Fun, Safe Halloween Ideas 🎃

Baking Lovers,

We hope you’re all well and staying safe.

With Halloween around the corner, we’re sure it’s been difficult to tell the kids that “no, we can’t go Trick or Treating this year” sad face… Even we love taking our sons, daughters, nieces and nephews out! That’s why we’ve tried to think of other ways they can dress up and still have fun (and some fun for you too). Whilst a scary movie night might be a great alternative for older and big kids (we have a few big kids here at Wenzel’s) something a little less spooky would perhaps be better for the young’uns! We’ve got some ideas…

Halloween House Trick or Treat 🍬

If your kids love dressing up and going out on the night of All Hallows Eve, perhaps they don’t have to miss out entirely! You could decorate the doors in your house and have someone stand behind them for the kids to knock on, with treats a plenty! Think Wenzel’s Halloween treats and cookies, and sweets, without the need to be careful of everyone else’s allergies in the outside world. You’d only need to cater for your little ones. You could even create a treat hunt, like an easter egg hunt, either in the house or garden.

Looking for decorated houses 👻

Due to it not being the safest to knock on everyone’s doors at the moment, you could take the kids out for a walk to spot decorated houses and put a treat in their ‘basket’ every time they spot one.

This would be a great activity to organise with friends and neighbours in the immediate area, provided you are allowed to venture out. Each one of you could decorate your houses so the kids definitely will have something to spot! Just like when many people took their children out to spot the rainbows in the windows.

You could even post about this on community groups on social media to try and get as many people involved in the fun of decorating their front doors, and to bring back some community spirit.

Pumpkin Decorating 🎃

Ah, to have the awful smell of pumpkin “intestines” all over our hands again… yum…

On a serious note, pumpkin decorating is a great activity to do to keep the kids busy! Pumpkins aren’t too expensive, and you could make it into a contest. Have Wenzel’s Halloween cookies at the ready as a prize, and let the kids get to work.

This would need to be supervised, and you might not be comfortable with young children using sharp knives, but you could print out some plain pumpkins and do a paper design competition instead? This would make much less mess, and still be fun!

Also, pumpkin soup, pie or muffins are lovely ways to use any pumpkins and not let the veggies go to waste. Fun fact – Carving pumpkins aren’t quite as tasty as traditional pumpkins because they have been bred to be thinner and less fleshy, but you could use a mix of both carving and traditional pumpkins.

 

If you have any other ideas or decide to use one of these, we’d love to hear from you and see all the scary costumes! Make sure you tag us on social media so that we can see your wonderful efforts. Wenzel’s Halloween treats are available in all stores, so take the kid’s in to choose their yummy treat over the half term.

Keep staying safe and have a Spooktacular Halloween!

Love,

Wenzel’s xo

🎃

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Baking At Home Gluten Free and Vegan Cookies

Baking Lovers,

I hope you’re all well and staying safe.

I also hope you’ve been having some fun during lockdown and have done some yummy baking! I’ve been cooking and baking up a storm. Remember, if you can’t find flour in shops near you, we are now stocking plain and self raising flour in our Wenzel’s stores! You can also order it by click & collect.

I realise a lot of the recipes. I have uploaded on here haven’t all been completely dietary needs-friendly; whilst you can adapt many of them to suit your needs, I think we should include some brilliant recipes that can be enjoyed by everyone. I’ve taken inspiration from one of my absolute FAVOURITE food bloggers. She blogs about recipes to suit pretty much every dietary requirement you can imagine, and she’s called The Loopy Whisk. Her recipes are amazing, so she’s well worth checking out.

Today, I’ve decided to post some yummy vegan chocolate chip cookies, and a gluten free option for those who want the sweet, chewy happiness without the things that you cannot eat.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

You’ll need…

  • 70 g caster or granulated sugar
  • 120 g light brown sugar
  • 220 g plain all-purpose flour
  • 110 mL vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 4 tbsp non-dairy milk (I like Almond milk for this recipe.)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or paste, whatever you can get your hands on.
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 100 g dark chocolate chips or chunks – you can always chop up your favourite chocolate bar and use that.

To make the Vegan Cookies…

  • Mix together the sugars and oil. It will look similar to a crumble mixture and be a little dry at this point. (Fun fact, if you stop now you have a great body scrub!)
  • Add in your non-dairy milk and vanilla and mix well until fully combined.
  • Sift in all of your dry ingredients. Mix together until it is fully combined and there are no traces of flour. It shouldn’t be too sticky to the touch.
  • Stir in 80g of the chocolate, saving some for later.
  • Preheat your oven to 355 °F/180 °C/ Gas 4. Whilst it is warming up, line a baking sheet with greaseproof baking paper. You can do two sheets if you’re worried the cookies will spread too much during baking.
  • Use a tablespoon or ice cream scoop to make balls of your cookie dough. Place these an inch apart on the pre-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes. If you want crispier cookies, cook for longer, but this baking time ensures a fudgy-middle cookie
  • Mid way through baking, take the cookies out and put some more chocolate on top. Return them to the oven to finish off their bake to glory.
  • Take them out and put on a wire rack to cool, or don’t. Warm cookies are one of life’s simple pleasures (in my opinion).

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

You’ll need…

  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 100 g light brown sugar
  • 120 g hard margarine, melted, (if you don’t need dairy free you could use butter)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 300 g gluten free plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 160 g mixed dark chocolate and milk chocolate chips, (dairy free if necessary)

To make your GF cookies…

  • In a bowl, mix together both your light brown sugar and caster sugar with your melted hard margarine. Mix until it all comes together and is fully combined.
  • Add your egg and vanilla extract to the bowl and continue to mix (with a wooden spoon) until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, sieve your gluten free flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and briefly mix.
  • Add your flour combination to your original bowl and beat till combined. Make sure your mixing bowl is big as this is quite a lot of flour. It can be hard work and takes time to really combine it all, but it’ll form a perfect cookie dough.
  • Throw in the chocolate chips and give them a good mix so they are evenly distributed throughout the cookie dough.
  • Cover your mixing bowl with clingfilm and chill in the fridge for about 45 minutes (you can make the cookie dough ahead of time also and keep it in the fridge until you need it).
  • Heat your oven to 338°F/170°C/Gas Mark 3 and prepare a couple of baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
  • Remove your cookie dough from the fridge and roll your dough into balls (about the size of a golf ball) and place them on your trays. The cookies will spread a little so leave some gaps between them. For the best results, I would cook them in a couple of batches – more time to wait, but it’s so worth it.
  • Put into the preheated oven for 15 minutes – they should have flattened out to look more like cookies and be a lovely golden colour.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking tray.

Enjoy!

In the future, I would love to include some more dietary-needs-friendly recipes, and if you have any tasty treats you would like recipes for, let us know! Tell us on social media, show us your cookies and ideas for recipes. We would love to hear from you!

Hopefully the world outside will return to some form of normalcy soon, safely of course, and we will be able to do more of the things we love. In the meantime, if you have to go out, stay alert and stay safe; take care of yourself and others around you!

Love and best wishes,

Wenzels xo

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Baking at Home Easy Chocolate & Lime Dessert!

Baking Lovers,

Summer is here!! The warm weather we had was beautiful, and whilst we can’t go out and meet all of our friends, it’s great to have some time to spend with family in the sun. Picnics in the park, trips to the beach (safely) and sitting in your garden chilling out, having a BBQ – all things I’m loving at the moment. However, for me, this heat makes me crave cakes a lot less. They’re sometimes too heavy, but desserts like cheesecake and ice cream are perfect. Thing is… they can be a bit tricky to get right and can be time consuming. I’ve got the perfect recipe to curb those sweet summer cravings, which is easy peasy.

My mum’s version of Key Lime Pie, without the meringue or whipped cream on top. It is so unbelievably easy that you’ll wonder why you ever even bought a cheesecake! It’s always a hit at my family gatherings (Ohhh the memories… they feel so long ago), and my cousin’s fiancé even asked me to make it for his huge 25th birthday bash! There are only 3 ingredients for the filling, and 4 for the base and all you need is two bowls, a rolling pin or food processor, and a springform tin. There’s also an optional chocolate sauce that goes brilliantly with this recipe!

 

You’ll need…

  • 300g Chocolate Hobnobs or Wenzel’s cookies
  • 40g of Dark Chocolate (plus a square or two for the toppings)
  • 50g of Butter (can be salted or unsalted, although I think salted butter brings out the taste of the chocolate.)
  • 1tbsp Cocoa Powder (optional)
  • 300ml Double Cream
  • 1 can of COLD condensed milk
  • 75ml of Lime Juice – around 4 or 5 unwaxed limes – and their zest.

