DIY Rainbow Gaytime

Last year I was lucky enough to visit Australia and experience the joy that is the Golden Gaytime. For the less fortunate, it’s a toffee and vanilla flavoured ice cream coated in chocolate and biscuit pieces. In the UK we have Feast which is similar but tastes of chocolate and sadness — the Feast can’t hold a candle to the wonderous Gaytime.

Anyway, the Gaytime has something of a cult following. Jesse McElroy, a Gaytime superfan has previously successfully campaigned to bring Gaytime tubs and a Gaytime Cornetto to market. For Sydney Mardi Gras he released a photo of a Rainbow Gaytime prototype which got everyone excited but it doesn’t seem to have materialised.

So I thought I’d have a bash at it myself. You might know that Australia is currently in the process of arranging a plebiscite on equal marriage. It’s something I feel strongly about even though I can’t vote so this is one way in which I can express love for my Aussie friends who are currently working incredibly hard to make sure the right thing gets done.

The process

McElroy didn’t release any details of his prototype so I had to experiment. My first thought was to try and use food colouring to dye crushed up biscuits, but that just made a soggy mess.

Then it hit me — rather than trying to dye pre-baked biscuits, what if I baked the biscuits with the colour and then crushed them? So I whipped up a prototype batch and was happy to find that it worked perfectly.

So here’s how it works — make up a simple shortbread recipe, split the dough into six and add the colourings. It’s important you use highly-concentrated bake-stable colourings to get the bright colours. I used Sugarflair. You also don’t need to buy all six colours — you can just use red, blue and yellow, mixing them as needed to get the orange, green and purple. I also added some concentrated toffee flavouring for the authentic Gaytime flavour.

Rainbow shortbread dough ready to shape and bake

Then you just need to bake some biscuits ready to be crushed. It sounds harsh, but these biscuits were born for a greater purpose. You can bake extra shortbreads and eat them as-is. They look great on their own. One tip is to err on the side of underbaking them to avoid them burning and compromising the colour. This is particularly important for the yellow and blue batches.

Rainbow shortbreads fresh out of the oven

When crushing the biscuits you’ll want to be thorough and get the crumbs as small as possible for best coverage. Large crumbs look good but it’s hard to get them to stick. Put the crumbs in bags and freeze them, spreading them out to avoid clumping. When it’s done you should have something like this:

Rainbow crumbs ready to go

Then it’s just a case of applying the crumbs to the Gaytime. I did that by melting some chocolate on a bain-marie and then painting it onto the ice cream before applying the crumbs. You have to work quickly as the cold ice cream will solidify the chocolate so I found it easiest to do it in small sections rather than trying to do a whole band at once. Another reason to go quickly is the that the ice cream doesn’t melt and leak out of the chocolate, but this is a messy job any way so be prepared to get covered in chocolate, ice cream and colourful crumbs. I found some in my ear just now, not even joking.

So the final result will look something like this — maybe not as photogenic as the prototype but still fabulous. You’ll probably want to pop them back in the freezer in plastic bags so they don’t just melt everywhere, but whatever floats your boat.

Finished Rainbow Gaytimes

The Recipe

Essentially this is just a shortbread recipe with extra steps, but anyway. The quantities here will give you heaps of biscuits so you should have extra that you can use as-is. If you aren’t bothered you can probably halve the quantities.

DIY Rainbow Gaytime

DIY Rainbow Gaytime

Ingredients 

  • 125g unsalted butter 
  • 55g caster sugar 
  • 180g plain flour 
  • 100g chocolate — I used dark but milk should work too if you prefer 
  • Concentrated bake-stable food colouring like Sugarflair 
  • Golden Gaytimes, of course! 
  • Concentrated toffee flavouring (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine the sugar and butter 
  2. Sift in the flour 
  3. Combine to a smooth paste 
  4. Add toffee flavouring if using 
  5. Split the dough into six and add the colouring 
  6. Roll the dough into a 2cm-wide log and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes 
  7. Preheat the oven to 190c 
  8. Cut the dough log into 1cm rounds 
  9. Bake for 10 minutes — be careful not to let them brown, err on the side of underbaking 
  10. Crush the biscuits into crumbs and freeze, separating the colours 
  11. Melt the chocolate over a bain-marie 
  12. Using a pastry brush paint the chocolate onto the Gaytime in bands, then stick the crumbs to the chocolate. Work on a small section at a time to avoid the chocolate cooling too quickly. 
  13. Work your way through the colours until done, then put the finished Rainbow Gaytimes in the freezer. 
  14. Enjoy, and don’t forget to vote in support of equal marriage 😉 
http://monkeybakes.co.uk/diy-rainbow-gaytime/

You should have a heap of leftover rainbow crumbs which you could use as a topping for cakes, ice creams, chuck them in any leftover chocolate to make a bark or just eat them with a spoon like I did.

