Tuesday, 30 August 2011

British Brownies

Following the success of my malty chocolate cake, I decided to try this recipe from Peyton & Byrne's book. I love brownies and am forever on the lookout for the perfect brownie recipe. I prefer mine on the gooey side with a lovely crisp top and these came pretty close. They were certainly devoured in record time at work!

300g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
100g unsaltd butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 eggs
50g light brown sugar
150g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g plain flour
100g chopped walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Butter a 20cm square baking tin and line with baking paper.
  • Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl, add the salt and melt over a pan of barely simmering water. 
  • In another bowl, break up the eggs and add the sugars and vanilla until incorporated. 
  • Whisk the egg mixture into the melted chocolate, then gently fold in the flour and walnuts until just mixed. 
  • Pour the batter into the prepared tin. 
  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until set.
  • A skewer inserted should come out a little wet. 
  • Leave to cool completely in the tin before cutting into squares. 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Rose chocolate truffles

Just in time... again.... for the We Should Cocoa challenge.  When I first saw that this month's special ingredient was rose, I was quite excited and nervous at the same time. I've made rose cupcakes previously which turned out fine but have never tried a rose and chocolate combination. I have to admit not too many ideas sprang to mind immediately and I thought and debated about what to make. A lovely colleague of mine gave me some beautiful roses from her garden as I finally came up with the idea of making a rose petal jam and baking that into a cake. I was planning to use Nigella's recipe which uses marmalade and maybe adding some turkish delight as I think they are rose flavoured. Anyway all great plans fail sometimes and I had to resort to plan B which are these simple truffles.  I left it too late, got too caught up with other things and left my roses to wilt :( So at the 11th hour, I decided to make rose flavoured truffles as they were simple, no bake and no fuss, plus it gave me an opportunity to try out my new moulds.  The rose flavour is very subtle even though I added about 3 tablespoons! It was still very rich and decadent. Hopefully I'll do better for the next challenge! 

 rose flavoured heart shaped truffles


Note - I made these proportions up as it was what I had and it seemed to work ok. 

150mls double cream
400g dark chocolate (I used green & black organic dark cooking chocolate) 
Rosewater (add to taste) 

  • Heat the cream in a small saucepan until it's just warm but not boiling. 
  • Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a large heatproof bowl.
  • Pour the warm cream over the chocolate pieces and whisk until smooth. 
  • Add rose water (or other extras as desired) to taste. 
  • [I made some coffee flavoured ones as well in case the rose didn't turn out!]
  • Pour mixture into moulds and refrigerate for a few hours until firm. 
  • Alternatively, you can roll the chocolate into a ball and then roll in cocoa powder/icing sugar/dessicated coconut/other topping. 

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Malty Chocolate Cake

I bought Peyton & Byrne's book quite a few months back but have yet to make anything from it. Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog posted about this and I absolutely had to make it. I love chocolate and malt and it definitely reminds me of my childhood days. I made maltesers cupcakes previously which were amazing but this recipe is even better!! I love the addition of milk chocolate chunks - it's a really rich, moist, decadent cake.
I have to apologise for the photos as my loaf fell apart as I was slicing it so these are the only 2 intact slices. Everyone at work loved the cake and it was eaten up very quickly despite it's slightly unappetising look.

 add melted chocolate 

 ready to go in the oven 

Recipe from Peyton & Byrne (page 122)

70g light brown sugar
110g dark brown sugar
140g self raising flour
1 tablespoon malt powder such as Horlicks
pinch of salt
125g unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1 cm pieces
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
50g good quality dark chocolate (I used Green & Black's organic dark cooking chocolate)
110ml whole milk
65g milk chocolate, broken into pieces (I used Green & Black's)

  • Preheat the oven to 170C.
  • Butter a 900g loaf tin and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • Combine the brown sugars, flour, malt powder and salt in a bowl.
  • Drop in the softened pieces of butter and beat until pale and creamy.
  • Add the egg and vanilla and beat again until the batter is aerated and fluffy. 
  • Place the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water.
  • Stir occasionally until the chocolate is just melted and then take off the heat. 
  • Beat the melted chocolate into the cake mixture, then add the milk and beat to combine.
  • Finally, stir in the milk chocolate pieces and scrape the batter into your prepared loaf tin. 
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and let the cake cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Smarties cookies

