Tag Archives: coconut

Chinese Coconut Milk Pudding (椰汁糕)

One of my favourite sweet dim sum to have at yum cha is 椰汁糕 or Coconut Milk Pudding. It’s a very light little morsel of coconutty goodness and is also wonderfully refreshing but doesn’t require a lot of effort to make yourself at home either!

To get the correct balance of coconut flavour, I use an almost one to one ratio of coconut milk to whole milk; using too much coconut milk can make it very overpowering. Most tins of coconut milk are also sold in 400ml tins so you don’t have to worry about having any leftover. One tip is to use a chopstick or a fork to give the contents of the tin a mix before pouring into the saucepan as the coconut milk usually separates into water and the coconut cream and if the pudding mixture is not well mixed, it tends to separate out later on.

I prefer using gelatine powder as opposed to the sheets which all the chefs seems to use on TV. I find using the weight of a powder is much easier to control the set of the pudding and it’s also much cheaper too; I stocked up on gelatine powder when I went to Hong Kong however it can be easily found online.

150ml boiling water

20g gelatine powder

1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk

350ml whole milk

½ tsp vanilla extract

100g granulated sugar

Dissolve the gelatine powder in the boiling water, stirring until completely lump free. Set aside.

In a saucepan over a medium heat, stir together the coconut milk, whole milk, vanilla extract and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Then add in the gelatin mixture and stir again to dissolve.

Strain the mixture into a deep rectangular or square plastic container and leave to cool for 30 minutes before covering and refrigerating for 4 hours or until it is set; it should have a firm wobble and come away from the edges cleanly when you pull the pudding away.

To serve the pudding, flip out the pudding onto a chopping board and use a knife to slice into even cubes.

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Product Review: Beech’s Fine Chocolates Milk Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

I’ve written a few recipes and reviews of Beech’s Fine Chocolates on my blog and they have been fantastic enough to provide me with some of their products ranging from Lime and Chilli Dark Chocolate to their Crystallised Stem Ginger to review and use in some of my recipes.

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Beech’s Fine Chocolates is a UK-based company which uses all natural ingredients to produce chocolates which are suitable for vegans as well as being gluten-free. Traditional and quality chocolates are being produced by a British chocolatier in Lancashire and have been since 1920.  You can find their full range here on their website.

Over Christmas, I took some of Beech’s Fine Chocolates Milk Chocolate Macaroons home with me for my family to try to get their thoughts on the product. Beech’s mix natural shredded coconut with luxurious 35% cocoa milk chocolate to create the most perfect blend of delicious chocolate and crunchy coconut by hand. These macaroons are also gluten free.

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Taste wise, the milk chocolate balances perfectly with the flavour of coconut. Some milk chocolates can be too sweet and sickly but this milk chocolate is not too sweet on the palate. There’s the initial hit of chocolate flavour and as it mellows out, the coconut flavour profile dominates over the chocolate (in a pleasant way). The flavour overall is incredibly reminiscent of a Bounty bar.

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However unlike a Bounty bar, this doesn’t give as easily by which I mean the chocolate has a snap when you bite into it. The macaroons have a good texture and mouthfeel and because of the shredded coconut, there’s also a significant chew to it.

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In the pack, there are 9 squares, not identically sized (meaning you know they’re handmade), each weighing around 10g. The 9 macaroons weigh 90g and the product retails at £2.99. This tips into the expensive market however Beech’s is a very high quality and luxurious product so why not treat yourself to a box (or two) of Beech’s Milk Chocolate Coconut Macaroons?

You can check out my other reviews and recipes using Beech’s Fine Chocolates’ products:

Ginger Dark Chocolate Welsh Cakes

Bonfire Chilli Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Crystallised Stem Ginger Cookies

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My Review of 2016

2016 was a tragic year for all, with the deaths of legends in the entertainment industry such as Victoria Wood, Carrie Fisher, George Michael, Sir Terry Wogan, David Bowie (and the list goes on and on!) and we also cannot forget about the huge changes in the futures of the UK with Brexit and the USA with the election of Donald Trump as President. And whilst we cannot forget how bad the year has been for so many, I can’t help but think that on a personal level, the year of 2016 has been a positive year of change for me!

Obviously the biggest change of my 2016 is that I’ve now started my maths degree at Nottingham University, some 160 miles from my home back down in Essex. Starting this new chapter in my life was incredibly daunting; why wouldn’t I be scared at the prospect of sharing a flat with 4 other people whom I’d never met before and living and fending for myself! It wasn’t all fine and dandy, and neither did I expect it to be, but I didn’t expect the first drama about the washing up to happen in the first few weeks!

