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.



June 18, 2014

Almond Apple Cake


This is a lovely cake; easy to make, moist and with a fresh tangy lemon icing.  The toasted almonds garnished on top bring it all together.

Recipe adapted from: The Australian Women's Weekly Cakes & Slices Cookbook
Ingredients - cake
185g butter
188g caster sugar
3 eggs
80g self-raising flour (or use 80g plain flour and 1 tsp of baking powder)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
185g almond meal
1 apple
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Ingredients - lemon icing
60g butter
185g icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Method - cake
1. Preheat oven to 190C (375F).  Wash, peel and grate the apple.

2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

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

4. Fold in the flour, cocoa powder, almond meal and grated apple.



5. Line a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper or butter and spread the batter into it.




6. Bake the cake for about 55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Let it cool in the tin for a bit before turning it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Method - icing
1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy.

2. Add the icing sugar (sifted for smoothest results) and beat until incorporated.

3. Add the lemon juice and mix until the icing is spreadable.  Use a little more lemon juice if needed.

4. Spread the icing onto the cake to your liking.



5. For garnish, toast the sliced almonds (you can use slivered almonds if you prefer) and sprinkle them onto the cake once they've cooled.





June 10, 2014

Double Chocolate Cookies


These delicious chocolate cookies are one of my go-to sweets that I bake all the time.  An easy recipe that yields fantastic, rich cookies that are perfect just out of the oven!

Recipe adapted from: Simple Essentials Chocolate by Donna Hay
Ingredients
110g butter
130g brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g flour
30g cocoa (sifted)
1 tsp bicarb soda
125g dark chocolate (to be melted)
280g dark chocolate chunks or chocolate chips


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

2. Melt the 125g dark chocolate and set aside to cool.

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

4. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

5. Mix in the melted chocolate, then stir through the flour, cocoa powder and bicarb soda.

6. Add the chocolate chunks (or chocolate chips, if you're using them) and mix until combined.  The batter may be quite sticky at this point, but that's okay - the melted chocolate will harden them up soon enough.


7. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and space them out on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Make sure they have some room to spread!


8. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.  Bake for less time if you want a chewier cookie, or longer if you like a little crunch.

9. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack.  They taste great when warm and the chocolate's all melty!