Recipe: S’mores Brownies

Yup, S’mores brownies. I’ll pause for a second to let that sink in.

smores-browniesS’mores brownies. Super fudgy chocolate brownies (with milk chocolate chips, because chocolate), baked on a digestive biscuit crust and topped with toasted mini marshmallows.

S’mores have been a major love of mine since my Girl Guide days. Contrary to popular belief, we never went camping camping, and our weekly base was in the town centre. That didn’t stop us having fire pits in the church-hall courtyard, and s’mores always made an appearance. We tended to go for the easy option of setting fire to toasting marshmallows and sandwiching between chocolate-covered digestive biscuits, though I’ve since discovered that spreading digestives with nutella is a rather delicious alternative. These brownies pretty much recreate those s’mores, but in a bigger and slightly more convenient way for eating in a ladylike fashion.

 photo Smores Brownie 3_zpsblhgp7ea.jpg photo Smores Brownie 6_zpsvzlee95q.jpgI was originally invited by The Co-Op to do some spooky Halloween-themed baking, but a migraine put an end to that so we compromised on Bonfire Bakes instead – just as well as the marshmallows instead the box were crying out for a flame and some chocolate. With the inclusion of a free-from brownie mix, we set about recreating one of our favourite Autumnal treats.

The buttery biscuit base of these s’more brownies  is crispy and crumbly – and the flakes of sea salt running through (which was originally a total accident, I meant to grab the finely milled stuff) break things up, stopping it from being too sweet. Whilst we used a mix for the brownie layer, you could easily use any of your favourite recipes (even lighten it up with my lower-fat mayonnaise brownies – old post alert!). Last year W first created a s’more brownie and added a good measure of whisky to the brownies before baking, definitely worth a try… You underbake the brownies, even more so than usual, popping a good layer of mashmallows and then baking for a few minutes longer. If you liked the scorched effect, pop under the grill or a blowtorch for a few seconds too. Yum.

 photo Smores Brownie 1_zpshdmpguq3.jpg photo Smores Brownie 19_zpskt1ljroc.jpgIngredients

  • For the crust: 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, 8 digestives, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/3 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • For the brownies: use your favourite recipe designed for a 20cm square pan
  • A bag of mini marshmallows (around 100-150g)

To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 160°C and line an 20x20cm pan. Melt the butter in a small pan. Crush the biscuits (I find using a mini food processor the quickiest and tidiest way, though bashing with a rolling pin will always be a great stress reliever!), then mix with the sugar and salt. Pour in the melted butter and stir until well combined. Pour into the lined pan, and press evenly along the bottom and sides – the amounts here make for quite a thin base, but increase the proportions if you want more of a crunch. Bake for around 18-20 minutes until lightly golden and staring to crisp. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

To make the brownies: Increase the oven temperature to 180°C and prepare the brownie layer. As I said, we were lazy and used a mix but just go for your favourite recipe, adding whisky if you fancy. Pour the batter over the crust and spread out evenly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes depending on how gooey you like your brownies.

To make the marshmallow layer: Leave the oven on. Arrange the marshmallows over the top of the part-baked brownies. Continue to bake for 5 or so minutes, until the marshmallows are melted and light brown on top and the brownies are cooked to your liking. If you fancy the more charred marshmallow taste, grill or blowtorch for another minute. Just be careful if blowtorching – a quote from W: “I didn’t notice it was on fire…”

 photo Smores Brownie 13_zps3hwewmjj.jpg photo Smores Brownie 10_zpscwioytzb.jpgThese really are utterly delicious – sweet, sticky and insanely moreish. We’ve pretty much decided that making these will become a little bit of a Bonfire night tradition, as will wrapping them up and taking them with us to watch a local fireworks display. S’mores brownies. I want s’more right now…

What’s your favourite Autumnal treat? Did you celebrate Bonfire Night?

Recipe: Dad’s Malteser Blondies

Whilst I wish, wish, wish I could take credit for this, unfortunately I can’t. I come from a family who all make delicious baked goods. My Grandma’s Treacle Tart is delicious, my mum’s scones are pretty much perfect (I’m hopeful of publishing her recipe soon), and my dad’s traybakes are legendary.

 photo Malteaser Blondies_zps5uh8bd53.jpg photo Malteaser Blondies 3_zpsacpcitnf.jpgAnd this is one of his best recipes. The blondie has the texture of that perfect brownie, with the sweetness from the white chocolate. The maltiness of the Maltesers breaks up this sweetness, stopping it from becoming cloying. The drizzle adds an extra chocolate hit. Because chocolate. Obviously. The centre is deliciously soft and gooey (my favourite), though the outer pieces have that crisp edge if that’s more your cup of tea. All I know is that these go down extremely well at charity bake sales. At least, the pieces that make it out of the house do…

Weirdly, I don’t actually enjoy Maltesers on their own, but I adore these. Don’t get my wrong, I think Maltesers are damn yummy, but for some reason they make me cough uncontrollably. Baking seems to alleviate this problem, so clearly I’m destined to eat lots of this Malteser Blondie!

