Chocolate Brownie Cookies

I have always been on the lookout for that perfect cookie: crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, but above all, one that does not go flat in the oven… I believe I found it!

chocolate brownies cookies

Ingredients:

  • 25g butter, diced
  • 175g dark chocolate, broken
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 40g self raising flour
  • Either chopped nuts, chocolate chips, etc….100g of

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and get 2 baking trays ready
  • In a small pan, melt the chocolate and butter together, slowly, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Set aside to cool slightly
  • In a large bowl, cream together egg and sugar
  • Add the chocolate mixture, vanilla, flour and chips or else chosen, and mix with a wooden spoon
  • Using a spoon or an ice cream scooper (small or medium size, depending on how many you want!), drop the mixture on the trays, well spaced (about 12)
  • Bake in the oven for about 11 to 13mn: the cookies look swollen and cracked as on the photo, but only just
  • Cool down on a wire rack immediately

Note:

Frankly, I love my ice cream scoopers whenever baking cookies. So much easier to handle, I never regretted their purchase! Might as well go for the trio: small, medium and large… you never know, you might even use them for ice cream!

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Apricot Spiced Crumble Cake

Go with what the season has to offer and if you’ve bought more apricots than you can possibly eat, try this! This easy cake didn’t last 24hrs!

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Ingredients:

  • 180g plain flour
  • 150g sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground mango powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1 tsp ground vanilla
  • ¼heaped tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1½ cup chopped fresh apricots (about 7)
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 125ml melted butter
  • 60ml (small pot) plain yoghurt ( used 0%)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Crumble topping:

  • 100g flour
  • 80g brown sugar
  • 75g butter, softened

Preparation:

  • Prepare the crumble first by combining the flour with the sugar and the butter with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly
  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a 20cm/ 8″ round cake tin
  • Mix together all the dry ingredients ( flour through to Cardamom) in a large bowl
  • Add the apricots, eggs, butter, yoghurt and vanilla. Mix until well combined

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  • Pour into the tin and smooth over with a spatula
  • Sprinkle the top evenly with the crumble
  • Bake for 45 to 50mn, until skewer comes out clean

 

Notes:

  1. Originally, vegetable oil was used but my #1 son, John couldn’t get enough of this cake so as I had to make it again, I used melted butter instead as I prefer the taste of it: hands down, the buttered version is much nicer, even the texture of the batter was “cakier”….
  2. This crumble is heavier than my usual so don’t be surprised if it sinks a little during the cooking as mine did but the cake looked scrummier in the process!

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Cucumber Cake

A very unusual ingredient for a cake, I made this last summer as I found myself with a surplus of cucumbers. The recipe itself was very hard to find and I still had to adapt it as it was Indian. It is ideal for those waistlines as very low fat yet very nice: you wouldn’t be able to tell it’s cucumber unless told! So easy to make too!

CUCUMBER CAKE

Ingredients:

* Dry Bowl:

  • 70g wholemeal flour
  • 85g brown rice flour
  • 90g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom

*Wet Bowl:

  • 200g brown sugar ♥ I reduced it to 125g
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 egg
  • 150ml apple puree
  • 25g desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 ¾ cup cucumber seeded and grated

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and grease a 18cm/ 7″ Bundt pan
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together
  • Mix all the wet ingredients together
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until everything comes together
  • Pour the batter into the Bundt pan and smooth the top
  • Bake in the oven for 35 to 40mn, until a skewer comes out clean
  • Unmould 10mn after removing from the oven and cool on a wire rack

Note:

Also works with peach or mango but DO NOT try with melon, just wouldn’t have it….

