Rocky Road Brownies – July’s BakedIn Baking Club Box

July’s BakedIn Baking Club box was a HUUUUUUUUUUUGE hit in my house! Everyone’s faces lit up when they saw the recipe card. Rocky Road… love. Brownies… love. Put them both together and you get what can only be described as heaven. Beautiful chocolate brownies baked until they are still soft and a bit gooey inside but with a delicious crunchy top, with a rocky road style topping. What’s not to love???

As always, BakedIn sent all the dry ingredients needed to make this scrummilicious treat already weighed out, plus baking paper, a testing skewer, butter guide, and the wonderful recipe card.

The only extra ingredients I needed to use were butter, eggs and double cream. Although I didn’t have to buy them as I always have those in anyway. The dry ingredients which BakedIn provide are top quality ingredients. No cheap or inferior products in their boxes! For example, the flour comes from the Great Taste Award winning flour millers at WESSEX MILL, and they only use the best chocolate and cocoa powder. You can taste the quality!

For the rocky road topping we had to make caramel. I love making caramel. There’s something slightly therapeutic about watching the sugar melt and turn into a lovely amber colour. This recipe made plenty, and BakedIn wrote a tip on the recipe card to use any leftover caramel poured over ice cream. We did that and it was beautiful. I love how these boxes include some more technical steps, such as making caramel, from time to time. It is a great way for anyone to learn some new techniques which they might have previously been daunted about trying.

This brings me on to another wonderful thing about being a BakedIn Baking Club subscriber. A few months ago they set up a Facebook group which is just for subscribers. The support and encouragement that the members give to each other is a joy to see. There are members who have hardly ever baked before, along with ones who have baked lots, but you’d never know. I have been in baking groups on Facebook before and some can get very catty to say the least, with people thinking they are better than anyone else. The BakedIn Baking Club group is a million miles away from those types of groups thankfully. It genuinely is a friendly supportive group and the people are amazing. I feel proud to be in such a lovely group. If you join the Baking Club you’ll see what I mean. As well as the people in the group, it is also good to join because you get access to great deals and discounts on some of BakedIn’s other kits.

Back to the recipe. The brownies came out exactly as I like them. I could very easily have eaten them just as they were with a scoop of ice cream. The smell of chocolate filling the house as they came out of the oven made me drool! I added the caramel, marshmallows and chocolate malt balls (like Maltesers) and was so excited to cut it into pieces to enjoy! The recipe card said to cut into 9 to 12 pieces. As you can see from the main photo though, greedy pig me cut it into 9. The bigger the better. I was contemplating cutting it into less pieces so that they would be even bigger it looked so tempting! (The only reason I didn’t was because of Michel Roux. He works with BakedIn to create these wonderful recipes and I thought just in case he ever happens to look at the pictures of subscribers bakes, I didn’t want him thinking bad of me 🙂 You never know!) Needless to say they didn’t last long in my house! And it is yet another recipe to make again and again. Good job the recipe cards tell you how much of each of the dry ingredients you need!

BakedIn Baking Club costs just £8 a month with free delivery. It costs even less if you sign up to 3 or 6 months at a time. You can also buy gift subscriptions for other people. Perfect for any occasion but I’d say ideal as a house-warming present. You can’t beat the smell of baking to give any house an extra homely feel to it.

If you would like to find out more or to join, just click HERE to go to their website. I’ll look forward to seeing you and your bakes in the Facebook group!

 

 

 

How to Make Beautiful Coasters from Tiles and Paper Napkins

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A good friend of mine organises a Craft Fayre every Christmas and makes a lot of gorgeous items herself for it. A few years ago she started making these coasters and I was knocked out by how easy it was to get such a lovely result! She used any pretty napkins but I absolutely love designers such as Emma Bridgewater and Cath Kidston, so I decided to only use designer napkins. I became a bit addicted to making them and lots of people asked to buy them. I gave sets of 4 to people as gifts, and love going to their houses and seeing them on tables and tops of cabinets, still in use and looking like new.

