chocolate


Hi there! I thought I’d share some baking with you, just to prove that I’m not only all about the sewing.

 

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I based these on this recipe, with a few minor adjustments. The recipe called for 1 egg plus one egg yolk, but I hate splitting eggs, so I replaced the yolk with a dollop of yoghurt.

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White Chocolate Matcha Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour (I used a gluten-free flour)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 tbsp matcha (green tea) powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (I used raw sugar)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tbsp greek yoghurt
  • 180g white choc chips, or roughly chopped white chocolate

Preheat oven to 325F (165C)

Beat butter & sugars until creamy.

Beat in vanilla, egg & yoghurt.

Sift in flour, matcha powder, baking soda & salt. Mix until dough is just blended. Fold in white chocolate.

Drop spoonfuls onto a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until just browning around the edges.  Cool on trays for a couple of minutes, then transfer onto wire racks.

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I ran 7.1km this morning. I think I earned a couple of cookies ūüôā

Wait, let’s have a closeup.

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Everybody loves an orange and almond cake.

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¬†Especially when it’s a birthday cake with candied peel and sweet dried figs, marscapone frosting and raspberry chocolate hearts.

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I was determined to create something to equal this amazing cake.

In the end I used a very simple¬†whole-orange-almond-cake recipe from The Cake Mistress.¬†I didn’t boil my oranges for quite as long as she did, mostly because I didn’t want to be up til midnight! So the oranges only got boiled for an hour, and they didn’t have a lot of cooling time either, once I’d pulverized them with my stick blender.

Orange Almond Cake

  • 2 Navel Oranges, washed
  • 220g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 250g almond meal
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Place the whole oranges in a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Drain and replace the water, then boil again for another 30 minutes. Drain. Roughly chop the oranges (navel oranges don’t have pips, but if you use a different fruit you will need to remove any pips at this stage) and then blend or process to a pulp.

While the oranges are boiling, start working on the candied peel and raspberry hearts (see below).

Prepare a 22cm round springform pan: spray lightly with oil and cut baking paper to fit the bottom and sides. Preheat the oven to 160C (150C if fanforced).

Using a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on a high speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in the baking powder. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and use a spatula to carefully fold in the almond meal and orange pulp.

Pout the batter into the pan. Bake for 45-50min or until a skewer comes out clean and the edges of the cake are starting to pull away from the sides. Keep an eye on your cake from the 30 minute mark – if it starts to brown too much, place a piece of foil over the top.

Remove the cake from the oven. Leave in the tin, and place on a rack to cool completely before removing from the tin. (At this stage, I drizzled¬†the leftover zest syrup over the cake while it was still¬†hot. You don’t have to do this but I love syrup cakes!)

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Decorations

Using a zester, remove peel from 1 or 2¬†oranges. If you don’t have a zester, use a regular peeler, but make sure not to remove too much pith with the peel. You want long thin strips of zest. Put 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup caster sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Add the zest and simmer for about 20min, until the liquid has reduced. Place the zest and syrup in the fridge for a while. When cool, drain the zest, keeping the syrup.

Cover a small tray with foil. Place the sweet, sticky zest on the tray. Sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of caster sugar, and toss well to coat. If you’ve timed this right, your oven will still be hot; put it on¬†the lowest setting and put the zest in for about 15-20 minutes, tossing once or twice. It should go crispy and crunchy. Remove from the oven and allow to air-dry for as long as possible (I left mine overnight, covered with a clean cloth).

Take about 4 dried figs and slice them thinly. If they seem a little dry, soak them in warm water for a couple of hours.

For the raspberry hearts, take a piece of baking paper and draw some hearts on one side, about 3-4cm in diameter. Turn the baking paper over and place onto a clean board. Melt about 150g white chocolate (I do mine in the microwave, short bursts at low power, stirring in between). Add a few drops of raspberry essence. My chocolate went a bit stiff at this point so I added about 1/4 teaspoon of peanut oil. Using a small spoon, dab chocolate onto your baking paper, filling your heart lines.

Awww. Filling your heart lines. I like how that sounds.

Pop the board into the fridge until the chocolate has set, then carefully peel off the hearts and place in an airtight container until ready to use. I did two batches.

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Frosting

A search for ‘mascarpone frosting’ turned up an amazing looking almond praline cake which I pinned to try some other time! I used their frosting recipe, but I only made half the batch which turned out to ¬†be exactly right for my cake. Basically just marscapone, heavy cream, vanilla and sugar (I added a little extra icing sugar as well). I whisked mine by hand and it thickened almost instantly – be very careful not to overbeat or it will start to separate and curdle!

Slather frosting all over your cake. Sprinkle with the candied peel and sliced figs, then decorate to your chocolate heart’s content.

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Easter has come and gone, leaving us groaning in the wake of all those chocolate treats…. yes, I totally use Easter as an excuse to eat lots of chocolate that I shouldn’t. Easter Egg chocolate is different to regular chocolate, so you have to take hold of that opportunity!

There were purchased Easter Eggs in my house, but I decided to have a go at something I had been eyeing off for a while – Slow Cooker Fudge!

What’s that, you cry? Fudge that doesn’t require hours of standing and stirring? Fudge that, essentially, makes itself???

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In a word – YES!

It was this recipe, initially spotted on Pinterest, that started the whole process. Posted by The Sugar Free Mom, the original recipe uses a sugar-free dairy-free chocolate – these things aren’t a concern for me though, so I just used regular dark cooking chocolate. Also the original used Stevia, which I¬†didn’t have (and am not a¬†fan of anyway), so I whacked in ¬†some maple syrup instead.

