Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mixed Berry Baked Cheesecake

So I finally got himself away from work for a little holiday and it has been wonderful. My maternal family owns a house on an island off the West Cork coast called Bere Island so we decided to go there. No matter how often I come here I am always struck by how beautiful this part of the world is and also how secluded and quiet; you can open the window in the morning and not hear a thing save for the occasional lowing cow. Magic...

While the house is very homey, with comfy couches around the fireplace and bits and bobs made by my grandparents, it is also quite basic. There is no drinkable running water and no central heating; you have to bring your own water to drink and cook with and the house is heated by the fire and plug in heaters. But even with this mild inconvenience (and the much smaller inconvenience of having no TV or internet) I wouldn't change the house for the world.

After a very early start, a 5 hour drive and a short ferry trip we landed on the island. There followed four days of long walks, peace and quiet, cuddling on the sofa infront of the fire, exploring British and Irish army battlements, talking about everything and nothing, paddling in the wind tossed Atlantic and eating good honest home cooked meals lit by candlelight.

So I decided to take a plunge I've been contemplating for a while and make baked cheesecake. This is one of Ethan's all time favourite desserts but in two and a half years I'd never made it, because I'd heard horror stories about cracking and it being just generally difficult. But something about the salty air just made me determined. I have a set of heart shaped ramekins that I used to make these in but three inch tins will be fine. I also made up a mixed berry compote to pour over the top. Granted it ended up more like a jam but it was still pronounced delicious!

Berry Compote

  • 250g frozen mixed berries
  • 30-50mls water
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
Put all of the ingredients into a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat on medium until the fruit disintegrates and everything comes together into a thick-ish sauce-like consistency. Cool completely before using in the chesecake

Mini Mixed Berry Cheesecake
Makes 2 3" cheesecakes

  • 200g cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 5 tbsp mixed berry compote
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 10-13 digestive biscuits (depending on how thick you like the base)
  • 45-50g butter (melted)
Crush the digestives and add the butter, mixing well
Press the mixture into the base and around the sides of the tins/ramekins
Chill in the fridge for 15 mins

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 160 C and make the filling!

Whip the cream cheese until light and loose
Add the sugar, lemon juice and compote and beat well (should be runnier than expected)
Mix in the flour and pour into the chilled bases
Bake for 25-30 minutes in the center of the oven, with a tray of water in the base of the oven (this helps stop cracking)

Cool completely then pour (or spread, in my case) the cooled compote over the cheesecakes and serve!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Toffee Pecan Pie

Hello my baking nemesis, once more we meet again....

Pecan pie is the one baked good I've encountered so far that always gave me difficulty. You may remember back last November for Thanksgiving I had to make an emergency Banoffee Pie to make up for the kitchen disaster than was my pecan pie. But, through practice and the tweaking of the recipe that is hopefully a thing of the past!

Now, because I live in Ireland I always had to make corn-syrup free recipes which may have contributed to the problem. Luckily I found a good replacement; dark brown sugar, condensed milk and golden syrup. They give the pie it's toffee taste but the condensed milk lightens it and stops it tasting burnt.

Hopefully this incarnation tastes as good as it smells

Perfect Pie Crust
Makes one 9" pie crust

  • 100g butter, cold
  • 150g plain flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2-3 tbsp water
Rub the butter into the flour until the mix in the consistency of fine breadcrumbs
(You can also use a blender to pulse it)
Add the sugar, egg and mix
Bring the mix together to form a smooth dough, adding water 1 tbsp at a time if necessary
Chill in the fridge for 30 mins

Preheat the oven to 170 C and toast the pecans for 10 minutes

Roll out the dough until it's 1.5 inches wider than the tin
Press the dough into the tin, line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beads
Blind bake for 10 minutes.

While this is going on it's time to make the filling!

