Recently I had a 9pm craving for brownies, and it was a craving that only good, proper brownies would cure. The problem? I had no chocolate in, and all my brownie recipes utilise melted chocolate (and a lot of it!). Knowing that not eating a brownie would result in an all-out brownie blow-out as soon as I got to a shop next, I set about throwing some bits and pieces together.
The result was these – rich, moist and extremely chocolatey brownies. They have the papery thin crust that only proper brownies develop, a chewy edge and fudgy centre. This amount of cocoa-sugar does make for quite a dark-bitter brownie, so add in a little sugar (or milk/white chocolate chips!) if you have a sweeter tooth. Trust me when I say it; these were a big hit when I carted them halfway up the country to visit W!
Ingredients (makes 6 decently sized brownies)
70g salted butter, melted (coconut oil also works, though does make the brownie slightly oiler)
35g cocoa powder (I’ve been using some raw, unprocessed, unrefined stuff – it’s insanely rich and chocolatey!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Any additions – I highly recommend cocoa nibs for a not-too-naughty chocolate kick
Combine the melted butter with the sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract, adding a tiny drop of milk. Let cool slightly, then beat in the egg before folding in the flour. Stir through your additions, then pour into a lined baking dish. Bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes, then cool completely before slicing.
Enjoy cold with a glass of milk or (my ultimate indulgence) warmed with a little ice-cream. You can’t beat a warm, gooey brownie topped with some smooth salted caramel ice-cream!
Are you a lover of chocolate brownies? What’s your go-to recipe?
Baking is something that’s taken a bit of a backseat at the moment. With plenty of ‘exams disguised as coursework’ to prep for, job applications and trying to enjoy final year, finding time to cook myself dinner can sometimes be difficult. To bake something is pretty much impossible right now – so to find a recipe like this that requires virtually no prep, no baking, and hardly any washing up? A dream, especially when the results are so yummy.
This is perfect for afternoons where I want a five minute break from studying mortality models and predicting future lifetime (yep, seriously). It gives me those few minutes to concentrate on something else and fill the house with the delicious smell of melting chocolate, then something yummy to nibble on in the evening. It’s also perfect as a little gift – handy for forgetful moments next week! Oh, and it’s super simple too…
Ingredients (fills an individual lasagna sized tin);
150g chocolate (I use the cheap 30p chocolate)
75g unsalted butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
100g digestive biscuits (I use ASDA Smartprice half-covereds)
2-3 treat-sized bags of Maltesers
Crush the biscuits – either pop into a plastic bag and whack with a rolling pin, or cheat like me and whizz in a food processor. Crush up a bag or two of Malteasers with the biscuits too. Throw the butter, chocolate and golden syrup into a pan and heat over a low heat – stir continuously until melted and smooth.
Tip in the biscuit crumbs, stir well and tip into a tin lined with greaseproof paper. Push extra whole malteasers into the top to decorate, then pop in the fridge until set. Slices into small squares – perfect with a cuppa or a glass of cold milk! Told you this malteaser fridge cake recipe was easy!
Have you done any baking lately? What’s your favourite quick recipe?
I’ve never been a huge fan of sweet things, much preferring a bit of cheese or a packet of crisps to a handful of biscuits. I do, however, have a weakness for proper, good, decent quality chocolate. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bar of Dairy Milk as much as the next girl, I’d struggle to say no to a Snickers. But if you really want to get me going, proper chocolate is the only way.
When W first moved to Loughborough for university we quickly found Chocolate Alchemy. It’s still there and still does the job for a quick fix, but the love put into the chocolate seems to have died slightly. It’s been two years now, but we’ve finally paid original owner Pete a visit in Leicester.
Let’s just say, it won’t be another two years before we visit again!
Cocoa Amore is everything we missed about the original ‘Lufbra Chocolate Shop.’ The atmosphere is friendly, relaxed and chilled, the whole place smells of chocolate. We were hoping to try some more of the savoury options that we’d heard about, but seemingly none were available on the Saturday we visited – so chocolate for lunch it was!
We had a quick fight over who would get the ‘egg and soldiers’ but W won that one – he was served toasted brioche soldiers, and a white chocolate egg filled with passionfruit curd. This is the perfect combination of rich chocolate and sharp fruit – it’s one of Pete’s signature dishes and I’m so glad it’s still on the menu.
I went for a warm chocolate brownie, remembering how good the ones used to be at Chocolate Alchemy. It did’t disappoint – this is my perfect brownie. Slightly crunchy on the edges, gooey in the middle, and immensely chewy – and ridiculously chocolatey and rich. It was served with the some divine pistachio ice-cream and honeycomb pieces. I pretty much scoffed the lot.
