If you have seen an episode of the Great British Bake Off, you will notice some of the contestants explaining their ingredients. If you hear names like “caster sugar”, treacle, or “black treacle”, you may be familiar with it or it may leave you scratching your head, depending on which side of the pond you are from.
When I am not making or drinking tea, I am baking and I tend to bake A LOT. When I first started to bake British recipes, I noticed that in order to have the best results, British ingredients are the best. I tried to use American ingredients like granulated sugar in place of caster sugar and the difference is a huge one. The difference between caster sugar and granulated sugar is that caster sugar is much more fine than the granulated sugar. The crystals are much more easier to dissolve when being stirred in and baked. Demerara sugar is a much different story. Demerara is much more coarse than caster sugar and looks much similar to Turbinado sugar, a certain sugar that we in America see in a little brown packet. This sugar has a toffee/molasses-like flavor. Other popular sugars in the UK are Muscovado sugars. Much like the brown sugars we have here in the US, there are light and brown versions. Muscovado sugar is a naturally brown sugar while brown sugar has molasses added to it. Muscovado sugar usually gets its color from sugar cane juice
It is not just the traditional ingredients and flavors that the competitors have used. Contestants bring their own flavors from home, ones they or their family enjoy that bring them such sweet (or savory) memories. They have made their own flavors from simple fruits like Morello cherries to sweets like Pontefract Cakes, and even cola flavors. Some of these flavors are combined, such as mango, hazelnut, and rosemary and made into a sweet treat that you would not believe. These home cooks have such incredible skills that it is astonishing.
You can also add tea to your baking, wet or dry! Tea loaf cakes are a common bake in the UK, which involve actually BREWING tea, soaking dried fruits in it, and adding it to the batter! If you prefer to use dry tea leaves, Stash Tea has a recipe that you can use to make Earl Grey Tea Bag cookies!