And maybe that’s my own fault. I’d created this utopian idea in my head of what university would be like and sharing a flat would be like; we’d all take turns taking the bins out, cleaning the kitchen and share a 6 pint bottle of milk and put ourselves on a rota of who bought the next 6 pints. And it was as far from this as possible.

I ended up doing the bins pretty much exclusively, I soon got pretty fed up of seeing the washing up pile up at the side of the sink day after day and our fridge wasn’t the right temperature – my Thermapen thermometer got to 11˚C; the normal temperature for refrigerators is between 0 – 5˚C, something I acknowledged in my complaint email!

My first month of university was fraught with hating my flat with its faulty fridges, a smelly hoover and a heater which smelt of burning whenever I turned it on. I sought solace in Facetiming my family back home each night after work and they were always on hand to offer advice, even on the most basic things like how to boil an egg! By this time too, I’d made a close knit group of friends in my flat, in my ‘halls’ and on my course. I honestly think that without them, I wouldn’t be enjoying university as much as I currently am, although having said that I should really be revising for my January exams right now!

The friends I’d made were all integral (well I might as well start doing some maths revision!) to making my first semester at Nottingham and if it wasn’t for them dragging me out on bar crawls and getting me tickets for clubs, I wouldn’t have had as much fun as I did in the last month of my first term. But of course it wasn’t without its drama and unfortunately some of the people I thought I was friends with turned out to think differently. Despite this, my real friends were all on hand to talk it through with me and if I ever did want to drop in on my friends in my accommodation, they were just a text and a 2 minute walk away.

Oh and they replaced our fridge, cleaned the hoover and the burning smell went away!

University has definitely changed who I am, even in the space of 3 months. I’ve gained an appreciation for the value of money and not that’s just because I am a student. Controlling my spending and budgeting has helped keep my weekly average spend down and perhaps the tight spend on money is just a small piece of the puzzle that has contributed to me losing 23lbs since the day I moved to Nottingham back in September, which puzzles me frankly because to lose 23lbs in the space of under 3 months is quite ridiculous but also offers perspective on how bad my diet was and just what little exercise I did; even the walk from campus back to my accommodation is a fraction under 2 miles and I’d walked that on so many occasions when the buses were full (curse the 903 hopper bus!).

During the first term, I also joined Blogsoc, the university’s blogging society. I walked in to my first workshop, expecting to learn so much about blogging but it was at this point that I realised how much I already knew having had the blog for 3 years and I was able to share my knowledge and experiences with fellow students, both new and well versed in blogging. I’m going to include some of their links at the end of this review of 2016 because I love reading their blogs!

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My attitude to my blog changed this year. I think I said this last year but I definitely took blogging more seriously, creating my #fdbloggerfriends series which is still ongoing, and I blogged 13 recipes for the 12 Days of Christmas which went down a storm! With university, I have a lot more time to bake and blog then I did at home and that’s certainly resulted in putting more effort into the blog and posting more often than usual (even if that means my poor friends have to try more of my bakes). I also took the plunge to enter the UK Blog Awards 2016.

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A quick peek at my blog stats and I see that I posted 118 new posts this year. Not all of them were recipes and not all of them were baking related but it’s still a huge achievement. The 5 most viewed new recipe posts of 2016 were as follows:

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  1. Day 3 of 12: Lidl’s Favorina Spiced Biscuit Spread Review
  2. Romaine Lettuce Kimchi
  3. Trying the Technical: Coconut Viennese Whirls in 80 minutes
  4. Glazed Lemon Almond Cake
  5. Vanilla and Chocolate Marble Traybake

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I feel safe in the knowledge my blog is growing and getting read since my most viewed new recipe post of 2016 was one which was posted a mere 3 and a half weeks ago. What’s more, it ranks 3rd in my 3 most viewed posts of 2016!

  1. Giant Ben’s Cookies
  2. Should cooking be compulsory for secondary school students under 18?
  3. Day 3 of 12: Lidl’s Favorina Spiced Biscuit Spread Review

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And of course I have my personal favourite posts from this year.

