Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Delicious Double Chocolate Walnut Brownies

I had a close friend that I was meeting for lunch on our holidays, I awoke wondering what I could take her to cheer her up.... a chocolately fudgey gooeiness thats what!

So buckle up and enjoy the ride along the fudge highway to another delectable delight to tickle your tastebuds! I can assure you that this is a recipe worth mixing, it took me only 30 minutes to prepare and then 50 minutes to bake it! A good one to whip up just before guests arrive.... because they make your house smell like you are a Domestic Goddess!

Double Chocolate & Walnut Brownies

200g Dark Cooking Chocolate
175g Butter
3 Eggs
150g Plain Flour
250g Castor Sugar
50g Walnuts - chopped
200g Darking Cooking Chocolate - roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.  Grease and flour your 13 x 9 inch tin.

Using a heat proof bowl put over a small saucepan of simmering water.  Place 200g of chocolate broken up, and the butter into your bowl, and continue to stir over the heat until your chocolate  and butter are completely melted and glossy.

Take a large mixing bowl and sift together the flour, baking powder and sugar into the bowl.  Next stir in your melted chocolate mixture.

Finally roughly chop your walnuts and 200g chocolate and add them to your mixture and stir until combined.

Pour your mixture into your prepared tin, and place the tin in the oven and bake for 50 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes.  Cut off the sides of the brownie first and then slice the slab into squares.

I got 15 neat squares.

I highly recommend eating at least one piece whilst it is lovely and warm.
This is devine, why o why have I never made brownies before in my life??? Where have you been?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy Australia Day with Lemon Myrtle Lamingtons!

Wishing all the Aussies a very Happy Australia Day! To celebrate I decided after seeing some of Zumbos creations online for some unusual aussie treats, that I would combine my love of lamingtons with my BIG love of an Aussie Herb Lemon Myrtle! I could smell the essence of those leaves all day looong!

Lemon Myrtle Lamingtons


190g Butter - room temp & cubed
1/2 cup Castor Sugar
3 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Essence or Extract
1/2 tsp Lor Ann Coconut Emulsion (optional)
1 cup Milk
2 1/2 cups Self Raising Flour


4 Egg Yolks
90ml Lemon Juice
3/4 cup Castor Sugar
8 Lemon Myrtle Leaves - ripped & bruised
100g Butter - cubed & cold
2 cups Shredded Coconut

Pre heat oven to 180 degrees.  Grease and flour a standard lamington tin.

Place butter and sugar into the mixer and cream together.  Then add in one egg at a time to the mix, beating each addition well.

Add in the vanilla and as an option some Lor Ann Coconut Emulsion, I love this stuff!

Measure out the flour and the milk and then add alternatively in 2-3 batches.  Only beat lightly at the end so as not to bruise the flour.  Once ready and you will know because it will be a nice light creamy mixture with no lumps.

Pour your mixture into the prepared tin and place it in the oven for approximately 40 minutes.

Remove and let cake go completely cold, refridgerate if you have to, I left mine overnight and glad wrapped it once cold.

Place sugar and bruised split lemon myrtle leaves in a jar to infuse (I left mine overnight).

Then sift them out and put the sugar in a medium saucepan with egg yolks, lemon juice and salt and whisk on a medium heat until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. About 10 minutes. Do not stop stirring and do not allow the mixture to boil or it will become lumpy. Then remove from heat and whisk one cube of butter at a time.  Set aside and allow it to cool.

Once curd is cool, line up your process line of :
1. Cut up cake (slice off the baked edges)
2. Curd
3. Shredded Coconut
4. Empty Plate

One piece at a time, take cake cube, turn it through the curd coating all sides.  Then roll the coated cake cube through the shredded coconut.

Place the lamington piece onto the plate, I recommend the cubes to not touch so the air in the fridge gets to all sides for the coating and coconut to set.

Coat and Crumb all pieces of your cake, I got exactly 12 pieces.

Place the plate of lamingtons in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cookbook 1 : Miette - Double Chocolate Cake

First of my Cookbook Challenges for the year, I have chosen a gorgeous looking one from a San Francisco Bakery called Miette. It has the prettiest layout with scalloped pages, my Mum took one look at it on my coffee table last year and fell in love with it.  I even bought it for 2 birthday gifts in 2012 because its such a stunner!

