200g pack butter, softened
200g soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g self-raising flour
Your choice of flavours
50g chopped nuts such as pecans, hazelnuts or almonds
50g desiccated coconut
50g raisins, or mixed fruit
1.When the butter is really soft, tip it into a bowl along with the sugar. Using an electric hand whisk or exercising some arm muscle, beat together until the sugar is mixed through. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt, if you like. Stir in the flour and oats. The mixture will be quite stiff at this point. Now decide what else you would like to add – any or all of the flavours are delicious – and stir through.
2.Tear off an A4-size sheet of greaseproof paper. Pile up half the mixture in the middle of the sheet, then use a spoon to thickly spread the mixture along the centre of the paper. Pull over one edge of paper and roll up until you get a tight cylinder. If you have problems getting it smooth, then roll as you would a rolling pin along a kitchen surface. You’ll need it to be about the width of a teacup. When it is tightly wrapped, twist up the ends and then place in the freezer. Can be frozen for up to 3 months.
3.To cook, heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4 and unwrap the frozen biscuit mix. Using a sharp knife, cut off a disk about ½cm wide. If you have difficulty slicing through, dip the knife into a cup of hot water. Cut off as many biscuits as you need, then pop the mix back into the freezer for another time. Place on a baking sheet, spacing them widely apart as the mixture will spread when cooking, then cook for 15 mins until the tops are golden brown. Leave to cool for at least 5 mins before eating.
Recipe from Good Food magazine, August 2007
200g/7oz self raising flour
100g/3½oz caster sugar
100g/3½oz butter, plus extra for greasing
1 large free-range egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the decorations
white and blue fondant icing
white and black writing icing
48 small chocolate balls
1.Pre heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
2.Mix the flour and sugar together in a bowl, then rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
3.Add the egg and vanilla essence and mix to form a soft dough.
4.Roll out onto a well-floured work surface and cut into rounds. Place on greased baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
5.Cool on a wire rack. When completely cool decorate.
6.Roll out the white fondant icing and cut out circles the same size as the biscuits, brush the backs of the circles with a little cooled boiled water and stick them to the biscuits, smoothing down the icing as you stick it on.
7.Roll out the blue icing and cut out more circles, then cut these in half and using a little more water and stick on top of the white icing for the hats.
8.Brush the hats with water in places where you want the sprinkles to stick and then sprinkle!
9.Pipe decorations on the hat with the white writing icing, then pipe a small blob for the hat bobble and another for the nose – stick on the chocolate balls. Pipe black eyes and mouth then leave to set.
EASY NON-COOK CHEESE CAKE
200g/7oz digestive biscuits
75g/2½ oz unsalted butter
400g/14oz full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
300g/10½ oz mascarpone, at room temperature
200g/7oz icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g/3½oz malted milk balls (optional)
1.Place the digestive biscuits into a sealable freezer bag. Push all the air out and seal the bag. Crush the biscuits with a rolling pin, being careful not to break any holes in the bag.
2.Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Tip the biscuit crumbs into the butter and mix well until thoroughly combined. Press the buttery crumbs into the bottom of a 23cm/9in springform or loose-bottomed tin. Chill in the refrigerator while you make the topping.
3.Combine the cream cheese and mascarpone in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric handheld mixer, blend the cheeses together until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar a little at a time and blend to incorporate. Finally, mix in the vanilla. The mixture should be very light and fluffy.
4.Place the malted milk balls in the sealable freezer bag and close. Knock the malted milk balls with a rolling pin to just break them apart. Fold half of the crushed malted milk balls into the cream cheese mixture until thoroughly combined.
5.Spread the cream cheese mixture over the biscuit base and smooth the top with a palette knife or spatula. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least four hours.
6.When ready to serve, sprinkle the remaining crushed malted milk balls over the top of the cheesecake. Release the catch of the springform tin carefully, then slice and serve.