Winter produce is perfect for baked treats.

There is no better time than winter to enjoy a sweet, fruity treat.

Winter citrus is great at the moment - I used limes from my mum's tree and lemons from her friend's for these simple biscuits. They are just about perfect with an afternoon cup of tea.

And rhubarb is still around, so this pudding makes a nice change from crumble. Don't forget the cream. Enjoy!

There is no better time than a cold and dark winter evening to enjoy a warm sweet treat after dinner. Mug cakes are dangerously quick to make and will fulfil any urgent chocolate craving. I'd seen a few recipes online for mug cakes, and did a fair bit of experimenting to get this recipe. It's rich and fudgy - and so quick.


Lemon lime butter biscuits

These simple biscuits are great with a cup of tea. I like to keep a roll of dough in the freezer so that fresh biscuits are never far away.

1 cup flour
1½ tsp baking powder
100g butter
½ cup white sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp lime juice

Optional topping:
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
1 Tbsp white sugar
Pinch salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor and mix to form a soft dough.

Roll out dough on to a lightly floured surface and roll into a log, about 3-4cm in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for about 20 minutes (Note: the mixture will keep in the freezer for a couple of months).

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 180C. Line a flat baking tray with baking paper.
Slice the dough into thin rounds and carefully place on the baking tray, leaving space for them to expand. (Note: if you want to add the topping, mix the zest, sugar, and salt together and sprinkle a little bit on top of each round before baking).

Bake for about 12 minutes until golden. Cool on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely and store in an airtight container. Note: these biscuits are also good iced with a simple lemon icing.

Rhubarb pudding

This pudding is best served warm, with either runny cream, custard, or icecream.

Rhubarb pudding. Photo / Michael Craig
Rhubarb pudding. Photo / Michael Craig

1 bunch rhubarb (at least 5 decent stems), chopped into pieces (about 3 cups chopped)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Zest of 1 orange, juice of an orange
Small pinch cinnamon
1 cup water

For the dough:
200g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
2 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
320g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

First, stew your rhubarb (this can be done in advance and kept in the fridge). Place rhubarb, sugar, orange zest and juice, cinnamon, and water in a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 25 minutes, until water is absorbed and rhubarb is very soft.

Preheat oven to 175C.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and the vanilla, and continue beating until well incorporated. Gently fold in the flour and baking powder, and mix to form a soft dough.

Grease and line a rectangular baking tray. Place two-thirds of the dough in the bottom of the baking tray and press down. It should be about 1-2cm high, depending on your tray size.

Add the rhubarb, and spread all over the dough. With the remaining dough, crumble it on top of the rhubarb in chunks.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is golden and risen. Allow to cool slightly in the tray before serving warm.

Double chocolate mug cakes

Makes 2 large or 3 smaller mug cakes

Double chocolate mug cake. Photo / Michael Craig
Double chocolate mug cake. Photo / Michael Craig

These are dangerously easy to make, and you'll often have all the ingredients in the cupboard. Just two minutes in the microwave and you have a gooey, fudgy pudding.

½ cup flour
2 Tbsp good quality Dutch cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
150ml milk
60ml neutral cooking oil (I used rice bran oil)
4-6 squares white chocolate (I used Whittaker's)

Whisk together all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Make a small well in the centre, and whisk in the milk and the oil. Whisk well until the batter has no clumps.

Pour batter evenly into 2 or 3 microwave-safe mugs. Do not fill to the top of the mug; leave at least a 2cm gap between the batter and the top of the mug.

Place 2 squares of white chocolate into each mug, pushing it down to ensure it's covered by the mixture.

Place mugs in the microwave, and cook for 2 minutes. If you have a particularly powerful microwave, cook for 90 seconds, and then check it - you want the cake to have risen a little, and the top to be cooked, but still be gooey on the inside.

Serve with cream if you're feeling decadent.