I made these late one night - I'm not sure why I seem to do a lot of midnight baking! The recipe is from BBC Good Food and I think it's better than the candy cookies I've made previously. A definite hit at work as they disappeared really quickly.  They are buttery and crunchy with pretty Smarties on them. It's funny watching everyone choose, trying to pick one with the most Smarties. I tell them they're all the same (well kind of) but that's the way the cookie crumbles. I could have added the smarties by hand to each ball of dough to be fair but where's the fun in that? :)

 I added smarties to the batter 

250g butter
250g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
350g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
240g Smarties (original recipe suggested 160g but I like more)

  • Preheat oven to 180C.
  • Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. 
  • Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. 
  • Gradually beat in the sifted dry ingredients to form a stiff dough.
  • Finally stir in the smarties by hand.
  • Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop cookie dough onto the baking sheets, spaced well apart. (These cookies expand in the oven)
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes until pale golden brown.
  • Allow to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Peanut Butter Brownies

I saw this recipe ages ago on BBC Good Food, one of my favourite websites and then I saw it on chocolate teapot's blog and knew I just had to make it. I love brownies and peanut butter so this was a definite winner for me. I'm not sure if I overbaked them as they were a little on the dry side for me but still delicious (I prefer my brownies on the gooey side) I also added a whole layer of peanut butter instead of drizzling as suggested!

 cook ingredients 

 add egg 

 my layer of peanut butter 

 drizzle with chocolate 

225g crunchy peanut butter (I used 175g for the batter & 280g for the topping)
200g dark chocolate (reserve 50g for drizzling)
250g light brown sugar
3 eggs
100g self raising flour

  • Preheat oven to 180C. 
  • Set aside 50g of peanut butter and chocolate each. 
  • Gently melt the remaining peanut butter, chocolate and sugar in a pan, stirring occasionally. 
  • Turn off the heat and beat in the eggs one at a time.
  • Stir in flour and scrape into baking tray. 
  • Melt reserved peanut butter until runny and drizzle over the brownies (or if you are like me then add a whole layer of peanut butter)
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until it has a crust but the middle still seems slightly undercooked. 
  • Melt reserved (50g) chocolate, drizzle over the brownie, then cool in the tin before cutting into squares. 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Banana Nutella Bundt Cake

If you haven't already figured it out, I love baking with bananas and am always looking for new recipes. I've been wanting to try this for a while as it has bananas and nutella, both firm favourites with me. Unfortunately, I baked this whilst I was busy working and so didn't pay attention to the recipe and missed swirling the batter. Oh well, its not very pretty but it was definitely tasty. I'll have to make it again with a beautiful swirl. To see what it should look like, click over to the food librarian who inspired this recipe. 

220g flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
225g caster sugar
57g butter
3 medium bananas, mashed 
2 eggs
1/3 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 cup Nutella

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • Combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Scoop nutella into a medium bowl and mix with a spoon to soften but do not heat. 
  • Cream butter and sugar at medium speed in an electric mixer. 
  • Lightly beat the eggs and add to the batter.
  • Add the mashed bananas and yoghurt. 
  • At low speed, add the flour mixture.
  • Scoop out 1 cup of batter and fold in the nutella. 
  • Spoon plain batter into a prepared bundt pan.
  • Top with nutella mixture and swirl with a knife.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 

Monday, 15 August 2011

Chocolate Guinness Cake

This is a belated birthday post for a colleague of mine who celebrated a special birthday recently.  She invited me to a lovely BBQ and I made Nigella's Chocolate Guinness Cake to bring out the Irish in her :) I have made these previously in a cupcake form with the addition of baileys ganache and buttercream but this cake is on a whole other level. It's really moist and soft and absolutely delicious with the cream cheese frosting on top. A definite hit at the party I think! 
I also made a Victoria sponge cake for her actual birthday. It was made very late at night and some of my writing icing tubes had dried hence the rather wobbly writing. I don't think anyone took too much notice as the cake disappeared very quickly. 


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. 

Recipe for the sponge cake can be found here 

Saturday, 13 August 2011

American Style Pancakes

I made these on a whim recently.  I've been super busy and then horribly ill. I decided I needed something to make me feel better. I saw my bottle of maple syrup in the fridge and thought I would like some pancakes to go with them. I've never made my own pancakes so I looked up a recipe on the internet and voila! Luckily I had some berries to hand (almost always in my fridge currently) and had a very delicious brunch which made me feel miles better.  They are really quick and easy to whip up and does not require specialist ingredients or equipment. 

 stack of pancakes with butter and maple syrup

 added some berries as I thought it looked a little plain plus I could get my 5 a day in! 