Leftover rainbow crumbs

Shortbread recipe adapted from BBC Food.

Bartlesville Cream Pie

Despite the name this gooey, fudgey and supremely chocolatey slice of bliss is actually a cake rather than a pie, but as it’s an original creation by Ree Drummond I’ll give her a pass. This time.

Bartlesville Cream Pie is a layer of smooth salted caramel pudding sandwiched between two layers of rich chocolate cake and smothered in a decadent cream ganache.

If you have a chocoholic in your life, this will definitely get you in their good books!

Making your own caramel for the pudding might seem daunting but it just needs a little care and attention to make sure it doesn’t burn. If you haven’t had American-style pudding before you’re in for a treat, especially if you’re a salted caramel fan.

Bartlesville Cream Pie

Bartlesville Cream Pie

Ingredients 

    Cake 
  • 8tbsp (115g) salted butter, plus more for buttering the pan 
  • 1 cup (125g) plain flour 
  • 2 heaping tablespoons (15–20g) cocoa, plus more for dusting 
  • 1 cup (225g) sugar 
  • 14 tsp sea salt 
  • 12 cup (120ml) boiling water 
  • 14 cup (60ml) buttermilk (see notes) 
  • 12 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
  • 12 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 large egg, beaten 
    Pudding: 
  • 1 cup (225g) sugar 
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (aka cornstarch) 
  • 12 tsp sea salt 
  • 12 cups (350ml) whole milk 
  • 2 large egg yolks 
  • 2 tbsp (30g) salted butter 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
    Glaze: 
  • 1 cup (230ml) double or whipping cream 
  • 225g dark chocolate 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 

Instructions

    Cake 
  1. Preheat the oven to 175c (150 fan). 
  2. Butter a 20cm cake pan, line it with greaseproof paper, then butter it again and dust it with cocoa powder (this avoids white patches on your dark cake) 
  3. Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. 
  4. Melt the butter on a medium heat, then stir in the cocoa until smooth. 
  5. Add the water, stir until mixed and then let boil for 30 seconds before removing from the heat, 
  6. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture a little at a time until smooth. 
  7. Mix the buttermilk, bicarb, vanilla and egg. Stir into the chocolate mixture. 
  8. Pour into the cake pan and bake until a skewer comes out clean, approximately 25–35 minutes depending on the oven. 
  9. Rest the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it, then leave it to cool completely. 
    Pudding 
  1. Preferably in a light-coloured pan, melt half the sugar on a medium heat, stirring from time to time. 
  2. When the sugar is melted and a nice golden colour, remove from the heat — pay attention here as it will burn easily. 
  3. Whisk the cornstarch, salt and remaining sugar into 23 of the milk, then slowly mix into the hot sugar. 
  4. Put the pot back on a medium heat and stir continuously until smooth. 
  5. Whisk the egg yolks and remaining milk together, then stir into the pot. 
  6. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. 
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and butter. 
  8. Strain the mixture into a bowl, then press a piece of cling film onto the surface of the pudding — this avoids a skin forming as it cools. 
  9. Leave to cool for a while, then put in the fridge. 
    Putting it all together 
  1. Carefully cut the cake into two layers. This is best done a little at a time from every angle, eventually meeting in the middle. It doesn’t matter if your lines are perfectly straight but you’ll want the layers as even as possible. 
  2. Spread the pudding over the bottom layer of cake, then carefully put the other layer of cake on top. 
  3. Heat (but don’t boil) the cream over a medium heat, then add the chocolate and stir until smooth before adding the vanilla. 
  4. When the ganache is ready, pour it as evenly as possible over the cake and spread so it drips down the sides and coats the whole pie. 
  5. Refrigerate until set, preferably overnight for best results but I know that’s easier said than done 🙂 

Notes

Buttermilk can be hard to find unless you have a big supermarket near you, but really what we want here is just some slightly acidic dairy to activate the bicarb, so a substitute will work fine — I used 34 tsp malt vinegar and made up to the 14 cup of milk. 

http://monkeybakes.co.uk/bartlesville-cream-pie/

 

S’mores Cookie Bar Bites

It’s officially summer, which means barbecues, festivals and camping — whatever the weather!