They really are simple to make, and with Mother’s Day coming up soon, why not surprise your own Mother with a practical gift made with love by you? Chocolates get eaten within a few days, flowers fade and die, so how about this year making and giving a gift that will last? I’ll include photos of every step of the process so you know you’re doing it correctly, but I’m sure you’ll have no problems anyway.

To make a set of 4 coasters you will need 4 plain white tiles measuring 100mm x 100mm. You can buy a box of basic tiles from large DIY stores such as Homebase or B&Q. (I buy mine from B&Q at £5.50 for a box of 25). You will need 1 paper napkin of your choice measuring around 30cm. All the ones I ever use are 33cm square, and 3 ply (made from 3 layers of paper).

Here’s how to make them:

YOU WILL NEED

4 ceramic tiles measuring 100mm x 100mm (10cm x 10cm)

1 paper napkin (see note above)

Felt material of a co-ordinating colour to the napkin design (20cm x 20cm)

Polyurethane Gloss Varnish (I use DecoArt Duraclear Gloss Varnish from Hobbycraft)

PVA glue

Double sided sticky tape

A co-ordinating ribbon for presentation

A paintbrush (art/craft type, not house decorating sized!)

Scissors

A pot for the glue

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Mix PVA glue with an equal amount of water in a small pot. This will be used to stick the napkin on to the tile.
  • Open out your paper napkin and cut along the fold lines so you have 4 equal squares.

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  • Very carefully, peel away the top layer of paper from each square. This is the piece you need for the coaster as it has the design on it. If you stick all 3 layers on, you will get bubbles and it won’t look as pretty. Keep the other layers to use later on.

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  • Take one tile and completely cover it with the PVA mixture using the paintbrush. Make sure you cover the edges too.

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  • Take one of the top layer squares you gently saved, and position it on top of the tile so you have the best part of the design on display. Make sure there is enough around the edges to fold underneath in the next step.

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  • Scrunch some of the plain layers of napkin (the bottom layers) into a loose ball and very gently dab the napkin on to the tile. You will get creases, but that adds to the overall look so please don’t try and straighten them out. If you try and move the napkin at this point, it will rip. When the napkin is in place, carefully pick the tile up and turn it over. Brush more PVA glue on the bottom of the tile and fold the edges of the napkin on to the glue. You can either dab the edges down with the scrunched up layers, or use your paintbrush to smooth them down. I use my brush for this stage. Make sure there are no air bubbles on the sides of the coaster. If there are, very gently smooth them down with your brush.

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  • Leave on a plastic bag or similar covering to dry. When the top is dry, turn it over so the bottom completely dries too. Repeat all the above steps for the other 3 coasters.
  • When they are completely dry, coat the top and sides with the varnish. It brushes on easily, has no nasty odour, and is non-yellowing, which makes it the best for your coasters. I brush on 3 coats, allowing each to dry in between coats. You can brush on as many as you want to get the sheen you want.
  • Leave the coasters to dry overnight.

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  • Cut the felt into 4 squares, just slightly smaller than your tiles.
  • Place strips of double sided tape on the backs of the coasters.

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  • Peel the backing off the tape and position one square of felt on each. Press down firmly. And that is the coasters complete!

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  • To present them as a gift, stack the 4 coasters on top of each other and tie a ribbon around them.

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And there you have a wonderful gift to give for any occasion. My son has given his past teachers a set at the end of the school year as a thank you gift. I’ve given sets as housewarming presents and as a gift for my Mother-in-Law for Mother’s Day. I have a lovely friend who adores Emma Bridgewater designs, so I made a set for her just for being such a wonderful friend!

The felt on the back protects your surfaces from scratches from the roughness of the underside of the tiles. You can use cork sheets if you prefer but I like the way you can use matching colours of felt. The polyurethane varnish will protect the coaster from drips, and is easy to clean with a damp cloth.

I hope you enjoy making these. I’d love to hear how you get on and who you give them to! Happy Crafting!