Biscoff Rocky Road

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l 16/07/2017

If your will power lasts more than 10 minutes then these tasty morsels will keep for a week in the fridge. As with most of my posts, you can adapt this to include other fillings and textures but I think this combination showcases the biscuit spread flavour.

Very easy to put together, you don’t even need to turn the oven on for this one.

This recipe makes 16 pieces of Biscoff Rocky Road!

Ingredients:

  • 400g White Chocolate, chopped
  • 125g Biscoff Spread
  • 50g Unsalted Butter
  • 150g Mini Marshmallows
  • 250g Lotus Biscuits, chopped
  • Spare Biscoff Spread for Drizzle

Method:

  1. Line a 8/9″ square tin with greaseproof paper and leave to the side.
  2. In a large bowl, add in the chocolate and butter – melt on a low heat in a large glass bowl, over a pan of simmering water (making sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl) until fully melted – stir until smooth!
  3. In a separate bowl, melt the biscoff spread in the microwave for 30 seconds or so or until runny, beat into the melted white chocolate mix.
  4. Once it has melted and combined, add in the marshmallows and chopped biscuits and fold together – pour into the tin and spread until it is even. Refrigerate until set!
  5. If you want the extra biscoff kick, melt some extra biscoff spread and drizzle over the top of the Rocky Road, again, refrigerate until set!
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Chocolate Fudge Custard Cake

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caa 29/06/2017

I would love to provide a picture of the cake as a whole with its silky, chocolate custard covering but once I removed it from the fridge to serve, it didn’t last two seconds before everyone crowded round for a slice! I made this for my little brother’s birthday. He is a massive chocolate fan and this cake certainly delivers in that respect.

Ingredients:

For the chocolate sponges:

  • 150ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g plain flour
  • 70g cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 200g light brown soft sugar
  • 200ml buttermilk
  • 100ml strong coffee
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

For the chocolate custard:

  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 500ml full-fat milk
  • 140g chocolate, 85% cocoa solids, broken into cubes
  • 50g cornflour
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. Make the custard first as it needs to chill. Put all the ingredients, except the vanilla, in a large pan and bring gently to the boil, whisking all the time, until the chocolate has melted and you have a silky, thick custard. It will take 5-7 minutes from cold. Stir in the vanilla and a generous pinch of salt then scrape the custard into a wide, shallow bowl. Cover the surface with cling film, cool then chill for at least 3 hrs or until cold and set.
  2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins with baking parchment – if your cake tins are quite shallow, line the sides to a depth of at least 5cm. Put flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, light brown soft sugar and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and mix well. If there are any lumps in the sugar, squeeze these through your fingers to break them up.
  3. Measure the buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a jug. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until well combined. Pour the cake mixture evenly into the two tins, and bake for 25-30 mins until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool.
  4. To assemble, cover one of the cake layers with a generous helping of the custard. Add the second layer to the top of this and spoon the remaining custard on top of the cake then spread it around the top and down the sides until smooth. Chill for 15 minutes to firm up the custard again.

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Chill for 2 hours, or longer if possible, before serving, and eat it cold. This cake can be made up to 2 days ahead. The cake gets fudgier and more enticing the longer you leave it. The coffee in the recipe cannot be tasted but really brings out the intense cocoa flavours in the custard and the sponge and the addition of a small pinch of salt in the custard really intensifies the chocolate even further.

Spiced Butternut Squash Cake with Mexican Chocolate Mousse

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Screenshot_2016-08-12-18-14-12-1[1] 12/08/2016

It’s not even funny how good this cake is. I mean seriously good. The squash makes for an incredibly moist sponge brought to life by warming spices and it is sandwiched together with heavenly, creamy chocolate mousse spiked with a tiny bit of chilli heat for a tingling surprise.

This recipe came about as I had half a huge butternut squash to use up and didn’t fancy making another soup (from which the first half was used). Butternut squash is extremely versatile and when pureed it can be used in all manner of recipes too. Squash puree is also fantastic stirred into a cheesy sauce for a pasta bake amongst many other things. But before I go on a ramble about the many uses of the vegetable, let me tell you about its use here.

