Gluten Free Fondant Fancy Cupcakes (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

Today I’m going to share with you my Gluten Free Fondant Fancy Cupcakes recipe which is inspired by the showstopper challenge from the Semi Final of ‘The Great British Bake Off’.

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Last week’s show saw the remaining four bakers battling it out over Patisserie for a place in final, but sadly Selasi didn’t make the cut. He might not have made it to the final, but he did win over the hearts of the nation and I will definitely miss him during this week’s show. Speaking of this week, the final will be a very bittersweet occasion, as although I am excited to see who wins, I am sad that this is the last episode of GBBO as we know it.

What I’m going to miss most is how the show has inspired me to bake things I’d never thought of trying – this includes fondant fancies, which were featured on last week’s show.

I used to love Fondant Fancies and seeing them on the show has made me feel super nostalgic – I remember having them at my Grandma’s house when I was little and how I always would choose the pink ones, because I liked them best!

I will admit though, Fondant Fancies looked incredibly difficult and fiddly to make, so I decided to go for a more simple approach. My Fondant Fancy cupcakes are much a easier to achieve, but they are every bit as delicate, dainty and delicious as the fondant fancies I remember.

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These cupcakes would be lovely served at afternoon tea or a birthday party and are sure to impress, despite being deceptively simple.

Gluten Free Fondant Fancy Cupcakes

Makes approximately 16 small cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes:

150g softened butter (or dairy free alternative)
150g caster sugar
150g gluten free self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk (or dairy free alternative)

For the buttercream:

100g softened butter (or dairy free alternative)
100g icing sugar

For the fondant icing:

300g ready to roll icing
50ml cold water
A few drops of pink food colouring

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/gas mark 3 then line two cupcake trays with 16 cupcake cases.

2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.

3. Add a tablespoon of flour, then beat in the eggs a little bit a time before sifting in the remaining flour and baking powder. Add the milk, then beat the ingredients together with the electric hand mixer until combined.

4. Spoon two teaspoons of mixture into each cupcake case, being careful not to overfill them. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch.

5. Leave the cupcakes to cool on a wire rack. To make the buttercream, beat the butter with an electric hand mixer until it’s very light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and continue to beat until all the ingredients are combined, then transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a medium plain nozzle.

6. Once the cupcakes have cooled, pipe a blob of buttercream onto each cupcake then place them in freezer to firm up while you make the fondant icing.

7. Cut the ready to roll icing into pieces and place them in a large bowl. Add a splash of water and using a spatula start to break up the icing until it starts to become more paste like. Add the rest of the water and beat with an electric hand mixer until the fondant becomes more runny.

8. Save a couple of tablespoons of the white icing to decorate the top of the cupcakes. Add a couple of drops of pink food colouring to the remaining icing and mix until the fondant turns a light pink colour.

9. Remove the cupcakes from the freezer. Spoon a little of the pink fondant icing over each cupcake, then use a palate knife to spread out the icing making sure that the buttercream is covered.

10. Put the left over white icing into a piping bag fitted with a small writing nozzle. Pipe the icing across the top in a zig zag pattern.

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Gluten Free Churros (Inspired by ‘The Great British Bake Off’)

Over the past week there has been an uproar over the news that the BBC has lost the rights to host ‘The Great British Bake Off’ and that as of the next series it’s new home will be channel 4, after they paid double the amount than the BBC had offered to take the show. Mel and Sue stepped down from hosting the show saying that they are ‘not going with the dough’ and today Mary Berry has also announced that she will be exiting the show, leaving fans worried about the future of their favourite programme  – it’s been more dramatic than series 5, when Ian dumped his Baked Alaska in the bin!

I, for one, am absolutely gutted that this is the end of Bake Off as we know it, but I have a huge amount of respect for Mel, Sue & Mary for not selling out. I don’t know whether I will continue to watch the show over on channel 4, but I am determined to enjoy every second of the current series, while it lasts.