Chocolate & Beetroot Brownies

The first time I baked those was around April/May 2011: my first attempt at brownies and with all the chocolate in it, the addition of beetroots appealed to me….  I will publish the original amounts and those I use nowadays ♥ . The picture itself dates from June 2014

Beetroot brownie

Ingredients:

  • 250g dark chocolate (70% cocoa) broken
  • 250g butter, cut into cubes ♥ I now use 125g butter + 100ml apple puree
  • 250g caster sugar ♥ 150g
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 250g beetroot: boiled until tender, peeled, grated and drained

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and prepare a baking pan 30×20/ 12″x8″
  • Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water
  • Set aside and once cool down a little, add the apple puree
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a separate bowl until well combined
  • Beat it in the chocolate mixture until smooth
  • Gently fold in the flour
  • Same with the beetroot, taking care not to over-mix or it will make the brownies tough
  • Pour the mixture in the pan and smooth the top over with a spatula and put in the oven

Baking time

  • This is a little more complicated than just giving you a time frame…. start by baking the brownie mix 45 to 50mn, until the top becomes crumbly. The beetroot tends to make the brownies a little too moist inside so I always take it out, cut it in 4 lengths and bake again on a tray, for an extra 5mn each side

 

Ma Vanille!

C’est une de mes épices préférées et je l’utilise beaucoup dans mes gâteaux…  Je l’ai sous deux formes:

  • Vanille Moulue:

ground vanilla   obtenue en moulant des gousses de vanille, elle peut être utilisée à la place ou avec (moi: toujours avec!) de l’extrait de vanille. Parfaite pour toutes vos créations culinaires, elle s’adapte mieux mélangées dans de la crème ou du beurre… Attention, elle ne peut pas être dissoute dans du liquide car elle n’est pas soluble!

Voici la mienne: 018   http://lafarandolepicee.wordpress.com/

  • Extrait de Vanille: à mon avis le meilleur, sans aucun doute, pour une saveur beaucoup plus complète et plus riche. Je fais en fait mon propre extrait de vanille après avoir découvert la possibilité dans un de mes livres ( américain celui-là).

023   J’ai placé la bouteille dans la lumière pour la photo mais je la garde toujours à l’abri: mettre 2 ou 3 gousses de bonne qualité dans une bouteille opaque et la remplir d’un alcool blanc (clair comme la vodka ou le gin, j’utilise de l’alcool de fruit). C’est maintenant que l’attente commence: à l’ombre pour 4 à 6 semaines et à secouer de temps en temps…. Après ce délai, il vous suffit juste de remplir la bouteille après chaque utilisation…

 

All about Vanilla

By now, you might have noticed a recurrent spice in my baking: Vanilla, I just love it! I use it in 2 forms:

  •  Pure Ground Vanilla: not to be confused with Vanilla powder (which has added sugar, etc) it is made by grinding pure vanilla pods.

ground vanilla                                                                                                                                       It can be used in combination or as a substitute to vanilla extract. Great for all your baking, it is best when used or folded into cream or butter. Can also be used to flavour your ice cream! Beware, it will not dissolve as it isn’t water soluble.

This is mine: 018    http://lafarandolepicee.wordpress.com/

 

  • Vanilla Extract: for a much fuller and richer flavour rather than plain essence… I actually make my own, after reading the how to in one my baking books, that one from the USA…

023   I had to position the bottle in direct sunlight so you could see the pods inside but the bottle has to be quite opaque for better results: drop 2 or 3 really good vanilla pods in you bottle and fill it up with a clear alcohol. In the UK, I used vodka but after a recent accident I had to start from scratch and in France I bought a fruit alcohol. I added a tablespoon of ground vanilla (not in my “recipe”). You must leave it in the dark for a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks ( I know, such a long time!!!) but shake it from time to time…. After that, I top it up whenever I use it and always store away from sunlight….

Banana Cake

This is a “time honoured”, handed down recipe which was given to me by my late Mother-in-law, my very first banana cake! And it never fails!

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I will post it as it was written down for me, but I will put in brackets my tiny alterations… You might wonder why separate the eggs and whip the whites, I’ve never dared to do otherwise, that’s why!

