Foolproof Funfetti Icebox Sugar Cookies

I’ve said before that I find making cookies where you roll out and cut out cookie shapes not enjoyable. The cookies would usually end up tough and rather bland however after a lot of experimenting and sugar cookie baking, I’ve managed to get a recipe which produces perfect sugar cookies. These are my Foolproof Funfetti Icebox Sugar Cookies!

The perfect cookie is crisp around the edges and soft and chewy in the centre but the addition of rainbow sprinkles add not only a massive pop of colour but a tiny amount of texture which adds a lot of interest to a standard sugar cookie recipe.

I eliminate the chance of overworking the dough when you roll it out by hand by following an icebox cookie method. If you’ve not heard of an icebox cookie, you might actually be familiar with the method and some cookies which use it; checkerboard cookies, pinwheel cookies and striped cookies all use the icebox method.

The cookie dough is shaped into a log and chilled to firm it up which allows it to be sliced into shapes which give consistency across a batch of cookies. Icebox cookies tend to be smaller than your average chocolate chip cookie so the yield per batch is much higher than most other recipes. I averaged around 60 cookies per batch.

Icebox cookies have a further benefit in that the cookie dough can be made ahead and frozen and after time defrosting in the fridge, it can be used as normal. Just make sure that it is wrapped tightly in clingfilm so it doesn’t suffer from freezer burn.

Check out my other cookie recipes by clicking on the names:


170g margarine

200g granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

355g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

80g rainbow vermicelli sprinkles, plus 50g for the outside of the cookies


In a large bowl, cream together the margarine with the sugar until it is lighter in colour and the sugar has dissolved and is smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Mix through the vanilla extract.

Sift in the plain flour and baking powder and using a rubber spatula, fold through the dry ingredients. Before the mixture comes together into dough, add in the rainbow sprinkles and continue to mix until a pliable dough forms.

Fill a baking tin with the extra rainbow sprinkles. Divide the dough into 4 and on a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a log. Roll the log gently in the tin of sprinkles until the outside of the log is well covered. Lay out sheets of clingfilm and roll up the logs in clingfilm well. Shape the cookie dough into a cuboid shape and repeat for the rest of the dough. Chill for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Using a sharp knife and a single downward motion, slice off pieces of the cookie dough ¼ of an inch thick and arrange on the baking tray, leaving room for spreading.

Bake the cookies for 9 – 11 minutes, or until the cookies have spread and are ever so slightly tinged golden around the edges. Leave the cookies to cool on the tray for 15 minutes before carefully lifting off the tray and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Slow Cooker Pulled Bacon with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

It used to be the case that meats that took a long time to cook were cheaper than the quicker cuts and while generally that still remains true, I found a little secret in some supermarkets which inverts that rule. “Cooking bacon” is what the supermarkets call those pieces of bacon which they can’t make into rashers and they put it all into one pack and it’s RIDICULOUSLY cheap, £1.15 for 1kg of bacon.

You do have to sort through all of the different packs as some of them can be incredibly fatty however if you do get a good pack then the bacon can be used in replacement for rashers, lardons or even slow cooked to make the most amazing pulled bacon!

My tips for looking for a good pack of cooking bacon is to choose a pack that contains hardly any fat/pieces of rind and depending on what you want to use it for, find a pack that contains what you want; packs usually either contain small rashers or large steaks. For my pulled bacon recipe, it’s best to go for the steaks. Of course choosing a pack with no fat/rind can be tricky so spend a few minutes preparing the bacon by trimming off any large pieces of fat/rind.

The pulled bacon is incredibly versatile and when it’s pulled in this way, it makes it go a lot further but for now, I am sharing my recipe for a homemade barbecue sauce which I mix with the pulled bacon and serve on poured over chips, similar in style to the Canadian dish poutine, which is chips topped with chewy cheese curds and covered in gravy.


For the slow cooker bacon:

200ml apple juice

1 tsp coriander seeds

½ tsp cumin seeds

1 clove of garlic, crushed

½ tsp paprika

A pinch of dried chilli flakes

¼ tsp ground black pepper

1kg cooking bacon

For the barbecue sauce:

40g tomato puree

60g tomato ketchup

40g soft dark brown sugar

2 tbsp malt vinegar

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 tsp hot sauce such as Tabasco or sriracha

Chips and grated cheese, to serve


Pour the apple juice and all the spices and seasonings into a 1.5L slow cooker. Mix to combine and place onto low while you prepare the bacon.

