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Bank Holiday bakes

Easy bakes to feed the guests for May’s Bank Holidays...

Warner's Budgens Taste Club Warner's Budgens Taste Club
Punctuated by two Bank Holidays, May is indeed a merry month! The long weekends give us plenty of opportunities for feasting with family and friends, but if that sets you in a bit of a spin, fear not – these easy baking cheats are ultimate crowd pleasers – no experience necessary!

POSH CORNFLAKE BUNS

In one of his early books, Real Food, esteemed cookery writer, Nigel Slater, included a recipe for these childhood favourites. The addition of good quality plain chocolate transforms them into a much more grown-up version – try them and you’ll see that every adult enjoys a taste of nostalgia! Just melt 50g butter and 100g plain chocolate over a low heat, add 4 tablespoons golden (or maple) syrup then stir in 75g fresh and crunchy cornflakes. Pat into a baking tray or make individual cakes in cupcake papers. Decorate with chocolate swirls, chopped pistachios or place an individual mini chocolate in the centre of each.

POLENTA, PEAR AND BLUEBERRY SQUARES

These gluten free goodies, adapted from Phil Vickery’s Gluten Free Baking, are moist and moreish. You can use any fruit in season – apple and blackberry, plum, raspberry and white chocolate, whatever takes your fancy. Just throw all the ingredients into a food mixer then turn into a baking tray. Cream 175g unsalted butter with 225g caster sugar. Add 3 beaten eggs, the zest and 1 tablespoon juice from a lemon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 125g fine polenta and 125g ground almonds. Mix well then add 3 chopped and peeled pears and 100g blueberries. Bake at 180°C for about 30 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and serve with crème frâiche.

QUICKEST EVER BROWNIES

If you ever need a fantastic pud in a rush, these brownies should be your go-to recipe. They are a Delia Smith favourite and work equally well with gluten free plain flour. To enhance them, add chopped nuts, fresh raspberries, toffee sauce, coffee granules, the choice is yours. Simply melt 50g dark chocolate with 110g butter in a large pan. Meanwhile sieve 50g plain flour and add 225g sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, a pinch of salt and 2 beaten eggs. Mix well then pour the chocolate mixture into the dry mix and stir. Pour into a baking tray then bake for 20 minutes until the top is cracked but the centre is still gooey.

VANILLA AND CRANBERRY TRAIL BAR

This energy bar is full of healthy nuts and seeds and slow release gluten free oats – perfect for Bank Holiday hikes or days out! Add chocolate chips or different fruit, nuts and seeds if preferred. Start by toasting the chopped nuts and seeds – place 75g pistachios and 50g sunflower seeds on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Place in a mixing bowl with 175g gluten free oats and 90g chopped dried cranberries. Make a well and add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 150g almond butter, 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 1 egg, plus 1 lightly whipped egg white. Mix until all the ingredients are combined then press into a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes at 160°C.

MARS BAR CAKE

One for the kids, but we know that grown-ups can’t resist it either! Melt 4 Mars Bars in a pan with 75g butter. Add 100g puffed rice and stir until coated. You could add mini marshmallows at this stage to turn this into an even gooier offering! Press into a baking tray and allow to cool. Top with melted chocolate and decorate by drizzling melted white chocolate over.

** The ultimate cheat: check out this month’s Star Supplier for great offers on Fatherson Bakery’s ‘Taste of Homemade’ cakes and traybakes! **

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