Chocolate Orange Brownies

It’s been a long time since I last blogged, with settling in to uni, coping with the work load and attempting to cook for myself everyday I didn’t have much time for baking. Of course I still found time to bake from time to time, but keeping up with this blog sadly wasn’t a priority. In September I move into a student house with my friends, so hopefully in a nicer kitchen I’ll have more opportunities to bake!

As it’s the summer I should be posting frequently as I have a lot of time on my hands, so starting off with a simple bake, here is a recipe for Chocolate Orange Brownies.

Ingredients for 12-18 Brownies

200g butter, chopped

200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

zest 1 large orange

4 large egg

350g caster sugar

100g plain flour

50g cocoa powder

100g milk chocolate orange, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven 180°C/ 160°C fan / gas 4 and line a 24 x 20cm brownie tin with baking parchment.
  2. Put the butter, dark chocolate and orange zest in a large pan and melt over a low heat, being careful not to boil or overheat. Leave it to cool.
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugar with and electric handmixer or standing mixer until the mixture is pale and almost doubles in size, leaving a trail when the whisks are lifted.
  4. Gently stir the melted chocolate into the mixture and then sift in the flour and cocoa powder and combine along with the chocolate orange pieces.
  5. Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake in the oven for 35-40 mins until the brownies are cooked but still slightly gooey in the middle. Leave them to cool in the tin before cutting them into squares.
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Cherry Muffins

As I have a large supply of frozen fruit ready to use in smoothie bowls I thought I would try and use some in baking. I absolutely love blueberry muffins with the fruit adding moisture and sweetness to an otherwise plain muffin, therefore I thought I would experiment with this traditional recipe by adding cherries to the muffins instead. The muffins were really tasty and the hint of almond from the ground almond, made them taste slightly of cherry bakewell. Although I feel fresh cherries would have added more flavour they were great muffins nevertheless!

Ingredients for 12 muffins

225g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

55g ground almonds

125g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

150g butter, melted

100ml milk

2 eggs beaten

250g cherries (frozen or fresh)

  1. If you are using frozen cherries, leave them to defrost for about 2 hours and then drain them of their excess liquid.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F and place 12 paper cases in a muffin tin.
  3. Sift together the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and then stir in the sugar and ground almond. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
  4. Beat together the butter, milk and eggs and then pour into the well, stir gently until just combined, do not over mix. Then gently fold in your cherries.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 mins until golden in colour and the cakes are just firm to touch. Sprinkle with sugar to serve.

Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate brownies are one of my favourite things to eat, especially when they are delightfully gooey and fudgey in the centre. However, sometimes it is difficult to find the perfect recipe as they turn out too cakey or dry, not quite the ideal brownie consistency. I found this recipe on pinterest and discovered it makes some great brownies, fabulous as a sweet snack or served with ice-cream as a pudding. For this recipe I used cups, trying out the set I recently bought from Lakeland, I found them really easy to use and much less hassle than measuring with scales. However, I have provided both measurement conversions to suit everyone. When making these brownies, I accidentally got the almond and vanilla extract bottles confused and added almond extract instead, although this wasn’t the taste I was after, the combination worked well and I might try and make some almond or marzipan brownies in the future.

Ingredients for 9 Brownies

8 tbsp butter (115g)

2 ounces (55g) plain chocolate

1 cup sugar (200g)

2 eggs beaten

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup chocolate chips (100g)

¼ cup plain flour (30g)

¼ tsp salt

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/ 325°F and line a 8×6 inch baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Melt the butter and plain chocolate on a low heat in a medium saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon.
  3. Once melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract, continue stirring until smooth.
  4. The add the chocolate chips, flour and salt and stir until well blended.
  5. Pour into the lined baking tray and place in the pre-heated oven to bake for 30-35 minutes. The brownies should be gooey so a skewer inserted should come out with a little residue when cooked, of course if you don’t like gooey brownies, leave to bake for a few more minutes.
  6. Remove from the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Almond Cupcakes

Most cupcakes I make always involve chocolate so I thought I would try something different and make some almond cupcakes. I love the taste of almonds and these cupcakes were light and nutty, creating a super tasty sweet treat. I used large muffin cases, however I think smaller cupcake cases would have worked better, allowing the cakes to rise higher in the cases.

