traybakes & more

retro recipes for the modern baker

Date and Ginger Slab

Date and Ginger Slab. It’s a dark, sticky, sweet, cake-like traybake. A little like a gingerbread but not as heavily spiced. And very dark and sticky from all the treacle. I have a recipe for Ginger Cake on the blog already and multiple recipes for traybakes with dates and traybakes with ginger and even some traybakes with dates and ginger like these Date and Ginger Crunchies, so this Date and Ginger Slab is in good company!

Another easy one, just some melting and mixing required. Don’t chop the dates too small and just melt the wet ingredients long enough to soften the dates as you want to have some obvious pieces of date through this bake.

If you can’t get hold of treacle easily (I need to go to a specialist import store to get hold of it here in the US) you can substitute molasses. They are remarkably similar, but the treacle is a little sweeter and darker, in my opinion. I did a side-by-side comparison when I was making my Treacle Scones if you want to look at the differences.

A partly eaten date and ginger square with fork, sitting on a white plate
Ingredients

4oz/110g butter

4oz/110g treacle or molasses

8oz/225g plain flour (all-purpose flour)

4 fl oz/120ml water

0.5 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

4oz/110g granulated sugar

6oz/175g dates, chopped

1 egg

2 tsp ground ginger

Method
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F/180C and line a 20 cm/8 inch tin with baking parchment.
  2. Place the butter, sugar, dates and treacle in a saucepan with the water and melt over a low heat.
  3. Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool a little. Then add the baking soda and beat in the egg.
  4. Gradually mix in the flour and ginger until well combined.
  5. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Leave to cool in the tin before turning out and cutting into squares.
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Traditional Potato Farls

These traditional potato farls are remarkably versatile. While they truly shine at breakfast as part of an Ulster Fry (which is difficult to recreate here in the US, but I do try!), they also make a great snack with butter. And Little Miss Traybakes was spotted slathering a very thick layer of raspberry jam on a few of these and then devouring them! If you wanted to be fancy about it, you could cut these into smaller squares, spread with cream cheese and top with smoked salmon and a squeeze of lemon. So, really quite versatile and similar to Soda Farls, another great breakfast/snack/’slathered with jam’ staple.

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Half a Tin of Condensed Milk

Let’s talk about condensed milk. Specifically the size of the tins. I’m sure, when I was younger, you could get a tin that was 7oz/200g or thereabouts. Often referred to as a ‘small tin of condensed milk’ in my recipes. That size doesn’t seem to exist anymore (certainly not here in the US) so I’ve often found myself with half a tin of condensed milk left over.

Now, you could always make double the quantity of whatever it is that you’re baking.

Or you could make a fancy coffee or cocktail with it.

Or, you know, you could just take a spoon and finish it off…

Anyway, should you find yourself in this situation and are looking for something else to bake, I have added a new category to my recipes called ‘Half a tin of condensed milk’ (yes, it’s a little long, but it is suitably descriptive). Search for this and you will find several recipes that will use up the rest of that tin.

I hope this is helpful. And thank you to the blog follower whose comment led to this new category!

Green Squares

Green Squares. Yep, that’s it, just Green Squares. It’s like playing Catchphrase with traybakes. “Say what you see!” I’ve flicked past this recipe several times when looking for something new to bake for the blog, but this time I had some apricot jam in the house and plenty of ground almonds, so I thought I’d give it a go.

There’s a little more work involved here. You need to make pastry, although it doesn’t need to be blind-baked. Then there’s the jam layer, the almond sponge and then the final icing layer. But you’re rewarded with a sweet, almondy slice that makes it worth the effort.

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Paris Buns

Paris Buns. It’s not a cake. It’s not a scone. It’s something in-between. Best eaten fresh from the oven with a cup of tea. I’d also recommend eating these on the day they are made as they don’t keep that well, but I didn’t find that to be a problem in our house.

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Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake

Straying from my no-bake traybake territory this week with an easy Coffee and Walnut Loaf Cake. This cake is soft and moist in the center, filled with walnuts and smothered with a coffee flavored buttercream.

If you can get hold of Camp Coffee Essence, then you can use that to flavor your cake. If you can’t, then dissolve 1 tbsp of instant coffee in 1 tbsp of warm water and use that instead. Or, if you prefer a stronger coffee taste, you can use 2 tbsp coffee to 1 tbsp water.

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Raspberry Ruffle Bars

These Raspberry Ruffle Bars are another classic from my childhood. I made something similar (OK, almost identical) on the blog when I started, but because I wasn’t able to get raspberry jelly powder – and I have no idea why I couldn’t find here in the US, I have no problems now – I made it with cherry jelly instead. So, similar, but just not the same.

Anyway, I digress. Now to get back to the proper Raspberry Ruffle Bars. I know I say this a lot, but these are really easy. No baking required, just a bit of mixing and then melting some chocolate. A simple list of ingredients which is quite sticky to work with, but the stickiness is worth it in the end. They probably deserve one more warning, in that they are very sweet. Sugar, condensed milk and the jelly are all pretty sweet, so I wouldn’t use sweetened coconut if you can help it! But, cut them into small squares instead of larger bars and everything in moderation!

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Shortbread Krispies

These Shortbread Krispies join the ranks of the many traybakes that either have a shortbread base or are made with Rice Krispies. (If you’re looking for a classic Northern Irish traybake made with Rice Krispies, then the Mars Bar Traybake would be a good place to start!)

It’s a straightforward, classic shortbread base topped with a classic chocolate Rice Krispie treat. I was a little concerned that the two layers wouldn’t actually stick together, but they do! That doesn’t stop Little Miss Traybakes from dissecting the traybake into separate layers, but her food quirks are her own business!

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