Raspberry Bakewell Slice

IMG_0956To accompany my massimo Chai Latte with extra syrup, there is nothing that pleases me more than treating myself to a Raspberry and Almond Square from Costa. Emulating one of my serious girl crushes, The Londoner, who famously re-vamped Starbuck’s Lemon Drizzle Cake, here is a recipe for your very own slice of frangipane heaven. Forget the emulsifiers, additives and dodgy sounding E numbers. This tea time treat is made entirely from simple, honest ingredients and a whole lotta love. When I open my bakery (notice the optimistic use of the word ‘when’, not ‘if’), these Bakewell slabs will undoubtedly take pride of place in my shop window. The buttery shortbread base paired with sweet raspberries and gooey frangipane make this one of my all time favourite recipes. Here’s hoping that it will be right up your street, too!

Ingredients

For the shortbread layer

  • 120g butter
  • 120g plain flour
  • 60g semolina
  • 60g caster sugar

For the frangipane layer

  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g ground almonds

For the filling and topping

  • half a jar of raspberry jam
  • 30g flaked almonds

IMG_0945_2Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 9×13 inch baking pan with greaseproof paper. To make the crumbly shortbread base, mix together the butter, flour, semolina and sugar in a large bowl until it forms a dough. Press the dough into your lined tray, prick it all over with a fork and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown all over.IMG_0944Turn the oven down to 165°C, leave the shortbread to cool and make the frangipane. Beat together the butter and sugar for a full two minutes, until pale and fluffy. Beat in one egg, followed by a third of the ground almonds, and repeat until everything is as smooth as can be (and you run out of eggs).IMG_0946_2Generously spread the raspberry jam over the shortbread, making sure to reach all the edges and corners. We don’t want any sub-standard jam-less patches!IMG_0947Pour the frangipane mix on top and carefully spread it out evenly, flattening it with a spatula.IMG_0948Don’t forget to scatter those almonds! Many, many a time have I enthusiastically plunged my bake into the oven, only to discover a few hours later, with shock and disbelief, the unused toppings waiting forlornly on the side.IMG_0949_2Bake for 30 minutes until lovely and golden brown all over. To check whether the frangipane layer is done, tap the surface. If your finger leaves an indent or the top breaks, leave it a little longer. If it is bouncy and springs back, hoorah, it’s done!IMG_0950Leave them to cool for a good couple of hours before removing from the tin and cutting into rectangles, squares, triangles: whichever shape takes your fancy. I quite like the idea of cutting them into little squares and having your own range of M&S mini bites – an idea for a Christmas party anyone? The M&S cranberry, yoghurt, oatberry cluster mini bites are probably my faves. Time for some weekend recipe testing!IMG_0951

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White Chocolate, Cranberry & Pistachio Cookies

IMG_0816Prepare yourselves, it’s going to get a heck of a lot more Christmassy round here. With another bake off at work coming up (the very successful first one blogged about here) but this time festively themed, it is high time to start practising the slightly more joyeux noel bakes. Now, to ease us all into the merry mood of Christmas cheer, I’ve adapted my tried and tested go-to recipe for white chocolate (or any chocolate) cookies, into more of a red and gold affair. By adding cranberries and pistachios these cookies are transformed into a buttery holiday treat that you can easily gift to friends and family. Pop a few in a cellophane bag, tie with a ribbon and you’ve got a lovely, thoughtful homemade present! Cheaper and tastier than a Sanctuary spa Boots gift set. You can thank me later!IMG_0808_2Ingredients (makes 24 cookies)

  • 170g butter
  • 150g light brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 140g white chocolate chunks
  • 80g dried cranberries
  • 70g pistachios

In a large bowl, beat the softened butter with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Add both the sugars and cream together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornflour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet batter until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips, cranberries and pistachios until evenly dispersed throughout the cookie dough.IMG_0810_2 It will taste ah-mazing at this point! Especially if you snuck some semi-decent white chocolate into the shopping basket on your weekly shop with the parents. No regrets.IMG_0811Cover the dough tightly with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours for it to firm up. You can make this ahead up to 2 days before you’d like to bake them – spreading the baking enjoyment throughout your week? Genius.

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. Take out your cookie dough and let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes, to make it easier to handle. Scoop out about a tablespoon of dough at a time and roll into balls, making them slightly taller than they are wide. This will stop them from spreading into thin and crispy cookies, instead keeping them nice and puffy.IMG_0815_2At this point you can press in a few more white chocolate chunks, cranberries or pistachios into the tops of the cookies – wherever it looks like it’s missing a bit. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until slightly golden brown but still soft in the middle. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray, then use a spatula to move them onto a wire rack to cool completely.IMG_0814After sampling a warm cookie fresh out the oven, these soft and chewy beauties stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to a week. If you’re inclined to be uber organised this year and save the trouble of mass baking in the 24 hour run up to Christmas day, you can even freeze them in their little festive treat bags to be given out to friends and family nearer the time. Clever idea? I think yes. But at this rate I might need to invest in a second freezer.