Tag Archives: baking

Peyton & Byrne “British Brownies”

From Peyton & Byrne: British Baking by Oliver Peyton (Square Peg, 2011)

Although most of my jubilee weekend was given over to the Stoke Newington Literary Festival (as mentioned in my previous post), I couldn’t resist fitting in a bit of bank holiday baking. I took the easy/occasion appropriate route and opted for some British Brownies. The rationale for including these in the British Baking book is laughably weak – “brownies have long been a favourite in Britain” – but they hit the spot on a grey day off. How could they not – they contain three, yes three, bars of dark chocolate…


300g dark chocolate, chopped

100g unsalted butter

1/2 tsp sea salt

3 eggs

50g light brown sugar

150g caster sugar

1tsp vanilla extract

100g plain flour

100g chopped walnuts (I didn’t have any so substituted with macadamias, but they were somewhat overpowered by the chocolate)








Preheat oven to 180 oC. Butter 20cm square baking tin, line with baking paper.

Place chocolate and butter in heatproof bowl, add salt and melt over pan of barely simmering water.

In another bowl, break up eggs, add sugars and vanilla until incorporated.

Whisk egg mixture into melted chocolate, then gently fold in flour and walnuts until just mixed.

Pour into baking tin.

Bake for 25 mins or until set. Leave to cool completely in tin before cutting into squares (I totally ate one before it had completely cooled).








Verdict: Quick, easy, delicious and kept well. Will bake again.

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Dorie Greenspan “Chocolate and Orange Marbled Loaf Cake”

From Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)









250g plain flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

170g unsalted butter

225g caster sugar

4 large eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

120ml whole milk

113g dark chocolate, melted and cooled

Grated zest of 1 orange

1/4 tsp orange extract

Preheat oven to 165 oC. Butter a loaf tin and dust with flour.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Beat the butter with a stand mixer/electric hand mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for another 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately add flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2, mixing only until each addition is incorporated.

Divide the batter in half and stir the melted chocolate into one half and the grated orange zest and orange extract into the other.

Spoon the batter into the tin in long alternating rows, in several alternating layers. Use a table knife and zigzag through the batter in 6-8 zigs and zags.

Bake for 1hour 20 – 1hour 30, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to rest for 15 minutes before turning out. Cool to room temperature on the rack.








Verdict: After my over-swirled Peyton & Bryne loaf cake, I needed to try again! The Greenspan marbling technique is definitely a marked improvement and gave a much more defined contrast between the two batters, although it’s still a bit more patchwork than swirled.

Next time I’ll be using the Peyton & Byrne recipe and the Greenspan marbling technique, as the former had the edge in the recipe stakes, with the yoghurt giving a deliciously moist loaf.

Side-by-side comparison of the marbling:

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Peyton and Byrne “Chocolate Marble Cake with White Chocolate Icing”

From Peyton & Byrne: British Baking by Oliver Peyton (Square Peg, 2011)

Recipe available here








As I am beginning to realise, the cake recipes from this book tend to take longer than anticipated to make. I have to admit, having started this one late on a weekend afternoon, I was tempted to omit the white chocolate icing out of sheer laziness, but that would have been a mistake as it really adds an extra dimension to an already deliciously moist bake.

Despite the warning against over-swirling, I sadly over-swirled, giving a rather subtle marble effect.








Having learnt my marbling lesson, I will definitely be attempting this one again with a few less swirls.



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Peyton and Byrne “Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies”

From Peyton & Byrne: British Baking by Oliver Peyton (Square Peg, 2011)









100g whole hazelnuts

140g unsalted butter, softened

90g demerara sugar

80g caster sugar

1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk

170g plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

200g dark chocolate chips

Makes 12 large cookies

Preheat the oven to 180 oC. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and lay the whole hazelnuts on one of them. Toast them in the hot oven for about 10 mins. Turn off the oven and empty into clean tea towel and rub together to slough off skins, then roughly chop.

Meanwhile, place the butter and eggs in a bowl and beat until creamy. Add the egg and then the yolk, mixing well. Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda together and gently mix into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the dark chocolate and the chopped, toasted hazelnuts.

Lay out 2 pieces of baking parchment and place half the dough into the centre of each, shaping it into a log about 4cm thick. Roll the parchment paper up around the cookie dough and wrap this is cling film. Freeze the dough for about 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180 oC. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Unwrap one log of the dough and let it sit for about 5-7 mins to soften slightly. Use a sharp knife to slice the first log into 6 pieces, each about 2cm thick, then place these on the prepared tray about 6cm apart. Bake for 15-18 mins, until golden in colour but still soft in the centre. Repeat with second log. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.








Verdict: Hmm. A lot of effort and baking parchment origami went into these and whilst they looked rather handsome, their texture was disappointingly cake-y. I followed the measurements exactly, but it seems the bicarb made them puff up rather than spread out in this instance. Making the 2 logs meant it was easy to cook one batch and keep the second log in the freezer until needed. Will be trying out lots of other cookie recipes before I go back to these.

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