When creating the spread for our engagement party over the weekend, we took inspiration from the Bake Box boxes* that I’ve been receiving over the past few months. It’s always a good day for post when I receive one of these! Whilst my dad’s usual way of decorating freehand suits these blondies perfectly, the ‘Spots & Stripes‘ box* helped neaten it up a bit. I think the stripes from the drizzle and the spots from the maltesers fit the theme perfectly! We also used the Flower Power box – stay tuned to hear about that one…

 photo Malteaser Blondies 4_zpsnp9lhbvi.jpgIngredients

  • 100g white chocolate, chopped, plus a little extra for drizzling
  • 125g unsalted butter, diced
  • 225g light soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, beaten together
  • 150g flour
  • 4 tbsp Horlicks
  • 1 big sharing bag of Maltesers
  • 60g milk chocolate, chopped

Melt 100g white chocolate and the butter gently together, stir until smooth and fully mixed, and leave to cool slightly. Add the sugar, vanilla extract and beaten eggs to the mix and stir well to combine. Sift the flour and Horlicks into the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Fold in 100g Maltesers and the milk chocolate and spoon into a greased and lined tin (20cm square is my brownie preference!). Bake at 170C for 35-40 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin.

Melt the remaining white chocolate. Meanwhile, lightly crush the rest of the Maltesers. Drizzle over a little of the the melted white chocolate. Then scatter over the crushed Maltesers, and finish with the remaining melted chocolate. Cool, then cut into squares.

 photo Malteaser Blondies 2_zpsdhjgnifc.jpg photo Malteaser Blondies 5_zps24hzzkjn.jpgThen all that’s left to do is sneak off with a piece or three, hide away on a sofa with a good book and a cuppa, and enjoy. Because these are quite honestly some of the best blondies I’ve tasted…

What’s your favourite chocolate treat?

Baking: Autumnal Blackberry Brownies

 photo 3cc0736f-e26a-4a47-a57a-21e10786dc75_zps27620964.jpgI love autumn. I can’t be the only one who’s starting to long for pretty scarves, chunky knits, and lovely boots. Actually, I’m not longing for boots as I can’t find any that fit – if anyone knows of any affordable wide-calf-narrow-foot brands I’ll pay with brownies… On my walk to and from walk I pass by a long hedgerow that’s absolutely brimming with blackberries and plums. Sounds idyllic, although the reality is it’s right next to a trainline, and right under Gatwick’s flight path. But for those few moments I could be on a country walk, and so after a week of waiting for blackberries to ripen (and moaning when others got there first) I came home with a small handful. A good wash and they were as good as any I’ve picked from a field.

 photo 2014-08-21083403_zps5a2e9b2d.jpg photo 2014-08-21083320_zpsd8818175.jpg photo 2014-08-18083254_zpsfe4444fd.jpgI debated making a crumble, but lack of ripe fruit meant that was a no-go, and I wanted something I could share. Half my love of baking is sharing the goods around, so a crumble doesn’t really fit the bill. Then I remember the raspberry cheesecake brownies from Edinburgh, and decided to do something similar. Sans cheesecake.

 photo ed98a75c-345b-40ed-903b-fe6668b4059e_zpsdc01713c.jpgI ended up loving the combination of dark, fudgy chocolate brownie with the burst of sharp blackberry, the crunch of the seeds adding a welcome element too. The brownie mix is adapted from my Mayonnaise Brownies; I’ve made it simpler, easier, less washing up. Whilst here I did add a little nutella, I’m not too sure its necessary, and if I’m honest these were a little too fudgy. Just use your judgement – if its looking dry, add nutella!

I’m now convincing myself that using a low-fat brownie mix, and adding fruit, means it’s acceptable to eat four of these in a day. Agreed? Here’s the recipe to convince you…

Ingredients

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 pinch of baking powder
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 220g sugar
  • 1/3 mug of hot water
  • 1 egg
  • 150g mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tsp of nutella, if needed
  • 1 handful of blackberries, though I wish I’d had more!

 photo 2014-08-20182138_zpsdc448439.jpgMelt your chocolate in the microwave, and leave to cool.

 photo 2014-08-20182641_zpsd25ae499.jpgMeanwhile mix the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and sugar together in a bowl.