For the sauce:

  • 100g Good Quality Dark Chocolate
  • 120ml Double Cream
  • 5ml Milk
  • 25g Butter

To make the yummy dessert…

  • Start by breaking up the biscuits; you can do this in a food processor or in a strong plastic bag, wrapped in a tea-towel with a rolling pin. I feel like this option is great if you have some tension you need to get out. The biscuits should not be too fine, leave some larger lumps the size of a large garden pea, for a bit more texture.
  • Next, melt the chocolate and butter together. Once melted, add in the cocoa powder and stir until completely combined.
  • Put the biscuit crumbs and butter mixture into a bowl and mix together. When combined, put into the springform tin to create the base. This should go up the sides of the tin also. If there isn’t enough mixture to cover your tin, make some more using the same ingredients. Put it into the fridge to set.
  • Now, onto the filling. Put the cream into a bowl and whisk lightly until it starts to stiffen a little. There should not be peaks of any kind, you want it to be the consistency of a fluffy pancake mix.
  • Add in the condensed milk and mix well.
  • Once the cream and condensed milk are mixed, add in the lime juice. This will start to stiffen the mixture, so whisk quickly.
  • One the mixture has stiffened, take the base out of the fridge and pour the lime mix in.
  • Put in the fridge to continue setting. You can leave it overnight, but a few hours would be perfect.
  • When serving, put lime zest and dark chocolate shavings on the top. This should serve around 8 people, but this depends on how big you cut the slices.

OPTIONAL:

To make the chocolate sauce…

  • Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (Bain-Marie) until completely smooth.
  • Heat all of the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan until evenly combined.
  • Remove from the heat and stir through the melted chocolate.
  • Serve this in a small jug with your dessert!

ENJOY!!

This dessert is great and can even be made with lemon juice depending on what you prefer. I think lime and chocolate is a classic combination, and this dessert has to be one of my favourites. It’s quite light, and very summery.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and have a great summer! Remember that, for now, gatherings should be kept below 6 and should be outside.

Stay safe. Protect yourself and your family but enjoy some delicious sweet treats whilst you’re at home!

Love and best wishes,

 

Wenzel’s xo

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Baking at Home Mug Cakes

Baking Lovers,

I hope you are all well and safe!

With another three weeks of lockdown, it’s hard to keep thinking of ways to keep yourself entertained. Hopefully some recipes will help pass the time! I have included a couple of fun, easy mug cake recipes that are quick and simple, and will curb your cravings nicely!

You can make these in mugs or ramekins, whatever you would prefer, and with Easter just passed, you can use up some of that chocolate lying around!

Be aware – mug cakes with egg need to be cooked all the way through, so be careful.

If you come up with any other great combinations, “bake” them up and send us a snap on Instagram – @wenzelsthebaker

Raspberry & Lemon Mug Cake

You’ll need…

  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp sour cream (great if you’ve just had a Chili con Carne and have some extra cream that you don’t want to go to waste!)
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 5-6 raspberries

Method:

  • Mix all of your dry ingredients together
  • In a separate bowl, mix all of your wet ingredients together until well combined.
  • Add the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir so that there are no lumps, and the mix has some air bubbles.
  • Put into the mug (if you haven’t already) and push the raspberries into the centre.
  • Microwave on high for 60 seconds. If it isn’t cooked when you check with a skewer, microwave in 10 second intervals until fully cooked.
  • If you have some, put whipped cream and extra raspberries on the top and enjoy!

Nutella Mug Cake

You’ll Need…

  • 2 tbsp nutella
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 0.5 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips

Method:

  • Put your Nutella in a cup and put in the microwave for 20 seconds to melt it.
  • Combine the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Add the egg, mix well and then add the melted Nutella and some chocolate chips. Stir the mix until everything is well combined.
  • Pour the mixture into ramekins or mugs and microwave separately until cooked – can be 20 second intervals for smaller cakes, or 60 seconds + 10 second intervals for larger mugs.
  • Enjoy!

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Mug Cake

You’ll need…

  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbs choc chips (I mean… add as many as you want, no-one is judging!)
  • Alternatively, you can cut up 2 of everyone’s favourite peanut butter cups 😉

Method:

  • In a small bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and baking powder until thoroughly, completely combined with no streaks of flour or cocoa powder remaining.
  • Blend in milk, butter, and vanilla until batter is smooth. Add in half of the the chocolate chips (or cut up PB Cups). Pour your mixture into a mug.
  • Combine peanut butter and chocolate chips and put into the centre of the cake mixture, gently pressing down until even with the top of the mix.
  • Microwave on high for 60 seconds.
  • ENJOY!!

Mocha Mug Cake

You’ll need…

  • 1 slice of butter (30 g)
  • 6 squares of dark chocolate (30 g)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 5 tbsp plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 tbsp single cream
  • 1 drop of coffee extract (optional)

Method:

  • In a mug, melt the butter with the chocolate in the microwave for 20-30 seconds (depending on your microwave watt)
  • Stir the mixture until smooth, then allow it to cool slightly.
  • Whisk the egg, sugar, flour, baking powder, instant coffee and cream in a separate bowl.
  • Mix the chocolate mixture with the egg mix in the mug.
  • Add the drop of coffee extract on top.
  • Cook in the microwave for 60 seconds. If it is not cooked, keep cooking in 10 second intervals until cooked.
  • You can decorate with whipped cream but I suggest eating it straight away! YUM!!

Mug Brownie

You’ll need…

  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 3 tbsp flavourless oil (coconut oil/sunflower oil)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp chocolate chips

Method:

  • In a microwavable mug mix together all of the dry ingredients so that they are well combined.
  • Add in the oil and water and beat until smooth.
  • Mix in the chocolate chips.
  • Microwave for 45-60 seconds. Adjust your timing to fit your microwave – you can leave these a little gooey in the middle. Allow to cool for at least 2 minutes.
  • Serve warm with vanilla ice cream & enjoy!

These are all delicious, and now that we sell flour in stores, a little easier to make than a normal cake. It also means you can create personalised cakes for the little ones to keep them all happy, and there will be little to no waste!

I hope you enjoy making these, and that the lockdown hasn’t been too boring for everyone. We will all get through this together.

Stay safe!

Lots of love and best wishes,

Wenzel’s xo

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Easter Baking at Home

Baking Lovers,

Easter is here!

This time of the year is beautiful, with all of the new spring leaves and pretty flowers and yummy, yummy chocolate. Easter has always been a great holiday in my house, my family round the table eating the amazing Lamb roast and desserts my mum makes, and it makes me a little sad that we can’t do that this year. HOWEVER, it’s now that we need to spread some positivity! I would like to do that for other families and give you a little something to do together whilst we’re all stuck inside.

Today I bring you a delicious recipe which is totally moreish and easy to make with the kids: Mini Egg Fudgey Brownies. It’s an easy recipe to follow and fun for the kids to keep them busy on Easter weekend. Perhaps you could make the kids work for the brownies and set up an Easter egg brownie hunt in the house, a little bit of extra fun! These brownies store for 2-3 days in an airtight container.

I won’t make you wait any longer…

For the Brownies

  • 120 g/ 4.25 oz Butter (unsalted)
  • 170 g/ 6 oz Dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 100 g/ 3.5 oz White sugar
  • 110 g/ 4 oz Dark Muscovado sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs at room temperature
  • 2 Egg yolks (from Large eggs, keep the whites for an omelette or meringues!)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 30 g/ 1 oz Cocoa powder
  • 85 g/ 3 oz Plain flour
  • ½ Packet of Mini Eggs (or a whole pack, depends on how many you would link in your brownies)

For the toppings

  • ½ Packet of Mini Eggs
  • 30g/ 1oz Milk Chocolate

To make the brownies…

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ Gas Mark 4 and line a 7 inch baking tin with butter and a mixture of cocoa-powder and flour, or baking parchment.
  • Next, melt the butter and chocolate together in a Bain-Marie, stirring slowly until everything has melted.
  • Break down any lumps in the muscovado sugar using your fingers and mix with the white sugar.
  • Take the bowl off the heat and combine the sugars with the chocolate-butter mix until smooth.
  • Add the eggs and yolks and beat to combine using a handheld whisk, this shouldn’t be trying to make the mixture fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract when all other ingredients are combined.
  • Sieve the flour, cocoa and salt into the batter and fold until everything is combined and there is no sign of dry ingredients.
  • Chop up the Mini Eggs into quarters. Add the Mini Eggs into the brownie mixture and fold in until they are evenly distributed.
  • Pour into the lined tin and bake for 20 minutes. At this point test with a skewer – insert it into the centre of the brownie – if raw batter is evident on the stick put the brownie back in the oven for another 2-3 minutes and test again. Continue until the skewer comes out with no raw batter clinging to it.
  • When fully baked, take the brownie out of the oven and let the brownie cool completely in the tin.

