Tag Archives: Hummingbird Bakery

Hummingbird Homework

After my trip through my archives last time with my Top 5 Bakes, I’m very glad to say that my baking mojo did come back.  I went to New York, found N.Y. Cake (among other things) and bought myself a bundt tin.  I got back and opened Edd Kimber’s Patisserie Made Simple at Kougelhopf.

Enriched dough, a funny shaped tin, and the challenge of working out how much mixture I’d need to fill it (it says it’s for a six cup cake – very American and very confusing), what could be more adventurous?  Then my son came home with his latest homework project.

He’s learning about fairy tales at the moment and, this week, he had to make something to go in  Red Riding Hood’s basket to take to Grandma. A vast improvement on the poster he had to make last week to explain why he liked his favourite fairy tale.

“What is your favourite fairy tale?” we asked

“Rumpelstiltskin.”  We raised out eyebrows.

“What is it about Rumpelstiltskin that you like?” we asked. The betrayal, we wondered, the slavery, attempted child abduction, forced marriage (although perhaps I’m being a bit unfair to the Brother’s Grimm here. They did say that the miller’s daughter – they didn’t even bother to give her a name – had fallen in love with her captor, the King.  Perhaps we’re looking at the very swift onset of Stockholm syndrome rather than forced marriage, but even so…)

“I like the bit where Rumpelstiltskin gets so angry he jumps up and down on the floor and breaks it.”

It was that simple.

Anyway, back to Red Riding Hood.  I snapped Patisserie Made Simple shut. My kougelhopf was doomed.

“What do you want to bake for Red Riding Hood?”

“White chocolate chip cookies.”  This was a relief.  The last time my son expressed a desire to make biscuits only custard creams would do.

We went with a recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.  The recipe was for white chocolate and pecan nut cookies but, because Matthew wanted to take some to school, and because the school is nut free, we couldn’t use the pecans.  We doubled up the amount of chocolate instead.

We washed our hands, gathered our ingredients, and started by creaming unsalted butter with caster sugar and light brown sugar in the KitchenAid.

My trusty assistant measured the sugar into the bowl and I stood by with a teaspoon to get the extra 25g out before it touched the butter (perhaps I’m being a bit harsh here, since I often have to do this when I’m baking by myself, but why not blame a five-year old when you have the chance?)

We held onto the KitchenAid as it beat the butter and sugar together until it was light and fluffy, and then Matthew added eggs – he’s pretty good at egg cracking.  It’s very rare that we have to fish any bits of shell out of our cake mix these days.  

We turned the KitchenAid on again and added some vanilla extract.

We stirred in plain flour, salt and baking powder.  The recipe didn’t say anything about sifting, so we didn’t.  It also didn’t say whether we should use the mixer, so we didn’t.  We both had a good go with a wooden spoon and, eventually, we had cookie dough.  Matthew and his sister added the white chocolate chips, carefully reserving enough to keep them going until snack time.

After incorporating the chocolate chips, the recipe says that you should divide the dough into two, make two rolls of between 15 -18cm, wrap them in clingfilm and put them into the freezer.  Our dough was a bit sticky and I knew that trying to shape them and then put them into clingfilm wouldn’t work, so we dumped our mixture directly onto the clingfilm and shaped them once they were wrapped up.

We put the two rolls into the freezer to set and went off to play – well Matthew went off to play.  I put the dirty bowls and things into the dishwasher.

We came back to our cookie dough a couple of hours later.  I sliced it into discs and Matthew transported them across the kitchen onto baking sheets that we’d lined with baking paper.  I put them into the oven at 150°C and set the timer for 10 minutes (the recipes says they should take between 10 and 15 and be golden brown at the edges and quite flat).  I didn’t think they were done at ten minutes and, in the end, I gave them about 18.  I should have had faith in the Hummingbird though because the cookies were a bit on the crispy side once they’d cooled down.

They tasted fine, sweet white chocolate and vanilla, tempered by a tiny bit of salt.  Very nice.  Matthew took a few to school and we’ve had no complaints – at least none so far.

Next week,  kougelhopf.   I promise.

Malteser cupcakes

I wasn’t planning on making anything special for Red Nose Day, but Maltesers were giving a fiver to Comic Relief if you baked something red with Maltesers on it and tweeted a picture.  I thought I may as well give it a go.

