Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween! Snickers & Oreo Rocky Road

It's Halloween!! and thank goodness for the blogosphere getting all festive because it certainly doesn't feel like Halloween around these parts! Our Halloween party we were meant to be going to got cancelled, we couldn't go to the pumpkin patch to pick our pumpkin due to insufficient funds! and although we have our Halloween candy ready I'm betting that we won't get a single trick or treater.  It's definitely at times like these I wish I lived in America - everything is more fun over there! 

but...I did get very excited when I discovered these Halloween Oreos in Tesco (our local supermarket) a few weeks ago.  It is the very first time I have ever seen them in the U.K, we're catching on slowly so it seems.  I'm crossing my fingers that they'll surprise me with Mint Oreos any day too but I'm not sure that will ever happen! I also got excited when I saw these orange Silver Spoon buttons, like candy melts.  So I snapped both of these up in the hopes of making a yummy Halloween treat.

However, despite all this thinking and planning weeks ago...Halloween definitely snuck up on me! and right now I am writing one of my first essays for my course (it is due on Wednesday) so last night I knew whatever I made needed to be quick so I settled on my favourite Snickers Rocky Road recipe.

Of course I decided the usual pink and white marshmallows wouldn't do, and in true Halloween spirit they would have to be orange.  In England you can't buy orange marshmallows so that meant one thing - I would need to whip some up! So you can see this quick treat turned out being rather time consuming in the end....anything to get out of writing an essay! 

I followed Smitten Kitchens rather excellent tutorial about how to make marshmallows and I just threw in some orange food colour right before I poured them in to the pan.

I chopped up my Snickers, got a cup full of rice krispies, 2 mini bags of Oreos and a handful of orange buttons.  I chopped up the marshmallows and then I was ready to start melting some chocolate and mixing the whole lot together.

I melted another handful of the orange buttons and drizzled them over the top before refrigerating for around an hour.

and there you have it, the perfect no bake treat to bring some Halloween spirit to your neighbourhood! Give it a try! If you buy store bought marshmallows this whole treat can be whipped up in less than 10 minutes and then it's just a painful hour in the fridge while you wait for it to set! 

Snickers & Oreo Rocky Road:
Makes 16 bars

50g mini Halloween Oreos
25g orange chocolate buttons
230g Snickers (4 standard size bars)
150g marshmallows
35g Rice Krispies
450g Your preferred choice of eating chocolate (I used Dairy Milk)
2 tsp vegetable oil

For decoration:
60g orange chocolate buttons

Break the Oreos and chocolate buttons in half.  Chop Snickers bars into bite sized pieces.  Chop up marshmallows.  Measure out Rice Krispies and set everything aside.

Melt the eating chocolate and oil together in a glass bowl set above a pan of boiling water.  

Once it is completely melted, set aside to cool for 10 minutes.  Turn flame down to low and heat the pan of water gently.

Add all the other ingredients into the bowl of chocolate and mix together.

Transfer into a pre greased baking pan.

Put the 60g orange chocolate buttons into a bowl and return to the pan of water that should still be being heated, but not boiling.  Melt buttons and transfer to a piping bag.  Drizzle over the Rocky Road,

Refrigerate for one hour or until firm, cut and serve and enjoy.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Triple Mint Choc Chip Cookie Dough and Mint Oreo Brownies

I'm going to start this post with some bad news.  I feared it from the moment I baked my first batch of brownies in our new house...but I thought I'd wait and give our oven a few more chances to come around but there is no two ways about it - we have a bad oven!! It is WAY too hot and even if you drop the temp dramatically it still burns things on top and leaves them uncooked in the middle! but what do you do in this situation? It's hardly like at your initial viewing of a property you can pop in a quick batch of cupcakes to see if the oven is up to scratch is it! Although I wish I could have done that because I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have picked this house! seriously! dodgy ovens are my worst nightmare :( so if any of you have any tips on how I can improve my situation please share!

bad news aside, here's the good!

