Tea Time with PB&J

I love tray bakes: simple, quick and so easy to share.

I love peanut butter: on anything, with anything, in anything.

Jar of peanut butter begging to be used. Jam emerging from back of the cupboard. Recipe earmarked from long ago. Inevitable alchemy.

Bringing this treat to Su’s Tea Party. Come join!


PB & J Bars (adapted from Fat Witch Brownies by Patricia Helding)

  • 120g flour
  • 1/4 salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 90g instant oats
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 125g chunky peanut butter
  • 140g butter, softened
  • 300g jam (I used a jar of St Dalfour Raspberry Jam)

  1. Line a 9in x 9in baking tray. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder, oats and brown sugar.
  3. Add the peanut butter and mix well.
  4. Add the butter, a little at a time. Mix well.
  5. Spread 2/3 of the mixture evenly in the prepared tin, using your hands to press down the dough. 
  6. Refrigerate the remaining dough.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until the crust starts to brown. Remove from the oven.
  8. Spread the jam gently & evenly over the hot crust.
  9. Using your hands, crumble the refrigerated remaining dough on top of the jam. This last layer will not cover the jam.
  10. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. The jam will be bubbly and the top golden.
  11. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 2 hours. Cut just before serving.


P/S. Sorry Betsy! I know it is still Lent. But see, not Frosting!

Minty Dark Chocolate Cupcakes: a family Speciality

My word learning this week in response to One Word Sunday: Speciality hosted by Debbie at TravelWithIntent, is the difference between speciality and specialty. I had to look several times before I could spot the difference in the spelling of the two – may I plead aging eyes coupled with an aversion to reading glasses as an excuse?

  • Speciality, could mean a pursuit/area of study/skill which one has put much time & effort into and are an expert in the area, or a branch of medicine/surgery. There are 2 roots from which it derives: Latin – specialis & Old French – especialite.
  • Specialty, is used in North America synonymously as speciality, to refer to a branch of medicine/surgery. Or in law circles, a contract under seal. It derives from the Old French: especial/especialte.

I find these word curiosities extremely entertaining and a reminder that our English as it exists today is really a montage of so many cultures.

In considering a pursuit which we have put in much time & effort, I think of these minty dark chocolate cupcakes which are a favourite of Loving Husband and requested often by friends & family.

Sharing the recipe with you, the chocolate lovers.

We adapted these recipes from Benjamin Wong’s Cupcakes with Attitude.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes (12-15 cupcakes) Cupcake2

  • 200g sugar
  • 130g all purpose flour
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 125 ml milk
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil (I use olive oil)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125 ml boiling water
  1. Pre-heat the over to 180 degrees centigrade.  Line muffin trays with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda & salt in a bowl.  Mix well.
  3. Add egg, milk, oil & vanilla extract.  Beat well until glossy.
  4. Gently stir in the boiling water.
  5. Pour the liquid batter into the cupcake liners until about 2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the oven and let the cupcakes sit in the tray for about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove cupcakes from the tray & place on wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Minty Dark Chocolate Buttercream 

  • 200g butter
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 85g cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp water
  1. Cream the butter until light & creamy.
  2. Add peppermint extract & mix well.
  3. Sift in icing sugar & cocoa powder.  Combine well.
  4. Gradually add water, a little a time, beating it in.  Stop when you achieve the desired consistency.



Tea Time with Pecan Bars

I remember my first mouthful of pecan pie – just like it was yesterday when in fact, it was decades ago while I was still living in Texas. Although many more slices followed, that first encounter with buttery, nutty, gooey bliss remains etched in my senses. Pecan pie is the ultimate in Southern Hospitality: generous, warm, sweet & plenty of it, as exhibited by the many lovely people who fed my indulgence. Continue reading “Tea Time with Pecan Bars”

part of a whole

A fraction is a part of a whole.

In my unmathematical mind (despite having taken numerous Calculus classes), that pretty much sums up my understanding of fractions. Everything in school math involving fractions was done by rote. After school, encounters were largely practical (1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tablespoon vanilla essence, etc) Continue reading “part of a whole”

because we were home on a Friday night: PB&J Ice Cream

We found ourselves home on a Friday night. As has been the case for most nights since the COVID-19 outbreak occurred in Singapore last month. We decided to put ourselves on social quarantine in addition to other precautionary measures, given my compromised lung condition.

So, we found ourselves home. For our amusement, we decided to try our hands at making ice cream. Since we do not have an ice cream maker, we opted for a custard based recipe and hoped for the best.

Continue reading “because we were home on a Friday night: PB&J Ice Cream”

Simple Joys: Walnut Bread

I take solace in baking bread: the comfort of a familiar process, the contentment of dough in my hands, the glee at a loaf out of the oven. Simple Joys.

This walnut bread is one of Loving Husband’s favourites so I make it once a week. It is packed with walnuts & wholewheat flour (read: healthier) and is great for slathering with butter. For those who are not fans of kneading, this recipe happily does not require a great deal of it.  Continue reading “Simple Joys: Walnut Bread”