Chocolate Brownies

We’ve taken these irresistible chocolate squares, originally from Boston, to our hearts. Not just for teatime, brownies are perfect warmed through for dessert with a scoop of ice cream and some hot chocolate sauce. This recipe is easy to follow and uses both cocoa and dark chocolate for a rich, deep taste. Like most chocolate recipes, brownies are best eaten the day after baking. 

225g unsalted butter, diced 
100g dark chocolate, broken up 
200g caster sugar 
4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature 
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
50g plain flour 
50g cocoa powder 
a good pinch of salt 
75g walnut pieces icing sugar, for dusting a 20.5cm square tin, greased with butter and the base lined with greaseproof paper

Can be cut into 16

Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Put the butter and chocolate into a small, heavy-based pan. Set over the lowest possible heat and leave to melt gently, stirring frequently, until smooth but not hot. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to one side until needed.

Put the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract into a mixing bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients. Mix thoroughly with a wire whisk or wooden spoon. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture. Sift the flour, cocoa and salt into the bowl and mix thoroughly. Stir in the nuts, then transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and spread evenly. Bang the tin on a work surface to expel any air bubbles.

Bake in the heated oven for about 25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the mixture comes out with moist crumbs – the mixture will continue cooking after it comes out of the oven and it’s vital not to overcook it. Note that the mixture will puff up in the oven but sink on cooling.

Stand the tin on a wire cooling rack and leave to cool completely before cutting into squares. Dust with icing sugar just before serving. Store in an airtight container and eat within a week.


A well-loved staple of cake shops and tearooms around the country, these round, flattish almond confections fall somewhere between a biscuit (though made without wheat flour), a meringue and a cake. The outsides are crisp, yet the centre is slightly gooey, and they are traditionally baked on edible rice paper because they are notoriously difficult to remove from the baking tray! 

125g ground almonds 
175g caster sugar 
1 tablespoon cornflour 
2 medium free-range egg whites 
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
10 split almonds or 1 tablespoon flaked almonds, to decorate 
1 or 2 baking trays, lined with rice paper 
a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain tube (optional) 

Makes about 10

Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/gas 3.

Mix the ground almonds with the sugar and cornflour in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites with the vanilla extract, using a fork, until just frothy. Add the whites to the almond mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined, to make a stiff dough.

Spoon the mixture on to the lined baking trays in 10 mounds, spacing them very well apart. Gently spread out each mound to make a disc about 5cm across and 1.5cm high – they will spread in the oven. If you like, you can also pipe the mixture, using a piping bag fitted with a plain 1.5cm tube. Set a split almond in the centre of each round or scatter over the flaked almonds.

Bake the macaroons in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Leave to cool on the trays, then carefully remove and store in an airtight container.

For more cool information on baking check this out

Coffee Biscuits

These rich, melt-in-the-mouth biscuits are flavoured with coffee (instant coffee works best) and can be quickly whipped up using a food processor. They work well as individual biscuits, but are even better with a buttercream filling! 

175g self-raising flour 
100g caster sugar 
100g unsalted butter, chilled and diced 
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules or powder 
1 medium free-range egg

Ingredients for the buttercream
75g very soft unsalted butter 
150g icing sugar 
4 teaspoons cocoa powder (optional)
2 baking trays, grease with butter

Makes about 8

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas 3.

To make the dough in a food processor, put the flour and sugar into the bowl and pulse a couple of times to just combine. Add the butter and process until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Dissolve the coffee in 1 teaspoon of boiling water. Beat the egg until frothy and mix in the coffee. Pour into the processor and run the machine until the dough just comes together.

To make the dough by hand, combine the flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture using the tips of your fingers, until the mixture looks like fine crumbs. Dissolve the coffee in 1 teaspoon of boiling water. Beat the egg until frothy and mix in the coffee. Add to the bowl and stir into the mixture with a wooden spoon to make a firm dough.

Tip the dough on to a work surface and divide into 16 pieces. Flour your hands well, then shape each piece into a neat ball. Arrange them well apart on the prepared baking trays (to allow for spreading) and bake in the heated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until light golden and firm to the touch.

Leave to cool for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

Make a simple buttercream by beating the butter with the icing sugar and cocoa powder, if using. When very light and smooth, use to sandwich the biscuits in pairs.