I have used squash in place of the popular tinned pumpkin puree which is full of additives, preservatives and sweeteners. While I am aware that this cake is not exactly a diet food, I at least know exactly what is in it and can add flavour with beautiful, natural spices.

To create squash puree, peel and deseed the butternut. Cut into small dice and place in a microwavable bowl. Cover with clingfilm and microwave on full power for 5-8 minutes or until the squash can be easily… squashed between your fingers. Drain away any water that may have collected from the steam in the bowl then mash until smooth. You can do this in a blender for very fine results but I was saving on the washing up and used a potato masher which gave slightly coarser puree that I personally really liked in the overall bake. You are now left with about 2 cups of puree, depending on the size of your squash, which is just perfect for this amazing recipe.

Screenshot_2016-08-12-18-11-35-1[1] Screenshot_2016-08-12-18-09-15-1[1]

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⅓ cups golden caster sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup yogurt (I used yeo valley 0% fat)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups butternut squash puree
  • 4 eggs

For the chocolate mousse filling/topping:

  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa)
  • 1 cup cold double cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line 2 round 20cm cake tins.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a separate large bowl, combine sugar and oil. Stir in yogurt, vanilla, and squash. Beat eggs in one at a time, mixing very well after each addition.
  3. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared tins. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the tins straight away and place on a wire rack. Cool completely.
  4. While that’s happening, melt the chocolate chips and allow the chocolate to cool a bit. Whisk together the heavy cream, cocoa powder, cinnamon and chili powder. Whip just until the cream reaches the “stiff peaks” stage. Carefully fold about half of the chocolate into the cream. Then fold in the remaining chocolate.
  5. When the cake is completely cool, layer the cream in the middle and on top of the cake.

 

Cookies & Cream Cake

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Screenshot_2016-08-08-20-25-10-1[1] 10/08/2016

The chocolate sponge in this recipe is my new go to chocolate sponge now. It is everything you want a chocolate cake to be; chocolatey, rich, cakey, moreish, amazing. The coffee intensifies the chocolate flavour and the buttermilk adds a fudginess to the overall bake. Team that with a slathering of Oreo cookie, cream cheese icing and you’re onto a winner. This recipe makes enough for a massive 4 layer cake so feel free to half the amount if you don’t want something quite so extreme. I made the full amount but made two cakes – one to keep and one to take to work – the lucky devils!

Ingredients:

For the chocolate sponges:

  • 300ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 400g plain flour
  • 130g cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 560g light brown soft sugar
  • 400ml buttermilk
  • 200ml strong coffee
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs

For the icing:

  • 150g stork baking margarine
  • 400g icing sugar
  • 180g tub full-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pack Oreo biscuits (I used chocolate stuffed Oreos)

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins with baking parchment – if your cake tins are quite shallow, line the sides to a depth of at least 5cm. Put 200g flour, 65g cocoa powder, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 280g light brown soft sugar and 1 tsp salt in a bowl and mix well. If there are any lumps in the sugar, squeeze these through your fingers to break them up.
  2. Measure 200ml buttermilk, 100ml coffee, 150ml oil and 2 tsp vanilla in a jug. Add 2 eggs and whisk until smooth. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until well combined. Pour the cake mixture evenly into the two tins, and bake for 25-30 mins until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack, peel off the baking parchment and leave to cool.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2, so that you have 4 sponge cakes in total. These sponges can be made up to three days ahead and will stay moist if wrapped in cling film, or you can wrap well and freeze for up to two months.
  4. To make the icing, put the butter in a large bowl and sieve in half the icing sugar. Roughly mash together with a spatula, then beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the cream cheese and sieve in the remaining icing sugar, mash together again, then blend once more. Put the Oreos in a food processor and whizz to fine crumbs. Add the biscuit crumbs to the icing and mix again until combined.
  5. To assemble the cake, stick one of your sponges to a cake stand or board with a little of the cream cheese icing. Use roughly half the icing to stack the remaining cakes on top, spreading a generous amount between each layer. Pile the remaining icing on top of the assembled cake, and use a palette knife to ease it over the edges, covering the entire surface of the cake. Tidy the plate with a piece of kitchen paper.
  6. If you have any leftover Oreos, break them into pieces and push these around the base of the cake.Alternatively, use mini Oreos.

