Maple & Walnut Scones

I made these scones in order to participate in this month's Random Recipes. The challenge was to make the recipe on page 30 of the thirtieth cookbook you counted up in your collection.

I've owned the book I selected, 'Baked: New Frontiers in Baking', for four years. Unfortunately, I didn't realise before buying it, that it was a US cookbook, complete with US measurements.

I cannot get my head around the measure-by-volume system that the US uses and the conversions aren't as straightforward as some books would have you believe, so 'Baked' has been gathering dust on my bookshelf (literally: you could see its' outline on the shelf when I pulled it out). However, with the help of a more mathematically-minded friend, this bake turned out just fine.

Easy Strawberry Shortbread Sandwiches

Wimbledon fortnight draws to a close this Sunday.  The UK newspapers would have you believe that Britain's entire population comes together in its' adulation for the tournament. While there are certainly sports and tennis fans who get excited about it, most people who watch aren't avid tennis fans, but like it because of the patriotic, ritualistic and traditional elements of the event.  The tennis whites, the tense tranquility of Centre Court, Murray's Mound (so, so wrong) the gentle 'pock' of a tennis ball bouncing off a ballboy's head...

Ugh, I wonder if it's actually possible to write about Wimbledon without sounding like the AP Stylebook.  Personally, I don't enjoy much at all about Wimbledon. I don't like tennis. I don't like the quaintness of the event, which sits with the genteel cricket on the village green imagery that certain factions like to think of as being quintessential England. 

The worst thing about Wimbledon is that it knocks the regular television programmes around in the schedules. Normally, this isn't too big of a deal, but earlier this year, I discovered a quiz show called 'Pointless'.  It normally shows at 5:15pm but because of the tennis, it's not being shown for the whole Wimbledon period.  So thanks, Wimbledon, for killing my new early-evening tradition of having a pre-dinner drink while shouting at Pointless contestants.

Raspberry Salted Caramel Cheesecake Brownies

I'm going to have to think of a snappier title for these brownies, because I will certainly be making them again.

This brownie was created on an evening of snack frustration.  I had the star ingredients for all my favourite desserts in the fridge, but was one thing short of everything needed to make them properly. Cream cheese to make cheesecake, but no biscuits to make the base. Raspberries and chocolate to make a chocolate torte, but not quite enough chocolate. I'd also made some dulce de leche earlier in the day, to go into a banoffee pie, then remembered too late that you need a whipped cream topping. Oh and some bananas that weren't green and unyielding. Rather than going to the local corner shop, this was my solution.  

I've had dealings with cheesecake brownies before. They are extremely rich, so I thought that adding raspberries would cut through the creaminess, add more interest and texture. The dollop of dulce de leche added to the cheesecake was just for the hell of it and if you're making anything with caramel, it's now the law that you have to throw some salt in there.

So there are lot of different things going on, but they pull together to form a super-loaded brownie that has something for everyone.

I used frozen raspberries in the recipe below, mainly because you can crumble them to pieces in your hand, saving the faff of chopping them up.

If you don't have a brownie pan, use an 8 inch square cake tin. This will make thicker brownies and you will need to increase the baking time by 5 minutes.