  • 1 pack (375g) dark chocolate melts
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • a generous splash of maple syrup (about a tablespoon)
  • 1-2 tsp peppermint essence (depending on how minty you like it)
  • pinch of salt

Throw all the ingredients in the slow cooker and put it on low for two hours. I gave mine a good stir at the hour mark. Yes, I know you’re not supposed to take the lid off your slow cooker, but the original recipe had two hours in the cooker plus an hour with the lid off. Then after two hours, I took the lid off, stirred, then left the lid off while I prepared a small dish to pour it into.

My slow cooker is a retro 1970’s one – I love it, but it doesn’t have a removable crock! So pouring stuff out is a bit tricky. (If you’re going to be manhandling your slowcooker, make sure you unplug it from the power point first.)

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It doesn’t make a huge batch, but it’s so rich you don’t need to eat too much!

Of course, I immediately became obsessed with the possibilities of slow-cooker fudge, and busted out the white chocolate melts to see if that worked.

  • 1 pack (375g) white chocolate melts
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla¬†extract
  • pinch of salt

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Oh yes. It worked. I was a bit worried because it went lumpy and I thought the chocolate had burned; but I gave this batch a few extra stirs during the cooking time and it turned out beautifully smooth and velvety. It was crazy sweet, the chocolate that I used having a high sugar content, so I’m keen to try it with a better-quality white chocolate.

Now I’m wondering about the possibilities of caramel fudge in the slow cooker…. could it happen? Time will tell…..

 

 

Hi all! Sorry I have been AWOL for a bit, I have been busy moving house! I am now mostly settled in to my new rental flat, although working out how to arrange my little sewing room is taking a while. It’s like Jenga in house-sized proportions: item A is in box K, but box K is under boxes P through S so setting up the TV will just have to wait!!

Anyway to prove that I’ve not been completely uncreative, here’s some goodies the Easter Bunny and I whipped up.

Baby cupcakes with crazy little chocolate chickens and raspberry frosting.

Have a happy and safe long weekend everyone!

 

I made a cake!

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Ooooo. Fresh raspberries. This cake has all the good stuff.

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Yeah, we needed a closeup.

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I don’t really think this needs too many words. It was christened ‘Raspberry Ripe’ by one of my adoring fans colleagues. Heh heh.

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Okay, okay. Here’s the recipe.

The Raspberry Ripe Cake (adapted from Good Food Magazine’s 101 Cakes & Bakes)

Cake Ingredients:

  • 175g butter, softened
  • 175g raw castor sugar
  • 175g SR flour
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 50g dessicated coconut
  • 4-5 tbsp coconut cream
  • 280g icing sugar
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp coconut cream
  • 5 tbsp raspberry jam
  • 1 punnet fresh raspberries
  • 50g dark chocolate with coconut (I used Lindt Intense Coconut), grated into big curls.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Prepare two 20cm sandwich tins with some spray oil and line the bases with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs gradually, mixing well in between. (I used a hand-held electric mixer, but you could do this by hand or in a food processor). Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into the mixture and stir until smooth. Gently fold in the coconut and cream.

Divide the mixture between the two tins and smooth the tops. Bake until golden and firm. The top of the cake should spring back if touched gently. Loosen the edges and leave in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Peel off the baking paper. Allow to cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat the icing sugar, butter and coconut cream until smooth.

Spread one cake with jam and top with just less than half of the frosting. Carefully place the other cake on top. Top with the remaining frosting,  then tumble the raspberries on top and scatter with the grated chocolate.

Enjoy!

I know, I’ve blogged nothing but sewing for quite some time. But it’s true – I also bake! It’s just that I usually forget to take pictures of my efforts before they are demolished.

In an effort to clear out my pantry prior to an interstate move, I decided to bake a cake for my workmates and use up some ingredients at the same time. And therefore created the Triple Nut Chocolate cake.

It started out as a Chocolate Peanut Butter cake,¬† using this recipe, but as it turned out I didn’t have quite enough peanut butter. Or enough eggs.¬† Or any sour cream. So I had to make a few substitutions.

The 3/4 cup of creamy peanut butter became mostly Free-Nut Butter (made from sunflower seeds), the last of the macadamia nut butter, and a dollop of regular peanut butter. The sour cream was replacced by some powdered buttermilk,. The two eggs were understudied by one egg and some extra bi-carb soda.

I baked it in a square tin (because it was the only baking tin I hadn’t packed away) in two lots, so I could make the layer cake. It all nearly came undone when I tried to remove the first cake from the tin a bit too early – you see, the baking paper had been packed away too. It was a non-stick pan though, so I’d hoped it would be okay. Cake almost breaking in the middle = not okay. No worries though – layer cake means the bottom layer can hide a multitude of sins!

Now that the gifts have been given, I can post about them! Here’s some tasty treats I whipped up as gifts.

I started with these supplies:

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The little brown jar contains home-made vanoilla extract, and the glass bowl is full of pistachio nuts.

A mere couple of hours in the kitchen and a Christmas tin ($1 from Vinnies!) and I had created this:

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In the tin from left to right:

Crazy Crunchy Rocky Road – I invented this one last Christmas, the recipe is here.

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark – last year I had a recipe for a peanut butter swirl bark, but couldn’t find it for love nor money! So I trawled the internet and came across this evil concoction, which I thought definitely worth a try. I have seen peanut butter M&M’s in Australia, but I hadn’t gotten my hands on any so I just used regular M&M’s for this. (I suspect that if I HAD gotten my hands on any, they wouldn’t have made it into the recipe as I would have scoffed them immediately.) If you are looking for them, I’ve seen them at some video stores and of course at some international sweet shops.

Peppermint Bark – again a variation on a previous recipe, this time with a layer of dark chocolate underneath the white. This one I found here.

There were of course lots of non-food gifty makes, but I managed to not get photos of any of them!! Ah well, back to the refashioning board for me.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas & New Year!

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