Saturday, 16 January 2010

Triple Chocolate Brownies

This is my favourite brownie recipe, courtesy of Sainsbury's. I've tried a few other recipes but always get the best feedback from these. They never seem to last long which is a good sign :) It's moist in the middle and crisp on top. Although I don't personally like white chocolate, I quite like the little bits of white chocolate in this brownie. Oh and it smells and tastes absolutely amazing! Obviously I'm biased... try it for yourself :)

Fresh from the oven
Thanks C for the beautiful plate :)

200g plain chocolate
50g milk chocolate
225g butter
4 medium eggs
325g unrefined golden caster sugar
10ml vanilla essence
200g white chocolate
150g plain flour, sifted
pinch of salt

  • Preheat the oven to 180C

  • Line a cake tin, 28cm x 18cm x 6cm with parchment paper.

  • In a bowl, break the milk and plain chocolate into pieces and melt with the butter.  Allow to cool slightly.

  • In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence.

  • Roughly chop the white chocolate.

  • Whisk the egg mixture into the cooled chocolate mixture, then fold in the flour, salt and white chocolate.

  • Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the top is crisp and pale and the centre is almost set.

  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack in the tin, then cut into 20 squares.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Banana and Blueberry Bread

Do you ever find that your bananas ripen when you're not looking? They're green for a while and then yellow and before you know it they've gone black! I personally don't like to eat bananas that are too ripe so I find myself making quite a lot of banana bread as I don't know what else to do with the over-ripe bananas. This time I decided to try a slight variation since I also had a lot of blueberries to hand. I made little loafs which are so cute and so convenient. I'm having one for breakfast tomorrow :)

I had some extra batter left so I put them in a star mould and this is how they turned out

3 large over-ripe bananas

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup (80 ml) vanilla soymilk (or apple sauce)
1/2 cup (120 ml) sugar
2 cups (240 g) white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240 ml) blueberries

  • Preheat oven to 180CF.
  • Mix the soymilk with 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and let stand until it curdles. (If using apple sauce, skip this step and add the lemon juice to the bananas.)
  • In a large bowl, mash the bananas and add the remaining lemon juice, soymilk, and sugar. Stir well to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, and stir just until the mixture is well-combined. Fold in the blueberries.
  • Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan and bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. (Reduce baking time if making miniatures such as these ~40-45mins)
  • Allow to cool before cutting and serving.


Saturday, 2 January 2010

Chocolate Chestnut Cranberry Cupcake

This is my other entry at the Iron Cupcake Challenge

I got this recipe online

I made these for friends as a Christmas gift and decorated it with a cranberry and wafer holly leaves which looked really festive. The icing turned out smoother although I followed the same recipe.

Candy Cane Cupcakes

This is one of my entries at the Iron Cupcake December/Christmas challenge
The cake itself is a light, peppermint flavoured sponge. I alternated red and white sponge to create a candy cane effect.
I made a few variations of this during December mainly trying out different frostings and colours. I still can't decide if the red & green or the white frosting looks better. Any thoughts?

For the cupcakes:
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 tsp peppermint extract
1 cup plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 red food colouring

For the cream cheese frosting:
300g icing sugar, sifted
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g cold cream cheese

  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar until light and creamy.

  • Stir in milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and peppermint extracts.

  • In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

  • Pour into wet ingredients and whisk just until batter is smooth.

  • Measure out 1 cup of batter and place it back in the medium bowl.

  • Add red food colouring to this bowl and mix well.

  • Put a spoonful of the white batter into each cupcake case. Put a spoonful of red batter in the centre of the white.

  • Alternate spoonfuls of the two batters until all the batter has been used up.

  • Bake for about 15 minutes until a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.

  • Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.\I used cream cheese frosting - white/red/green and decorated with crushed candy cane and edible glitter.

Cranberry, Pecan and White Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made these cookies last year for Christmas and they were a big hit so I decided to make them again this year for friends and colleagues. I think I made about 250 of these in the end! The recipe is from Nigella Christmas.

Makes approximately 30

150g plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt
75g rolled oats
125g soft butter
75g dark brown sugar
100g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g dried cranberries

50g pecans, roughly chopped
150g white chocolate chips

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Measure the flour, baking powder, salt and rolled oats into a bowl
  • Beat the butter and sugars in another bowl until creamy. Then beat in the egg and vanilla extract
  • Beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and oat mixture, then fold in the cranberries, chopped pecans and white chocolate chip.
  • Roll tablespoons of dough into balls with your hands and place them on a prepared baking sheet and squish the dough balls down with a fork.
  • Cook for 15 minutes until the cookies are a pale gold. They will be too soft to lift immediately off the sheet and will harden after about 5 minutes.
  • Remove with a spatula and cool fully on a wire rack.