Pie Filling
  • 175g condensed milk
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • 150g pecans
Cream butter and sugar together and beat in the golden
syrup and eggs
Mix in the condensed milk and vanilla
Add the flour and beat the mixture well
Pour into the pie shell and scatter over the toasted pecans
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 mins, until the filling is bouncy but not runny
If the edges are browning too quickly cover with tinfoil
Cool in the tin for 20 minutes then remove from tin and cool 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Criossant Bread Pudding

We've not had much of a summer here in Ireland. Actually, that's an understatement, we've had near constant rain and for the past week I've been able to see my breath outdoors. It's July. Rather than the traditional summer puddings and light desserts I would normally make, I've found myself going back to more autumnal fare; hot stodgy puddings and crumbles. This bread pudding is a twist on the traditional bread and butter pudding using croissants in place of bread. I must admit I prefer the more traditional version but I got wonderful fresh croissants this morning and I just had to make something with them to whisk away the soggy weather blues.

Croissant Bread Pudding
Serves 4
  • 5 large croissants
  • 3 eggs
  • 175mls cream
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cointreau (optional)
  • a handful of raisins
  • a handful of mixed peel (optional)
Preheat the oven to 175C
Whisk the eggs and milk and add the sugar, 1 tbsp of the maple syrup and the cointreau (if using)
Tear the croissants in half and pack half of them into a 9" ceramic oven dish
Scatter half of the raisins and mixed peel (if using) over the croissants
Drizzle over 2 tbsp of the maple syrup
Pour in the egg and cream mixture and scatter in the rest of the raisins
Drizzle over the last of the syrup and bake for 40-45 mins until golden and puffed up
Cool for 10 minutes or so and serve warm with cream.

Personally I prefer the bread version of this pudding but this is a firm family favourite, much lighter with a homey buttery taste and slight smokiness from the maple syrup! Delish!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summerfruit Tart

Ethan's Mum recently moved into a new house and we are going over tonight to have dinner and a look around. From what I've been hearing it's an amazing house; an architectural oddity, (think 4 floors in a 2 storey house), complete with its own apple orchard out the back. I'll definitely be collecting windfalls for pies, tarts and crumbles come Autumn!

So she invited us over for dinner tonight and I said I would bring dessert. So despite the fact it's raining and a little chilly out there I decided to go with a summerfruit tart. This was my favourite dessert growing up, and when we were getting desserts from our local bakery it's the one I'd always go for. The combination of the buttery crust, light creme patisserie with real vanilla beans and the sweet summer fruit was just perfect. 

I have attempted to re-create my childhood with the recipe given to me by Mary, the woman who actually made the tarts in that bakery. I had a bit of a moment when my creme patisserie began to split but I was able to rescue it with a little milk and butter and the end result was light and delicately 
flavoured by the vanilla.

Summerfruit Tart
Makes one 9" tart

Tart Base
  • 180g flour
  • 120g butter, cold and cubed
  • 110g white caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1-2 tbsp milk (if necessary)
Rub the butter into the flour using your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar and mix well, bringing the dough together
If the dough does not come together add the milk and knead until a ball of dough can be formed
Chill for 1 hour

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 9" tart pan.
Roll the chilled dough out to a thickness of about 3mm and transfer it to the tin,
pressing it into the corners and leaving about 2" of overhang.
Snip away some of the excess until there's about 1" left all the way around and prick the dough using a fork
Lay some baking paper inside the dough and pour in some baking beads (dried beans will work fine)
Bake for 20 mins and cool completely before removing it from the tin.

Creme Patisserie
  • 300 mls full cream
  • 200 mls milk
  • 100g white caster sugar
  • 40g cornflour
  • 5 egg yolks
  • vanilla pod
Mix the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a glass/ metal bowl
Pour the cream and milk into a heavy bottomed saucepan.
Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add them and the pod into the saucepan.
Heat the milk and cream until just boiling then remove the pod, pour into the egg mixture and whisk.
Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and cook on a medium heat, whisking constantly until it begins to thicken
Cook for a further 3-5 minutes then remove from the heat and pour into a glass bowl to cool.


When everything is cool then it's time to assemble the tart. For the fruit topping I used kiwis, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries, but feel free to mix and match and change it up, this tart is really open to interpretation.

Pour the creme patisserie into the tart shell, spreading it into the crevices and smoothing it out to create an even layer. Then add the fruit on top of the creme, arranging it in either the traditional rings or however you would like. Keep chilled and remove from the fridge 20-30 mins before serving.