Ingredients for 12 cupcakes

115g unsalted butter, softened

100g caster sugar

2 eggs lightly beaten

¼ tsp almond extract

3 tbsp milk

175g plain flour

1½ tsp baking powder

70g ground almonds

toasted flaked almonds, to decorate

Ingredients for icing

115g unsalted butter, softened

225g icing sugar

¼ tsp almond extract

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Then place 12 paper cases in a cupcake tray.
  2. Combine the butter and caster sugar in a large bowl using an electric hand mixer until they are light and fluffy.
  3. Then gradually beat in the eggs and add in the almond extract and milk. Once combined, add in the remaining dry ingredients and fold using a metal spoon.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake in a pre-heated oven for 16-20 minutes, until well risen and golden. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and leave to cool.
  5. To make the icing, beat the butter in a large bowl until creamy, then sift in the icing sugar, add the almond extract and beat until smooth.
  6. Spread the buttercream over the cupcakes and decorate with the flaked almonds. I didn’t toast mine as I didn’t have time, however I think it gives the almonds more crunch.

Melting Centre Chocolate Cupcakes

As mentioned in my previous post, I did bake occasionally whilst working towards my exams and took photos and made notes along the way. This is one of those bakes and I hope to post the others in the coming days and weeks. These were so easy to make as a brilliant snack or quick pudding served with ice-cream or cream. They are best served warm out of the oven but can be eaten cold or heated up in the microwave.

Ingredients for 8 cupcakes

55g soft tub margarine

55g caster sugar

1 large egg

85g self-raising flour

1 tbsp cocoa powder

55g plain chocolate (8 chunks)

icing sugar for dusting

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/ 375°F/ Gas Mark 5. Put 8 paper cupcake cases into a bun tray.
  2. Put the margarine, sugar, egg, flour and cocoa powder in a large bowl and beat together until smooth using an electric hand mixer.
  3. Spoon half of the mixture into the paper cases, making a rough indentation in each of the cakes using the back of a teaspoon.
  4. Place a chunk of chocolate in each of the dips and then cover with the remaining cake mixture.
  5. Bake the cakes in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes until they are well risen and springy to the touch. Leave the cakes to cool for 2-3 minutes before dusting with icing sugar and serving.

Spiced Apple and Cranberry Muffins

As some of you may know, we’ve recently had a new kitchen put in meaning I haven’t had a chance to bake for weeks. This is the first thing I decided to bake in the new kitchen, I wanted to start with something fairly simple as I’m still not too sure where everything is! These muffins were from my new baking book by John Whaite and I was so excited to try them because I’ve been eating so much dried fruit recently so this recipe was perfect! I used mixed spice, as the recipe indicated, however I think ground cinnamon might work better as apple and cinnamon is a brilliant combination! I used some really cute spotty cupcake cases so I made more than 12 muffins and were slightly smaller but still worked out well!

Ingredients for 12(ish) Muffins

225g plain flour

2 tsp mixed spice/ ground cinnamon

150g light brown muscovado sugar

2 tsp baking powder

75g dried sweetened cranberries

100g dried apple, cut into roughly 5 mm pieces

225ml milk

2 eggs

115g unsalted butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ Gas Mark 4.
  2. Put the flour, spice, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and rub together with your hands, to ensure the sugar has broken down and the mixture is combined.
  3. Then add the dried fruit.
  4. In a jug, whisk together the melted butter, milk, eggs and vanilla extract.
  5. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl, folding gently using a large mixing spoon. Be careful not to over mix the mixture otherwise the muffins will become chewy.
  6. Divide the mixture between the muffin or cupcake cases, leaving room for the cakes to rise. Gently tap the tray down on the worktop a few times, this will remove the trapped air bubbles.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes for large muffins or for about 20 minutes for slightly smaller muffins.

Chai Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Cupcakes  are something I usually shy away from, frosting cupcakes really isn’t my forte! I have always struggled to make them all look uniform and neat so (being a perfectionist) they aren’t something I frequently bake. However, I feel it is about time to try some out and practise icing some (you can only get better, surely?) so here is a recipe for the cupcakes I made this weekend. I adapted this recipe to make it more of my own, using chai latte hot chocolate powder rather than the basic hot chocolate powder; I think this gave them more of a stronger and sophisticated flavour.

Ingredients for 24 cupcakes

240ml whole milk

25g hot-chocolate powder (I used ‘Drink Me Chai’ Chai Latte Hot Chocolate)

80g unsalted butter, softened

280g caster sugar

240g plain flour

1tbsp baking powder

pinch of salt

2 large eggs

Ingredients for butter icing

60ml whole milk

30g hot-chocolate powder (I used same as above)

