DIY Porg Meringues

Its not May the 4th, and its not any time around a film being released, but I figured I actually didn’t need an excuse to share what I feel like is one of the cutest baking posts I’ve done in a long time. Well, it is actually the first time in ages that I’ve done a baking post, and its my first time baking in my new house, so ok, there’s the excuse!

Like them or loathe them (but seriously, who doesn’t like them?!), Porgs sorta stole the show in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Fun fact: the porgs were actually created as the island that the scenes were filmed on was populated with a whole load of puffins, and it was easier to CGI the porgs over all the puffins than it was to remove the puffins from the shots, so porgs are basically just space puffins. But I digress..

I’ve had the idea for these cute little sweet treats in my head for a little while now, and here they are – they’re a super simple bake and only 4 ingredients too! I always use the BBC Good Food Ultimate Meringue recipe for meringues, as below, but if you have your own go-to meringue recipe you can use that!

You will need:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 115g icing sugar
  • 100g milk or dark chocolate

Preheat your oven to 100C, and line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper. On the back of my greaseproof paper I drew a porg template ready for piping later, but you don’t have to do this.

Whisk your egg whites using a hand or stand mixer until they form stiff peaks, then up the speed a little and add the caster sugar one tablespoon at a time, waiting a few seconds between each spoonful. Once the caster sugar has all been added, your mix should look nice and shiny! Sift the icing sugar into the egg mix  one third at a time, and fold in gently using a metal spoon until smooth.

Now how you shape your porg is totally up to you, I used a piping bag but I imagine you could do it no problem using a spoon. Pipe/spoon your porg shapes onto the greaseproof paper leaving a little bit of space between each one – don’t worry about them being too peak-y or being all the same shape, it gives them character! Bake for 1 hour 30 mins, and then leave them to cool on a cooling rack.

To give yourself a nice flat canvas to work on, flip your meringues so that the flat side is the front of your porg, and now you’ve got yourself an army of little meringue porgs, you’re gonna want to melt down your chocolate. As you’re gonna be dipping, I suggest doing this in a fairly small bowl so that you’ve got some depth.

Take a porg, and working from wing to wing, dip and turn your meringue to create a chocolate border around your porg, then place them onto greaseproof paper to dry. You can then use either a piping bag or toothpick dipped in chocolate to add facial features. Pop your porgs in the fridge to allow the chocolate to harden, and you’re all done!

The meringues can be stored in a sealed container for about a week, if they last that long..

Creme Egg Croissants

Happy Easter everyone!

Whether you celebrate today for religious reasons, celebrate it as a chocoholic or just use the 4 day weekend as a chance to catch up with life a little bit, this recipe is absolutely for you (sorry non-dairy folk, this isn’t for you!)

The best part about this recipe is that it is super quick and easy, and even if it comes out looking like a total mess, it definitely won’t taste like one, so you can’t really lose, and you don’t even have to make anything from scratch. You just need:

  • a roll of croissant dough – y’know, the kind that comes in a cardboard tube that makes that little *poof* noise when you open it
  • one Creme Egg (or Caramel Egg) per croissant – I don’t wanna tell you to suck eggs or anything, but remove all the foil..

Preheat your oven to 180C. Unroll your croissant dough, and if yours is the kind that has the ideal little perforations, just tear it into the marked pieces, and if not, cut triangles from your dough. Don’t worry if you rip the dough a little while tearing it up, it won’t show too much once its rolled!

Place your triangles onto a baking tray – either a non-stick tray or give it a little spray of cooking oil first – and at the wider end of your triangles, place your unwrapped egg.

The trickiest part is rolling the croissant, but this isn’t even that difficult, it just looks a little bulky. Start at the wider end where you placed the egg, and roll up the egg, squishing the dough down a little bit round each side, until you end up looking a bit like this:

You can coat your croissant in a bit of whisked egg or milk, but personally I prefer not to because I like my croissants super crumbly, then pop them in the oven for 10-12 mins. PS. This will feel like the longest 10-12 mins of your life.

Once they’re done, serve immediately while the gooeyness is at its best!

Oh, and here’s one I did with a Caramel Egg, which was super delicious too!