If that wasn’t enough chocolate, we each ordered a chocolate drink. Their house hot chocolates are made with your choice of milk, white or dark chocolate, slowly melted into milk. I went for a milk chocolate version, with W going dark – both were delicious, thick and creamy. Oh, and each drink allowed the choice of a truffle too. I went for a praline (if in doubt, get me praline truffles – I LOVE them!), W went for a homemade peanut butter cup. We may have bought a selection of truffles home too…
Cocoa Amore really does offered some of the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted. With our total bill coming to £16 (including a take-home bag) it’s a total bargain too. Well worth the trip into Leicester, we won’t be leaving it so long before our next visit!
Are you a chocolate lover? What’s always your first pick out of a box of chocolates?
Or, how many popular food trends can I get into one blog post. Because yep, these are vegan. The ‘jam’ is raw. The ‘jam’ uses chia seeds. The only reason vegan is in inverted commas here is due to the fact that I used normal, albeit lactose free, milk. And didn’t check my chocolate label. They work fabulously with dairy-free milk, and I’m sure if you are actually fussed about the vegan-ness you can grab some suitable chocolate.
For the budgeters out there, Sainsbury’s 35p Basics white chocolate works perfectly well. And coconut oil doesn’t have to be expensive either, I’ve finally tracked some some branded by KTC, its stocked in the World Foods section of big supermarkets and is a purse-friendly £2.55 for a BIG jar. Far cheaper than anywhere else I’ve tried. Chia seeds are expensive anywhere but Whole Foods, where a decent size packet costs under £2. So with this and the rapsberries its not the cheapest of brunches. But it’s damn yummy…
The raw raspberry jam is a bit of a relevation for me. I’m not a huge lover of regular jams, finding them sticky, sweet and not tart enough. This is slightly more of a coulis texture, but it is satisfyingly sharp, a hint of sweetness and almost pure raspberry flavour. Best of all there’s no faffing with making it, and it keeps in the fridge for a few days.
The white chocolate pancakes are sweet, slightly chocolatey and surprisingly light considering their ingredients list. They do, however, burn easily whilst taking a while to cook. Not one to make when lacking patience (ahem…). These were inspiring by a recipe from Miel Cafe, but I’ve altered them to cut down the sugar slightly. Despite this mine are still super sweet!
Ingredients (to serve two generously)
For the jam – 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, two tablespoons of water, a small handful of raspberries
For the pancakes – 80g white chocolate, 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 100g of plain flour and up 90ml milk (dairy, soya, almond etc), a teeny tiny pinch of salt
Start by making the jam. Soak the chia seeds in the water for at least ten minutes. Then tip into a blender (I used a mini food chopper) with the raspberries and blitz until it’s your preferred consistency. Transfer to a jar and pop in the fridge.
For the pancakes, melt 50g of the white chocolate in a bowl, along with the coconut oil. Chop the rest of the chocolate into small chunks. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the chocolatey-oil and mix well. Loosen with milk, a little at a time, until you have a pancake-like mixture. It shouldn’t be as thin as a crepe mixture, you’re looking for something similar to an American pancake mix.
Heat some oil on a low heat, and add a little pancake mix. Sprinkle over a few chocolate chunks immediately, then leave until the underside is golden. Flip (careful – they are a little more fragile that normal pancakes), cook until the other side matches, then keep warm until all the mix is used. Serve your vegan white chocolate pancakes with the raw raspberry jam and any spare chocolate chunks.
They might be a bit cliche now, but I could totally get on the vegan bandwagon if it involved dishes like this! I’m not a huge advocate of the raw trend in general (I do like my food cooked!), but I can see the benefit in things like this. The raw jam is just so much fresher!
What’s your favourite foodie ‘trend’? Are you a pancake fan?
You might have got the impression yesterday, but just to make it clear: I LOVE CREME EGGS.
I’ve never been hugely tempted by creme egg brownies. They are fine on their own, and brownies are perfect as they are (they are my go-to bake if I’m honest). But this year I’m unimpressed with the lack of dairy milk in creme eggs, and found myself not really wanting to eat my stash. So creme egg brownies it is.
Being on a diet, I did just my mayonnaise recipe, which tbh is a damn good brownie recipe. I made up the mix, baked for half the time, added in the creme eggs, and finished off baking. Pretty damn simple. And because the brownies were healthier ones, I added some mini eggs too. Because they are also one of my favourites. And I knew I wouldn’t need a whole bag so had an excuse to eat them.
These aren’t the most attractive of bakes, they are sickly sweet and best in small doses. But they cheer up a long afternoon, which is just what I needed this week – even a four day week seemed never-ending!
1 packet of mini eggs (you should have some left!)
