Monday, 21 July 2014

Ferrero Rocher Brownie Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting


Generally, I like to try and space out blogging about similar flavours but too be honest I've been baking with Nutella SO much recently that it's proving difficult! Also, I instagrammed this picture of the cupcakes earlier and my sister messaged me to say her and her colleagues were drooling over the pic and since it's her turn to bring cakes in to work on Wednesday she'd like the recipe so I figured it had to be done!!

So hot on the heels of the Fudgiest Nutella Brownies, I bring you these Ferrero Rocher brownie cupcakes with Nutella frosting. 


 Our time in Scotland is very swiftly coming to an end, we have just a week and a half left! So when some of my mummy friends organised an impromptu picnic for today, since it was going to be nice weather...and in Scotland when the sunshine finally comes you do drop everything and get outside, I decided it would be one of my last chances to bake for them and so I'd better pull out all the stops!


So I whipped up my all time favourite Martha Stewart Brownie Cupcakes as the base, because they are so fudgy and delicious...and I'm not going to lie, because they can be made in just one bowl and don't require turning my Kitchenaid on because the baby was napping!  When she woke up, I brought her into the kitchen in her little bumbo as my 'sous chef' whilst I whipped up this creamy dreamy Nutella frosting - Ella just loves the loud noise of the Kitchenaid so was more than happy to sit and listen to it working its magic!

...and of course no Nutella cupcake is complete without a Ferrero Rocher topper! So a whole, I was considering cutting them in half but I figured if we were going to go decadent we might as well go all the way, Ferrero Rocher was placed on top of each mound of frosting and some melted Nutella was drizzled across them as the finishing touch!

If you're a chocolate lover...you are going to love these, if you are a Nutella lover - even better! Go and whip up a batch today, you will be so happy that you did!


Ferrero Rocher Brownie Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting:
Makes 12
Adapted from Martha Stewart via Cupcake Crazy Gem

175g dark chocolate
50g milk chocolate
1 cup caster sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F.  
Place both chocolates and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Stir occasionally until just melted, about 4-5 mins.
 Remove bowl from heat.  Whisk in sugar and salt until mixture is smooth, whisk in eggs to combine.  Gently whisk in flour and cocoa just until smooth (do not overmix).
Fill cupcake cases until 3/4 full.  Bake, rotating tin halfway through, until an inserted knife comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, for 20-25 minutes*.

*Mine were ready at 22 minutes - you want moist crumbs to still be attached to your inserted knife since these are brownies and fudgy, and not cake like.

Nutella Frosting:

113g unsalted butter
185g Nutella
pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
340g icing sugar
4 tbsp heavy cream or milk

12 Ferrero Rocher chocolates
4 heaped tsp Nutella, melted

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and Nutella until thick, fluffy and well combined for about 5 mins.  Slowly add in icing sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.

Add salt, vanilla, and 2 tbsp heavy cream or milk.  Blend on low speed until moistened.  Add an additional 1-2 tbsp of heavy cream or milk until you reach desired consistency*.

Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

*I added 3 tbsp of milk to create stiff enough frosting that would hold its shape when piped.  If I'd had cream in the house I would have rather used that as it makes for a tastier frosting!

Frost cupcakes.  Add a Ferrero Rocher on each one.

Melt 4 heaped tsp of Nutella in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute.

Transfer to a piping bag, snip a tiny bit of the end and drizzle over the cupcakes.

Eat and enjoy! 

Friday, 18 July 2014

Smarties & Chocolate Chunk Cookies


I have a smarties obsessed husband! I haven't had the inclination to eat anything smarties related since I was about 10! Byron, on the other hand, requested smarties birthday cakes for three years running!  So when we were in the supermarket the other day he picked up a multi pack of smarties and asked if I could turn them into cookies - how could I say no?!

 

 I decided to add in some big chocolate chunks too, because I was going to be eating some of these after all as well! we had to add a little sophistication to them somehow! Actually sophistication should have probably come in the form of dark chocolate chunks but I can't stand the taste of dark chocolate...milk all the way for me!

 

 These cookies were the perfect mix of chewy and soft on the inside and golden and crisp on the outside.  I got served a very overdone choc chip cookie at a cafe the other day and it made me sad! Surely everyone knows the rule that you take out cookies when they look underdone and that will let them bake to the perfect consistency as they cool down on the tray!

