Gooey Popcorn Bars (Gluten Free)


Say sod it and call a movie night with a gooey, toffee, marshmallow and chocolate covered popcorn bar in hand.  Seek pleasure watching the silky caramel strands form as you pull the bars apart. This is a quick tray bake but with no baking (bonus!) but guaranteed to brighten up the dull and miserable summer we are having and great for big kids parties.

Popcorn Bars

I have never made popcorn before and I was more than a little bit excited when I saw fluffy white clouds pinging around my saucepan. Truthfully I was that excited I had to call the entire family to watch a miracle in the pan. If you have never made popcorn before then you truly have not lived.

Popcorn Bars

This recipe is an adaptation of my toffee crispie treats. After spending days discussing films set in New York with a friend I am now eager to sit down with one of these next week watching chick flicks to my hearts content so go on let it rain see if I care.

Popcorn bars

Of course you can top them with anything you like as this is an easily adapted recipe. I like the idea of twix or malteaser topppings or give it blast with some popping candy a la Heston style.

Popcorn BarsThe cat loved them too as he sauntered into the photograph, sniffed and then bit my finger!

Popcorn Bars

Enjoy!

Ingredients

250g toffees (Sainsbury’s Basics)
50g butter (room temperature)
3 tbsp of milk
1 tbsp of golden syrup
115g marshmallows
80g popped popcorn

Instructions

1. Brush your a 20cm square tin (or other suitable) with baking spray or oil and wipe with a kitchen towel to make sure it is not too oily.
2. Add toffee, golden syrup, butter and milk into a saucepan and heat gently.  Stir the mixture as it heats until all the ingredients have melted.
3. Add marshmallows and stir until they have melted.
4. Add the popcorn to the pan and make sure it is well coated with the toffee mixture
5. Pour quickly into prepared tin and flatten it down well with the back of a wet wooden spoon.  Add whatever toppings you fancy by pushing them down gently into the mixture so they set into to it.
6. Leave to set (about an hour) and cut into sizes required and eat (one is not enough) they will keep for about 5 days if they get that long in an air tight container. Do not place in the fridge or the pocorn will go soft.

Up next – Pay Day Cake 6 time!!!! (see previous here)

I am entering this into the Teatime treat competition hosted by the talented Karen from Lavender and Lovage and the theme this month is cake stall cakes and I think this will fit quite nicely.

Quick Malt Chocolate Cake or Cupcakes


Malt chocolate cake was what I was craving as I wanted a delicate, light chocolate cake smothered with malteaser buttercream icing.  So I set off to the kitchen to indulge my chocolate fix dragging my Son with me promising him he could lick the bowl. Now as this recipe is quite quick it will be no time before you can also sit down with one in hand and enjoy the story at the end of this post about ‘How to upset a cupcake’.  It’s nearly easter and these are perfect to decorate with eggs if you wish.

Malt Chocolate Cake

This malt chocolate cake is light and fluffy and is an adapted version from Peggy Porshen’s book Cake Chic (buy it here).

Malt chocolate cake

I choose to make 12 large cupcakes but this would also make a fantastic quick bake in a 20cm (round or square) tin with malt chocolate buttercream icing spread over the top. Decorate it with chocolates or malteasers and you are ready for a children’s party, cake sale or for when time is short but you still want a light fluffy chocolate fix.

I made a chocolate buttercream and added malt powder to compliment the cake flavour.  Crushed malteasers (whoppers) were mixed into the buttercream and more sprinkled on top for decoration.  This works well if you are eating the cake on the same day as it gives you a satisying crunch to the topping.  If the cakes make it past 24 hours (give yourself a pat on the back) you will find the crunch melts beautifully into the buttercream leaving gooey pools.  Due to the bits of malteaser in this buttercream it will not pipe unless you use a large round plain pastry nozzle so instead just put it on with a palette knife and smooth it round and enjoy less washing up.  Now is the time to either scroll for the instructions or read the tale below…

Malteaser cupcake

 Storytime – How to upset a cupcake (a tale of dating, technology and oops)

One evening whilst immersed in my marking I’m interrupted by the laughter and animated chatter of my Husband and his friend gossiping in the kitchen.  Let’s call these two Ron (Friend) and Ronald (Husband) for ease as when together are truly like two old women who have not seen each other for a lifetime instead of at the weekend.  They have little comedy duo spats and arguments over how to fix the (more manly) camper van but mostly they banter with each other each trying to out do the others in wittiest stakes.

