Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Perfectly Peanut Brownies!

Hiya! Two posts in one day, I am keen! So I've just started back to class after a long break for Christmas and a few stressful exams and essays. My plan was to keep on top of all my work, but I have done quite a lot of reading for this semester already so I thought I would take some time out and bake something comforting and delicious. These peanut brownies were just what I needed (I love Peanut butter!).

I found this recipe on BBC Good Food, and tweaked it just a little to accommodate what I had in my slowly diminishing baking cupboard. 
Here's what you will need:

150g chocolate
100g self-raising flour
vanilla essence
175g crunchy peanut butter
50g cocoa powder
some extra butter
3 eggs
280g light brown soft sugar

Here's what I did:

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degree fan oven.Put 150g chocolate (I used milk but dark would be better), 175g of crunchy peanut butter and 280g of light brown soft sugar in a saucepan.
  2. Heat these until the chocolate has melted and it has formed a thick paste. I added a little butter at this stage just to help it get pastey.
  3. Take off the heat and use a wooden spoon to beat 3 eggs in individually. I also added a teaspoon of vanilla at this stage.
  4. Stir in 100g of self-raising flour, I also added some cocoa powder (about 50g) to make it more chocolatey and to compensate for the extra butter.
  5. I then transferred all this to a baking dish lined with greaseproof paper and cooked in the oven for about 25-30mins. It depends how gooey you like them (very gooey in my case!).Leave to cool in tray then cut into yummy large squares :). You could also decorate them with a chocolate drizzle, or chopped peanuts.
What a treat after a long day at work or just a wee sweet pick me up(I might go and have a nibble now!). My housemate even said that she was not a nutty person but she liked those, high praise indeed!

There are so many different ways of making brownies, I want to try Chocolate Orange brownies next or Blondies. I would love to know, what is your favourite brownie recipe?Happy baking!

Rachael xx

P.s. This is the link for the original, unedited by me,recipe on BBC Good Food.  http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1272634/peanut-butter-brownies Hope you enjoy giving this recipe a try!

Tantalising Tarts with Chocolate Mousse and Hazelnut and Orange Pastry!

Hola again! I decided to make something different this time in my kitchen, so I ventured into the world of homemade pastry! I was a little uncertain of this as I have heard that pastry is very hard to get right. So, after years of watching pastry being made by the professionals on TV, I gave these little tartlets a go! I found the recipe in the Women's Institute cookbook I mentioned in the previous post. This cookbook was a lovely gift from my grandmother who was a wonderful baker in her day :)! The recipe was extremely easy to follow, and for a first adventure with pastry, I don't think the tarts turned out too shabby. I wouldn't say they were my best performance in the kitchen though.

I followed the pastry recipe exactly as it appeared in the book but I think that my downfall was that I made the pastry too thick. The pastry did not have a nice flaky texture and felt a little like eating a very tasty rock (maybe I'm being a little harsh on myself here, they still all got eaten!).For the mousse the recipe called for rum, but I did not have any of this so I decided a wee dram of Cointreau would hit the spot, and that it did! It enhanced the wonderful orangey taste of the pastry. The tarts would have been better if they were bigger and served with ice cream as a dessert for a dinner party (more chocolatey mousse, yum!).

Although I would say the recipe wasn't a complete success, I think these little tarts have challenged me to be a little more adventurous when baking. What's the worst that can happen, right? Is there any recipes that you have been adventurous enough to try recently?If so, I would love to know and maybe I could give them a try too! Happy adventurous baking everyone!

Rachael xx

P.s.The recipe is quite long so I won't bore you with the details but if you would like to give it a try, I would be happy to send it to you!Just send me a lovely comment and you'll get your treasure :).

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Cheeky Chocolate Drizzle Traybake!!!

Howdy bakers! If I say only one thing today it is that this chocolate cake is AMAZING! It is possibly the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted never mind baked myself. It was lucky how I stumbled upon the recipe for this wonderful little chocolate treat. So if you too want to find something like this look no further than a Northern Irish Women's Institute Cookbook. Tucked within the well read brown pages was a cut out from some unknown magazine, the pictures showing a deep and dark chocolate cake. Some lady loved this recipe so I thought why not give it a go. Today I'm going to share it with you :).This recipe includes my alterations which I think make it that little bit better *!