  • Some people glaze the tart with apricot jam but I actually don;t like it, I think it makes the tart far too sweet and sticky. But most bakeries do it and it does give the tart a very finished look so it's a bit of a toss up whether you would like to use it or not. 
  • If your creme patisserie starts to split add a little drop more milk while the mix is in the pan and whisk like mad. Then, when the creme is cooked and has been poured into the glass bowl add 1.5 tbsps of butter. This will stabilise the creme and bring it back from the brink.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mini Chocolate Fudge Cake

June is a busy baking month for me, this year especially. Most of my friends' birthdays are this month and with the opening of Kate's Bakes I also have orders and commissions on top of all this; case in point, a double order of flood-iced almond shortbread, a mini chocolate fudge birthday cake and a big strawberries and cream pavlova due tomorrow! Not that I'm complaining mind, it's just really funny because there was about a 2 weeks period of nothing going on; no birthdays, no nothin'. Now everyone decides to have a birthday at the same time :P

This is the first time I've made a mini cake. I toyed with the idea of buying the teeny tiny tins then decided I'd bake one 9" round and cut out the two 4" layers from that. When it's cooled it's going to be filled with chocolate cream and topped with gooey dark chocolate ganache (SO MUCH CHOCOLATE). The cake is moist but light with a delicate crumb. It's perfect for any celebration because the recipe quantities can be easily modified to make any size of cake (I've included the alterations in blue for a full 9" cake in the ingredients)

Mini Chocolate Fudge Cake
Makes one 4" sandwich cake/ one 9" round
  • 90g (175g) plain flour
  • 1 tsp (2tsps)  baking powder
  • 65g (125g) butter
  • 2 (3) eggs
  • 75g (150g) light brown sugar
  • 35g (50g) white caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp (2tbsps) plain yoghurt
  • 150g (225g) plain chocolate
Preheat the oven to 190 C
Melt chocolate over a bain marie
Cream butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy
Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition
Stir in chocolate and yoghurt
Sift in flour and fold in, aerating the batter
Pour the mixture into a 9" sandwich tin
Bake for 20-25 mins
Cool for 10 mins in the tins then turn out onto a wire rack

Monday, May 28, 2012

Gluten Free (But They'll Never Notice) Shortbread

This week I got an order for gluten free shortbread for a graduation, decorated as sparkly stars and champagne bubbles. I love shortbread; it's buttery, crunchy, crumbly and not too sweet. My All Butter Shortbread recipe is an all time favourite but I was a little worried about how the gluten free version would match up. Turns out I had nothing to worry about, the crumb structure was perfect and the cookies were just as buttery and delicious as the usually are. 

This cookie recipe gave me a chance to get three firsts over and done with. It was my first time covering cookies with fondant and my first time flood icing. The order was covered with fondant; pale lilac for the stars and cream/ivory for the champagne bubbles and I also used edible glitter for the first time to sparkle up the stars. 

With the remaining dough I decided to make some cookies to celebrate the end of exams/start of summer. I flood iced them with blue icing and decorated with white. It was a really nice combination and we polished them off lying in the grass in the sun in our back garden. 

Gluten-Free Shortbread
  • 350g Gluten-free flour mix
  • 220g butter (at room temp)
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2tsp xanthan gum
  • 1-3 tbsp milk (if necessary, omit if recipe needs to be dairy free)
Preheat oven to 150C, line baking trays with greaseproof paper
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
In a separate bowl combine the flour and xanthan gum
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well (it will be a little crumbly at this stage, if it is too crumbly add the milk)
When the dough comes together into a ball chill it for 1-2 hours in the fridge
Roll it out to 5mm thick and cut out the desired shapes
Bake for 12-15 mins, until the edges are golden brown
Cool in the tin for 5 mins then cool completely on a wire rack

Decorate as desired when the cookies are totally cooled :) 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Gluten Free Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Got my first order in for anything gluten free the other day from a friend of mine who is allergic to both wheat and soy. I've never been so paranoid in the kitchen as I was when I was prepping all the ingredients and making up the dough. I obsessively washed the mixing bowls, chopping board, weighing scale bowl, storage tin, counter tops..... The kitchen was sparkling clean before I'd even put butter and sugar together! Having seen what even the tiniest bit of wheat does to him I checked and re-checked the ingredients seventeen times to ensure none contained wheat or soy. Having reassured myself, kind of, I set to work.