I have made a chocolate malt cake before, courtesy of the Hummingbird Bakery’s Home Sweet Home, but it was a three-sponger with extra chocolate fudge sauce and, given that I was going to be assisted in the kitchen again, I was going to have to make something simpler.

I decided to stick with the Hummingbird Bakery, because, when you’re making cupcakes, there isn’t anywhere else a sensible baker would go.  I used a recipe for chocolate cupcakes from Home Sweet Home, and added some Horlicks powder as well as cocoa for the flavouring.  I think I might be getting a bit ahead of myself here so, back to the beginning.

I mixed softened butter, plain flour, caster sugar, cocoa powder, Horlicks, baking powder and salt in the KitchenAid while my trusty lieutenant in the egg-breaking department (Naomi (3)) successfully cracked two eggs into a jug and mixed them very vigorously with milk.

She’s not too keen on the KitchenAid (understandably) so she disappeared while I poured half of the liquid into the dry ingredients and mixed on slow until everything was mixed together.  I cranked up the speed a bit (my KitchenAid still can’t go above level six without threatening to leap off the work surface) until I had a smooth batter, and then turned the speed down again and added the rest of the liquid.

I used a tablespoon to divide the mixture between twelve paper cases. The advice in Home Sweet Home is to use a 50ml ice cream scoop to fill your cake cases.  I don’t have one and, since I don’t make cupcakes that often (this is only the third time in the life of Let’s Bake the Books), or use one when I eat ice cream, I’m not going to buy one.   I knew there was a chance that I’d overfilled the cases, but I could live with it.

I baked the cakes at 150°C fan for 25 minutes.  I checked at 20 and they weren’t bouncing back when I touched them, so I gave them the full 25 as per the recipe.  I was right about over-filling the cases.  My cakes needed a trim before the frosting went on.

I let them cool down and tidied them up.  There were enough off-cuts to keep me going until dinner and beyond.  I wasn’t complaining.

The big three-sponge chocolate malt cake in Home Sweet Home uses a cream cheese frosting that’s enriched with double cream.  I decided to go with a plainer version from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.  I sifted icing sugar into the bowl of the KitchenAid, added room temperature butter, threw a tea towel over the top to catch the icing sugar cloud burst, and turned it on.

Once the butter and sugar were well mixed, I added full fat cream cheese, held on to the mixing bowl (my mixer has been known to dislodge the bowl at higher speeds) and turned up the speed.  At this point I also added some red food colouring.  I wouldn’t usually have done this, but my cakes had to be red.  I had hoped that a few drops would be enough.  I should have known.  I used three whole tubes when I made a red velvet roulade and that still turned out brown.

A few drops weren’t going to be enough.  I put in a tube.  Still no good.  I opened another and emptied it.  Surely that would be enough bright red food colouring to make bright red frosting…

I covered my cupcakes in salmon pink frosting and handed them over to my decorator-in-chief, who gave them a very generous Malteser make-over.

Here’s the final version.

They were really good cupcakes, despite the colour.  They were chocolatey, maltesery, cream cheesy and just a little bit salty.  Salty may sound a bit odd in cupcake language but my husband says that it’s exactly why Hummingbird cupcakes are so good.  It’s the salt mixed with all the other lovely sweet stuff.   I have to say that I agree.  I don’t think three batches of cup cakes in my two years of blogging is enough.  I don’t think I’ll be making any more red ones any time soon though.

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Hummingbird Bakery Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Meringue Frosting

I was very excited about making this cake from the Hummingbird Bakery’s Home Sweet Home.  It was my first cake of the year.  It was Chocolate Cake Day.  I was going to take some brilliant photos with my new kit, and the images of my cake were going to break the internet.  In fact, the only thing that did go viral was me.  I came down with something fluish so I didn’t make the cake in time for Chocolate Cake Day.  I’d lost my enthusiasm by the time I felt better enough to make it, and I completely took my eye off the ball (and the recipe).  I doubt that the Hummingbird Bakers would acknowledge that the cake that I ended up with came from their recipe, but it wasn’t bad.  Not bad at all.

chocolate-cake-meringue-frostingThe cake should be a three layer chocolate sponge, covered with a meringue frosting and topped with a marbled chocolate disc.

