk and egg. Whisk together until smooth.
Add the egg and butter mix to the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly to form a soft but firm cookie dough. Mix through the white chocolate evenly.
Roll heaped tbsp amounts of the dough into balls and place onto the prepared trays, ensuring that you leave space for spreading.
Bake for 10-15 minutes for a soft chewy centre. They will be very soft when you remove them from the oven so leave on the tray for a little while to allow them to firm up before eating!