For Americans, that means s’mores. These little pieces of magic combine three simple ingredients — biscuit, marshmallow and chocolate — and turn them into gooey, sticky, delectable treats that’ll have you coming back time and again for “some more” — hence the name!

These cookie bar bites are like an extra-gooey blondie and are adapted from a recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction, one of my absolute favourite baking sites. They’re simple to make and guaranteed to get a reaction — take them to the next outdoor event you go to and see your friends’ faces light up as they discover the joy of s’mores!

S’mores Cookie Bar Bites

S’mores Cookie Bar Bites

Ingredients 

  • 115g salted butter, room temperature 
  • 150g light brown sugar 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1 large egg 
  • 125g plain flour 
  • 100g digestive biscuit crumbs 
  • 12 tsp baking powder 
  • 200g dark chocolate chips 
  • 1223 jar marshmallow fluff (enough to make a layer in your tin) 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 175c (150 fan). 
  2. Line or grease a 20cm (8″) baking tin (preferably one with a loose base). 
  3. Cream the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl. 
  4. Combine the flour, biscuit crumbs and baking powder. 
  5. Add the vanilla extract and egg, then mix until smooth. 
  6. Add the dry mix to the wet a little at a time, mixing until combined before adding more. 
  7. Spread approximately half to two thirds of the dough over the base of the tin. 
  8. Spread the marshmallow fluff on top — this is a very messy job, can be made easier by greasing a spatula or knife with unsalted butter. 
  9. Spread the chocolate as evenly as possible over the marshmallow. 
  10. Spread the remaining dough over the top — it’s OK if you can’t make a whole layer as the chocolate and marshmallow will peek out temptingly. 
  11. Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is golden. This gives a very gooey bar, add a couple of minutes if you want them firmer. 
  12. Leave to cool and then cut into small squares. 
http://monkeybakes.co.uk/smores-cookie-bar-bites/

Slow-Cooked Balsamic Honey Chicken & Vegetables

Yeah, I know, this one’s a bit different. It was just so good I had to share it. Don’t judge me.

I love my slow cooker. It’s like a witches’ cauldron that takes simple ingredients and turns them into dishes that are far more than the sum of their parts.

This recipe is a great example of the slow cooker’s magical powers. During the cooking process the vinegar mellows in flavour and mingles with the juices from the meat and veggies to create a mildly sweet sauce.

You could also modify this recipe to leave out the meat if you just want the veggies to pair with something else.

Slow-Cooked Balsamic Honey Chicken & Vegetables

Slow-Cooked Balsamic Honey Chicken & Vegetables

Ingredients 

  • 12 tbsp oil 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 large carrots, cut into thick rounds or approx 250g baby carrots, trimmed 
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed 
  • 12 tsp salt 
  • 12 tsp pepper 
  • 12 tsp garlic powder 
  • 12 tsp dried basil 
  • 12 cup (approx 120 ml) balsamic vinegar 
  • 4 tbsp honey 
  • 1 onion, sliced 
  • 250g green beans 

Instructions

  1. Spread the oil and garlic around the bottom of the slow cooker. 
  2. Arrange the carrots in a layer. 
  3. Lay the chicken over the carrots. 
  4. Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried basil, vinegar and honey — vinegar and honey are the last two steps in that order, so the vinegar picks up the flavours and the honey coats the meat. 
  5. Arrange the onion in a layer on top. 
  6. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. 
  7. 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the green beans on top. 
  8. Plate up the meat and veggies and drizzle with the remaining sauce. 
    If your juice is thin after cooking: 
  1. Strain the juice into a saucepan. 
  2. Save the remaining bits and spread them over the chicken — very tasty! 
  3. Reduce the sauce over a high heat until thickened, should only take a few minutes. 

Notes

The quantities here will serve two people with plates like you see in the picture and fit in a 3.5 litre slow cooker. You can halve or double the quantities to suit but be aware that different sized slow cookers may affect the results in terms of how much juice you have left over.

http://monkeybakes.co.uk/slow-cooked-balsamic-honey-chicken-vegetables/

Modified from a recipe by Tasty.

Quick & Easy S’mores Pie

S’mores are better-known in the US than the UK, but I’m on a mission to educate my friends one cookie, brownie or slice of pie at a time.

Biscuit, chocolate and marshmallow — what’s not to like?

This pie came about because I had a couple of jars worth of Fluff in the cupboard that I wanted to use up, so I paired it with a butter chocolate ganache and a buttery biscuit base for a simple but effective treat.

