Archive | February, 2013

Chocolate ginger sandwiches

27 Feb

This weather is craaaayzee! Horrible and cold, snow and rain. PLEASE bring the spring soon! To comfort myself on another cold night, I decided to spice it up with an ingredient I don’t normally use… Ginger. I was inspired by the Domestic Sluttery Just Desserts theme of Fred and Ginger.

Of course, every Ginger needs her Fred, a delicious bite of chocolate! So here they are, my choco-ginger cookies, sandwiched together with a marscapone cream cheese stuffing!

Fred and Ginger biscuits

Fred and Ginger biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 290g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 170g softened unsalted butter
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 60g dark chocolate chips
  • Granulated sugar, to roll the dough in
  • One package marscapone cheese
  • Tsp vanilla bean paste/syrup
  • More golden syrup!

Method:

  • Whist together brown sugar and softened butter in bowl and add the egg and golden syrup until all combined
  • Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, spices and bicarb
  • Mix well until all ingredients are combined
  • Stir in chocolate chips
  • Shape into round balls, you should make about 30
  • Roll in granulated sugar
  • Place onto baking parchment covered tray and bake in a preheated oven at 175OC for 12 mins, or until cracks form in the tops of cookies
  • Leave to cool for a few minutes then transfer onto cooling rack
  • Make the filling by whipping the marscapone and adding in vanilla and as much golden syrup as you like!
  • Spread on cooled cookies and munch… I think these are much better the next day!
Cookie balls waiting for the oven

Cookie balls waiting for the oven

 

Just out of the oven and ready to be sandwiched together!

Just out of the oven and ready to be sandwiched together!

 

Kissing cookies!

Kissing cookies!

 

 

Stacked up ready to be eaten!

Stacked up ready to be eaten!

 

Go on... take a bite!

Go on… take a bite!

 

So have you had any successful baking experiments recently?

Foodie Weekend

26 Feb

We all need a night off from blogging and baking, even me! So last weekend, I went to Marlow for a night of R&R, and of course lots of food!

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza and decided to upgrade to a club room for a treat. This meant we had some wine and canapes before we headed out, which was a nice treat. In our room we had biccies, a kit kat and the usual tea, coffee and hot chocolate, as well as some bottled water which was a nice touch.

For dinner we booked the Marlow Bar & Grill, because it’s extensive menu caught my eye! We started with a mezze for 2, the highlight being the gorgeous squash fritters. I accompanied this with a gorgeous pomegranate cocktail that went down far too easily!

Cocktails ahoy!

Cocktails ahoy!

We were too caught up to take many food photos, but I had a gorgeous chargrilled tuna steak (rare of course) with chips and spinach, whilst the boy opted for a thai green curry which he definitely enjoyed!

To finish we had the house macarons which were enjoyable but unfortunately nothing special.

For breakfast the next day we had the hotel buffet, which was very extensive. I even had a 3 course breakfast! I started with breads, pastries and cheeses, moved onto hot with eggs, mushrooms and a hash brown, and finished with cereal!

To walk all that food off, we left the hotel and went for a lovely but cold walk by the Thames.

Beautiful views

Beautiful views

We left the hotel after a late checkout and wandered round the centre of Marlow, one lovely little high street. We ended our visit with tea at Burgers, a lovely little tea room opposite the park.

High tea!

High tea!

A fab end to a foodie weekend! Do you have anywhere foodie you like to visit?

Bundt in the Oven

21 Feb

Morning Cake Snobs… I’ve got a BUNDT in the oven for you today! I baked a blueberry cream cheese pound cake for a volunteers meeting for the food festival Gefiltefest (in May.)

Here I am debuting my new apron, a birthday present with my sister “posing” behind me!

Queen of the kitchen and the Jester!

Queen of the kitchen and the Jester!

And here is the real star of the show, Blueberry Bundt cake with a white chocolate topping:

My Bundt Baby

My Bundt Baby

This is a fairly simple recipe, and the reward is just great!

How can you resist a slice?

How can you resist a slice?

Recipe:

  • 340g unsalted butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese (one normal sized packet of Philadelphia)
  • 600g sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 390g plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Blueberries, about a bowlful
  • 250g white chocolate (optional – for the topping)

Method:

  • Cream together butter and cream cheese until fluffy.
  • Add in sugar and mix until well incorporated.
  • Add in eggs one at a time until all are incorporated fully.
  • Add in vanilla and salt.
  • Sift in flour and mix well.
  • Coat your blueberries in some flour and stir them into the batter.
  • Butter and flour your Bundt pan, or use cake release spray (I used the latter.)
  • Pour mixture into your pan and bake on 160oC for approximately 1 hr and 15 mins.
  • Check cake is done by inserting a skewer.
  • Leave to cool on a drying rack, leaving the Bundt in the pan.
  • Once cooled, flip on your drying rack.
  • Melt white chocolate in bain marie and pour liberally over the top. Once this has hardened, SERVE!
Leave to cool in the pan

Leave to cool in the pan

Drizzled chocolate

Drizzled chocolate

This is perfect paired with a cup of tea, and served after dinner or as part of a tea!

*Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.

A special dinner

15 Feb

Of course it was Valentine’s Day yesterday, and I received my first ever roses delivery (ahhh!) Not being a fan of all the romantic slush, all I wanted was (obviously) a really yummy dinner. Of course that means cooking it myself!

Roses are red

Roses are red

I decided to cook my first EVER steak (shock horror) followed by melt in the middle chocolate puds. Basically my dream dinner. I cooked the steak in a pan with olive oil and garlic seasoning.

My medium rare steak

My medium rare steak

The boy's well done steak!

The boyfriend’s well done steak!

After a gorgeous main course of steak with roasted sweet potatoes, asparagus and beans, it was time for the main event.

Melt in the middle chocolate fondant puds served in my new Le Creuset dishes.

Melt in the middle chocolate dessert

Melt in the middle chocolate dessert

The original recipe was for 8 people, so I halved it and made 2 puds in my rather large ramekins! I also made these dairy free.

Ingredients:

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 100g margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 30g plain flour
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter in bain marie
  2. Whisk eggs, yolk,vanilla and sugar until doubled in size
  3. Fold in chocolate and margarine mixture when cooled
  4. Sift in flour and fold together
  5. Spoon into ramekins
  6. If using extra large ramekins like mine for only 2 puds, bake for 19 mins on 180oC. If making 4 puds, bake for 15 mins
  7. Serve with custard, cream, or ice cream!
Little pots of joy

Little pots of joy

Please sir, can I have some more?

Please sir, can I have some more?

I might have finished mine rather too  quickly and stolen a cheeky spoonful of the boyfriend’s… but that’s why he loves me right?!

Did you make or get made anything special yesterday?

Valentine’s Quick Treats

14 Feb

Happy Valentine’s Day (like you could forget!) If you’re at a loss about what to whip up, i’ve got 2 very easy and quick treats for you to make.

Chocolate covered oreos and Marshmallow krispies… Love themed of course!

Pink Marshmallow Cake

Pink Marshmallow Cake

I <3 Oreos

I ❤ Oreos

To make the oreos, I melted a LOT of Cadburys dairy milk, submerged the oreos in them, then lay them out on a baking sheet and added heart sprinkles. I put in the fridge to harden, then drizzled white chocolate on top.

To make the krispies, I melted a knob of butter over a low heat with a few squares of white chocolate. When this was melted, I added a bag of mini marshmallows and some red gel food colouring. Once melted, I added to a bowl and mixed in rice krispies til they were covered. I transferred the mixture to a pan covered in baking paper and let set, before adding an extra drizzle of white chocolate.

The finished krispie cake!

The finished krispie cake!

Grab one before they're gone!

Grab one before they’re gone!

These are both so quick and easy to make, you can do them once you’re home from work. Enjoy! What are you making this Valentine’s Day?

Cinnamon Rolls

13 Feb

Ok you may have seen my Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes, but these babies are the real thing. I make them every once in a while for a really special occasion, like my New Years Brunch. Last time, I made them overnight. This time, I bit the bullet and made them on the day.

 

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Gooey bites of deliciousness

These are now one of my most requested baked goods by my friends, so I’m thinking more practice and a few variations are in order over the coming months!

These take a bit of time, but I assure you, they are WELL worth it!

Ingredients

Rolls:

240ml skimmed milk
45g unsalted softened butter
450g wholemeal flour
2 & 1/4 tsp active yeast
150g golden syrup or agave nectar
1 tsp salt
60ml warm water
1 egg
Cooking spray
Filling:
115g light brown sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
30g unsalted butter
Glaze:
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp melted unsalted butter
2 tbsp skimmed milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
Method

  • Combine milk and butter in measuring jug and microwave it all melts together.
  • Pour into a your stand mixer or large bowl and add 150g flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt.
  • Knead on low speed 3 minutes, whilst scraping down sides of bowl.
  • Add 300g flour. Knead until flour is absorbed and dough turns into a large ball.
  • Lightly oil your bowl with nonstick spray. Cover bowl with cling film then damp kitchen towel.
  • Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  • Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to a rough rectangle. Spread butter over dough and sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Roll up dough into one log roll and cut into about 16-18 even pieces.
  • Spray your square baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange rolls in the dish leaving no space in between.
  • Cover baking dish again with a damp kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in size once again, 40 to 45 minutes.
  • Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 185°C. Bake until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.
  • Sift icing sugar and add in butter, milk and vanilla and whisk well. Pour over rolls whilst hot and serve immediately!
This is how your rolls will look unbaked

This is how your rolls will look unbaked

Serve and of course instagram to your willing audience! Have you ever made these?!