I started with the disc. I melted milk and white chocolate in the microwave (in separate bowls) and poured it onto a plastic pocket that I’d put on top of one of my cake tins (you know the type of thing.  Those plastic flimsies with holes punched in them that you use for filing old bank statements and the like.  Chocolate cake is a much better use for them).  I spread the chocolate over the plastic until I had a disc the same size as the top of the tin, and I made patterns in it with a cocktail stick.  My little girl was intrigued.  I put it right at the back of the work top to set.  Even then I had to keep a keen eye on it to prevent small finger prints or worse.

p1020200 While the chocolate was setting, I made the sponge.  I creamed butter and soft brown sugar together in the KitchenAid, then I added some eggs.  I melted dark chocolate, again the microwave, and added it to the butter/sugar mixture with the KitchenAid on slow.  Separately, I sieved plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and a bit of salt together, and, in a jug a mixed sour cream, espresso and vanilla extract.  Here was my big mistake.  I had a 300ml carton of sour cream and I added the whole carton to my coffee.  I don’t know why.  I’m sure I knew that the recipe amount was less than a carton.  I think my train of thought went something like:

(a) that’s enough sour cream,

(b) but there’s only a bit left in the carton,

(c) when are you ever going to eat it?

(d) true, let’s put it all in,

(e) oh, there’s quite a bit more in the carton than I thought,

(f) too late.

I added the flour and the liquid to the creamed butter and sugar in alternate additions.  I know I could simply have not put all the liquid in but I was distracted by little girl wandering into the kitchen with a gooey ear.  I wasn’t sure whether she was ill, or had just sneaked a Quality Street Golden Penny and had an accident.  It turned out that she was ill and, by the time I’d worked it out, it was too late for my cake.

I poured my mixture into three tins.  It was quite mousse-like and didn’t seem too sloppy, so perhaps the extra sour cream wouldn’t make too much of a difference.  I put them into the oven at 160° (the recipe temperature is 170° for a conventional oven, so, usually, I’d drop the temperature by 20° – I have found with the Hummingbird cakes though, that 150° is too low).  Perhaps 160° is also too low, or perhaps it was the extra sour cream.  Whatever the reason, the cakes wouldn’t cook.  The recipe says to give them 20-25 minutes.  I checked them after 25 – they had a crust on the top but were still molten in the middle.  I gave them twenty minutes longer that the recipe cooking time.

I took them out of the oven and let them cool in the tins for a few minutes before turning them out.  All of them had collapsed quite a lot and one of them just crumbled to pieces as I lifted it out of the tin.

p1020201 It didn’t look cooked in the middle at all.  I took a deep breath.  This was a three layer cake.  It could easily become a two layer cake.  All was not lost.  I waited until the cakes had cooled completely, wrapped them in clingfilm and put them in a tin.  I’d had just about enough of chocolate cake for one day.

I decided to make half the recipe amount of the meringue frosting.  I only had two layers of sponge to cover after all and, usually, Hummingbird recipes are very generous in their frosting.  I fitted my sugar thermometer into a pan and dissolved caster sugar and golden syrup in water.  I brought it to the boil and, despite twitching fingers (no stirring allowed), watched the thermometer until it reached a magic 115°C (soft ball stage).

Meanwhile, I’d been whisking egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla extract in the KitchenAid.  I’d kept the whisking slow while the sugar dissolved – the recipe says that the egg whites should only just be starting to become white and frothy.  Once the syrup had reached 115° I cranked up the speed and poured it into the egg whites.  I turned the speed up even higher.  The machine started its usual march across the worktop.  I held it down until the meringue became white and glossy, and the bowl had cooled down.

I very carefully lifted one of my very fragile sponges onto my cake stand, put a layer of the frosting on top and lifted my other very fragile sponge onto the top of that.  I covered the cake with the rest of the frosting.  I forgot to put a thin crumb-catcher layer on first, so I ended up with a pretty crumby meringue.  I did manage to get the chocolate topping onto the cake in one piece though.  I was pleased with that.  One thing had turned out right at least.  I was dreading what the cake was going to taste like.

chocolate-cake-sliceAs I said, I don’t think that my cake turned out as it should have.  The sponge was more like a flourless chocolate cake, a bit gooey and brownie-like in the middle, and one of the layers hadn’t made it.  It was still good though.  The frosting was sweet and marshmallow-like in flavour. It went really well with the gooey chocolate sponge.  For a complete cake failure, it wasn’t at all bad.  I’ll have to make another one, pay attention to the recipe, and see what I end up with.  I can’t wait.

