Parkin

The nights are long, the air is cold and thoughts turn to spiced, baked treats!  Yorkshire Parkin is a dark, sticky, oaty, gingerbread type of cake traditionally eaten around Bonfire Night.  Made ahead and stored in a cake tin, it will be at it’s sticky best for your bonfire party.Parkin2

I like to whizz up the oats in the food processor for a finer texture, but they can be left whole if preferred.

Ingredients:
220g butter
120g dark brown soft sugar
100g black treacle/molasses
150g golden syrup
120g oats – ground up on the food processor
200g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
1tbs ground ginger
2tsp cinnamon
1tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2tsp ground cloves
2 extra large eggs, beaten
50ml milk

Method:
Pre heat the oven to 140°C/275°F and generously butter a 22cm² baking tin

Place the butter, sugar, treacle and syrup in a heavy based pan and gently heat until everything is melted together, stirring with a wooden spoon.  Take care not to boil.  When all the ingredients are nicely melted and molten, set aside to cool a little.

In a large bowl, sieve together the flour, baking powder salt and spices and mix in the ground oats.

Baked Parkin

Pour in the sugar and treacle mixture and mix to combine.  Everything should be well mixed and coated.  Mix in the beaten eggs and then add the milk.  The mixture should be wet and pourable, so once the eggs are added, you might not need all of the milk to get to a nice pouring consistency.

Parkin1

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for at least an hour and a half.  Check the cake after this time, it should be firm and spring back when gently pressed.

Leave to cool in the tin for around 30 minutes.  You can serve it warm or keep for a few days and it will increase in stickiness and be at its very best.
Parkin3

Cut into squares and enjoy with hot coffee, tea, or mulled cider!

 

 

Mummy Bark Bars

Last year, I made some Halloween bark bars using butterscotch topped with chocolate and spooky sprinkles, so I decided to do a different version this year with a mummy theme!

Mummy Bark

I love Halloween and its fun to make treats with the children and they love anything that includes those sugar eyeballs you can buy.

These have a base of melted Caramac, which is a bit of a throwback from my childhood. You can get either 30g bars or bags of Caramac buttons, but they both melt really well. Much better than white chocolate actually, which I have had sieze up on me a few times. I mixed in a little pumpkin pie spice which works really well with the caramel flavour.

Mummy Bark Bars2

I used my silicon bark moulds that I got from amazon, but they are not necessary to make this. You can just pour the melted Caramac onto a lined sheet and then break it into pieces afterwards.

For the topping, white chocolate is drizzled over to make ‘bandages’, but you can also get bright white candy melts for a stronger contrast over the spiced Caramac. I think I prefer the flavour of white chocolate, but my children like both.

This recipe makes enough for 8 bars

Mummy Bark Bars

Ingredients:
450g Caramac, melted. That is 4 multipacks of 4 bars (minus one for old time’s sake)
1tsp pumpkin pie spice, or you can just use cinnamon
250g white chocolate, or white candy melts
Sugar eyeballs

Method:
Break the Caramac into pieces, add the spice and melt in the microwave in short bursts, giving it a good stir every 10 seconds or so. Stop before it’s all melted and keep stirring to let the residual heat melt the rest of the solid pieces.

Pour equal amounts into the moulds (if using) and agitate to level it out.

Leave to set completely before turning out and placing on a wire rack over a tray.

Melt the white chocolate or candy melts in the same way as the Caramac and place in a squeezy bottle or a disposable piping bag with a small hole cut in the end. You could also use a plastic food bag with a small hole cut in the corner.

Squeeze over the white chocolate, moving back and forth to create ‘bandages’ and place a few googly eyes into the molten chocolate.

Leave to set completely.

Acorn Cakelets

I LOVE Nordic Ware cake pans! They are so well made and come in a multitude of different designs. My favourites are the Fall Harvest collection as they are designed for people who love Autumn!

Acorn cakelet pan

I’ve found them in Homesense and of course, on Amazon and I’ve collected a few of them over the years. The only trouble I have, (perfectionist that I am), is the little holes you get when you bake the cakes, spoiling the detail. I have experimented with various recipes, starting with the one that comes with the pan, meticulously brushing all the little nooks with butter, banging tins before they go into the oven but still seeing those annoying little holes!

