Monday, 30 September 2013

SRC: Malted Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

It's time for Secret Recipe Club Group D reveal day again. I love the secret recipe club and it's so popular that there is a waiting list to join. Each month we are assigned a blog in secret and we then choose 1 recipe to make and blog about on the same reveal day which is today. I love discovering new blogs and always find it difficult to choose just one recipe. However, I have noticed a bit of a trend in my secret recipe posts  - peanut butter. No surprise as I love it and yes this recipe has peanut butter.

This month I was assigned The Spiffy Cookie written by Erin who is a graduate student working towards her PhD in microbiology. Erin and I have a lot in common as her favourite food group is dessert - yes! and more importantly, she says "Peanut Butter + Chocolate = one of the best combinations ever" Enough said.

Obviously I had to choose a recipe with peanut butter and chocolate and with a blog name like the Spiffy Cookie I decided it had to be a cookie and chose this delicious Malted Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Cookie. I ended up making a lot of changes to suit what I had to hand but I was really pleased with the final results. The cookies were chewy with a crisp edge and there was a distinct taste of peanut butter. One of my colleagues texted me to say "Your biccies (cookies) have saved our lives today. Yum Yum"

Other recipes that I've bookmarked are Nutella Chunk Cookies, Brownie Peanut Butter Cups,  Chocolate Root Beer Bundt Cake and Funfetti Truffle Chocolate Cupcakes.

 plain flour, peanut butter, chocolate malt (couldnt find my original malt), brown sugar, butter, 3 types of chocolate chips - dark, milk, peanut butter and egg 

 love the tri coloured chocolate chips

 ready to go in the oven 



The original recipe can be found here
Below is my modified version

150g butter
75g peanut butter
150g brown sugar
50g malted milk powder like Ovaltine
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
110g peanut butter chips
50g milk chocolate chips
50g dark chocolate chips

  • Cream butter, peanut butter, sugar and malt in an electric mixer for a few minutes.
  • Add in vanilla extract and egg.
  • Sift in flour, bicarb and salt.
  • Finally stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips.
  • Refrigerate dough for about 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 175C.
  • Grease and line 2 baking trays.
  • Places scoops of cookie dough spaced apart on a baking tray and bake for 8 - 12 minutes. 
  • Allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 
  • The cookies will harden on cooling - don't worry if they look soft and crumbly when you first take them out of the oven. 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Homemade Hot Chocolate on a stick for Macmillan Coffee Morning

Today is the World's Biggest Coffee Morning which is Macmillan's biggest fundraising event.  In 2012 115,000 people signed up, raising a record £15 million. I'm sure there's one near you so if you're not hosting your own, please support this great cause. 

Unfortunately I am away in Chicago this year so won't be baking up a storm as I usually do for this great cause.  However, I made sure to leave something for my colleagues to sell at the Macmillan Coffee morning stand. It had to be something that would keep for more than a week so I decided to make some hot chocolate on a stick with mini marshmallows. I made these previously for Christmas one year and they were a huge hit. This time, I used my dariole mould and packaged them nicely in cake pop bags and cute ribbons and gift tags. They look really cute and I hope that they will help raise money for Macmillan. 

 lollipop sticks, dark chocolate, mini marshmallows 

 melt chocolate and pour into a suitable mould. Add mini marshmallows on top so they will stay in place as the chocolate sets. Refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes then place a lollipop stick in the centre. The chocolate should be semi-set at this point and the stick will stand up on its own. You can also use a teaspoon. 

 Once completely set, remove from mould


 My little note :) 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Crispy Lemon Cake

Lemon cake is one of my faovurite cakes. I bookmarked this recipe as soon as I saw it in my Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook. It's a recipe by Juliana and the description reads "This tried and tested recipe was discovered in a cookery binder that Juliana inherited from her nan.  This sponge is drizzled with a lemony syrup that sets into a crispy, crunchy topping". Honestly, how could I resist?

I have to say the cake turned out perfectly and exactly as described. This was a huge hit at work and I've had repeated requests for more! Writing this makes me wish I could have another slice of the cake now! 