White chocolate and cranberry cupcakes

I was feeling a little more festive this week so, to celebrate, I made some cranberry and white chocolate cupcakes from Hummingbird Bakery, Home Sweet Home (I’m not quite at the mince pies and yule log stage yet).  I realised that I hadn’t made cupcakes for the blog since my very first post, doughnut cupcakes, also from Home Sweet Home, so it was about time I tried a second batch.

I decided to make half the recipe.  Hummingbird recipes are usually pretty generous quantity-wise and Jon and I are trying to cut down a bit on our cake consumption.  The recipe was for twelve.  After halving the quantities, I ended up with nine.  So much for trying to cut down.

I started with the sponge.  I mixed softened, unsalted butter, plain flour, caster sugar, baking powder and salt in the KitchenAid until my mixture looked like breadcrumbs.  The KitchenAid is very, very wobbly these days. It’s getting to the stage where I have to keep a very close eye on it, even on the slowest of speeds.  I wonder whether Santa is reading…

I mixed milk and an egg together in a jug and, slowly, poured half of the liquid into the dry ingredients with the KitchenAid on slow.  I turned the speed up a notch, keeping a very tight grip on the mixer to prevent it leaping off the work surface.   Once I had a smooth batter, I slowed the machine down again and added the rest of the liquid.  Finally, I mixed in dried cranberries (the recipe didn’t specify, but mine were sweetened) and orange zest.  My mixture was pretty wet.  I poured it, rather than spooned it, into my cake cases which immediately folded in on themselves inside the muffin tin.  Oh well, I suppose the beauty of cupcakes, especially Hummingbird cupcakes, is that they are covered with so much buttercream that you can’t really see that the cupcakes themselves are a bit wonky.

They went into the oven at 150° fan.  The cooking time in the recipe is for between 20 and 25 minutes.  I checked them after 20 and they did need that extra five.  I would, usually, have taken a picture at this stage but the children were around and I had to referee a dispute between Daddy Zombie and Zombie Elsa.  Something to do with access to the Ice Palace apparently.  Anyway, once that particular tiff was sorted out, I’d completely forgotten about photographs.

I made buttercream to top the cakes by mixing sifted icing sugar and softened butter.  I added some milk, and then, bracing an arm against the KitchenAid, mixed on a high-speed until the buttercream was light and fluffy.  I added some melted white chocolate and mixed some more.

I topped the cupcakes with the buttercream and decorated them with dried cranberries and a sprinkling of orange zest.  Very festive they looked too.

cupcakes-resize

Actually, they looked more festive than they tasted.  I wasn’t really surprised because, to be honest, the only cranberry I usually eat at Christmas is in a sauce served with the turkey.  They were good though,  a light and fruity sponge topped with lovely white chocolate buttercream.  The cranberries were all at the bottom of the cakes, but with cakes as small as these, I don’t think it matters too much.  A good start to my festive baking.  Who knows, I may even feel up to mince pies next week.

Banana Muffins

I know, I know.  I should be cooking up a festive storm at this time of year. Last year it was pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, and Delia’s Christmas stollen. I have started the Christmas cake and puddings, but since I can’t get my teeth into them yet, I can’t tell you how they’ve turned out.

I decided to make some muffins before there’s absolutely no excuse for going all Christmassy.  Not very adventurous for an adventurous baking blog I know, but I do find muffins tricky.  They never turn out particularly well, and my last two batches of banana muffins had to be thrown away. I made a plea to Delia Online and the Hummingbird Bakery for help.

The lovely people at Delia Online pointed me in the direction of their tutorial video all about making muffins.  I watched it very, very carefully and decided to use Delia’s method, and a recipe for banana and cinnamon muffins from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. A bit of a gamble, since it was the Hummingbird recipe that ended up on the patio feeding a flock of sparrows and a couple of rather fat pigeons.

The Hummingbird Bakery recipe is for twelve muffins.  I decided to halve it.  If it didn’t work, there’d be less to throw away, and, I always find the Hummingbird recipes pretty generous.  I’d probably end up with at least eight (in fact, I made ten – I’ve never had a muffin from the Hummingbird Bakery itself.  They must be enormous).