Making a Gingerbread Oven Showstopper

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I’d always wanted to make my own gingerbread house and after watching Biscuit Week of Bake Off and the showstopper challenge to create a 3D gingerbread biscuit story, I was lying in bed and suddenly had a brainwave to create an oven which was baking gingerbread out of gingerbread. And yes, I am that sort of person. I’ll agree that it’s not the most professional looking bake I’ve ever done (more on that in a bit) but it’s a personal baking milestone for me since I challenged myself to do something that I’ve never done before (I hadn’t even baked gingerbread biscuits before!) and it’s also the first time that I used a ruler in my baking!

Salted Caramel, White Chocolate and Lemon Savarins

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Again I was inspired by Bake Off for this bake. Back in Patisserie Week of Series 7, the technical challenge was to make a savarin and I didn’t really fancy baking a large one so I fused together the concept of rum baba and savarin to invent my savarins. The dough has lemon zest in it and is soaked in a sticky citrus syrup and then drizzled with salted caramel and white chocolate. It’s rather gilding the lily to have 2 different drizzles however the flavours all worked together and it’s also one of the best looking bakes I think that I have ever done. Okay so maybe they were slightly underproved and maybe Paul Hollywood wouldn’t have liked my crumb structure but I am proud of these little savarins.

All 12 Days of Christmas

Okay maybe it’s a bit of a cheat to say that 13 posts are my favourite but my 12 Days of Christmas series was incredibly successful (I mean just look at how Day 3 did!) and apart from daily blogging in Hong Kong whilst on holiday, it’s the most extensive amount of recipe blogging and I managed to finish the series on schedule, which I think is an achievement considering the work I was also having to do.

I think my personal favourite of the 12 Days series has to be my Christmas Present Cake. It was my first time doing a fondant covered cake and I have to say that it seemed to go pretty well, with only a few minor cracks which I covered up with more fondant. And whilst I won’t be doing another fondant cake for a while, it’s something to add to my repertoire of techniques.

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In 2017, I want to use Instagram more. I’ve been trying hard to get into Instagram and posting pictures on my page hasn’t yet become second nature to me however I’m gradually getting used to it. Growth on Instagram is also notoriously harder than on Twitter so reaching 500 followers by the end of 2017 is going to be my goal.

Talking of growth, I think my following on Twitter has plateaued and I certainly do not want to be one of those accounts who follows thousands of people only to unfollow them in the next week, so finding a way to increase my following will be the challenge!

Let me know in the comments which of my 118 new posts of 2016 was your favourite. Make sure to also check out my fellow Nottingham Blogsoc bloggers too!

Trying the #GBBO Technical Challenge: Coconut Viennese Whirls in 80 minutes

I’m trying to recreate the Bake Off Technical Challenges at home. Each week, I will be discussing how I got on with the bake, posting pictures of some stages, providing my own commentary as well as the recipe, a Bake Off style judging and where I think I would finish and my reflections. Some of the bakes I’m doing before the episode comes out so I’m making a rough guess of how long the bake will take. The bakes which happen after the episode is aired will follow the time given in the episode.

I have only tried making Viennese Whirls once before and they didn’t go very well! So I was slightly worried about doing this challenge. As with all of my GBBO Technical Challenge recreations, I gave myself 5 minutes to study a recipe and will be baking from memory.

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For this Technical Challenge, I had to make 8 Coconut Viennese Whirls in 80 minutes, comprising of a short buttery coconut biscuit sandwiched together with a toasted coconut buttercream. *I’m sure that they will be making their own jam in the tent however I didn’t include this process as I knew it would be a tight bake already. It’s confirmed that they had 90 minutes.*


250g margarine

50g Sugar & Crumbs Coconut icing sugar, sifted

250g plain flour

50g cornflour

25g desiccated coconut

75g margarine

160g icing sugar

20g Sugar & Crumbs Coconut icing sugar

25g toasted desiccated coconut

50g strawberry jam


Time: 10:40am, 80 minutes remaining. On your marks, get set, bake!

I weighed out the margarine and icing sugar into the mixing bowl of my stand mixer and creamed it together using the paddle attachment for about 2 minutes, scraping it down halfway through.

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Time: 10:46am, 74 minutes remaining. Add dry ingredients.

Then I sifted in the flour and cornflour and added in the desiccated coconut. I placed it back on the mixer on a medium speed, stopping as soon as the mixture had been brought together. Then to soften it slightly, I put it on a high speed for 10 seconds.

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Time: 10:50am, 70 minutes remaining. 

I lined 2 baking trays with a sheet of baking parchment and fitted a large star nozzle into a disposable piping bag. I filled the piping bag with half of the dough and sealed the top of the bag with an elastic bag.

