Thursday, 30 May 2013

Chocolate Orange Brownies

Seeming as the brownies I made last year for my fiance to take to work for his birthday went down so well, I decided to stick with the brownie again this year! This time I added a little orange zest and juice to make chocolate orange brownies. Happy birthday James!

185g unsalted butter
185g dark chocolate
275g golden caster sugar
3 eggs
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1/2 an orange
100g plain flour
45g coco powder

Pre-heat your oven to 160c and line a deep square ovenproof dish with greaseproof paper.
Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt slowly over a pan of simmering water. Once melted, leave to cool while you do the next step.

Break 3 large eggs into a large bowl and tip in the sugar, zest and juice. Use an electric mixer to whisk the ingredients for about 5 minutes, until it's thick and frothy.
Pour in the chocolate and butter mixture and fold into the mix using a spoon.
Next, sift the flour and coco powder over the mix and fold this in too.
Once it's all combined, pour into your lined dish and bake for 25 minutes. The brownies should still be a little wobbly when you take them out of the oven, so when they firm up as they cool down, they stay a bit gooey. Leave them in the dish to cool completely before cutting them into squares.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Nut Butter Biscuits

Now, I will admit, these biscuits were an accident. I was trying to make nut butter, where you blitz nuts in a food processor until they turn creamy through releasing their own oils, but after an hour of processing, I still had nothing but a gritty (albeit tasty) thick paste. Feeling sorry for my poor food processor, I decided to call it quits and rather than throw the paste away, I made biscuits with it instead.

250g mixed nuts (I used almonds, cashews and pistachios)
2 teaspoons honey
300g self raising flour
170g butter
110g sugar
1 egg, beaten
Few drops of vanilla essence
100g milk chocolate

Put the mixed nuts and honey in the bowl of a food processor and blitz for about 10 minutes until the nuts form a rough paste.
In a large mixing bowl, rub the butter and flour together with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in the nut paste, sugar, egg and vanilla essence, making sure it’s well combined, and form into a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat your oven to 180c, and lightly grease two baking trays. Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface to approx 5mm thick. Use a cookie cutter or glass to cut out all your biscuits, rerolling any left over dough until it’s all used up. Space the cookies out on the baking sheets, leaving a gap between them as they spread slightly. Bake for 12 minutes, and leave to cool on a wire rack.

While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and leave to cool for a few minutes. Once the chocolate has cooled, but not set, dip the cookies into the chocolate and place on a sheet of baking paper to set.

Monday, 27 May 2013

White Chocolate, Pistachio and Raspberry Cookies

My Nan brought some white chocolate, pistachio and raspberry cookies from our local supermarket round last week and they were demolished before the day was out! Whilst sat reading my book this weekend I really fancied these cookies, so headed straight to the kitchen to make my own. These aren't quite the same, but they're just as yummy!
225g self raising flour
170g butter
100g rolled oats
110g sugar
1 beaten egg
100g white chocolate, chopped into chunks
40g raspberry buttons (I used these)
50g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
50g white chocolate for decorating
In a large mixing bowl, rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the oats, sugar and egg and mix to form a doughy ball. Tip in the chocolate chunks, raspberry buttons and pistachios and knead into the dough until they're evenly distributed. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 180c and lightly grease 2 baking trays. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to approx. 5mm thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out all of your cookies, re-rolling any left over dough until it is all used up, and put them on the baking trays. They do spread a little bit when cooking, so make sure to space them apart. Bake for 12 minutes, or until lightly brown around the edges.
Once baked, move the cookies to a wire wrack and leave to cool. While they are cooling, melt the remaining white chocolate in a microwave and drizzle over the tops of the cookies.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Double Chocolate and Walnut Bagels

I saw this recipe for chocolate chip and granola bagels a couple of weeks ago, and have been itching to bake them ever since. However, when I raided the cupboards this weekend I couldn't find any granola or chocolate chips... but what I did find was a bag of walnuts and some left over Easter chocolate (a Milkybar cow and an Aero lamb to be precise) and ended up with these amazing double chocolate and walnut bagels instead!

1 1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup mixed chocolate pieces
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 egg

Dissolve the sugar into the water in a small bowl and add the yeast. Put this to one side for 5 minutes to activate. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, salt, chocolate pieces and walnuts. Pour in the yeast mixture and stir until a crumbly dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for at least 5 minutes until the dough starts to turn elastic-like. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm area for an hour.

Once the dough has risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into eight equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and make a hole in the centre to make your bagel shapes, and leave to rest for 10 minutes on your baking tray. Fill a pan with enough water for the bagels to float in and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, boil the bagels, one at a time, for 45-60 seconds on each side, then return to your baking tray.

Whisk the egg in a small bowl and use this to glaze the top of each bagel before baking at 220c for 20 minutes.

Banoffee Cupcakes

Everyone loves banoffee pie, right? Why not try this cupcake version - they're more picnic friendly and are quick and easy!!

For the sponge:
250g unsalted butter
250g sugar
3 eggs
250g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 small (or 1 large) over-ripe bananas
100g chopped pecans (optional)

For the topping:
1 small can caramel
150g unsalted butter
300g icing sugar
Banana chips and more chopped pecans to decorate

Pre-heat your oven to 180c and line a 12 hole muffin tin with cases.

Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and whisk with an electric whisk until light and fluffy, and thoroughly combined.
Mash the over-ripe bananas with a fork in a separate bowl before adding those to the cake mix along with the chopped pecans and mix with a spoon.
Divide between the cases and bake in the centre of your oven for 20 minutes, or until they are springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the middle of a cake comes out clean. The bananas make these cakes very moist so make sure you leave them to cool properly before the next step to make it a bit easier!
Once the cakes have cooled, use a small knife to cut a well into the top of each cake, taking care to leave a border around the edge. You won't need to use the small pieces of sponge that you've removed so feel free to eat this as you go along! Now, fill each of the wells with a teaspoon of the caramel.
Cream the butter and icing sugar together with two tablespoons of the remaining caramel to make the buttercream. Using a piping bag, spiral the buttercream onto the cakes, making sure to fully cover the wells of caramel. Add a banana chip to each one, and sprinkle on a few chopped pecans. Ta da!