I’ve used a base recipe from the awesome Sally’s Baking Addiction here but if you have a preferred biscuit base recipe any will do — it’s the flavour that’s important.

Quick and Easy S’mores Pie

Quick and Easy S’mores Pie

Ingredients 

  • 2 jars vanilla marshmallow Fluff 
    For base: 
  • 10 Digestive biscuits 
  • 6 tbsp (90g) unsalted butter, melted 
  • 13 cup (65g) brown sugar 
    For Ganache: 
  • 300g dark chocolate chips/chunks
  • 300g unsalted butter 

Instructions

  1. Crush the biscuits and mix with the melted butter and brown sugar. 
  2. Press the biscuit mixture into your pie dish and leave to cool OR bake for 8–10 minutes at 150c (130 fan) 
  3. Melt the butter for the ganache over a medium heat. 
  4. Put the chocolate in a mixing bowl and pour the butter over. 
  5. Leave for a few minutes, then stir until smooth. 
  6. Pour the ganache into the crust, smooth the top and leave to cool until set. 
  7. Spread the Fluff over the ganache — this is quite a messy job! A coating of unsalted butter on your spreading implement will help a bit. 
  8. Put the pie under a preheated hot grill until the top is browned. 
http://monkeybakes.co.uk/quick-easy-smores-pie/

Dark Chocolate Mint Crunch Cookies

I love baking for many reasons, but my favourite is being able to share the results.

To be able to give someone a little bag full of delicious treats that you’ve made yourself with them in mind is so satisfying and adds a very personal touch.

These cookies were designed for my mum — she loves dark chocolate and mint so a combination of the two is an easy win.

This recipe is adapted from one I found on Two Peas & Their Pod — they have loads of great recipes so I highly recommend you check them out.

Dark Chocolate Mint Crunch Cookies

Yield: 36 cookies

Dark Chocolate Mint Crunch Cookies

Ingredients 

  • 1–1/4 cups (155g) plain flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 12 teaspoon salt 
  • 23 cup (25g) dark cocoa powder 
  • 12 cup (115g) unsalted butter, cubed and room temp 
  • 12 cup (100g) white sugar 
  • 12 cup (100g) dark brown sugar 
  • 1–1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 13 cup (80ml) milk 
  • 2 pots of chocolate mint crunch

Instructions

  1. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder. 
  2. Beat the butter until smooth. 
  3. Add the vanilla and mix until smooth. 
  4. Add half the flour mixture, then the milk, then the rest of the flour mixture, making sure it’s well mixed each time. 
  5. Add the chocolate mint crunch and mix through evenly. 
  6. Chill the dough for at least 15 minutes — you can make the dough up to a couple of days ahead if you want. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 160°c (140°c fan). 
  8. Portion the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. 
  9. Bake the cookies. How long you leave them in depends on your oven and how you like your cookies. I like my cookies soft, which took 10 minutes in my fan oven. If you’re not sure, do test runs with a few cookies at a time until you find the right balance. The cookies will firm up as they cool, so bear this in mind when deciding if they’re done. 
http://monkeybakes.co.uk/dark-chocolate-mint-crunch-cookies/

Egg, Bacon & Sausage Pie

What to do when you’re left to your own devices on a Sunday morning, faced with leftover eggs, bacon and sausage that need using? Bake a pie, of course!

This recipe was inspired by a Hairy Bikers one and makes a really filling pie with lots of flavour and a great crumbly crust. This was my first savoury pie — believe it or not — and I was really pleased with how it came out.

Obviously what sausages you use will have a big effect on the flavour — worth experimenting but definitely get the best ones you can afford, preferably from a butcher as the results will be so much better.

Egg, Bacon & Sausage Pie

Egg, Bacon & Sausage Pie

Ingredients 

    Filling: 
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil 
  • 4 rashers smoked bacon 
  • 3 sausages 
  • 5 large eggs 
  • 4 tbsp milk 
    Pastry: 
  • 300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting 
  • Pinch of sea salt 
  • 175g chilled butter, diced 
  • 1 egg 

