Saturday, November 5, 2011


I have mentioned Lilly Higgins new book Make Bake Love on a recent post and promised to do a review - over at her blog Stuff I Make, Bake, Love Lilly was saying that her book is sold out on Amazon, I'm not at all surprised!  It is an excellent book, packed full of doable (is that a word??) delicious recipes - with a few aspirational ones in there for good measure. I was absolutely delighted to recieve a review copy.  The photography is wonderful, you just want to reach in and grab a bite, there is an excellent balance of  unusual flavours (Plum and Cardamom Cupcakes -delicious!)  and old favourites.  The recipes seem to be well tested (I'm pretty sure I read that Lilly worked as an instructor at Ballymaloe Cookery School) and thought out. 

I think that you can often judge a baking book by it's bread section and having made most of the breads from this book (I left out a couple of the yeast ones!!) I have to say that it really stands up - the Health Loaf being a particular favourite here.  If I have any criticism of the book, and it is very slight, it is that there are a couple of recipes in there that are just variations of a previous recipe - the Blueberry muffins are very like the Red Berry and White Chocolate Muffins, but that really is nitpicking.  All in all, I loved this book (I really enjoy when fellow bloggers make the step over to writing cookery books successfully) and I can't wait for her next one!

I've been having a great time over the past couple of weeks baking up a storm trying out loads of the recipes, one has already become a firm family favourite and I've made it several times!

These are the Rum and Raisin Cupcakes - totally addictive!  I have a confession to make here - the deliciousness of these cupcakes might be helped by the fact that I used raisins that have been soaking in rum for 2 years - yes, you did read that correctly!!!  I bought a bottle of dark rum especially to make Rum Raisin ice cream, left the raisins to soak in the rum in a big jar, and promptly forgot all about them - for two years!  I recommend you do the same!

Even as a non-lover of dried fruit, I'm a huge fan of these cupcakes - I very generously give my raisins away (!) but the sponge retains the sweet, mellow flavour from the fruit.

Health Loaf - it's great to feel virtuous eating bread this delicious!

The Spiced Sultana Bread was a doddle to throw together, and scored really high on the taste to effort ratio!

I played around with Lilly's Honey Oat Bread, and used bicarbonate of soda as a raising agent instead of yeast (how lazy am I??).  Tasted great though!

I'm going to have to try the Seed Loaf again, as I don't think I did the recipe justice - the yeast thing is still my problem area!!!

I have blogged about the Blueberry (Blackberry) Muffins here. 

Rocky Road Brownies - oh my!!!  Scrumptious stuff!!

Plum and Cardamom Cupcakes had to be at the top of the "to try" list - I just love anything containing cardamom!  I tried making these as Lilly did with the plums just halved, but found them to have a better texture when I chopped up the fruit.

I added some chocolate chips to Lilly's Hazelnut Shortbread and they were devoured in no time!

From all the recipes I have tried I most want to share the Rocky Road Brownie one - I have been neglecting my brownie section of late, and these belong well up on the list!  Lilly says that you have to have both pink and white marshmallows in a Rocky Road - I beg to disagree!!!!!

Rocky Road Brownies
adapted from Lilly Higgins, Make Bake Love

For the Brownies

200g           dark chocolate (I used 50%)
250g           icing sugar, sieved*
200g           softened butter
3                 eggs
110g           plain flour

For the Topping

200g            chocolate, chopped - just use your favourite
100g            toasted nuts - I used hazelnuts and almonds
70g              digestive biscuits**, broken up
80g              marshmallows

Preheat oven to 170 C
Line a 23cm x 33cm baking pan with parchment paper.

For the Brownies

Melt the chocolate in a microwave or in a bowl over simmering water.
Beat the icing sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. (* I think that the icing sugar is too messy to work with - flies all over the place if you are not very careful, so I would use caster sugar in future)
Add the eggs one by one, mixing well between each addition.
Beat in the flour until just combined.
Slowly pour the melted chocolate into this mixture and combine well, without over mixing.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes, but start checking at 20 - over cooked brownies are so disappointing!