Mint Choc Chip Cupcakes

So this is one of my own recipes. Mint Choc Chip is my favourite icecream flavour ever, so naturally I just had to make a cupcake version!

For the sponge:
8oz unsalted butter
8oz caster sugar
4 eggs
8 oz self raising flour
Pinch baking powder
100g chocolate chips
3 tbsp chopped mint leaves
Few drops green food colouring 

For the mint crème layer:
2 cups icing sugar
2-4 tbsp melted butter
Few drops peppermint essence 

For the buttercream:
1 small bar chocolate
140g butter
280g icing sugar
Mint leaves to decorate

First, pre-heat the oven to 180c. To make the sponge, cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl, then mix in the eggs, one at a time. Next, sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and fold into the mix. Then add the chocolate chips, chopped mint leaves and food colouring, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Divide the mix between 12 cupcake cases and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until they are springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack. 

Next, make the peppermint crème layer. Mix together the icing sugar, 2tbsp of the melted butter and the peppermint extract, then add small amounts of the remaining melted butter until you are able to form the mix into a ball. You may not need to add any extra butter at all. Turn the ball out onto a lightly floured worktop and roll to approximately the thickness of a £1 coin. Use a round cookie cutter or glass that’s a little bit smaller than your cake to cut out 12 rounds of peppermint crème. Use any left over mix to make peppermint crèmes – shape into £2 coin sized pieces and cover with melted chocolate. 

Time to make the buttercream! Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and let it cool. Gently cream together to the butter and icing sugar until thoroughly combined. Once the chocolate has cooled, mix this into the buttercream too.

To assemble the cakes, fill a piping bag with the buttercream; squeeze a small amount of buttercream on top of each cake, placing a round of peppermint crème on top of this. This will hold the peppermint crème in place and stop it sliding off! Next, spiral icing ontop of each cake, trying to cover all of the peppermint cream and the edge between that and the sponge. Add the mint leaves to decorate. Simple!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Cherry Bakewell Swirls

I love bakewell tarts. Fact. And seeming as I can't stomach cinnamon, I thought I'd make a bakewell version of cinnamon swirls. These are definitely best warm from the oven!

3 tablespoons warm water
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup ground almonds
Few drops almond essence
Raspberry jam
1/2 cup icing sugar
Glacier cherries, halved, to decorate

First, mix together the water and yeast and leave to one side for 5 minutes to activate.
Put the butter and milk in a small pan and warm gently until the butter is melted.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, ground almonds and almond essence. Add the yeast and milk mixtures to the bowl and mix using your hand to form a doughy ball. Using your knuckles, knead the dough around the bowl until it becomes slightly elastic. Leave in a warm place to rise for one hour in a lightly oiled bowl.

Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle about the thickness of a £1 coin.
Spread the raspberry jam evenly over the dough. Not too thickly though, as it will all ooze out when you try and cut it!
Roll the dough up like a swiss roll, and cut into 9 even rolls. Place these in a greased oven-proof dish, cover and leave to rise for a further 30 minutes.

Once they have risen again, pre-heat your oven to 190c and bake in the centre of your oven for 30 minutes.

Leave to cool slightly while you make the icing - in a small bowl mix the icing sugar with a few drops of water until it's the consistency of golden syrup. Spoon the icing onto the centres of each roll and top each with a halved cherry.

Sweet Chilli and Onion Bread

I've never been great at baking bread, I think I'm just too lazy when it comes to kneading it properly, but this recipe (adapted from here) is pretty fool-proof and doesn't need much kneading at all. The original recipe is for pull-apart bread, but this adaptation makes a normal loaf.

1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 cups bread flour
Half an onion, diced
1 chili, deseeded and diced
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs

First, mix the water and yeast in a small bowl and leave it to activate for 5 minutes while you chop the onion and chilli.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, onion, chili, sugar, salt and pepper.
Put the milk and butter into a small saucepan and heat gently until the butter is melted.
Now add the yeast and butter mixtures to the flour mix, along with the eggs.
Mix it all together using your hand, and form into a ball. Using your knuckles, knead the dough around the bowl for a couple of minutes, just to make sure it's all mixed properly and there are no pockets of flour.
Leave the dough to rise in a lightly oiled bowl for one hour in a warm place, I usually put mine in the airing cupboard.

When your dough has risen, pre-heat your oven to 175c and grease a loaf tin.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll it into a rectangle, about 5mm thick.
Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into squares/rectangles, slightly smaller than the width of your loaf tin.
Roughly stack the squares in the tin, and bake in the centre of your oven for 35 minutes.

And there you have it!



So, as some of you know, I like baking. Actually, no. I LOVE baking.

I've been contemplating starting a recipe blog for a few months now, and as a few of my friends have also suggested that I start one, I figured that I may as well give it a go!

Just to make it clear, I am not a professional. In fact, I am an accounts administrator. I bake just for the love of it and to be able to share creations with my friends and family. I sometimes use recipes from books and websites, and sometimes I just make things up as I go along. Where a recipe has been taken or adapted from somewhere else, I will always try and include a link to the original recipe should my adaptation not be to your tastes.

I hope to update this any time I bake anything new, but for now, here are a few recipes I've been using recently.

Also, any tips anyone can give me would be welcome! :)

Happy baking! 
Jade x