Stained Glass Cookies

I saw these on Martha Stewart
and thought they looked so cool. I actually used a different recipe in the end which I got from one of my books and here's how they turned out. I think you can use any basic sugar cookie recipe. I found the bigger shapes with big cut outs worked best. I tried to do some alphabet ones but they didn't turn out well as the space was too small to fill with the sweets.

This is what it looks like on a tree. It's really pretty when it catches the light.

Stained glass cookies:

110g butter, softened
110g castger sugar
125ml honey
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
450g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
coloured hard boiled sweets

  • Cream the butter, sugar, honey, egg and vanilla extract until smooth.

    In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  • Add to the butter mixture and combine.
  • Gather the dough into a ball and chill for 2 hours (or 1 hour if you are in a hurry)
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Line baking sheets with foil, shiny side up.
  • Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to approximately 1/2inch thickness.
  • Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter.
  • Cut a smaller shape within the cut cookie with a smaller cutter or a sharp knife.
  • If using as ornaments, make a little hole at the top (I used a straw)
  • Crush the sweets (I put them in a resealable bag and used a rolling pin)
  • Spoon the sweets into the centre of the cookies.
  • Bake for 6-8 minutes until the sweets have melted and the cookies are golden.
  • Be careful that the sweets dont bubble over
  • Allow to cool completely before removing

A world of Gingerbread

My first time ever making gingerbread. For my initial attempt, I was told that it needed more ginger so I modified the recipe slightly and came up with these. I made over a hundred of these to give as Christmas gifts. I had a helping hand when it came to the decorations in the form of my brother. Spot the dog. Some designs were definitely quite artistic but they all tasted great :)

We also decided to make a gingerbread house which didnt turn out too badly considering it was the first time either of us had made one. I tried to make stained glass windows but they were less successful than my stained glass cookies coming up in another post.

For the gingerbread:

125g unsalted butter, softened
110g dark brown sugar
2.5 cups plain flour, sifted
1 egg yolk
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4-6 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp mixed spice
270mls golden syrup
  • Preheat the oven to 160C
  • Beat butter, sugar and egg yolk in a bowl until smooth
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients until its mixed properly
  • You may need to add a little more golden syrup if the mixture is crumbly
  • Knead the dough on a floured surface and roll it out to approximately 5mm in thickness.
  • Cut shapes using cookie cutters (or templates for the gingerbread house)
  • Place on a baking tray and bake for approximately 12-15 minutes until they are brown
  • Cookies will harden once cool
  • Let your imagination run wild- decorate and enjoy!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Hope 2010 is all that you hope for and more :) Well this is my first blog ever so please bear with me. I have been on a baking marathon over the festive season so I thought I'd share some of my creations.

First up chocolate orange cake with orange buttercream frosting which I made for a friend's New Year's Eve party. There's a special surprise in each of them which everyone enjoyed. I didn't take a photo of the cake when cut in half but I think you'll get the idea. I have to say it's not an original idea, it was an inspiration from an entry at the December Iron Cupcake challenge.

Gold chocolate coin as a special surprise in each cake


Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Makes ~ 15 cakes

For the cupcakes:

115g good quality dark chocolate

90g unsalted butter, room temperature

175g golden caster sugar

75ml fresh orange juice

zest of 1 orange

2 large eggs

185g plain flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk, at room temperature

For the orange buttercream frosting:

115g unsalted butter, at room temperature

3-4 tablespoons fresh orange juice

500g icing sugar, sifted


  • Preheat the oven to 160C (fan)/180C/350F/gas mark 4
  • Line a 12 hole muffin tray
  • Melt the chocolate over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar and orange zest until the mixture is pale and smooth. Add the eggs and beat again briefly.
  • Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Mix the orange juice and milk in a jug.
  • Add the chocolate to the creamed mixture and beat until just combined. The batter will still be streaky. Add 1/3 of the flour mix and beat until it all just comes together. Add half of the juice/milk mix and beat again until the mixture just comes together. Repeat these steps until all the ingredients have been incorporated.
  • Carefully spoon into the cupcake cases and bake for about 25 mins until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • Leave the cakes in the tin for about 10 mins before cooling on a wire rack.
  • To make the frosting, beat together the butter, juice and half of the icing sugar until smooth. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar and beat again until smooth and creamy. You may need to add a few more drops of juice depending on the consistency of frosting required.
  • Insert the gold coins into the cooled cupcake as shown. Decorate as desired. I piped the orange buttercream frosting using a round tip. I used Terry's chocolate orange slices and chocolate shavings to complete the look.