So make sure you put this on your birthday list this year, available at (free shipping worldwide):

The cake itself is a wonderful thick chocolate cake, so moist and lucious.  I have made it in a triple layer and a double layer, I highly recommend the effort of a triple layer in the 6-7 inch tins, I felt that it was glorious with the three fudgey layers with ganache in between.

Double Chocolate Layer Cake

1 1/2 cups Plain (all purpose) Flour
1 1/4 cups Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 tsp Bicarb (Baking) Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Salt
2 Ounces 70% Cacao Chocolate - chopped coursely
1 cup Boiling Water
1 cup Buttermilk (I use my previously advised subsitute of 1 cup full cream milk with a Tbsp Lemon Juice)
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Large Eggs - room temp
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
2 1/4 cups Castor Sugar

Grease your tins extremely well, I go against my rule of grease & flour for this one to avoid a floury coating on your cake layers. If you prefer to dust your pan you can do so with cocoa.

Pre heat your oven to 350 (180) degrees.

Firstly sift your dry ingredients into a large bowl, this is your flour, cocoa, bicarb soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Place your chocolate in a large glass or metal bowl (heatproof), pour your boiling water over the top of it and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  Set aside and let it cool for 15 minutes.

Prepare your buttermilk if your like me (I take one cup of full cream milk and add a squeeze of fresh lemon until it curdles) and then add your vanilla to it. Set aside

Using your Stand mixer, place your eggs into the bowl and whisk on high until foamy (approx 2-3 minutes), reduce to low and pour in your oil and whisk until combined. Raise the speed for approx another 30 seconds.

Reduce back to low and slowly pour in the cooled chocolate into the egg mixture.  Next slowly pour in the milk vanilla mixture.  Then add in your sugar and whisk until the batter is smooth and liquid, approximately 2 minutes.

Next stop the mixer and remove the bowl, add in your sifted ingredients and mix in by hand until combined, ensure your run your spatula along the bottom of the bowl to ensure it is all combined well.  The batter will probably still appear quite lumpy but stop mixing it as over mixing will bruise the raising agents.

The final step is a little unusual but it definately produces a more superior cake finish.  Take a seive not too fine, and pour your mix into it, using your spatula and push through the lumps, discard any lumps that down easily push through the sieve.

Divide your mixture into your prepared pans and bake each one for approximately 45-55 minutes depending on your oven.  To test stick centre of cake with a skewer and check it comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 20-30 minutes and turn out onto a wire rack and allow to completely cool.  Once cold wrap in 3 layers of gladwrap (cling film) and place flat into the freezer.  You can store in the fridge or freezer from 1 hours to 3 days, I prefer overnight.  It can store in freezer for up to 2 months. Ganache a cold cake for the best results.

Helpful Notes in Miette Cookbook (Quoted Below from pages 18 and 55) :

  • "We use natural cocoa powder not dutch-processed, as the dutch-processed cocoa has been treated with an alkalizing agent that heightens the colour of the cocoa but gives it a milder flavour".
  • "If you choose to use this recipe for cupcakes, fill each cupcake liners with 2/3 batter and bake at 350 (180) degrees, and bake for approx 20 minutes, makes 2 dozen cupcakes".
  • "Adding Eggs - Add your eggs slowly and carefully, this process simply cannot be rushed as you are emulsifying a liquid into a fat.  If not done gradually you risk 'breaking' the batter, the termfor when the fat and liquid that are beginning to hold together in a mixture suddenly seperate again.  Add eggs one at a time and ensure they are fully mixed in before adding the next."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Three Ways to achieve Marshmallow Frosting!

I absolutely LOOOOOVE marshmallow frosting, much much more than buttercream and 1000 times more than cream! Its light, its fluffy, and it goes with sooo much more flavours and best of all I can eat a truckload of it!