The finished product before eating!

The finished product before eating!

 

 

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

11 Feb

Cinnamon Rolls. I am obsessed with the things. Officially the BEST breakfast around (in my opinion) they aren’t as huge here as they are in NYC, but they are just amazing. I did make a batch this weekend (recipe to come later in the week) but they do take a bit of time and effort.

Bring on cinnamon roll cupcakes. Much quicker and will definitely satisfy your cinnamon craving, especially with the white chocolate cream cheese buttercream! Makes approx 14 cupcakes.

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Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cake:
200g cups cake flour
200g caster sugar
1/2 tbsn. baking powder
115g unsalted butter
475 ml milk
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
1 tsp. vanilla

Filling:
3 tbsn. caster sugar
3 tbsn. light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cocoa powder

Buttercream:
150g white chocolate
100g butter
110g marscapone cheese
600g icing sugar
Tsp vanilla
Milk if needed to soften

Tsp cinnamon + caster sugar for sprinkling.

Method:

Sift and combine the dry ingredients for the cake and mix. Whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla and add slowly to the batter. Mix well until combined. Scoop into cupcake cases. Mix the ingredients for the filling together and drop into cupcake cases.

Bake on 180oC for 20 mins or until tops are lightly browned.

Once cool, sift in icing sugar and add vanilla, softened butter, marscapone cheese and melted white chocolate and whisk until creamy.

Ice in a big swirl to imitate cinnamon rolls and dust with cinnamon sugar. Serve to your ready and hungry audience! I made these for a housewarming and they went down a storm!

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Frosty, like the weather!003

Last one for me?!

Rice Krispy addiction

8 Feb

You know those little chocolate krispy cakes of goodness that you used to much when you were little? Made with dark chocolate when you were told to be healthy, and milk or white as a treat?

Yeah… addictive RIGHT?! Also one of the easiest things to make when you need a quick chocolate fix!

I’ve made 2 of these beauties recently, one a classic milk chocolate with white chocolate drizzled on top:

Classi

Classic milk chocolate

So scrummy and brought me straight back to my childhood! I also made a second batch which was slightly more gourmet: White chocolate and peanut butter with salted caramel topping…

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These were totally addictive and went down extremely well. All I did was add a dollop of natural peanut butter to melted white chocolate and mixed well, then poured some of my homemade caramel sauce (recipe here) on top and put in the fridge to set. I will definitely be making these again when I need a quick choccy fix!

Tell me, do you still make rice krispy cakes as a guilty pleasure?!

 

Guinness Cupcakes with Salted caramel buttercream

4 Feb

Todays cupcakes are the cupcakes I made for my own birthday (no cake is as good as homemade cake!) I’m a massive chocoholic as well as loving a challenge so I decided to make some cupcakes I had never attempted before.

I love the cake!

I love the cake!

Chocolate Guinness cupcakes with Salted Caramel Marscapone buttercream. Makes 36 approx.

Ingredients:
For the cake:

– 375 ml Guinness

– 330g butter

– 130g cocoa powder

– 400g plain flour

– 350g caster sugar

– 2 tbs baking powder

– pinch of salt

– 3 eggs

– 200g sour cream

For the buttercream:

– 150g caster sugar

– 150g light brown  sugar

– 75g unsalted butter

– 200ml single cream

– 75ml golden syrup

– pinch of salt

– 220g marscapone

– 110g butter

– 750g icing sugar

– 1/2 tsp Vanilla bean paste or 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:

– Melt together the guinness and butter in a saucepan over a low heat

– When melted, sift in cocoa powder and leave to cool

– Sift in plain flour and baking powder, then add rest of cake ingredients into a bowl and mix well, using a hand or stand mixer.

– Add in chocolatey guinness mixture when cooled and mix well again.

– Scoop the batter (it will be quite wet) into cupcake cases with an ice cream scoop.

– Bake on 180oC for 15 minutes approx.Take out of pan and leave to cool.

– To make the salted caramel, put caster sugar into a pan with 25ml water and let boil (do NOT stir!) until sugar becomes darker. (Approx 8 mins)

– Add in butter, when that is melted add in brown sugar, cream and golden syrup.

– I made a softer sauce, so I let the caramel boil until 113oC then poured into a container.

– To make the buttercream, sift in icing sugar, then add in butter and marscapone, and 2 large scoops of caramel. Save the rest for drizzling!

– Mix well with a hand or stand mixer for about 4 mins, then pipe on top of cupcakes, and drizzle the caramel syrup on top.

– Top with a sprinkle of fleur de sel, and optionally, some glitter!

Look at these lovelies!

Look at these lovelies!

I like these cupcakes as they were moist and very rich, as well as being a proper dense yet satisfying cupcake, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do, and I recommend you have one with a cuppa… in fact that’s what im going to do right now!

Gimme one

Gimme one