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Chocolate Chip Cookies

12 Jan

This is a great recipe and one I’ve adapted from a Nigella recipe (please find the original one here).

I love love love cookies, but who doesn’t! I think what makes a cookie an exceptional cookie is the combination of textures it should have – crunchie on the outside with a soft, slightly oozy choc chip center.

This recipe is slightly more low fat than Nigella’s as I substituted the butter for margarine and then changed the light brown sugar to dark brown sugar to give it that extra bit of moisture that the butter would give. The main difference between these two sugar is the molasses content; it is heavier in the dark sugar.

100g soft margarine

150g dark brown sugar

1tsp good quality vanilla extract

1 egg

150g flour

half tsp baking powder

200g dark choc chips – or use 100g milk & 100g dark

Preheat the over to 180 degrees Celsius. Cream the butter and the sugar, then beat in the vanilla extract and the egg.

Mix the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder – in a bowl and gradually beat into the creamed mixture. Fold in the choc chips.

Using a tsp and cold hands (to prevent the mixture getting too hot and sticking to your hands) roll little balls of the cookie mixture and place on a lined baking sheet leaving some space between each.

Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes and let them site on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes to cool. Remove and place them on a cooling rack.

Makes roughly 25, depending on how big you make them.

Enjoy with a cold glass of milk or a big cup of tea!

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I Love Random Presents!!

16 Dec

I am so excited!! My parents went to Paris for the weekend and brought me back a great french book on Macarons, I can’t fail so badly now…can I?? Well I hope not! There’s a list of aome beautiful flavour combinations in the book so I’ll make a batch for Christmas eve…fingers crossed!

Whoopie Pies

1 Nov

I came across the recipe for Pumpkin Whoopie pies on one of the blogs I follow; they sounded deliciously warm and autumnal and I thought to myself I’d love to try those!The smell in the kitchen from all the lovely spices was heavenly and reminiscent of Christmas. The recipe, funnily enough called for 3 cups of pumpkin puree; now I’m not a fan of pumpkin so I substituted it with a homemade apple puree ( I used about 5 cooking apples).

Apple Whoopie Pies

They’re very easy to make; you mix together the dry ingredients, then you mix the wet together and gradually add in the dry. You place heaped dessert spoon full of the mixture on a lined baking sheet and bake at 180 degrees celsius for approx 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely in the tin.

The required filling was one made with cream cheese. I’m also not a fan of cream cheese in desserts, in fact, truth be told, I despise cream cheese in desserts. I only like cheesecake when made with cottage cheese and lemon jelly. It’s one of my few baking peeves! So instead of the filling I used the vanilla filling from the oreo cookies. You beat equal quantities of butter and vegetable fat with one two tsp of vanilla and then gradually add icing sugar until light and fluffy. Fill a piping bag with the mixture and pipe onto one of the cookies and sandwich with another of the same shape. Be carefull not to put too much filling though, unless of course, you like it that way!

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies from Jillicious Discoveries

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. ground cloves *I found the cloves to be a little over powering and would use less when making again.
2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled *I used fresh homemade apple puree.
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.

2) In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.

3) Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1-inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and toothpick inserted into the center of cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.

Cream-Cheese Filling

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla

1) Sift confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined.

2) Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth.

3) Transfer filling to a pastry bag and pipe onto whoopie pie (turned over, the flat side facing up) and pipe almost to the edge; filling the surface area. Place second whoopie pie (flat side facing down towards filling) and gently press until the filling spreads to the edge of the cookie.

4) Place cookies on baking sheet with parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving.

Alternative  filling:
1/4 cup room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Macaroons – Daring Bakers October Challenge

27 Oct

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

Macaroons. They are much-loved in my house. When I say they I mean Ladoree. For this reason this was my most difficult challenge to date. So much so that I kept putting off making them. I was very nervous about making them and making a mess of them and that’s exactly what I did. In my head I kept thinking they surely can’t be as hard as everyone says to make. They consist of four ingredients: egg whites, almonds, icing sugar and granulated sugar.