 photo a041942d-61ec-41a9-94e0-eac3006540df_zps5ca06735.jpg photo 3274b40a-e9a9-4d6d-92b8-2f3003c99040_zps3071bb9c.jpg photo cfb47624-4c67-4915-91b5-6c9e98e79c28_zps24c6b28a.jpgOnce the chocolate is cool, pour it into the dry mix, along with the mayonnaise and egg. Mix together, don’t overbeat. Add the water gradually until you have a gunge-y mix – add nutella if necessary.

 photo 3cc0736f-e26a-4a47-a57a-21e10786dc75_zps27620964.jpgStir through your blackberries, tip into a prepared tin (lined and greased – or just covered in tin foil if you’re lazy like me) and bake at 180C for 25-ish minutes.

 photo c987daed-3407-4bbc-97ed-1057a80e6e3e_zps3986e105.jpgAs with all brownies, do your best to wait until they are completely cool before cutting, or they will fall apart. Then stuff your face with five of them. After all, they are pretty damn healthy 😉
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Are you an Autumn lover?

Baking: ‘Lighter’ Ferrero Rocher Brownie Cupcakes

 photo 2014-02-25094524_zpsea14e6ce.jpgAfter reading Rachel’s post about her delicious healthier brownies I knew I just had to give them a try. She posts some fabulous recipes, I always enjoy reading her posts (recently I’ve been craving waffles and frites – all because of her blog!) and I had all of the ingredients. It was the question of when, not if, was I making these. However I decided to be far more naughtier than Rachel – I swapped out the peanut butter for nutella, and added a Ferrero Rocher to each brownie-cupcake. In my defense I’m trying to use up all of my leftover Christmas chocolate before replacing it with Easter Eggs, so I had an ulterior motive for the Ferrero Rocher part!

 photo 2014-02-25082051_zps76ee90f1.jpgThe brownie element of these cupcakes is great – really moist and chocolatey. I’ll definitely be experimenting with this recipe more – and I’ll definitely give the peanut butter a go too! Best thing is the recipe is ridiculously easy, so I suggest you give it a go! I used a few different things in my recipe as I found them easier to find, so I hope Rachel doesn’t mind me posting my method here!

Ingredients (Makes 12 Cupcakes)

  • 175g greek yoghurt
  • 85g milk – I used hazelnut milk
  • 1 egg
  • a pinch of salt
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 90g cocoa powder
  • 50g porridge oats
  • 100g nutella (or cheaper alternative!)
  • 12 Ferrero Rocher (for your  information the white ones are amazing – far too good to be used in baking)

Now its time to make Ferrero Rocher Brownie Cupcakes!

 photo 2014-02-25084852_zps19a1ac89.jpgAdd all of the ingredients (except from the Ferrero Rocher) to a blender, and whizz until smooth. The mixture will be very runny (far runnier than you would expect!) but don’t worry, this is totally fine.

 photo 2014-02-25085734_zps2d8c915e.jpgHalf fill cupcake cases with the mixture, and place a Ferrero Rocher in the centre of each.

 photo 2014-02-25094524_zpsea14e6ce.jpg Bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes until just firm. Keep an eye on them, as the Ferrero Rocher did tend to burn a little!

 photo 2014-02-25094542_zpsd747d8b3.jpgThese are great at room temperature or warmed up slightly, but be warned – the Ferrero Rocher make them very messy to eat! And thats it; very easy and slightly healthy Ferrero Rocher Brownie Cupcakes. Enjoy them!

What do you like to add to your brownies?

Baking: Mayonnaise Brownies

Remember this brownie post, where I compared some of the brownie recipes I’ve tried? And this one, where I made amazingly good peanut butter brownies? Well tonight I whipped up some healthy-ish brownies for a friends birthday treat, using her favourite food – mayonnaise. I’ve made these multiple times before, and they are a pretty fail-safe recipe. As long as you don’t overcook them (a hideous crime to brownies!), they always seem to work well.

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I’ve based mine on this recipe, but made it a little more budget friendly – what student really has several types of sugar (even though I do quite a bit of baking, I only ever buy cheapy cheap granulated and soft dark brown types) and buttermilk. You can make your own buttermilk by ‘curdling’ normal milk using lemon juice but (1) I’ve never tried it, (2) it doesn’t really appeal to me, and (3) I’m trying to avoid *too much* dairy at the moment.

If you are a brownie addict and looking for a less-sinful version to snack on, look no further. If you have mayonnaise to use up, try this. If you just want an easy no fuss, no beating with electric whisks (as in my all time favourites) brownie recipe, then this is definitely one for you. Let me know if you try it!

