playing with flour

Category: Slice

White Chocolate and Caramel Gingerbread Blondies

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So it’s starting to dawn on me that I have to start being a grown up as of next week. It’s been so long since I’ve had a full time job, I’ve been living the student life for nine years now. While I’m sure the hours are going to be a shock to the system, I think the fact that I have responsibility and will be making decisions regarding people’s health is what is really stressing me out. Yes I’ve been preparing for this for years and I know I’ll be well supported but it really is a lot of pressure – it really is the perfect time to do some stress-relief baking!

These blondies are delicious. Moist, dense and full of flavour they’re super easy to make and can be adapted to use whatever you have on hand. Replace the Jersey caramels with caramel or butterscotch chips or even dried cherries or cranberries and the white chocolate with milk or dark to give a completely new taste. The ginger pairs really well with the white chocolate and keeps it all from being too sweet.

I found the best time to eat them was still warm, straight out of pan but they’re also great once cooled or even out of the fridge if you want them a bit more dense. If you have new years resolutions to eat better this year I would recommend giving these away as soon as possible (do keep one or two for yourself of course) to avoid the temptation to eat the whole pan. Trust me.

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White Chocolate and Caramel Gingerbread Blondies

1 ¾ cups plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
4 oz unsalted butter
60g golden syrup
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
½ cup white chocolate, chopped
½ cup Jersey caramels, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180° and prepare a 9 inch baking pan with baking paper. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until thick and pale. Add the golden syrup and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions.

Sift over the flour, baking soda, salt and ginger and fold through the mixture. Add the chocolate and caramel and mix through until just combined. Pour into pan and smooth over the top with a spatula. Bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan before cutting.

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Jaffa Fudge Brownies

I had a rough day yesterday. Nothing significant, just a hard day on placement, but one that made me question my ability to succeed in this career. I came home wanting nothing but comfort. Unfortunately my husband is interstate for work and I was too tired to visit friends. So instead I called my mum and made brownies.

I’ve always loved the combination of orange and chocolate. For these brownies I was inspired by the crunchy bite sized Jaffa lollies. They were always a top choice for movies (and go really well with popcorn!) and I have fond memories of my sister and I using the bright red coating as lipstick when we were younger. I wanted to re-create some of the fun I associate with them.

These brownies are super dense and fudgy. Rich and chocolatey with a hit of orange and some lovely crunch from the edges and Jaffa pieces, they’re a total indulgence. Perfect for a bad day. Because they’re so rich I cut mine into bite sized pieces but feel free to leave them larger if you think you can handle it!

I recommend using good quality dark chocolate as you really do taste it in this recipe. I added Cointreau to my curd to boost the orange flavour but feel free to leave this out. The only thing I would change for next time is to chop the Jaffa’s instead of processing them. Although this would be time consuming I think having larger chunks in the batter would be fantastic. To make them easier to cut allow the brownies to cool in the fridge overnight.

 

Jaffa Brownies

4 oz dark (70% cocoa) chocolate
¾ cup butter
1¾ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
1 cup flour
¼ cup orange curd
½ cup Jaffa’s (or other choc-orange lollies)

Preheat oven to 180° and grease and line a 7×7 inch pan. In large bowl over simmering water melt chocolate and butter. Add sugar and eggs and stir through thoroughly. Add vanilla, flour and salt and stir until mixed through and smooth.

Separate the mixture into two bowls. Process the Jaffa’s in a food processor until you have small pieces. Mix the Jaffa’s through one bowl and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until just set. Allow to cool in pan.

Spoon orange curd over brownie layer and smooth out leaving a ½cm gap around the edges. Carefully spoon the second brownie mix over the curd starting near the centre and working outwards. When completely covered bake for 10-15 minutes or until set. Allow to cool completely in the pan then refrigerate before cutting.

Orange Curd

¾ cup orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest, finely chopped or grated
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
½ cup caster sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes
30ml Cointreau (optional)

Combine the eggs and sugar in a medium saucepan and stir until mixed. Add the orange juice, zest and butter and heat slowly over a low heat, stirring constantly. Do not heat too quickly or the egg will curdle.

Continue to heat until curd is thick and smooth, and coats the back of a spoon. This could be anywhere between 10-20 minutes depending on how thick you’d like it. The curd will continue to thicken somewhat when cooling.

When ready pour through a fine sieve to catch any cooked egg strands. Cover and refrigerate until cold.

Blueberry Friand Slice

As much as my husband would disagree, I don’t own every piece of baking equipment there is. If I could get away with it I would love to buy myself a madeleine tin, mini muffin trays or a bundt pan. And I would definitely buy moulds for friands. I’ve always thought of friands as a grown up version of a muffin or cupcake. Dense yet light, full of almond meal and sold individually (and often more expensively) these miniature cakes are full of class.

