Top Tips For Baking On A Budget

Weigh Your Ingredients!

Weighing your ingredients accurately and following a good recipe will make sure you don’t waste anything and that you make a perfect bake everytime.

There’s nothing worse than an uncooked cake that ends up in the bin as it didn’t rise properly because you didn’t put the right amount of baking powder in.

Get Creative With Items You Own

Don’t have a rolling pin? Use a bottle of wine instead! Don’t have a piping bag? Use a sandwich bag and cut a hole in the corner! Don’t have a whisk? Use two forks back to back!

You can see what we’re getting at here – you don’t have to buy fancy baking tools – you can use what you already have!

Buy Things In Bulk

If you’re an avid baker a find yourself reaching for the flour, sugar and eggs every weekend then you might be better to buy in bulk.

Buying some ingredients in bulk, especially the dry ones like flour, sugar and dried fruits etc, is a great way of saving money as they can be stored for months and months and cost next to nothing in the long run.

Check Your Cupboards Before Rushing To Buy Things

Planning on having a bakeathon this weekend? Make sure you check your cupboards before you start shopping!

It’s best to write down a list of everything that you already have in your cupboards – whether it’s half a bag of brown sugar or a pot of sugar strands – if you know what you’ve got inalready you can work your recipe around it and just shop for the little extras.

Your Freezer Is Your Friend

Your freezer really can come in handy when it comes to baking. If you’ve got any leftover cake that’s not been decorated or iced, or you’ve got some buttercream left in the bottom of your piping bag – freeze it!

This is a great way of making sure nothing gets chucked away and every last bit of your baking is used up – just remember to label what you freeze otherwise you might end up defrosting white sauce instead of vanilla buttercream!

Avoid Big Name Brands

Sometimes supermarket brands are best. They’re much cheaper than buying branded products like flour, sugar, self-raising etc and can save you pennies. Most supermarket brands are good quality too so you won’t be able to tell the difference in your bakes – just in your wallet!

Salted Caramel Chocolates

These luxuriously indulgent chocolates are a wonderful treat to gift your friends and family with – if you can keep your hands off of them!

To make the caramel sauce, place the butter, sugar, condensed milk, caramel and sea salt into a saucepan and heat until the butter has melted.

Pour the sauce into a jar and allow to cool fully and leave to chill in the fridge.

Break up half of the chocolate into a bowl over simmering water (make sure that the water is not touching the bottom of the pan)

Bring the temperature up to 42°C/110°F, then remove from the heat and allow to cool. Continue to monitor the temperature until it reaches 32°C/90°F.

Carefully spoon the chocolate into the moulds using a decorating brush or the back of the teaspoon to smooth. Tip the mould up to remove any excess chocolate, pouring it back into the bowl.

Chill the moulds for 10-20 minutes, until the chocolate has set.

Once the chocolate has set, fill the moulds with the caramel sauce (do not overfill)

Chill further in the fridge until the caramel has hardened.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining chocolate as before and carefully spoon over the caramel to seal the chocolate. Chill for 15-20 minutes.

Once completely set turn out the chocolates and wrap ready to gift or decorate your tree.

Super Easy Flapjacks

Ingredients:

  • 160g butter
  • 115g demerara sugar
  • 1 tsbsp golden syrup
  • 240g porridge oats
  • 115g extras (see below)
    raisins or any combination you fancy – nuts, raisins, dried cranberries – mix it up and use your imagination, see what’s lurking in the cupboard and use it up.

Preheat the oven to 160c Fan/180c/Gas Mark 4.

Grease a 7 x 7″ baking tin.  Don’t worry too much if you don’t have the right size tin, I’ll show you one of my little tricks in a minute!

Add the butter, demerara sugar and syrup to a pan and heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved.

Remove from the heat and add to the pan the oats and any fruit/nut/extras you are using, give it a good stir.  You will need a solid wooden spoon as the mixture is fairly stiff.

Tip the mixture into your prepared tin and flatten down with the back of spoon to level.

Take a piece of foil and fold it into a long thin strip.  Fold it so that it sits against the edge of the flapjack in the tin. Then using a suitable size oven proof dish use it to weight down the foil and keep it in place.

This little trick works with firm recipes like flapjacks and biscuit bars that aren’t going to ooze everywhere.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.  The top will be barely coloured and will still look very soft but don’t worry it will firm up as it cools.  Don’t be tempted to bake it a bit longer as the flapjack will go hard and tough on the old teeth!

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes, after which you will need to carefully cut it into pieces.

Leave in the tin to cool completely.