To decorate the brownies…

  • Carefully chop the Mini Eggs into halves and also some quarters.
  • Melt the milk chocolate over a Bain-Marie and drizzle over the brownie with a teaspoon or a small piping bag, whichever is easiest.
  • Take the brownie out of the tin and put onto a wire rack.
  • Whilst the chocolate is still soft, quickly scatter the mini egg chunks – take time to put some of the larger colourful halves facing upwards.
  • Cut the brownie into 12 pieces, or 16 if you want smaller ones, and leave to set.

These could be great warmed up with a bit of ice cream as a naughty treat, and as snacks post the extremely-filling-Easter-roast / dinner!

My family are loving them, and I can’t wait for some of our readers to try these delightfully fudgey brownies. We’d love to see your Isolation Baking, so share your images on social media, tagging @wenzelsthebakers!

I hope you have a wonderful Easter and enjoy eating lots of chocolate and treats, even during this tough time.

Happy baking!

Lots of love and best wishes,

Wenzel’s xo

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Baking at Home

Baking lovers,

I hope you’re all well and staying safe in these tough times.

At home, I have already baked a lovely coffee cake, some raspberry muffins and some flapjacks! They all went down a treat with my family, although I think my parents’ “healthy eating” lost out. I will be putting these recipes up in the coming weeks for everyone to enjoy! Baking is something I like to do to relieve stress, as well as reading, so it’s really been helping during this time.

As promised, we are starting our weekly recipes for you to complete at home, either on your own as a bit of relaxation or with the kids to keep them entertained!

Today’s recipe is one for cake pops, but without the need to buy moulds online that might only be used once, twice if you’re lucky…

And let the baking commence!

For the cake you’ll need…

  • 100g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour. If you wanted to make chocolate cake pops, you could swap out 25g of the flour for cocoa powder.

For the buttercream and toppings, you will need…

  • 75g butter
  • 150g icing sugar. Again, if you wanted to have chocolate flavoured buttercream, replace 20g of icing sugar with cocoa powder. Can be more if you want a more chocolate-y buttercream!
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 200g chocolate, melted, to dip
  • Sprinkles, to dip
  • Mini cupcake cases (if you have them)

To start with, you will need to make the cake, as this needs to be cooled before you can assemble the cake pops.

  • Pre-heat your oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas mark 5.
  • Grease and line the base of a 20cm sandwich tin. You can use any type of tin, round or square, whichever you have in the kitchen!
  • Put the butter, sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl and beat well to a creamy consistency that is pale yellow in colour.
  • Slowly beat in the eggs, one by one, then sift in the flour and fold in until it is mixed well. Be careful not to knock out all of the air.
  • Place the mixture into the cake tin and bake for around 20 mins until risen and golden brown. Check the centre with a wooden or metal kebab stick – if there is anything on the stick, give it a few more minutes.
  • Set aside to cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, you will need to make the buttercream that will help form the cake pops.

  • In a large bowl, put the softened butter and sifted icing sugar. Slowly mix the two together until all of the icing sugar is combined, and then proceed to beat until smooth.
  • Once smooth, add the vanilla extract and milk and beat again.
  • When the cake is cooled, crumble into large crumbs into another bowl.
  • Add the butter cream and stir together so that all of the cake is combined to make a yummy mixture.
  • Take chunks of the cake mixture and roll into balls, wearing gloves if you would prefer, putting each ball onto a baking paper-lined tray or plate.
  • Push a lollypop stick into each, then put into the fridge for an hour to set ready for the decorating stage!

At this point you could get the kids to try to start writing up their own version of the recipe that they can add to their own little cookbook. I used to do this, and still have mine! Somewhat a writing exercise that could be made fun…

Once the cake pops have set, you will need to melt the chocolate that you will dip the pops in.

  • Break the chocolate up into a bowl and put in the microwave for 10 second blitzes. You could do this or use a Bain Marie and put the bowl over s pan of simmering water until the chocolate melts.
  • Get another bowl and put your sprinkles in.
  • Take each one of the chilled cake pops and dip them in the melted chocolate, letting them drip a little before taking them away from the bowl.
  • Dip into the sprinkles and stand upright in a mug or glass to set. They can be kept at room temperature or put in the fridge.
  • You can add mini cupcake cases so that they can stand as well, to try and avoid some mess.

 

And Voila! Yummy cake pops for the whole family to enjoy.

I hope you have fun making these, as well as eating them, and look forward to the next recipe! Stay safe; stay home and bake!

Love and best wishes,

Wenzels xo

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Exciting News!

Baking Lovers,

We hope you’re all doing okay and are staying safe.

Self-isolation is difficult, but shopping for essentials is a necessity and brings about a small breath of normality. Bread and milk are two of those essentials that we are able to provide to you, and we are hoping to make it just that little bit easier.

As you may well know, we do provide delivery through our partners UberEats, Deliveroo and Just Eat, however we are happy to announce that we are now able to offer a Click and Collect service through the Goodies app.

This service will only be available in the Rickmansworth, Garston, Northwood, Prestwick Road and Ickenham stores for the moment as we are trialling to see how much you guys use this. If this trial goes well, and the service is helpful to our customers, we will be rolling it out to every store.

We hope that this service will reduce the time you will spend in-store and allow you to follow proper social distancing procedures to protect each other and our wonderful staff.

The app is simple to use; so long as you have an email address and a phone number. Simply register an account and enter the app. To use the Click & Collect, go to the “Order & Collect” and allow your phone to follow the link and take you to where you can order your lovely fresh bread.

We really hope that we can try to make lives easier at this time, and make our customers feel as safe as possible when visiting our stores.

Love and best wishes,

Wenzel’s xo

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A Polite Notice…

Baking Lovers,

I hope whoever is reading this is well and staying safe.

Being indoors for so long is tough, the cabin fever is likely to set in and the pull of the glorious sunshine will make us all want to go outside. But because of this virus we can’t, and it’s annoying, but with books, blogs, films, TV and hobbies to take up, there is plenty we can do to keep ourselves sane; even if kids are involved in the isolation!

As cute as they are, they are bound to get bored at some point. So, we’ve decided here at Wenzel’s to put together a few yummy recipes that the kids can help make to keep them entertained for a little while, in between their school work. You could even call this “teaching them how to cook” and list it as one of their lessons! 😉

I am going to write these recipes in the posts that follow, and also keep you updated on how things are going with Wenzel’s and provide updates on the position we are in regarding staying open.

ARE WE OPEN?

At the moment, we are still open for business in most stores. Delivery is also available for you to get your fresh bread, milk and occasional little treats, through our partners Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat.

We have recently released a statement, and I would also like to post it here…

“To our lovely customers,

Since our last update to you, a lot has changed regarding the Government’s updates. We have been listening closely and abiding by them.

We also want our customers and staff to be reassured that we are doing everything we can at this time to keep everyone safe.

As a food shop, we are permitted to stay open; we will be remaining open for as long as possible to ensure our local communities can get their fresh bread and milk as often as they need to, and to take a little bit of the strain off of local supermarkets.

Many individuals rely on smaller shops to provide them with what they require, as they cannot get to supermarkets, and we would like these customers to feel comfortable in doing so.

We have introduced new measures in our shops in accordance to the social distancing advice. We have asked customers to respect their fellow peers and stay two metres apart, in store, and outside of our shops if they are queueing. We have also asked our customers to pay via contactless only.

Wenzel’s still deliver via our partners Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo, and hope to introduce further delivery methods to people who are outside of our existing delivery partners catchment, to you soon.

This is a difficult time and we need to stick together to ensure everyone in our communities get what they need.

We hope that you are staying safe.

The Wenzel’s Team”

I know times are difficult and weird right now, but we have to stick together and follow the Government’s guidelines. Communities need to stick together so that we can get this virus under control sooner rather than later!

With love and best wishes,

Wenzel’s xo

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🚨COMPETITION TIME🚨

Baking Lovers,

Would you like to be in with a chance to win tickets to see My Spy and spending money for you and your family?