Time: 10:53am, 67 minutes remaining. Piping out the biscuits

I piped out 8 swirls of the dough onto my baking tray. I found it very difficult piping it out as it is such a stiff dough but I managed it eventually. Already I could tell my swirls were quite big and I imagine they will spread slightly in the oven so I left some space between them.

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Time: 11:00am, 60 minutes remaining. Chilling the biscuits.

I placed the biscuits I’ve already piped into the fridge for 15 minutes and do a second tray. I remember hearing somewhere that chilling the biscuits before baking helps to keep the definition of the swirl which is what I want. It’s probably not the right thing to do.

Time: 11:03am, 57 minutes remaining. FIRST DISASTER! 

As I go to pipe my 4th biscuit on the second tray, the piping bag bursts, the nozzle has come out and the dough is all on my hand. I bring back my bowl and I empty the piping bag into the bowl. I give the nozzle a wash and fill another piping bag and pipe the rest of the biscuits.

Time: 11:14am, 46 minutes remaining. 

Crisis averted, I finish piping the second tray and place it in the fridge. I preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Time: 11:18am, 42 minutes remaining. Bake the first biscuits.

I bake the first tray of biscuits for 18 minutes – as you saw, the biscuits are quite thick so this is why they took so long. If you have a thinner biscuit, then bake for around 12 – 15 minutes. They will be golden but shouldn’t be too brown.

Time: 11:23am, 37 minutes remaining. Start the coconut buttercream.

I placed the second lot of desiccated coconut into a sandwich tin in one layer. Bake for 5 minutes, taking it out halfway through to shake around so it doesn’t burn. Once toasted, transfer to a bowl to cool completely.

Soften the margarine in the bowl and then add the icing sugar in 2 batches, until it has been incorporated well, is light and holds its shape. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Time: 11:27am, 33 minutes remaining. Bake the second biscuits.

I move the first tray of biscuits down a shelf in the oven and place the second tray in to bake. I also rotate the trays halfway through as I have a hotspot at the side of my oven.

Time: 11:39am, 21 minutes remaining.

I take out the first tray of biscuits which are now baked and slightly golden. I leave them to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.

Set aside a handful of the toasted coconut. Finish off the buttercream by adding in the cooled desiccated coconut and putting it into a piping bag. I put it back in the fridge.

Time: 11:45am, 15 minutes remaining.

The second tray of whirls are baked and they’re on the trays. The other biscuits are currently being wafted.

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Time: 11:53am, 7 minutes remaining

I’m wafting the second batch of biscuits as well.

Time: 11:55am, 5 minutes remaining. Sandwiching the whirls

I have matched up the biscuits which are similar sized. I upturn 1 biscuit and pipe a big ring of the coconut buttercream around the edge. I fill the centre with some strawberry jam and then sandwich the Viennese Whirls together. To finish, I sprinkle the set aside toasted coconut on the buttercream.

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Time: 12:00pm, 0 minutes remaining. Please bring your Viennese Whirls up to the gingham altar ready for the judging. 


So here are my Coconut Viennese Whirls. I am quite happy with the overall appearance of them as they do look like Viennese Whirls but just on steroids! I think this may have been down to my choice of nozzle. I used a large nozzle and this never really spread down in the oven as I thought they would.

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This may have been down to the chilling of the dough before baking. I remember back in Series 2 when Mary-Anne made Melting Moments for her Signature bake, Mary made a point of noting that she chilled her biscuits before baking which helped to keep the shape! She wrote about it in her post on her blog which you can find here. But most of the other recipes out there don’t mention chilling at all.

However, the 80 minutes I believe was the perfect challenging amount of time to make these Viennese Whirls including the chilling down process. You had to be quite efficient if you stick to this time limit, but I was also lucky that I had a fan on in the room so the biscuits chilled down a bit quicker.


Like the Jaffa Cake technical, I will be judging my Viennese Whirls on 5 categories, scoring each out of 10. The categories are appearance, the bake, flavour, the texture of the biscuit as a whole and the consistency across the whole batch.