I have based the quantities on all of the frostings below for 12 muffin size or 24 regular size cupcakes.  This can be piped straight onto your cupcakes (or cake or whatever else). Shown in the picture above, this is an example of meringue or marshmallow at 'Duck Beak' stage, when your mixture is at the point that it looks like this when you remove the whisk beater and it stays in this form, it is ready to use.

1. Marshmallow Frosting - Boiled

2 Egg Whites
1/2 cup Castor Sugar
1/4 cup Light Corn Syrup (we have debated this but I'd suggest glucose syrup to be similar if need be BUT many health food stores do stock Corn Syrup in Australia these days)
2 Tbsp Water
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Pinch Salt

Place all ingredients into a heatproof glass (or stainless steel) bowl on top of a saucepan of simmering water.  Using a handheld mixer or a stick blender whisk the ingredients on the double boiler on high until thick and fluffy, this should take 7- 10 minutes.  Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to whisk it on high until the meringue mix has cooled.  You can now add your flavours and colours and mix well. Your now Ready to Pipe!



2. Marshmallow Frosting - with a Tub of Fluff

1/2 cup (or 125g) Butter - soft
1 1/2 cups Fluff (or Creme Marshmallow)
1 tsp Vanilla
3 cups Icing Sugar

Place Butter, Fluff and Vanilla into your mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk on a medium speed until a cream consistancy.  Then add in 1 cup of icing sugar at a time. You can flavour or colour at this stage.  Whisk on medium high to combine and whip up.  Your now Ready to Pipe!


3. Marshmallow Frosting - Whipped

4 Egg Whites
Pinch of Creme of Tartar
1 1/2 cups Castor Sugar
1/4 cup Water

Place Egg Whites in an electric mixer and whisk on high. Meanwhile place your Sugar and Water into a heatproof bowl of a saucepan of simmering water (not touching or your bowl will crack), and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add you colour at this stage to syrup.  Then stop stirring and allow to boil for 3-5 minutes until you reach 115 degrees (soft ball stage with candy thermometor), during this stage just use a pastry brush and water to wet the insides of the saucepan to prevent sugar crystals forming.  Once the egg whites have started to form soft peaks, add the creme of tartar.  When the syrup reaches 120 degrees then remove from the heat and pour it into the egg whites avoiding hitting the whisk.  Then whisk for a further 15 minutes until your have a thick stiff glossy batch of icing. Now you are Ready to Pipe!




Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Chocolate Eclair Cake

In the holiday season I came across this gorgeous looking recipe from Christy from The Girl Who Ate Everything. Christy is one of my favs in the Foodie Blog world and this recipe is lucious, and I was quite surprise with my first ever venture into choux pastry, extremely easy! But then again it may have boiled down to Christy ease of explaining what to do.  Whatever the reason it is super easy!

Ive Australianised it! And I have placed the original (USA) quantities in brackets.

Chocolate Eclair Cake

1 cup Water
1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Plain Flour
4 Large Eggs (or 5 tiny ones)
1 Pkt (8 ounces) Cream Cheese - room temp
145g (5.1 ounces) Vanilla Pudding
3 cups Milk (for pudding)
Whipped Cream (I used a sachet of European 'Whipped Topping' because I prefer that sugary mock cream taste yes I know I'm bad to the bone, in the USA you can use Cool Whip also)
Chocolate Sauce

Preheat your oven to 200 (400) degrees. Very and I mean VERY lightly grease and flour a small glass lasange dish, I recommend approx 15 x 20cm dish.  If you use tin or pan please note it is significantly shallower and as the centre of the crust will and needs to rise up as tin doesn't really suffice. Glass produces a more radiated heat and will be better for baking (unfortunately I didn't have mine on hand and had to make do, but trust me use glass or even bakeware ceramic).

For your Eclair Crust, firstly take a medium saucepan and on a medium heat melt your butter and water together.  Bring it to the boil and remove from the heat.  Then mix in one egg at a time, ensure each one is mixed in well before adding the next of you will be likely to split your dough.  Your dough should be very elastic, spread your dough onto the base and sides of your dish.  Note : if over greased your dough will slip and won't stay up the sides.

Place the dish into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, don't be scared, your dough is likely to rise right up in the centre, do not be tempted to push it down, it will drop in the cooling process.  I would check it occasionally to ensure you take it out once it is golden brown as it may take less than 30 minutes but could take more, depending on your oven.