Gluten (and Soy) Free Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Makes 12
  • 300g gluten free flour mix (I use Dove's farm)
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 340g light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g milk chocolate chunks (soy free; I used Cadbury's Dairy Milk)
Preheat the oven to 165C
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla beating well after each addition
In another bowl mix the dry ingredients
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well
Add the chocolate chunks and combine well
Divide into 12 lumps and bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are golden

The xanthan gum really fixes the crumb structure and gives the cookies the texture of normal cookies. It was the first time I'd used it and I was amazed. When they were cooled I packed them away in my super clean tin lined with greaseproof paper to be ABSOLUTELY sure they could not be contaminated. They were well received and suitably devoured. I think I'll find myself making them more often in future!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Giant Cookie

Question: What do you do for a friend who doesn't like cake on their birthday? 

Answer: Make a giant cookie and watch their face light up!
I love baking things for friends' birthdays, getting something home made and hand crafted always has such a sense of the warm fuzzies about it and I love that feeling. The friend in this case wanted a giant chocolate cookie packed with chocolate and Diam chunks.

This recipe turns out an 11" thick chewy cookie with the perfect cookie texture (or so I was told). Since starting my business I've discovered a number of people I know who don't like cake so I think this recipe is going to come in very handy. 

Giant Chocolate Chunk Cookie
Makes one 11" cookie
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 90g butter (melted and cooled)
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 60g caster/superfine sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 200g Diam bars (broken into chunks)
  • 100g chocolate chunks
Preheat the oven to 150C. Line an 11" round tray (I used a pizza tray) with greaseproof paper 
In a large bowl beat the butter and sugars until well combined
Add the egg and beat well
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine well, using your hands if necessary
Pour in the chocolate and Diam chunks and mix
Put handfulls of the dough into the tray and press it all together and into the corners 
to form a solid round.
Bake for 20 mins until the edges are golden and the center is still soft
Cool in the tray for 10 mins then cool completely on a wire rack

If the idea of all that chocolate isn't your think feel free to omit the cocoa powder. Actually, scratch that; feel free to change around all of the mix-in options and try loads of different combinations!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lemon Curd

Lemon curd really is a thing of summer. It tastes like sunshine in a jar and with the recent heatwave here I just had to make some. It's March and we've been able to comfortably walk around in shorts and Ireland... That doesn't usually happen until June, if it happens at all. 

My mum loves lemon curd (in fact I'll be bringing her a jar of it when I go to visit tomorrow). If it were up to her I think she'd have it on toast every morning. My nana (her mum) used to make it every year in summer when lemons were in season and this recipe is one that I found in my mum's recipe binder which is about 35 years older than I am!

Lemon Curd
Makes around 2 jars (1.5 cups-ish)
  • grated zest of 2 lemons
  • juice of 4 lemons
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 135g caster sugar
  • 60g butter (cold, cubed)
Combine zest and juice in a bowl and let it for 15 minutes
Whisk sugar and egg yolks in a medium glass or stainless steel bowl until mix reached the consitency of mayonnaise
Add juice mixture and mix
Heat a little water in a saucepan until gently simmering and place bowl over this saucepan ensuring the base of the bowl does not come in contact with the surface of the water
Cook for around 15 minutes, stirring constantly with a spatula, until it reaches the consistency of thick custard/pudding
Remove from heat and add the butter a little at a time, stirring it until it melts. Cool the curd by placing the bowl in cold water, stirring occasionally to ensure a skin doesn't form.

Enjoy on scones, toast, crusty read, muffins or just eat by the spoonful. I have a plan for half of my batch and I'll post that recipe soon!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies

So the business has really taken off recently; my supplier is selling four batches per week and I'm really enjoying coming up with new mix in ideas (next up is smores!!!). I've also been doing comissions and last week I got an order for two batches of peanut butter cookies to be given as gifts.

