Category Archives: Recipe

Chocolate Orange Mousse

I had such high hopes. I love anything chocolate orange flavoured, but alas it was not to be. This is a delicious mousse, it’s just not a chocolate orange mousse. More juice next time? Some zest perhaps? I used freshly squeezed juice in the mousse but omitted the candied orange garnish after discovering the mousse wasn’t quite flavoured the way I’d hoped. This recipe is by Curtis Stone. Have you made it and had better results? Or do you have a chocolate orange mousse recipe I can add to my to-do list?

Perhaps I’ll have to stop by Rockpool for another serving of jaffa mousse cake. If I remind hubby of Rockpool’s mac and cheese I may just get that little slice of heaven soon!

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Rainbow Coconut Ice

Who said coconut ice had to be pink and white? I think it should be rainbow coloured! And include a layer of chocolate.

Coconut Ice
Adapted from recipe by Fleur Wood

Ingredients

320g pure icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 can (395g) sweetened condensed milk
320g desiccated coconut
food colouring
150g chocolate, melted

Directions

Line a 30cm x 20cm tray with baking paper.
Combine sifted icing sugar and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl.
Add condensed milk and coconut and mix well.
Divide mixture in half.
Press one half of mixture into tray. Make sure to press firmly.
Spread melted chocolate over bottom half of mixture.
Divide remainder of mixture according to how many colours you would like your coconut ice to be. Place each in separate bowls. Add food colouring to each bowl until desired colours are reached.
Press coloured mixtures on top of chocolate, side by side.

Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set. Slice and serve.

 

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Caramel Apple Cake

Happy birthday, Nanna! We celebrated yesterday with a family dinner and cake. Today while on the phone, she talked excitedly about the presents we gave her, how much she loved her new tote bag and how she had already used her new place mats. She also told me a story I hadn’t heard before, about when my uncle was born almost 55 years ago. She couldn’t help but giggle through this tale about having to time her own contractions, almost delivering in the lift and becoming famous during her hospital stay as the woman who “survived” giving birth to a 10 pound, 10 ounce baby.

And of course, she told me how much she loved the cake I made.

This caramel apple cake recipe is a keeper. Yet another from Baked Explorations. Perfect for the cooler months of the year, a sweetly spiced three-layer cake covered in not-too-sweet caramel buttercream. The cake itself is somewhat similar to banana bread in texture and flavour. Only better.

I took two “shortcuts” when making this recipe, not something I do too often. The recipe calls for apple sauce, bought or homemade. I couldn’t see any on the supermarket shelf. (Is it available here in Australia? Update – Yes, you can. I found a couple of brands at my local Coles, but none at another Coles store). Instead, I used apple puree. It’s usually found in a set of three or four small tubs and I had to use eight to make up the four cups required. For the other shortcut, instead of making caramel sauce, I used Nestle Top N Fill. I doubled the amount of caramel the recipe called for in the buttercream for a little extra sweetness.

It’s an impressive looking cake with its three layers but still relatively simple to put together (especially if you don’t make your own apple sauce and caramel). It cuts easily and keeps well at room temperature in cool weather.

Caramel Apple Cake from Baked Explorations.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m putting this one down in the archives as my official chocolate chip cookie recipe. Hubby is partial to the Nestle Toll House recipe so there may be a bake-off in our future.
choc chip cookies recipe new york times

These cookies are good. Very good. Great. Crispy on the edge, dense and chewy, but not undercooked in the middle. This recipe was originally published in the New York Times in 2008. I really should have got around to baking it sooner!

Warning – this cookie dough needs to sit in the fridge for 24-36 hours before baking for the most delicious results. I want to tell you this upfront because I know how disappointing it is to start making the dough and then realise you will have to wait a day to taste the sweet, chewy goodness. Of course you can bake some right after mixing the dough, but the best flavour and texture will only come after the magical refrigeration time. It sounds silly but it’s true.

The biggest difference between this recipe and others I have tried is the call for cake flour and bread flour. Both flours have a different protein level to ordinary all-purpose flour. I haven’t used either to make cookies before but something in the combination of these two flours makes the recipe a winner.

