Saturday, 28 August 2010

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cookies

The past week has been filled with baking, I don’t think I’ve ever baked so much in one week before. I started with chocolate cornflake buns on Saturday with the help of my 2 year old nephew JT, I wanted to bake but wasn’t feeling too good so needed something quick and easy, and that JT could help with. Turns out he’s not too fond of the hob so ran away to play with his train set, however he returned just in time to lick the pan clean. Something which he enjoyed quite a lot!
Then on Tuesday I made rock buns using my Mums old recipe she got from school. Rock buns, if you’ve never heard of them before, are a cross between cake and scone mix with a bit of cinnamon thrown in. They also, quite conveniently, come out of the oven looking like rocks!
Wednesday came the day I’ve been waiting for, I made warm chocolate melt in the middle cupcakes. I’ve been wanting to make these for a few weeks but as they really need to be eaten warm, I needed the whole family to be here to eat them. And so finally on Wednesday everyone was here, including JT and my Mums crazy friend C (who expects there to be fresh baked goods every time she comes round!) and I had my chance to make them. They were so so good, however in the middle of taking photos of them my camera broke. As someone who takes photo’s every single day and loves her camera to bits you can imagine how upset I am. However I do have a new camera on order, the Canon 550D, which should be here sometime in the next week. In the mean time I have to use a combination of my phone, my old Kodak compact and my mums little Panasonic, to try and get some passable pictures.
And so to finish off my baking week, I did some late night baking yesterday to try and ease my boredom. I made chocolate and vanilla marble cupcakes, which have been decorated today with a chocolate buttercream frosting and chunks of clotted cream fudge that I picked up a couple of weeks ago on my holiday to North Wales.

Onto today’s recipe, these cookies are completely delicious. I made them a couple of months back and have since handed the recipe out to quite a few people, all of whom agree that they are delicious. I’m a big fan of cookies and as far as I’m concerned the more chocolate the better. So when I came across this recipe in ‘The Complete Book of Cupcakes, Cheesecakes and Cookies’ and saw it had 3 lots of chocolate in it, I knew it had to be good. I wasn’t disappointed.
The book calls them chocolate fudge brownie and to be honest I’m really not sure where the fudge brownie part comes in, aside from the chocolate and nuts. But I don’t really care what they call them especially as they are so tasty. I’m not a fan of nuts so I just left them out which worked fine.
Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cookies

250g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
165g caster sugar
165g brown sugar
1 egg
300g plain flour
25g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
45g finely chopped roasted hazelnuts
120g coarsely chopped dark eating chocolate
120g coarsely chopped milk eating chocolate
120g coarsely chopped white eating chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 180°c (160°c fan forced).
2. Grease baking trays, line with baking paper.
3. Beat butter and sugars in a small bowl, add extract and egg and beat until light and fluffy.
4. Transfer to large bowl.
5. Stir in sifted flour, cocoa and soda in two batches. Then stir in the nuts and chocolate.
6. Roll level tablespoons of dough into balls and place 5cm apart on baking trays.
7. Bake for about 12 minutes.
8. Leave to cool on trays.

They say you can make about 48 small cookies out of this mix, the first time I made them I got 25 large ones and then the second time I got about 35 medium sized ones.
A couple of tips with this recipe, firstly make sure you keep the dough balls well spaced out on your baking trays as they spread a lot. Secondly don’t be tempted to flatten your dough balls out a bit, I did this the first time I made them and because they spread out so much whilst cooking they became a bit too thin.Hope you enjoy them!

Oh and apologies for the rubbish photos, I don’t know if it was me, the camera or the cookies but I just couldn’t get a decent photograph of them. I’ll make them again once I get my new camera.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Heavenly cupcakes

Cupcakes for Bookworms, Photo courtesy of Heaven is a Cupcake

I often am in awe of anyone who can make truely amazing looking cakes, its something I can only aspire to do. Decoration has always been my weak point, so I love seeing other people's creations. One such person is Lucy of Heaven is a Cupcake, her cupcakes always look impeccable and the themes are so fun. Unfortunately I live too far away from her to sample them in person but I have been told they taste just as good as they look.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow Cupcake, photo courtesy of Heaven is a Cupcake

So when Lucy shared her recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes I just had to have a go and bake them. The first thing I have to say is that it's the easiest recipe I've ever followed for cake mix. Everything just goes in the bowl and you mix. Simple. They are incredibly tasty too. I made a mix of large and smaller cupcakes, and I think I need to be more generous with the buttercream!
If you want to have a go you can find Lucy's recipe here. It's very easy to follow, so don't worry if you haven't really made any cakes before.