Remember when my sisters brought me back tons of amazing goodies from America! and I was saving my last packet of Mint Oreos for a super special recipe...well I think I just created that special recipe, with a little inspiration from this recipe

This recipe has been circulating pinterest for a while now, it has been on my 'to bake' list but I kept thinking making cookie dough and brownies in one go would be time consuming, not so! This recipe was actually relatively easy to whip up! and since I make my brownies in the saucepan once I've removed them from the heat I didn't even have to wash out my KitchenAid bowl to re use it - bonus! 

I decided to add some mint-spiration to this dish and instead of chocolate chips in the cookie dough I substituted them with Andes mint chips.  I used my Mint Oreos for the Oreo layer and then I sprinkled up some Peppermint Crisp bars on top of the brownie layer before it went in the oven to create some triple mint yumminess! If you don't know...Peppermint Crisps are chocolate bars that originate in South Africa and are one of my very fave choc bars ever!

Mint Choc Chip Cookie Dough & Oreo Brownies
(Makes 9)

Cookie dough:
1 stick/113g unsalted butter (at room temp)
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/8 cup light brown sugar (a full 1/4 cup and then a half 1/4 cup is how I did it!)
1 large egg
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Andes Mint Chips
9 Mint Oreo cookies
Brownie mix: 
112g milk chocolate
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 large eggs (or 90g)
1/4 cup plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 Peppermint Crisp bar

Preheat all your normal ovens out there to 180 degrees C.
Grease your baking dish with butter.  I used an 8x8 dish.

For the cookie dough: Cream the butter and both sugars in an electric mixer for 3-5 mins.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix well to thoroughly combine. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, soda and salt  and slowly add it into the mixer until the flour is just combined.  Stir in the mint chips.
Spread the dough in the bottom of your dish.

Layer it with 9 Mint Oreos or if you have unlimited access to Mint Oreos go ahead and use 16 - I could have fit that amount in but I wanted to use mine sparingly as once they're gone they're gone!

For the brownies: Melt milk chocolate with butter over heat.  Remove from heat and whisk in the sugar and salt.  Whisk in the eggs.  Gently whisk in the flour and cocoa until just combined.  Pour over the Oreo layer.

Sprinkled your crushed up peppermint crisp bar for just an extra hint of mint!
Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Make sure when you eat these you do so with copious amounts of ice cream! They are crazy rich but in a very good way! and I was surprised at how well the mint element worked, it wasn't overpowering at all but for all you mint lovers out there it was just right! chocolatey, gooey, minty deliciousness! Certainly not a dessert for the faint hearted but if it's a cold windy evening and you want to snuggle up with the one you love on the sofa and be kept warm by a yummy pudding then this is the one to make!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie

So you may or may not have heard that last week was national chocolate week! We had been invited round for dinner by some new friends and I offered to bring dessert.  I immediately thought of whipping up my coconut cream pie and then thought how amazing would a Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie be! 

So I began as usual by baking up a biscuit base...

and then making the deliciously thick coconut cream filling...

and then I added some melted Valrhona...

and mixed in all that chocolatey goodness! I didn't add too much as I still wanted the coconut flavour to come through but it was just enough to get a burst of chocolate too...

and lots of desiccated coconut.

Then it gets poured into your pre baked base...

topped with a delicious coconut cream...

sprinkled with some toasted shredded coconut...

and finished off with a drizzle of chocolate! 

Coconut Cream Pie is one of my new favourite desserts, but the addition of chocolate took it to new heights of tastiness!! If you don't believe me, there was a lactose intolerant guest at our meal who even helped himself to seconds! 

I converted the recipe this time around into metric measurements for all my UK followers, but if you prefer using cups or are on the other side of the pond you can find those measurements the last time I baked Coconut Cream Pie.

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie:
Serves 14-16
Adapted from Cupcake Crazy Gem

300g Hobnobs/crushed biscuits
110g unsalted butter (melted)

 140g caster sugar
30g corn flour
240g coconut milk
240g whole milk
10g vanilla bean paste
30g unsalted butter (cut into cubes)
60g/3 egg yolks
60g/1 large egg
60g chocolate (I used 68% Valrhona)
50g desiccated coconut 

475g double cream
80g coconut milk
56g caster sugar
 A handful of shredded coconut (toasted)
Melted chocolate for drizzle

Preheat oven to 150 degrees c.