I used a little less salt that the recipe asks and did not sprinkle salt on top on the unbaked dough. I just don’t care for the salty sweet mix in a choc chip cookie. Here’s what I did below –

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from New York Times recipe by Jacques Torres

Ingredients

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 ½ ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 ½ ounces) bread flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt (the original asks for 1½ teaspoons)
2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (or other chocolate pieces of your choice – I used a mixture of Cadbury Milk and Dark Baking Chips)

Sea salt

Directions

Sift cake and bread flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. (I used less than 1 teaspoon of salt but next time will try the full amount.) Set aside.

Cream butter and sugars together until very light, using stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. This took more than five minutes for me. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix again.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Add chocolate pieces and mix gently. I used a mixture of milk and dark Cadbury Chocolate Chips.

Now it’s time to refrigerate the dough. Be patient, this step is vital for the most tasty cookies possible and the cookies will be worth waiting for. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C, line cookie trays with baking paper.

Scoop 3oz(85 grams) mounds (the original says 3½ oz) onto cookie trays, I baked two at a time as they spread considerably. Add extra choc chips to the top of the mounds so the cookies look prettier once baked. If you wish, sprinkle a touch of sea salt over top of dough mounds.

Bake for 13-20 minutes, until browned on the edges but still soft in the centre. Cool on tray for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool, or serve and eat them warm.

 

 

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Pretzels

Warning – you won’t be able to stop at one. Hubby says they are way too good to be called pretzels. Soft, chewy, sweet and salty. Yes, they will make you thirsty, but they wouldn’t be pretzels if they didn’t. This is an easy recipe, using pantry staples. Don’t be deterred by having to wait for the dough to rise; you only need to do it once, unlike in most yeast-based recipes.

Pretzels
Recipe adapted from Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, by Yammie’s Noshery

Ingredients

2 cups skim milk
1 12 tablespoons active dry yeast
6 tablespoons brown sugar 
60g butter, melted 
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt

13 cup baking soda
3 cups warm water
coarse salt

100g butter, melted in a shallow dish

Directions

Warm milk on stove or in microwave until lukewarm.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast and warm milk, stir then let sit for three minutes.

Add melted butter, sugar and salt to milk mixture. Using a dough hook on low speed, add flour, one cup at a time. Let the mixer knead the dough for 10 minutes.

Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a tea towel until dough has doubled in size. (Approximately one hour).

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F.

Shape pieces of dough into pretzel knots, long straight pieces or small bite-sized buns.

Combine water and baking powder in a medium bowl. Dip shaped pieces of dough in baking powder mixture.

Place dough pieces on lined baking tray, sprinkle with coarse salt and then bake for 7 to 11 minutes.

Dip freshly baked pretzels in melted butter, serve.

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Chocolate Cake

Happy birthday Elise!

Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, By Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

Ingredients

For the classic chocolate cake

3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup sour cream
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbs vanilla extract

For the chocolate frosting 

180g dark chocolate, chopped
180g milk chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 tbs light corn syrup or golden syrup

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, chopped into 1 inch pieces

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out excess flour.

In medium bowl, mix the cocoa powder and sour cream with 1 1/4 cups hot water and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes – the mixture will appear to string or ribbon throughout the bowl.

Add the sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 more minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing about 10 to 15 seconds after each addition until the egg is incorporated into the mixture.

Then turn the mixer to low, add the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.

Beginning with the dry ingredients, add the dry mixture and the cocoa mixture to the mixer bowl in three alternating parts, ending with the dry.

Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Use an offset spatula to level the batter. Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 30 to 45 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment.

Make the chocolate frosting

Place the chopped chocolate and milk chocolate in the bowl of am electric mixer. In a small saucepan bring cream and syrup to the boil, remove from heat and immediately pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 2-3 minutes. Slowly whisk the chocolate mixture until completely smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

With the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed, gradually add the butter and mix until well combined and smooth. Chill frosting for a few minutes until it can hold its shape.