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. 
  2. Cut the bacon into strips and fry until the fat is crispy. 
  3. De-skin the sausages and mix the bacon into the sausage meat. 
  4. Pre-heat oven to 190c (170 fan). 
  5. Mix the flour, salt and butter in a food processor until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. 
  6. Whisk the 1 egg with 1 tbsp cold water and pour onto the flour mixture with the motor running. 
  7. Blend until the dough forms a ball (should happen fairly quickly). 
  8. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and divide it into two. 
  9. Roll one half to about 5mm thickness. 
  10. Grease your pie dish and line it with the rolled dough, leaving any extra hanging out 
  11. Spread the bacon and sausage mixture inside the pie. Leave some peaks and troughs for the egg to form pockets. 
  12. Whisk the 5 eggs with the milk and season with some salt and pepper, plus any spices you might want — smoked paprika is very good, perhaps some chilli powder for a little kick? 
  13. Pour the egg mixture into the pie but save a little for glazing. 
  14. Roll out the rest of the pastry to make the pie lid. 
  15. Brush the edge of the pastry lining with egg, put the lid on top and then use a fork to seal the join. 
  16. Brush the top of the pie with the remaining egg mixture. 
  17. Bake the pie for 45 minutes to an hour, until browned and cooked through. 
http://monkeybakes.co.uk/egg-bacon-sausage-pie/

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Oreo Pie

The title of this one is pretty much a list of things that are good on their own anyway, but combine them and you’ve really got something.

This recipe is adapted from one on Kevin & Amanda’s blog that was sent to me as a very subtle hint ahead of a friend coming over for dinner.

The good news is that it’s easy to make — just a few ingredients put together in three main stages — crust, caramel and ganache.

The result is decadently rich with a crumbly crust, gooey caramel and smooth ganache, sure to please even the sweetest tooth!

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Oreo Pie

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Oreo Pie

Ingredients 

  • 36 Oreos (about 3 small packs or 1 large) 
  • 1 cup (225g) butter, divided 
  • 23 packed cup (approx 145g) brown sugar 
  • 1–1/4 cup (300ml) double cream, divided 
  • 340g dark chocolate chips 
  • Coarse sea salt, to decorate 
  • Vanilla buttercream, to decorate (optional)

Instructions

  1. Crush the Oreos into crumbs. It’s easiest to use a food processor but you can do it the old-school way too. 
  2. Melt half the butter and combine with the Oreo crumbs. 
  3. Press the Oreo mixture into a 25cm pie dish and put in the freezer for 10 minutes to set. 
  4. Melt the rest of the butter and stir in the sugar. Stir continuously until the mixture starts to bubble. 
  5. Cook for another minute then take off the heat. 
  6. Slowly combine 14 cup (60ml) cream and mix until smooth. 
  7. Cool caramel for 15 minutes, then pour into the pie crust. Put in freezer for 30–45 minutes until the caramel is set. 
  8. Bring the remaining cream to a simmer over a medium heat. 
  9. Pour cream over chocolate in a mixing bowl and leave for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. 
  10. Pour ganache over caramel and refrigerate or freeze until set (depending on how long you think you can wait!). 
  11. Before serving, sprinkle over some salt — personally I don’t like too much salt in my salted caramel stuff but it’s up to you. I also added a decoration of vanilla buttercream for the colour contrast and because I can’t get enough vanilla 🙂 
http://monkeybakes.co.uk/dark-chocolate-salted-caramel-oreo-pie/

Canadian Maple Cookies

After vanilla, one of my favourite flavours is maple syrup so a cookie with both is a no-brainer for me.

Like the difference between vanilla extract and vanilla essence, there is a huge gulf between real maple syrup and the cheap “maple flavoured syrup” on the supermarket shelves, so you have to check before you buy. The real stuff is more expensive, but worth it.

The real stuff also comes in various grades, from light to dark, with the corresponding level of flavour.

For this recipe I used a whole bottle of Buckwud — a medium grade syrup — best to buy two bottles though as you’ll want to try it with bacon, ice cream and anything else you can think of!

This recipe is adapted from a Food.com user submission.

Canadian Maple Cookies

Yield: 60 cookies

Canadian Maple Cookies

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1 cup (220g) brown sugar, packed 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 cup (240ml) real maple syrup 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 4 cups (500g) all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) 
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt 
  • Sugar for rolling 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 175c (150 fan). 
  2. Cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg, maple syrup and vanilla then mix until well blended. 
  3. Mix the flour, sodium bicarbonate and salt, then add to the butter mixture in batches and and stir until blended. 
  4. Shape into approx. 1 inch balls and roll in sugar to coat. 
  5. Place on a greased or lined baking tray and flatten slightly. Leave about 5cm gaps. Flatten slightly with a fork. 
  6. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the cookies are done to your liking. Remember that they’ll firm up as they cool. 
http://monkeybakes.co.uk/canadian-maple-cookies/