Recipe from bbc good food online
135g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons caster sugar
130mls milk
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons melted butter or olive oil (I used butter) 

  • Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl. 
  • In a separate bowl, lightly whisk the milk and egg and then whisk in the melted butter. 
  • Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and using a fork, beat until you have a smooth batter. 
  • Let the batter stand for a few minutes. 
  • Heat a non stick frying pan over medium heat and add a knob of butter. 
  • When the butter is melted, add a ladle of batter.
  • Wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble, then turn it over and cook until both sides are golden brown. 
  • Best served warm. 
  • Add a knob of butter and drizzle with maple syrup.
  • Garnish with berries if desired. 

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Banana and strawberry bread

This is the best banana bread recipe I've ever tried.  I love bananas and strawberries so when I saw this recipe it was a no-brainer. The bread is really moist and juicy. I think it's the sour cream that makes the difference - I'm going to try adding it to my other banana bread recipe and see what happens.  I love the slight tang of the strawberries and the juicy banana flavour. Definitely a bake again and again on my list. Try it, I promise you won't regret it! 

 adding mashed bananas 

 adding chopped strawberries 

 fresh from the oven 

 you can see the bits of banana and strawberries

220g flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
95g brown sugar
95g caster sugar
115g butter
2 eggs
125mls sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 mashed bananas
175g chopped strawberries (reserve a few to decorate on top)

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Mix flour and baking soda in a bowl.
  • Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract. 
  • Add in the sour cream and then the mashed bananas.
  • Stir in the chopped strawberries.
  • Add the flour mixture and mix well. 
  • Pour into a loaf pan and decorate with slices of strawberries on top. 
  • Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 

Monday, 8 August 2011

Ottolenghi's Caramel and Macadamia Cheesecake

I was really excited when I was invited by Heavenly Housewife to participate in the cheesecake challenge as Ottolenghi's caramel and macadamia cheesecake is my favourite cheesecake in the world and has been on my to bake list for far too long. I have been avoiding baking this partly because it has quite a few components to it and seemed a bit of a faff but I'm really glad I gave it a go. Plus I have had quite a few mishaps with caramel in the past.  Unfortunately, it's not quite like Ottolenghi's as I was running out of time - literally finished baking today which is the deadline! and therefore made a few mistakes. I burnt the caramel :( but it still tasted ok and I think the tin I used was way too large as the base is quite thin and the cake is about half the height as the ones sold in Ottolenghi! I didn't have time or any more nuts to remake the nut topping so I just went with the burnt caramel macadamia nuts!
Despite all that, it's really delicious and I'll admit I've already scoffed a quarter of the cake!! I would definitely make this again but probably only for a special occasion or maybe one more time just to make sure I get it perfect :) If anyone wants a slice, let me know!

Do check out the other fantastic bloggers who joined in this event as I'm sure their cheesecakes are much better! 

Heavenly Housewife from Donuts to Delirium

Stevie from Weird Combinations

Tammy from Il Dolce Bacio

Liz from Tip Top Shape

Vanessa from Sweet Artichoke

 cake base 

 baked cheesecake 

 burnt caramel! you really have to watch it like a hawk

 burnt caramel coated macadamia nuts 

 making caramel sauce- not quite ready yet 

 lovely caramel colour - not burnt this time! hurray 

 assembling the cake - chilled cheesecake which cracked in the middle 

 cover with caramel sauce 

 add macadamia nuts on top 


Recipe from Ottolenghi's Cookbook
Serves 8-10

For the cheesecake
600g cream cheese
120g caster sugar
1/2 vanilla pod
4 eggs, lightly beaten
60ml soured cream
icing sugar for dusting

For the base
160g dry biscuits (HobNobs)
40g unsalted butter, melted

For the Nut topping
150g macadamia nuts (not enough to cover whole cheesecake of size shown)
90g caster sugar

