traybakes & more

retro recipes for the modern baker

Wheaten Bread

My Wheaten Bead recipe has evolved over the years. There was a time when I couldn’t get coarse wholemeal flour and I had to improvise by adding wheat bran. There have been times when I’ve wanted to bake and discover I have no buttermilk in the house, so I’ve used yogurt or milk+lemon juice. And after moving to the US, I started to add maple syrup and molasses to my recipe to get a darker, denser loaf. So what it has become today, is some sort of Ulster-American Wheaten Bread.

The recipe, at heart, is a simple one. Flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk. And in my recipe, there is the addition of maple syrup and molasses. I find that a hint of sweetness and a hint of treacle improves the taste.

If you don’t have molasses, then use black treacle (I often do if I have some in the house, but it’s harder to find here in the US). I did a taste test when I was making my Treacle Scones and found that they are similar, although the treacle is a little sweeter.

If you don’t have maple syrup, then use golden syrup or honey. I frequently have all three in the house, but have stuck with maple syrup in my recipe now that we’re living in New England.

If you can’t get hold of coarse wholemeal/wholewheat flour (thankfully, I now can!) then regular wholemeal/wholewheat flour will work too.

And that’s it. You can have this ready to bake in the time it takes your oven to preheat. Then enjoy it with butter or cheese or smoked salmon+lemon or alongside a bowl of soup. It also makes great toast, if you have any left!


250g/8oz plain flour (all purpose flour)

250g/8oz coarse wholemeal flour (wholewheat flour)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp maple syrup or golden syrup/honey

1 tbsp molasses or black treacle

300ml/10fl oz buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 400F/200C.

2. Sift flours, salt and baking soda into a bowl. If you’re using coarse wholemeal flour you’ll need to tip the bran into the bowl after the finer flour has been sifted.

3. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the syrup and molasses. Then add about three-quarters of the buttermilk and slowly mix until you have a soft dough, adding more buttermilk as needed.

4. Turn out onto a floured work surface and shape into a round, about 6″/15cm across. Don’t work the mixture too much, there is no need to knead!

5. Transfer to a floured baking sheet and slash the dough horizontally and vertically.

6. Place in the oven for about 30 minutes. As with all baking, your oven make bake this a little faster or slower than mine. Check your bread by tapping on the bottom, if it sounds hollow, you’re done!

7. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Slice and enjoy!

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Crunch & Crumble Bars

It’s definitely Fall here in New England. The leaves are turning a beautiful range of autumnal colors, we’ve continued our family tradition of going apple picking at a local orchard and we’ve been baking appropriate treats like these Crunch & Crumble Bars.

A rich, buttery shortbread base, topped with your choice of jam and then sprinkled with a nutty, crunchy, crumble topping.

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Cherry Cookies

Interestingly, I have several variations on this Cherry Cookies recipe in the pages of my retro recipe books, so I thought I’d give it a go as it has two classic traybake ingredients – cherries and cornflakes.

Then, when I got my Cornflakes box out to weigh and crush the flakes, there was a very similar recipe on the back of the box! A little research later and it turns out the original recipe was a winner in the Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1950. This recipe isn’t exactly the same, as the original contained pecans and dates but it’s certainly close.

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No-Bake Peanut Crunch

The Traybakes Family has returned from vacation and while recovering from jet lag, we’re still getting over the fact that the weather at home was (almost!) as warm as the weather we get in the summer here in Massachusetts! So, for sunny, summery days like these, when it’s too hot to turn on your oven, this No-Bake Peanut Crunch is the perfect solution.

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Chocolate & Apricot Wedges

This is about as simple as it gets. Chocolate & Apricot Wedges.

OK, so the wedges are purely an aesthetic thing, you can cut these into any shape you want. And the apricot is purely a suggestion, you can use any dried fruit that you want. But it’s as simple as melting some chocolate and butter, crushing some biscuits and mixing it all together. Then waiting long enough for it to set so you can eat it.

It’s definitely a useful recipe to have for those times you need a quick and easy no-bake traybake.

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Chocolate Almond Tartlets

There seems to be quite a theme running through my retro recipe books of pastry, with a layer of jam (preferably raspberry) and then some variety of topping. And these Chocolate Almond Tartlets fit this pattern perfectly. Crisp pastry case, thin layer of raspberry jam and a chocolate and almond topping. The topping is a little crisp and a little chewy and combined with the pastry and jam, it’s really rather delicious!

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Mint Chocolate Melting Moments

Chocolate and mint. A classic pairing found in two of the most popular recipes on the blog (No-bake Chocolate Mint Slice and Mint Aero Traybake). And now also featuring in these Mint Chocolate Melting Moments.

I decided to make a mint buttercream to sandwich my Melting Moments together, but there are numerous flavors that would work equally well here – vanilla, chocolate, raspberry. Choose your favorite and go with that! I use 2oz/55g/½ stick of butter mixed with 4oz/110g/1 cup icing sugar to make my buttercream, which I flavored with a couple of drops of mint extract and some green food coloring.

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Traditional Soda Farls

It’s been a while since I’ve had a savory recipe on the blog, so I thought it was about time to venture back into the ‘& more’ section of traybakes & more. It’s also been an even longer while since I made these Traditional Soda Farls (which my autocorrect keeps trying to change to farms!) but once I had made them, I was left wondering why I don’t make these more often. Wheaten bread is my usual go-to bake when I need bread in a hurry – and I’ll aim to have my recipe for that on the blog soon – then I made Soda Farls for the first time in ages and realized they are even easier and quicker to make.

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Ginger Slice Traybake

Ginger has been a popular flavor running through my bakes since I started the blog. And as it’s always proved a winner with Little Miss Traybakes, when I saw this Ginger Slice Traybake recipe, I had to give it a go. For other gingery bakes try Date and Ginger CrunchiesGinger Shortcake or even Ginger Cake. See, I told you ginger is popular in traybakes (and cake, and cookies…!)

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No-Bake Honey Crunch Traybake

Another new traybake for me this week. I can’t remember which retro recipe book this No-Bake Honey Crunch Traybake came from as I just made a copy the last time I was back at Mummy Traybakes’ house, but it intrigued me enough to make a note of it and I recently decided to try it out.

And it was a success all round! I offered some to my book club (my other official taste testers) and it proved to be a hit companion to our latest book discussion, as well as getting a thumbs up from Little Miss Traybakes.

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