Screenshot_2016-08-08-20-23-36-1[1] Screenshot_2016-08-10-05-18-13-1[1]

Someone’s lucky day!

Peanut Butter Coconut Macaroons

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IMG_20151217_192335[1] 17/12/2015

I love coconut and I love peanut butter so why not smoosh them together into an awesome creation of tasty, sweet, chewy, nutty, rich goodness? There is no reasoning. It needs to be done.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 5 1/2 cups sweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (or 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp almond)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. This is a must!
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, coconut and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Pour mixture over coconut and use your hands to combine.
  3. Spoon balls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about golf ball size.
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until the coconut is toasted.
  5. For the drizzle, chop the dark chocolate into a small microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments until melted, stirring in between. Using a fork, drizzle the macaroons with the chocolate. Let chocolate set or speed it up by placing in the fridge for a couple of minutes.

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I love these served at room temperature. They are the perfect pick me up with a cup of coffee.

Double Chocolate Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

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IMG_20151128_151233[1] 28/11/2015

I felt like making cookies today but wanted something more than a standard chocolate chip mix and pistachios and dark chocolate is what I had in the cupboards. It’s a combination that goes really nicely together. The rich dark chocolate and salty roasted nuts are great together in a buttery, chocolate shortbread round. An impressive, tasty bake with minimal effort required – Result!

Makes 12-15 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ¼ cup coarsely ground pistachios
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup 60% dark chocolate chips
  • Coarsely ground pistachios, for garnish

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Instructions:

  1. In a large food processor, process the butter and brown sugar.
  2. Add the egg and egg yolk, processing until combined.
  3. Add the flour, pistachios, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt, and process once more. Scrape the sides of the processor.
  4. Place dough mixture into a medium bowl, and add the chocolate chips. Gently combine until evenly distributed.
  5. With a sufficient piece of parchment paper, wrap the dough into a round log, about 2.5″ in diameter.
  6. Place in freezer for 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 170C.
  8. Cut the cookie dough off the log in even pieces, about .8″ or so apart, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until slightly browned. They will firm up once taken out of the oven.

Outrageous Chocolate Cookies

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IMG_20151103_114926[1] 03/11/2015

Called outrageous chocolate cookies, these cookies definitely deserve their name for being outrageously attractive. The pictures don’t even do them justice: these cookies look really pretty in real life, like small pieces of cake covered in a very thin layer of chocolate. If you want an easy to make cookie that’s all chocolate and yet looks attractive and tastes like a soft and chewy piece of a very good chocolate cake – try these, I beg you!

Remember, these are supposed to be soft and chewy, with only the top of the cookie that’s crunchy. So to have the success with these cookies, make sure to:

1) Melt the chocolate in step 1 just enough to mix, and when you mix it in and if the batter seems runny due to hot chocolate, allow the batter to cool down for some time to harden up. By allowing the cookie batter sit for a while, the hot melted chocolate will cool down and harden the cookie dough.

2) Beat your eggs and sugar in step 3 really well, until light and fluffy – otherwise the dough will be too thin.

3) Do not over bake the cookie. The cookie should not be dry. It should still be soft and brownie-like after 12-15 minutes of baking.

4) To avoid cookies spreading too thin during baking, make sure to follow all of the steps above, and also use cold baking sheets.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chunks or chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Heat 8oz semisweet chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring between each, until almost melted. Make sure not to over melt the chocolate, melt it just enough to mix.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed really well, until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate (remember, the melted chocolate should not be too runny). Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks (or chocolate chips). If your batter is too runny (due to over melting the chocolate in step 1), let the batter stand for some time to get hard.
  4. Spray baking sheets with cooking spray. Drop tablespoons of dough onto cold baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centres, 12 to 15 minutes. Do not over bake the cookies, the texture should still be soft, that of a brownie, when you take them out of the oven. If you overcook them, they will be too hard. Do not bake them to a crisp, they are supposed to be soft.
  5. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

These cookies keep well for a week in an air-tight container.