Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Great British Bake Off, Ruby Jacks and Aztec Cookies

The Great British Bake Off is back!

The perfect cure for POB (Post-Olympic Blues).

Rather than engaging in the hopeful side-effect of POB, namely investing in new trainers and practicing now for Rio 2016 while simultaneously achieving Jess' fab abs, I'm back infront of the telly. This time salivating at treats that make any sweet-toothed soul cancel all plans for Tuesday nights for the foreseeable future.

Queen Mary of (Bakewell) HeTarts is back.

Paul 'Mr Silver Fox Nasty' Hollywood returns.

Mel-n-Sue are there to offer a comforting word and a tension-relieving-giggle. Anyone else laugh just a little uproariously when Sue thought that Upside Down Cake, the first challenge set to the contestants, is known as just cake in Australia? Surely straight to the top of the 'Best Cake Jokes Ever' chart, easily displacing:

'Which cake wanted to rule the world?

Attila the Bun'

And my goodness, weren't the standards high! That Blackbird Pie Cake! The challenge of the Baba! The praying at the alter of the oven! You couldn't help feel for Natasha, the first contestant to leave when Paul, upon tasting her technical challenge, pointedly noted 'technically, its raw'

And we've a whole FIFTEEN more episodes to go. Pinnies at the ready...

Meanwhile, for behind-the-scenes chatter, The Radio Times interviewed all the contestants who were all lovely and candid about their experiences.

And a new GBBO baking book is out, inspired by the Showstopper Challenges and full of creative and inspired ideas to bake eye catching cakes.

A quick flick though and it certainly is intended for the more experienced baker, although restricted by time (that blackbird cake in two hours?! Not on your nelly!) I found two of the more simpler recipes to bake to celebrate the return of the show.

Ruby Jacks (above)

I adapted this recipe from the book

115g unsalted butter
60g light brown sugar
4 tbsps golden syrup
1 piece of stem ginger, chopped into smallest pieces you can
1 tsp ground ginger
180g porridge oats
30g white chocolate melted
1 x 20.5cm square tin, greased

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4
2. Pop the butter, sugar, syrup, stem ginger and ground ginger into a pan and heat gently, stirring continuously until all the ingredients have melted together
3. Remove from the heat and stir int the oats until completely combined
4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface with the back of the spoon. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the flapjack is turning golden brown around the edges
5. Cut the flapjacks into squares while still warm, then remove from the tin when cooled and drizzle over the melted chocolate to finish

Baker's notes...

  • The original recipe had 5 tbsps of golden syrup which was quite generous compared to other flapjack recipes I've used
  • Chopped glace ginger, as suggested in the book, can be used instead of stem ginger- use 1 rounded tbsp. Also suggested are a handful of dried sour cherries and cranberries to decorate on the top
  • The flapjacks last for up to one week in an airtight container

Aztec Cookies (above)

These coffee flavoured chocolate cookies had somewhat of a cakey texture but certainly provided a boost in our Thursday morning meeting at work. The recipe can be found in The Great British Bake Off- How to Turn Everyday Bakes into Showstoppers

Baker's notes...

  • I omitted the chunks of white chocolate suggested as I accidently nibbled too much of the chocolate during the cooking process (occupational hazard I guess). Instead I had to srizzle melted white chocolate over each cookie
  • The original recipe suggested using gold dust or glitter (of the edible variety) to provide the Aztec sparkle
  • Any signs of that squirrel yet?!


  1. Another great post - as always, especially loving the cake related joke ;0)
    I too watched the first episode of TGBBO and was enthralled from beginning to end - the standards are very high this year so I am kinda glad I never entered! That said I did pop into town yesterday and came home with some Savarin rings so I can have a go at the rum baba recipe!! Gulp ...

  2. Can you believe I had never seen GBBO until this week?! LOVED IT!

    Laura x

  3. They both look great - the book is a really nice one this year - lots of inspiring recipes have jumped onto my (ever expanding) to-do list! I'd particularly got my eye on the ruby jacks, and yours look great!

  4. What a good name for it...I think I have POB too! :-) Both your bakes look great...I particularly like the look of the Aztec cookies...and the new GBBO book is fab...I'll just have to find the time to make some of the things in in!!! :-)

  5. I just bookmarked the Ruby Jacks recipe this morning when I was browsing the book. Seeing yours, I want to make them even more!

  6. Great review. I watched it and really enjoyed it. Will defo watch the whole series. Yummy biscuits Kate! Are you doing the paras too?

  7. I love love LOVE the GBBO - so excited to have it back on our screens. Have you ever auditioned for it? I reckon you'd be an awesome contestant :-)

  8. I'm so pleased the GBBO is back!! My TV is not working but thank goodness for iplayer!! I been flicking through the book to see if there is anything I can make quickly and came across the same recipes you've chosen - great job! I'm not sure I could manage half the recipes in there but I'd love to try :)

  9. And it's on tonight again. I can't wait.
    I have barely used last year's book. I should get to it!

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  11. I love the GBBO, your ruby jacks and Aztec cookies look delicious. A book thats on my Xmas wish list x

  12. Nice article, thanks for the information. It's very complete information. I will bookmark for next reference


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