Trim off any large pieces of fat on the bacon and discard. Cut the bacon into manageable sized pieces that will fit into your slow cooker and then submerge into the slow cooker. Use a spoon to stir the contents so that the bacon chunks are coated in the spices.

Put the lid on and turn the slow cooker onto high and leave the bacon to slow cook for around 4 to 5 hours until the bacon is soft and falls apart easily, giving the contents a stir every hour or so. Once cooked, turn off the slow cooker and leave the bacon to sit in its cooking juices for 15 minutes. Gently lift out as much of the bacon as you can and use two forks to pull apart the bacon.

For the barbecue sauce, heat together all of the ingredients with 100ml of water and 100ml of the cooking liquid in a saucepan, stirring it constantly until it boils. Reduce the heat to medium and leave it to simmer for around 15 minutes until it has reduced slightly, stirring every so often to prevent sticking. Taste and adjust the seasoning as required.

Mix together the pulled bacon with the barbecue sauce in the pan and spoon over the cooked chips in a bowl and finish with a sprinkle of grated cheese.

Rainbow Vegetable Puff Pastry Tart

Vegetarian tarts are some of my favourite savoury bakes to make. It’s very easy to create a delicious vegetarian meal without feeling as if you’re missing the meat using puff pastry. And this Rainbow Vegetable Tart is an easy and delicious vegetarian puff pastry tart that can be ready in just 45 minutes!

There’s no shame in using ready made puff pastry, especially when it’s so readily available, cheap and good quality from many supermarkets. The tart has flaky and delicate buttery puff pastry with a layer of smooth cream cheese and lots of good vegetables which are tasty and texturally all different; the cucumber provides a soft mellow base, the carrots add slight sweetness as well as a tiny amount of crunch, the tomato adds moisture and sweetness as it roasts on the surface and the red onions cook down and become crisp. The tart is finished off with melted brie and gorgonzola.


1 x 375g block of shop bought puff pastry

75g full fat cream cheese

Ground black pepper

20ml lemon juice

Pinch of salt

½ a cucumber, cut into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler, seeds removed

½ a carrot, cut into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler

3 tomatoes, sliced

½ a red onion, sliced thinly

50g brie, cubed

25g gorgonzola, cubed

Beaten egg, to glaze


Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Cut a piece of parchment to fit a square baking tray.

Roll out the puff pastry into a square on a lightly floured surface measuring 23cm by 23cm. Use a knife to lightly score a mark 2cm in from each side.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese with the black pepper, salt and lemon juice until it has a spreadable consistency. Spread the cream cheese on top of the puff pastry up to the marked edge.

Arrange the cucumber and carrot ribbons over the pastry so that the cream cheese is concealed, again reaching up to the border. Place 16 tomato slices on the tart in a 4×4 grid as in the picture and scatter over the thinly sliced red onions and the brie and gorgonzola. Finish with a crack of black pepper and brush the top of the puff pastry with egg wash.

Bake the tart for around 25 minutes or until the pastry is well-risen, golden and crisp and cooked all the way through to the base. Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before slicing into 4 pieces and serving hot with a lightly dressed side salad.

White Chocolate Cheesecake Easter Eggs

You might not be left with many Easter eggs by the end of this Easter weekend however I beg you to save a few of them to make my White Chocolate Cheesecake-filled Easter Eggs; you’ll finish them even quicker than the Easter egg itself!

My choice of egg are the eggs that you might use for an Easter egg hunt so maybe persuade the young ones to hand over a few to make these cheesecake eggs. The eggs I used were from Co-op which I received as part of their #GoodEgg campaign. (I have not been asked to promote the Co-op or their product, I am stating where the eggs are from so that you can see what I am working with for reference, other supermarkets may have similar products available in their stores).

Slicing the eggs in half is very tricky and getting perfectly shaped halves was rare, as you can see! Hence you will need more than 6 eggs because some of them will crack in an odd place rendering them unusable. But reserve the broken pieces as they go brilliantly inside the cheesecake mixture! The quantity of cheesecake is enough to fill 12 half eggs as well as half of a large Easter egg or 2 large halves. The cheesecake recipe is adapted from the fantastic Becky over at https://biscuitbases.wordpress.com.


12 x 17g hollow milk chocolate Easter eggs, plus one half of a large hollow Easter egg or 1 large hollow Easter egg

100g white chocolate

200g cream cheese, at room temperature

25g icing sugar, sifted

175ml double cream


Use a serrated knife to halve the Easter eggs as best as you can and place one in each cavity of a 12 hole bun tin. Keep any broken pieces that fall off in a small bowl and break them up into small pieces.

