traybakes & more

retro recipes for the modern baker

Banana Nugget Cookies

Imagine a soft oatmeal, chocolate-chip cookie with added spice and bananas and that pretty much sums up these Banana Nugget Cookies.

Not content with limiting myself to my Northern Irish retro recipe books, this is from an American community cookbook that I picked up at a used book stall last year. It’s a very similar format to my other community books, with recipes contributed by a variety of people. And there are several traybake recipes, as well as cookies, pies and cakes, so you can expect to see occasional American influences on the blog in the future.

As cookie recipes go this is very straightforward. There’s not even any creaming involved, just rub the fat into the flour and mix in everything else.

A perfect recipe for using up those overripe bananas that are sitting in your fruit bowl. Using a medium-sized cookie scoop, I got 24 cookies from this recipe. They spread a little as they are baking, but I didn’t flatten them at all before putting them in the oven and I like the domed look they have when they’re done.

As it’s an American recipe, all the ingredients were listed in cups but I weighed everything as I went along and have provided metric and imperial measurements as well. The recipe also used shortening as the fat for these cookies, so I followed the directions. But you could also use butter.

Ingredients

1.5 cups/6oz/175g all-purpose flour (plain flour)

1 cup/6oz/175g sugar

0.5 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

0.25 tsp nutmeg

0.75 tsp cinnamon

0.25 cup/2oz/55g shortening

1 egg, beaten

2-3 ripe, mashed bananas (about 1 cup)

1.75 cups/6oz/175g quick-cook oats

1 cup/4oz/110g chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
  2. Sift the flour and baking soda into a bowl.
  3. Rub in the shortening.
  4. Add the rest of the dry ingredients. Then the egg and banana and mix until blended.
  5. Scoop onto a lined baking sheet, leaving some room for the cookies to spread.
  6. Bake for around 15 minutes or until golden.
  7. Remove to a wire rack to cool (although they taste great while still warm!)

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Date and Orange Bread

Is it a bread? Is it a cake? Either way, this simple Date and Orange Bread is soft, crumbly and sweet. This time it doesn’t come from one of my many retro recipe books, it’s from a small newspaper clipping (although I can’t remember which newspaper) submitted by my childhood next-door neighbor.

It’s a straightforward method, just rub butter into the flour and then mix in the remaining ingredients and bake. The smell coming from this bread when I took it out of the oven took me back a year or two. And judging by the response from Mr Traybake and Little Miss Traybakes, I will have to make this more often! Best eaten fresh from the oven while still warm (it does dry out a little after a day or two) but it’s also good with a smear of butter.

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Coffee Caramel Squares

This Coffee Caramel Squares traybake is essentially a regular Caramel Square/Millionaire’s Shortbread with the addition of coffee and some plain chocolate, which makes a darker, richer traybake with a subtle taste of coffee.

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Treacle Farls

I already have a recipe for Traditional Soda Farls on the blog, and this Treacle Farls recipe is very similar. A little bit sweeter, richer and darker with the addition of treacle. These are super quick and easy to make, and we enjoyed them simply buttered or with jam. Delicious when still warm and perfect for an afternoon snack.

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Jelly Squares

I’ve also seen this Jelly Squares recipe referred to as Marshmallow Fingers, which makes sense as the topping is pretty much just a simplified marshmallow recipe. Shortbread base, marshmallowy topping and coconut. Really simple and very tasty.

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Sydney Specials

Sydney Specials (or possibly Sidney Specials, there are some discrepancies in the spelling) tick a lot of the classic traybake boxes. Coconut? Check! Cornflakes? Check! Chocolate? Check!

This traybake is very simple and quick to make. Just mix the dry ingredients and add melted butter. Then bake and top with chocolate icing. It would only be simpler if it were no-bake. But there’s flour in this and as my flour packet keeps telling me, you shouldn’t eat raw flour (hasn’t stopped me licking the bowl when I bake a cake though…)

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Homemade Custard Creams

Why would you want to make Custard Creams at home, I hear you ask? Well, not all of live somewhere you can buy them easily at the grocery store and also, it turns out that they are very easy to make and really tasty.

It’s a shortbread recipe with added custard powder and buttercream filling. And as custard powder is essentially flavored cornflour, it helps give the cookies a nice snap and light texture.

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Marshmallow Fudge Traybake

Warning: this Marshmallow Fridge Traybake is very sweet, very gooey and very delicious! It’s got a digestive and coconut biscuit base that is topped with caramel and marshmallow and delivers a serious sugar rush.

It’s another no-bake traybake and although it takes a bit of time to cook the caramel layer, it’s pretty easy to put together. And very quick to disappear in our house. It’s also a useful recipe to have as it uses up the remainder of a tin of condensed milk that you may have opened for another recipe.

Second warning: this is really sticky to work with, especially when you get to the marshmallow swirl, so my advice is to work quickly and be prepared to get melted marshmallow stuck to places other than the caramel layer.

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Chocolate Ginger Traybake

It was time for another no-bake traybake and this Chocolate Ginger Traybake is an easy one. And it doesn’t need flour or eggs! It’s a double-ginger, chocolatey slice, topped with yet more chocolate.

The base has both ginger snap biscuits and crystallized ginger in it for an additional spicy, sugary kick. And the condensed milk makes the base gooey and squidgy. The base is a little on the soft side if you leave it sitting out, so these might be best kept in the fridge, especially if your kitchen is particularly warm.

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Salted Peanut Fudge Squares

Another successful traybake from my stash of retro recipe books, Salted Peanut Fudge Squares are a sugary, crunchy, salty treat.

The base is essentially shortbread with the addition of peanut butter. The top is a sugary, fudgey layer, filled with salted peanuts.

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