Baking is something I’ve been doing rather a lot of recently. In common with many other people, I imagine, as comfort food is very much on the self-care agenda. There’s something about the careful combining of ingredients and the anticipation of waiting for your creations to cook, isn’t there? While I’m certainly no baker, I have enjoyed creating some yummy and easy bakes with Flora recently. So, in no particular order, I thought I’d share our top five favourites with you.
What constitutes easy bakes and comfort food?
First though, let’s be clear about what exactly I mean by easy bakes and comfort food. For me, it’s something that doesn’t require too many ingredients, or pots and pans, and uses a recipe that even a complete beginner can easily follow. And any addition of chocolate is a bonus 😉
Chocolate Nutella twists
You might have seen this one pop up on my Instagram feed a while ago – this is entirely Flora’s creation and she’s rightly proud of it. In her own words, “It couldn’t be easier.” Of course, if you want to go to the bother of making your own puff pastry then who are we to stop you, but we didn’t. Our principles were easy bakes, so local shop-bought, ready-made puff pastry suited us just fine.
- 1 x sheet shop bought puff pastry
- Milk for washing
- Preheat your oven to 350F/180C/Gas 4 and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Unroll your pastry sheet, cut it into 6 pieces, and spread those with Nutella.
- Cut each piece in half but leave the top 2cm in place as a header and twist the other two strips together.
- Brush with milk and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes, take your pretty photo for Instagram, serve and enjoy. Quick, easy, and (to Flora) irresistible comfort food.
Banana tarte tatin and orange ice cream
This one is a very slight adaptation of this gorgeous recipe from that goddess, Nadiya Hussein*. Because we didn’t have any cardamom so substituted with some orange oil, and none of us are keen on hazelnuts. We thought orange ice cream and banana tarte would be a good combination and we were right 🙂 I know, technically, ice cream isn’t a bake, but my blog, my rules. And come on, isn’t ice cream the ultimate comfort food? Especially when you don’t even have to churn it yourself? Top tip: when you’re making the caramel, watch it like the proverbial hawk. Because burnt caramel smells disgusting and is a nightmare to get off your pan.
Chocolate chip banana bread
There are a gazillion banana bread recipes out there but I adore this delicious recipe from the wonderful Soph. So, definitely go and check out her recipe over on her blog. We omitted the vanilla extract, but are in wholehearted agreement with her that chocolate chips are a staple in banana bread! Top tip: don’t put your bake on too high a shelf in the oven though. Because I did this the first time we made this, and when it rose, it got stuck in the grill….
This was another of Flora’s solo easy bakes, and a Food Technology challenge set by her school recently. She made her scones from scratch, watching this YouTube video. The only help she had was to turn the oven on and, yes, with the washing up afterwards (naturally). We’d run out of white self-raising flour so she used wholemeal, and she opted for butter instead of margarine (bleurgh). They turned out beautifully: light, fluffy and delicious with some of last year’s homemade plum jam. And her photo made it onto the school’s WOW WALL for the week too, so she was very happy! So are we, because she’s made them a couple more times since then too.
As I said, I’m no baker, and neither am I vegan (although if you are, then any and all of Sophie’s recipes are a MUST). But how could I resist a three-ingredient vegan bread recipe that requires no proving, kneading or any other kind of faff? Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes, it really does use beer! Katy Beskow* I think I love you. The type of beer affects the flavour of the loaf. So Spitfire Kentish Ale (in the photo) gives a very different flavour to Wolf Rock IPA. The darker ales really do give an almost sourdough taste. Win, win, my favourite type of bread. And there’s nothing like the smell and taste of freshly baked bread with lashings of butter, is there? A truly easy bake and the ultimate irresistible comfort food, no?
So there we are, my top five easy bakes for ultimate comfort food. Have you made any of them before? Which do you think would be your favourite? Any top recipe tips to share for this extremely novice baker? 🙂
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