Make up the mayonnaise brownies – melt the chocolate, stir through the sugar, gradually add the coffee until smooth. Beat egg and mayo together, and stir into the chocolate mixture. Mix flour and cocoa powder, fold into the chocolate-mayonnaise goo.
Bake the brownie mix at 180C for 12 minutes. Add the eggs – push in as much as possible without burning yourself. Bake for another 8-10 minutes. I left my brownies fudgy and underbaked, but add a little more flour and bake for a little longer for cakier versions.
Cool complete, they slice into small squares. I like my Creme Egg Brownies best with a glass of milk and a good book.
Have you baked with creme eggs before? What are your plans for Easter weekend?
This was just meant to be a Red Velvet cake, but it came out dense, fudge-y and very Brownie like – so it’s a Brownie cake. To be honest it’s not even particularly red (damn cheap food colouring!) so you could leave the ‘red’ part out and just make a delicious brownie cake…
I found this recipe particularly easy to make up – no idea why as I’m usually a bit more cautious with baked goods. At dinner time I can happily throw in this, add a bit of that, and feel confident knowing that it won’t be (too) disgusting. To be honest baking scares me in that it is more of an exact science. But I managed this, it worked well, and whilst I won’t use red food colouring in it again, it makes a damn delicious cake. The frosting was pretty yummy too – fresher than normal buttercream, but still sweet and indulgent. The sugar hearts were my nod to Valentine’s – there’s absolutely no need for them, but even I’m impressed with how pretty my Valentine’s cake looks!
For the icing: 100g very soft butter, 200g cream cheese, 500g icing sugar, and a drop of vanilla extract
Beat the butter until light, then add the sugar and vanilla extract. Keep beating until light and fluffy – I find beating the butter on it’s own first makes this a lot easier. Beat in the eggs a bit at a time.
Mix the food colouring with the yoghurt, and beat this into the cake mixture. Stir the flour in gradually, followed by the cocoa powder.
Pour into two (lined and greased – thanks W!) deep sandwich tins and bake at 175C for about 30 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Whilst the cake is cooling, make the icing. Beat the butter until light, then beat in the cream cheese. It’s really, really, really important to beat the butter first – I didn’t, and hence had little buttery lumps throughout the icing. Gradually beat in the icing sugar, and then the vanilla extract. Keep beating until frosting-like…then use it to sandwich your cooled cakes together, and decorate the top and sides.
Add heart-shaped sprinkles if you wish! Then cut a big slab, make a cuppa, snuggle under a blanket, grab a book and enjoy. And remember, for a post-Valentine’s treat, there’s the Hungry House’s promotion currently running, whereby any takeaway order placed on hungryhouse of £15 or more will bag you a movie or TV show from CinemaNow. Me and W treated ourselves last friday (thanks Hungry House!) to a delicious curry followed by The Sex Tape – a hilarious and light-hearted film.
Disclaimer: I was provided with some baking goods as part of the Baking Mad campaign, which I genuinely used in this recipe. All opinions are my own, as always, and no money exchanged hands.
Have your ever made a Red Velvet cake? Baked anything recently? I’m on the lookout for healthier bakes so send me links!
Trying to make the post of our weekends together is getting a little more difficult for myself and boyfriend. He’s entering a busy period at university, lots of project deadlines, lots of group meetings, and I’m undergoing a relatively large project at work. If we know we’ve got a busy weekend, we’ll agree to go out for just a few hours with no distractions. The time means we focus on each other rather than anything else (an important thing in a long distance relationship!), and generally pack those hours with fun and (usually) yummy food.
Last time I saw him we decided to head into the countryside (along with our good friend Howard) for a little afternoon snack at a local ‘garden centre.’ Beckworth Emporium is so much more than a typical garden centre, with a pretty cool farm shop, lots of gifts, the usual plants, and an impressive eating area. I’m desperate to go for afternoon tea one day, but they look huge. I struggled with the relatively small one I had earlier in the year, so I reckon this would defeat me!
I ordered their Ultimate Hot Chocolate with Cream and Marshmallows, alongside their Chocolate & Salted Caramel cake. It might have been chocolate overload, and I might have been on a sugar high for the next few hours, but I have no regrets. Their hot chocolates is one of the best around. Not too rich, but chocolatey and none of the powdery nonsense in the bottom of the cup. The cake was pretty special too. Moist, rich, with a sweet icing just offset enough by the saltiness of the caramel. A huge and generous slice too, you certainly get your monies worth at Beckworth!
The boys had tea and scones. I’m not really a scone person, but they had no complaints. There was the usual debate over whether to jam them cream, or cream then jam – any advice on this?!