Wenzel’s have an exciting competition for you to enter to win a brilliant afternoon for you and your kids; we are offering four tickets to see a film that is being released on the 13th March – My Spy, featuring Dave Bautista and Chloe Coleman.

As well as the tickets to see this amazing new film, we are offering you £500 spending money! You could spend it on a lovely family meal for after the film or whatever other fun stuff you can think of; great way to kick the spring off, and keep everyone in the family happy.

Want to know what the film is about? It’s a fantastic comedy with action and a little bit of romance; have a read and see what you think…

 

 MY SPY follows JJ a hardened CIA operative (Dave Bautista) who has been demoted and finds himself at the mercy of a precocious 9-year-old girl, named Sophie (Chloe Coleman) where he has been sent undercover begrudgingly to surveil her family. When Sophie discovers hidden cameras in her apartment, she uses her tech savviness to locate where the surveillance operation is set. In exchange for not blowing JJ’s cover Sophie convinces him to spend time with her and teach her to be a spy. Despite his reluctance JJ finds he is no match for Sophie’s disarming charm and wit.”

 

Sounds like something you and your family would enjoy? Well then…

  • Enter your email below to be in with a chance of winning ✍️ or go to http://bit.ly/MySpyComp
  • Alternatively, we are offering our customers a chance to win in-store. Simply fill your Loaf Loyalty card and hand it in in-store, with your details filled out on the back, to receive your free loaf and your entry! 🍞
  • For a BONUS entry, follow us on social media and repost our Instagram post on your story, tagging @wenzelsthebakers… 👌

 

We are so happy to be able to offer amazing prizes like this to our loyal customers, and hope to introduce even more. Make sure you keep up to date with everything that Wenzel’s have to offer by signing up to our emails. Don’t worry, we won’t bombard you, we will only email once a week! Pinky promise.

Good luck!

Wenzel’s xo

 

 

Full prize:

Win a family ticket to see MY SPY in cinemas across the UK..

Plus £500 spending money

 

Terms and conditions:

  • One winner will win 4 tickets to see MY SPY 12(A), In cinemas from MARCH 13
  • My Spy is certified 12A and all attendees must be over the age of 12
  • To find out more about My Spy and cinema locations please visit  https://www.myspy.film/
  • Cinema tickets to be redeemed by April 4th 2020, Blackout dates may apply and are subject to availability. Tickets are non-refundable, non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
  • £500 cash to be supplied to the winner one month after accepting the prize
  • A new winner will be selected at random if the original winner does not confirm their acceptance of the prize within ten days of being notified and the prize will be forfeited.
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HELLO BARNET!

Baking Lovers,

EXCITING NEWS!!!!!

Our lovely fresh products are coming to a new store near you…

We are hoping to expand a lot this year, so hopefully a lot more people will have better access to our amazing, yummy products! Our next new store will be opening in Barnet – 79 High Street, EN5 5UR. The closest train station is High Barnet on the Northern line.

Because of this new opening, we are hiring for all positions; Store Manager, Assistant Manager, Store Supervisor and also Sales Assistants. Have a look at the job descriptions on our Website, and if you think you have what it takes to take on one of these roles, please send in your CV, cover letter to hr@wenzels.co.uk.

You can also apply on Indeed, Monster Jobs and Leisure Jobs. Just search Wenzel’s the Bakers.

We can’t wait to open up lots of new stores, and to welcome new people into our family!

Wenzel’s xo

INDEED
MONSTER JOBS
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Prize Draw

Baking Lovers,

Another year, another great outcome from the Wenzel’s cash giveaway. Every year Wenzel’s hold a prize draw for a cash sum totalling the number of the year, which we love to do to be able to give back to our loyal customers. It is always easy to enter for everyone, with in-shop entries and online opportunities!

Throughout the month of January, we have been collecting your entries into our £2020 Giveaway draw, and we haven’t been disappointed! Thousands of our amazing customers have entered, and we wish we could pick more than one winner! I mean, who wouldn’t love £2020 to kick off the new year? I know I would.

Today the baker man and our head baker picked a ticket out of the mixer from the many, many entries…

Congratulations to the lucky winner!! We hope you enjoy your amazing prize!

We can’t wait for this competition to return next year, and for our customers to be in with another chance of winning some cold hard cash. I mean… it’s only going to keep getting better – £2021 next year 😉

THE GOLDEN TICKET 2019

The Golden Ticket competition from Christmas was also a great success.

We recently had one of our lovely, lucky winners in with all of her friends. They enjoyed a tour around the bakery and got to make some bread, decorate some cakes and learn a thing or two about our company. We got some great pictures of our winner and Mr. Wenzel at our HQ.

We hope to be able to introduce even more competitions and giveaways to give back to our customers, and to give you guys the opportunity to win some amazing experiences and cash to spend on whatever you’d like. (MORE YUMMIES!!!)

Fingers crossed you’ll win the next competition.

Love,

Wenzels xo

To be kept in the loop with all upcoming competitions, sign up for emails with Wenzel’s and you’ll be in on all updates, special offers and lots of other exciting stuff that’s in the works.

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Christmas Baking, Day 9🎄

Baking Lovers,

Today’s recipe is a gluten-free and dairy-free take on a delicious classic, perfect if you have people in your family that have intolerances or follow a vegan lifestyle. *Drum roll please* A creamy vegan lemon cheesecake! This recipe can be used for any occasion and tastes amazing. It’s easy to follow and quick! Perfect for the madness that is Christmas.

What you’ll need…

For the base

  • 30g coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 100g blanched almonds
  • 100g soft pitted dates

For the topping

  • 300g cashew nuts
  • 2 ½ tbsp agave syrup
  • 50g coconut oil
  • 150ml almond milk
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • (Optional) Candied Lemon, finely chopped

How to make tis scrumptious dessert…

  • Put the cashew nuts in a large bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, blitz the ingredients for the base with a pinch of salt in a food processor.
  • Grease a 23cm round tin with coconut oil, then press the mix into the base and pop in the fridge to set (about 30 mins).
  • Drain the cashews and tip into the clean food processor.
  • Add all the other topping ingredients, reserving a small amount of the lemon zest in damp kitchen paper, then blend until all ingredients are mixed well and smooth.
  • Spoon the topping mix onto the set base, spread so that it is level and put in the fridge to set– about 2 hours. Just before serving, scatter over the left-over lemon zest or the candied lemon peel, or both!

This recipe isn’t just for those that cannot consume gluten or dairy, it’s a great light alternative to the heavy desserts often associated with Christmas and family gatherings. It tastes just as good as the real thing – you’d believe that it was!

You can substitute some ingredients for others such as lime or orange, and nuts such as peanuts or walnuts! Whatever takes your fancy.

Enjoy!

Wenzel’s xo

🎄

Recipe adapted from: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/raw-lemon-cheesecake
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Christmas Baking, Day 8 🎄

Baking Lovers,

 

Here comes another tasty, sticky recipe to get your hands dirty with – Mince Pie Baklava.

If you already love this syrupy pastry treat, then this Christmas take on a traditional Turkish recipe will right up your street! If you’ve never tried Baklava, then now is the time to start.

 

You might think that this recipe will be a hard one, but it definitely not. It may take a little extra time, but it is definitely worth it for the gooey, sugary goodness.

 

What you’ll need…

  • 411g mincemeat
  • 100g pistachios, chopped
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 150g butter
  • 2 x 270g packs of filo pastry
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier or brandy

 

How to make these Turkish treats…

  • Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3.
  • Melt the butter, then grease the bottom and sides of a 20 x 30cm baking tin. Cut the sheets of filo so they’re the same size as the tin, then cover with a damp tea towel to stop them from drying out. Filo is very fragile, so if they dry out, they will be very hard to work with and may split very easily.
  • Mix your mincemeat with the pistachios, almonds, orange zest and a little salt. Once combined, leave in the fridge.
  • Press one sheet of filo pastry into the tin and brush with the melted butter. Continue to layer the pastry with butter in between until you have used one pack of pastry.
  • Evenly spread the mincemeat mixture over the bottom layer pf pastry. Top with the remaining filo, continuing to brush the layers with melted butter. Brush the final layer with melted butter.
  • Using a very sharp knife, cut deep, diagonal lines all the way through the pastry to form a diamond pattern. Bake in the oven for 1 hr until golden.

Meanwhile, make the syrup.

