I really love to bake! I find it relaxing and I can just zone out of life for a bit whilst I make something delicious. I also love coffee, it keeps me going when I am tired and I am a proper coffee snob, no instant for me!
Combining the two, baking and coffee (or tea), to hold a coffee morning is the perfect chance for me to enjoy the company of like minded people and have a good natter - throw in a good cause to raise money for and it's a winner all round.
Here are a couple of fab charities that are encouraging people to hold Coffee Mornings to raise funds:
Good To Know Magazine have teamed up with Bake-A-Wish and launched a campaign to encourage bakers around the country to throw their own events, and raise money for the charity. You can find out all about Bake A Wish here.
The Great Pink Bake Off is a new fundraising initiative from Breakthrough Breast Cancer. They have designated Friday 18 October as Great Pink Bake Off day. Don’t worry if that date doesn’t work for you though you can choose any day in October which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month to hold your event. There are promotional materials available for download from their website along with recipes and other helpful hints and tips.
So what do I bake?
I usually bake batches of my legendary chocolate brownies, however, I sometimes get asked at very short notice to bake for Coffee Mornings, Cake Stalls and other events. When there isn't enough time for me to bake my chocolate brownies or I don't have all the ingredients available I bake the recipes detailed below. These are super easy and quick recipes that can be whipped up when you need a quick baking fix.
Both recipes are suitable for freezing so are fab for packed lunches or to bake in advance when you have the time.
Wholemeal Banana Loaf
125g butter, melted and cooled
3 over-ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 free range eggs, lightly beaten
200g brown sugar
300g wholemeal self-raising flour
Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C Fan. Grease and line a loaf tin with either a paper liner or non-stick baking paper.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the mashed bananas, vanilla extract, cinnamon and eggs then beat well until completely combined. Add the flour and fold through until just combined.
Bake for 50 - 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Cover the top of the loaf with foil if it is browning too quickly. Leave the loaf to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Very Versatile Muffins
300g self raising flour
1 free range egg
1 tsp vanilla extract.
A large handful of optional ingredients such as: chocolate chips, fresh or frozen berries, mixed dried fruit
Preheat your oven to 180°C/160C Fan. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl. Combine the egg, vanilla, milk and oil in a jug and mix well.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry with a handful of optional ingredients if you wish. Mix everything together gently but thoroughly. Do not overmix or the muffins will be heavy and tough.
Divide the mixture evenly between the muffin cases and bake for 25 - 30 minutes. The muffins should spring back when lightly pressed on the top. You could also check they are cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre of a muffin, it should come out free from crumbs. Leave to cool in the tray for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Other options: You could add 3 Tblsp cocoa to the mixture if you want to bake chocolate muffins. I sometimes add chopped apple and a tsp of dried cinnamon or some mashed banana. To make lemon drizzle muffins add the zest of a lemon to the muffin batter then mix the juice of the lemon with 50g of sugar and drizzle over the muffins once they are on the wire rack cooling.