I decided on two flavours: Chocolate shells with mint chocolate ganache and berry shells with white chocolate ganache. My first batch were going well until I put them in the oven at too high a heat!!!! I read the farenheight for the celsius temperature. Major fuck up. Excuse my language but there’s no other way of putting it! I was incredibly disheartened and delayed making them yet again. In the mean time though I did do copious amounts of reading about macaroons. Tartlette makes truly wonderful macaroons and describes the process very well. The main thing to remember when making macaroons is the preparation that goes into them. You need to have at least day old room temperature egg whites, the almonds must be ground very finely and I sieved mine twice to make it finer. The batter must be not over whipped or under whipped. You need to know your oven. I fell mine should be cooked at a lower temp for longer. You should place a few sheets of baking of baking paper so they don’t stick and burn.

My second batch (chocolate shells), which I made last night came out better, except they weren’t thick enough. Although every one said pipe them in one inch circles they never said how high they should be, so these lacked in height and so did not form the famous ‘feet’ which is a little raised skirt or frill underneath the shell of each macaron.

So began the third batch (red berry shells). To add this flavour I used flavoured tea and ground them (himself got a job) in a pestal and mortar. I piped them higher and they almost formed feet. As I said previously I feel the oven temperature was too high but I was sticking to the challenge recipe, I would not recommend this recipe if you are trying these for the first time. I will be following a different recipe when i make them again.

Feet Fighting to Form

Feet Fighting to Form

Then comes the ganache…oh dear…the white chocolate was oh it was damn tasty but not thick enough for my liking. The dark mint chocolate ganache was looking great and then disaster!!! It split!!!! For those of you that don’t know, ganache is a combination of chocolate and cream. You simmer the cream gently and pour if over the chocolate to get the fat of the chocolate to mix with the water of the cream whilst stirring. My cream was clearly too hot and the fat from the chocolate rose to the top. I read that if you beat the mixture at a low speed for a few minutes it should blend them nicely back together. I did this but it still wasn’t great but I had no cream left.

Dodgy Macaroons

Dodgy Macaroons

Tough challenge this month and I would like to thank Audax for all his tips. I will be making these again once i get my head around everything that’s needed. Lists will be made and better photos will be taken. I had no interest in taking photos of macaroon shaped objects! Although, himself claims they were in his words ‘damn tasty, especially the berry ones’. He is my number one taster and I always trust his opinions. He is also a very patient man and full of encouragement and for that I thank him greatly. He also always helps cleaning up the huge mess i always make of the kichen, and for that I also thank him!

Summer Dessert

1 Jul

Summer, surprisingly, seems to be making an appearance this year!

So dessert last night was light and simple and very very tasty!!

Home made short bread with rich vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries.

Yum.

Leftover Easter Eggs

27 Apr

I think I love the idea (and the smell!) of easter eggs more than I love eating them. If you’ve never inhaled an easter egg you’re missing out.

How to Inhale an Easter Egg:

1. Unwrap.

2. Break in half

3. Place one half and inhale that intensely divine chocolatey smell!!

I think I’ve gotten off track, yes, leftover easter eggs, instead of keeping them in the fridge for a year like I did one of my last ones, I broke one up into pieces and made cookies!

C is for cookies

16 Apr

Cookies. For me, these always turn out one of two ways. Either with an amazing texture, wonderfully soft when you bite into them with a slightly crunchier outer coat or unfortunatley, a gooey mess in the tray, more than likely due to measurements gone haywire!

I came across this recipe for Oreo like cookie on cocoaandcheese.blogspot.com and couldn’t resist baking them, they looked so tasty. I was intrigued! Thankfully they turned out delightful, I loved assembling them and for once remembered to photograph my endeavours! When I make them again I will definelty make them slightly smaller as they are quite filling and I would perhaps fill them with some homemade vanilla ice cream (boldness overload!!)

For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup  cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375˚.

In a food processor or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa , baking soda and powder, salt, sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

Roll rounding teaspoons of batter between your hands to get little balls. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. Slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, an at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2-3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip (I used a plastic freezer bag with a corner cut off), pipe teaspoon size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookies. Continue this process until all of the cookies have been sandwiched in cream. Enjoy with a large glass of moo juice!

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