To assemble the cake

Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface, and evenly spread about 1 1/4 cups frosting on top.

Add the next layer, trim and frost it, then add the third layer. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake and put it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up. (This is known as the crumb coating and will help you keep loose cake crumbs under control when you frost the outside of the cake.)

Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate it for 15 minutes to firm it up.

The cake can be stored, covered in a cake dome or cake saver, at room temperature for up to 3 days

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Chocolate Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream


Happy birthday Jess! Good food, good company and cake. Not a bad Friday night at all.

Sweetapolita is an expert on Swiss meringue buttercream frosting – I highly recommend you visit her site before making it. And visit YouTube for sweetandsaucyshop’s video on making frosting ruffles. They are easier to make than they look! This was my first attempt but I’d love to try them again.

Chocolate Cake
Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, By Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

Ingredients

3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup sour cream
2
 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbs vanilla extract

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 325°F. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out excess flour.

In medium bowl, mix the cocoa powder and sour cream with 1 ¼ cups hot water and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes – the mixture will appear to string or ribbon throughout the bowl.
Add the sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 more minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing about 10 to 15 seconds after each addition until the egg is incorporated into the mixture.
Then turn the mixer to low, add the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.

Beginning with the dry ingredients, add the dry mixture and the cocoa mixture to the mixer bowl in three alternating parts, ending with the dry.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Use an offset spatula to level the batter.
Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 30 to 45 minutes.
Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment.

Sweetapolita’s Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Because it does take some time to make and freezes well, I make a larger batch. You can divide this recipe in 2 or even 3.

Yield: 15 cups (enough to frost and fill approximately three 8″ round cakes)

Ingredients

16 large egg whites (30g each–total 450g, or 2 cups)
4 cups granulated sugar (800g)
5 cups (2.5 lbs, 10 sticks) of unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into cubes
30 ml (2 tablespoons) pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

Directions

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk attachment, small bowl, and whisk with paper towel and lemon juice (or vinegar), to remove any trace of grease.
Add egg whites and sugar,  and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140 degrees F, or if you don’t have a candy thermometer, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot (you can feel a drop in between your fingers to ensure no granules.).

Take off of stove, and place bowl back on electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, begin to whip until the mixture is thick, glossy, and neutral (you can feel outside of the bowl to test temperature).
Switch over to paddle attachment and, while mixing on low-speed continuously, add butter one cube at a time until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth).  Add vanilla and salt, mix well. You can also add a wide variety of flavourings, extracts, and more. If buttercream is too runny, the butter was possibly too soft–place into the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, then beat again.
If still too runny, add a few more cubes of butter and keep beating until it reaches Use immediately, or refrigerate/freeze.

Notes:

Keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week, leaving out at room temperature when needed, rewhipping in mixer for 5 minutes.

Can freeze for up to 6-8 weeks. To thaw, place on counter overnight, and rewhip for 5 minutes with paddle attachment in an electric mixer.

If buttercream still doesn’t have its satiny finish after rewhipping, microwave 1/3 of the buttercream for approximately 10 seconds and add to remaining buttercream in mixer bowl, beating for a few moments to incorporate.

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Anzac Biscuits

April 25 is Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand, a day of remembrance for those who served our countries. These sweet, oaty, crispy biscuits were said to have been sent to Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers during World War I by their wives and families.

Recipes for Anzac biscuits don’t vary too much, just remember they never contain egg and are never to be called cookies. Golden syrup is a pale-coloured treacle, similar in colour and consistency to honey. It is widely available in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. I’ve also read a version of golden syrup is popular and locally produced in Louisiana, so US bakers may have luck finding it in that area. Light corn syrup is a suggested alternative, but true Anzac biscuits always contain golden syrup.

Anzac Biscuits
Recipe from Woman’s Day magazine

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter, chopped
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Directions

Preheat oven to moderately low, 160°C. Line baking trays with baking paper.

In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar and coconut.

In a small pan, combine butter and golden syrup. Stir over low heat for 2-3 minutes until melted.