Break the white chocolate into chunks and place into a microwaveable bowl. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds and then in 20 second intervals until fully melted, stirring between each interval.

Working quickly, soften the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Add in the sifted icing sugar and beat in until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate and fold through until even. Then mix through the reserved Easter egg pieces.

Whisk the double cream until it holds a soft but thick peak; do not overwhip or it will split. Fold the whipped cream through the cheesecake mixture. It should be relatively thick and hold its shape.

Fill the hollow egg halves with the cheesecake mixture. You can do this with just a spoon or you can use a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle however the chocolate pieces can block up the nozzle. Place into the fridge for 2 hours to set the cheesecake mixture for the small eggs and 4 hours for the large eggs.

Finish with a few sprinkles and mini eggs and transfer the eggs into a paper case.

Giant Homemade Jaffa Cake

We were all transfixed to The Great British Bake Off when Mary set them the challenge of making 12 Jaffa cakes. Whether it was making sure the cakes weren’t stuck to the tin or putting on the jelly the right way up, there were a lot of hurdles to overcome. I even tried them myself in a 90 minute time limit with varying degrees of success. But I’m giving it another go, this time without a 90 minute time limit but also making a giant version; this is my (edited) Giant Jaffa Cake recipe!

Mary’s recipe calls for a whisked sponge, which is practically impossible for me in my uni kitchen since I don’t even have an electric whisk! All of my bakes have been made completely by hand, from my Crystallised Stem Ginger Cookies to Red Velvet Hazelnut Biscotti. And while I’m happy to whisk up a 1 egg white meringue, I don’t fancy whisking 3 eggs with sugar by hand until the ribbon stage so I use a basic sponge recipe for this cake.

The relatively small amount of water used to make the jelly means it has a relatively firm set, ideal for slicing up when serving the cake as well as transferring on top of the cake. I didn’t get it dead centre the first time but I found that the set of the jelly meant it was fairly forgiving when it needed moving.


1 x 135g pack of orange jelly

200ml boiling water

125g margarine

125g granulated sugar

2 eggs

140g self raising flour

Zest and juice of 1/2 an orange

140g dark chocolate

30g margarine

2 tbsp runny honey

12 Jaffa cakes, halved


Line a 18cm sandwich tin with a few layers of clingfilm, making them as smooth as possible with some overhang.

Cut up the pack of jelly into cubes and place into a heatproof jug. Pour over the boiling water and stir until the jelly has dissolved. Place the sandwich tin into the fridge and then pour in the orange jelly and refrigerate for around 2 hours. When you are ready to bake, remove the tin from the fridge so the jelly comes to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Grease and line the base of a 23cm springform tin.

In a bowl, cream together the margarine, the sugar and orange zest until it is light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one by one beating well between each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl between mixing. Sift in the self raising flour and baking powder and using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Lastly mix through the orange juice until the cake batter is smooth and even.

Transfer the mixture into the tin, using the back of the spatula to get the surface as level as possible. Bake the cake for around 20 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown, risen, springs back to the touch and an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cool, level off the top of the cake using a serrated knife to get a smooth top. When the cake is cool and the jelly has set, flip the jelly onto the centre of the cake.

Prepare the chocolate glaze by breaking up the dark chocolate into a microwaveable bowl and add the margarine and honey. Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring between each one until the chocolate glaze is smooth and very shiny. Leave to cool slightly for 5 minutes.

Now working quickly, use a palette knife to spread the glaze over the cake and jelly, covering the jelly and the visible top of the cake to get that distinctive Jaffa Cake shape. Then before the glaze sets, place the halved Jaffa cakes on top of the jelly, arranging them in an overlapping circle. Leave the glaze to set at room temperature.

Apple and Sultana Hot Cross Scones

Scones are a brilliant starting place for any beginner baker and homemade scones fresh from the oven are far superior to supermarket scones. I’ve given the classic scone a slight twist with the addition of apple and seeing as we’re in April and Easter is around the corner, I added a cross on top of the scones, as an alternative to hot cross buns. These are my Apple and Sultana Hot Cross Scones.

Traditionally, the liquid used to bind the ingredients in scones is milk however I toyed with the idea of using apple juice as the binding liquid and I found it worked just fine, adding slight sweetness as well as flavour. The variety of apple I chose was Gala as they looked the most delicious and sweet in the shops. I like to keep the red skin on however you can peel the apples too. The size of the diced apples is about 1cm.

