Raf’s apple butter and caramel rolls

My lovely daughter had a party, and someone bought these delicious apple butter and caramel rolls. They are very sticky, and the cider vinegar elevates the apple butter to complement the caramel stickiness. The technique is a bit like making a tarte tatin, in that it is cooked upside-down and turned over to reveal the sugary fruity nutty topping. 


For the apple butter:

  • 4 tart eating apples, or cooking apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 115ml apple cider
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • a generous grating of nutmeg, around 1/4 tsp
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • a pinch of salt
  • 55g butter (use vegan ‘butter’ as a substitute)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

For the caramel

  • 175g dark brown sugar
  • 85g butter
  • 100g walnuts or pecans. If you are using walnuts and they are a bit bitter, soak them in water first.

For the yeasted dough

  • 480ml milk
  • 120g butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 8g dried yeast
  • 700g strong plain white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 100g dark brown sugar


  • Mix the chopped apples with the spices, salt and cider and simmer slowly over a low heat, for about an hour. Check and stir regularly to make sure they are not burning. Add a little water if the mixture is beginning to stick. 
  • When the apples are very very soft, use a blender, and return the puree back to the pan and simmer it until it is a thick creamy consistency. 
  • Beat in the butter and lemon juice, to taste. Put it in a wee jar and chill in the fridge. This can be used as a spread in its own right. 
  • Make the pecan caramel sauce. Mix the butter and sugar in a saucepan and warm until everything is dissolved and smooth. Add the nuts and pour into a greased baking tray and leave to cool. The baking tray should be quite deep, and measure around 33cm by 23cm.
  • Make the dough. Melt the butter into the milk and sugar, and leave until it is just warm. 
  • Sprinkle in the yeast and stir it in. Leave in a warm place until the yeast is beginning to bubble.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the milk mixture and mix well to make a sticky messy dough. Don’t bother trying to kneed it at this stage.
  • Cover the dough bowl with a damp teatowel, and leave in a warm room for up to an hour, until it has puffed up. This is a good time to set the oven to preheat to 180C.
  • Knock back the dough, and kneed it until it is stretchy and elastic. Stretch and roll it into an oblong, about 30cm by 60cm, and about 1cm thick. If it is not behaving, leave it to relax for a few minutes and have another go. You might need a dusting of flour on your surfaces to stop the dough from sticking. 
  • Spread half the apple butter onto the dough and sprinkle on the dark brown sugar. Roll the dough up lengthways, swiss roll style, to make a long snake. Don’t squeeze at all, because the apple butter needs to stay in the roll. 
  • Slice the snaky roll up into 15 slices
  • Arrange the dough slices like rosettes on top of the nutty caramel, 3 rows of 5, and leave to rest for around 20 to 30 minutes
  • Bake at 180C for around 30 minutes. 
  • Turn out onto a larger tray, while hot, and before the caramel sets, and leave to cool. 
  • Serve with extra apple butter. 

Easy Pumpkin Cookies


  • 500g cooked pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 ml apple sauce
  • 3tsp vanilla extract
  • 500g self raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves


  • Preheat oven to 175C.
  • Lightly grease two baking sheets.
  • Beat the pumpkin, eggs, apple sauce, and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Stir in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves until well blended and creamy.
  • Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto prepared baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven until tops are firm when lightly touched, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on racks.


Next month is October. This is me getting prepared for the pumpkins.


  • 250 g sugar
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 65 ml water
  • 500g pumpkin puree
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp ground cloves
  • 180 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder


  • Preheat oven to 175c.
  • Lightly grease a loaf tin.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, oil and eggs and beat until smooth.
  • Add water and beat until well blended.
  • Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice and cinnamon.
  • In medium bowl, combine flour, bicarb, salt, and baking powder.
  • Add the dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and mix just until all ingredients are combined.
  • Spoon into prepared loaf tin. Bake in preheated oven until, about 1 hour

Dairy free shortbread

This is another recipe sent in by Libby Patterson. On this occasion she has adapted a Jamie Oliver recipe to turn it into a dairy free version, with reduced fat. She says the secret is to use a really heavy-based tray.


  • 250g dairy free margerine
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 125g cornflour


  • Preheat the oven to 150C.
  • Grease a 22cm baking tray.
  • Cream the butter & sugar together with a whisk or wooden spoon until pale, light & fluffy.
  • Add the plain flour and cornflour. Mix very lightly with a wooden spoon and then your hands until you have a smooth dough.
  • Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and roll out until it’s an even 2cm thick all over.
  • Place the rolled out dough on your tray or tin, poking into the corners with your fingers. Prick the dough all over with a fork then cook for 50 minutes until lightly golden.
  • While it is still warm, sprinkle with a generous dusting of caster sugar. Allow the shortbread to cool slightly then cut into 12 chunky finger sized pieces.

