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Soggy Bottoms and an Eton Mess

I was concerned about the Olympic shaped void in my evenings after the closing ceremony this Sunday. But fear not it seems, as The Great British Bake Off has returned to fill my evenings with burnt crusts and soggy bottoms. To say I was excited was a minor understatement! To celebrate this fact, and to have something to stop me from licking the TV screen and drooling on the sofas whilst watching the programme, I decided I would have to bake something. Something new, for a new series, but something with a little bit of Britishness in. Is Britishness even a word?!

Anyway, a while ago someone had shared a photo with me of some cookie cups. Before this, I had no idea they existed. My life is definitely more complete now. I loved the idea of them, but wanted to make them when I knew exactly what I wanted to fill them with (and not being a huge fan a chocolate, ruled out a lot of the ideas!) And then suddenly I was inspired – what could be a better British flavour than Eton Mess Cookie Cups! For those of you who are Cookie Cup virgins, these are what my empty cups look like. See, now you understand my filling dilemma – the possibilities are endless!

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Eton Mess Cookie Cups

115g salted butter at room temperature

200g caster sugar

1 large egg

200g plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp baking soda

60g packet of Strawberry fruit chunks

120g good quality white chocolate (because the cheaper brands just burn) chopped into chunks

300ml double cream

1 pack of fresh raspberries

Mini meringues (you could make these, but I already had a tub, so was lazy!)

Cream the butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl. I don’t bother to get my electric mixer out for this part of the recipe because it only takes a minute to mix the whole dough together, even with my weakling arms. Add the egg into the mixture and beat again.

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the mixture, and then combine with a wooden spoon. to Get the last bits to combine fully, just use your hands – it’s much easier! Pop all the fruit chunks and the white chocolate chunks into the dough and kneed with your hands until they are evenly mixed throughout the cookie dough.

Take a chunk of dough, approximately the size of a golf ball, and pop it into a one of the holes in a muffin tray. Use your hands to roughly squash it down just so it fills the bottom. Repeat for the rest of the dough, which should fill about 16 muffin holes.

Bake in the (fan) oven at 170C for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and use the bottom of a spherical measuring spoon (I used the Tala tablespoon) to press a dip into each of the still warm cookies. Leave to cool completely before removing from the muffin tins. The best way to remove the cookie cups is to press down on them gently and twist, which will free the base, and then you will be able to lift them out without breaking.

Whip the double cream until it forms stiff peaks (Yes, I did use the electric whisk for this, as otherwise I would be unable to move my arms for at least a week afterwards!) and then fill a piping bag with it. I didn’t have any piping bags left, so I just filled a sandwich bag with the cream and then snipped of the corner, but it would look pretty piped with a large round nozzle, or even a large french nozzle. Pipe a little cream into each of the cookie cups, then pop a raspberry in, followed by another swirl of cream, and a second raspberry for each cup.

Finally, crush some of the mini meringues in a bowl, and then sprinkle on top of the cream in each of the cups. If you knew all of the cookie cups were going to be eaten straight way, I would mix the meringue in with the cream and then pipe them into the cups together. But as there was only myself and Auntie Bear to consume them, having 8 each would have been a tad excessive. (But not impossible!)

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And as for The Great British Bake off – I had no idea what a Rum Baba was. But it’s now on the to-bake list!

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