Chocolate & banana cake

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Chocolate and banana. A combination that can’t go wrong. I only like bananas when they are just ripe and never get round to eating them so always seem to have overripe bananas in the kitchen (hence the number of banana cake recipes I make!) I had a couple of bananas that had gone brown and decided it was the perfect opportunity to try this recipe out. It’s a BBC Good Food recipe that you can find here. It will be making it’s way into work tomorrow to help beat the Monday blues!

You will need a 2lb loaf tin. The only downside to this recipe is that it does require quite a few bowls in the preparation. The cake can be frozen (un-iced).
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Chocolate, pear & brazil nut brownies

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Ah Friday night – it’s so good to see you. Despite it only being 4 days it has felt like a long old week at work. I had seen this recipe a few weeks ago and had a couple of left over pears so decided some chocolate brownies were needed to keep us all going at work. The recipe comes from the Waitrose website that you can find here.

You will need a 30cm x 20cm tin however I used a slightly smaller tin than the recipe stated and had no problems. I managed to make 15 brownies. They were a big hit and were declared some of the best brownies people had ever had – high praise indeed! They will last 3-4 days in an airtight container (if you can resist them for that long!)
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Cranberry & white chocolate shortbread

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Ah the holidays. I had planned to do so much baking. Mary Berry’s seeded breadsticks. Squidgy pear and chocolate cake. Carrot cake cupcakes with pineapple cream cheese frosting. Then I was ill. And the thought of food – one of my most favourite things in the world became my least favourite thing. Even the thought of baking. It has been a sorry old week in the Little Birdie household. Only now am I beginning to feel like facing food again.

I did however manage to make these shortbread on Thursday. I was visiting my lovely friend Kathryn who is allergic to egg so needed something biscuity without any egg – shortbread was the perfect solution. I had spotted this recipe in this month’s Good Food magazine and knew I wanted to give it a go so Thursday seemed like a good time. This is a Mary Berry recipe. It’s only the second time I’ve made shortbread and I have to say it wasn’t a complete success. It was a little crumbly and didn’t quite look like the picture. My husband was horrified at the inclusion of semonlina (having honed his baking skills working in the kitchen of a National Trust property he likes to think he knows what he’s talking about!) and was insistent that only flour, butter and sugar should be used! The semonlina is used to give the shortbread a crunch.

They are however tasty and go very nicely with a cup of tea or coffee. This recipe will make 8 wedges that will keep for up to a week in an airtight container or will freeze for 2 months (defrost at room temperature).
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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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I made these last week for my lovely friend Emma who is currently trying to keep to a dairy free diet. I had spotted this recipe in the April edition of Good Food and you can find the recipe online here. They use vegetable oil instead of butter so are perfect if you’re trying to cut dairy out. They are soft and chewy but sadly mine ended up looking a bit more like rock cakes compared to cookies. You pour water over the raisins first to help them plump up and stop burning in the oven which was a technique I hadn’t used before.

This recipe will make approximately 25 cookies. They will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days – if they last that long!
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Mini Egg Brownies

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Yesterday was the last day of term at school – hurray! Today is officially the start of the Easter holidays which means two weeks of relaxing and lots of baking awaits. To keep us all going at school I promised to make these mini egg brownies. They were a huge success and were gone very quickly. They were declared even better than the Creme Egg brownies I made a couple of weeks ago. They are indeed very yummy. I was a little sceptical about how crunchy mini eggs would work with squidgy brownie but the mini eggs soften after baking. They would make a wonderful addition to any Easter tea.

This is a Jo Wheatley recipe that you can find on her wonderful blog Jo’s Blue Aga here. You will need an 8 x 8 inch tin. The bonus of this recipe is that it only needs one bowl so you can save on the washing up! Chilling the mini eggs beforehand will help to stop them from cracking.
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Chocolate Banana Streusel Muffins

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This is a bit of a belated post as I made these about 3 weeks ago. I always seem to have some overripe bananas hanging around as I’m not a fan of them when they start to go brown on the outside. This means I’m always on the lookout for recipes that will use them up. I spotted this recipe on Pinterest a couple of months ago and decided to give it a go as I had all the ingredients already. Chocolate and banana is a combination that can’t go wrong and if you add an oaty topping you can almost believe they’re good for you! I think these would be great for brunch but they will work just as well at any other time of the day with a cup of tea or coffee.

This recipe will make 8 muffins. As it is an American recipe the measurements are in cups. With hindsight after tasting these I think you could probably up the amount of banana as when I tried one the banana isn’t that strong so if you like a stronger banana flavour maybe try adding two bananas.
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