We all long for a sweet treat now and again and a birthday party is the perfect excuse to indulge and satisfy those cravings. In her second book, Crave, Sunday Times bestselling author and Great British Bake Off contestant Martha Collison provides go-to recipes incorporating many of the things we so often hanker for…
As funny as they sound, these biscuits are a fantastic quick recipe to have up your sleeve. Roll the balls of dough liberally in the cinnamon sugar so that it forms a dark shell for the pale cookies to break through. Blitz them in a food processor to speed up the prep time and try to make them no larger than a teaspoon in size so they bake quickly.
MAKES 24 SMALL COOKIES
PREP TIME: 8–10 MINS PLUS COOLING
COOKING TIME: 6–8 MINS
INGREDIENTS: Cookies 75g butter, softened | 100g caster sugar | 2 tbsp golden syrup | 125g plain flour | 1⁄2 tsp bicarbonate of soda | 1⁄2 tsp baking powder Coating 1 tbsp ground cinnamon | 1 tbsp caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6, then line 2 large baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Put all the cookie ingredients in a small food processor and blitz until a rough dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times during blending to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated. Give the dough a final mix with a wooden spoon to smooth out any lumps.
- If you don’t have a food processor you can still make these cookies by beating together the butter, sugarand syrup in a bowl until smooth, then incorporating the dry ingredients.
- Mix together the cinnamon and caster sugar for the coating in a small ramekin. Use a teaspoon and your hands to roll about 24 small balls of dough, then roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar, making sure they are really well coated. Arrange on the baking sheets, leaving room for them to spread out. You should be able to get 12 cookies on each sheet.
- Bake the cookies for 6–8 minutes or until they have spread out and the tops look slightly cracked. Remove from the oven – they will look puffy and undercooked in the middle but will firm up on the sheets as they cool.
EXPRESS Once you’ve made the dough up to step 3, it can be chilled until you’re ready to bake. It will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also roll the dough into balls and freeze them for up to 1 month. Simply roll in cinnamon sugar and bake from frozen at 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4 for 12–14 minutes whenever you need a cinnamon hit.
Mini doughnut muffins
Fresh doughnuts are one of the things I crave most, but making yeasted doughnuts is a lengthy, involved process that I often don’t have time to undertake. Doughnut muffins are my solution. Jammy and bite-sized with none of the wait, once you’ve made them a few times you won’t even have to look up the recipe. You can use any type of jam to fill these or simply eat them plain.
MAKES 24 MINI MUFFINS
PREP TIME: 12 MINS
COOKING TIME: 7–8 MINS
INGREDIENTS 100g butter | 75g caster sugar, plus extra to dust | 100g plain flour | 1⁄2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 50g natural yoghurt | 1 egg | 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste | 1 tbsp raspberry jam 1 tbsp apricot jam | You will also need a 24-hole mini muffin tray and two disposable piping bags.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6. Melt the butter in the microwave or in a pan over a medium heat and use a pastry brush to grease all the holes of the muffin tray with some of the melted butter.
- Place the sugar, flour and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl and combine.
- In a small jug, mix the remaining melted butter with the yoghurt, egg and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold them together until just incorporated.
- Divide the mixture among the 24 holes in the muffin tray using a teaspoon, then bake for 7–8 minutes or until golden brown and risen.
- While the muffins are baking, spoon the jams into the 2 piping bags and snip the end off each with a pair of scissors. Remove the hot doughnuts muffins from the oven and roll them in caster sugar, then make a small hole with a skewer in the bottom of each and pipe raspberry jam into the centre of half the doughnuts and apricot jam into the rest. These are best enjoyed fresh from the oven.
Malted Millionaire’s Slices
These delicious slices have a biscuit base instead of the traditional shortbread, so they are much quicker to whip up. Malted biscuits have a very nostalgic feel about them, and these layered treats embrace that childish spirit with gooey malted caramel, marbled chocolate and crushed Maltesers. You can ﬁnd malt extract in health-food shops or online.
MAKES 24 SLICES
PREP TIME: 25 MINS PLUS CHILLING
COOKING TIME: 10–12 MINS
INGREDIENTS Base 250g malted milk biscuits or digestive biscuits | 50g Maltesers | 100g butter, plus extra for greasing Caramel 100g soft light brown sugar | 100g butter | 1 x 397g tin condensed milk | 50g golden syrup 1 tbsp malt extract (optional) Topping 200g dark chocolate, chopped | 50g white chocolate, chopped | 25g Maltesers, halved | You will also need a 20 x 30cm baking tin and a disposable piping bag (if using).
- Grease the tin and line it with baking parchment. To make the base, blitz the biscuits with the Maltesers in a food processor until they resemble ﬁne breadcrumbs. Alternatively, place the biscuits and Maltesers in a plastic bag, seal the bag and bash them with a rolling pin. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan or in the microwave, then pour it into the crumbs and stir so the ingredients are really well combined. Tip the buttered crumbs into the prepared tin and use a spatula to ﬁrmly press them down into an even layer. Pop the tin into the fridge or freezer to chill while you make the caramel.
- Place the light brown sugar, butter, condensed milk, golden syrup and malt extract (if using) in a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the butter has melted. Turn the heat up and allow to simmer for 10–12 minutes, stirring all the time, until the mixture is thick and has a golden caramel colour.
- Pour the hot caramel ﬁlling over the chilled base, leave it to cool for a couple of minutes and return it to the fridge or freezer for 10–15 minutes until it sets ﬁrm.
- When the caramel has set, melt the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water or inthe microwave. Melt the white chocolate in the same way and spoon it into a piping bag (if you wish). Pour the dark chocolate over the set base, then drizzle over the white chocolate and run a skewer or cocktail stick across the top to marble the chocolate. Press in the halved Maltesers and leave to set, then remove from the tin and cut into 24 slices. The millionaire’s slices will keep, stored in an airtight container, for up to one week.
Martha was the youngest ever contestant on Bake Off – making it all the way to the quarter finals whilst studying for her AS Levels. Martha started cooking at the age of eight and since then her baking repertoire has grown no end!
Crave by Martha Collison, HarperNonFiction, £16.99. Photography © Laura Edwards.