Tonight’s conversation will be about Cupcakes

Tonight’s topic of conversation got my attention as I heard the word ‘Cupcakes’ rather than clutch repair so I began to listen whilst tapping furiously on my keyboard to make it look like I was not listening (naturally).  After a few minutes I realise Cupcake is a pseudonym used by a lady Ron met recently on a dating site and not the edible cake kind I love.  They discuss in great detail the second date, descriptions of flirty text messages are analysed by the two boys men and the kiss was relived in second by second sloshing detail before googling the next possible date location.  The conversation finally veered off to their good old days when Ron apparently used to be a bit of a man whore (their words not mine).  Now I was bored by the notch on the bedpost nostalgia and returned to my marking.

I looked up when Ron’s loan phone (the other had died) beeps, he pulls it out from his pocket whilst  laughing at the last smutty comment.  Ronald chuckles like a crazed hyena but Ron has gone strangely quiet.  I see Ron’s face drain of colour, sweat beads spring across his forehead quicker than a chicken pox rash and his cheeks glow in a reminiscent shade of a telephone box.  Ron looks up from his phone and with a loud and drawn out ‘ooohhh’ and we wait for the next words:
‘What is it?’ asks Ronald impatiently.
‘It’s a text from Cupcakes’
‘OK, so what does it say?  No hang on don’t tell me she is organising the wedding cars already!’
‘Umm, no.  Not exactly’ replies Ron shaking his head.  ‘I don’t quite know what has happened.  Let me read you the text. He takes a big breath ‘I have just listened to a four minute voicemail message from you talking to your friend and I am not impressed’.

The two of them look at each other and their little brains are working overtime to work out what could have happened.  Sadly the loan phone that Ron had did not have a keyguard lock and it accidentally rang the lady from his pocket.  She replayed the voicemail conversation and listened to every single word that was said on more than one occasion.  Poor Ron  never made a next date so I gave him an extra cupcake to make up for it.  The moral of the story is to never share your secrets with a friend unless your are absolutely sure your phone has keyguard lock on.  Oops!

Malt Chocolate Cake Ingredients (makes 12 large cupcakes, 1 x 20cm cake)

150g dark chocolate
200ml milk
450g brown sugar (I use light muscavado)
150g salted butter softened
4 eggs lightly beaten
300g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder ( I use Green and Blacks)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbsp malt powder (like ovaltine or any other malt flavoured powder drink)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 160 C / 150 / Gas ?? / F
2. Line your muffin tin with muffin cases (I like large cupcakes)
3. Beat the butter and sugar until ight and fluffy (about 5 minutes)
4. Put chocolate , milk and half the sugar in a saucepan and stir until all contents are melted and then leave to one side until cooled.
5. Sift the dry ingredients – flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and bicarbonate of soda onto a tray (this gives it air)
6. Slowly add the eggs one at a time then adding a quarter of the dry mix (above) repeat until all eggs and mixture are fully combined
7. Start to add the hot mixture slowly into the batter by pouring down the side of the bowl
8. Once combined – pour into cases tin and place in the oven until cooked (approx 15 mins)
9. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 – 15 mins and then remove and place on a wire rack

Malt Chocolate Buttercream

175g soft butter (but not too soft it is squdgy)
350g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder ( I used Green and Blacks)
1 tbsp malt drink powder (like Ovaltine)
4-5 tbsp of milk
100g crushed malteasers

Instructions

1. Mix together the butter and icng sugar using light and fluffy (about 5 minutes) in a stand mixer or using a hand whisk
2. Add the milk until the consistency is spreadable
3. Add the cocoa and malt powder and mix until fully combined
4. Add crushed malteasers (leaving some to sprinkle on top) to the mixture and give a final mix until it is fully combined
5. Spread onto your cupcakes and then use a palette knife to smooth around the edges
6. Top with a malteaser and sprinkle over the remaining crushed malteasers and then eat!