Thursday, 30 April 2015

Best Ever Chocolate Truffle Cookies




This recipe is directly from the Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home Cookbook. I could not improve on it!! It makes super soft chocolatey cookies that form a crackled appearance when baked. The small volume of amaretto gives a slight almond flavour to the cookies, making them even more mourish.
They are perfect to eat with a cup of tea, or make fancy home-baked gifts for your friends and family.

Makes 10-12 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 80g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 90g caster sugar (I've also tested using granulated sugar, and this works as well)
  • 25g butter or margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 10ml amaretto
  • 35g icing sugar, for dusting

Method:

1. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl, and add the baking powder and sugar. Stir briefly to combine.



2. Rub the butter or margarine into the flour mixture using the tips of your fingers, until a sandy texture is reached and no blobs of butter can be seen.

3. In a separate bowl or jug, whisk the egg and amaretto together. Add to the dry ingredients. The easiest and quickest way to incorporate the egg/amaretto is by using your hands to pick up all of the flour mixture.

4. Bring the dough into a ball and cover in clingfilm. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.


5. Preheat your oven to 180c/170c fan/gas mark 4 . Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

6. Take small walnut-sized balls of the mixture (weighing 20-25g each), and roll into a ball. Cover in icing sugar and place on a baking tray.


7. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The less time you bake them, the softer they are, so my recommendation is to cook them until they feel slightly soft when lightly pressed (this takes about 10 minutes in my oven).



8. Devour.







Love cookies? Then these White Chocolate and Custard Cookies will be perfect for you.


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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Tunisian Orange Cake


My love of lemon drizzle cake is well known, and after a recommendation I decided to try out a recipe for Tunisian Orange Cake. The result blew my mind - a perfectly baked citrus pudding soaked with a sweet yet tangy lemon and orange syrup. It is deliciously moist and is great served with greek yoghurt and berries.

Although it tasted good the day I baked it, it was even better the day after, as the syrup had soaked in to the whole of the sponge. 

The cake is incredibly quick to prepare, and takes less than an hour to cook! What could be better? 

Try it out, and let me know your results :)

Makes one 20cm square cake.

Ingredients:

  •  45g slightly stale bread, crumbed in a food processor
  •  200g caster sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  •  215ml vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  •  finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 90g granulated sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick, halved
  • ½ tbsp orange flower water

Method:

1.     Combine the breadcrumbs (I used breadcrumbs from a walnut loaf, but use any bread you wish, or even stale cake crumbs), ground almonds, and baking powder. In a separate bowl or jug, whisk the vegetable oil, sugar, eggs, and zest of the orange and lemon.




2.     Add the oil mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to a smooth consistency (this will only take a minute or so).





3.     Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin with greaseproof paper. Pour in the cake mixture and put in a cold oven.

4.     Turn the oven to 190c/180c fan/gas mark 5, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. I found that the top browned after about 20 minutes – if you find it is becoming too brown, top the cake with a sheet of greaseproof paper. This will prevent the top from burning. However if the top layer does burn a little, it is very easy to peel off.

Check the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer or knife into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is cooked. The cake will also feel springy to the touch.

After baking the cake will be springy to the touch, and a skewer inserted into
the cake will come out clean


5.     Whilst the cake is cooking, make the syrup. Simply put the granulated sugar, cinnamon stick, orange and lemon juice in a pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. The liquid will become very syrupy. Take off the heat, remove the cinnamon stick halves and stir in the orange blossom water.



6.     Once the cake has cooked, peel off the top layer of the cake if too brown. Poke all over with a fork, then evenly pour over the syrup. Leave to cool.

7. Eat the next day for the perfect pudding. It will stay very moist for up to a week if stored in an airtight tin.




Love this orange cake? Then you'll adore this classic - Lemon Drizzle Cake


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Thursday, 23 April 2015

Very Berry Chocolate Fondant Tart




Ready for chocolate heaven? I adapted this recipe from one I saw the fantastic Mary Berry bake. It's rich, chocolatey, and if cooked correctly, slightly oozes chocolate goodness when cut into. 
Here is a recipe for a small tart that would be perfect as a romantic dessert for two, or a super indulgent treat for one. It is great served with fresh berries and greek yoghurt.

Makes one 13cm tart

Ingredients:

For the base:
  • 55g unsalted butter, softened (or use margarine e.g. Stork)
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 55g plain flour
  • 25g cornflour

For the filling:
  • 35g 70% dark chocolate
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 35g caster sugar
  • 20g plain flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2-3tbsp good quality jam (I used raspberry)


Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180c/170c fan/gas mark 4. Grease the base of a 13cm cake tin

2. Make the base. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.


3. Add the flour and cornflour and bring together, first with a spoon, then with your hand until you get a ball. Chill for 10-20 minutes.

4. Roll out the dough to about ½ cm thickness. Line the base and sides of the tin. If you have leftover pastry, just cut out shapes and bake alongside the base (it makes delicious shortbread).
Prick the base with a fork. Line with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans and bake for 10 minutes.

5. Remove the baking beans and greaseproof paper and bake for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

6. Meanwhile make the filling. Melt the butter in a microwave or a saucepan. Add the chunks of plain chocolate and stir until melted (this prevents overheating the chocolate).



