Category: Chocolate

Some seriously chocolatey cookies

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It was my sister Shelley’s birthday on Monday and I wanted to make her a little treat. Just a little one – as I know she has nearly as much chocolate left over from Christmas as we do!

I decided to make her some vanilla and chocolate cookies covered in thick milk, dark and white chocolate. You could say it was a chocolate overload.

The inspiration for decorating these cookies came when we were messing around with the sprinkles last week. Shelley had come to pick up my nephew Asher while we were mid way through decorating biscuits and she helped Beau to create this pattern on her cookies with royal icing. I haven’t done this effect for years. It’s really easy to achieve, but is a little time-consuming and pretty messy… or that might be just me.

How to make these seriously chocolatey cookies 

  1. Bake your cookies. I made Vanilla cookies from this recipe and chocolate cookies from this recipe.
  2. Melt your chocolate in a pyrex bowl over simmering water. Don’t let the bowl touch the water though.
  3. Place a piping bag in a glass and fold the edges over the outside so you can pour your chocolate into the bag easily.
  4. Add a clip on the end to keep the melted chocolate in the piping bag and not running down your hands/arms/worktops.SHELL 1
  5. To make cleaning up a doddle. Lay some clingfilm over your work surface and position your wire rack over the top.
  6. Pour some melted chocolate over one cookie at a time.
  7. Smooth it so that every bit of the cookie is coated (there’s more yumminess that way)
  8. With your piping bag (with a different type of melted chocolate) pipe lines in one direction across the whole cookie. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t that straight. You’re going to be messing them up anyway. SHELL 2
  9. Use a toothpick to drag across the cookie. As you drag each line is pulled in that direction creating little peaks.
  10. When you have done a few lines in one direction drag the toothpick in the other direction – in between first lot of lines. (Please note that I had to turn the cookie around so I could take the picture- but in other words the first lot of dragging was done from left to right, the second was from right to left- I hope that makes sense!)
  11. Once you have finished leave them alone for at least an hour. They take a long time to fully set. After an hour move them very carefully across the wire rack  with a spatular or by giving them a gentle push with a toothpick so that they don’t permanently stick to the rack, then leave them to fully harden overnight (or for at least 6 hours). They are then ready to wrap or eat.

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Happy Birthday Shelley. Love you. xXx

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enjoy!

Excited about sprinkles. And sauces. And ganache!

Tesco Sprinkles

Just before Christmas I received one of those emails that makes you feel like the pounds instantly go from your Mac straight onto your hips! Tesco’s are launching a great new range of ice cream accessories and Finest* desserts and they wanted to know if I would like to ‘test them’? I mean it would be rude not to, don’t you think? So I carefully made a small selection from the fantastic range which will be instore from next week (14th January to be precise)

Mr Nice Cream

The ‘Mr Nice Cream’ Ice cream range includes cones, sponge cookies -now they sound fab and fan wafers (I love those things. When I was little I used to make sandwiches out of them with jam and cream).

I requested to test the squeezy sauces. Strawberry -which tastes like jam without the annoying lumps of fruit (I’ve been putting it on my toast!), Chocolate sauce which is made with Belgian milk chocolate and British cream (deelish) and Toffee sauce which is made with British double cream, British butter and golden syrup (Sorry but I can’t do the toffee sauce but that didn’t stop Beau and Darcey demolishing it on their ice cream. Are you supposed to squeeze it directly onto a spoon before you put it on your gob? No, I didn’t think so, but that’s what I found them doing one afternoon during the Christmas holidays- I hope our dentist isn’t reading this!)

There’s also a mango and passionfruit sauce. How did I miss that off my list?

To top it all off.

Don’t you just love these cell sprinkles with the 3-4 compartments with different colours and designs? They’re the perfect store cupboard essential. I tested the Princess ice cream sprinkles with pink hearts and dots sprinkles (my fav) and the mixed sprinkles with mini chocolate sweets and 100’s and thousands. Although they are ice cream toppers, they obviously make perfect cupcake and cookie toppers too.

I tested just two types of sprinkles but there are tons in the range, including the mini pots of toppers (see below). This is where you can really go to town. There’s micro marshmallows, jelly beans (in cherry, lemon & lime, banana, raspberry, strawberry and orange flavours), mini meringues, chocolate orange fudge, shortcake balls, caramel fudge…..shall I go on? There’s more! The world is your ice cream oyster.

Chocolate heaven

The only things I haven’t tried out yet are the Morello Cherry & William pear compote and the Belgian chocolate ganache sauce. I’m saving them for a cake I am making next week. I can’t wait. They look so good.