  • Put the sugar and 75ml water into a saucepan and cook over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer until the syrup is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the Grand Marnier or brandy.
  • Once the baklava has baked, remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Pour the syrup over the baklava so that it’s even, then return it to the oven for 5 mins or until the syrup has been absorbed.
  • Leave to cool completely in the tin, then slice into pieces along the diagonal lines. Will keep for up to one week in an airtight container.

 

I hope you enjoy this simple, easy recipe! It’s a great treat for those who prefer something other than chocolate or just normal, old Christmas Pud’! You can serve them warm with ice cream or let them cool and enjoy with coffee!

We would love to see your goodies, so share them on social media and tag Wenzel’s so we can see!

Merry-almost-Christmas!

Wenzel’s xo

🎄

This recipe is adapted from: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/mince-pie-baklava
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Christmas Baking, Day 7🎄

Baking Lovers,

We’re getting closer to the Big Day! Yay!

Today’s recipe comes straight from Paris and all of your French afternoon-tea dreams: the macaron. There is a lot talk about how Macarons are one of the hardest cookies to bake, however by following any recipe to a T, you should be able to create the most delightful after-dinner digestif. It is important to follow the recipe exactly for these cookies as everything is so precise, and even the pros sometimes make mistakes!

Macarons have been a favourite of mine since I started watching an American cult favourite TV show about “Manhattan’s Elite”, and decided I HAD to try them. Love at first bite. When I made macarons for the first time, I was trying so hard to impress my Food Tech teacher. I spent my whole lunch time finishing them off and actually got an A! Not too bad for a fourteen-year-old.

For this blog post recipe, I have done hours of reading to find the best tips and tricks to ensure that you have a firm idea of how to properly make macarons (and hopefully avoid total cookie carnage).

I have to say, creating such a delicate bake is a labour of love, but if you enjoy their chewy, yummy goodness then it is worth it.

They’re also gluten free, so perfect if you have gluten-intolerant guests!

For this recipe, I will be using the Italian method of making macarons as it is harder to deflate the meringue and be left with a mess of sugar and almonds. I know, I know… I said French… You are welcome to try the French method. This will give the macarons a crispier texture.

I have added in a minty Christmas twist for the ganache; however, you may wish to change the flavour or use a buttercream instead! It’s totally up to you.

For the Macarons:

  • 120 g Egg Whites leave your eggs out for a couple of hours, so they are at room temperature.
  • 150 g Finely Ground Almonds
  • 150 g Icing Sugar
  • 5g Cream of Tartar
  • 150 g Caster Sugar
  • 37 ml Water
  • 5 ml Green or Red Extra Strong Food Colour Gel (NOT LIQUID)
  • Sugar thermometer

For the chocolate peppermint ganache filling:

  • 300 g Extra Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa solids or more)
  • 200 g Double Cream
  • 10 ml Peppermint Extract or another flavouring of your choice.

For the decoration:

  • Raspberries
  • Mint Leaves
  • Sweets, Candy Canes
  • Edible Glitter is also a nice Christmassy option.

Preparation for this recipe is just as important as following it.

Prep-steps…

  • Thoroughly clean all of your equipment that you plan to use. Wipe down your bowl with vinegar to remove any remaining grease. Any traces of grease or dirt could alter the consistency of the meringue.
  • Separate your egg whites the day before and put them into one of your bowls. Cover with cling film, make a couple of holes, and leave in the fridge for around 24 hrs. DON’T forget to take them out 30 MINS. BEFORE you start whisking!! They need to be at room temperature for this recipe.
  • Make sure you have accurate measuring scales. No using jugs or ‘cups’ for this recipe as this is not accurate enough and won’t produce the results you desire!
  • Measure all of your ingredients before you start baking. This makes the process much easier and ensures that everything is correct, and you aren’t rushing. You should also sieve the ground almonds and icing sugar to remove any lumps. Make sure you do this twice! Lumps will alter the texture.
  • Pipe the macaron mixture with a simple nozzle. You can print out a template/guide on how to pipe the macaron mixture perfectly! Once piped, you should tap the baking tray onto a hard surface to remove any bubbles inside the macarons. Any bubbles that raise to the top should be popped with a clean, sterile needle to ensure a smooth surface!
  • Macarons take practice and a lot of patience. Take it slow with the recipe and make sure you follow every step!
  • Cream of Tartar is not essential to the making of macarons, so you can leave it out if you have made meringues before or feel like you will be able to get the correct consistency.
  • If you want to freeze the macaron shells, you can wrap each individual cookie in clingfilm and put them in a hard, airtight container. They will freeze well for around 3-4 weeks, after that they won’t be at their best.

How to make these delicious delicate cookies…

  • Preheat oven to 150°C/140°C fan oven/Gas Mark 2.
  • Take 3 flat baking trays approx. 29cm x 35cm and line with non-stick baking paper.
  • Take another sheet of baking paper and cut it to the same size of your baking trays. On this paper draw your templates for the macarons. Each circle should be approx. 4cm in diameter and there should be a gap of approx. 2cm between each circle. Put the template under one of the sheets of the greaseproof paper lining the trays. Alternatively, you could print out a template. A website is listed below for this.
  • Split the egg whites into two equal batches. Put 60g of the egg white into a large clean bowl and set both aside.
  • Put the ground almonds and icing sugar in a food processor and process until well combined and even in colour. Transfer to a sieve and sieve over one of the batches of egg whites. Add the food colouring of your choice (MUST BE GEL) and mix all until well combined and in a paste.
  • Put the remaining 60g of egg whites into the bowl of a freestanding mixer. If you don’t have one, then any electric or hand whisk will do the job just as well!
  • In a small pan add the caster sugar and water and heat until it reaches 117°C, measuring the heat with a sugar thermometer. Try not to stir the sugar a lot as this could cause the syrup to crystallise. Avoid getting too much up the sides of the pan.
  • Whilst the sugar is heating begin whisking the eggs on a med-high speed until frothy then add the cream of tartar and whisk until it forms stiff peaks.
  • Once the sugar has reached the right temperature, put the mixer on high speed and slowly pour the sugar syrup into the whisked eggs whites down the side of the bowl. Try not to let the sugar syrup touch the whisk directly.
  • Once all the sugar syrup is in the egg whites, continue whisking at high speed for another two minutes then turn down the speed to medium until the bowl of the mixture is at room temperature. Try not to over-whisk the mixture. The meringue should have a glossy finish.
  • Now, gradually combine the meringue with the coloured almond mixture. Do this in three parts. Stir to combine until it is streak free then add the remainder of the meringue. Be careful not to over-mix and knock all of the air out. The consistency you are looking for should be like flowing molten lava. You should be able to form ribbons or a figure of 8 without it dropping instantly.
  • Transfer the green macaron mix to a piping bag with the small nozzle and pipe the mixture onto one of your prepared trays with the guide. Once the tray is full, remove the template from underneath. Now tap your tray onto a hard surface 3-4 times to remove any large bubbles and to even out your macarons. Repeat with other baking trays until you have used all of the mixture,
  • Leave the macarons out to form a sort of skin; they should be tacky to the touch. Bake one tray of macarons at a time for around 15-20 minutes until the macarons are risen and feel solid to the touch. If the macaron wobbles when you touch it then they need a couple more minutes.
  • Once cooked, leave to cool on the baking paper completely before taking them off and setting them aside. Taking them off whilst they are still even slightly warm means you risk your shells being hollow due to the bottom sticking to the paper!

For the filling and putting them together…

  • Once your macaron shells are cooling, make the chocolate peppermint ganache by heating the double cream and peppermint extract in a pan until it starts to steam.
  • Finely cut the chocolate and put in a glass bowl. Pour over the warmed cream and stir quickly until all of the chocolate has melted. Alternatively, use a similar method to that of the truffle filling in myChristmas Baking, Day 1 recipe.
  • Put in the fridge to cool for about 20 minutes, stirring every now and again until the mixture is cold. When cold, whip up the mixture using an electric or hand whisk for a couple of minutes until thick and fluffy in texture.
  • Pair up the macaron shells so that they match and then fill with the ganache using a piping bag with a small nozzle. Start in the centre and leave around 0.5cm. Put both halves together and twist slightly to ensure that the filling spreads and the macarons stay together.
  • Let the macarons mature in the fridge overnight to bring out all of the flavours.
  • Take flat serving platter and assemble your macarons onto it in a circle so it resembles a wreath. You could use a tiny bit of ganache under each one to secure them in place. Decorate with a dusting of cocoa powder, fresh raspberries, mint leaves and candy canes or any other Christmas treats you fancy.
  • If preparing the day before the filled macarons will keep in an airtight container overnight in the fridge. They can be frozen, but I think it is best to wrap each shell individually, then freeze.

