I finally got round to making something from the Hummingbird bakery cake days having bought the book months ago. It's quite a good book (lovely pictures with a good, clear layout) although some of the recipes are similar to the original hummingbird bakery cookbook. I've already bookmarked quite a few but it joins my eternal 'to bake' list which seems to get longer everyday!
This is a quick and simple bake and guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser as most people love marshmallows (weirdly, not me!), butterscotch (yum) and nuts. The blurb in the book says "they're unlikely to last long - your friends just won't be able to resist" Well it definitely disappeared quickly at work with lots of compliments :)
I have to say it does not look like the picture in the book but it definitely tasted good. I also got to learn about cooking sugar until it reaches the soft ball stage.
the soft ball stage (this was a new learning experience for me so I thought I'd add in a photo to try and illustrate what it should look like - I have now ordered a jam thermometer so should be easier next time!)
For the base
40g icing sugar
120g unsalted butter, softened
For the topping
100g pink and white mini marhsmallows
210g caster sugar
150g soft light brown sugar
190g golden syrup
70g unsalted butter
60ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
60g crunchy peanut butter
30g mixed chopped nuts (I only had pecans so went with that this time)
- Preheat the oven to 170C; grease and line a 22cm x 31cm baking tray.
- Mix the ingredients for the base until a dough forms (by hand or with an electric mixer using the paddle attachment).
- Press the dough into the prepared baking tray, making a slight lip around the edge and bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are a light golden brown and the middle is pale but cooked.
- Place the marshmallows on top of the baked base, spreading them out evenly.
- Place both types of sugar with the golden syrup and 240ml of water and bring to the boil.
- Allow the mixture to boil until the sugar reaches the soft-ball stage (see notes below and picture above).
- Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.
- Bring the butterscotch back up to the boil and allow to bubble away for approximately 3 minutes.
- Take the pan off the heat and stir in the double cream, vanilla essence and peanut butter.
- Stir continuously until the peanut butter has melted.
- Pour the mixture on to the base and sprinkle the chopped nuts on top.
- Allow to set at room temperature for a few hours or preferable overnight.
- Slice into bars and serve.
To check whether your sugar syrup has reached the soft ball stage, use a spoon to drop a small amount into a bowl of very cold water.
If the syrup has been cooked to the correct heat, it will form a soft ball in the water.
Removed from the cold water, this ball won't retain its shape but will flatten in your hand.