I got out my triple tiered cooling rack in anticipation of the vast amount of cookies we were going to bake up, but I needn't have bothered because we'd demolished the first batch before the second was even out of the oven! I seem to remember it was a grey and rainy Saturday afternoon...and when all your friends down south are posting gloriously sunny blue sky antics on instagram and facebook and you're stuck in gloomy Scotland on a grey day when it SHOULD BE THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER, well...eating your way through whole batches of cookies is the only thing to keep spirits up!


Smarties & Choc Chunk Cookies:
Makes 18
Adapted from Picky Palate

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3 tbsp instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup large milk chocolate chunks
1 cup smarties

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper, or a silpat liner is what I use.

In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until well combined.  Add the egg and vanilla, mixing to combine.  Add the flour, pudding mix, bicarbonate of soda and salt, stirring to combine with a wooden spoon.  Chop up the chocolate chunks and add them in with the smarties, stir with a spoon or spatula until they have all been incorporated.  

Using a medium cookie scoop, place dough 1 inch apart from each other.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until cooked through (but still appearing to look underdone).  Let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Eat and enjoy!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The FUDGIEST Nutella Brownies


 Yes, this is my second post in a row involving Nutella.  No, I'm not sorry! With my latest feelings towards Nutella, don't be surprised if all my future bakes include Nutella somehow! 

Just this week my husband said to me that it seemed like Nutella was my latest obsession! and then he commented about how I never just like things...but always get obsessed with something! This seemed like a surprise to him! but I've always been this way...when we started dating it was Gwen Stefani/No Doubt - but soon my Gwen covered walls had to get taken down and replaced by photos of Byron instead! When we got married it was polka dots...so our wedding was polka dot themed - in fact I'm still a polka dot lover! America is an underlying obsession that I don't think will ever go away, as are cupcakes! and in the past few years coconut has dominated my latest baking related obsessions until now...


I love nutella so much I have a whole pinterest board dedicated to recipes involving that hazelnutty goodness, and for my birthday last month my friend even managed to find me a Nutella recipe book shaped like a jar of Nutella - how awesome can you get!


 So we were craving something sweet, as always, and our cousin from South Africa was visiting so I gave him a few options of what I could bake up and Nutella Brownies was one of them! He said he had never heard or tasted anything like that before so it was a done deal! 

This recipe was one of the 'pinterest' stars of 2013 so I knew it would be great! They are some of the fudgiest and most delicious brownies I have baked in a very long time! As far as Nutella flavour went, I could have definitely done with more but that's why I added some melted Nutella and ice cream when serving and that helped give it additional flavour! I loved the addition of the milk chocolate chunks too, when served warm, each chunk was an oozing pool of chocolate-y goodness!!

Bake these up for some Nutella fans...or brownies lovers - they won't be disappointed!


The FUDGIEST Nutella Brownies:
Makes 16
From Buns In My Oven

1 cup unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup Nutella
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain flour
280g milk chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter completely.  Stir in sugar and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Do not allow sugar mixture to boil.
Remove from the heat and stir in the Nutella until well combined.
Pour butter mixture into a large bowl or stand mixer, beat in cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and vanilla extract.  Mix until combined.
Stir in the flour and milk chocolate chunks until just combined.  
Spread into prepare pan, the mixture will be very thick and sticky. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out with several moist crumbs attached.  I usually transfer my brownie pan with a tea towel underneath straight into the freezer and leave for 15 minutes - this helps it remain super fudgy inside.

We served ours with scoops of vanilla ice cream and lashings of melted Nutella - delish!

Eat and enjoy!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Nutella and Raspberry Cheesecake in Jars

 

 These nearly never happened! Well they did...but they nearly never made it to the blog! I taught a class at a church activity day a few weeks back on how to make cheesecakes in jars! So I made several practice ones in the run up to the class, and then even made several on the day during the class for people who hadn't been able to attend! There were several different classes running with sign up sheets, and my class got filled up within the first 5 minutes of the day so lots of my friends never got the chance to attend! I ended up with lots of jars left over too so last week I made more for some friends and neighbours who were having a tough time, and still I kept glancing at my camera knowing I should snap some pics...but I didn't!

So eventually yesterday I had a tiny bit of cheesecake mix left in the fridge...and I knew what had to be done! I whipped up this little bad boy, photographed it just for you - and even got the flashgun out and everything! I'm trying hard to make it up to you after neglecting you all for so long! and then I devoured it for my lunch, whoops!


