For our first culinary post, Susannah Bray, 7 times Great British Bake Off applicant reject decides to undertake her own bake off, competing against herself.  Please read on for some truly scrumptious delights…

Chocolate Almond Caramel Bars

Get your health kick here

These biscuits are made up of entirely non antioxidant ingredients, the only thing they may cure is your diet.


In the spirit of the non-Mary Berry Great British Bake Off I decided to ignore the theme of this weeks show ‘Bread’ and embark on my own baking marathon. The chosen category I decided on was Biscuits – soggy bottoms and all. The reasoning behind my chosen category came about because I found an open cook book on the table and decided to have a flick through.  I found a recipe describing the three essentials of baking – chocolate, almond and caramel. Bars and bread are pretty much the same thing anyway.

To begin – after a quick scour of the fridge I realised that I did not have enough butter, and after questioning the mother oracle I was duly presented with a frozen block. Wondering to myself if you are able to freeze butter I checked the packet whereupon it firmly says ‘DO NOT FREEZE, but, as we know supermarkets are always wrong so I happily preceded with hacking up some frozen butter. Note: It’s as hard as it looks. Dodging this wee hiccup I was directed one last set of instructions ‘not to leave the kitchen in a mess‘.

Being a good student I read the recipe the whole way through before baking:

After a quick read and with slight confusion about the mention of runners I was delighted to discover that this recipe is from the Aga Bible. For those who don’t possess an Aga but would like to truly complete their cookbook collection, it  may be purchased here.

I may say this is a fantastic and simple recipe and here are my comments:

  1. For Aga newbies – there is no mention of greasing the shallow baking tray – I concluded Aga people probably know to do this, and decided to butter it up anyway.
  2. We have non leccy scales, so I used the medieval 1960s scales which can be roughly translated to 150g = 5oz, 60g = 3oz.
  3. For conventional bakers, i.e non Aga owners, biscuits should be cooked for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Who knew caster sugar could be unrefined, eh?

I can’t believe it’s not butter, yet:

How to take butter from frozen to melted:

Actual baking has begun:

For health reasons I would highly recommend using your fingers to press the mixture down. Truly make them yours, DNA and all:

Oven checking:

Chez caramel, saucy biccies:

A while for setting….

When they say finely chopped chocolate, they mean it:

Hack, another layer of chocolate never goes amiss, and I left them in the fridge over night:

And the finished pieces!

The closest the cooking got to an aga:

Presenting them to the judges was goose bumblingly nerve racking, but reviews from Mummy Berry said they were ‘devilishly good’ and ‘not very good for her waistband’. Potentially a little soggy bottomed, however this did not detract from the taste. Aesthetically some work may need to be done but this is baking people, not architecture. Mummy Berry did make a very good point – ‘who was going to eat them all?’ I have therefore accepted her challenge and shall be spending my afternoon preoccupied with this momentous task.

All in all an afternoon well spent.

Safety Notes

To avoid Ofcom getting involved I would advise when entering any cooling devices to wear the appropriate attire, perhaps a wooly hat. Next time Noel.

Make Up: The Shower

Fashion: Hat, Poppy London; Gloves, Topshop Sale

Photographer: Sarah ‘Everyones going to see that I have a dirty freezer’ Bray

Baking playlist: Things have Changed, Bob Dylan + Spotify Playlist – Drivetime Classiquuuueee

(NB Susannah is actually an excellent baker – her carrot cake is particularly good – she may bake on request, if the appropriate remuneration is offered (Amex not accepted).)

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