I'm entering this to bookmarked recipes hosted by Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes.

 self raising flour, golden caster sugar, milk, 4 eggs, butter and lemon 

 adding lovely lemon zest 

 drizzling the lemon syrup 

 you can see the crispy, crunchy topping here 

Recipe from Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook page 130

For the cake
225g butter
340g caster sugar
4 eggs
340g self raising flour
grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
120ml milk

Crispy topping
225g caster sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
Zest to decorate

  • Preheat the oven to 160C.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at time, mixing well after each addition.
  • Add the lemon zest and juice.
  • Stir in the flour and baking powder and mix well.
  • Finally, add the milk. 
  • Spoon into a cake tin, level it and bake for about 1 hour until risen and golden brown. 
  • Prepare the topping by mixing the sugar and lemon juice until the sugar dissolves. 
  • When the cake comes out of the oven, prick all over with a skewer, then drizzle with lemon topping. 
  • Allow to cool in the tin completely before turning out.
  • Decorate with sprinkles of lemon zest.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Banana Nut Bread

It's Random Recipe time again! Initially I thought there was no random recipes for Sep as Dom enticingly promised us a special one-off project but as it was delayed he decided to host a sweet round of random recipes. Hallelujah!! It's his birthday month (and mine) so he wanted to be showered with sweet treats. I randomly selected a book from my groaning bookcase and pulled up this lovely British Baking book by Peyton and Byrne. I've not used this in a long time so was pleased to make something from it. 

I randomly opened the book and got this recipe for banana nut bread. Initially I was disappointed as I wanted to make something really sweet or amazing but it's the random recipe card so can't complain. At least it's not macarons!! The recipe is simple and straightforward and what I like most about it is the simplicity of it. Don't be fooled by this unassuming looking loaf - it was absolutely delicious and smelt amazing in the oven.  The introduction in the book says "the banana flavour is particularly intense in this simple bread recipe and there are no added spices to complicate the taste". I completely agree. I forgot to add a sprinkling of caster sugar on top before baking to give it a crispy top but it was lovely all the same. 
So Happy Birthday Dom and thanks for hosting Random Recipes this month! 

 adding chopped nuts and flour 

 using my much loved banana bread mould 

I added a lot more nuts than the original recipe and it worked fine

100g pecans (original recipe 40g)
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
125g unsalted butter
200g light brown sugar
2 eggs
3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
60ml buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoon caster sugar for sprinkling

  • Preheat oven to 180C. 
  • Toast the pecans in the oven then roughly chop them. 
  • Turn the oven down to 170C.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan (or microwave) then pour into a separate bowl and whisk in the brown sugar. 
  • Add the eggs one at at ime, mixing well after each addition. 
  • Add the mashed bananas, then buttermilk, then vanilla.
  • Finally stir in the flour and chopped, toasted pecans. 
  • Pour into a baking tin and sprinkle with caster sugar if using. 
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Chocolate Guinness Celebration Cake

Recently a work colleague celebrated her wedding anniversary and I thought it would be nice to make a celebration cake for it. As she's Irish I thought a chocolate guinness cake would be perfect and the happy couple were absolutely delighted. I made a double recipe so had enough for 1 big cake and 20 cupcakes. I think almost everyone had 2 cupcakes that day and I've had repeated requests for this cake since especially from those that missed out. This cake ranks in the top 5 that I've baked so far for the team this year and trust me I've baked a lot of cakes! 

Just to jazz up the cake a little, I decided to make chocolate decorations in the shape of champagne bottles using a mould I bought from Lakeland. I made 3 different types of chocolate but unfortunately could not get the white ones out of the mould. I also struggled with the milk ones. Luckily, I had enough to decorate the cake but not completely cover it as originally planned. Has anyone used this mould before? I tempered the chocolate as instructed, filled it and allowed it to set before turning them out. No amount of tapping and coaxing would get the other bottles out. 

As this is a chocolate celebration cake, I'm sending it to We Should Cocoa hosted by Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog. Sadly, we bid farewell to WSC co-creator Chele from Chocolate Teapot who has retired from blogging.  We Should Cocoa turns 3 this month so Choclette has asked us to create a chocolate showstopper cake inspired by the first episode of the Great British Bake Off. This is not quite up to par with the showstoppers on the show but it's a great celebration cake so I hope it will suffice.

 new mould from lakeland

 I tempered 3 different chocolates 

 made lots of cupcakes... 

 and 1 large cake 

 cover liberally with frosting  

 I love the little chocolate bottles! 