 The thing I love about cheesecakes in jars is they are SO versatile! You can mix and match fillings and flavours and just go crazy!

During the class I did, I had TONS of ingredients for people to mix and match with.  There were mini meringues, shortbread chunks and fresh strawberries to layer with vanilla cheesecake for the fruit lovers.  There were snickers, dulce de leche and mini millionaire's pieces for the caramel lovers, and brownie chunks and crushed oreos to layer with nutella swirled cheesecake for all the chocoholics!

The nutella flavoured cheesecake was my fave so I went with it this time around...because who doesn't love nutella?! It's my FAVE! I just used a small amount to give it a hint of chocolate hazelnut-ness so as not to overpower the cheesecake filling.  The fresh raspberries add sweeteness and it all pairs beautifully with an oreo base!

Go find a jar, fill it with cheesecake goodness and give it to someone you love - I promise you they will love you forever for doing so, or eat it for your lunch and I won't tell ;)


Nutella and Raspberry Cheesecake in Jars:
Makes 5
From Cupcake Crazy Gem

 15 Oreos, crushed into crumbs
5 tsp unsalted butter, melted

300g Philadelphia cream cheese (I've said it once...don't scrimp with the cheap stuff!)
275ml double cream, whipped
100g icing sugar
3 heaped tsp Nutella

Punnet of fresh raspberries
Handful of milk chocolate chips

Crush your Oreos using a blender until they have blitzed into crumbs.  Stir in the melted butter until the mixture comes together.  Add 4 tsp of oreo mix into the bottom of each jar.  Press it down with the base of your spoon, you may need to use your fingers for the middle of the base, depending on how small your jars are you are using.

Using a freestanding electric mixer, whisk the double cream until peaks form.  Change to a beater, and add in the cream cheese.  Mix until it is combined.  Sieve in the icing sugar and continue to mix.  Add in the Nutella and keep beating for 2-3 minutes until everything is completely blended together.

Transfer your cheesecake mix into a piping bag fitted with a star tip.  You can spoon it in but it makes your layers less defined and not as neat so I found the piping bag was the best way to make it more presentable! Pipe a layer of cheesecake starting from the outside of the jar, finishing off in the middle.  Using paper towel, dab some of the moisture out of your raspberries.  Add as many fresh raspberries as needed to cover the whole layer.  Repeat with a layer of cheesecake, and then another layer of raspberries again.

Finish off, with one final layer of cheesecake.  Top with a raspberry and a sprinkling of milk chocolate chips. 


You can also go crazy with ribbons and tags and patterned paper to decorate your lid and jars if you are giving them as gifts! or grab a teaspoon and eat and enjoy :)

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Coconut Banana Bread with Passion Fruit Frosting


Before I well and truly fall off the face of the planet...here's a blog post!! 

Excuse my absence...I was off having a baby! and then I had decided I was going to make an amazing extravagant over the top pink themed bake to announce the baby news, but you know what, babies are hard work! and in between feeding and changing and playing and washing and cooking and repeating that cycle all through the day it has left little time for blogging...and even for baking, sadly enough! 

I laugh to myself when I think back to the conversation I had with my husband whilst I was still pregnant, telling him I was going to really focus on my blog when the baby came along, as obviously I wouldn't be working and would have all the time in the world....wrong! Even when the baby is sleeping, I can't bake for fear that my Kitchenaid would wake her up again! 

So I've mostly only been throwing together quick no bake desserts in the past few months, and I've also become really good at baking in the half an hour window in the evening when her daddy is bathing her!!

So I decided if I was ever going to blog again, I had to forego the extravagant bake announcing Ella's arrival and just tell you already! Ella Kristyn Braithwaite arrived on the 8th February, if you follow me on instagram at all you will be FULLY aware of the fact I had a baby because I'm pretty sure not a day goes by that I don't post a picture of her, but I can't help myself! We are also living away from all our family and friends right now so it's as much for all of them as it is for myself that I take hundreds of pictures! She is a pure joy! We could not be any happier, and despite the waking for night feeds, and the lack of time for baking/blogging we wouldn't have it any other way! If you want to read about how she came into the world, in such a relaxed and happy manner surprisingly, then you can do so here...and she has continued on in that same happy vein.  She naps great in the day, has a long 7-8 hour stretch sleeping when she goes down and only wakes once for a feed, and gives you more smiles than you know what to do with! She is a really content relaxed baby and we feel super lucky that not only was my pregnancy such a breeze, that the rest has been too :)



and I just cannot believe our little lady turned 4 months old on Sunday! It has flown by in a second!!