Melt butter in a pan on the hob (or in microwave in short low heat bursts).  Crush your biscuits up in a food processor (or like me in a zip loc bag with a rolling pin).  Mix the butter into the biscuits and spread your biscuit base into your pan.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Whilst that is baking, pre mix the caster sugar and the corn flour together with a whisk in a saucepan.  Add the coconut milk, whole milk, vanilla bean paste, butter, egg yolks and whole egg into the pan as well.  Heat all ingredients on a medium-high heat on the hob for 5 minutes, or until all of the butter has melted and all the ingredients are well mixed together.  Mix for a further five minutes until the mixture thickens (the original method I followed instructed you to do figure of 8's with your whisk at this point, I'm not sure if it's actually necessary but I did it anyway!).

Remove your pan from the heat.  In a separate pan or in the microwave melt the chocolate.  Add it to the coconut cream filling which is still in the pan.  Add the desiccated coconut and mix everything together.

Pour it into your biscuit base that you have removed from the oven.  Leave it to firm up in the fridge for an hour, I left mine overnight.

Sprinkle a few handfuls of shredded coconut or however much you would like for your decoration on to a baking tray.  Place it under the grill and watch it as it can burn very quickly! You want it so that it is lightly toasted, with some pieces brown but not necessarily all pieces.  Approx 3-5mins.  Take out the oven and leave to cool.

Add the double cream and coconut milk to your mixer.  Whip on medium speed until it begins to thicken. Add the caster sugar a little at a time, increase the speed to high and whip until stiff.  

Remove your pie from the fridge and top with the coconut cream.  

Sprinkle the now cooled toasted coconut on top and finish off by melting chocolate, putting it in a piping bag and drizzling it over the top of the pie.

I'm sharing this over at The Tuesday Talent Show - go check out the other amazing things bloggers have been creating this week! 

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Little Round Cake Company saves the day!

It's official.  I've been in Wales for 4 weeks now and there are still no cupcakes in sight anywhere! This is more than slightly worrying.  So last weekend we went to Shropshire to visit my parents and I knew of exactly the place that could fill the cupcake sized hole in my stomach! 

I have visited The Little Round Cake Company once before, it was in the first few weeks of coming back from the Caribbean when we were staying with my parents and exploring the cupcakes Shropshire had to offer.  You may recall alot of the cupcakes we ate didn't get the best reviews and so The Little Round Cake Company came up trumps with their yummy flavour combos and edible decorations on top! 

For me...I'm not a fan of fondant or random fussy decorations that don't add anything to the cupcake...if you've made a raspberry cupcake I expect a fresh raspberry on top and TLRCC definitely do this right!

I found out they were hosting a stall at a farmers market in Whitchurch the Saturday we were there so we made a special trip to the market just to get some of their delicious goodies! 

Their stall was full to the brim with yummy treats! including 'Tweeners' which are essentially cupcakes cut in half and filled with more frosting! I think this is a great idea because have you ever thought the bottom half of your cupcake was lacking in frosting:cake ratio...I know I have! so these combat that problem! Since I knew we were going to buy a whole bag of treats we didn't get any of these this time, because unfortunately I do have to draw the line (calories wise) somewhere! but next time I want to try these for sure! 

and look at those giant meringues! never have there been so many temptations packed into one little stall! 

but I was definitely there for the cupcakes! so we went with a box of 4.  Oreo, Blackberry and Vanilla, Rocky Road and Banoffee.  All four cupcakes were delicious, and were enjoyed by the whole family (don't worry I share the calories around!) and all of the frostings were creamy and very moreish.  They definitely helped me get my cupcake fix...if anything, being the frosting lover I am, I could have done with a little more frosting but otherwise they were great! 

and being the brownie lovers we are we couldn't pass by this lovely looking white choc brownie.  It was gooey and fudgy in the middle and crisp on top - just how brownies should be! and I even enjoyed mine with a few scoops of mint ice cream for pudding later that evening!!! but for me the star of the show was the beautifully presented white chocolate tart you see before you.  I have never tried a white chocolate tart before and that little drizzle of raspberry was drawing me in so I had to snap one up.  Once you cut inside there was a layer of jam underneath the white chocolate and it was the most dreamy yummy tart I've ever had...I wished as we drove back to Wales (and the land of NO yummy baked treats apparently) that I'd stocked up on enough of those babies to last me the whole week! 