500g icing sugar

160g unsalted butter, softened

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190º/ Gas Mark 5 and fill a 12-hole deep muffin tin with muffin case. (If you have two, line both with cases, however baking 12 at a time will also work).
  2. Gently warm the milk on a low heat, being careful not to boil it and add the hot chocolate powder, stirring it until it’s dissolved. Then leave to cool.
  3. Add the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and combine using an electric hand mixer until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. Pour the chocolate milk mix into a jug and whisk together with the eggs.
  5. Then pour ¾ of the mixture into the dry ingredients and combine on a low speed, then increase the speed to a medium speed and continue to mix until it becomes smooth and thick. Scape down the sides of the bowl before adding the remaining milk mix and mixing until fully combined and the mixture is smooth with no lumps.
  6. Fill each muffin case until it is ⅔ full (I used a full ice cream scoop to ensure they are all equally filled) and bake in the oven for 18-20 mins, until they are risen and spring back when touched. Then leave to cool on a wire rack.
  7. To begin the icing, warm the milk to dissolve the hot chocolate powder fully before leaving it to cool fully.
  8. Then, using an electric hand mixer on a low speed, combine the butter and sugar until the mixture resembles a thick sand and there are no large lumps of butter. Continue mixing on a low speed whilst you add the chocolate milk, when this has been combined, increase the speed and mix until the icing is light and fluffy.
  9. Divide the frosting between the cupcakes and smooth on the icing using a palette knife or alternatively use a piping bag. Sprinkle with hot chocolate powder to finish.

Chocolate and Cranberry Brownies

These brownies are such an easy bake and are really great to make for any occasion! It has taken me a while to perfect how long they take to cook, having changed the recipe and tin of the original recipe I used, therefore I would be careful when it comes to cooking times.

 

Ingredients for 15 Brownies

140g plain flour

60g unsweetened cocoa powder

50g dried cranberries (optional)

100g chocolate chips (50g plain, 50g white)

175g butter

275g soft Demerara sugar

3 large eggs

splash of vanilla essence

 about 25g white chocolate (for decorating)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180º and line a baking tin (I used a 12½x6x1inch tin) with baking parchment.

2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, cranberries and chocolate chips.

3. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter sugar and flavouring before blending in the eggs.

4. Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture by using a large spoon, be careful not to over mix.

5. Spoon the batter into the lined tin and smooth with the back of a spoon.

6. Bake for about 15 mins (this is how long I baked mine for and they came out gooey how I like them, you will have to experiment with your own tin and oven to get the right texture for you)

7. Leave to fully cool before melting the white chocolate using a bain marie and drizzling over the top to decorate.

8. Once the chocolate is dry, cut into about 15 pieces or as many as you would like.

Hope you enjoy baking and eating these as much as I did! Again sorry for the inconsistency of posts, I will try and post more.

 

Mocha Squares

I would firstly like to apologise for not posting a bake in a while but sadly exams have been my priority at the moment. I did originally say to myself no baking until exams are over but that proved quite difficult as I’ve found baking is the best procrastination method! Seeing as today is ‘World Baking Day’ I thought I would give myself a break and bake something! These Mocha Squares are super easy to make and also a brilliant revision snack.

Mocha Squares

 

Ingredients for about 15 squares

280g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

200g chocolate, chopped (I used 150g plain and 50g white)

pinch of salt

115g butter, soft

250g soft, light brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons instant coffee (I used chocolate flavoured coffee but it will work with any)

1 tablespoon boiling water

 

Method

  1.  Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line a 9x9x2 inch baking tray.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, chocolate, baking powder and salt .
  3. In a cup combine the instant coffee and boiling water into a watery paste.
  4. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar before adding the eggs and coffee.
  5. Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture with a large spoon, make sure you don’t over mix.
  6. Spread the mix evenly into the baking tray and use the back of the spoon to create a smooth surface..
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes, less or more depending on your oven. The squares should be set yet still slightly gooey inside like brownies.

These were super easy to make and I think the chocolate flavoured instant coffee worked really well and gave it that extra chocolatey feel! I think these are a fun alternative to brownies, don’t be put off by the coffee, I hate coffee but I love these squares!

Coconut and Raspberry Cupcakes

These cupcakes were full of flavour and were great to bake with the raspberries giving a burst of both colour and flavour within the cupcake. I tried out the icing to go with the cupcakes and it was slightly paler than I thought it would be because I used packaged raspberry coulis rather than fresh. I think the cupcakes would work just as well without the icing as muffins!

Ingredients for 12-15 cupcakes

175g self-raising flour

140g caster sugar

50g desiccated coconut

140g butter, softened

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

4 tbsp milk

140g raspberries, fresh or frozen

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/ gas mark 5 and line a 12-hole muffin tin.

2. Then tip all of the ingredients apart from the raspberries into a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy then lightly fold in the raspberries being careful not to crush too many.

3. Divide the mixture between the cases and bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Then leave to cool on a cooling rack.

Ingredients for the icing

140g icing sugar

42g butter, softened

1-2 tbsp raspberry coulis

Method

1. Beat the icing sugar, butter and coulis (add more if the icing is stiff) to make a fluffy icing. Spoon or pipe the icing onto the cakes and sprinkle with coconut.

I really enjoyed baking these cupcakes and I will make them again soon!