To help cheer everyone up, today I’m going to share my Gluten Free Churros Recipe, inspired by the showstopper challenge from this year’s Batter Week.

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Batter week saw the bakers tackle stuffed Yorkshire puds, delicate lacey Pancakes and a simple Spanish street food called Churros, out of which they were expected to create a spectacular showstopper.

To achieve perfect Churros the bakers were tasked with making a choux pastry like dough that would be soft enough to pipe, but firm enough to keep its distinctive shape during frying. The Churros also had to be crisp on the outside and cooked to perfection on the inside, so it was essential to get the oil at the right temperature otherwise you may end up with uncooked dough inside… oh, and they had to be uniform in size!

Last year I worked a lot on perfecting my gluten free choux pastry, so as I already had a recipe which I thought would work, I decided I would give Churros a try.

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My Churros plan – does anyone else make notes whilst watching bake off?

It took a few attempts to find the perfect balance of ingredients. I made my first batch of dough following my gluten free choux pastry recipe, but the result was a dough that was slightly too soft – perfect for choux buns, but not stiff enough to keep its shape in hot oil.

My second batch was much better as I used less egg which helped to give the dough a much firmer consistency. I also discovered that the pinch of baking powder I’d added to my choux pastry recipe was not required for Churros as it made them puff up and split during frying.

Getting the oil to the right temperature without a deep fat fryer was tricky, although not impossible – it’s a good idea to do a few testers first and adjust the temperature accordingly. I also found I had better success piping the Churros straight into the pan (as opposed to piping them onto parchment paper) which is fine as long as you don’t mind them not being uniform!

I’m pleased to say that once I had ironed out all these issues, the result was Churros which were beautifully crispy and light and fluffy on the inside.

imageI recommend eating them fresh as they don’t keep all that well. I served mine with a rich chocolate dipping sauce and together I think they would make a fantastically unique dessert for a dinner party.

Gluten Free Churros with Chocolate Dipping Sauce 

Ingredients

For the Churros:

60g gluten free self-raising flour

1 tbsp caster sugar

55g unsalted butter

110ml cold water

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Churro coating:

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp caster sugar

Plus 1-litre sunflower oil for frying the Churros.

For the chocolate dipping sauce:

100g good quality milk or dark chocolate

100ml double cream

1 tbsp golden syrup

Method

1. Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a low to medium heat, then add the water, sugar and butter and bring the ingredients to a gentle simmer.

2. Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and quickly beat in the flour until all the ingredients come together in a smooth ball. It’s important to cook out all the flour, so if you can still see some flour keeping beating.

3. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and beat it gently for a few seconds with a wooden spoon to help release some steam – this will help the mixture to cool down.

4. In small bowl whisk the egg to break up the yolk.

5. Once the pastry mixture is cool, add the vanilla extract and then the egg a bit at a time whilst beating with an electric hand mixer – don’t add the egg whilst the mixture is hot or you will end up with scrambled eggs!

6. At first the mixture will look a little bit lumpy but keep beating and adding the egg bit by bit until it becomes a smooth and stiff dough.

7. Transfer the mixture to piping bag fitted with a star nozzle then  place the dough in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

8. Meanwhile, slowly heat up the oil in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat while you make the chocolate sauce.

9. To make the chocolate dipping sauce, together the chocolate, cream and golden syrup slowly in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Gently stir until all the ingredients together, then set aside the sauce to cool.

10. Once the dough has chilled, you can fry your churros – you’ll know the oil is ready when the surface starts to shimmer.

To double check the temperature of the oil, test a little bit of the mixture and adjust the heat accordingly. If it takes more than a few minutes for the dough to turn golden brown, your oil needs to be slightly hotter, but if the dough turns a deep golden brown after about 30 seconds it’s too hot and the oil needs to cool down slightly. The perfect Churros should be ready within 4 to 5 minutes and should be crispy.

Whatever you do, don’t leave leave the hot oil unattended at any point.

