As you may be aware I am a huge fan and admirer of the lovely Jo Wheatley, winner of the 2011 Great British Bake Off. I was so thrilled to buy a copy of her book “A Passion For Baking” earlier on this year and I am pleased to admit it has been worth every penny if not more. I know I am not alone in this as every time I post a picture or tweet about baking one of Jo’s recipes, I get a massive response. I was also over the moon when Jo herself replied to my tweets. I think “A Passion For Baking” is a fabulous book for all types of bakers, whether you are a novice or you are experienced. My copy of the book is getting a bit spattered now and I am so glad I have it. Every time I bake something of Jo’s I am thrilled to say the recipe always works and the results are spectacular. Jo, if you are reading this, I do hope you are going to write more recipe books because I know there are thousands of us out there who will be queuing in droves to buy them!
Two weeks ago the school where I work in my day job as a teaching assistant held a World’s Biggest Coffee Morning in aid of Macmillan. I was thrilled that we were doing this as my mother-in-law died of cancer nearly three years ago, the Macmillan nurses were fantastic with our family. I also know loads of others who know or have families or friends with cancer and one friend described the Macmillan Nurses as angels without wings. I know it isn’t a lot of money but I wanted to contribute as much as I could. Our school is only a small school, but we put in so much effort into everything we do. I am so proud to work there and we raised over £100. I was also delighted to be able to add another £50 proceeds from the sale of personalised padded hearts that I sell over on EBay. The children made vanilla and chocolate traybakes from the recipes in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and stem ginger cookies and white chocolate Jumbles from the very first Great British Bake Off recipe book. However, we knew the children’s baking was so good it would sell out quickly so we also needed some other cakes and biscuits to sell. My other work colleagues contributed some delicious flapjacks and oat cookies, another parent some yummy buns. I thought well, I should bake something too. I didn’t want to bake cupcakes as I often do, as they can be time consuming and cost a lot of money to make. They do sell well, but I know quite often the plainer stuff is what some people prefer. In the end I settled for some of Jo’s flapjack along with her lemon drizzle traybake and some Great British Bake Off Chocolate crackles.
|Here are the gorgeous cookies that the children at school made using the recipe from the first Great British Bake Off recipe book. Top- Stem Ginger Cookies, bottom- Jumbles (we added white chocolate).|
I make flapjack a lot and I am ashamed to say I am addicted to it. If someone put a plate of flapjacks in front of me I could wolf the lot down. I can’t stop at one, I know it is disgusting of me but I can’t help that chewy gorgeousness. I always feel guilty afterwards but I can’t stop myself. I don’t know why!
So, enough of me waffling and down to the recipe itself. As I looked through Jo’s ingredient list I noticed that there were dried apricots on the list. I always have a bag in my baking cupboard but I found when I got there, there were only two apricots left in the bag! Ooops! That must’ve been down to me putting them in some cookies a few weeks back and not replacing them! Jo also suggested cranberries, thankfully I have them in as I make white chocolate and cranberry cookies for stalls and customers. In the end I plumped for currants and cranberries.
The recipe itself was simple enough to make, it’s one that’s designed with baking with kids in mind. If I need to make flapjack with the children at school, I would definitely try this recipe with them.
All I had to do was melt brown sugar, butter and golden syrup in a pan. Once it was all melted I mixed in the porridge oats and folded in the dried fruit. As soon as this was combined, I greased a square tin and pressed the flapjack mixture into it. The only thing was I found the flapjack took a little bit longer to bake than my usual recipe and it looked a bit runny for a while. Thankfully it hardened up beautifully and I was delighted with it as it cut up easily into 16 large pieces.
|Fruity Flapjacks from Jo Wheatley’s recipe in “A Passion For Baking”|
When I got to school the next day I put the flapjacks out with all the others but I was really worried they wouldn’t sell as a couple of others had brought along flapjacks too. I did buy back a piece to try while I was having my morning cuppa and I really enjoyed it, it had a lovely gooey texture. Definitely one to try again!
Love Sam xx