Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Macadamia & White Chocolate Brownies

Recipe from The Little Loaf

White Chocolate & Macadamia Brownies

Makes about 16 bars

Ingredients:150g macadamia nuts
200g unsalted butter
250g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped
3 eggs
230g golden caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
280g plain flour
pinch salt
200g white chocolate, coarsely hopped


1. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/mark 3. Grease and line an 8x8 inch pan.

2. Place the nuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oven, leave to cool and chop coarsely.

3. Melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat once melted and leave to cool.

4. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla (do not overmix or incorporate too much air). Fold in the cooled melted chocolate then sift in the flour and salt.

5. Fold the macadamias and white chocolate into the batter and transfer to the prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

6. Set aside to cool before removing from the pan to cool completely. Slice into bars.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Nutella-stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe from Ambitious Kitchen

Nutella-stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 12

227g (1 cup) unsalted butter
265g (1 ¼ cups) dark brown sugar
50g (¼ cup) granulated sugar

1 egg
1 egg yolk

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp greek yogurt
350g (2 ¼ cups) plain flour
1 ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp salt
25g (¾ cup) dark chocolate chips
170g (1 cup) milk chocolate chips
400g jar nutella, refrigerated

coarse sea salt for sprinkling

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. After a couple of minutes, once the butter has begun to brown on the bottom, remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.

2. Beat together the butter and sugars, then mix in the egg yolk, vanilla and yogurt. Sift in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Fold in the chocolate chips.

3. Cover the dough in cling film and refrigerator for 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/mark 4. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.

4. Measure about 1 ½ tablespoons of the chilled dough, roll into a ball and flatten slightly. Place 1 teaspoon of chilled nutella in the middle and fold the dough around it. Shape the dough into a ball and ensure no nutella is seeping out. Repeat for the remaining dough, then refrigerate the raw cookies for 10 minutes.

5. Place the dough balls on the baking trays, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden brown and the middles are still a little gooey. Leave the cookies to cool for 2 minutes, then sprinkle with a little sea salt and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Caramelised White Chocolate Tart

I made this tart back in August, when raspberries were most definitely more in-season than they are now (I have a decent backlog of recipes). This could, however, be topped with other fruits (such as stoned fruits) or indeed defrosted frozen berries. Alternatively, you could omit the fruit altogether- this tart would be perfectly delicious without toppings, but you could go for a few more nuts or a caramel drizzle if you felt it lacking. (Add some ground ginger to the pastry and/or filling and/or ginger syrup to the filling and decorate with honey roasted nuts and you'd have a wonderfully autumnal/Christmasy dessert).

Recipe from Plumful

Caramelised White Chocolate Tart

For the shortcrust pastry
75g cold butter
75g plain flour
pinch salt
15g icing sugar
For the filling
100g good quality white chocolate
100ml double cream
75g cream cheese
1tbsp icing sugar
240ml double cream
40g plain flour
75g sugar
pinch salt
To decorate
100g raspberries/ other fruit
handful chopped pistachios

1. Preheat the oven to 120C/250F/½ mark.

2. To caramelise the chocolate, break it into small pieces and transfer to a baking dish. Bake the chocolate for about 40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. After 40 minutes, remove from the oven, stir in the salt and leave to cool.

3. For the pastry, rub the butter into the flour until the consistency resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar then mix in ice cold water, 2tbsp at a time, until the pastry forms a smooth ball. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/mark 4.

5. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out to a 2-3mm thickness. Transfer to a tart tin, line with baking paper and baking beans/raw rice and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the beans/rice and bake for another 15 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before removing from the tin.

6. For the filling, whisk the cream cheese and add the cream and sugar ,beating until soft peaks form. Fold in 80g caramelised white chocolate, whilst it is lukewarm and liquid (if it has solidified, heat gently to melt in a microwave oven or a bowl over a pan of simmering water). Pour the mixture into the pastry case. Decorate with the fruit, drizzle with the remaining chocolate and sprinkle over the pistachios. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Banana Bread Cake with Caramel Icing

This is a wonderful little cake. It has the moisture and 'bounce' of a banana bread, but is sufficiently cakey  to be classified as such. The original recipe calls for peanut butter- I used nutella and it worked really well- I would recommend using nutella (or equivalent), cookie butter or almond butter, though peanut butter would be lovely too- just a slightly stronger flavour.
I found that the icing was pretty thick, and since the cake is pretty sweet, I think I would make only 2/3 or 1/2 of the icing next time.