11. Pipe 3 to 4 Churros directly into the hot oil and use scissors to snip off each one. Don’t cook too many at once as this can reduce the temperature of the oil and your Churros will take longer to cook – the longer they take to cook means they are exposed to the oil for longer, this can make them soggy!

Fry each Churro for 4 to 5 minutes, turning them over occasionally with kitchen tongs to make sure they are cooked on all sides. Transfer them to kitchen paper to soak up any excess oil. Keep going until all the dough is used up.

12. Mix together your caster sugar and cinnamon, then roll each Churro in the mixture until they are coated.

13. Serve immediately accompanied with the chocolate dipping sauce.

 

Gluten Free Torta Della Nonna Recipe

Today I’m going to share with you my gluten free take on a classic Italian dessert called Torta della Nonna, which in English means ‘Grandma’s Cake’.

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Torta della Nonna is a traditional dessert cake, not unlike a custard tart, which consists of a sweet shortcrust pastry case, filled with creme patisserie and topped with almonds or pine nuts.

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Gluten free pastry can be notoriously tricky to get right, but with a few experiments I have come up with a simple recipe and a few tips and tricks which make handling the pastry much easier.

Gluten Free Torta della Nonna

Ingredients

Pastry:

300g plain gluten free flour

100g icing sugar

3 egg yolks

150g butter

Creme Patisserie:

Zest of 1 small unwaxed lemon

400ml milk

3 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

30g cornflour

100g caster sugar

Topping:

Milk (for glazing)

A handful of almonds or pine nuts

Method:

1) To make the pastry: Stir together the flour and icing sugar. Add the egg yolks and butter, rub the ingredients together until they start to form a dough. Tip the contents of the bowl out onto a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough for a few minutes until it forms a smooth ball of pastry.

2) Wrap the pastry in cling film and put it in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes to an hour. This is very important as the colder gluten free pastry is, the easier it is to work with.

3) While the pastry is chilling it’s time to make the creme patissiere. Start by placing 300 ml of milk, vanilla extract and lemon zest into a heavy bottomed pan – remember to save 100 ml of the milk as you will need it in a moment.

4) Warm the milk over a low heat but do not let it boil. Once the milk is hot strain it through a sieve to get rid of the lemon zest.

5) Next, place the remaining milk, egg yolks, cornflour and sugar into a separate bowl then whisk until combined.

6) Add this mixture to the hot milk by pressing it through a sieve to get rid of any lumps.

7) Increase the heat slightly to bring the mixture to a boil, keep stirring until the mixture thickens and remove from the heat.

8) Pour the creme patissiere into a bowl and allow it to cool slightly before covering it with cling film and popping it in the fridge for later.

9) Once the pastry has been chilled it’s time to assemble the tart. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4, then grease an 8 inch loose bottomed flan or tart tin with butter – remember to throughly grease the sides of the tin or you will struggle to remove your tart at the end.

10) Take your pastry out of the fridge and cut it in half. Keep one half for the base of the tart and place the other half back in the fridge to keep cool – this will be used to make the lid later.

11) The best way to roll out gluten free pastry is between two sheets of greaseproof baking paper which will prevent the pastry from sticking to your work surface.

12) Use greaseproof paper to help get the pastry into the tin safely. Firstly, peel off the top layer of baking paper, place the tin upside down into the middle of the pastry then carefully flip the pastry over with the help of the bottom sheet of baking paper. Peel off the bottom baking sheet and gently press the pastry down into the tin, insuring it’s pressed right into each groove – don’t panic if you do get any tears or any holes, just neatly patch it up with some spare pastry.

13) Trim off any excess pastry. Place some baking paper into the case and fill it baking beans (any dried beans or rice will do) then blind bake the pastry case for 10 minutes. Remove the baking beans and bake the case for a further 5 minutes to help dry it out.

14) Once the pastry case has been blind baked, allow it cool for a few minutes before spooning the creme patissiere into the pastry case until it’s almost full.

