August 3, 2014

Browned Butter Blondies

Blondie Jenga!
While I do love (and always will love) brownies, I've been enjoying blondies more and more.  There's something about the fact that it's akin to a cookie, but with heaps more bits stacked into it, that appeals to me.  Plus, the batter tastes like cookie dough, so that's a win!

These particular blondies are delicious, and the addition of browned butter takes them to another level.  I have used browned butter before in these cookies, but I felt that the taste was lost, and I was afraid that the same thing would happen with these blondies; but it was not so!  I could definitely taste the nuttiness of the browned butter in the end product, and coupled with white chocolate chips and pecans, I was in blondie heaven.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Recipe adapted from: Bake or Break
Ingredients
310g butter
370g brown sugar
125g white sugar
3 eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
350g flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup pecans, chopped roughly
1 cup white chocolate chips

Method
1. Begin by browning the butter.  In a saucepan, cook the butter over a medium heat until brown specks form underneath the foam.  It will smell absolutely amazing !

2. Transfer the butter into a bowl and leave it to cool.

3. Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).

4. Stir the brown and white sugar into the cooled butter.

5. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until light and fluffy.

6. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.



7. In a few portions, add the flour, baking powder and salt, mixing in between.

8. Finally, mix the chopped pecans and white chocolate into the batter.



9. Pour the batter into a brownie tin lined with baking paper, and bake for about 35 minutes or until the blondies are golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.



10. Let the blondies cool, then cut them into slices of your choosing and enjoy!



July 25, 2014

Lemon Semolina Cake


Funny story - the original recipe for this cake lists ingredients for the cake and syrup in one list, combining amounts of sugar and lemon juice.  So I, like a fruitcake who didn't read the recipe properly, added all the lemon juice to the cake and didn't realise until I started making the syrup.  Luckily it turned out okay, though the cake was a little sour...

For you, however, I've split the recipe into cake and syrup so you won't have the difficulties I did!

Recipe adapted from: Homestyle Cookies, Muffins & Cakes
Ingredients - cake
6 eggs
250g caster sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
90g semolina
95g almond meal
2 tbsp self-raising flour

Ingredients - syrup
125mL water
75mL lemon juice
60g caster sugar

Method - cake
1. Preheat the oven to 170C (325F).

2. Separate the eggs, set the egg whites aside.

3. Beat the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and zest until thick and pale.

4. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form.

5. Combine the semolina, almond meal and flour in a separate bowl.

6. Fold half the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold the semolina mixture in, and finally the rest of the egg whites.

7. Line a 23cm round cake tin with baking paper and butter the sides.  Pour the batter into the tin and bake for about 35 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.



8. Let the cake cool, and poke lots of holes in the top in preparation for the syrup so that it can sink in.

Method - syrup
1. Place the syrup ingredients (water, lemon juice and sugar) into a saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.

2. Turn the heat up and let the mixture simmer until thick and syrupy (about 3 minutes).

3. Make sure that your cake is on the plate you're serving it on, then pour the hot syrup over the cake.



4. Serve with cream and dusted with icing sugar.



July 17, 2014

Simple White Chocolate Cupcakes


My white chocolate adventures continue with these simple cupcakes.  Easy to make, easy to eat and absolutely delicious!  The white chocolate adds an extra smoothness and sweetness to these cupcakes without being overpowering.  My favourite way to eat these is while they're still warm from the oven.

Recipe adapted from: Simple Essentials Chocolate by Donna Hay
Ingredients
100g white chocolate
100g butter
165g caster sugar
2 eggs
125mL milk
200g flour
1 tsp baking powder

Method
1. Preheat your oven to 160C (320F).

2. Melt the chocolate and set it aside.

3. Beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy.

4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.

5. Mix the melted chocolate in to the batter.

6. Add half the flour and combine, then mix the milk in, and finally combine the rest of the flour and baking powder.

7. Spoon the batter into a 12-cup cupcake tin lined with patty pans.

8. Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

9. Let the cupcakes cool on wire racks before finishing them with your desired topping (white chocolate ganache, Nutella, icing sugar, cream or raspberry jam come to mind), or simply eat them while they're plain and warm.

July 10, 2014

Chocolate Espresso Cookies


It's been a few posts since there was something chocolatey on this blog, and I thought it was high time to rectify this with these delicious espresso cookies.  They're my favourite kind of cookie (fudgy on the inside, crisp on the outside), with a twist of coffee flavour and I think walnuts add the perfect touch.