Recipe found and adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen

Banana Bread Cake with Caramel Icing

For the cake:
113g (½ cup) unsalted butter
2tbsp nutella or peanut butter
150g (¾ cup) granulated sugar
53g (¼ cup) light brown soft sugar
1 egg
120ml (½ cup) sour cream or Greek yogurt
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
360ml (1 ½ cups, about 2 large/3 small) bananas, mashed
156g (1 cup) plain flour, sifted
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
For the caramel icing (½ – ⅔ of the following may be used):
57g (¼ cup) unsalted butter
53g (¼ cup) light brown soft sugar
2tbsp milk
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
113-170g (1-1 ½ cups) icing sugar, sifted

20g dark chocolate, melted, to decorate

1. Preheat the oven to 180◦C/350F/mark 4 and line a 9x9 inch pan with foil.

2. Melt the butter in a large heatproof bowl. Add the peanut butter, heat for a further 20 seconds and stir the mixture until smooth and combined.

3. Add the sugars to the butter mixture and whisk to combine. Beat in the egg, sour cream/yogurt and vanilla, then add the bananas and stir to combine. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt and mix until just combined and no more streaks remain.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes, until the cake is golden on top and set in the middle, with a toothpick inserted into the middle coming away clean. Leave in the pan for 20 minutes before removing from the pan and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. For the caramel icing, melt the butter in a small pan, add the brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Allow the mixture to boil rapidly for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.

6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cream and vanilla, whisking to combine. Mix in the icing sugar, ½ cup at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

7. Pour the glaze over the cake and spread to the edges with a knife/spatula dipped in hot water. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the top.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Espresso Ice Cream

Recipe from David Lebovitz

Espresso Ice Cream

150g (¾ cup) caster sugar360ml (1 ½ cups) whole milk1 ½ cups coffee beanspinch sal
360ml (1 ½ cups) double cream5 egg yolks¼ tsp vanilla extract¼ tsp finely ground coffee
optional- small handful chocolate coated coffee beans

1. Heat the milk, sugar, coffee beans, salt and one third of the cream in a medium saucepan until steaming but not boiling. Cover, remove from the heat and let steep for an hour.

2. Return the mixture to the heat and heat again until steaming but not boiling. In a heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks together and gradually whisk in the hot mixture. Return to the saucepan and heat until the mixture thickens so that it will coat the back of a spoon and the coating will not run after running your finger across the coating.

3. Whisk together the egg yolks and remaining sugar in a large bowl and whisk in the mixture from the saucepan. Pour everything back into the saucepan and heat gently, to thicken, for about 10 minutes.

4. Pour the remaining cream into a heatproof bowl. Pour the custard through a sieve into the cream, pressing on the coffee beans; discard the beans. Mix in the vanilla and coffee, leave to cool and then cover and refrigerate before freezing in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Just before placing in the freezer, mix in the chocolate coated coffee beans, if using.

White Chocolate Espresso Cake

I'm not one for sweeping statements, but this may well be the best coffee cake I've ever had. So make it- now. Oh, and don't forget to make a batch of this gorgeous ice cream (it's a marriage made in heaven).

Recipe from Pastry Affair

White Chocolate Espresso Cake

For the Cake
85g (6tbsp) unsalted butter
280g (1 ¼ cups) granulated sugar
3 eggs
120g (½ cup) sour cream or yogurt
75g (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
1tsp vanilla extract
300g (2 2/3 cups) cake flour
2tsp espresso powder
2tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
¾ tsp salt
2tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
240ml (1 cup) cold or lukewarm espresso
For the frosting
115g (½ cup) unsalted butter
85g white chocolate, melted and cooled
1tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
250g (2 cups) icing sugar
To decorate
coffee beans
1 tbsp cocoa powder

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/mark 4 and butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans or three 5 or 6 inch pans.

2. Sift together the flour, espresso powder, baking powder and salt and set aside.

3. Lightly whisk together the sour cream, vegetable oil and vanilla extract and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. Mix in the wet ingredients and once combined, gradually incorporate the dry ingredients. Add the espresso and mix well to combine.

5. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes away clean. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cook for 10 minutes before removing from the pans to cool completely.

6. For the frosting, beat the butter until smooth, then add the chocolate, vanilla extract and salt. Sift in the sugar and beat until smooth, adding a dash of milk or more sugar as required.

7. To assemble, sandwich the cake layers together with the frosting. Spread a thin layer of the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, then sprinkle with coffee beans and cocoa powder.

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