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My Ultimate Easter Rocky Road Recipe

I haven’t done a baking recipe in what feels like FOREVER (I will bombard you with them after we’ve moved into our new house so enjoy the relative rarity of them while it lasts) and with the Easter weekend upon us, I figured I’d throw as many Easter themed treats into one recipe, and that called for one of my favourite recipes: rocky road.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can add or remove anything you fancy once you’ve got the core mix, so you can totally make this your own and go a little crazy if you want, but here’s how mine turned out..

You will need:

  • 225g chocolate (I personally prefer to use milk, but if you want to do dark, go for it!)
  • 100g butter
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 100g mini marshmallows
  • 100g chocolate chip cookies or digestive biscuits, broken up
  • 100g maltesers (I used slightly less for this recipe because I added mini eggs)
  • 75g Mini Eggs plus extra for decorating
  • 4-5 Creme Eggs

Line an 8-inch square tin with greaseproof paper.

To start off, melt down the chocolate and butter – I do this in a pan over hot water, but you can microwave it if you prefer. Mix in the cocoa powder, caster sugar and cocoa powder until completely smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the marshmallows, cookies/biscuits, Maltesers and Mini Eggs, then pour in the chocolate mix and stir well until everything has a good coating of the chocolate mix, then pour into the tin and squish it down a little bit, but not too much.

Using a sharp knife, cut your Creme Eggs length-ways (along the little join). I then cut them in half again to make them go a little further, but that’s completely up to you! Press the Creme Egg pieces into the top of the mix so that they make their own little indentations to sit in, and chuck a couple of extra Mini Eggs on for good measure, then get this into the fridge for 1-2 hours.

Once set, chop into chunks and be prepared for it all to disappear a lot quicker than you expected..

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Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes

Happy Pancake Day everyone! I mean, its the most important day of the month today, right?

And I know that I know there are some people out there who aren’t totally pancake crazy (weirdos.. I joke) but if that’s the case or not, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share a recipe I’ve been sitting on for a little while now: my blueberry pancake cupcakes!

For the cupcakes, you’ll need 125g butter, 125g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 125g self raising flour, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional), plus a handful of blueberries – you can decide how blueberry crazy you want to be! Oh, and preheat your oven to 190C

  • Cream together the butter and sugar, then whisk in the egg.
  • Add the vanilla extract, then sift together the flour and cinnamon and mix well.
  • Line a cupcake tray with 12 cases, and drop a couple of blueberries into the bottom of each case, then add your remaining blueberries to the cake mix and whisk a little more so that they break up and release some of their yumminess into the mix.
  • Bake for 12-15 mins, then remove and allow to cool

While your cupcakes are baking, you can start on the fun task of making the (optional) tiny pancake toppers for the cupcakes, because these will also need a chance to cool before you compile your cupcakes at the end. This really calls for a classic American style pancake, and if you have your own favourite recipe then you can go ahead and whip that up, or this is the recipe that I use (you may want to make a half batch though!):

  • Sift together 135g plain flour with 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tbsp caster sugar.
  • Separately whisk up 130ml milk with an egg and 2 tbsp melted butter, then pour into the flour mixture and whisk well until completely smooth.
  • Then you can go ahead and fry up your pancakes on a hob set at a medium heat – you can judge when its time to flip when little bubbles start to form on the top!

I tend to make a bunch of big pancakes, then use a cookie cutter to get them down to cupcake size, but if you have the patience to make a bunch of teeny tiny cupcakes then I’m all for that too! Pop these to one side, and make the buttercream:

  • Whisk together 175g caster sugar with 500g icing sugar until smooth
  • Optional: add 2 tbsp maple syrup and combine well – you may need to give your icing a chance to chill in the fridge before piping

Once everything is ready, get building! Pipe or spoon a good helping of buttercream onto each cupcake, top with a pancake and drizzle a little golden or maple syrup over the top and enjoy! If you’re making these in advance, don’t add the pancake until right before you serve, otherwise it can dry out a little bit, but the cupcakes themselves will store in a sealed container for up to a week!

You can thank me later!

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Quick and Easy Breakfast Puffs

For me, breakfast just doesn’t get enough attention. On weekdays its always rushed in the rat-race of getting ready for work, and on weekends its often brushed over by the plans of the day, when in reality it has the potential to be the best meal of the day.

Enter my breakfast puffs! These are my go-to when I’m craving something a little more special than a Belvita soft-bake or beans on toast, and they’re a real crowd-pleaser, while also being super easy to throw together.