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  • Appearance: The biscuits themselves are quite big and aren’t really as dainty as they should be. However there is good definition of the biscuit and the biscuits are well matched up in terms of size. They are also nice and golden and the toasted coconut on the edges adds something extra. The piping is good but could be improved especially at the end of the swirls. Score: 8/10
  • Bake: The biscuits are nice and golden, although are quite uneven. Possibly slightly overbooked. Score: 5.5/10
  • Flavour: The coconut flavour is prominent although more coconut could be added in the biscuits and the buttercream. Score: 6.5/10
  • Mouthfeel/Texture: The biscuits are crumbly and do melt in the mouth. They are quite dry which could be done to overtaking. The coconut adds texture and where it’s toasted, a slight crunch too. Score: 7.5/10
  • Consistency of the batch: The biscuits aren’t evenly coloured on top however they are all similar sized thickness and apart from poor piping which lead to different shaped whirls, nothing stands out about poor batch consistency. Score: 8/10

Total Score: 35.5/50

Difficulty ranking: 3.5/10 purely for the tight timing and how hard it is to pipe the dough!

Finishing position: 3rd – 5th

These were by no means perfect. The size of the biscuit is larger than the Mr Kipling equivalent but I wouldn’t complain when it’s eaten with a tea or coffee! I wish the coconut flavour in the biscuits was stronger and in the buttercream. Having said that, the texture of the biscuits was spot on, they were crumbly and melt in the mouth and they were still very tasty. I still wonder about the effect of chilling the dough before baking would have. The piping was by far the hardest bit of the bake. I spent a good 10 minutes piping in total and I can’t remember any time that I’ve ever had a piping bag burst on me before! If I were to make these again, I would experiment with a different nozzle as well as finding ways to make the dough softer and easier to pipe such as adding some milk.

Rankings of the Technical Challenges:

  1. Coconut Viennese Whirls, Biscuit Week, 35.5
  2. Jaffa Cakes, Cake Week, 27

Remember to check out what the rest of the Biscuit Week challenges are here!

Chinese-style Cocktail Buns

A staple of the Chinese bakery is the Cocktail Bun. This Chinese bun, found in every Hong Kong bakery, is an enriched sweet bun with a buttery sweet coconut filling. It is said that this bun came about when a baker didn’t want to throw away any unsold breads so he crumbled it up with some sugar and coconut to create a filling and the Cocktail Bun was born.

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The recipe for the filling usually includes milk powder – and this does tend to be a common ingredient in a lot of Chinese baking. It adds creaminess but I have struggled to find milk powder in supermarkets around my area so I have found custard powder is a good replacement adding that creamy flavour as well as making the filling really golden yellow.

Traditionally, these buns are long and are piped with a paste similar to that use on a hot cross bun. They are batch-baked and this means that they are placed near to each other on the baking tray so when they expand, they join together and they form 1 long bread which can be easily split into individual buns. These buns are always finished off with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

I like using plain flour as opposed to strong flour; I prefer the texture of the bread using plain. The gluten content is only up to 2% more in strong flour.

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The other bread in the picture is a Strawberry Cheesecake Bun. The recipe for that will come out later this week.


For the bread dough

500g plain flour

100g sugar

1 tsp salt

180ml whole milk

60g margarine

2 x 7g sachets of fast-action dried yeast

1 egg

For the cocktail bun filling

90g margarine

50g sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

20g custard powder

32g self-raising flour

45g desiccated coconut

Sesame seeds, to decorate


Heat up the milk and margarine in the microwave until the fat has melted. Allow to cool to body temperature and add the 2 sachets of yeast. Stir and allow the yeast to bubble up for about 10 minutes.

For the bread dough, pour the flour into a large bowl and add the sugar and salt to one side of the bowl. Use your finger to stir through and make a well in the centre. Add in the egg with all of the liquid and use your hands to bring the mix into a ball of dough – it shouldn’t be too sticky or too dry.

Once the dough has combined nicely, transfer to a floured work surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes. The dough should not be sticking to the surface neither should it be crumbly. Test whether the dough is kneaded enough by pressing a finger into the dough and it should spring back fully.

Place into the bowl and cover with clingfilm and prove until doubled in size.

Meanwhile make the coconut filling. Place all the ingredients into a bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon until the filling is even, golden yellow, flecked with plenty of coconut and is thick.

When the dough has proved, knock back the air and divide the dough into 50g portions (you should get 18). Roll out each of the dough balls into a rectangle slightly longer than it is wide. Place a heaped teaspoon of the coconut filling onto the bottom third of the rectangle. Leave as a quenelle shape, do not press it down.

Fold down the top third so you have two thirds lying on top of each other. Then fold over the bottom third dough over the coconut filling and around the bottom. Press down slightly to flatten, fold the open edges on the bottom and shape into a rectangle which measures about 8x4cm. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment. Put 3 of the buns near each other, leaving a 4cm gap.