For the cake
250ml guinness
250g butter
75 cocoa powder
400g caster sugar
142mls sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2.5 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

For the topping
300g cream cheese
150g icing sugar
125mls double or whipping cream

  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Butter and line a 23cm springform tin. 
  • Pour Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add butter - in spoons or slices - and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. 
  • Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and the pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda. 
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes to an hour. 
  • Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack as it is quite a damp cake. 
  • To make the topping, lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth.
  • Sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. 
  • Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. 
  • Ice the top of the black cake so it resembles the frothy top of Guinness.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Leek, mushroom and Gruyere Quiche

I had a lovely birthday party this year with a fabulous cake made by my AlphaBakes co-host Caroline. I'm sure it will feature on her blog soon so make sure you look out for it. I planned to make a quiche as this month's AlphaBakes letter is Q but unfortunately ran out of time so my work colleagues got to enjoy this the week after my birthday. I've never made a quiche before and to be honest, I was quite worried as pastry is not my thing and I'm really not a good cook at all. Fortunately, it turned out well and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. There wasn't a crumb left! 

As mentioned I'm entering this to AlphaBakes hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes and co-hosted by myself on alternate months. The letter this month is Q for Quiche.

 flour, butter, eggs, cream, leeks, mushroom, cheese 

 making the pastry 

 not too bad... Hope it's not going to have a soggy bottom!!

 First time using my baking beans 

 cooking the filling 

 ready to go in the oven 

 I couldn't resist a slice after it came out of the oven 


Saturday, 14 September 2013

Peanut Butter Granola Bar

I felt like making granola bars one weekend. It's not something that I regularly bake but I decided it was a good way to clear out my baking cupboard as I could put in a combination of seeds, nuts and fruits all of which were sitting in my cupboard gathering dust. I often buy ingredients in case I want to make something or it's on offer and sometimes I forget about them or change my mind and they end up sitting there for ages. So this recipe is slightly made up based on ingredients I had available but you can easily adapt this your tastes. 

The bars were really tasty and I got lots of compliments about them. I love the peanut butter in there and the mix of fruit, nuts and seeds make it seem healthy. Definitely a good on the go snack or lunch box treat. 

I'm entering this to Tea Time Treats hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage this month and co-hosted by Kate from What Kate Baked on alternate months. The theme this month is Flapjacks, Oats and Tray Bakes.

I'm also entering this Credit Crunch Munch hosted by Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary. The challenge was started by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla at Fab Food 4 All inviting us to share our frugal food recipes.  This recipe is a great way to use up bits of dried fruit, nuts and seeds that you have lying around in your cupboard. It's probably not cost effective if you had to buy all the ingredients separately as seeds and nuts are generally on the expensive side. However, I didn't have to buy anything to make this recipe as I had everything to hand so I think it fits the bill for credit crunch munch.

I'm also entering this to a new blogging challenge called Treat Petite. It's hosted by Kat from The Baking Explorer and Stuart from Cakeyboi and the idea is to submit any sweet treat that's individually portioned and not a big cake. The theme this month is 'No Theme' so anything goes. These are perfect bite sized sweet treats! 

 brown sugar, crunchy peanut butter, honey, golden syrup, oats, dried cranberries, flaked almonds, roasted chopped hazelnuts, seed mix

 I also had an opened pack of this pineapple and papaya mix so I added it in as well 

 Love the colours! 

 Melt honey and butter 

 toasted granola 

 make the peanut butter mixture 

 drizzle with chocolate before serving 

100g butter
100g honey
480g oats
100g flaked almonds
100g toasted chopped hazelnuts
60g seed mix (pumpkin, sunflower, hemp seed, linseed, sesame seed)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
100g dried cranberries
145g pineapple & papaya mix
100g crunchy peanut butter
125mls golden syrup
70g soft brown sugar
50g dark chocolate (optional) for drizzling at the end

  • Melt honey and butter in a small pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.
  • Pour melted honey and butter mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well.
  • It should be a dry mixture at this point.
  • Spread out thinly over 2 lined large baking trays and bake for about 10-12 mins, stirring half way until lightly toasted and slightly browned. Be careful not to burn your granola at this point!
  • In a medium sized saucepan, melt peanut butter, golden syrup and brown sugar. 
  • Transfer cooled toasted granola into a large mixing bowl.
  • Pour over the peanut butter mixture and mix well.
  • Press into a large rectangle tin as shown and allow to set completely. (I put mine in the fridge for about 20 mins)
  • Drizzle with melted chocolate if using. 
  • Slice into large squares and serve.