This is how my cakes turned out, they don't look nearly as good as Lucy's but practice makes perfect! My arms nearly dropped off mixing the food colouring into the buttercream, I added over half a bottle and they still weren't as pink as I wanted. I'm going to have to find some gel food colours.

The lovely Lucy is also holding a giveaway on her blog at the moment. Courtesy of CSN stores, you can win £40 worth of vouchers to spend on their online stores. So if you want to stock up on more baking equipment head on over to Lucy's blog and enter!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Rocky Road cupcakes

So I'm just going to admit to it straight away, I'm not a neat baker...and by that I mean I'm messy, I take up most of the work tops in the kitchen and I have been known to use every spoon in the house (like this recipe for example, we have a lot of teaspoons, and I mean a lot. But I ran out about half way through!). Just the other week when I was making buttercream I managed to cover most of the kitchen in icing sugar dust. I had to clean inside cups, around the kettle and the fronts of the cupboard doors. I know icing sugar can just erupt with dust, but never have I had to clean most of the kitchen before, everything was covered in what looked like a very fine layer of snow.

I guess the reason why I'm saying this is just to let you know, my photo's are not perfect, there will be lumps of dropped cake mix dotted around. You have been warned!
And so, back to the baking. For my birthday this year my great friend, F, bought me an amazing recipe book, its got some fantastic looking cupcakes in it and I couldn't wait to test them out. I can't actually find a link to it, but its called The Complete Book of Cupcakes, Cheesecakes and Cookies.

I must have spent hours flicking through it admiring all the photographs, reading the recipes, seeing what ingredients I have and getting hungrier and hungrier as I flicked through each page. I decided to start with the Rocky Road cupcakes (as seen in my header), firstly because they looked so incredibly delicious and secondly, well I can't really refuse anything that involves chocolate.
The cupcake itself is a marble cake of 3 layers, vanilla, chocolate and pink vanilla. When I make them again I'm going to miss out the pink layer as it didn't really show through as much as the others, and it didn't really bring another flavour.

When beating together the cake mix, it looked as if it was about to separate and curdle, but don't worry as long as it doesn't actually curdle then once it's cooked it'll be fine. I wouldn't be surprised if this only happened with me though, it wouldn't be the first time!

I must say, despite a few worries along the way, was quite scrumptious. The cake was very tasty and I was impressed at how well the marble effect showed through. The topping was by far the best bit, generally I can't eat much rocky road mix as it can be incredibly sickly but this was just the perfect amount.
They will definately be made again.

And so to the recipe, as that is what you must be waiting for.

For the marble cake
125g butter, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
185g self raising flour
80ml milk
Pink food colouring
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons milk, extra

For the topping (you can double this if you want extra!)
35g unsalted roasted peanuts (these can be left out, as I did)
100g halved red glacé cherries
50g pink and white marshmallows, roughly chopped
25g flaked or dessicated coconut, toasted
100g milk chocolate, melted

50g Cadbury dairy milk buttons, melted

1. Preheat your oven to 180°c and line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases (I used smaller 'fairy' cases as I didn't have any muffin cases)
2. Beat butter, extract, sugar and eggs in a small bowl until light and fluffy
3. Stir in sifted flour and milk in two batches
4. Divide the mixture equally into 3 bowls. Tint one bowl pink. Blend the sifted cocoa with the extra milk in a cup and then add to another bowl. Leave the third bowl plain.
5. Drop alternate spoonfuls of each mixture into the cases. Then pull a skewer or toothpick back and forth through the mixtures to create the marble effect. Smooth the surface.
6. Bake for about 20 minutes, or 30 if using large cases. To check if they are ready, insert a toothpick into the cake, if it comes out clean then its ready.
7. Leave on a wire rack to cool.
8. Put all the topping ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine. For decoration purposes you may want to hold back a small amount of each of the topping ingredients so that they can be added on top, as once they go in the bowl they will get covered in chocolate!
At this point you might want to cut the tops off some of your cupcakes to create a flatter surface for the rocky road mix. Feel free to eat the cut offs as you go along, you deserve it!
9. Place spoonfuls of the topping onto each cupcake. You may need to slightly pile it on to stop if from falling off, and add some of your held back topping so that you can actually tell what's in it!
10. Lastly drizzle each cupcake with the melted chocolate buttons.