Rather than purchase yet another baking tin I decided to adapt a standard friand recipe to make a friand slice instead. While you could pour the batter into a standard muffin tin, I was curious to see how a slice would turn out. The cake is soft and moist and quite sweet and the blueberries burst full of juice when you bite into them. The centre pieces obviously don’t benefit from having the crunchy edge you get on a usual friand, but the taste more than makes up for it.

I was lucky enough to find some out of season blueberries on special, but any berry would work well in this recipe. I poked my berries into the batter before baking but they do sink somewhat anyway so if you like you can just scatter them over the top. If you can afford the luxury of using a vanilla pod I would highly recommend it. Not only do you get to see the tiny black specks within the slice but the vanilla taste is prominent throughout.

This slice goes really well with a cup of tea and is perfect still warm from the oven, with just a dusting of icing sugar.

Blueberry Friand Slice

4 egg whites
100g unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
125g almond meal
160g icing sugar
50g self-raising flour
1 vanilla bean
100g blueberries

Preheat the oven to 150° and line a 20 x 30 cm baking tin with baking paper. In a large bowl whisk your egg whites by hand until combined and frothy. Sift in the flour and icing sugar then add the butter, milk, extract and almond meal. Mix to combine.

Cut the vanilla bean lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Add to your mixture and gently stir until smooth and even. Pour into your prepared tin and smooth surface. Scatter the blueberries over the top and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and springy to touch.

Allow to cool in the pan then transfer to a board to cut. Dust with icing sugar prior to serving.

Sticky Date Pudding

 

It’s so much easier to find desserts to have in summer. With an abundance of fruit available it is simple to throw something light and fresh together. Not to mention the ice-creams and sorbets to help cool down the hot days. But in winter? Finding something light and delicious that helps keeps you warm can be tricky. That’s why it can be good to stick with the classics: sticky date pudding.

I love this recipe. It’s simple and fast to make and the resulting pudding is rich and moist and not at all heavy. I adapted a Donna Hay recipe by adding vanilla and using chopped dates rather than processing them as she suggests. I love that you get small chewy chunks of date throughout the pudding but if this isn’t your style, feel free to blend them before adding to the other ingredients.

The butterscotch sauce is incredible. Do make sure you use a large saucepan to allow the mixture to boil properly without making a mess of your stovetop. The creamy and rich sauce pairs so well with the light and fluffy pudding that it’s hard to only have one piece. Best served with thick cream or ice-cream.

Sticky Date Pudding

Adapted from recipe by Donna Hay

1.5 cups chopped pitted dates
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp baking soda
100g unsalted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180° and prepare a baking tin (26 x 16cm) with baking paper. Place the dates, hot water and baking soda in a bowl and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl then add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Pour in the dates with the liquid and stir to combine. Sift in the flour and mix until smooth. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Use this time to prepare the butterscotch sauce.

Butterscotch Sauce

150g unsalted butter
1 cup cream
1.5 cups brown sugar

Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir until melted and then increase the heat to bring the mixture to the boil. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Pour over pudding and serve with cream or ice-cream.

Grapefruit Crumble Slice

I promise that this is the last grapefruit recipe! So if you did decide to make the curd you probably have plenty left over and need something to do with it. I found this recipe in the current issue of Delicious but it was made with lemon curd. To be honest overall I wasn’t thrilled with the result, but with a few changes I think it could be fantastic.

Firstly, make sure the base is very thin and is cooked through. I found that the slightly undercooked base was too dense and doughy and detracted from the curd. The curd should be a thick layer, don’t be afraid to add too much. I also think a really tangy curd would work better than a sweeter one. Lastly, to make the flavour a bit more complex, add some spice to the crumble layer. Cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger would all work well.

The recipe does make a large slice, enough to feed 8 people easily and it is quick and simple to put together so it’s perfect for impromptu dinners with the in-laws as I recently discovered. Don’t be put off by my disappointment in it, I really do feel it would work well with the above changes. If you try it out make sure to let me know how it goes.

Grapefruit Slice

Adapted from Delicious magazine

1 2/3 cups plain flour
½ cup icing sugar
180g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp cold milk
500g lemon curd

Crumble

1/3 cup plain flour
½ cup almond meal
2 tbsp caster sugar
50g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg yolk

Sift the flour and icing sugar into a mixing bowl and add the butter. Either use a food processor and pulse the mixture or crumble the butter in your fingers until you get a fine crumb consistency.

Add the yolk and milk and blend until the mixture comes together into a dough. Knead the dough briefly until it’s smooth then cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For the crumble place all the ingredients except for the egg yolk in a bowl and rub between your fingers until you get a coarse crumb. Stir the yolk through and chill until required.

Preheat the oven to 180° and prepare a 28x18cm tin with baking paper. Crumble the pastry into the tin and press firmly. I recommend keeping it quite thin. Prick all over with a fork and place back in the fridge for 15 minutes. When chilled bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden and dry. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Spread the grapefruit curd over the base then scatter the crumble over the top. Bake for a further 20-25 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely in the pan then remove and slice.

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