Repeat with all the buns, and cover with clingfilm and prove for a further hour or so until doubled in size. The buns should almost be touching. When you are ready to bake, sprinkle the buns with a few sesame seeds and place the buns into the oven as it is preheating to 170°C. Bake for 18 minutes until the buns are browned well.

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Cool on a wire rack for an hour before eating. I recommend microwaving the buns for 10 seconds to warm up, they taste much better that way.

White Chocolate, Brazil Nut and Coconut Welsh Cakes

Welsh cakes are such a simple cake to make, there’s no need to line a tin with baking parchment or preheat the oven to 180°C. They are cooked on a griddle pan on the hob almost like a pancake. They are a true Welsh classic originating from the early 19th Century with fat and sugar being added to an old flatbread recipe. A rather endearing name for these in the north of the UK is singing hinnies.

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Most recipes will have spices and sultanas or currants added to the dough however I’ve thrown the Welsh cake into the 21st Century with the addition of white chocolate, brazil nuts and desiccated coconut. Feel free to experiment with all kinds of flavour combinations; if you’ve got some mincemeat leftover (which I do) you can try making Christmas Welsh Cakes, adding a few spices into the dough as well.

Here are some other recipes on my blog that use white chocolate and coconut:

Snowman Cake Pops 

Giant Ben’s Cookies

White Chocolate Crumble Cake

White Chocolate Mendiants

Refined Sugar-Free Coconut Flapjacks


 

240g self raising flour

110g margarine

85g sugar

1 egg

50g white chocolate, chopped finely

50g Brazil nuts, chopped finely

25g desiccated coconut

Rub together the self raising flour with the margarine until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix through the sugar and use a palette knife to bring the dough together with the egg. If the dough feels slightly dry, you can add a tablespoon of milk.

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Use your hands to lightly work in the white chocolate, Brazil nuts and desiccated coconut, trying not to overwork the dough. Flatten the dough to 1.5cm thick on a lightly floured surface. With a 6cm round cutter, or a flower cutter which I used, cut out rounds of the dough. The dough can be rerolled.

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Over a medium heat, add some margarine to a bakestone or frying pan until it has just melted. Cook the Welsh cakes in the pan until it is golden brown on both sides; this takes about 2-3 minutes a side. Once cooked, sprinkle with a little bit of caster sugar and place into a low oven to keep warm.

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I like to serve these with a bit of clotted cream and raspberry jam alongside an afternoon tea.

GBBO Alternative Ingredient Week Challenge 5: Refined Sugar-Free Coconut Flapjacks

Week 5 and The Great British Bake Off has gone all Alternative Ingredient, that is to say free-from baking. I’m not the biggest fan of free-from baking because it often means sourcing strange flours from a store that is 12 miles away. So when I read the 3 challenges this week, I wasn’t sure which one to do!

I recently wrote a debate about going gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free and you can find them by clicking on the links below:

I decided on going sugar-free because it was the easiest for me to do. Now doing my sugar-free cake research, there was a lot of xylitol and sweetener being used, neither of which I have at home. I could have reposted my Sugar-Free Chocolate Brownies (the recipe for which you can find by clicking here) but I choose to go slightly off-piste and make these Refined Sugar-Free Coconut Flapjacks.

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You always have to be careful when talking about sugar-free because what most people actually mean is refined sugar, which is sugar that has been processed and this is your standard white sugar on the supermarket shelves. People say that brown sugar has had less processing but actually the molasses is added back to the refined white sugar. Unprocessed natural sugars such as those found in fruit, honey, stevia, dextrose and agave nectar.

In my flapjack recipe, I replace the refined sugar with the natural sugar in honey. Obviously you have to reduce the amount of honey that goes in since it is liquid. Even so, the natural sweet flavour of the coconut comes through, meaning you really don’t miss the golden syrup either, which the honey also replaces. The tin I used is a 20cm square tin and I only use a strip of parchment to line 2 sides and the base so it lifts out easily.


100g margarine

60g honey

40g Sweet Freedom syrup

180g rolled oats

40g desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line a 20cm square tin with a strip of baking parchment so 2 sides and the base are lined.

In the microwave, melt together the margarine and honey in 30 second blasts until it is all liquid. Pour the melted margarine and honey over the oats and desiccated coconut and stir until it is all evenly coated.

Transfer into the lined baking tin and use the back of a spoon to press the mixture into an even layer.

Bake for 15 minutes, turning around halfway through baking, until the top is lightly golden and the edges are browned. Cut into 20 squares immediately as it comes out of the oven and allow to cool and set fully on a cooling rack.

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