Juliet Sear's tasty bonfire treats

As many of us brave the cold weather for bonfire weekend, Juliet Sear is here with her comforting treats to take along with you. From traditional toffee apples, to tasty tray bakes - Juliet’s got your bonfire weekend sorted.

Toffee apples


For The Toffee:

6-8 Small Braeburn Apples

50g Golden Syrup

45g Salted Butter (At room temperature)

300g Unrefined Golden Caster Sugar

80ml Water

For The Topping: (Optional)

200g Roasted Chopped Hazelnuts or whichever sprinkles you choose


  • Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

  • Place the apples in a large heatproof bowl, pour over boiling water to cover completely, then remove the water. This takes off any wax coating from the apples and will help the toffee to stick to the apples.

  • Polish dry with kitchen paper, twist off the stalks and push your toffee apple sticks or birch sticks halfway into the core of the apples from the stalk end.

  • Melt the butter and add the golden syrup to it, set aside for later.

  • If you wish to add some roasted chopped hazelnuts have these at the ready in small bowls.

  • Place the golden caster sugar and water in a large heavy-based pan and stir constantly over a low heat with a wooden spoon for 3 to 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and there are no crystals.

  • Add the butter and syrup mix to the pan and stir completely to mix.

  • Bring to the boil with a sugar thermometer resting in the mixture.

  • Stirring: Do not start to stir until the mixture reaches 149° to 154°C (hard crack stage) as the sugar may crystallise, this will take about 10 to 15 minutes.

  • At this point, when the temperature on the sugar thermometer reaches 149° to 154°C work quickly to remove the pan from the heat then tilt the pan, and carefully dip the apples one at a time in the toffee.

  • Dipping: Twirl as you dip, to completely cover. Let any excess drip away before placing on a parchment-lined baking tray to harden. You can part dip the toffee apples in crushed nuts if you wish or sprinkles if you wish.

Toffee apple tray bake


100g stoned dates roughly chopped

100ml milk

125ml butter softened, plus extra for greasing

140g self-raising flour

100g light soft brown sugar

¼ tsp baking powder

2 large eggs

½ tsp cinnamon

½ heaped tsp ground ginger

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

2 small red apples

100g grams toffees, halved

A little icing sugar, for dusting

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

Grease and line a 20x20cm baking tray with baking parchment.


  • Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

  • Grease and line a 20 x 30cm baking tray with baking parchment.

  • Put the dates and milk in a small pan add the milk and simmer for a couple of minutes to soften . Remove from the heat and set aside to cool

  • Whizz the date mixture to a smooth purée, then scrape into a large mixing bowl.

  • Cream the butter, vanilla and sugar together until pale and creamy.

  • Add the eggs one by one.

  • Whisk in the pureed dates.

  • Whisk the flour with the spices and baking powder to evenly distribute then gently mix into the wet batter.

  • Fold in the toffees then pour mix into the tray.

  • Core and half the apples, thinly slice into half moons and arrange in pretty rows along the top of the batter, you should fit about 3 rows.

  • Bake for 40-45 mins until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Glaze with a little apricot jam while the cake is still warm and then cool in the tray.

  • Toffee sauce for topping; Put the toffees in a small pan with a good splash of milk and gently melt, stirring, until runny. To finish, dust with a little icing sugar, then drizzle sauce all over the cake. Cut into squares or slices to serve.