Monday, 30 May 2011

Trufflemania - chocolate liqueur and chocolate truffles

I was very excited when the Heavenly Housewife of Donuts to Delirium invited me to make truffles with her. She and Steve of weirdcombinations came up with this fantastic idea.  There are a few other bloggers that have also participated in this challenge so please visit them as well. 

I have made oreo truffles previously which were amazingly delicious but never plain chocolate truffles.  The recipe provided is by Ina Garten but we were allowed to make any changes to the recipe to make it our own.   I made 2 versions - 1 plain and 1 with chocolate liqueur which I bought from Bruges when I was there earlier this year. 

As it was also my friend's birthday, I decided to make these as a gift for her (amongst other baked goodies which I will blog about later). I got a lovely box from Paperchase, filled it with tissue and home made truffles and finished it with a big silver bow :) I was really pleased with how they turned out in the end and they tasted wonderful! Happy birthday P! 

 chop chocolate 

 heat cream 

 stir until chocolate is melted 

 yummy truffle

 chocolate liqueur

 my little truffles :) 

 rolled in dessicated coconut

 rolled in cocoa powder

 rolled in icing sugar

 a beautiful gift for a lovely friend :) 

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
227g good quality dark chocolate
227g good quality milk chocolate
250mls cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons liqueur
icing sugar
cocoa powder
dessicated coconut

  • Chop the chocolates finely with a sharp knife. 
  • Place them in a heat proof mixing bowl.
  • Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it just boils. 
  • Turn off the heat and allow the cream to sit for 20 seconds. 
  • Pour the cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the bowl with chocolate.
  • With a wire whisk, slowly stir the cream and chocolates together until the chocolate is completely melted. 
  • Whisk in the liqueur, if using and vanilla extract. 
  • Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • With 2 teaspoons, spoon round balls of the chocolate mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm. 
  • Roll each dollop of chocolate in your hands to roughly make a round ball.
  • Roll in icing sugar, cocoa powder or dessicated coconut. 
  • These will keep refrigerated for weeks, but serve at room temperature. 

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Chocolate Swiss Roll with Peanut Butter Filling

This month's We Should Cocoa challenge is set by Chele and it's to make a chocolate swiss roll/roulade.  That's definitely a challenge for me as I've never made one before but I was happy to embrace the challenge especially since I missed out on the April challenge. As you probably already know, peanut butter is one of my favourite snacks and it pairs very well with chocolate so this month I present you with a chocolate swiss roll filled with a peanut butter cream.  I overbaked the cake slightly but still managed to get it into a roll. The peanut butter filling is absolutely divine and I have actually been eating (small) bowfuls at a time - one for breakfast this morning!!  I made a chocolate ganache to go on top of the cake to cover up the cracks but didn't have time to do any fancy decorations. 

 whisk egg yolks and water 

 Add sugar

 Beat egg whites until stiff

 fold into batter 

 swiss roll 

spread a generous layer of peanut butter frosting 

 cover in ganache 

 my first swiss roll :) 

Recipe from poiresauchocolat
For the cake
60g flour
30g cornflour
20g cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
3 eggs, separated
35mls cold water
120g golden caster sugar

For the peanut butter filling
100g cream cheese
175g smooth peanut butter
100g icing sugar
200ml double cream

For the chocolate ganache
50g dark chocolate
75ml double cream
20g soft brown sugar