7. Mix in the sugar, plain flour, and then add the eggs one at a time.




8. Heat the jam in the microwave until it becomes liquid (this will probably only take about 30 seconds depending on the strength of your microwave. Sieve into a clean bowl. Swirl the jam into the chocolate mixture to achieve a ripple, then pour into the tart tin.




9. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until only the center of the tart is wobbling. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5-10 minutes (if you want to eat it warm). It is also perfect to eat cold, although it will not be as gooey.

10. Devour.









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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Salted Caramel Ice Cream



The hot weather has finally sprung in England!! To celebrate, I've done some research to create a melt-in-the-mouth caramel ice cream, lightly salted and flavoured with vanilla. This is perfect for a sunny day in your garden, basking whilst the good weather lasts.

You will need an ice cream churner to get the perfect soft scoop ice cream.

Makes about 200ml ice cream, enough for one or two people. However, this recipe will scale up very easily.

Ingredients:


  • 125g granulated sugar
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 175ml double cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 60ml semi-skimmed or whole milk

Method:

1. First, make the salted caramel sauce. Place 100g of sugar in a pan on a medium heat. Swirl to make sure the sugar covers the entire base. 

2. Leave the sugar, without stirring, until it becomes a caramel colour. Stirring will result in the caramel turning white, crystallizing and become unusable. The pan can be swirled lightly to get an even caramel.



3. Add the butter and stir. The caramel will bubble a lot, so be careful. Once melted, add 115ml of the double cream. Stir for 1 minute before taking off the heat. Add vanilla extract and salt, and stir to combine briefly. Set aside 2 tbsp of caramel sauce (to top your ice cream), and pour the rest into a separate bowl.



4. Heat the remaining (60ml) cream and milk in a medium pan. Meanwhile whisk the eggs and 25g of sugar together in a medium bowl until frothy and lighter in colour. 


5. Once small bubbles are forming around the milk/cream, take off the heat, and slowly pour over the eggs and sugar, constantly stirring the eggy mixture to prevent curdling. 

6. Pour back into a pan on a low to medium heat. Do not stop stirring! In a couple of minutes, the mixture will begin to thicken. If you're not sure if it has thickened enough, quickly lift the spoon from the mixture and run your finger along the back of the spoon. If no mixture remains where you ran your finger, it is ready.

After pouring the milk/cream onto the eggs/sugar, the mixture will seem very thin.

7. Take the ice cream off the heat, and pour through a sieve into a clean bowl. Don't worry if the ice cream looks like it has curdled slightly - sieving removes the lumps.




Running a finger down the spoon shows that the mixture is the correct consistency


7. Stir in the slightly cooled salted caramel (not the reserved 2 tbsp). Leave to cool, before placing in the fridge overnight (at least 4 hours).

8. Place the ice cream in the churner. In my machine, the ice cream only took about 15 minutes until it was a perfect soft scoop consistency. 



The ice cream is now ready to eat. Top with the reserved caramel sauce and devour! 





Note: The ice cream will stay soft even after freezing, meaning there is no worry of it not being scoopable straight from the freezer :)

If you love caramel, then you'll adore:

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Thursday, 16 April 2015

Banana and Maple Syrup Breakfast Cupcakes



These cupcakes are immense. Perfect for anyone who wants a quick breakfast or snack throughout the day, they contain wholemeal flour, meaning that you'll stay fuller for longer. Not only that, bananas are high in both potassium (good for your heart) and antioxidants (the riper the bananas, the more antioxidants), and are an easy way to get fruit into your diet.

I topped the cupcakes with a drizzle of maple syrup icing, which gives an extra boost of sweetness and an impressive finish.

The cupcakes are very quick to prepare, and once baked, if you store them in an airtight container, they will last a week.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 100g wholemeal plain flour
  • 100g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 75g butter or margarine, melted
For the icing:

  • 50g icing sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp maple syrup

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4. 


2. Mix the mashed bananas, sugar, maple syrup and egg together until no sugar crystals are visible (this will only take a few minutes). 




3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a separate bowl, before folding in to the banana mix.



3. Add the melted butter and stir briefly until no more butter is visible.

4. Spoon into cupcake cases in a muffin tin. Try to get an even amount of mixture into each case, and if any mixture drips on the tray, clean it off before baking.


5. Drop the tin a few times on the counter to dispel any air bubbles. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown, and the top of the cupcake springs back when lightly pressed. Take the cupcakes out of the muffin tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.



6. Mix the icing sugar with the maple syrup with a spoon, a tablespoon at a time. You want a slightly runny consistency, where if you lift a spoon from the icing, a long ribbon of icing flows down and stays visible on the mixture left behind. Place the icing in a piping bag.

7. Once the cupcakes are cool, pipe zigzags of icing onto the cupcakes. Leave to set for a few minutes, then they are ready to eat!




Note: For extra crunch, add 25g chopped walnuts to the cupcake mixture, and top the cupcakes with a walnut half.

Another Note: As an extra chocolaty indulgence, add 25g chopped white chocolate to the cupcake batter. It is delicious!


Like this healthy recipe. Then you'll love my Dairy-Free Chocolate Mousse.
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