What you will need:

75g cocoa

3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

4 medium eggs

370g light muscovado sugar (I just used a random mix of similar sugars I had lying around my baking cupboard)*

180ml groundnut oil

200g self-raising flour sifted

2tsp vanilla extract*

For the icing: 150g dark chocolate

2tbsp golden syrup

2tbsp double cream*

100g Crunchie* (Yum!)

1.Okay well to make this chocolately delight first whisk the cocoa and bicarbonate of soda with 200ml boiling water and leave to cool.
2.Preheat oven to 160°C and butter a traybake tin,I also lined with greaseproof paper, this made it easier to remove from the tin when finished.
3.Whisk together the eggs,sugar, vanilla extract and oil and then stir in the sifted flour. Follow with the cocoa solution. Pour mixture into tin and leave in oven for 30-40mins (I found about 35mins was perfect for me). Test with skewer, if it comes out clean, the cake is done.Leave to cool in the tin.
4.For the drizzley icing melt chocolate in cream with the golden syrup, stirring until smooth and glossy.Drizzle this over the cake and top with crunchie. Leave to cool before cutting into delectable chunks (the bigger the better!).

The best thing about this bad boy is it's moistness, I have never had a cake so soft and chocolately. I definitely recommend trying this cake, it is perfect for parties, afternoon tea, dessert, breakfast, lunch and dinner (I'm not joking,it's that good)!! 
I found this recipe by chance and now it's a favourite.Where have you been lucky enough to find your favourite recipes?
Happy baking people!


P.s. Let me know if you have any questions about the recipe or if you have any alterations that make it EVEN BETTER! 

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Outstanding Oaty Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Hello again :)! Let me just start by saying that these cookies are amazing, so quick and easy to make, yum! I have had three goes at making these wonderful little biscuits, each time they have been devoured almost instantaneously and everyone loves them :).

I came across this recipe on the website allrecipes.com, I can't remember who posted it but they are an absolute genius. This cookie glory happened one day I was feeling particularly lazy. I really wanted to make a lovely baked treat but couldn't be bothered to go to the shop. I had to make something that I already had all the ingredients for, step forward these cookies with the selling point that they are eggless (I had no eggs,I vital component to some baked goods).The perfect solution to my lazy dilemma. I changed the recipe only slightly, I added some cocoa powder just to make them a little bit sweeter and to satisfy my chocolate craving. These cookies were perfect for exam revision nibbles, everyone knows you must eat lots of chocolate at this time of year (or maybe that's just me!). They only take about 12mins in the oven, so pretty much and instant chocolate fix.

Although perfect on their own,they are delicious crumbled over vanilla ice cream with vanilla syrup drizzled over (can you tell I love vanilla...Mmmmm!). Lovely as an extremely simple dessert and can be served in pretty glasses to glam it up for a dinner with friends! I also think it would be interesting to use these in a topsy turvy whatever you have in your cupboards trifle!(I love this kind of cooking.)

At this stage in the blog I would like to say that I do eat 'normal' food as well. I love to cook nutritious dishes too, hopefully in the future I will manage to blog about some healthy main meals I have made.I'll keep you posted :). Happy treating guys!

Rachael xx

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Kooky Cookies and Cream Brownies!

Greetings! Today is brownie day but these are no ordinary brownies. They are Lorraine Pascale's Cookies and Cream Brownies. They are the perfect amount of gooeyness and are absolutely perfect for your mid-afternoon chocolate fix. Their gooeyness is due to the ratio of eggs to flour(3 eggs, 2 egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of flour), good thinking Lorraine :).

The recipe is pretty simple to follow and both times that I have baked these they have turned out perfectly! I only made one addition in that I added a few more cookies, I have a very sweet tooth :). These brownies are great for a quick, easy but extremely delicious sweet treat for any social occasion. Maybe best to make them for a party as you could end up eating them all yourself, they are that yummy. I made them for a pizza and movie night, good combination. They would be wonderful warm with ice cream, cream, custard or more chocolate, just joking :). Or if you wanted to be really home made you could make them to use in a chocolate trifle for a dinner party dessert (I would go to that party, yes please!).Go on, give these bad boys a go! Happy treating lovelies!

Rachael xx

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Chunky Chocolate Fudge Cake!

Hello delicious chocolate fudge cake, welcome to the world ;)!This chocolate fudge cake is courtesy of the wonderful Mrs Berry again and her Baking Bible. She states in her book that this is the best chocolate cake recipe ever. I'm rather inclined to agree with her, she is a baking legend after all! You will see a lot more of this lady's recipes on this blog. This cake was made with my boyfriend for his brother's birthday, a perfect gooey birthday treat.