Ingredients

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  • 100g of (preferably dark) chocolate
  • 80g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 80g granulated sugar
  • 60g soft brown sugar
  • 1/3 of a mug of coffee – made black, and very strong (I used two teaspoons)
  • 1 egg
  • 100g of mayonnaise (I bought  big jar of Aldi’s own brand for 40p)
  • Extras – chopped nuts, or chopped chocolate (or anything else you fancy) – I went for chopped milk chocolate as that’s all I had, but white chocolate works very well

Turning these rather odd ingredients into yummy brownies…

Preheat the oven to 180C. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, then leave to cool slightly. Weigh out the other ingredients whilst it cools, or do some of the reading you’re meant to be doing.

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In another bowl, mix together the flour and cocoa powder.

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By now your chocolate should have cooled! Add the sugars to the chocolate, mixing well. It will look gritty and not particularly pleasant.

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Gradually add the coffee and it should look something like this:

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Then add your beaten egg and mayonnaise. Mix in your extras at this point too. Mmm chocolate…

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Gradually sift in the flour/cocoa mix. In between siftings, fold the mix together gently. Eventually it will look all fudgy and yummy;

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Put the mix into a baking tin I should have told you to prepare earlier (it needs to be greased/lined). Ease into the corners and smooth down the top. I recommend NOT licking out the bowl in this recipe – you will taste the mayonnaise in the raw mix.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes (there should be a slight wobble in the middle). Then turn the oven off, and leave to cool in there. This works perfectly for me everytime when making brownies, especially with a temperamental oven.

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Once completely and utterly cool, remove from the tin and cut into pieces – I got 12 good size pieces out of this amount of ingredients, but this recipe is excellent for scaling up. I’ve made it for parties before and it’s gone down very well!

Now all that’s left is to enjoy, and feel slightly smug that you’ve made a healthier version of something totally yummy.

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Do you have any tips for making ‘naughty’ recipes healthier?

Baking: Peanut Butter Snickers Brownies

Another baking post for you! Anyone would think this is turning into a food blog, but that isn’t really the case…much as I love food I still want to keep this as much of a lifestyle blog as I can manage. Food is just a big part of my lifestyle…

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Anyway, this recipe has quickly proved to make a favourite baked good of mine. These brownies are rich, gooey, crunchy from the snickers, with a savoury hint coming from the peanut butter. Wonderful on their own, but spectacular warned with Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream. Diet = ruined.

 

I will say is that the snickers did make this very unstable and virtually impossible to cut. The crunchiness of the nuts is a pretty key part of the finished bake, but I’m not sure whether Snickers bars is the best way to achieve this. I plan to make another batch trialling a slightly different method, which I will blog about in due course. I will also add my method of using tins is slightly odd – I always line with tinfoil and grease this, then add greaseproof paper. Mainly as it eases the washing up…

 

So, here is the recipe for some of the best brownies I have ever eaten. Gooey, crunchy, chocolatey and salty. If you ever bake one thing from this site, make it these!

I made these as part of a bunch of presents for my lovely old boyfriend, for our third (yep, third – sickenly loved-up couple alert – but happy anniversary again my lovely!) anniversary of being together. His reaction was pretty impressive, so I think he liked them. They have been greatly appreciated by parents and housemates alike (and also travelled the five, yes five, thanks Southeastern Trains, hour journey to said boyfriend in a suitcase relatively unscathed) so would be great to make when meeting new people, having family visit, or for sending home in the hope of a fund relieving cheque in return…

 

Ingredients

  • Brownie mix (I used this recipe, as it is my go to for brownies. I also like this slightly healthier one, but I admit to using Tesco’s “just add water” mix on occasion, as baking ingredients can be expensive!)
  • Peanut Butter (around two tablespoons, smooth seems to work better in baking)
  • Snickers bars (I used three snack sized bars)

 

Method

  • Preheat your oven to around 180C.
  • Chop your snickers into rough chunks.

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  • Once your brownie mix is made up, stir through your chopped up Snickers, and add roughly half the mix to your prepared tin.

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  • Warm your peanut butter slightly in the microwave to make it a little runny (photo is before microwaving!).

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  • Add around half of your peanut butter over your brownies, trying to drizzle it evenly over the mix.

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  • Add the rest of the brownie mix, and drizzle over the rest of the peanut butter. Smooth the top down.

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  • Bake for 20-25 mins, turning if your oven cooks unevenly. If it is slightly underdone when you check it, my tip is to turn the oven off and leave to cool in the oven. It should finish it off nicely.

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  • Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin and cutting. If you do this while they are still warm, so know from experience that you will just make a mess.
  • Now sit and eat, preferably with a class of milk or a cup of tea. Oh, and although the snickers might make the base sticky, it means great pickings for the baker…

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This post has made me so hungry, I think I might need to go and steal another from the boyfriend… If you liked this post, check out my brownie post here. Also look at my take on The Londoner’s Banana and Nutella Muffins, and my Citrus Drizzle Cupcakes.