Sunday, 2 October 2011

S'mores Milkshakes! The best brainwave I've had in a while!

You may or may not have noticed that when I get excited about things I reeeeeally get excited about things! This often leads to me using the phrase 'I'm obsessed with' more frequently than most! I'm obsessed with America...I'm pretty sure you've heard that one before, I'm obsessed with polka dots (in a previous office job I had one summer a co-worked nicknamed me spot because every day I happened to wear something polka dot!) and I'm sure it hasn't escaped your attention that I'm obsessed with CUPCAKES!

So it brings me great pleasure to tell you about one of my latest, it's not the colour purple (although that is a valid one!) but it is in fact S'MORES! How I miss those s'mores toasting days back when we lived in the Caribbean! 

Seriously s'mores are amazing! Why we don't have this little gem of an invention this side of the Atlantic is totally beyond me! I've even devoted a whole board on pinterest just to s'mores, how is that possible? is what my husband asked...oh it's possible! There are s'mores layer cakes, pizzas, cookies, whoopies, pops and so the list goes on! but you know what I have never come across anywhere on the internet or pinterest or blogging land?

A s'mores milkshake! and for those who know me well you will know I'm a huge milkshake lover! So when we were taking a beach stroll on an unusually sunny Welsh evening this week I had a brainwave. I have seen the toasted marshmallow milkshake doing the rounds lately, and I was keen on trying it out...but that just sounded a little too boring on it's own and that's when it hit me ...throw some chocolate in, and some graham crackers and surely we are talking s'mores heaven! 

Now if you're the kind of person to be counting calories...back away from this recipe, it's just not for you! if like me, you appreciate the tasty treats in life and throw caution to the wind with the calorie count then please whip some of these up, you can thank me later :) 

S'mores milkshakes 
(Makes 2)

2 cups semi skimmed milk
8 generous scoops vanilla ice cream
18 marshmallows
2 graham crackers (if you're English you could substitute with hobnobs/digestives)
24 squares of dairy milk (approx 180g)

For decoration:
Duff S'mores sprinkles or
Crushed up graham crackers and a marshmallow

Let me say before I start I like my milkshakes thick, in my opinion it's the only way! but if you prefer yours thin maybe leave some of the ice cream above out!

1. Add 1 cup semi skimmed milk and 4 scoops of ice cream into your blender.
2. Add 9 marshmallows, 12 squares of dairy milk and 1 graham cracker
3. Blend everything together
4. Add the other cup of semi skimmed milk, 4 more scoops of ice cream and the remaining graham cracker, 12 squares of dairy milk and 9 marshmallows.
5. Keep blending until everything is completely mixed.
6. Pour into delightful milkshake glasses, and top with S'mores sprinkles, a single marshmallow and a piece of graham cracker.
7. Drink and enjoy! 

I will say that I started out trying to toast my marshmallows, we don't have a garden so I couldn't strike up a bonfire and toasting them on the naked flame of our hob was getting a little bit sketchy so I gave up after a while but for that authentic s'mores taste I do think toasting is the way to go!

I added my chocolate in whole but I think next time I would melt the chocolate first before adding it to give it a richer chocolate taste.

Those two things aside, these were some amazing milkshakes! and accompanied with some homemade meatball hoagies it was certainly the best dinner I've had in a while! 

p.s did you know I brought those milkshake glasses all the way back from the Caribbean?! Out of a set of 6 glasses we only had one casualty which, if you think about how badly your luggage gets thrown around at airports, isn't bad going at all!

I'm sharing this over at Chef in Training for Tuesday Talents.


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