This is probably going to be the most intricate and longest recipe I will post, but I think it’s totally worth the extra time. If you fail the first time, keep trying because they are very hard to make. This recipe, however, should provide you will a fail-proof way to create these cookies and wow your friends and family!

Bonne chance mes chers!

Merry-almost-Christmas!

Wenzels xo

🎄

Head to https://www.thespruceeats.com/tips-for-perfect-macarons-435128 for some extra tips on how to make the perfect Macaron shells!
This recipe is adapted from:
https://www.oetker.co.uk/uk-en/recipe/r/macaron-wreath
https://letthebakingbegin.com/basic-macarons-italian-meringue-method/
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Christmas Baking, Day 6🎄

Baking Lovers,

So, so close!! Yay!

I’ve nearly finished all of my Christmas shopping, put the decorations up (even in the office) and am now just waiting to get giving!

Today’s recipe comes all the way from Romania where one of my colleagues is from! She was telling me stories about fond memories that she associates with this lovely, easy recipe; Christmas nights eating this sweet treat with family and let me tell you: this is so easy and yummy that you will want to make it every year.

Chocolate and biscuits in the traditional Salam de Biscuiti, a no-baking-required recipe that is great for making with the kids – provided you don’t mind them getting a bit messy – is a delicious combination, which can also be made even more Christmassy with the addition of dried fruits, nuts, mint or orange, or another type of biscuit! As the name entails, it’s a chocolate ‘salami’ that you roll up and can cut into little portions; perfect for sharing with your family and friends with a nice hot cup of tea or even a glass of Mulled Wine.

Now, for this recipe you will need…

  • 300 g butter biscuits (perhaps left-over biscuits from the last recipe…)
  • 120 ml milk
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 100 g unsalted butter
  • 70 g unsweetened cocoa powder (50g for the mixture, 20g to roll the salami in)
  • Icing sugar (to dust the roll in)
  • 1 teaspoon rum aroma (this is optional)

To get things rolling (pun intended)…

  • Break up your chosen biscuits. You can do this by hand or use a rolling pin to crush them underneath a tea-towel. You don’t want the pieces to be too small, or too large. This could be great for getting out all the stress… worked wonders for me! Make sure to put the biscuit pieces into a heat-proof glass bowl.
  • Next, put the milk and sugar into a pan and put on the heat. Bring this to the boil, stirring from time to time. Only let the mixture boil for around 1 minute, you don’t want the sugar to burn! Take off the heat and add the butter and stir until it has completely melted.
  • When it has cooled slightly, add in 50g of cocoa and the rum aroma. Stir until everything is mixed together and completely smooth.
  • Pour the mixture over the broken biscuits in the glass bowl, mix until all of the biscuit pieces are coated with the cocoa mixture.
  • Cut two large pieces of cling-film and lay as flat as possible on a cool surface. (I struggled a lot with the cling-film, it definitely stood up to its name… I nearly cried, my family nearly witnessed a grown woman struggling to hold down a piece of plastic and start crying… not a good time for me.)
  • Separate the mixture into two even batches and put them on the two pieces of cling-film. Form a rough sausage with the mixture and start to tightly roll it in the cling-film to create a ‘salami’. Repeat with both batches of the mixture.
  • Place the rolls in the fridge until they are nice and firm, perhaps for a couple of hours or overnight.
  • Before serving, take the salami out of the cling-film and roll in the remainder of the unsweetened cocoa, then dust with icing sugar. You can then put them back in the fridge, or slice and serve straight away.

There you have it. Super easy, but great taste – what’s not to like? Instead of butter biscuits, you could use Wenzel’s Gingerbread biscuits to create your own version, without the rum aroma.

Get rolling!

Merry-almost-Christmas,

Wenzel’s xo

🎄

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Christmas Baking, Day 5🎄

Baking Lovers,

When I was younger Christmas was great; the amount of Secret Santa presents and biscuits we were given was crazy… I can thank my mum for that! We would always have some sort of treat to keep my little brother and I happy and it was brilliant. One bad thing about becoming an adult – no more treats for me. Sad times. However, the highlight of my festive season was going to a family friend’s house to bake many different types of Danish cookies – and eating them after. This recipe comes from this lovely family friend who was more than happy to share this traditional recipe with me!

You might think, ‘oh they look exactly like Scottish Shortbread.’ They are not. They are buttery, vanilla-ry biscuits which melt in your mouth and leave you wanting more. So, be warned, it’s very easy to finish a whole tin on your own. You may have tried the little blue tin of Danish biscuits, but they don’t even compare to the lovely home-made version.

*This recipe contains almonds*

What you’ll need…

  • Piping bag with small star nozzle
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla pod OR 1tsp of vanilla bean paste (you can add more vanilla if you’d like. Seeds from 2 vanilla pods would work great.)
  • 375g cold Danish butter
  • 375g plain flour
  • 125g potato flour
  • 100g blanched, very finely chopped almonds
  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 1 medium egg

How to make…

  • Sieve and mix the plain flour and potato flour together in a large bowl.
  • Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour – not beating yet. This should create a crumbly texture.
  • Add the vanilla seeds, almonds and sugar to the dry ingredients and mix together.
  • Once all of the dry ingredients are combined, beat in the egg quickly to form a dough.
  • Leave the dough covered in a cool place overnight. This will make it easier to pipe, so the longer in the fridge before piping the better.
  • The next day, line two baking trays with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 200˚C/350˚F/Gas 4.
  • Put the dough into a piping bag with a small star nozzle/tube. Pipe the dough into strips of around 10cm and form into rings. The biscuits should be well spaced out to allow for them spreading slightly. Once you have filled the baking tray, put into the top of the oven for around 8 minutes, or until slightly golden brown, depending on your oven.
  • Put the dough in the fridge between batches to keep it cool and to ensure it does not go too soft to pipe and form rings.
  • Once baked, leave to cool completely before taking them off of the baking paper, then transfer to a wire rack. Sprinkle some extra sugar over the cookies before serving and enjoy!

 

This ultra-simple recipe is quick and easy to follow, even when everything is getting hectic, so they’re perfect for this time of year. If you wanted to jazz them up even more, you could skip the sprinkling of sugar and dip each ring in melted dark or milk chocolate on one side, and leave to set. The vanilla rings should keep in an airtight container for about a week, and three months if frozen.

These little butter biscuits can also be used in the next recipe that I’ll be posting, so keep your eyes peeled!

Enjoy making these with your little ones, and carry on my own little tradition.

Merry-almost-Christmas!

Wenzel’s xo

🎄

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Christmas Baking, Day 4🎄

Baking Lovers,

Today’s instalment of the 12 days of Christmas Baking is a delicious mix of two favourite sweet treats; mince pies and brownies! These sticky, chocolatey brownies are sure to be a winner in many people’s books, making them great to serve for Christmas dessert with yummy ice cream should people not want to eat the Christmas pud’. These are a Christmassy take on a classic that can be a great alternative to Christmas pudding, or Christmas cake, as it incorporates a lot of festive elements. Perfect for kids and big kids at heart!

For this recipe, I recommend using the Wenzel’s Luxury Mince Pies; you’ll need to buy two boxes but that way you’ll also be in for a chance of winning our Golden Ticket! Imagine winning £250 for making brownies… good deal if you ask me! You could also jazz them up even more and choose some other additions to put into your brownies. Chocolate chips, other dried fruits, or maybe extra rum? Hmm that would be a great addition, just don’t give them to the kids!

Now, get going and bake these delicious brownies! (Or not. Completely up to you… but I would.)

