It’s tough trying to commit to writing a blog post every day/week/month. I think a lot of people forget the amount of time and thought that is necessary in a blog post to make it an interesting read. I have so much respect for people who manage to have the timekeeping skills and ability to be able to bake and write at least once a week. I’m a busy third year student whose time is split between a part time job, running my own photography business, actually studying for my degree (well.. I try) and exercising regularly to maintain a healthy lifestyle so blog posts can be far and few between, but I love you all dearly for sticking with me and I really do try to make blog posts as often as time allows!
Today’s recipe is inspired by my recent travels to Stockholm in Sweden! All of you who know of IKEA will be well aware of the swedish delicacy of köttbullar (Swedish meatballs) which is traditionally served with lingonberries, mashed/pureed potatoes and the most gorgeous pickled cucumber. It was one of the first things we tried when we arrived in our lovely hotel in Thorildsplans, and I know I can never eat IKEA meatballs the same way ever again. They were melt in the mouth, with the smooth potatoes complimenting the rich meat, and the lingonberries and cucumber providing some well needed sweetness and tartness. If you think eating lingonberries is strange to eat with meat, I guess its a similar flavour and use to the cranberry sauce that we all love to have with a roast dinner at Christmas or Thanksgiving! I brought home a little jar of ‘Lingonsylt’ (lingonberry jam) for the parents, but I ended up opening it myself to do some cheeky baking!
It was a real throwup between lingonberry and honey flapjacks or cookie bars, but I had run out of oats so cookie bars it had to be! It consists of a bottom layer of choc chip cookie dough (with blueberry 70% dark chocolate to compliment the berry flavours going on), a layer of jam, and then topped with some simple vanilla sponge. If you would like to make this vegan, either use your favourite vegan friendly sponge cake and choc chip cookie recipes, or give me a shout, and I will post my own recipes for those. If you don’t have lingonberry jam, feel free to use cranberry sauce or a chunky fruit berry jam as a substitute 🙂
I still haven’t quite found a go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe yet in all my years of baking, so I decided to give Izy’s recipe for Toasted Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies a try as my base. I think it worked quite well, and I will definitely reuse this recipe to make some standalone cookies in the future! This whole recipe was pretty improvised, but for the top of the bars I wanted an easily spreadable cake batter to cover my lingonberry jam layer without taking the jam with it. I decided to go for my simple vanilla sponge cake which was the first recipe I ever learnt off by heart! It’s a classic 100g of butter, sugar and self-raising flour with 1 egg for each 50g ratio; (therefore 2 eggs). Splash of vanilla, pinch of salt and some baking powder and you’re good to go!
6 tbsp Lingonberry Jam/Cranberry sauce
100g chopped Blueberry dark chocolate (I used Lindt here) otherwise chocolate of choice
100g caster sugar
70g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g plain flour
Optional roasted nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans)
Sponge cake layer:
100g baking spread
100g caster sugar
100g self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1-2 tbsp lingonberry jam/cranberry sauce to swirl into batter
Preheat your oven to 180°C or gas mark 4.
Make the cookie layer first:
Cream the butter, sugars and vanilla together in a bowl until pale and fluffy.
Add the egg and mix in fully. Then add the rest of the dry ingredients and chocolate/nuts to the batter until it comes away from the bowl in a slightly sticky but kneadable dough.
Press into a greased and lined with parchment paper square tin. The parchment stops the jam from sticking to the sides and makes removing the bars from the tin really easy! I make sure there is some overhanging the sides.
Spoon the lingonberry/cranberry sauce and smooth evenly across the top of the cookie layer.
Now make the sponge mix: (no need to clean the bowl from the cookie batter, just reuse!)
Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Add one egg, baking powder, salt and half the flour in and mix until combined. Add the remainder of the ingredients and mix again until you have a smooth batter. Add your lingonberry jam and gently ripple through the cake mixture.
Pour over the jam layer, taking care to distrubute it evenly as you pour to minimise moving the jam underneath. Roughly smooth out (it will naturally spread in the oven so don’t worry too much) and sprinkle some nuts/seeds/oats on the top.
Bake for 40-60 mins, keeping an eye on the bars while they bake and testing with a skewer to make sure it is cooked through.
Leave in the tin to cool for 5 minutes before loosening from the sides and moving the bars to a chopping board or cooling rack.
I really hope you try these bars, they are delicious as a midday snack with a cup of tea or by itself for a good old Swedish ‘fika’! I had some.. (maybe 3 or 4) of them with a carrot, beetroot, pineapple and basil juice! So I’m technically still being healthy right?
I leave for my year abroad in the USA in 4 weeks now, so baking is definitely going to decline in my life, but I hope to write a new post as soon as I can! I thankfully have been given an apartment with a kitchen, so I hope to make some good old american style recipes (I’m really looking forward to different flavoured oreos and butterscotch chips as we don’t have those in the UK) and celebrating my first thanksgiving too!
Love Sian xxx