I changed the recipe slightly, I put strawberries on the top( a portion of fruit, right!!). A purely aesthetic garnish of white chocolate drizzle and I created a chocolate finger fence around the cake. This cake is very rich and is for the brave and the serious chocolate addicts among you (I'm one of these people). I think again I may have left the cake in the oven a bit too long as it was a bit crunchy on the top, but thankfully it didn't take away from it's sweet taste. The icing also doubles up as a good sauce for the cake if there isn't enough chocolate for you(Oh go on, you deserve it!). Can anything with chocolate be a disaster?(I believe not!).This is an extremely self-indulgent treat. Happy treating friends!

Rachael xx

Scrumptious Strawberry Dessert Cake!

Hello again! It's cake time now (my favourite time, oh yes!). This beautiful little number was found in Mary Berry's Baking Bible. In a little deviation from topic can I just say, how wonderful is Mary Berry?I absolutely love her, such a lovely woman. I met her once :) I became a little starstruck and got her to sign my recipe book. I know, very rock and roll.
Anyway, childish moment over, this cake is well good. I changed the recipe slightly, I added some white chocolate chips (I'm addicted to white chocolate and fruit, especially raspberries, strawberries and blueberries!). It's a combination made in heaven.

This cake was made for New Year's Day, a celebratory day calls for a celebratory cake (any excuse for some cake). My fall from grace with this cake recipe was that I may have left it in the oven a bit too long, it got a tad burnt (oopsies!) and therefore I felt it was a little dry. So, my creative brain in check, what better way to mend this than with a creamy white chocolate and vanilla sauce. I made the sauce by:

  •  bringing double cream to the boil
  • taking off the heat and adding gorgeous chunks of white chocolate and vanilla pod seeds
  • leaving to cool until thickish.
See, I told you I love white chocolate and berries. This sauce seemed to rescue the cake somewhat and my reputation was restored :).As the recipe states this can be enjoyed either hot or cold, I personally preferred it hot with the cold sweet sauce. This cake enhanced an already fun and delicious day, I would recommend giving this beauty a try. Happy treating everybody!

Rachael xx

Captivating Chilli Jam!

A venture into the unknown world of jams for me! As you know students are a bit strapped for cash and I'm one such student (poor me!). So, when Christmas came around I was panicking, I had literally no money but I wanted to treat my loved ones. Then to my rescue this Chilli jam came into the picture. What a beautiful little (inexpensive!) Christmas gift.

This gift was found in a Tesco's magazine of all places. I made a slight change to the recipe by adding jam sugar with added pectin instead of the separate sugar and pectin. I also used medium red chillies instead of scotch bonnets (couldn't find them!). It was a bit of an experiment but with my little sister's help we managed to create a gift that tasted pretty as well as looked pretty. Thank you to my little sous chef :).

These little jars of spicy yum went out to many of my loved family and friends. The jam was heartily enjoyed with leftover Christmas ham, crackers and an abundance of cheeses. The recipe made 8 jars of jam and was the perfect mix of sweet and spicy. This recipe is worth a try if you are looking for a yummy but cheap set of gifts. Happy treating everyone!

Rachael xx

P.s. If you want the recipe but can't find it, send me a comment and I will give it to you :)!

Ideal Irish Cream and Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding

Oh this is so exciting, this is my first ever blog post. Good luck to me!I hope I inspire you try this recipe. My first dessert that I will talk about is this wonderful bread and butter pudding. A classic dessert, I'm sure all would agree but one that is hard to get absolutely perfect. This is my third attempt at this homely classic and I added a little twist, go me :)!!

The recipe I used was taken from The Great British Bake Off:How to Bake.I followed the recipe very closely as I was not that confident. The only change I made was that I added some Irish cream to the liquid mixture. The picture does not do the pudding justice. The top was crunchy with a delightful soft, chocolately and creamy centre, just heavenly with that wee hint of alcohol. My mouth is watering just remembering it.It's just lovely with some vanilla ice cream or some vanilla custard. I would definitely recommend giving this recipe a go. What's the worst that can happen?

My only downfall with this adventure was that it was dessert to a particularly majestic Christmas dinner with my university friends. It was difficult to fit all this goodness in but we definitely give it a good shot. My theory that adding chocolate to everything makes it better holds true with this pudding. Happy treating people :)!

Rachael xx