Tesco Sprinkles

Sprinkle trouble

Now, when these arrived Beau helped me open the package up. That’s where I went wrong. Letting a 9 year old see a small tub of jelly beans and chocolate covered shortbread would be pester power out of control enough, but when it came to the micro marshmallows I was in big trouble. You see I had lots of baking to do for Christmas and I wasn’t going to have five minutes to do any additional blogging, so the whole collection just sat on the kitchen worktop (accidentally) teasing her. Every single day she asked if she could have them. “Not until I have taken shots of them and done some baking with them” I would say. To which I was greeted with a lot of huffing and puffiing!  Then on Christmas day I broke my camera! More delay!

Beau had to wait a WHOLE WEEK! to eat them!!! I think it’s a new form of kiddie torture!  Just look at what happened the day we were due to bake with them. I borrowed my sisters camera (thanks Shell) and her son and we made biscuits. The shot below was taken before any biscuits went into the oven. Beau just couldn’t wait any longer! What a cruel Mamma I am.

Needless to say I used about 5 micro marshmallows on one cookie and she ate the rest! I think they were a hit!

Tesco sprinkles

We made vanilla cookies and chocolate cookies and I let Beau, Darcey and my nephew Asher go to town with the icing. Then the toppers came out to play. This is when the fun really started. Here are just a few that they made. (there were over 50) A good time was had by all, but I think I shall ‘play’ with the chocolate ganache and compote when the kids are in bed. I’m not sharing that!

Beau's cookies

Ice cream sauces are £ 1.49 each, Ice cream sprinkles from £ 2.19, Mini topper tubs 89p each, Chocolate ganache £ 2, Compote, £2, all available from Tesco.com from January 14th. Enjoy.

EmmaMT

Happy New year

Well this is a first. I’m blogging in the car on our way to Hertfordshire for a New Years Eve dinner with our lovely friends. (Tim’s driving- obviously)

I’ve made a kid friendly chocolate cake, a very adult tiramisu ( thanks Frugal Feeding) and we have wine, champagne and Dr Pepper so were set.

All that’s left to do is wish you all an AMAZING 2013. I know it’s going to be a good year.

See you on the other side.

Love

EmmaMT
xXx

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Fail safe Donut recipe for Channuka

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Last week my sister asked me if I was making donuts for Channuka. They’re the traditional cake for this festival and I’ve not got a good track record with them. But, this year is different. I’m not frying them -which means the batter isn’t getting welded onto my hob and they aren’t going to end up so hard that you need a drill to break them up! That’s all in the past.

This year I have gone to my reliable friends at Lakeland and used not only their fantastic mini donut mould but their recipe too! Just look at the results. Mouth watering aren’t they?

donut recipe
Such a bargain at £4.99

Donut ingredients

FOR 12 DOUGHNUTS

  • 75g (2½oz) plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 55g (2oz) caster sugar
  • 60ml (2¼fl oz) milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp olive oil (If preferred 10g (½oz) melted butter may be added in place of the olive oil)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Extra sugar for dusting

How to make donuts

IMG_2699Pre-heat the oven to 325°F/160°C/Gas 3. Lightly brush the doughnut pan with cooking oil.

IMG_2703Take a large roomy bowl, and sift the flour, baking powder and salt into it. Add the sugar and give it a stir round to combine.

IMG_2704In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, beaten egg, olive oil and vanilla extract together and add this to the dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly.

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Mix till it looks like a smooth batter

IMG_2711Using a teaspoon carefully fill each of the doughnut cups around ¾ full with the batter. I used an icing bag because I make a lot of mess!

IMG_2712 IMG_2713Place in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, or until firm, but springy to the touch. Cool slightly.

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The best thing about these silicon moulds is how easy it is to make your donuts pop out effortlessly! Just a gentle press from beneath et Voila! IMG_2720

Leave to cool if you are adding chocolate ganache or dip in a mix of sugar and cinnamon straight away. IMG_2722

I made a lot of the chocolate ones…..

Make sure you put some greaseproof paper underneath your cooling rack to catch the dribbles.
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But the cinnamon ones were pretty delish too!

You don’t have to use a silicon mould. I did a trial run in a small cupcake tin and they popped up really well too. Just make sure you oil the tin really well.  I’m going to attempt to put some jam in these later on today when there are no kids that I have to share with! donut recipe

Happy Channuka everyone! 

Squires Kitchen ‘BAKE School’ magazine review

Have you seen this magazine on the shelves yet? I got my hands on the second issue this week and it’s really, really good. I don’t buy many baking magazines – if I started I don’t think I’d stop and what with all the interiors titles I buy for work I’d be drowning in piles and piles of paper!

Squires kitchen, for those of you who don’t know, is a baking shop/school/ haven. It’s based in Farnham in Surrey and has people coming from all over the world to learn how to master the art of decorating cakes and cookies, modelling, sugarcrafting and much, much more. Their baking ingredients and equipment are so readily available the chances are you already have a ton of it in your baking cupboard without even realising it. They have had a fantastic  Wedding magazine for a while but this new ‘Bake school’ is right up my street and so probably yours too.

So what’s in it?