15) Roll out the pastry for the lid between two baking sheets, exactly the same way as you did the base. I often struggle getting lids on pies and tarts without the pastry tearing, so I like to pop the pastry lid into the freezer for a few minutes once it’s been rolled out which makes it much easier to handle and less likely to tear. To get the lid on your tart safely, use the bottom baking sheet to help flip the pastry upside down on top of the tart, then carefully  peel off the baking paper and trim off the excess pastry.

16) Press down around the edge of the tart and prick the lid with a fork to prevent air bubbles forming. Using a pastry brush, glaze the top of the tart with milk and sprinkle on a few handfuls of either almonds or pine nuts.

17) Bake the tart in the preheated oven for 45 – 50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the nuts are lightly toasted.

18) Once the tart has cooled, sprinkle it with a dusting of icing sugar and serve with either vanilla ice cream, double cream, or you can have it plain with a cup of coffee!

Torte della Nonna is best stored in the fridge and will keep for a few days – if it lasts that long!

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I love seeing your take on my recipes, so remember to share a snap of your Torta della Nonna over on Facebook, twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #titchytonbakes.

Gluten Free Buckwheat and Peanut Butter Flapjacks (No Oats)

Today I’m going share with you my Gluten Free Buckwheat and Peanut Butter Flapjack recipe.

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I have been working on this recipe for a while, after a kind request from a friend who struggles to tolerate oats. The objective was simple: create a flapjack that looks and tastes like a traditional flapjack but that doesn’t contain any oats, not even gluten free ones.

I happily excepted the challenge because there are many Coeliacs who struggle to tolerate gluten free oats (despite the fact that they are considered to be okay) and there are many looking for an alternative that will work for them.

When I was looking for an oat subsitute I came across some gluten free Buckwheat flakes in my local health food shop; they are slightly paler in colour than oats but are similar in size and texture so I thought they would work well – If you think you can tolerate buckwheat then this recipe might be worth a shot.

It took a few attempts to get the recipe just right. The first attempt resulted in a flapjack that was so crumbly that I couldn’t even cut it into squares and the second attempt was a complete disaster when I accidentally over baked them and they turned out as hard as rocks – oops!

It was definitely third time lucky. The final attempt resulted in the perfect buttery, and chewy flapjack which didn’t crumble at the slightest touch – result!

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I deviated slightly from the brief and used peanut butter which I know isn’t particularly traditional, but I love the flavour! If you’d prefer a more traditional flapjack or have a nut allergy you can miss out this ingredient and they will work just as well.

Free Buckwheat and Peanut Butter Flapjacks

Makes approximately 16 flapjacks

Ingredients

175g unsalted butter
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
150g soft brown sugar
300g buckwheat flakes

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C/Gas Mark 2, then throughly grease and line a square tin (20cm x 20cm) with greaseproof paper.

2. Melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat. Once the butter has melted add the peanut butter, golden syrup and brown sugar then stir until the sugar has completely dissolved and you can no longer feel any grains scraping the bottom of the pan.

3. Add the Buckwheat flakes and mix until all the ingredients are fully combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading it right into the corners and pressing it down flat with the back of a spatula.

4. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. The flapjack is ready when the top becomes a beautiful golden brown and is soft to touch – do not be tempted to bake it for longer; although the flapjack will seem too soft, it will firm up as it cools down.

5. Leave the flapjack to cool completely before cutting into squares (5cm x 5cm) – if you attempt to cut the flapjacks before they are properly cold they will crumble, so patience is definitely a virtue!

I hope you like this recipe and give it try!

If you want to keep up to date with my kitchen adventures you can find me on Instagram @titchyton or on my Facebook page.

Honey Roasted Chicken, Feta and Quinoa Salad with Sticky Sautéd Tomatoes

Today I’m going to share with you one of my most favourite creations, my Chicken, Feta and Quinoa Salad with Sticky Sautéd Tomatoes. This is a recipe which I come back to time and time again because it’s super easy to prepare and incredibly tasty.