The first tip in the video is to make sure that you have all of the ingredients weighed out and ready to go before you even think about starting to mix.  I don’t tend to do this when I’m  baking, but this time I was going to obey Delia to the letter.  Everything was measured, my butter was melted, my muffin tin lined.  Ready to go.

Now, it seems as though the key to making a muffin rise is a double sift. Delia sieves the dry ingredients, then mixes the wet ones plus sugar separately and then sieves the dry ingredients for a second time into the wet ingredients.  This is different to the Hummingbird method which doesn’t tell you to sieve at all.

I sieved plain flour salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into one bowl and, in another, I mixed caster sugar, egg, buttermilk, vanilla extract and melted butter (the Hummingbird recipe puts the sugar in with the flour at the beginning, and adds the melted butter once the wet and dry ingredients have been mixed).

I then sieved the flour mixture again onto the top of the sugar/egg/buttermilk mixture and folded it in really quickly.  Delia says that you shouldn’t mix for more than 15 seconds and, taking heart from the lumpy, floury mixture in the video, I too stopped at 15.  Here’s what the mixture looked like.

It was very lumpy, and there were its of unincorporated flour dotted all over the place, BUT, if Delia says that this is OK, then it must be.  I folded in some mashed banana, put the mixture into my muffin cases, and sprinkled some sugar over the top.  I baked them at 150° fan for about 25 minutes.

The double sift and quick folding really worked.  Here are the final muffins.

muffins

They looked like proper muffins and tasted just as a banana muffin should.  None for the birds from this batch.  Thank you Delia.

 

Chilli Cumin Cornbread from the Hummingbird Bakery

P1010903 (640x480)So, my favourite sporting event of the year, the Tour de France is in full swing.  Chris Froome was last seen running up Mont Ventoux before being handed something not much better than a Raleigh Chopper to take him to the line.

Last year, I baked the jerseys: something yellow, something green, something white , and something spotty.  This year, I was going to celebrate the regions of this year’s Tour.  I was going to make fancy French patisserie, something from the Alps and so on.   Didn’t happen.  My son was ill and I couldn’t be pastry chef and nose-wiper-in-chief at the same time.  I wouldn’t be able to handle any nose emergencies with my hands stuck in a piping bag.

I also had half a tin of sweetcorn in the fridge which I had to either use, or throw away.  In the end, I did both.

I decided to make chilli cumin cornbread from the Hummingbird Bakery’s Home Sweet Home. It wasn’t an adventurous bake, but not something I’d usually try.  Could the Hummingbird really do savoury?  I wasn’t sure.

I started by toasting some cumin seeds.  The recipe calls for a lot.  I only had half a lot so I used all of them.  I was supposed to toast them until they just started to turn golden brown and smelled aromatic.  Mine were dark brown when I started, as they usually are I think, so they were never going to be golden brown.  I just went by the smell.  When they started to smell like toasted cumin seeds I took them off the heat.

Next, I mixed plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, light soft brown sugar, polenta, a few chilli flakes, sea salt and black pepper in the KitchenAid.  Then, in a jug, I mixed eggs, milk and sour cream and added them into the dry ingredients.  Finally, I added the sweetcorn and cumin seeds.  My mixture was really, really wet.

P1010898 (640x480)  I poured it into a loaf tin and put it into the oven at 160° fan for half and hour.  The recipe says that, when it’s done, the bread should be risen, golden and a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.  Well, my loaf was golden and my skewer was clean.  It was just the rise that was a bit on the strange side.

P1010901 (640x480)Home Sweet Home says that you can eat the cornbread warm, or cold and that it’s great with mature cheddar and apple chutney.  I tried some warm and some cold and some with cheese.P1010903 (640x480)I didn’t really like it.  It tasted like a really weird scone. More like a cake than bread.  Had I done something wrong when I made it?  Was it the recipe?  Do all American savoury breads taste this sweet?

Whatever the answer, chilli cumin cornbread isn’t for me.  It’s not for the children or my husband either.  The kids wouldn’t touch it, and Jon confessed that he’d thrown his slice away after one bite.  I did think/hope it may be a way to get an extra portion of veg into the children’s diet.  I thought wrong.

