April 25, 2013

Chocolate Hazelnut Sandies

Chocolate Hazelnut Sandies are lovely little shortbread-like biscuits, great for snacking!

Recipe Adapted From: Daydreamer Desserts
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
170g butter
1 egg yolk

1. Roast your hazelnuts in a frying pan by tossing them over medium heat.  You'll know they're done when they start to smell delicious and they've gone a bit brown in places.

2. Process the hazelnuts, icing sugar, brown sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor until the nuts are ground.  (For some strange reason, there was no cocoa in my house when I made these, so I chucked some chocolate chunks in instead!)

3. Add flour and salt, pulse until combined.

4. Chop the butter into chunks.  Add the chunks to the food processor and blend until the dough resembles sand.  Remember, your mixture will look a lot darker than mine is due to the lack of cocoa!

5. Add the egg yolk while the processor is running and blend until the dough forms a ball.

6. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into logs.  Make your logs whatever size you want your cookies to be in the end!

7. Wrap the logs in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours (I find that overnight is easiest).

8. When you're ready to bake the biscuits, preheat your oven to 160 C (325 F).

9. Slice the dough into cookies about the height of the side of your fingers and bake for about 17 minutes.  If you want, you can place a piece of hazelnut on the tops of the cookies before you bake them.

10. After the cookies are baked, let them cool on a tray for a bit before transferring to a wire rack.


April 12, 2013

Coconut, Macadamia and White Chocolate Blondies

These are the best blondies that I've ever tasted.  They taste a lot like these choc chip cookies due to their brown sugar base, but they're chewy from the coconut, crunchy and nutty from the macadamias, and the white chocolate adds a bit more sweetness.

Plus, this recipe can be done completely by hand - no intense beating required!

Recipe adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker
Ingredients (20 cm (8 inch) square cake tin)
115g flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
95g butter
135g brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 tsp vanilla essence/extract
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
85g white chocolate or white chocolate chips

1. Toast your coconut - either under the grill setting of the oven, or in a frypan - until golden brown.

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

3. Chop your chocolate and macadamia nuts into large chunks.

4. Melt the butter in a large bowl.

5. Whisk the brown sugar into the butter until combined.

6. Add the egg and vanilla, whisk until combined.

7. Fold the flour, baking powder and salt into the batter with a spatula until just combined.

8. Stir the coconut, white chocolate and macadamias into the batter.

9. Working quickly, pour the batter into a 20cm x 20cm square pan lined with baking paper.

My batter turned very thick after I added the coconut so I had to spread it out to the corners.

10. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top looks cracked and golden brown.

11. Allow to cool in the pan for a bit and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Then, go ahead and chop it up into whatever sizes you choose!

April 3, 2013

Torta Alla Gianduja (a.k.a. Nutella Cake)

Nutella is a food (yes, it's totally a food, what are you talking about?) that I revere and covet simply because my Mum hardly ever buys it and so it's rarely in our house.  In the times that we do have Nutella, I have to force myself to do something other than eat it out of the jar with a spoon.

Nigella Lawson's Torta Alla Gianduja (Nutella Cake) comes to the rescue!

Recipe adapted from: How To Be A Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
Ingredients - cake (20 cm (8 inch) round cake)
6 large eggs
pinch of salt
125g softened butter/margarine
400g Nutella
1 tbsp Frangelico, rum or water
100g hazelnut meal (ground hazelnuts)
100g dark chocolate

Ingredients - icing
enough hazelnuts to cover the top of your cake (Nigella uses 100g) - using pre-peeled hazelnuts is easiest
125mL double cream
1 tbsp Frangelico, rum or water
125g dark chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (365 F).

2. Melt the 100g chocolate for the cake and set aside.  Separate the eggs.

3. Whisk the egg whites and salt in a large bowl until stiff but not dry.  The below photo is what you shouldn't want to have - those eggs have been a bit overbeaten!  Yikes!  (They still worked, though, phew).  Set that bowl aside.

4. With your stand mixer or in another bowl, beat the butter and Nutella together.

Add the Frangelico (I used water; I'm not entirely sure that I have Frangelico in my house), egg yolks and hazelnut meal.

5. Fold your melted chocolate into the Nutella mixture.

6. Lighten the chocolate mixture with a dollop of egg white and mix it in roughly; then gently fold the rest of the egg white in about a third at a time.

7. Prepare a 20cm Springform tin or equivalent with a baking paper lining at the bottom, and butter along the sides.  My Springform tin is about 20cm in diameter and that worked fine.

8. Pour the batter into the tin and cook for 40 minutes, or until the cake begins to come away from the sides of the tin.

9. Let the baked cake cool on a rack.  It will need to be quite cool to take it out of the Springform, so you can leave it in the tin for a while.

Look at how gorgeous those cracks look!  Don't worry if the cake sinks in the middle, knives and icing cure all.

10. If your hazelnuts still have their brown skins on, use this method to peel them.  (I used the roast-then-rub-in-tea-towel method and, as you can see, some of the skins still remain.  Which is bad.)

Once the hazelnuts are peeled, toast them in a frying pan until they are slightly browned and smell delicious. Keep tossing the nuts and moving them around so that they don't burn!  Set them aside to let them cool.

11. In a saucepan, combine the cream, Frangelico or water, and chocolate.  Heat them gently and once the chocolate's melted, take the pan off the heat and whisk until it reaches a spreadable consistency.

12. If your cake's sunk in the middle and you want it to be flatter, just grab a serrated bread knife and chop the unwanted parts of the top off.  Eat those; you deserve them!

13. Spread the top of the cake with the icing, then apply the cooled hazelnuts in an artful fashion.  (Make sure that the hazelnuts are cool, otherwise the icing will melt!)

Serve and enjoy.