I usually avoid using a rolling pin to flatten the dough so that I resist the temptation of rolling it too thinly and it also prevents knocking out as much of the air created thus far. Also, when you cut out your scones, don’t twist the cutter otherwise the scones won’t rise properly. The cutter I used was a mug which was 7cm wide at the top so these scones are fairly sizeable but feel free to use a smaller cutter for daintier scones (and also reduce the baking time).


250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

3 tsp baking powder

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

60g margarine, cut into cubes

45g granulated sugar

1 Gala apple, cored and diced

30g sultanas

1 large egg

60 – 80ml apple juice, plus extra for brushing the scones

30g plain flour

Water


Preheat the oven to 190˚C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Sift the flour, baking powder and the spices into a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the margarine into the dry ingredients until it resembles fine and even breadcrumbs. Shaking the bowl will move larger pieces of the margarine to the surface. Create a well in the centre and add the sugar, diced apple and sultanas and stir to combine so the fruit is coated in the flour.

Make another well and crack in the egg and add three-quarters of the apple juice and using a palette knife and a cutting and stirring motion, bring together until it forms a loose dough.

Tip it out onto a lightly floured work surface and use your hands to knead the dough for about 10 seconds to bring it together. It should look quite rough but hold together as a dough; if it’s smooth, then you’ve overworked it. Use your hands to flatten the dough to around 2cm thickness.

Use a lightly floured cutter (I used a mug which was 7cm wide at the top), cut out as many scones as you can from the dough and place onto the baking tray, leaving space for expansion. Reroll and reshape any of the scraps of dough, doing this a maximum of 2 times to avoid overworking.

Brush the tops of the scones with apple juice. In a small bowl, mix together the flour with enough water to form a thick pipeable paste. Transfer into a piping bag and cut off a small hole at the end and then pipe a cross over the scones, starting from and finishing at the sides of the scones.

The scones took around 20 – 25 minutes to bake in my oven. I waited for the tops and sides to be evenly golden brown and lifting up the scones from the parchment, it should come cleanly off the parchment and be browned well on the base. Leave to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Ham and Cheese Sliders

When I hear the word ‘slider’, I think of mini burgers and searching images on Google, you’re bombarded with images of tiny (but delicious) burgers. The term however can also refer to generally a small sandwich served on soft rolls and it’s the latter which I want to share with you. These are my take on Ham and Cheese Sliders.

I first came across the Ham and Cheese Sliders from one of my favourite Youtube channels, Stephenvlog. Stephen Georg, along with his wife, runs various channels on Youtube covering content from video gaming to painting to daily vlogging. Stephen’s daily vlogs usually contain some food and whether it’s a recipe that Mal’s cooking, Stephen’s mother Debra’s cooking or food from a restaurant/fast food chain, there’s a lot of food there to inspire you to cook something!

And inspired I was by Day 1352 of their vlog to make the Ham and Cheese Sliders. You can watch the vlog here:

I’ve adapted the recipe slightly to the way that Mal makes it in the video. From watching the vlogs (and seeing other versions of the recipe online), the Hawaiian rolls that are used remain soft even after the baking but I much prefer a crunchy top which adds a slight contrast of texture to the soft base and the ham and cheese. So instead of melting the margarine/butter as Mal does, I mix it with lots of flavoursome ingredients before spreading over the top half of the roll. I also spread a thin layer of cream cheese on the rolls for extra richness.

I use honey roast ham and cheddar cheese, both of which are never amiss in my fridge, however you can use any type of ham and cheese you want. This recipe is also easily scalable to make a fantastic party dish and you can buy packs of 12 soft rolls from most supermarket bakeries.


4 soft bread rolls

50g cream cheese

12 slices of honey roast ham

80g cheddar cheese, grated

50g margarine

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp dried basil

¼ tsp salt

Ground black pepper, to season


Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Line a baking tin with foil.

Slice the bread rolls in half and place the bases into the baking tin. Spread over a thin layer of the cream cheese and season with pepper. Top each half with 3 slices of the ham and sprinkle with the grated cheese, seasoning with a bit more pepper.

In a small bowl, mix together the margarine with the garlic powder, dried basil and salt. Then spread a layer of the margarine on the top of each top half of the roll. Season with more pepper and then put on top of each bottom half to make a sandwich.

Bake the sliders for around 15 minutes until the tops have browned and are crisp. Serve the sliders with a side of your choice; chips, crisps or coleslaw work brilliantly with the sliders.