I haven't made peanut butter cookies since I was like 11 years old and the recipe I use hasn't changed that much. It came from a really old children's cookbook given to me by my Percy when I was 9. Unfortunately I have since lost that cookbook somewhere along the way but I still have my peanut butter cookie recipe!

I've swapped 1/2 cup of granulated sugar for the same of light brown sugar and added the baking powder. The original recipe also called for creaming the butter and sugar but melting it gives a chewier cookie which is much better!

Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 12

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup & 2 tbsp peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 1 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 180C
Combine the cooled melted butter and sugars in a bowl and beat well
Add the egg and vanilla and beat well
Add peanut butter and beat until well combined
In another bowl combine the flour and baking powder
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix, using your hands when the flour is almost totally mixed in
The dough should come together easily and be slightly sticky (add more flour if it is very sticky)
Pinch off tablespoonful sized lumps and roll into balls
Flatten these balls into rounds and place on a lined baking tray
Bake for 7-10 mins until the edges are golden

Cool completely and enjoy with milk :)

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the made up gift jars (my camera went on the blink) but they turned out really well and the recipient was very happy :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Could Gluten be Ruining our Health?

I came across this article and I'm not convinced, particularily by the Duke 2009 study... There's a lot of scope for experimental error in that and I just can't get behind it.

Although the whole notion is pretty interesting so I'm gonna post it up anyway

Saturday, February 11, 2012

M&M & Mars Bar Cookies

Everything's go around here! I found myself an outlet to sell my baked goodness and they go on shelves from Monday!!! For starters they just want cookies and based on the clientèle I decided that M&M and Mars Bar cookies would be the best option because, y'know, who doesn't like a colourful cookie or one packed with gooey loveliness.

Now, I will have to make these in huuuge batches, but to save you guys the headache the recipe here is enough for 18-20. It's a really simple recipe, super quick to whip up and perfect for a kids party or a not so kids party! Actually, it's a great one to make with kids; let them choose mix ins and have great fun with it :D

M&M Cookies
Makes 16-18
  • 300g flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 180g butter, melted and cooled
  • 270g brown sugar
  • 1 egg & 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 cups M&Ms
  • 2-3 tbsp milk (if necessary)
Preheat the oven to 160 C, line trays with greaseproof paper
Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy
Add egg, yolk, vanilla and mix
In another bowl combine the flour and baking powder
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, at this stage the mixture will be a bit crumbly 
but it will come together after mixing, don't fret.
If it doesn't come together properly add the milk 1 tbsp at a time until it does.
Add the M&Ms and fold them into the dough
Form heaped tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls then flatten them
Place them on the prepared baking tray
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are golden but the centers are still soft!

for the Mars Bar version just sub out the M&Ms for 2 cups of chopped Mars Bar.

thanks to How Sweet Eats for the photo :D

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Yellow Cake - THE Basic Sponge

Finally! It's been so long since I've made a birthday cake, I was worried I'd have forgotten how! it's all go here today, I'm only able to type this up because I'm waiting for everything to cool! Kate's Bakes, my little baking business, has finally kicked off and I have two commissions due today; a raspberry pavlova for a wrap party and this yellow cake for a 22nd birthday.

This yellow cake is the most reliable recipe I've ever had, it always produces a moist, tender cake that tastes buttery and delicious; perfect filled with jam and cream and dusted with icing sugar for a simple afternoon treat or dressed up with frosting or fondant for a more statement cake.

Yellow Cake
Makes one 9" sandwich cake
  • 225g butter
  • 350g sugar
  • 360g plain flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 300mls milk
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 175 C, grease and line 2 tins
combine flour and baking powder in a bowl
In a larger bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla
Alternate adding milk and flour to this mixture and mix well
Bake for 30-35 mins, turning once halfway through
Cool completely then decorate

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chocolate Truffles and 1 Year of Blogging

I can't believe I've been blogging for a year, sharing my recipes and in turn meeting new people. It's been an interesting year, with long illness/thesis related gaps in posting and a new business venture started, but I've enjoyed it immensely and I can't wait for the second anniversary!

