2016 in Review | Bake, Explore & Eat

Manhattan from the ferry

2016 has been particularly difficult for a large number of both personal and global reasons, and to keep things slightly light as it’s that weird purgatory between Christmas and New Years I’ve decided I’m not going to talk much about the year itself. I’ve decided, instead, to talk through the things that made this year good, from the best things I baked, through to my favourite trips and places I got to eat. While on the subject however, I will say a couple of things; tell those you care about that you love them, and spend as much time with them as you can. Do as much with the time you have as possible, go see new places, experience different things and eat a hell of a lot of food.
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Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

This is my last post before Christmas, and I’ve saved a pretty great recipe for my last of the year. I’m sat on a train from Glasgow Central to Oban to catch a ferry over to the Isle of Mull to see my parents for Christmas. It’s the perfect time to write up a recipe, with lakes disappearing off into the distance out of one window and snow topped mountains out of the other. I’ve just demolished the emergency rations of leftover Salted Caramel Brownie from this month’s cake care package deliveries and it feels apt, as this particular recipe is for a Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart, which I baked for our friend Christmas last weekend.
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Brownie Crackle Cookies (Snowball Cookies)

Brownie Crackle CookiesBrookie? Crownie? What’s the best abbreviation for brownie cookies? Is there one that doesn’t make them sound mega lame, because both of those options aren’t so good and I’ve had people saying them at me for the last week. Last year I was sent a recipe by my girlfriend which we both made about 3 times in the weeks running up to Christmas. The recipe easily makes about 50 cookies, doesn’t take all that long to put together and its icing sugar shell makes it a perfect fit for a Christmas treat. You roll them in icing sugar just before you bake them, which causes them to crack and gives a lightly dusted, snowball like shell. They’re pretty intense; gooey and chocolatey like a brownie but with a crunch of a cookie.
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Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

As mentioned in my last post, where I talked at length about my love for cheese, I had some friends over the other day to play board games and drink a copious amount of alcohol. As well as the bread I finally nailed my pecan pie recipe once and for all. After trying on a couple of separate occasions recently and failing, pastry falling apart and filling overflowing everywhere like a river bursting its banks, it turned out all I really needed to do was sort my pie dish out.
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Garlic & Thyme Bread Wreath With Camembert

Camembert Bread Wreath

I had my first baked Camembert of the season on Saturday. A number of my friends came over to play board games so I spent the morning in the kitchen rustling up some things for us to snack on over the course of the afternoon and evening. The first of these was something I’ve been contemplating for a while. I wanted to make something perfect for sharing at Christmas that involved one of my favourite elements of this time of year; baked Camembert. Initially I had grand ideas of baking the cheese actually inside the middle of the bread, but on further thinking that was just stupid, and so the idea of the Camembert Christmas wreath was born, with the Camembert nestling at its center.
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