What you’ll need to make these brownies…

  • 185g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 185g high-quality dark chocolate 80%, chopped
  • 85g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder (plus extra for dusting the tin)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 275g golden caster sugar
  • 6 mince pies or 9-12 mini mince pies
  • icing sugar, for dusting

How to make the best Christmas brownies EVER…

  • Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium bowl, either in a microwave –heat in 20-second blasts, careful not to burn the chocolate; this will make it grainy – or by putting the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stirring occasionally. Once melted, leave the mixture to cool. Similar to making the chocolate truffle ganache mixture, you don’t want the chocolate and butter to heat up too much.
  • Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter the sides of a of a shallow 20cm square tin and coat the sides with cocoa powder. Line the base with grease-proof baking parchment.
  • Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into a large enough bowl to hold all of the ingredients.
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy, or when the mixture runs off the beater and leaves a trail for a second or two. It should not be too runny or too think.
  • Add in the cooled chocolate mixture, then fold together with a spatula, moving the bowl round until the mixture is a marbled dark brown. Be gentle so you don’t knock out all of the air.
  • Sift in the cocoa and flour mixture and continue gently folding. The mixture will eventually look fudgy. Stop just before you feel you should, as you don’t want to over-mix it.
  • Spoon a little mixture into the prepared tin so that it is around 2cm thick, then add the mince pies, leaving them whole. Pour over the rest of the mixture, gently pushing it between the mince pies. Make sure the top is level, and covers all of the pies, to ensure an even bake.
  • Put in the pre-heated oven for about 25 mins. If the brownie mixture is very wobbly in the middle, it’s not quite done, so bake for another 5 -10 mins, or until the top has a shiny crust, sides are just beginning to come away from the tin and the centre is less wobbly. If you want sticky brownies, the centre should still be slightly soft.
  • Take out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin before attempting to remove.
  • Once completely cool, remove from the tin ad put onto a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and cocoa powder. Cut the brownies into 16 even squares, or less if you want bigger brownies for desserts.

 

You can serve these mice-pie chocolate treats warm with your choice of ice cream (rum and raisin or vanilla would be great partners), or just on their own as a snack with a tea or coffee! Enjoy!

Merry-almost-Christmas!

Wenzel’s xo

🎄

Recipe adapted from:
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/mince-pie-brownies
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Christmas Baking, Day 3🎄

Baking Lovers,

Today’s Christmassy treat traditionally comes from Scotland, and it is a family favourite of mine, with a nice cuppa in front of the TV in the evening on Christmas Day: Scottish Shortbread! Usually my Mum doesn’t have the time to make them herself, so I make them with my Nan when I go to pick her up on Christmas eve. It’s a little tradition of ours. I have adapted an easy to follow recipe I found online (link below), which makes baking these buttery, crumbly treats easier than you thought!

If you wanted to jazz them up a lil’, you could add in dried fruit or chocolate chips – depending on your taste. Unfortunately, these cannot be frozen, so they’re best made the day before you eat or give them as a present! Everyone loves to get yummy biscuits at Christmas because it is ALWAYS a “cheat day” and calories do not count!

It is important to get the balance between dry and wet ingredients right. If the biscuits have too much butter, they will be too soft and won’t bake right. Too little and they’ll be too dry to stay together.

To make the shortbreads you’ll need…

  • 350g plain flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 250g butter, cut into small cubes
  • Caster sugar, for dusting
  • 2 x 23cm round sandwich tins, buttered and base-lined with grease proof paper.

Making the biscuits…

  • Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.
  • Put the flour, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Put the butter cubes into the bowl and start to combine the mixture by hand. (This is where you would also put in the Chocolate chips etc) Work the mixture until it forms a ball – do not beat the mixture with a spoon or whisk. The mixing may take a while as you are doing it manually, but don’t be tempted to use another method!
  • Divide the mixture into 2 and put a portion into each tin, pressing it into an even layer.
  • Use the handle end of a fork to create a dimpled pattern around the edges of the tins, then use the prongs to prick over the surface to create small holes. Not too many!
  • Place the tins in the centre of the oven and bake for about 30-40 mins, or until the mixture is a pale golden colour.
  • When baked to perfection, take out of the oven and leave to cool for around 5 minutes.
  • Remove the shortbread from the tins and cut into petticoat tails, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with caster sugar before serving by rolling each one in the sugar or sprinkling it over.

 

These crumbly, yummy biscuits are so moreish that you might want to make several batches! Use an old biscuit tin to share with your family and friends around Christmas time, for a treat that no one can turn down. They aren’t heavy chocolate biscuits that you may usually receive as a present, so they’re great for when you want a little bit of something sweet to round off your Christmas foody celebrations.

Hope you enjoy this easy recipe!

 

Merry-almost-Christmas!

 

Wenzel’s xo

🎄

This recipe is adapted from here:
Scottish Shortbread
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Christmas Baking, Day 2🎄

Baking Lovers,

It’s that time again: my next instalment into the 12 Days of Baking!

As I said in my first post about my Christmas blogging, I wanted to explore some different traditions from around the world where my colleagues are from. I have accumulated a few great recipes that are worth the effort, and taste amazing. Some are easier than others, but today’s recipe may take a little extra TLC…

Today we’re going for a traditional Hungarian sweet treat which one of our directors suggested to me. Being from Budapest (it’s actually pronounced Buda-pesht!), he told me that he remembers it from when he was young, always at Christmas and Easter. After I did my research, I found a great, easy recipe that makes a perfect Beigli.

The Beigli is (sort of) Budapest’s take on a yule log – hopefully Hungarians won’t curse me for that comparison! It’s light and perfect as an after-christmas-dinner bite.

***This recipe contains nuts and seeds, so please avoid if there are any nut and seed allergies in your family***

For the Dough

  • 5 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 220g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 230ml sour cream
  • 450g self-rising flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast

For the Filling

  • 250ml whole milk
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 250g finely chopped walnuts or poppy seeds
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 75g golden raisins
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Start by making the light dough…

  • Combine the granulated sugar, butter, egg yolks, and sour cream in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade and process well. Alternatively, you can use an easier method of just the usual bowl and wooden spoon!
  • Add the flour and yeast and beat until the dough comes together. The dough should be moist and easy to work with, if not add in a tables.
  • Shape the dough into a ball, cover with a damp towel, and set aside.

To make the filling

  • Heat the milk and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture has a syrupy consistency. Add the chopped walnuts and stir to combine. Remove the saucepan from the heat; stir in the lemon zest and raisins and let filling cool.
  • Preheat an oven to 375°F (190°C).

Construct the rolls…

  • Divide the dough into three pieces. Roll one piece of dough out on a lightly floured surface to form a long rectangle about a 1/4-inch thick; keep the remaining dough covered.
  • Spread 1/3 of the walnut filling on the dough, leaving about an inch of dough at each edge. Roll the dough up to form a log and press to seal. Place the dough, seam-side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  • Beat the egg with the tablespoon of milk to make an egg wash. You can use a tablespoon of water if you prefer. Brush the loaves with egg wash and let rest for 1 hour in a warm place.
  • After the dough has risen, brush it again with egg wash and put the baking tray in the fridge for half an hour (this will give the dough a shiny finish).
  • Bake the loaves until they’re a deep golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes.
  • Take them out and leave to cool. Once they’re nice and cold, you can slice them and get ready to serve! Brilliant as a dessert or just a light, sweet snack!

 

This is one of the first traditions that I have written about that isn’t something I had tried before, and I was so pleasantly surprised – I don’t usually like nuts, but this bread is to die for. It really tasted like Christmas in a mouthful, and it made my family very happy. (Although I’m not sure if that was the Beigli or the constant stream of baked goodies…)

I hope that all of your Christmas prep and baking is going well! We would love to see your goodies, so share them on social media and tag Wenzel’s so we can see!

Merry-almost-Christmas!

Wenzel’s xoxo

🎄

 

We have taken some inspiration from this recipe as our Director told us that this one was the most authentic!
https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/97500/hungarian-beigli/
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Christmas Baking, Day 1🎄

Baking Lovers,

Not to make anyone panic but… 12 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!! The child in me is so excited, the adult who still needs to buy Christmas presents – not so much.

It’s time for my first instalment into the Twelve Days of Baking! Christmas baking and cooking might be something you’re interested in, whether it be a hobby or something enjoyable to do with the kids, keep reading for yummy baking ideas and ways to keep your festive fun stress free!

The first recipe I would like to grace your screens with is a simple, yet effective, Christmas Chocolate Truffles recipe! These dark chocolate truffles are a perfect after-dinner bite as they aren’t too big and taste great. You can also make them with the little ones to give to their loved ones as a lovely home-made gift. They can be coated in a smooth, satisfying chocolate shell, or rolled in a Christmas topping of your choice. You might be thinking ‘hmm am I interested?’, so read ahead to find out how you can make these perfect morsels suitable for adults.

We have taken recipes from our own experience and other various sources, but we take no credit from those we have sourced from elsewhere. Links will be provided.

 Christmas Chocolate Truffles

This is a recipe that I’ve loved making since I was old enough to be sensible (or so my mum thought…) It’s an easy recipe to follow, no baking included.

