April seems to have sped past in a blur, how is it that a third of 2013 is already gone?
It has been a good month, welcoming friends back to the UK, the eventual passing of winter into spring, and breaking out my cute city bike again after months of it sitting getting dusty in my flat being but a few highlights.
Like quite a few people, the camera roll on my iPhone serves as a handy memory aid, here are a few of my favourite shots from a speedy April.
When googling a recipe for gluten free nutella brownies my search came up disappointingly short. This recipe is adapted from one found at LondonBakes, this is Kathryn’s gluten free chocolate and macadamia nut brownies, replacing the macadamias with hazelnuts to make a nutella version.
The result is a thick fudge like brownie, which you wouldn’t guess is gluten free. The nut flavour is milder than I would have liked but it does come through.
Gluten Free Chocolate and Hazelnut ‘Nutella’ Brownies
adapted from a recipe featured in The Daily Telegraph by Sally Williams
makes approximately 20
300g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa I used 74%)
200g salted butter
200g caster sugar
30g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
60g hazelnuts ground in a food processor.
Preheat your oven to 180C, grease and line a 9 inch square tin.
Slowly melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.
Take when completely melted and mixed together, take the bowl off the pan of hot water and put to one side to cool.
In a separate bowl whisk together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add the cooled chocolate mixture and beat until well combined.
Sift in the bicarbonate of soda and cocoa then add the ground nuts.
Fold gently with a wooden spoon until combined.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 20-30 minutes.
The top of brownies should have browned and an inserted cocktail stick will come out without raw batter on it (it won’t come out clean like with a cake but the brownies shouldn’t still be gooey)
Allow to cool fully before removing from the tin and cutting.
We need to talk about this pie. Sometimes I wonder if my life would have been better if I’d never read about it. I know my diet would be better if I’d not found out how ridiculously simple it is to make.
I dream about it from time to time. I look down on store bought alternatives with an air of disgust. When I sent the end of this pie off to my parents, reserving a slice for myself for dessert and Dan (who had declined me saving him a slice) ate half of mine, I sulked about it for a good few hours later.
It is one of the richest things I have ever eaten, I served 1/8 portions instead of a birthday cake at my birthday dinner (yes you heard me right – I chose this pie over cake – best. decision. ever.) and it became a challenge to finish a slice.
The thing is no matter how full you became, it was impossible to stop eating it. It was impossible to say no to.
Make at your own risk.
from Reading My Tea Leaves
1 tbsp sugar
60g butter melted
3/4 cup of cream
1/3 cup of milk
200g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate
1 egg + and extra yolk
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp vanilla
1 glug of whisky (or two if you’re like us!)
Preheat the oven 150C, and butter and line a pie dish, apparently the original recipe calls for a spring form tin but I thought it looked really charming left in a pie dish.
Crush the shortbread into a fine crumb and combine with the melted butter.
Press the biscuit mixture into your pie tin to form a crust.
Place in the freezer for 10 minutes to help it set, if you’re using a ceramic dish leave it on the side for a little while after this step to allow the dish to warm slightly.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes until the crust is dry to the touch.
Turn up the oven to 160C.
Chop up the chocolate into little bits.
Heat the milk and cream together over a medium heat and bring to a simmer being careful not to scold it.
Add the chocolate to the hot cream and stir until fully dissolved.
Leave the chocolate to cool as you don’t want the eggs to cook in it when you mix them in.
Mix in the eggs followed by the flour, vanilla and whisky and beat until combined fully.
Pour into the pie crust and bake for 20 minutes until the edges are set but the middle still wobbles.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Serve with whipped cream or icecream.
This post for Peanut Butter Cheesecake is a little late, I was hoping to get it out before Mothers day so I could rave about BakingMad.com’s collection of Mothers day recipes. On the plus side, this will still be in time for everyone on the other side of the pond!
Not to worry, they still have lots of other recipes to look over, I particularly like their collection of cupcakes as they have covered both adorable designs (like this caterpillar) and really interesting flavour combinations (I’m particularly intrigued by the amaretto pineapple).
Two recipes really stood out for me, firstly their low calorie victoria sponge, as it’s one of my favourite teatime treats, and of course, their peanut butter cheesecake.
