I get a strange thrill out of making things from scratch that I could have bought in the shop. When I made Jam Doughnuts, I was like a kid on Christmas morning watching them turn from flat, doughy disks to puffed up, fluffy buns. Yes, I am a simple creature and am very easily pleased. I love the idea of making a shelf from old pallets rather than going out and buying a flat-pack version. I prefer to find a picture that I'd like for my bedroom wall, getting a canvas and doing my own version, rather than forking out for someone else's. I just love the process of watching raw materials turn into something amazing!
So, this week, I decided to combine my love for making things from scratch with one of my other great loves ... chocolate! I really, really love chocolate. I often think that when I quit smoking, I transferred my addiction to nicotine directly over to chocolate! And I have a serious weak spot for the humble, coconut-y Bounty bar. I think I inherited my Bounty affection from my mother, who proudly admits that ate at least one Bounty a day when she was pregnant!
For any of you other Bounty fans out there, you'll be delighted to know that it is very easy to make, and far cheaper considering the yield from each batch. They taste exactly like the shop-bought version, but without all of the additives and preservatives and they're gluten-free. Plus, there's the added novelty of watching people bite in to them with surprise and exclaim "It's just like a Bounty!". Again, I am very easily pleased in life!
This recipe makes about 18 golf ball sized Bountys and they can keep for about a week in an air-tight container. Don't keep them in the fridge or they'll dry out!
450g Shredded Coconut, plus extra for decorating
1 tin (400g) Condensed Milk
190g Icing Sugar
250g Chocolate (I used 100g Dairy Milk, 100g Cooking Chocolate, 50g 70% Dark Chocolate)
Line a tray with parchment paper. Make sure this tray will fit in your freezer! If you don't have a tray that will fit, just line a dinner plate or two.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Roll the mixture into golf ball sized balls (or into traditional rectangular Bounty shapes if you prefer). This is easier if your hands are wet. Place the balls on the lined tray and freeze for approximately 30 minutes. This doesn't actually freeze them but makes the final step of covering them in chocolate far easier as they won't fall apart.
After 30 minutes, gently melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. And now for the messy part ..
Place a wire rack on the work-top with a sheet of parchment underneath it (this will make cleaning up dripping chocolate much easier!). Dip the chilled coconut balls into the chocolate and leave to set on the wire rack. Add a sprinkling of coconut to the balls before they set fully. Enjoy!
Once upon a time, there was a certain value in holding on to a great recipe. People would share baked goods with pride but wouldn't divulge the secret ingredients. Family recipes were somewhat sacred to behold and were passed down through the generations as a "right of passage". I remember myself and an old friend cooked for her parents when we were no more than 10 years old and included in the feast was a simple summer salad. I concocted a dressing using a recipe that my mother had given to me and, after being complimented on my salad dressing wizardry, I was quizzed on the ingredients. Not only did I decide that this was a family secret that I couldn't reveal, but when I did finally cave and gave them the recipe, I changed quantities and left out ingredients just to ensure that they couldn't rob from the O'Connor recipe treasure trove. I know, brat!
This secrecy involving recipes has pretty much faded with time. History suggests that, in the past, cooking was one of the only outlets women had for personal expression, and this may have led to the notion that a good recipe was an asset that must be protected. But society has changed and nowadays, people love sharing their secret to getting a gooey chocolate fudge cake or their tips for perfect pastry. Obviously, I love sharing recipes, but I also love nothing more than being given a great recipe off of a friend, it's the perfect gift! That's exactly where I got this unbelievably simple recipe for melting Lemon Drop Biscuits.
My good friend, Debbie made these last weekend. The smell coming from the kitchen had me swooning over them. Without even glancing at a book, Debbie scribbled down the recipe for me and I promised to have a go at making them with gluten-free flour. There are only 4 ingredients in these biscuits and they take a matter of minutes to make but, wow, they are so good! The only problem, however, is that they are seriously moreish and before you know it, the batch is gone! Definitely a recipe that I'll be adding to the catalogue and passing on!
200g Irish Butter, softened
50g Icing Sugar, plus extra for dusting
Zest of one Organic Lemon
200g Plain Flour (I use Doves Plain Gluten Free Flour)
Preheat the oven to 180'C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Using a electric mixer (either handheld or freestanding), cream the butter and icing sugar until fluffy. (You can use a wooden spoon if you like ... this will help work to off the inevitable feast when these bad boys are baked!)! Add in the lemon zest and flour and mix until smooth.
Roll the mixture into golf ball size rounds and place on the tray, leaving enough space for the biscuits to spread out as they cook. Using the back of a spoon, flatten the dough balls slightly. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden in colour.
Leave the biscuits to cool slightly on the tray and then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, dust with a little icing sugar. Serve with a cup of tea or coffee!