Step 1:make the cake
  • Preheat the oven to 170C and line a 12 x 8 inch swiss roll tin. (I used my normal baking tray and it turned out fine)
  • Sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt three times.
  • Whisk the egg yolks and cold water together in a stand mixer on high speed for 1 minute.
  • Add the caster sugar then whip on high until the mixture is pale and thick.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
  • Place the egg yolk mix bowl on a damp cloth to prevent it slipping.
  • Slowly start sifting the flour mixture into the bowl whilst whisking with your other hand. 
  • When the flour is totally incorporated, add 1/3 of the egg whites and fold in with a rubber spatula to lighten the mix. 
  • Finally add the rest of the egg whites and fold in until uniform. 
  • Pour into the prepared tin, spread evenly and bake for 12-15 minutes or until springy to touch in the center but not too brown especially at the edges. 
Step 2: Roll the cake
  • While the cake is baking, cut 2 large rectangles of parchment paper bigger than your pan.
  • Lay one on a work surface and sprinkle with a few teaspoons of caster sugar. 
  • When the cake is ready, leave it to rest for 1 minute, then turn it out onto the sugary parchment. 
  • Peel off the parchment paper on the bottom of the cake. 
  • Score a line gently about 1 inch from the short end. 
  • Place the new parchment paper on top and start rolling from the scored edge, keeping it tight. 
  • Wrap the whole roll in a tea towel and leave to cool
Step 3: Prepare the filling
  • In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. 
  • Add the peanut butter and icing sugar and beat again until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, whip the cream until stiff.
  • Add 1/3 of the cream and fold in to lighten, then add the remaining cream and fold until uniform. 
  • Put in the fridge to chill for 1 hour. 
Step 4: Make the swiss roll  
  • Carefully unwrap the cake then spread a generous layer of the peanut butter filling, leaving an inch around the sides.
  • Re-roll and then place on your serving plate. 
Step 5: Assemble the cake
  • Chop the chocolate and place it in a small bowl. 
  • Heat the cream and sugar until the sugar is dissolved and it's nearly boiling, then pour over the chocolate. 
  • Leave for a minute, then stir until smooth and glossy.
  • Pour over the swiss roll until evenly coated.
  • Chill for 1 hour before serving.
Step 6: Enjoy! 

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Pecan and Butterscotch cookies

I still had some leftover butterscotch chips and was debating what to bake with them. I then saw this recipe on cookie sleuth's blog and knew I wanted to make it. I love the combination of butterscotch and pecans. It was a nice, crunchy, semi-sweet cookie with a good "oaty" flavour which makes it seem healthier! A definite improvement on these oatmeal scotchies I made earlier in the year.

 tablespoonfuls of dough 

 cross section 

227g butter
85g brown sugar
50g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
210g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
250g rolled oats
100g chopped pecans
220g butterscotch chips

  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
  • Cream butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla extract.
  • Stir in flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Add the pecans and butterscotch chips and mix well. 
  • Using an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, place dough onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. 
  • Allow to cool on the sheet for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Banana and yoghurt cake

I bake a lot with bananas as you can see from my blog. This is the best banana recipe I've tried so far and probably the simplest to make as well.  As usual I had a lot of over ripe bananas to use up but I also had 3 large tubs of yoghurt in the fridge (I wanted to make smoothies with the yoghurt but never got round to it). So I googled banana and yoghurt recipes and came up with this gem. It's really light and moist with a good strong banana flavour and a hint of cinnamon.

 mix all the ingredients together 

I made 1 loaf...

 ... and a large tray as I doubled the recipe

120ml sunflower oil
225g light muscovado sugar
3 large eggs
225g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 ripe bananas
150ml low fat natural yoghurt

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • Grease and line a 900g loaf tin. 
  • Pour the oil into a large bowl.
  • Add the sugar and whisk for a few minutes.
  • Add the eggs one by one, whisking as you go. 
  • Stir in the flour and cinnamon. 
  • Peel and mash the bananas in a separate bowl. 
  • Add the mashed bananas and yoghurt into the cake mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon. 
  • Pour into the prepared tin.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until cake is well risen and golden. 
  • Leave to cool in the tin then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Monday, 16 May 2011

Brown Butter Banana and Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

I made this quite a few months back but haven't had time to blog about. I still remember it though as it was really moist and delicious. The brown butter although a bit of an extra effort really makes a difference to the cake.  I am actually considering making another one this week as I have a lot of ripe bananas sitting in the kitchen. I tried to coat the chocolate chips with flour to prevent them sinking but most of them still ended up at the bottom. Anyone has any other tips to spread the chocolate chips more evenly through the cake? 