What you’ll need:

  • 400g Dark Chocolate (70%), finely chopped.
  • 200ml Double Cream (150ml of cream if using milk or white chocolate, due to a higher fat content in the sweeter chocolates)
  • (OPTIONAL ADULT ADDITION: Swap out 100ml of the double cream with a liquor of your choice to make these yummy chocolate truffles a little less PG.)
  • Cocoa Powder
  • 200g Dark or Milk chocolate, for the coating.
  • 25g of white chocolate

Recommended:

  • A couple of large glass bowls
  • Chocolate thermometer
  • Saucepan
  • Spatula
  • Measuring jug
  • Weighing scales
  • Spoon and fork
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Piping bag or bottle

Toppings ideas…

  • Cocoa powder
  • Hazelnuts
  • Crushed candy canes
  • Crushed Wenzel’s gingerbread biscuits
  • Christmas sprinkles
  • Coconut shavings
  • White chocolate shavings
  • Daim bar
  • And any other yummy Christmas treats you can think of.

How to make these decadent treats…

Make the ganache filling

  • First step is to combine your cream, chocolate and liquor – if you’re opting to use it. VERY finely chop your 400g of chocolate. Put the cream and liquor into a pan on a very low heat. DO NOT LET THE CREAM BOIL!
  • Once the cream has started to steam, take it off the heat and combine with your chopped chocolate and stir until all chocolate has melted and the ganache is a silky texture. Leave to set at room temperature, then transfer to the fridge.

Tempering the chocolate for the coating

  • Whilst the ganache cools, create the melted chocolate for the coating. Finely chop the chocolate and put 150g in a glass bowl over a Bain Marie. Do not stir the chocolate. Heat to 45°, using the thermometer to check. If using milk or white chocolate, it should only be 43°.
  • When the chocolate has melted, take away from the heat.
  • To temper the chocolate, gradually add in the other 50g of finely chopped chocolate and stir continuously until it has reached 32°. If not all of the chocolate has melted, you can take it out!

Making the chocolates

  • Prepare a baking sheet or another flat surface with baking parchment or grease proof paper.
  • Use a cold metal spoon to scoop out a 1” ball of the chocolate ganache. Dust your hands with cocoa powder and roll into a ball. Can use gloves instead if you prefer.
  • Drop one of the ganache balls into the tempered chocolate. Use a metal spoon to ensure it is completely covered. Take it out with the spoon and transfer onto the baking parchment/ grease proof paper.
  • Leave at room temperature to set or put them in the fridge to speed things up! By putting them in the fridge, you are less likely to get shiny, smooth chocolates.
  • Alternatively, rather than dipping the ganache into the melted chocolate, you can roll them in cocoa powder or another Christmassy coating of your choice!
  • When the truffles are set, you need to temper the white chocolate to decorate. Use the same method as per the dark chocolate but only let the chocolate get to 43°, to avoid splitting. When adding the remainder of the chopped chocolate, the temperature should be reduced to 30°.
  • When the chocolate has been tempered, put into a small-nozzle piping bag or bottle, and drizzle over a selection of the chocolates.
  • Leave to set completely and serve at your next family gathering, friends meet-up or office party! They’re perfect as gifts wrapped in a little box with tissue paper, or whatever else you’d like to conceal these with! Be as inventive as you can 😉

If you try this recipe, let us know! Post your gorgeous truffles on social media and tag Wenzel’s, we’d love to see your own efforts.

I hope that your Christmas season is festive and as stress-free as it can be, and that you and your little ones enjoy trying out this recipe and the ones to come!

Merry-almost-Christmas!

Wenzel’s xo

🎄

 

I took some inspiration from these sites and my own experience:
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Christmas Baking and Golden Ticket

Baking Lovers,

It’s CHRISTMAS!!! Well, nearly.

The time of year for giving is almost upon us, and we cannot wait to share the holiday with you, our family, and treat you to some delicious recipes and gifting ideas.

With Christmas right around the corner, and the school holidays coming into sight, it’s no wonder things are getting stressful! I don’t know about you, but I’ve already started my present shopping and Christmas planning; the earlier the better I always say.

In my Christmas blog this year, I would like to start a new tradition for Wenzel’s and our Baking Lovers: I will be posting new recipes every day for the 12 days running up to Christmas. Yes, I know the actual 12 days of Christmas are after the Big Day, but these recipes are too good to wait and they could make good present ideas for the foodies in your life! Plus, who doesn’t love a little bit of baking, especially at this time of year when the kids need something to do, or you’re just bored of sitting inside away from the chill of the wintery air? Even if you aren’t a fan of baking, we have some no-baking-required ideas that’ll blow your Christmas Stockings off and delight your taste buds!

We’ve made a mini collection of yummy Christmas recipes, some from our families and some adapted from other various sites that we’ve tried out. In the Wenzel’s head office and main bakery, we have employees from many different cultures that mix to create the most amazing place to work. I spoke to many of my co-workers and gathered a few recipes which they see as traditions!

Some traditions from us at the offices include Mákos Beigli – one of our Wenzel’s Directors is from Budapest and told me about this delicious pastry – Romanian Chocolate Biscuit Salami, Danish Butter Cookies, Scottish Shortbread and Chocolate Truffles. Personally, I love to try new food and see what new favourites I can find. I hope that the recipes that I will be uploading on the blog can provide some new recipes for you to try and fall in love with. The 12 Days of Christmassy Baked Goodness will commence on Friday 13th December and will run until Christmas Eve. We are also encouraging anyone who tries the recipes to take some pictures, upload them to social media and tag Wenzel’s! Hopefully we can build our Baking Lovers family and encourage other people to get baking in their homes.

 

The festive treats and products are out in stores, the office Secret Santa has been given out, the Christmas party is coming up and the buzz is huge. With all of our planning, we have been thinking of ways to give back to our loyal customers at Wenzel’s and have recently launched our Golden Ticket competition for another year! Visit your nearest store and purchase a box of 4 Luxury Mince Pies to see if you have a Golden Ticket in your pack. You could win £250 and a tour of our bakery in Watford! If you don’t win, keep your mince pies pealed for our next competition announcement… coming soon.

*Queue the annoyingly catchy music and pretty Christmas lights*

Merry almost-Christmas!

Wenzel’s xo

 For Full terms and conditions of the Golden Ticket competitionclick here
DISCLAIMER: We do not take any credit for the recipes we have sourced from websites, cookbooks or any other form of published work. Any recipe origin locations will be mentioned.
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Halloweenzel’s

Baking Lovers,

 

It’s that time of year again where everything starts getting colder, darker and… the heating comes back on. The time of year when all you want is a nice hot drink and something yummy to munch on. Or, perhaps you’re like us at Wenzel’s and all you can think about are the exciting events coming up like Halloween, Bonfire Night and CHRISTMAS!!! We’re a tad bit excited. Halloween parties are the next thing on the agenda for the kids, so we’ve come up with a few ways to make your parties a little less stressful.

 

Halloween party food

This year why not provide the little ones with some yummy treats, with our range of kid’s platters? Jam, Cheese and Ham sandwiches, as well as doughnuts, are available to order, making everything a whole lot easier! All you’ll need to provide are the other sweets and treats for your little poltergeists and let us handle the rest.

 

Halloween party games

Up the amp on your little ones’ parties with some fun games that don’t cause mess or too much stress;

  • Keep the skeleton heads up; use white balloons and a black marker pen to create the spooky “skeleton heads” that the kids can use to play a game of keepy-uppy! Only mess you’ll get is from popped balloons – easy to tidy away.
  • Pumpkin bean bag toss; use cardboard and paint to create 3 pumpkins. Create a cut-out mouth on each one, each with a different size, and label them with different numbers of points. Bean bag toss with a spooky twist!
  • Put the nose on the pumpkin; exactly like pin the tail on the donkey, but use cut outs of the pumpkin nose. Write each kids’ name on the spot they “pinned” the pumpkin nose, and whoever is closest wins. (use tape to “pin” the nose rather than an actual pin if you’d rather – to avoid any spiky accidents!)

 

As we get deeper into the cold chill of autumn, we’d love to know what products you’d like to see back in store. Could it be an old favourite or a new idea for us, we’re totally open to anything! How about the apple custard doughnut or maybe a new pumpkin spiced range? But for now, with the release of our Halloween products, and our range of soups making a triumphant return, we hope you’ll let Wenzel’s warm up your Autumn.

 

Happy Halloweening!

 

Wenzel’s xo

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