In a small jug, combine water and bicarbonate of soda. Stir into butter mixture. Pour into dry ingredients. Mix well.

Roll pieces of mixture into walnut-sized balls. Arrange on prepared trays, leaving a 4cm space between each biscuit to allow for spreading. Press lightly to flatten.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Biscuits will harden on cooling.

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Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Cake

This recipe is my new favourite chocolate cake recipe. Chocolate cake with mousse-like chocolate frosting and dark chocolate ganache drizzled on top. I think I’ll tweak the recipe a little further but it’s pretty darn good just the way it is.

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Cake
Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, By Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

Ingredients

For the classic chocolate cake

3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup sour cream
2  2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1  ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbs vanilla extract

For the chocolate frosting

180 grams dark chocolate, chopped
180 grams milk chocolate, chopped
1  ½ cups heavy cream
2 tbs light corn syrup or golden syrup
1  ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, chopped into 1 inch pieces

For the chocolate glaze

180 grams good quality (60-72%) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans, line them with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out excess flour.

In medium bowl, mix the cocoa powder and sour cream with 1 ¼ cups hot water and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.

Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes – the mixture will appear to string or ribbon throughout the bowl. Add the sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 more minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing about 10 to 15 seconds after each addition until the egg is incorporated into the mixture. Then turn the mixer to low, add the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.

Beginning with the dry ingredients, add the dry mixture and the cocoa mixture to the mixer bowl in three alternating parts, ending with the dry. Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Use an offset spatula to level the batter. Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 30 to 45 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack and let them cool completely. Remove the parchment.

Make the chocolate frosting

Place the chopped chocolate and milk chocolate in the bowl of am electric mixer. In a small saucepan bring cream and syrup to the boil, remove from heat and immediately pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 2-3 minutes. Slowly whisk the chocolate mixture until completely smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

With the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed, gradually add the butter and mix until well combined and smooth. Chill frosting for a few minutes until it can hold its shape.

To assemble the cake

Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface, and evenly spread about 1 1/4 cups frosting on top. Add the next layer, trim and frost it, then add the third layer. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake and put it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to firm up. (This is known as the crumb coating and will help you keep loose cake crumbs under control when you frost the outside of the cake.) Spread the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate it for 15 minutes to firm it up.

Make the chocolate glaze

Place the butter and chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir the glaze to release excess heat. Cool until it is still pourable but not hot to the touch. Otherwise you may melt your frosting right off your cake. Drizzle glaze over the cake. Refrigerate the cake about 15 minutes to set the glaze before serving.

Glaze the cake

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place your cake on a wire rack over the baking sheet. Slowly pour about 3/4 of a cup of the glaze over the cake. Use a small offset spatula to smooth it out to the edges. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to set the glaze. Remove from the refrigerator and slowly pour the rest of the glaze over the cake. It should run down the sides in thick streams. You should be able to control the size and length of the streams by the pour. Feel free to experiment, and have no fear in playing around. This is the fun part, and there is no right or wrong way. Chill the entire cake for approximately 20 minutes, or until glaze is set, then transfer to a cake plate. Serve at room temperature.

The cake can be stored, covered in a cake dome or cake saver, at room temperature for up to 3 days

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Kitchen Sink Cookies

Yes, I make these often don’t I? Another batch today – Easter M&Ms and McGrath Foundation pink-and-white M&Ms.


More kitchen sink cookies –

Kitchen Sink Cookies
Adapted from recipe by Martha Stewart
Makes about 40

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
Any variation of chocolate, nuts, candy etc like –
2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 cup chopped milk chocolate
2 cups M&Ms

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl with a wooden spoon or hand mixer, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar together until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Stir in vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually stir into butter mixture until well blended. Stir in oats, M&M’s, chocolate chips and chocolate.
  4. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto trays, about 2 inches apart. Press tops down with the bottom of a glass to flatten cookies evenly. (I roll into balls). Bake until golden, about 16 to 18 minutes (8-10 minutes in my oven). Cool on pan for 2 minutes. Remove from pan, and finish cooling completely on wire rack.

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