Acorn cakelet pan1

As far as preparing the tin goes, I have buttered, buttered and floured and used cake release spray and can honestly say the best result came from using none of them! I really do think you have to have faith in the non-stick. I definitely have less holes when I don’t use anything. I think the butter can gather in the little crevices and then when the cakes bake, the butter creates steam and you can get little holes.

I also pipe the mixture in, that way you can really make sure the batter fills the little details from the bottom up.

As you will see from these photos, there are still some troublesome holes present, but mostly, they have come out smooth. I am still working on the perfect, hole-free recipe!

Acorn Cakelet collection

Below are three different flavours, all based on the same original recipe and each one is enough to fill the pan twice. Chocolate, Maple Spice and Spiced Pumpkin. My family liked the chocolate ones the best.

They are the perfect little snack and can be decorated with a glaze, sprinkles, or sandwiched together with a spiced buttercream.

Acorn Cakelets

Chocolate Acorn Cakelets

Ingredients:
125g plain/all-purpose flour
65g cocoa
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1.5tsp cinnamon
0.5tsp ground cloves
0.5tsp ground ginger
120ml whole milk
85g pure maple syrup
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp coffee extract
115g butter at room temperature
75g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F

Sieve the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and spices together in a bowl.

Combine the milk, maple syrup, vanilla and coffee extract in a small bowl and stir together.

Beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. I use my stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment.

Beat in the eggs a little at a time and then with the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and alternate with the liquid mixture until everything is combined.

If you add the milk mixture straight to the eggs, it will curdle horribly. However, it will come back when you add the flour, so don’t worry. Mix on low speed until the mixture is smooth, but don’t over-mix as the cakelets will become tough.

Pile the batter into a piping bag. I use disposable ones and just cut a little hole in the bottom. Pipe around a tablespoon of mixture into each hole so that it is around ¾ full. Pipe the batter so the holes are filled from the bottom up to try and avoid holes in your little acorns.

Give the pan a rap on the worktop – I don’t know if this really helps expel air but every little helps!

Bake for around 12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cakes cool for 10 minutes or until you can see them springing back from the cavities. Turn out onto a cooling rack to fully cool if you are decorating, or you can serve them warm with coffee.

Chocolate acorn cakelet

Maple Spice Acorn Cakelets

Ingredients:
190g plain/all-purpose flour
0.5tsp baking powder
0.5tsp salt
2tsp cinnamon
0.5tsp ground cloves
0.5tsp ground ginger
120ml whole milk
85g pure maple syrup
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp maple extract
115g butter at room temperature
50g soft brown sugar
20g dark brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F

Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and spices together in a bowl.

Combine the milk, maple syrup, vanilla and maple extract in a small bowl and stir together.

Beat the butter and sugars together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs a little at a time and then with the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and alternate with the liquid mixture until everything is combined.

Pile the batter into a piping bag and just cut a little hole in the bottom. Pipe around a tablespoon of mixture into each hole so that it is around ¾ full and bang the pan to level the batter and expel any air.

Bake for around 12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cakes cool for 10 minutes or until you can see them springing back from the cavities. Turn out onto a cooling rack.

Maple acorn cakelet

Spiced Pumpkin Acorn Cakelets

Ingredients:
200g plain/all-purpose flour
200g pumpkin puree
0.5tsp baking powder
0.5tsp salt
2tsp cinnamon
0.5tsp ground cloves
0.5tsp ground ginger
0.25tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1tsp vanilla extract
115g butter at room temperature
80g soft brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F

Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and spices together in a bowl.

Beat the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs a little at a time and then beat in the pumpkin.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until everything is combined.

Pipe around a tablespoon of mixture into each hole so that it is around ¾ full and bang the pan to level the batter and expel any air.

Bake for around 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. I found the pumpkin ones took a little longer than the others to be fully baked.

Let cakes cool for 10 minutes or until you can see them springing back from the cavities. Turn out onto a cooling rack.

Pumpkin acorn cakelet