But I digress...before I forget what I came here to tell you about...let's talk about banana bread! There can never be enough banana bread recipes...and you can never bake too much banana bread.  In fact, despite my general lack of baking in recent months, in the past month I managed to bake 3 different banana breads! A chocolate chip banana bread, a rather fabulous nutella banana bread and this beauty of a coconut banana bread with passion fruit frosting!! It is quick and easy to throw together, a great way to use up brown bananas that you had big plans on eating healthily with but instead they withered away in your fruit bowl, and I consider it a semi healthy treat vs a big pan of fudgy brownies so it's win win all round! 

I totally devoured the first two banana breads I baked without taking any photos of them at all, bad blogger, and I nearly did the same with this so I got out my camera and took a few lazy token shots just to give you the idea.  I promise I'll put some more effort into the next bake I feature!!

All you really need to know is that you haven't tried banana bread until you've tried this one! I'm forever trying to 'coconu-tify' every bake I make, so a cup of dessicated coconut was an easy way to do so in this bake...and oh the frosting, I ate the leftover frosting by the spoonful and you'll want to as well! I found this amazing passion fruit coulis on the shelf in tesco one day and just knew I wanted to bake with it, so it's been sitting in my cupboard waiting for it's debut! All I needed to do was whip a few tablespoons of it into some vanilla frosting to produce the creamiest dreamiest passion fruit frosting.  It was too easy to be true! but it was...and then a sprinkling of shredded coconut and real passion fruit seeds tied it all together nicely! 

I made this as a treat for the pack lunches that I made for all the ladies at my church when we went on a nice little trip together last weekend.  Within a few minutes of people trying the banana bread, they were all offering to move in with me so I think it went down pretty well :)


Coconut Banana Bread with Passion Fruit Frosting:
Serves 12
Adapted from Whipped the Blog

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 large, ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup desiccated coconut

2 cups icing sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup passion fruit coulis
seeds of half a passion fruit
1/4 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.  Grease your loaf tin with butter.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sifted flour, soda, salt and sugar.  
Mix in the slightly beaten eggs and mashed bananas.
Slowly stir in the melted butter until just incorporated. 
Stir in the desiccated coconut.
Pour into your prepared tin, and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.  If the top starts to brown sooner than you would like, cover with tin foil to prevent burning.  Let cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a wire baking rack to cool completely.

Prepare the frosting by whipping the butter in a freestanding mixer with the beater attachment.  Sift in the icing sugar, stir it with a spoon before you turn on the mixer to ensure your work surfaces do not get covered in a dusting of icing sugar.  Beat in the passion fruit coulis. 
Spread the frosting on to the cooled loaf with a palette knife.  Sprinkle the shredded coconut on top and cover with the passion fruit seeds.

Eat and enjoy :)

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Some Tasty Valentine's Treats From Hotel Chocolat


So February 14th is fast approaching! and if you've not thought of anything tasty for your special someone just yet then Hotel Chocolat has a great range of Valentine's goodies.


I was sent this Valentine's Goody Bag to try out, and what a treat it was when it arrived on my doorstep! I am a big Hotel Chocolat fan...their products are far superior to most other chocolate shops out there on the high street, it is my number one choice of chocolate gifts when Christmas or birthday's roll around so I was intrigued to see what their Valentine's goody bag offered.  I loved the packaging it arrived in - a sleek gift bag, tied with a ribbon and a cellophane window at the front so you could peek through and see the goodies! The contents inside were:

A box of 6 'Love-Me-Do Passion Fruit Truffles': These were white chocolate on the outside, filled with a passion fruit puree ganache.  I am a lover of all things passion fruit and I loved how zingy the filling was.  I also loved the super cute little card and envelope they included for you to fill in - no detail was left unnoticed and I love little things like that!


A box of 6 assorted heart truffles - passion fruit, raspberry smoothie and caramel gianduja: This box included 2 of the passion fruit truffles like before, 2 caramel gianduja truffles which had a praline like filling of sweet caramel and 2 raspberry smoothie flavoured ones which were really sweet with a fruity raspberry tang.


