Is it just me or has this month flown by? I swear the weeks are going by faster and faster which is a little scary at times. It will soon be my final year at university and I will be crying myself to sleep each night because of the amount of work to be done - or so the current final years will have me believe.
For now though let us focus on the good things - the fantastic entries to the January Biscuit Barrel challenge! As usual you wonerful bakers have turned out with recipes that have had me wanting to forget my assignments each night and get int he kitchen. This month the theme has been SPICES as an incentive to bake something lovely and warming, to bring a little extra comfort to the cold months. So grab yourself a cup of tea and take delight in what we have to share this month.
First off the mark was Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker with these Banana, Cranberry, Pecan Oat Muffins. Mixed spice is used in these treats that Ros created to use up several end of packet ingredients an leftover fruit. They look so yummy yet they have a healthy boost too from the fruit, nuts and wholemeal flour. A pretty good way to still enjoy something sweet during a time when lots of people want to keep things on the 'good for you' side.
Kate from the Gluten Free Alchemist has used ginger in this Banana, Apple, Walnut and Ginger Bread and has proven that the recipe works just as well in small loaf cases as it does in a big tin. I wouldn't mind having one of these tucked away in my lunchbox to look forward to and I'm sure they count towards your five a day!
Not only has Corina used cinnamon as the spice in her entry but she has a perfectly named blog for this months theme. Go have a look at these Cinnamon Stars over at Searching for Spice for a great way to use up a spare egg white. The biscuits themselves are pefect for almond lovers, especially those who like a chewy biscuit. I can taste them already!
Next is my own entry of Ginger Iced Shortbread. My mum made this one year for my brother who it was a favourite for from the army nafe (I swear that's not a typo) and has made it several times since. I wanted to have a go myself but I tweaked it with the addition of more ground ginger and some stem ginger too. I love it that much I'm going to make a more fiery version at some point and maybe eat half the match with a mug of hot chocolate.
Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker is back again, proving the name of her blog is true with the Yorkshire Tea Biscuits which many of you will recognise as Fat Rascals. Similar to a scone and full of fruit with a hint of spice and citrus, Ros says they were easy to make and has got me all the more eager to try making them myself. I only hope I can get them to taste as good as the one I tried from the famous Bettys which Ros has managed to do.
In another bake, Ros has taken inspiration from an opened packet of spiced fruit and nut mix for these Cinnamon, Fruit and Nut Mix Cookies. These should satisfy chocolate, dried fruit as well as nuts fans because they contain all free and the oats and wholemeal flour will make most of us feel a little less guilty at eating one or three of these at tea break. Or is that just me?
Our last entry is Alexandra from The Lass in the Apron with these Ginger-Almond Biscuits. I think they look gorgeous with the chunks of slivered almonds showing throughout with colour from the two types of ginger. What makes these extra special though is that they were inspired by a book that Alexandra herself had written! Perfect for long journeys because of their sturdiness and keeping abilities, I don't know if they would last long enough to test that theory in our house.
Thank you very much as always to the support from everyone. I'm sorry I'm a little late with this round-up but I hope the contents make up for my lagging behind! Check back very soon for the February challenge - it's a good one!