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!

 

 

Bonfire Toffee

This is old fashioned and traditional treacle toffee that is seasonal for this time of year. As loved by children and adults alike, this is perfect for bonfire night parties!

Bonfire Toffee2

I use a candy thermometer to make this, but it is possible to make using a bowl of water to test when the toffee is ready. Just drop a small ball into the water and if it separates into firm threads (not brittle), it’s ready.

I make sure the children are well out of the way when making this as the toffee gets phenomenally hot!

Ingredients:
300g light brown sugar
150g golden syrup
150g black treacle
150g butter
¼ tsp cream of tartar
Vegetable oil for greasing

Method:
Prepare your tin by lining with non-stick baking parchment and oiling, or you could use foil and oil that. An oiled silicone mould would work well too. I used one that was 15cm square.

Place the ingredients into a deep, heavy based pan and heat on medium, stirring occasionally until everything is completely melted.

Place a candy thermometer in the pan and turn up the heat. You need to boil this until it reaches 140°C/284°F. Then, very carefully, pour the molten toffee into your prepared tin and leave to cool at room temperature.

Bonfire Toffee

If you want to cut the toffee into individual pieces, wait until the toffee has cooled enough to handle but is still soft and pliable – around 15 minutes. Use an oiled knife to cut into pieces and wrap in small squares of parchment paper, twisting up the sides. Alternatively, use a toffee hammer and break into irregular shards once it has cooled completely.

This must be stored in an airtight container and separated with layers of baking parchment. Once it has cooled and exposed to the air, it will become really sticky and all the pieces will get stuck together.

Bonfire toffee closeup

As a child, I remember buying this in little paper bags and you had to make a decision whether to eat the paper stuck to it or not. Don’t let that happen!