To celebrate this I decided to dust off a chocolate truffle recipe I have to practice for valentines day. I love dark chocolate and I find it is the easiest type of chocolate to work with when making truffles. I've made white chocolate truffles before but they ended up being a little too soft, despite a large amount of icing sugar and ground almonds I added to bind the mixture... I've heard of people adding butter but I think that makes then truffles greasy and far too heavy (really unpleasant)... I'll have to work that little problem out before I have to make them again. Actually, if anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them :)

I tend to use 80% cocoa chocolate for this but if you want a slightly less bitter chocolate taste you can reduce the cocoa content, although I wouldn't go below 65%. The icing sugar and cocoa powder amount is really really variable and will also be affected by whatever flavours you are adding but just wing it, testing for sweetness as you go.

Dark Chocolate Truffles
Makes around 40

  • 450g dark chocolate (at least 65% cocoa)
  • 250 ml full cream
  • 4-5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 6-8 tbsp icing sugar
Break the chocolate into small pieces and put into a bowl.
Heat the cream in a saucepan until it is just boiling
Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate, stirring gently
Leave to stand for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has all melted
Alternate adding the icing sugar and cocoa powder until a thick but smooth
ganache consistency is reached; at this stage you will want to be tasting for sweetness
and adding more or less than the recommended icing sugar and cocoa powder
Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes then roll teaspoonful sized clumps of the 
mix into balls
Coat in cocoa powder and enjoy

Almond Truffles

Use the basic mix above but BEFORE CHILLING, substitute one of the tablespoons of cocoa powder and one of the tablespoons of icing sugar for two tablespoons of ground almonds
Add 3 drops of almond essence and mix well
Chill normally and coat in ground almonds

Hazelnut Truffles

As above but substitute 1 tablespoons of cocoa powder for 2 tbsp of Nutella and 2 tbsp of ground hazelnuts
Chill and roll in ground hazelnuts

Rum Truffles

As above but add 2-3 tablespoons of spiced rum to the mix, adding more icing sugar if the mixture is too runny. 
Roll in cocoa powder after chilling

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Selection Box Cookies & A New Year 12 hour Dungeon Crawl

So it's the New Year, a time for getting together with family and friends, bidding farewell to the old and looking forward to the new. Normally celebrations consist of drinking, dancing, partying, going to the pub and counting down the final 10 seconds (with a possible kiss at the stroke of midnight). This year however we decided to do something totally different and host a marathon Pathfinder dungeon crawl.

But not just any dungeon...the most intense, difficult and terrifyingly deadly dungeon ever created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson; The Tomb of Horrors. So, as the clock struck 7PM two teams of intrepid explorers probably with more weapons than sense, set forth. We had our first death within 10 minutes...

In order to get us through this ordeal, I brought home made cookies. In Ireland at Christmas the Cadbury's chocolate company (who make the best chocolate in the world) brings out a selection box which contains a variety of their best loved chocolate bars. It's a pretty standard gift and we ended up with 4 in the house but since I can't really eat chocolate I decided to make cookies with mine. The different chocolate bars came together really well and they were a huge hit so I think they'll become a New Years staple from now on!

Selection Box Cookies
Makes around 18

  • 255g flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 180g butter, melted and cooled
  • 270g brown sugar
  • 1 egg & 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsps vanilla essence
  • 1.5-2 cups mixed chocolate bars, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 160 C, line trays with greaseproof paper
Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until creamy
Add egg, yolk, vanilla and mix
In another bowl combine the flour and baking powder
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, at this stage the mixture will be a bit crumbly 
but it will come together after mixing, don't fret
Add the chopped chocolate bars and fold them into the dough
Form heaped tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls then flatten them
Place them on the prepared baking tray
Bake for 14-17 minutes, until the edges are golden but the centers are still soft
Cool completely or have one fresh from the oven with vanilla ice cream!

Thanks to Sprinkled With Flour and Pam for the pics 

Happy New Year! :) x