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I made this for my sister on her most recent trip to London, I had offered to make us both lunch and wanted to serve something more interesting than your usual lunchtime fodder.

Personally I think this salad ticks all the boxes. For a start, there is not a bland lettuce leaf in sight which instantly makes it infinitely more appealing. The base of my salad is made up of quinoa, a grain which is a fantastic source of protein and dietary fibre, and if prepared in the right way can be incredibly flavoursome.

The rest of the ingredients are far from boring, the chicken breast is roasted in sweet and sticky honey which contrasts wonderfully to the salty feta and refreshing cucumber, but without a doubt the absolute star of this dish is my sticky sautéd tomatoes which I am completely obesessed with – you’ll know why, once you’ve tried them!

The salad is topped off with a handful of pomegranate seeds and a bunch of parsley… I tried to get some leaves in there, somewhere!

Honey Roasted Chicken, Feta and Quinoa Salad with Sticky Sautéd Tomatoes

Serves 2 – 3 

For the Salad:
120g Quinoa, rinsed (I used a mix of white/black/red quinoa)
500ml water, brought to the boil
1 chicken stock cube
400g diced chicken breast
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1/2 a cucumber, deseeded and chopped into half moon shapes.
50g Feta cheese
A bunch of fresh parsley
12 cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp caster sugar
A handful of pomegranate seeds (optional)

For the Dressing:
Lemon juice
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to season

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/Gas mark 4.

2. Coat the chicken in olive oil and honey, then season it with black pepper.

3. Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. To check the chicken is cooked, make sure the meat is white and that no pink remains.

4. Whilst the chicken is cooking, place the quinoa into pan of boiling water and crumble over a stock cube. Stir and reduce the pan to simmer, then cook for 15 minutes until the quinoa is soft.

5. Drain quinoa and leave it cool slightly.

6. To make the sticky tomatoes: heat up a dash of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for a minute or two, until they start to become slightly wrinkly. Add the red wine vinegar and sugar, then stir to coat the tomatoes until they become sticky.

7. Serve your salad on a large serving plate. Start with the quinoa on the bottom, layer up the slices of cucumber, feta, chicken and tomatoes, then top with fresh parsley and pomegranate seeds.

8. Drizzle over olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Season with black pepper and serve with wedge of lemon on the side.

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Gluten Free Easter: Mini Egg Millionaire Shortbread

It doesn’t feel like two minutes since Christmas, but March is here, Easter is almost upon us and I’m excited to be sharing with you my first Easter recipe of the year – Gluten Free Mini Egg Millionaire Shortbread.

imageI’m rather obsessed with Millionaire Shortbread and Mini Eggs are quite possibly my favourite Easter confectionary, so I just had to put them together in a bake!

I don’t know what I’d do if Mini Eggs weren’t gluten free, but they do contain Maltodextrin, which whilst being a gluten free ingredient can sometimes prove troublesome for Coeliacs. There are a couple of supermarket alternatives out there, however, which don’t contain maltodextrin, including ‘Micro Easter Eggs‘ from Sainsbury’s and ‘Chicky Choccy Eggs’ from M&S. ‘Galaxy Golden Eggs‘ are also gluten free and would create and interesting finish.

 

This bake would make a lovely treat for the children after a busy Easter Egg hunt and is the perfect way to use up any left over Mini Eggs after Easter!

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Ingredients

For the shortbread base:
275g gluten free self raising flour
175g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
100g caster sugar

For the caramel layer:
1 x 397g tin of condensed milk
100g unsalted butter
100g dark brown sugar

For the chocolate layer:
200g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate

To decorate:
1 x bag of mini eggs

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C/gas mark 3 then grease and line a 20 x 20 square tin with greaseproof paper.

2. To make the shortbread base, mix together the flour and sugar in large bowl, then rub in the butter until you are left with a breadcrumb like texture.