I’m hoping to head back to Beckworth Emporium closer to Christmas – they have an ice rink, with incredibly pricing skating lessons. I’ve always loved ice skating, but have next to no confidence, so I’m thinking of going for a lesson or two in the hope of stopping me from holding onto the side. Ice skating followed by hot chocolate, sounds good to me! Now a cheeky request- I’d love it if you could vote for me in the 2015 UK Blog Awards. I’m lucky enough be in the Food, Young Bloggers (not too sure where this entry is) and Lifestyle categories! And if you vote for me I’ll post out cake… 😉
Where’s your favourite place to go for ‘tea’ and cake?
Looking back I didn’t visit the Chocolate Cafe in my second year at university, which is strange because I loved it in my first year. Me and my boyfriend would go on an evening, after a meal out, and cuddle up on one of the many armchairs dotted around. Chatting and catching up, coupled with hot chocolate. The waffles made it just about perfect.
When I went to visit my university girls last weekend (I miss them so much!) the Chocolate Cafe was number one on our list for eats. To be honest, I’d have loved a visit to Pork & Co too, but you can’t have everything. And I did go and buy five bags of pork scratchings…Anyway, the Chocolate Cafe it was, after a visit to the new Primark, and the accidental purchase of a new winter coat.
It being suddenly Autumn, suddenly cold, and suddenly very rainy (24 hours earlier I’d been in a pub garden in a t-shirt?!), we were rather hungry, so descended on the savoury items, and the cakes, and the drinks. I pushed the boat out – hot chocolate, mozzarella and prosciutto toastie, and a green tea cake. Others went slightly healthier, choosing tea or juice. But damn, that hot chocolate was worth it! Perfectly thick, almost like melted chocolate but a little more liquid, smooth, and a great chocolatey flavour without being too sweet. Yum. The sandwich was good for a place specialising in the sweet side of things, although it could have been a little hotter, and the cheese wasn’t melted enough. Yummy combination of flavours though, and packed with filling for the price.
Now my cake! Oh my cake. You probably can’t tell from these awful photos, complete with instagram filter (whoops!) but it was more cheesecake than cake. A light, slightly crunchy base, topped with a green tea cream, and then topped with a thick layer of white chocolate and lemon mousse. It was unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before, but it was utterly delicious. So light and refreshing, whilst being utterly indulgent.
Of course, I couldn’t stand paying by the chocolate display and not pick up a few, so I used “The Anniversary” as an excuse. I can’t remember what I picked out now, apart from a Blue Cheese and Walnut invention – so it’ll be a surprise when we dig in! We’ve eaten chocolates from there before in the past and they’ve delighted with their flavour combinations, so I’m looking forward to these. I’m hoping to have a few more chocolatey posts up over the next few weeks, as I’ve found some lovely little places which you *have* to visit!
Why have ordinary Millionaire’s Shortbread when you can add peanut butter? If you haven’t already guessed, I love the nutty, salty, crunchy spread, great on toast but it also makes a fabulous baking ingredient. I often find that traditional Millionaire’s Shortbread is too sweet and sickly for me, so I decided to make it more to my tastes by adding peanut butter. Of course, I then forget to sort out the caramel part, and this recipe was born. In fact I now prefer this one – not to mention it’s easier to make, less messy to eat andddd I can eat multiple pieces without feeling too sick. The perfect bake in my eyes…
I planned for this recipe to be mini – only making a few servings, so halved my existing shortbread recipe (it’s one I got in Food Tech when I was about 12) and used my smallest baking dish. Turns out I still got eight decent sized squared out of it so I’m going to give it to you in those quantities…
120g plain flour
2-3 tablespoons of peanut butter
Start by rubbing the flour and butter together, until it looks a bit breadcrumb-y like. It won’t be as breadcrumb-y as pastry as there’s a little more butter, but it should look something like my photos.
Add the sugar and rub that in too.
Tip into a tin (lined with tin foil if you are lazy about greasing) and use a spoon to press down and into the corners – you want it nice and compacted. Prick lightly with a fork. Bake at 160C for about 25 minutes, until crisp and lightly golden. Let cool.
Melt the peanut butter slightly and spread over the shortbread. This is where using crunchy peanut butter made things slightly tricky, so I’d suggest going with smooth. Then melt the chocolate, drizzle over and smooth out. Sprinkle over some peanuts – make some caramelised ones if you’re feeling fancy!
Thats it – simple, effective, yummy and perfect for sharing. Or eating by yourself whilst Bake Off is on, which wasn’t what I was doing last night…
I 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.
I 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.
I 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…
100g dark chocolate
150g plain flour
1 pinch of baking powder
50g cocoa powder
1/3 mug of hot water
1-2 tsp of nutella, if needed
1 handful of blackberries, though I wish I’d had more!
Melt your chocolate in the microwave, and leave to cool.
Meanwhile mix the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and sugar together in a bowl.
Once 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.
Stir 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.
As 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 😉
Are you an Autumn lover?