January 26, 2015

Peanut Butter Double Choc Chip Cookies

I make no secret about my love of peanut butter, and these cookies satisfy my cravings.  The combination of whole peanuts, dark chocolate chips as well as white chocolate chips really make them great.

Recipe adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker
115g butter
185g peanut butter
125g brown sugar
80g white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
200g flour
30g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 white chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanuts

1. Preheat oven to 175C (350F).  If desired, at this time you can toast the peanuts under a grill or in a frying pan and then set them aside to cool.

2. Beat the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy.

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

4. Beat the vanilla essence in.

5. Stir the flour, cocoa powder (it's best if you sift the cocoa!), baking powder and bicarb soda into the wet mixture.

6. When all ingredients are combined, add the dark and white chocolate chips as well as the peanuts.

7. Roll the dough into balls about 1 tbsp size (or whatever size you want them, just make sure you adjust the baking time accordingly) and place them on a baking tray covered with baking paper or a silicone mat.  The oil from the peanuts may make the dough slide off them (especially if the nuts are toasted), but just squish them together in your hands and they'll be fine!

8. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes.  You want the middles to still be a bit soft.

9. Let them cool (or eat them straight away...) and enjoy!

January 12, 2015

Chocolate Nutella Layer Cake

This cake is definitely a winner - the cake itself is so moist and the icing is lighter, fluffy and delicious.  It's definitely one I'll make again and again!

Recipe adapted from: Sweetapolita
Ingredients - 20 cm (8 inch) cake
285g flour
470g caster sugar
90g cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
300mL buttermilk
180mL coffee (I use instant granules and hot water)
160mL vegetable oil (I use canola oil)
3 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla essence

Ingredients - Nutella icing
565g icing sugar
340g butter (room temperature)
280g Nutella
180mL sour cream
330g dark chocolate
1 tbsp vanilla essence
Pinch of salt

Method - cake
1. Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F).  Butter three 21cm cake tins and line the bottoms with baking paper.  Using more tins helps your cakes bake quicker and more evenly.

2. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, caster sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt) in an electric mixer with the whisk attachment.

3. In another bowl, combine the rest of the cake ingredients (buttermilk, coffee, oil, eggs and vanilla).  Beat them gently, make sure to break up the egg yolks.

4. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix until fully combined.  The batter should be pourable and runny.

5. Separate the batter between the cake tins (if you're using three tins, each should have about 600g of batter) and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs.

6. Let the cakes cool in the tins, then invert them onto wire racks.

Method - Nutella icing
1. This is seriously easy.  Melt the chocolate, when once it's a little cool, put all the icing ingredients in a food processor.  Process until the icing is smooth.

2. Refrigerate the icing for about 15 minutes, until it's a good spreadable consistency.

Method - assembly

1. On your desired cake plate, layer up the completely cooled cake layers with a generous helping of the Nutella icing in between each layer.

2. Finish off by completely icing the outside of the cake, and decorate to your tastes (or leave it plain - that looks good, too!)  I decorated this cake with silver and blue cachous, as well as small silver sprinkles.


January 3, 2015

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Icing

There's something so compelling about whoopie pies; they're the soft sweetness of cake with all the delicious icing, but in a no-fuss package.  You don't need to mess around with plates and knives and forks with these babies, just pick them up out of their container and eat them.  I hope that you enjoy this easy recipe!

Recipe adapted from: Top With Cinnamon via My Name Is Yeh
Ingredients - whoopie pies
110g butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
220g white sugar
2 eggs
50g sour cream
2 tbsp cocoa powder
250g flour
1 tsp baking powder

Ingredients - icing
38g butter (room temperature is best)
75g cream cheese (room temperature is best)
1 tsp vanilla essence
75g icing sugar

Method - whoopie pies
1. Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F).

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

3. Add the eggs and sour cream, beat until combined.

4. Stir in the cocoa powder, flour and baking powder.  Mix until combined and smooth.  The batter should be nice and thick at this point.

5. Drop 1 1/2 tablespoon sized dollops of batter onto a baking tray lined with a silicone mat or baking paper.  I used a piping bag for this, which is super quick and convenient, but you can just as easily use a spoon.  The whoopie pies spread a bit so make sure you leave enough room between them.

6. Bake the whoopie pies for about 10 minutes, or until they are springy to the touch.

7. Set them onto a wire rack to cool, and get started making the icing!

Method - icing
1. Mix all the icing ingredients together.  I find that using an electric hand beater or electric mixer is best for this, to ensure that everything's completely smooth.

2. Once the whoopie pies are cool, pair them up and spread one half of each pair with the icing.

3. Sandwich them together and enjoy!

I hope that you all had a great holiday and new year!