For the caramel sauce
65g unsalted butter
160g caster sugar
100ml whipping cream

  • Preheat the oven to 140C. 
  • Lightly grease a 20cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment. 
  • To make the base, whiz the biscuits to crumbs in a food processor (or crush in a ziploc bag). 
  • Mix with the melted butter to a wet, sandy consistency.
  • Transfer to the lined tin and flatten with the back of a teaspoon to create a level base. 
  • To make the cake batter, put the sugar and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. 
  • Slit the vanilla pod lengthways in half, and using a sharp knife, scrape the seeds out into the bowl.
  • Whisk by hand, or with an electric mixer until smooth. 
  • Gradually add the eggs and soured cream, whisking until smooth. 
  • Pour the mixture over the biscuit base and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 60-70 minutes, until set - a skewer inserted in the centre should come out with a slightly wet crumb attached. 
  • Leave to cool to room temperature, then turn out of the tin.
  • Chill the cake for at least a few hours. 
  • To prepare the nut topping, scatter the nuts over a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 140C for about 15 minutes, until golden. 
  • Remove from the oven and set aside. 
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Place the sugar in a large saucepan with a very thick base (make sure the sugar is not more than 3mm high). 
  • Heat the sugar gently until it turns into a golden-brown caramel.
  • Do not stir it at any stage. 
  • Don't worry if some small bits of sugar don't totally dissolve. (Note to self - watch the pan closely as it changes very quickly from brown to burnt).
  • Carefully add the toasted nuts and mix gently with a wooden spoon. 
  • When most of the nuts are coated in caramel, pour them on to the lined tray and leave to set. 
  • Break bits off and chop them very roughly. 
  • To make the caramel sauce, put the butter and sugar in a thick-bottomed saucepan and stir constantly over a medium heat with a wooden spoon until it becomes a smooth, dark caramel.
  • The butter and sugar will look as if they have split - don't worry, just keep on stirring (see pics above).
  • Once the desired colour is reached, carefully add the cream while stirring vigorously. 
  • Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  • To finish the cake, dust the edges and sides with icing sugar. 
  • Spoon the sauce in the centre, allowing it to spill over a little.
  • Scatter lots of caramelised nuts on top. 
  • The cheesecake will keep in the fridge for 3 days. (probably not in my house!) 

Friday, 5 August 2011

Pecan and chocolate chip cookies

I also made these for the bake sale event that I made flapjacks and homemade chocolate fudge for. I figured everyone loves cookies (well mainly me!) I remember seeing this recipe using vegetable oil instead of butter and thinking it would be so quick and easy to put together and it was! No mixer required. Just add all ingredients and stir - my favourite kind of recipe!
The cookies smelled amazing coming out of the oven and tasted good! The crunch and flavour of pecan nuts was subtle but I think I may have chopped the nuts too finely. Next time, I'll roughly chop them and maybe use chopped chocolate instead of chocolate chips.

 forming cookie dough 

 add chocolate chips and pecans 

160g brown sugar
80ml vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt
125g whole wheat flour
80g oats
80g dark chocolate chips 
30g toasted pecan pieces 

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. 
  • Mix brown sugar, oil, vanilla and egg. 
  • Add the flour, salt and baking powder. 
  • Mix well.
  • Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. 
  • Scoop a small ice-cream scoop of cookie dough onto prepared trays, spaced about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake for approximately 10-13 minutes until the edges are slightly browned.
  • Allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Chocolate Fudge

I made this for the same bake sale event that I made the flapjacks for.  These were chosen as it's a simple no bake recipe and I thought the kids would love it. I got the recipe from a cute little book called Miss Hope's Chocolate Box. It was really easy to make and proved to be extremely popular on the day.

Melt butter, chocolate and condensed milk

 press into a tray

topped with M&Ms


60g unsalted butter
125g milk chocolate, chopped
125g dark chocolate, chopped 
200g can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 bag of M&M's 

  • Generously butter a 17cm square tin and line with baking parchment. 
  • Heat 2inch of water in a pan. 
  • Pop a heatproof bowl on top of the pan, making sure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.
  • Add the two types of chocolate, butter, condensed milk and vanilla extract to the bowl. 
  • Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and allow the chocolate and butter to melt. 
  • Take the pan off the heat and stir all the ingredients together. 
  • Pour into the prepared tin and scatter over M&M's (or topping of your choice), pushing them in slightly so that they stick.
  • Cool, then chill overnight. 
  • Remove from the fridge and cut into squares.