Ingredients:

  • 4oz / 115g butter, softened
  • 4oz / 115g caster sugar { 75g light brown sugar}
  • 2 eggs, separated and whites whipped stiff
  • 3 small ripe bananas, mashed {2 medium}
  • 1/3 cup / 80ml milk
  • 1tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 8oz / 225g self raising flour, sifted

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and grease or line a loaf tin
  • Cream the butter and sugar together
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time, 1 yolk, ½ the whites etc…
  • Add bananas and mix well
  • In another smaller bowl, dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the milk
  • Add to the mixture, alternatively with and starting / finishing with the flour
  • Pour into the prepared tin
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 to 50mn until a skewer comes out clean
  • Turn onto a wire rack to cool
  • Sprinkle with icing sugar

 

Thank you Diana,   RIP       img064

Nutella Crumb Cake

You could use any chocolate spread as it can be a little costly but let’s face it, soooooo worth it! It is the best!

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Ingredients:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 200g light brown sugar
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • ½tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1tbsp good instant coffee (optional, I believe it brings out the chocolate flavour through)
  • 1tsp ground vanilla
  • 400g Nutella
  • 55g softened butter
  • 250ml milk
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g chocolate chips

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 175°C/ 155°fan/ Gas 4
  • Using a stand-in mixer, sift in together the first 7 dry ingredients
  • Add the Nutella and butter, beating until crumbly. Remove a small cup of crumbs for the topping
  • Add the milk, eggs and vanilla, beating on low until combined
  • Continue to beat on medium speed for 3mn
  • Pour (it will have a very “liquid” consistency) into an ungreased 25cm/ 10″ tube pan {a must, I tried with a round baking tin and the sides burnt waiting for the centre to cook}
  • Sprinkle the chocolate chips followed by the saved crumbs

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  • Bake for 40 to 50mn, until a toothpick comes out clean. let it cool before cutting and enjoy on its own, sprinkled with icing sugar, or slightly warm with custard

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Cinnamon Rolls

There is something about a warm, soft Cinnamon roll that I can never resist whenever I go to the United States: basically, I am addicted to them and here is my latest attempt at a healthier option…It is a real quick one too!

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Makes 9

Ingredients:

  • 180g/ 1½ cup plain flour { I advise against wholewheat as it will make the dough a little tough}
  • 50g/ ¼ scant cup caster sugar
  • 1 sachet/ 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 sachet/ 28g Vanilla pudding instant powder ( it does something to the dough, the Americans swear by it and I am lucky enough to be able to get some on my travels), 1 tbsp on the side
  • 125ml/ ½ cup warm milk (45°C or 110°F, it really needs measuring)
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup finely grated carrots
  • an additional 30 to 40g/ ¼ cup flour to get the dough just right, it will depend on the humidity in your kitchen on the day

Filling:

  • 1 large Tbsp Vanilla pudding powder (taken from the above sachet) + ground cinnamon (to taste) + brown sugar (2 or 3 tsp) + 1 tsp cinnamon extract and enough water to make into a paste ( could use melted butter if preferred)
  • For the boys: Nutella

Preparation:

  • In a stand mixer, combine all the dry ingredients (first 5)
  • Stir in the milk followed by the oil and the egg, slightly beaten. Beat on high for 3mn
  • Add the carrots
  • Add the extra flour, as required until you get a consistent dough
  • Knead the dough on a floured surface for a good 5mn ( use a timer!)
  • Put in a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place for 10 to 15mn

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  • In the meantime, prepare your filling and a round or square pan, as preferred (8 or 9″/ 20cm)
  • Put the dough onto your floured surface and roll into a rectangular shape about 50x30cm/ 20×12″
  • Spread your chosen filling ( I used both) and roll the dough, not too tightly, starting at the shorter end

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  • Cut the ends (about 1cm) and cut into 9 even slices. Arrange them into your pan

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  • Cover with cling film and set aside in a warm place for about 1hr½ until it has doubled in size or no more space to spread out

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  • Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°fan/ Gas 4 and bake for about 15mn, until golden
  • Let them cool in the pan for 10mn before frosting

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  • White frosting (used  for my cinnamon rolls top 2 on the right, and some chocolate ones): icing sugar+ 1tsp vanilla extract + milk, mixing it till you reach spreading consistency
  • Chocolate icing: icing sugar + 1tbsp cocoa powder + milk