I adapted these recipes from magazines, changing most of the doses and some of the ingredients. My mum and I had great fun experimenting and the whole family enjoyed the treats.
Almond flakes biscuits
You need: 400 g of self raising flour, 3 eggs, 150 g of light brown sugar, 100 g of melted butter and some drops of vanilla extract.
For the topping: 50 g of butter, 50 g of light brown sugar, 2 tbsp of honey and 200 g of flaked almonds.
Mix the ingredients for the dough, knead it then roll it out. Place the pastry on a greased oven tray and cut it into squares. Bake for 10 minutes at 180° C. In the meantime prepare the topping by mixing all the ingredients in a pan and heating it for 5-10 minutes on the hob. Take the biscuits from the oven and spread the flaked almond mixture on top, keeping the squares separated. Bake for another 10-15 minutes till slightly brown.
You need: 3 egg whites, 150 g of icing sugar and 50 g of dark chocolate chips.
Whip the egg whites until stiff, then mix in the icing sugar. Melt the chocolate chips in a pan and add most of them in the meringue folding it gently, not mixing it in completely. Spoon the meringue mixture on a greased oven tray and drip the remaining melted chocolate on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes, 150° C.
Biscuits and dark chocolate semifreddo
You need: 100 g of golden caster sugar, 150 ml of double cream, 150 ml of milk, 100 g of rich tea biscuits roughly chopped, 100 g of dark chocolate and 4 eggs.
Whisk the eggs with the sugar, melt the chocolate in a pan with 50 ml of milk and add it to the eggs together with the biscuits and 150 ml of milk. Whip the cream and add it to the mixture. Pour it into a loaf tin lined with cling film and freeze it overnight. Serve cut in slices with cream or raspberry coulis.
Walnut and cream Swiss roll
For the Swiss roll you need: 4 eggs, one tbsp of honey, 100 g of sugar and 100 g of self raising flour.
For the filling you need: 2 tbsp of milk, half a tsp of instant coffee, 150 g of whipping cream, one tbsp of sugar and 100 g of ground walnuts.
Prepare the sponge for the Swiss roll by beating the eggs with the sugar, add one tbsp of honey and all the flour. Pour the mixture on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or till slightly brown at 180° C. Spread a damp tea towel on a surface, sprinkle some sugar on it and turn the sponge out onto the tea towel. Roll it up while still hot and let it cool.
Prepare the filling by whisking the cream with the sugar. Warm the milk and add the coffee granules. Mix the coffee with the cream and add the ground walnuts. Unroll the sponge and spread the cream and walnut mixture on it, leaving some aside for decoration. Roll it up again and decorate with the left over cream and maybe some walnuts. Chill overnight before serving.
Filling for cannoli siciliani
We bought the cannoli shells in an Italian supermarket in Surrey, so we had only to fill them.
For the filling you need: 750 g of ricotta, 300 g of sugar, 75 g of chocolate chips, mixed peel and/or glacé cherries halves.
Mix the ricotta with the sugar and chill them for two hours. Add the chocolate chips and chill again for one hour. Fill the cannoli shells using a piping bag and decorate the ends with mixed peel and/or a glacé cherry half. Chill before serving.
I used this ricotta mixture to fill a sponge cake and a Swiss roll, instead of chocolate chips I had 100 g of ground dark chocolate. I mixed all the ingredient and chilled them for two hours. I cut the cake in half and dampened the two halves with milk, then spread the ricotta mixture on one, put the other half on top and chilled everything overnight before serving it. For the Swiss roll you follow the same procedure of the previous recipe. Decorate with icing sugar and ground dark chocolate.
Nutella and yogurt bread loaf
You need: 250 g of flour, one tsp of baking powder, half a tsp of bicarbonate of soda, two tbsp of sunflower oil, 150 g of golden caster sugar, three tbsp of nutella, four tbsp of full fat plain yogurt and 2 eggs.
Beat the eggs then add oil and sugar. Mix all the other ingredients except the nutella and the yogurt. Divide the mixture into two bowls. Add the nutella to one of them and the yogurt to the other. Grease a tin loaf and alternate a layer of the yogurt mixture to a layer of nutella mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 180° C. Decorate with icing sugar and stripes of melted nutella.