227g butter
250g sugar
3 large eggs
3 medium bananas, finely mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon salt
185g flour
1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
125g chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 180C. 
  • Butter and flour a bundt pan.
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. 
  • Once butter is melted, cook it slowly, letting it bubble until it smells nutty or like butterscotch and turns a deep golden hue, approximately 5-10 minutes. 
  • If butter splatters, reduce the heat to low. 
  • Remove pan from heat and pour browned butter through a fine sieve into a medium bowl and discard the bits in the sieve. 
  • Let the butter cool until its warm, approximately 5-10 minutes.
  • Using a whisk, stir the sugar and eggs into the butter until smooth. 
  • Whisk in the mashed bananas, vanilla essence and salt. 
  • Sift the flour and baking powder directly onto the batter.
  • Pour the chocolate chips over the flour.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold just until the dry ingredients and chocolate chops are combined and pour into the prepared pan. 
  • Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with only moist crumbs clinging to it. 
  • Allow to cool for 15 minutes and then invert cake onto a cake rack. 

Monday, 9 May 2011

Oreo Cheesecake

As promised, yet another Oreo recipe - a cheesecake for a change. I made this as soon as I got back from holiday as I felt the desperate need to bake. I debated about what to make and as I had a lot of cream cheese in the fridge I decided it had to be a cheesecake. I thought about a fruity one - lemon or raspberry but I also have a lot of Oreos in my cupboard hence Oreo cheesecakes. I decided to make them cupcake size but as I was greedy, I doubled the recipe and ended up with a LOT of batter! I managed to make 27 cupcakes and a large tray of cheesecake as shown with the double recipe.
I burnt the first lot :( - I forgot to reduce the baking time as the original recipe was for a whole cheesecake but as I was making mini ones I should have halved the baking time. They still tasted good albeit a little overbaked.  The second time, the cheesecake was soft and crumbly in your mouth with the delicious taste of Oreos. 
This is a really simple recipe, no fuss and definite results (even if you get it wrong) so I'll definitely be making these again. 

 Oreo cookie base 

 Adding crushed Oreos to the mixture 

 Filling the cupcake cases 

 fresh from the oven 

 A little overbaked but still delicious 

 Tray of cheesecake - perfectly baked 

24 Oreo Cookies
45g butter, melted 
750g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia cream cheese)
150g sugar
5mls vanilla extract
3 eggs

  • Preheat oven to 180C. 
  • Place 16 Oreo cookies in a resealable bag and crush with a rolling pin or blitz in a food processor. 
  • Add melted butter and mix well. 
  • Press into the base of the pan or cupcake cases if making mini cheesecakes. 
  • Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended.
  • Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. 
  • Roughly chop the remaining 8 cookies.
  • Gently stir the crushed cookies into the cream cheese batter. 
  • Pour over prepared crust.
  • (You can sprinkle addition crushed cookies on top - I added all of mine to the batter) 
  • Bake whole cheesecake for about 45 minutes until the centre is almost set. Reduce baking time to 20-25 minutes for cupcakes. 
  • Leave to cool then refrigerate for a few hours or preferably overnight before serving. 

Cookies & Cream Brownies

It's good to be back after a brief hiatus from the kitchen. I actually made these a few months back now but I still remember them. If you haven't already noticed, Oreos are one of my favourite snacks and I do bake with them quite frequently. So after a long break, I am doing a double whammy - Oreo brownies here and Oreo cheesecake next. 
I have to admit these are not the best brownies I've ever had but they were chocolatey and cakey. I do prefer my brownies on the gooey side but if you like them cakey then this is the recipe for you! 

 melt butter and chocolate. Mini oreos ready in the background 

 Adding the whisked eggs 

 Adding mini oreos 

 decorate the top with more Oreos 

 fresh from the oven 


250g plain chocolate
250g butter
270g caster sugar
5 large eggs
150g plain flour
4 packs of mini oreo cookies or 1 pack of regular sized cookies, roughly broken

  • Preheat the oven to 175C.
  • Melt butter and chocolate in a large saucepan over a low heat. 
  • Remove from the heat and add sugar, mixing with a large balloon whisk. 
  • Once sugar is combined, whisk the eggs together in a large bowl and add to the brownie mixture, mixing until smooth. 
  • Add flour and 1/3 of cookies or 2 mini packs, stirring until combined.
  • Pour mixture into a tray and crumble the remaining cookies over the top (No need to crumble if using mini oreos, just sprinkle evenly).
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.