For the Topping

Mix the nuts, biscuit rubble(**I used less than Lilly recommended) and marshmallows together, next time I'll add some broken up Maltesers or Chrunchie Bars to the mix.  Keep the chopped chocolate to one side.

When about 5 minutes away from being cooked, remove the brownies from the oven. 
Scatter the biscuit mixture over the brownies, and then scatter the chocolate over this.
Return the brownies to the oven for 3 - 5 minutes, until the chocolate has melted sligthly and melded into the topping ingredients.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
Best enjoyed while still slightly warm.....mmmmmmm!

Pop over to The Sporadic Cook, Julie's wonderful blog - you might find it interesting!


SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

The two recipes that immediately caught my eye are the delightful 2-year rum soaked raisin cupcakes and the rocky road brownies! I'm not a big fan of raisins but soaked for 2 years in rum - they must taste amazing.

You would love Dorie's white out cake. The cake is dense and chocolatey - almost like brownies.

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

Two year old raisins in rum! Wow- can you send some in my direction?! And what a delicious sounding Brownie- with all that gooey marshmallow....

The Cookie Jar said...

Like the look of the bread. Saw the book in Eason's. I think I will go back and have another look.

Gloria Baker said...

ALl look amazing, delicious recipes dear Brownie, x gloria

Unknown said...

oh my lord you have been busy!... I love the look of the heart shaped cookies, so yummy!... and those rocky-road brownies... now they look heavenly!

Manu said...

Great post!!! Just to remember all the yummy recipes.
Have a great evening

MissCakeBaker said...

Everything looks good but oh my those rocky road brownies!

Caroline said...

They all look great - a really thorough review of the book, it sounds like a good one!

Anonymous said...

What a great review! I love that you made a lot of recipes and gave honest opinions. Everything looks delicious and I like that you have a way to "judge a book". I judge them by their poultry and appetizers....everyone has a method!

chow and chatter said...

wow u really have been baking up a storm lucky family

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

What a nice surprise to receive a copy of Lilly's review copy of her cookbook ! You've given it a thorough going over too! LOL!! I the blueberry (blackberry) muffins are probably my favorite - but can we talk about the rocky road brownies . . . how decadent are they! My fillings ached just looking at them! I'm imagining them with a cup of tea! So happy I stopped by before turning in for the evening! Now I'll have "sweet" dreams!

Ana Regalado said...

Good honest review ;) Love all those previous baked goods ! As of now I try to stay away from those recipes with yeast as one of the ingredients :p :D

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

I can imagine myself eating these brownies and having it all over my face like a little kid. So decadent for sure. Great treat!!!

Choclette said...

You really have been baking up a storm. That's the most unusual brownie recipe I've yet seen - will have to be tried of course. But out of all of these that you've showcased, the plum and cardamom are the ones I'd want to try first.

teresa said...

oh this totally has me drooling, i love those rum raisins, great idea!

Karen S Booth said...

GOOD HEAVENS! You are a baking machine! LOVELY looking bakes and Rum and Raisin cakes has my name all over them!!
A BRILLIANT round up of tasty bakes and post!

The Caked Crusader said...

I have that book - yet to "study" it though. Love the rum and raisin cakes - a perfect combination!

Unknown said...

What a great collection of recipes and the rocky road really does look fab. You have been industrious!!x

Please Do Not Feed The Animals. said...

Wow - when did you make all of that??? Where do you get the time?
Love the plum and cardamon, rum and raisin and the rocky road ones. Looks good with the white marshmallows but I think having some pink ones would appeal to my inner child even more so! Hee hee.

laurie said...

Those rum raisin cupcakes sound pretty good!

Sue/the view from great island said...

Um, Plum Cardamom Cupcakes? Yum.

Chele said...

Man alive!!! After two years I can imagine they were some very happy little raisins ;0)

Javelin Warrior said...

I'm a fiend for brownies and blueberry muffins - and I'll fight anyone who tries to block my access to them! ;) Love the book review and I'm following Lilly's blog because these recipes have me intrigued...

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm! Rocky Road brownies. They look sinful. All the recipes from the book look very interesting. Thanks for posting!

Beth said...

Looks like a wonderful cookbook. I think the health bread looks amazing!

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Jeez you've been busy! You put me to shame :(