Recipes to start with, and lots and lots of them. Most are by the Squires tutors but there’s also a few experts thrown in for good measure, Mary Berry, Edd Kimber and Carlos Lischetti to name but a few. There are also tons and tons of tips. Really simple things that make a difference to being a successful baker. How to line a cake tin, how to colour icing, how to pipe a cupcake, which nozzle give which effect etc

The features in this issue

Biscuits

There are loads of recipes as well as beautiful decorating ideas from stencilling and embossing to flooding and stained glass effects

Cupcakes

Recipes including very vanilla, triple chocolate and some basic how to’s on piping buttercream to more complex designs. I love the butterfly cupcakes with the iced cookies in them and the cupcakes that really look like roses. They’re incredible.

Cakes

Raspberry Victoria Sponge anyone? Or a pretty layered cake, like the one on the cover? Yes, please!  There are also some dairy free, wheat and gluten cakes as well.

Chocolate

Well what can I say. You will want to make all of these recipes from Mud cake to chocolate chilli cupcakes, Chocolate fondant puddings to chocolate and walnut brownies to name but a few.

Dessert

I love desserts. In fact I nearly love them more than cakes – but don’t tell anyone! This is one chapter that I have folded down the page corners on every page! Swiss Meringues that are so pretty, Eaton Mess Meringue cakes, Mango tart, yum, yum, yum!

Bread

I’ve only recently discovered the fun of baking bread. I have loved making pizza bases this week. They are so much better than shop bought ones. George Thomopoulos, Squires expert bread baker, shares his tried and tested recipes for brown malted loaf, bloomer and rolls and Focaccia – this is what I’m making next.

Also worth checking out ….

  • Susanna Righetto’s sugarcraft flowers. You could sell them in a florists shop they look so real.
  • The interview with Edd Kimber, winner of the first series of The Great British Bake off.
  • Plum chutney and a jam recipe to accompany other recipes.
  • In the kitchen with Carlos Lischetti – this man makes models from modelling clay that are incredible. They are so beautiful you could put them on a shelf as an ornament. They are the epitome of perfect.

Bake school is available from WHSMith, Sainsbury’s and selected newsagents for £5.99 or you can buy it directly from the Squires on line shop, but beware, you’ll come away with a lot more than you bargained for if you let yourself loose in the shop. It’s a treasure trove of baking goodies!

Do you buy baking magazines? Which ones are your favorites and why? I’d love to know what to look out for.

enjoy!

Cakes Espanol!

We’ve just returned from a relaxing holiday in Mallorca. It was lovely to be just the four of us as we haven’t been away without friends or family for years. It was absolutely boiling and we returned to a freezing, wet London, but I have to say I was really happy to be home.

This was the first time that we had gone all-inclusive and I have to say that the food was pretty good. Tim and I set out with really good intentions. ‘We won’t drink too much, we won’t stuff our faces at every meal and we will be walking all over the place and be in the pool loads so we could make it quite a healthy break.’

That lasted 2 days!

You see the problem was that there were so many amazing desserts on offer (yes there was fresh fruit, but that just isn’t enough for me!) and when you consider that I eat continuously all day everyday at home I was getting pretty ratty. We worked it out that I wasn’t eating enough. No snacking between meals really isn’t for me! So, I went to check out the snacks on offer and there were these really cute, individually wrapped cakes and biscuits (I really wish I had taken a snap of them to show you) There were mini donuts – which Beau loved, swiss roll type cakes with the bottom dipped in chocolate which Darcey loved and made a lot of mess with in all that heat and then the pièce de résistance, puff pastry layered square cakes which were literally dripping in syrup. They were like Baklava.  I just couldn’t leave them alone! I have to say that Tim was really good and resisted all of them. He knows that once you start you can’t stop so he just didn’t start. Such will power!

So at every lunch and dinner there was a whole host of choices on offer -jelly, mouse, ice cream, dried fruit and then the cakes. Each meal had two cakes. We tried them all! Some we recognised, some we didn’t. The cream fillings were like that fake cream you get in cheap cakes and it was a bit sweet for us but the layers of sponges were incredibly light (and pink!)

One dessert that I couldn’t leave alone was the rice pudding. It was really deeelish. Lots of people were saying that they couldn’t face cold rice pudding but I loved it. It had cinnamon on the top and I had to limit myself to just one small spoonful each time. The apple pie was a bit too much pie and too little apple for me, but where they really excelled was the pastries.

The Mallorcan delicacy of the Ensaïmada de Mallorca. It tastes like a combination of croissant and brioche, but lighter. It’s baked in a large circle and then it cut up into pieces. You can have it plain, with a creme filling which was like a custard, chocolate filling or an almond centre. They all tasted great – every last one!

So now we are back and it’s nearly time to go back to school. I think a new fitness regime is in order…… or maybe just some more baking Mallorcan style!

enjoy! 

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