You’ll need: ready roll puff pastry, eggs (1 per pastry), bacon (1-2 rashers per pastry), grated cheddar cheese, a sprinkling of your favourite herbs and a dash of salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 180C

To start off, roll out the pastry and cut into squares, then carefully fold over the edges to create a little rim. Take a fork and prick a few holes into the centre of the pastries, then pop into the oven for about 10 mins. Meanwhile, grill or fry your bacon.

When the 10 mins are up, remove your pastries from the oven, and if the centres have puffed up, press them back down using the back of a fork, so that the rim is still the highest part of the pastries.

Firstly, place your cooked bacon onto the puff, then crack an egg on top of each pastry. Sprinkle with cheese and herbs, and a dash of salt and pepper, and pop them back into the oven for another 5-8 mins, until the egg is fully cooked.

I normally like to sprinkle a little bit more cheese on top before serving, but that’s completely up to you! You can also mix these up by adding spinach or goats cheese, or whatever you fancy – that’s the beauty of them!

Enjoy!

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Hidden Pumpkin Cupcakes

The spookiest day of the year is now just around the corner, and while I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween, I love a good bit of baking, and I can’t believe I’ve never shared this recipe before!

With one of my cousins having her birthday on the 29th, I have been baking Halloween themed treats for her birthday parties for years now, and it was actually 5 years ago that I came up with these surprise centre cuties, and now you can make them too!

For 12-15 cupcakes, you will need:

  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 105g self-raising flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • Plus..
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 65g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 65g self raising flour
  • Orange food colouring
  • Orange flavouring (optional)
  • Green candy melts
  • Your favourite chocolate frosting

You’ll also need a cupcake tray and either a cake pop machine or a cake pop baking mould!

Pre-heat your oven to 190C and start by making your little pumpkin balls! Cream the 65g butter and caster sugar together, then whisk in the egg and add the flour. Once the mixture is smooth, add the orange food colouring and flavouring. Bake for 10 mins, or as per your cake pop machine’s instructions – I think mine takes about 6 mins!

Let these cool, and use the remainder of the ingredients to make the chocolate cupcake mix using the same method. Line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases, and place one orange cake ball in the centre of the case, then using a teaspoon, add chocolate mix around the edge of the pumpkin – its ok if the top of the pumpkin isn’t covered because the cake will rise around it!

Bake for 12-15 mins, and while baking, chop the candy melt buttons into thin strips – it doesn’t matter if these aren’t perfect! Once the cupcakes are done, let them cool for about 5 mins, then carefully push each little green strip into the centre of the pumpkin, and then allow them to cool fully before icing. I personally like to keep the icing simple so it doesn’t give away the surprise inside, but you can find your own style!

Then sit back and watch the amazement when your unsuspecting consumers discover they’ve just bitten into a pumpkin!

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Cauliflower Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Do you ever have a real craving for something, decide to make it there and then, and then go to the kitchen and find your missing a vital ingredient? Well that was me last week. I have a homemade chicken nugget recipe that I’ve been using for years, and it was all I wanted to have for dinner.. Until I discovered I hate no breadcrumbs. Gutted.

I mooched over to the fridge to find alternative food options, and was greeted by the tub of cauliflower rice. Lightbulb. Twenty minutes later: happy Lottie with chicken nuggets.

Make them now, thank me later!

You’re gonna need:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup cauliflower rice (I used the pre-made stuff you can get from most supermarkets now, but you can just blitz up your own in a food processer!)
  • 1 tbsp fine parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • A pinch of salt and pepper
  • Melted butter or a beaten egg yolk

Preheat your oven to 200C and cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the cauliflower, cheese, rosemary, salt and pepper, and set to one side. Chop up your chicken breast into small nugget sized pieces, roughly 1 inch cubes!

If you’re using butter, now is the time to melt that, or beat up your egg yolk, then one piece at a time, dip the chicken into the butter/yolk, allow any excess to run off, then roll around in the cauliflower mixture.

Place each piece on the baking tray, leaving a little room between each nugget, and repeat until all of the chicken is covered. If you have any excess mix, you can use this to cover up any patches on any of the nuggets!

Bake in the oven for 12-15 mins, and be sure to check that the chicken is cooked through and juices are running clear.

Et voila – golden nuggets in less than 20 mins! Enjoy!

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