It was a tough choice between the two, as to which recipe I was going to review, but the cheesecake just sounded too good.
The recipe was really easy to follow and the results were just incredible. Chocolate and peanut is always a winning combination, so sandwiching a rich creamy nut filling between two chocolate layers was absolute heaven.
The only thing I would change when I make it again is to make it in individual cups (like these charming panna cottas), I really liked the texture difference between the hard chocolate on top and the cheesecake but it wasn’t the neatest thing to cut up, which isn’t always the greatest thing when you’re serving something at a dinner party.
For the recipe please head over to BakingMad.com.
There aren’t many things that can excite me more than a good cheesecake (I’m a little deprived over here!) but one things has, the lovely people over at BakingMad.com offered to sponsor my very first give away!
To win The Big Book of Bread by Anne Sheasby and British Baking in 2012 by BakingMad.com simply leave a comment below telling me what your favourite baked treat is.
The giveaway will close at midnight on 27/3/13 where one lucky winner will be selected at random, this is only open to UK residents.
Disclaimer: Though I did receive the books for the giveaway I was not paid for this review and all opinions are my own.
A couple of weeks ago the lovely people over at Lakeland asked if I would review one of their chocolate moulds, which was brilliant timing as I was planning on grabbing this on my next trip to the shop anyway.
The idea of easter spoons has been playing on my mind for a couple of months after seeing these gorgeous party favours on Sweetapolita and many adverts for Cadbury’s easter offerings. They make a fun change from the usual eggs you get a this time of year, whilst still playing on the tradition.
The mould was really easy to use, I was a little wary of taking the chocolates out as I was afraid they would break, but the silicone easily peeled away.
I added a couple of teaspoons of olive oil to the melted chocolate which makes it easier to work with and gives the finished result a shine. Unfortunately for this batch I left them on the side as I heated up the second lot of chocolate and the warmth caused the shine to dull.
The sprinkles were added using a little melted chocolate after the spoons were turned out. This time I made solid chocolate spoons but they look sturdy enough to hold a filling.
Whilst I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with covering things in chocolate, this was surprisingly easy, and makes for a great personalised gift, or treat with a coffee at the end of a meal.
For the Lakelands full range of chocolate products see here.
Disclosure: Although I did receive the chocolate mould without charge, I was not paid for this review and all opinions are my own. I would never review something I wouldn’t buy myself.
The English countryside looks beautiful after it has snowed. For obvious safety reasons, we don’t usually drive along little country roads in this weather, but as it was necessary this weekend (and I wasn’t the one behind the wheel) I took the opportunity to snap some pictures of our journey.
In the spirit of pretty things I wanted to share with you some cake balls. I think these are going to be something I come back to annually, try to make them, hate the process and avoid until I forget how much they’ve annoyed me!
I do not possess the patience to coat things in chocolate, and though you can cover a multitude of sins in sprinkles, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed with the results.
Despite my lack of love for how they look, these cake balls are delicious. So much so that I had to send them out of the house to my lovely boyfriends office where they were promptly demolished.
Chocolate Cake Balls
makes 30 cake pops
115g self raising flour
20g cocoa powder
125g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 180C, butter and line a cake tin.
Mix all the ingredients until they form a smooth batter.
Pour the batter into the tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25-30 minutes until the top is light brown and inserted skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool.
70g dark chocolate melted and cooled
5tbsp icing sugar
1tbsp sour cream
1tbsp double cream
Mix the chocolate and 2tbsp of icing sugar together.
Add the cream and sour cream and mix thoroughly, this should create a quite liquidy paste.
Add the rest of the icing sugar in tbsp increments until the icing is smooth and holds its shape – I just lifted my beaters out and when it held the whisk marks I stopped adding icing sugar.
1 x sponge
1 x icing
200g dark chocolate
Crumble the sponge until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Mix in the icing until thoroughly blended.
Roll the mixture into balls and place on a lined baking tray.
Place in the freezer for 15 minutes to set.
Melt chocolate in a bowl over boiling water.
Roll each ball in chocolate and cover in sprinkles.
Leave to set.