To make your Filling, place your cream cheese in your mixer and cream it so it is light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes.  In a seperate bowl make your actual packet of pudding by placing contents of sachet into the bowl, add your milk and whisk, it will start to form a custard or jelly like texture.  Once you have a custard mixture, pour it into the cream cheese in the electric mixer.  Mix it well until there are no lumps present.  Let it chill in the fridge for 5-10 minutes, then spread it onto the crust once the crust is cooled.  Place this in the fridge to set.

To make you Topping, either whip up some whipping cream or you can use a non-dairy sachet of topping, if you choose the sachet, just make it as per the instructions on the packet.  when ready top the custard type layer with the topping, spreading it evenly with a spatula or knife.

Drizzle the top with chocolate sauce eg, Hershey Syrup or a Dessert/Ice Cream topping, the dark chocolate variety.

Now serve to your waiting crowd.... or sit down in front of a great girlie 'Rom Com' and devour a couple of pieces! You won't regret it at all..... I think its too delicious for words!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Challenge 5 - Triple Choc Cheesecake with Salted Peanut Caramel

Month 5 - May (which turned into December)
Blog 5 - Good Taste

Well well well this I have to say was a long winded challenge.  One of my best friends came over one evening with the Good Taste Magazine and said "I bought this and was hoping I might request it for my birthday", it was the front cover Triple Chocolate Cheesecake.  I took one look and said why not, I'm up for a challenge and added it to my list.  Upon investigating it I realised this was gonna be a 3 day extravaganza of a making and refrigerating process so I needed to clear the calendar for this event.

Unfortunatelythe birthday dinner didn't take place as planned, and it moved to September and then even later in the year and to cut a long story short finally I did it for our big Boxing Day event.

I had seen an old friend on facebook made it during the year and she said it was indeed a sugar overload and definitely not recommended for breakfast! *Belly Laughes* We have spent months scrutinizing the photo and coming up with what the caramel consistency and texture should be like.... unfortunately I did happen to fail on this layer, it was too runny and you definitely need to leave it boiling in the saucepan for much longer than the recipe says (which I will adjust) so that you have thick set caramel.  To tell you the truth I think it would be best as a peanut brittle.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake with Salted Peanut Caramel

Melted Butter - to grease pan
400g Chocolate Biscuits - plain such as scallywags
150g Butter - melted
5g Butter - extra
260g Dark Chocolate - finely choppped
150g White Chocolate  - finely chopped
375g Cream Cheese - room temp
100g (1/2 cup) Castor Sugar
1 1/4 cups Thickened (Heavy) Cream
1 1/2 Tbsp Hot Water
3 tsp Gelatine Powder

Salted Peanut Caramel

1 1/2 cups Castor Sugar
3/4 cup Water
1 cup Double Cream
3/4 cup Salted Roasted Peanuts

Italian Meringue

1 1/2 cups Castor Sugar
1/4 cup water
4 Egg Whites - room temp
Pinch Creme of Tartar

Using a 22cm spring-form tin, indent the base and insert and clamp in a sheet of baking paper.Lining the pan with foil is optional but using your melted butter grease your pan well.

In a food processer place your chocolate biscuits and pulse until you have a fine crumb, then add in your 150g of melted butter. Press the biscuit mix into the prepared pan, press the mixture up the sides of the pan to the top, I recommend using a flat cottom glass to run around the inside to have a unified crust.  Then place pan into the fridge and chill for at least an hour.

Next we need to make the salted peanut caramel, place the sugar and water in a large saucepan over a low heat for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high. Bring to the boil. Boil, without stirring, brushing down the side of the pan occasionally with a wet pastry brush, for 18-20 minutes or until deep golden. Here I recommend doing this process for longer until you have a thick dark consistency so you result in a toffee, it is ideal to use a candy themomentor and get it to soft crack level. Remove from heat. Stir in the cream. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool. Stir in peanuts. Spoon over the biscuit base. Smooth the surface. Place in the fridge for 3 hours or until firm, I recommend overnight for this.