Recipe adapted from: Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich
Ingredients
170g dark chocolate (recipe recommends unsweetened for a more 'sophisticated' cookie)
4 tbsp butter
2 eggs
260g white sugar
1 1/2 tsp finely ground coffee
1 tsp vanilla essence
45g flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
110g dark chocolate chunks/chips
50g walnuts (optional)

Method
1. Melt the butter and 170g chocolate, then set aside.

2. Beat the eggs with the sugar, coffee and vanilla until pale and thick.


3. Stir the chocolate mixture in.

4. Stir the flour, baking powder and salt into the batter.

5. Add the chocolate chunks (or chocolate chips if you're using those), and if you like, add 50g chopped walnuts.


6. Cover the batter and refrigerate it until firm (about an hour, or overnight if you want to wait longer to bake them).

7. When you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 175C (350F).

8. Place tablespoons of dough on baking paper-lined baking trays, making sure to leave space between them as the cookies will spread when baked.


9. Bake the cookies for 10 - 12 minutes.  They should be crackly on the surface but still soft and gooey inside.


10. Let the cookies cool, but consume as soon as possible!  They're most delicious when they're still warm from the oven!


July 5, 2014

Lemon Slice


This blog has been running for many moons now, and I'm not entirely sure why I haven't ever posted this recipe.  For years, I supplied a cafe with this particular lemon slice and was making it at least once a week (and with a long time of this, I was a little tired of it).  After I stopped supplying the cafe, I usually only made this slice once per year, for my brother's birthday.  However, since it's been so long, the wounds have healed and I'm ready to dive back in to lemon slice and fully embrace its delicious beauty once again!  Given that it's one of the favourite desserts of most of my family, this comes as a joyous occasion for all of us.

The slice itself is so simple to make, no baking required, and tastes absolutely wonderful!  It also suits a range of tastes because it's not overly sweet - the fresh lemon of the icing blends perfectly with the sweet biscuity base.



Ingredients - base
250g butter
1 x 400mL can condensed milk
2 x 250g packets Marie biscuits
2 cups desiccated coconut

Ingredients - icing
500g icing sugar
50g butter
Approx 8+ tablespoons lemon juice
Extra desiccated coconut for garnishing

Method - base
1. Melt the butter and condensed milk, mix until combined.



2. With a large Ziploc bag, crush the Marie biscuits with a rolling pin.  Make sure to use a sturdy bag and squeeze all the air out, because it may burst if you aren't careful!  You want the biscuits to be in small-ish chunks.



3. Combine the crushed biscuits, coconut, as well as the butter and condensed milk mixture in a large bowl.

4. Once everything is mixed (ensure that the biscuit crumbs and desiccated coconut are all combined with the wet butter and condensed milk), press the base into a brownie tin lined with baking paper.  It needs to be well compressed for best results - I use a plastic rice scoop for this!



5. Put the base in the fridge to begin firming up, and start making the icing!

Method - icing
1. Using a firm spatula, use wiping motions to incorporate the butter into the icing sugar.  I use a smooth plastic rice scoop for this, and press the butter into the icing sugar as if I was spreading butter on toast.

2. Add the lemon juice one tablespoon at a time, mixing in between.  You want the icing to be spreadable but not sticky - so you can form it into a smooth ball.

3. Press and spread the icing onto the base until it's of an even thickness.

4. Score lines in the top of the icing with a fork or some other spiky implement.  I have a plastic scrapy...thing...that makes it easy to get quick lines.




5. Sprinkle the icing with desiccated coconut and leave in the fridge to set completely.



6. Once the icing has hardened, chop the slice into bars or squares (or little bite sized pieces for easy consumption).



Enjoy!

June 29, 2014

Cream Cheese Pound Cake


This cream cheese pound cake is one of my staple recipes, and one that I reach for very often when I need a basic vanilla cake or just something simple to snack on.  It's great for cupcakes as well, because while it rises in the oven, it flattens down as it cools to form a perfect flat top for whatever decorations you desire.

Recipe adapted from: Bakerella
Ingredients (for one loaf or a 20cm round cake)
115g butter
115g cream cheese
270g white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
100mL milk
210g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup berries (optional - I usually use frozen raspberries)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 160C.

2. Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in between.

4. Mix in the milk and vanilla.

5. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until smooth.



6. If desired, add the berries.  For this particular loaf, I used some frozen mixed berries (including raspberries, blueberries and strawberries) and it was so delicious.

7. Pour the batter into a loaf tin or a 20cm round cake tin.  If I'm just making this for the family, I usually just make a loaf because it's simple to cut and eat!



8. Bake the cake for about 1 hour, or until the top is golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.

9. Let the cake cool before cutting.  Alternatively, if you're making a layer cake or icing the loaf, do that first!



Finally, enjoy.