Chocolate & almond Christmas tree

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There’s so much going on during the festive season that it’s easy to get a bit overwhelmed – not only are there decorations to put up, gifts to buy and Christmas parties every other night, but chances are you have a whole lot of baking on your to-do list too.

That’s where this homemade chocolate and almond Christmas tree comes in. Whether you’re after something tasty to gift to a friend or pop in the middle of the table of Christmas day, this simple treat has got you covered.

Made entirely from melted chocolate, almonds and apricots, there’s no need to turn on the oven to make this festive treat which makes it perfect for kids to lend a hand with. And despite being so easy to make, the finished tree is a real showstopper.

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Mondayitis

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Happy Monday!

It’s definitely feeling a bit more like spring now, isn’t it? It was so lovely having the sun out a bit more this weekend – even if the wind stuck around to keep it company!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and have a great week planned. Here are five things to get your week off to a great start…

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Easy peanut & pretzel slice

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Ever wondered how sweet and salty treats just work? It’s simple really – you’re basically throwing a party for your taste buds! The sweetness tantalises some of your taste buds, while the saltiness teases the others, leaving everyone happy.

It kind of makes you want to make a sweet and salty treat, right? You know, to test the theory and everything. Well luckily I have just the recipe for you – a 15 minute, bakeless, totally delicious peanut & pretzel slice!

Inspired by Cadbury Dairy Milk’s new Pretzel & Peanut block, the beauty of this slice is in the flavours – peanuts and chocolate, pretzels and chocolate, peanuts and pretzels… no matter which way you look at it, this slice is a winner.

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Caramel & chocolate chunk biscuits

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Everyone needs a fail-proof, sure-to-please recipe in their arsenal perfect for those last minute events you need home baking for – which is where these biscuits come in. Whether it’s a shared lunch or unexpected guests, these chocolate and caramel biscuits are guaranteed to please.

Soft and chewy, decadent and moorish, these biscuits are my absolute go-to when you need delicious baking in a pinch. Not only is the dough deliciously soft and chocolatey, but they’re packed with chunks of real milk chocolate – no baking chocolate in sight!

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Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake

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Birthdays are great for so many reasons – you get an entire day to celebrate someone for just being themselves, it’s a good excuse for a party and bubbles, and it’s a great excuse to eat cake! Whether it’s my birthday or that of someone else, birthday cakes are a bit of a big deal for me – I love dreaming them up, making them come to live and (of course) enjoying the finished product.

It was Kevin’s birthday last weekend, and while I spent weeks teasing him that I couldn’t be bothered making him a cake, there was no doubt I’d make him something special. So while he spent the day lifting weights and being fit at a Crossfit competition (as you can tell, I clearly know all the ins and outs of the sport!), I got busy whipping up a special cake to surprise him with when he got home.

Like many people, Kevin’s BIG on chocolate – he loved it way more than I do! So it was a no-brainer that his birthday cake would be absolutely packed with chocolate. But that in itself isn’t particularly special, so I decided to work hazelnuts into the recipe.

The result? A triple-layered chocolate cake infused with hazelnut coffee, stacked and iced with whipped milk chocolate buttercream and finished with a halo of crushed toasted hazelnuts. YUM.

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Triple Chocolate Peanut Slab Biscuits

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There’s something special about spotting the iconic gold wrapper of a Whittaker’s Peanut Slab as you wander around the supermarket aisles – and even more so when they’re sitting in your shopping trolley!

Whether you love that they’re densely packed with peanuts or that feeling you get you bite into what’s certainly quite a slab of milk chocolate, there’s no denying they’re memorable for all the right reasons.

Luckily these Triple Chocolate Peanut Slab Biscuits are on the same page as their chocolate namesake – memorable, decadent and devilishly moorish. Imagine a soft, cakey chocolate biscuit stuffed to breaking point with chunks of chopped Peanut Slabs, topped with a light drizzling of milk, white and dark chocolate. Sounds good, huh?

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Cherry Ripe Tartlet

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Cherry Ripes are one of those chocolate bars that you either love or hate. I’m in the latter camp – they’re always the last chocolates sitting at the bottom of my Favourites box. It’s funny really, because when you break it down there’s no reason not to like them . Cherry? Yum. Coconut? Yum. Chocolate? Yum.

So when McDonald’s released a limited edition Cherry Ripe McFlurry I wasn’t too sure what to expect – and to be honest, I didn’t think I would like it! But my husband and I decided to try it for a Saturday afternoon treat. And guess what? Somehow they’ve managed to create a Cherry Ripe McFlurry that pulls out all the best parts of a Cherry Ripe without that divisive quality – think creamy soft serve ice cream topped with a light cherry sauce and lots of chocolate flakes. Yum!

Having enjoyed the Cherry Ripe McFlurry so much I decided to come up with a Cherry Ripe inspired recipe of my own – a beautiful cherry and coconut tartlet that’s absolutely packed with real cherry flavour. Yip, even though it’s not cherry season you can make a beautifully flavoursome cherry dessert without using faux-cherry essences.

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Chocolate & Espresso Doughnuts

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Despite being an avid tea drinker for the majority of my life, since I entered the working world a few years ago coffee has firmly cemented itself as a ‘must have’ item to get my day off to a good start. It’s not just the caffeine (though that certainly helps!), there’s something about that silky coffee flavour that makes the world seem just that little bit better.

There are two things in the world that go incredibly with coffee – chocolate and doughnuts. Not only does coffee go beautifully with a freshly baked doughnut, but it helps bring out all that beautiful chocolate flavour. So when I dreamed up these rather delicious chocolate and espresso doughnuts this weekend, I was left wondering why I hadn’t thought of the idea sooner. It just makes sense.

I am so unbelievably in love with these doughnuts. As baked doughnuts not only are they a little healthier than their fried counterparts, but they’re much quicker and easier to make – no thermometer or heated oil required! And then there’s the flavour…

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