For the filling you need to place the remainder of your butter and 60g of the dark chocolate into a dish and microwave for 30 second intervals and stirring until melted through.  Then spread this over this over the caramel layer and place it back into the fridge.

Place the white chocolate into a glass heatproof bowl and stand in saucepan of simmering water, ensure your bowl doesn't touch the water or you will crack your glass.  Stir continuously until the chocolate is completely melted.  Set aside to cool for approximately 5 minutes.
In your food processor place your cream cheese, sugar and 185ml (3/4 cup) cream and process until combined well and smooth.  Add in the white chocolate and process well together.  Put your hot water into a small heatproof bowl and sprinkle in the gelatine powder, and place the bowl on top of a saucepan of boiling water (or a larger bowl over boiling water, I find a saucepan easier since you have used it already above).  Stir until the gelatine is disolved.  Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Then add to the cream cheese mixture and process it through.  Then pour this cream mixture over the dark chocolate cheesecake layer.  Glad wrap (cling wrap) and place it back into the fridge for minimum 4 hours.

For the ganache layer, place the remainder of your dark chocolate and your cream into a small saucepan, stir until smooth liquid.  Pour this over your cold cheesecake layer. Place back int he fridge to set for 1 hour.

To make your meringue, put your egg whites into a mixer and whisk on high until you have them form soft peaks, then add in your cremem of tartar.  Then also place your sugar and water into a medium saucepan, stir over a low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, increase your heat and using a pastry brush and water continue to brush down the insides of your saucepan to avoid sugar crystals forming.  Cook without stirring for 3-5 minutes and using a candy themometor get the sugar syrup to 115 degrees (soft ball stage as stated on the themometor).  When your sugar syrup reaches 120 degrees (hard ball stage) then take from teh heat and pour the sugar syrup into the beating egg whites, ensure you pour the hot syrup into the very side of the bowl and not into the beater as you will get spun sugar.  Increase your speed to high and whisk for 15 minutes or until thick glossy and cool.

Spoon your meringue into a large piping bag with a 1cm nozzle, and start to pipe peaks on top of the set cold cheesecake. Cover the top of the chocolate ganache layer.  Then take your blow torch and caramelise the meringue peaks lightly.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Challenge No 12 - Christmas Gingerbread Man Cupcakes

Month 12 - December
Blog 12 - Tidy Mom

Recipe 12 - Christmas Gingerbread Man Cupcakes

I have no idea what has happened... but I cannot locate any step by step photos I took of making the actual cupcakes %;'&*? What the?? But on the other hand I have some really nice pics of the finished product, and isn't that the main thing? I am certain it is. Ok so I'll stop convincing myself lamely now and apologise to all my peeps for the absence of the step by step pictorial, they are super easy peasy so go for it and bake a batch this holiday season. You will adore them!

Christmas Gingerbread Man Cupcakes

1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Castor Sugar
1/2 cup Molasses
1 Egg - room temp
1 1/2 cups Plain (all purpose) Flour
1/2 Tbsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 cup Boiling Water
1/2 tsp Bi Carb (Baking) Soda

Pre heat your oven to 180 (or 350) degrees.  Line your cupcake pan with patty wrappers or grease and flour well.

In your mixing bowl combine your sugar, oil and molasses and put mixer on medium and mix well.  Then add in your egg and mix until combined.

Sift all your dry ingredients into a large seperate bowl, whisk them lightly together, be careful not to whisk much as you will bruise the flour and raising agents.  Gradually add the dry ingredients into your wet mixture and stir through gently.

Boil your water in a small saucepan, once boiled, remove it from the heat and stir in the Baking (Bi-carb) soda.   Whisk it quickly then into your cake batter.

Take your batter and fill each cupcake wrapper approximately two thirds (2/3) full, and tap it on the bench to remove air bubbles and place pans in the oven on middle shelf and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Test before removing from the oven that you cupcakes spring back when touched, or that a skewer comes out clean once put through the centre of a cupcake.

Frost your cupcakes once they have completely cooled down.

The frostings I found most compatible with these cupcakes are a Toasted Marshmallow (preferably boiled) or a Lemon Buttercream.