3. Start to bring mixture together with your hands until you have a smooth ball of dough.

4. Press the dough into the tin, smoothing it into an even layer that reaches the corners of the tin.

5. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown, then set it aside to cool whilst you make the caramel.

6. To make the caramel, place the butter into a large microwavable bowl and heat until melted. Add the sugar and give the ingredients a good mix until you can’t feel any grains of sugar on the bottom of the bowl – you may need to heat it again for another 30 seconds or so to encourage the sugar to dissolve throughly.

7. Add the condensed milk and heat for a further two minutes before whisking the ingredients throughly with a balloon whisk. Heat the caramel for a further 4 – 5 minutes, giving it a good whisk after each minute.

8. Drop a little bit of the caramel into a glass of cold water – if the mixture can be rolled into soft ball then it’s ready to be used, otherwise it may need another 30 seconds in the microwave.

9. Smooth the caramel in an even layer over the shortbread base, then leave to set.

10. For the chocolate layer, gently melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Pour the chocolate over the top of the shortbread and caramel layers and smooth out with a palate knife.

11. Decorate the top with mini eggs – I broke up a few mini eggs by bashing the bag with a rolling pin which I then scattered across the top – then leave to set before cutting into equally sized pieces.

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There will be more Easter bakes coming up very soon, but in the meantime, you can keep up to date with my kitchen adventures on Instagram or on my Facebook Page.

UPDATE – Here in the UK Mini Eggs are definitely Gluten Free, but I’ve been informed that Mini Eggs in the US may contain gluten due to potential cross contamination risks during the manufacturing process.

Gluten Free Rocky Road

During the dark and cold month of January, I am usually found seeking out delicious comfort foods to perk up my mood.

For me, nothing quite beats curling up on the sofa with a good book, a cuppa and slice of my Gluten Free Rocky Road, which is packed full of delicious sweet treats and is certain to banish those winter blues!

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Most traditional Rocky Road recipes are not Gluten Free because they usually include biscuits, so instead of Biscuits I decided to use Nature’s Store Puffed Rice Cereal as a substitute. Puffed rice is 100% Gluten Free and a healthier option than biscuits as it contains no sugar. You can of course use Gluten Free Biscuits if you’d prefer, but I honestly prefer using puffed rice as it still provides crunch expected from Rocky Road.

This is recipe is wonderfully simple and so easily adaptable so if you fancy changing it up, why not use raisins or cranberries instead of cherries? It is also a no bake recipe (perfect if you are feeling a little bit lazy), simply pop it in the fridge and let the magic happen – what’s not to like?

Gluten Free Rocky Road

Ingredients

300g gluten free milk or dark chocolate
125g butter, softened.
100g pink and white mini Marshmallows (plus an extra handful for the top)
75g glacé cherries cut in half
25g Rude Health Brown puffed rice
25g almonds
3 tbsp golden syrup

Icing Sugar to dust

Method

1) Grease and line a square tin with greaseproof paper.

2) Melt the chocolate in large heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water.

3) In a separate pan melt together the butter and golden syrup, then add this to the melted chocolate and stir continuously until all the ingredients are combined.

4) Stir in the marshmallows, puffed rice, almonds and cherries until they are coated in a thick layer of the chocolate.

5) Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and use a greased palate knife to flatten down the mixture down and smooth it right to the corners of the tin.

6) Place a sheet of greaseproof paper on top of the mixture and press down firmly to help tightly pack the mixture into into the tin. Peel off the greaseproof paper and dot across the extra marshmallows.

7) Chill the Rocky Road in the fridge for at least two hours.

8) Use the greaseproof paper to help remove the slab of Rocky Road from the tin, then carefully cut it into equal pieces.

9) Lightly dust the Rocky Road with a little icing sugar and  enjoy!

Rocky Road should keep for up to a week stored in an airtight container, or you can keep it in the fridge if your home is a little warm.

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If you want to keep up to date with my kitchen adventures on instagram, you can find me @titchyton.