 A slab of 'Love-Me-Do Raspberry Fusion': Milk and white chocolate with crispy bits and crushed raspberry confetti.  I wasn't sure how the combination of milk chocolate and raspberry was going to work together but the tartness of the raspberry balanced the sweetness of the milk chocolate perfectly and the addition of the crispy bits gave a nice texture.


'Strawberry Heart Lick': A strawberry flavoured white chocolate lollipop.  This was fruity and refreshing and moreishly delicious!


All in all, I think the whole goody bag is awesome value for £19.00, and the standard of chocolates inside is as you would expect with Hotel Chocolate - very high quality, and I loved the inventive flavours like raspberry smoothie filled truffles and passion fruit ganache - definitely not your standard flavours you would find in other boxes of chocolates.  The packaging and attention to detail also makes it perfect as a well thought out gift - I think this would certainly brighten anyone's Valentine's Day!

I received this complimentary gift from Hotel Chocolat, but all views and opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Overload Ganache Cookie Cake


 You know how sometimes you take really bad pictures that you don't ever think should see the light of day! Well, that's what happened with this bake! I made this for Byron's birthday last April whilst we were still living in Vancouver...he had been away for a week on a forestry trip in the middle of nowhere up North and my sister and mom had arrived from England 3 days before he got back.  We had been busy touring Seattle and Vancouver Island and had been surviving on very little sleep, it was a hectic time but I knew no birthday could pass without sufficient delicious celebrations! hence this cake! but also hence why the pictures were a bit of an afterthought, it was super dark once I finished making it and we were all just too desperate to eat it for me to faff around!
 

 So I wasn't intending to blog it, but I came across these pictures today and remembered how decadently delicious it was, and how many peanut butter lovers I know there are out there who need to know about this cake!

So please forgive the pictures...and let's talk about the cake!

 

 It is essentially a giant cookie, baked in a cake pan...but not just any cookie, a cookie filled to the brim with not only chocolate chips but also peanut butter chips!

Once the cookie has baked, you cover it in some deliciously creamy marshmallow fluff, which has been heated slightly so it's easier to spread out.  You then throw mini marshmallows, micro chocolate chips and mini peanut butter cups on top (I may or may not have waited for the fluff to cool so my toppings all melted into the fluff which doesn't make for the prettiest pictures but it was rather delicious still!) 

At this point, in the original recipe you would whip up a batch of peanut butter frosting and cover the sides and top of the cake...only I had run out of icing sugar - I know, what kind of baker runs out of icing sugar! 

So since I was still in my ganache cures everything phase...I whipped up a batch of peanut butter chocolate ganache and just piped around the top of the cake with that, adorning each little swirl of ganache with either a peanut butter cup or a micro marshmallow.  

Every ounce of this cake is decadent, and not for the faint hearted! but if you like a lot of sugar, and a lot of peanut butter, and chocolate then this cake is surely for you! My husband LOVED it!

and I fell in love with peanut butter chocolate ganache - who knew it would be so tasty!


Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Overload Ganache Cookie Cake:
Serves 12-14
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup soft light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Grease a 10 inch cake pan with butter and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until well combined.  Add in the eggs and vanilla extract.  Beat again until well mixed.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda.  Pour flour mixture into the butter and mixture and mix until a thick batter forms and the flour is just incorporated.  Add both types of chips and mix on the lowest speed until combined.  

Pour batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula so the cookie is flat on top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Turn cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Marshmallow Topping:

1 cup marshmallow fluff
3 tbsp micro mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
15 mini peanut butter cups, halved

Spray a small bowl with cooking spray and place the 1 cup marshmallow fluff in the bowl.  Heat gently in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, or until just loosened and pour into the centre of the cookie.  Spread evenly over the top.

Wait for it to cool, or if you're impatient like me throw all the toppings on top.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Ganache:

5 oz. dark chocolate
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup double cream, heated

Chop up the dark chocolate into small pieces and put into a bowl.  Add the peanut butter to the bowl.
Heat up the cream gently in a saucepan and once hot, pour into the bowl of chocolate and peanut butter.  Leave it for 2 minutes to melt the chocolate, and then stir like crazy with a spoon until all the chocolate has melted and the peanut butter has been incorporated into the ganache.

Put it into a piping bag, and pipe swirls of ganache around the outside of the cake.

Top each alternate swirl with a chopped mini peanut butter cup, or a micro mini marshmallow.

Eat and enjoy!

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