Boohoo Blogger Bakeoff

I am in charge of the baking rota at work.
You would think this would mean two things:
1) That I'm good at baking
2) That I enjoy baking
While I run the baking rota with an iron fist, the truth is I actually don't enjoy baking that much. I bake when it's my turn and I always try to make something delicious (past bakes have included Cheddar Bay Biscuits, Key Lime Pie bars and black bean brownie cookies) but I find baking quite stressful.
(If you're wondering why I run the baking rota when I don't love baking, you have my former colleague Dipika to blame who I inherited the rota from when she left.)

Nevertheless, I do bake. And while I don't think I'll be on Bake Off any time soon (though I'm completely gripped, like the rest of the nation) I do make the occasional thing that I'm proud of.

A few weeks ago my next bake was looming and I was stuck for inspiration. I wanted something that was easy, but looked impressive and tasted good (in fact, this is my criteria for all my baking). So in a moment of madness I decided to make millonaire's shortbread.

And that was how I found myself making caramel on a Thursday evening.

To cut a long story short, the shortbread was amazing. Absolutely incredible. And I'm going against my incredible insecure nature by boasting a little bit. One of the guys at work said they were "one of the best things that had ever been baked at work" and my friend Brian had three, and assured me "the third one tasted just as good as the first."

And I'd MADE CARAMEL. The substance that brings fear into the hearts of bakers everywhere. I'd done it!

I was desperate for an opportunity to make millionaire's shortbread again.

The chance came just a few weeks later when an email popped into my inbox inviting me to be a part of Boohoo's Blogger Bakeoff.

It started with a box of baking treats:
The box contained lots of Tala goodies - a whisk, tiny rolling pin, dry measure funnel, cake tester, cupcake cases, heart-shaped cutter and, the thing I was most excited about, a silicone piping bag. It also contained some wafer daisies and sprinkles.

I also got to choose a pretty dress, perfect for afternoon tea. I went for something a little bit different from what I normally wear (and in retrospect, probably the worst thing to wear for afternoon tea):

dress - c/o Boohoo
shoes - Marks and Spencer
necklace - River Island

Now as anybody who has ever read my blog will know, this dress isn't my usual style at all. I never, ever wear anything bodycon. I just don't feel comfortable in something so fitted! But I really loved this dress and wanted to try it. And hopefully one day I'll feel confident enough to wear it outside the house...

Anyway, on the baking!
The challenge was to bake anything you wanted but it had to include Boohoo written on it somehow (hence my excitement over the piping bag!). I decided to make my millionaire's shortbread and pipe Boohoo on the top in white chocolate.
Turns out, I am not very good at piping!
Thankfully my Mum gave me the heads up to pipe my letters onto greaseproof paper so I could practice and not pipe straight onto the shortbread. I'm so glad she gave me that tip!
I ended up piping lots of Bs, Os and Hs but loads of them broke when I tried to peel them off the paper, and I had lost my patience to pipe more letters (number one reason why I don't like baking, I'm super impatient!). But both Phil and my Mum reassured me that my final product looked good (I think Phil just wanted me to finish taking photos so he could finally eat some).

My millionaire's shortbread recipe is here!

Happy baking!

Charlotte x


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