Dairy free Malt Loaf

Libby Patterson sent in three dairy free recipes for us. This one is from her great great grandmother.


1 cup of each of the following:

  • Bran Flakes or All Bran
  • Rice Milk
  • Brown Sugar
  • Dried Fruit such as sultanas, raisins, etcetera
  • Self Raising Flour
  • 1 tsp mixed spice


  • Soak all the dry ingrediants in the rice milk over night or for at least two hours
  • Put in a greased loaf tin and cook in the centre of a moderate oven for appox one hour.

Serve cold, or toasted, with dairy-free margarine.

Spicy apple muffins, dairy free

This is Gemma Patterson’s adaptation from the dairy free cookbook


  • 170g of plain flour or rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 140g Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Mixed Spice
  • 2 large Free Range eggs
  • 300ml apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 100g dairy free margarine


  • Sieve and then mix all the dry ingredients together.
  • Beat the eggs, apple juice, vanilla extract and margarine together until frothy.
  • Blend into the flour mixture.
  • Spoon into paper cases and bake at 200 oC for 15-20 minutes until well risen and spongy to touch.

Serve warm or cold.

Citrus Nut Loaf

Submitted by Fiona Ballantyne. This recipe is adapted from a recipe in a book called ‘Scones, muffins and teacakes’ by Murdoch books and works very well.


  • 90g butter or margarine
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 2 fresh eggs (large)
  • 200g self raising flour, sifted
  • 60ml orange juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 60ml lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 75g chopped pecans


  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time beating after each addition.
  • Stir in the flour alternately with the fruit juices.
  • Stir in the nuts
  • (This also works well by combining all the ingredients together in the food mixer – apart from the nuts, stir them in at the end.)
  • Spread into a greased 2 lb loaf tin.
  • Bake at 180°C for 50 minutes.Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

Coconut Loaf

Submitted by Fiona Ballantyne. This is adapted from a recipe from a book called ‘Home baking’ by Carole Handslip, which was 99p well spent in a bargain book shop.


  • 125g (4oz) margarine
  • 125g (4oz) golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs (duck eggs work very well)
  • 175g (6oz) self raising flour, sifted
  • 4 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbsp milk (may need slightly more)


  • Cream the fat and sugar together till light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little of the flour with the second.
  • Add the remaining flour, 3 tbsp of the coconut and the milk.
  • (This recipe also works well by adding all the ingredients to the food mixer and mixing together, and I often add all the coconut to the mix rather than sprinkling on the top and it binds well with a little extra milk).
  • Turn into a lined and greased 1lb loaf tin and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.
  • Bake at 180°C for 1 to 1¼ hours. Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

Nice plain but also very good with home made jam and desiccated coconut on the top.

Chocolate Muffins

Margaret says this is her favourite chocolate muffin recipe. Not exactly wholefood, but they can be made with organic and fairly traded ingredients. The recipe comes from ‘Chocolate’ by Patricia Lousada which a friend gave me a while ago.


  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 90g granulated sugar
  • 30g dark brown sugar
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 15g cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 150ml milk,
  • 60g good quality plain chocolate in 1cm squares


  • Set the oven to gas 5, 190c and line a bun tin with paper muffin cases
  • Cream the butter and the sugars and beat until light and fluffy
  • Beat the eggs and add gradually to the butter and sugar, beat the two together as you add the eggs
  • Sift the flour, cocoa and salt together a couple of times and fold into the egg mixture, adding the milk as you go to make a soft ‘dropping’ mixture
  • Half fill the paper cases with mixture, and divide the squares of chocolate between the muffins. Cover each chocolate topping with a little bit of mixture
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes until the muffins are cooked and springy to touch. Put on a cooling rack.

Muffins are best fresh. Say no more.

Polenta Cake

This is a delicious recipe that can be made using duck eggs. Polenta is gluten free so this is a useful cake to whip up for the GF tea table.



  • 110g butter
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 110g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 225g fine polenta


  • 3 tbsp runny honey
  • 2 tsp lemon juice


  • Preheat the oven to 180 C. 
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until soft and creamy
  • Beat the eggs into the mixture with the ground almonds, then add almond extract and polenta
  • Line an 18 x 28 cm swill roll tin with greaseproof paper, allowing the paper to stand about 2cm higher than the tin. Spread the mixture into the tin and bake for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the syrup. Warm the honey in a pan and add the lemon juice, and bring to a boil. Simmer for five minutes until the syrup has reduced a little. Set aside to cool. 
  • When the cake comes out of the oven, cut into squares and pour over the syrup. 

You could garnish these with slivered almonds while still hot and sticky, the syrup should hold the slivers in place. Serve when cooled. These are good at the end of a meal, with a cup of coffee.