Custard Creams and Kids

P1010823 (640x480)“Can we cook something today Mommy?”

“Er, yes, what would you like to make?” – I braced myself for cornflake cakes.  Not that I have anything against making cornflake cakes.  I just don’t like eating them.

“Some biscuits.”

“OK.  What kind of biscuits?”  I don’t know why I asked.  When it’s biscuits, it’s always Smartie cookies.  Not as bad as cornflake cakes, but not something I’d choose myself.

“Custard creams.”

“Custard creams?  Really?  Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

I had meant to make custard creams at a vague point in the future. A compare and contrast bake.  I wasn’t overly confident about it.  How can you possibly beat a Crawford’s Custard Cream?  And a custard cream with children?  This had disaster written all over it.

“Er, OK.”

There’s a custard cream recipe in the Hummingbird Bakery’s Home Sweet Home.  It’s for biscuits to top their custard cream cupcakes which sound and look delicious. Cupcakes, biscuits and children though.  Far too complicated.

The children were keen.  They put their aprons on, rolled up their sleeves and promptly disappeared as I started our custard cream preparation.

First, I lined all of our baking trays with baking paper (the recipe is for sixteen complete biscuits but the Hummingbird is reliably generous) and set the oven to 150° fan.  I softened some butter in the microwave (it took a minute and a half on 360W) and just about managed to cream it together with caster sugar in the KitchenAid.  This has now developed a habit of flinging the mixing bowl off the stand unless you jam it on so hard that getting it off again could break Hercules.  Great.

Matthew is a keen egg breaker so he came and helped with the next bit.  His method is slightly unusual.  He bangs the egg on the side of the bowl to break the shell, then, very carefully, without putting his fingers in the crack, he squeezes the shell until it explodes.  Generally, we end up fishing a lot of shell out of our cake mixtures.  This time though, we managed to add an egg without any shell at all, or none that we could find.  Nice one Matthew.

P1010814 (640x480) After adding the egg and giving me strict instructions to let him know when he could come and lick the spatula Matthew disappeared again.  I sieved plain flour and cream of tartar into a bowl and mixed it into the butter/sugar/egg mixture.  I have used cream of tartar before, but I think it was in a meringue.  I Googled it later and found that it can be used in biscuits instead of baking powder.  Once the flour and cream of tartar was mixed in, I had a soft dough that didn’t leave very much behind for bowl and spatula licking once I’d tipped it onto the work surface.

The children were back.  They got some dough, cutters and a floured board.  They squeezed and squished, and I rolled and, together, we made 42 biscuits (using a 4cm cutter), four sharks and two rabbits.

P1010816 (640x480)

 

They went into the oven for 15 minutes (this is a bit longer than the time given in the recipe, which says 10-13).

We let the biscuits cool and we, sorry, at this point, it was I again, made the buttercream filling.  I made a quarter of the Hummingbird recipe, because I hadn’t made the cupcakes.  I could have made less, since I had enough to fill a sandwich cake as well as the biscuits.  I mixed sieved icing sugar with softened butter and, when it was combined, I added milk and some vanilla extract.  Then came the food colouring.  I can never get food colouring right.  Usually, I don’t add enough and end up with an anaemic tinge.  This time, I got high-viz.  Well, it was for a custard cream.  Who needs pale and interesting?

The recipe suggests using a piping bag to fill the biscuits.  No way.  Not with the children around.  In my world, a piping bag is usually much more trouble than it’s worth.  There’s the mess you make filling it up, the mess it makes when it dribbles filling everywhere other than the place it’s supposed to be, and cleaning it…. add to that the possibility of having to thwart the attempts of a small person to fill up a bucket of water in the bathroom and bring it downstairs.  I’ll say it again.  No way.

As it was, filling the biscuits with a knife was a bit fiddly, but I was pretty pleased with the end result.

P1010823 (640x480)

Here’s the shark.

P1010824 (640x480)The rabbit, unfortunately, met his doom before the photocall.

So, did the homemade custard creams beat Crawford’s?  On the day that I baked them they were a bit hard and definitely needed a good dunking.  They did improve with age though and, when my dad, a self-confessed biscuit addict, tasted them on day four they were good, dunked or not.  His (completely unbiased) verdict was that they gave Crawford’s a good run for their money.  I’ll take that.