People who follow me on Twitter were bombarded yesterday with tweets and pictures supporting the #NoBakeDay campaign run by Quercus for Sharon Hearne-Smith‘s book No-Bake Baking – a book which defies the conventional and explores the creations you can make using those other things in your kitchen – the fridge, freezer, microwave… you get the gist.
Having posted four recipes on their website, Quercus invited tweeters to bake-along on Saturday 14th June, submit pictures of their treats to Sharon and await the announcement of who’d won the coveted winning prizes in the evening. If you give me free, easy recipes (and I happen to have an easy afternoon), then I’m there.
First up were the Chewy Toffee and Salted Cashew Cookies which were by far the quickest, easiest, and in my opinion, tastiest of the lot.
Simply melting the toffees, adding vanilla essence and cream, then stirring in the cashews = thick sugary heaven.
Once rolled into a sausage shape and chilled in the fridge, you just cut it into small slices, arrange in a tin, and hey presto, you’ve got some irresistible mouth-watering bites. Grab those ingredients and do it now. You won’t regret it.
Next, I tackled the Peppermint Cream Buttons. The dough was just as simple to make as the toffee cookies, and by adding some food colouring – I soon had 4 sets of minty sugar dough ready to roll and cut.
However, this simple roll and cut stage turned out not to be so simple (for me). My pieces were getting stuck, the shapes weren’t holding, my hands were covered in what resembled thick plasma – things were not looking up.
I made the executive decision to leave these to dry out a bit which, for me, proved beneficial. Approaching them a few hours later, I found the dough-paste much more malleable and, armed with my star and flower cutters (ok, not buttons), I managed to produce a plate of charming colourful bites which our neighbours found delightful. Not my favourite recipe of the bunch, but pleased I had a go!
Finally, I approached the masterpiece that graces the cover of Sharon’s book, the Candy-Stripe Blueberry Cheesecake – it looked complicated, but I was ready. Or so I thought. Having merrily lined my cake tin, made my buttery biscuit base, and started preparing my blueberry puree, I suddenly realised that I was making the amount from the blueberry puree recipe page rather than the amount on the cheesecake recipe – DISASTER. I was almost 100g blueberries short. There was no time to complete a mad blueberry dash, so I had to accept that my three layers were not going to be as purple as desired.
In the knowledge that my cheesecake was not destined for purple greatness, I continued my task, layering the barely indiscernible mixes and then leaving the cheesecake to chill overnight. This morning, I was able to unveil the final creation. Having prepared myself for extreme disappointment, I was surprisingly pleased with the result – though the candy stripes are only of very slightly varying shades, you can make them out! And once decorated with cream, blueberries and mint leaves, I was satisfied.
Though I have not tasted this myself, (I’ve delivered it as a gift to my neighbours), I have been assured that it was a success and I believe, now I know to buy the right amount of blueberries, that I will make it again in future!
All in all, I really enjoyed the #NoBakeDay experience and if you haven’t tried it already, you can still get the recipes here. As I said, my favourites were undoubtedly the toffee and salted cashew cookies on both practicality and taste, but I cannot wait to see what other delights are in store once I’ve received the book.