Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

24 July 2016


It's always nice to have something sweet for the weekend and this weekend calls for chocolate chunk cookies. There's no rhyme of reason to it, just that.. well I wanted them. So I made them and there you go. Well that's not entirely true...

Cookies travel nicely so they are perfect to pack in my carry on when I go visit my favourite littley nieces in England today! I am so excited to see them, my sister and I have organised it and they have no idea I am coming! I am going to just appear.. and appear with cookies. Hello?? Best plan ever!

Who's winning the "Most Amazing Aunt in the World" award... AAhhhh.. that would be ME!!!


These cookies are incredibly versatile. You can make them as strong or as mellow as you like. I am a fan of the strong chocolate flavour and will usually opt for the darkest chocolate but knowing I was bringing these with me.. I have toned it down.

Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- makes about 30 cookies ( you can half this recipe)

110g soft, salted butter
90g vegetable fat or shortening at room temperature
200g white caster sugar
200g soft brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
420g self raising flour
40g good coco powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g + of chocolate chunks... I used two bars of dark chocolate, a 56% and 72%.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F or Gas mark 4. Line your cookie sheets with some parchment.

Beat the sugars, butter and fat together until it looks like breadcrumbs.
Add the eggs and the vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
Dry whisk the flour, coco powder, baking powder and bicarb of soda together and then add to the wet mix. Mix until just together.
Add the chocolate chunks and mix until combined This mix is not sticky, but more of a playdoh consistency.. add a tablespoon of flour to the mix, one at a time, if yours is still a bit sticky. Stop once you get to playdoh!

Using a tablespoon, scoop out the dough and roll them into golf ball sized balls.  I measure mine to be roughly 40g balls. I fit  6 cookies on my sheets, juts space yours about 5cm apart as they spread...

Cook for 10-12 minutes, depending on how crisp you want them to be and leave them on the sheet to cool for at least 15-20 minutes when they come out.




I need to start making things other than cookies and cakes and no bake cheesecakes also.. I am tired of this temperamental weather messing up meringues and macaron and the humidity playing havoc with buttercreams. Either be summer or be winter... you can't be both. You feeling me?

Least I have the cookies to keep things going!! Enjoy the upcoming week folks, will chat when I get back!

Black and White Cake

20 July 2016


So this month.. went by so fast, right?? I can't believe it's Cake Slice Bakers time again and thinking on last month.. uuugghhhh... I had to push the boat out. Had. To. My baking sanity needed to be restored.

I picked what I thought to be the most challenging recipe. To be honest, it was long winded but it wasn't that hard in execution. With that in mind, there are two things before we even get started...this cake takes some time and there's an awful lot of faffing...

Sounds like my kind of baking alright!

This black and white layer cake isn't your usual sponge-mix frosting sandwich. It's a light and fluffy meringue-ish, fat frosting sandwich that got the thumbs up all 'round. I didn't use the chocolate buttercream recipe Maida provided in her book... using 7 egg yolks in a frosting is not something I was ready to commit to. Especially not when I had leftover chocolate frosting in the fridge.

It's a pain step-by-step wise.. (just reminding you) the instructions seem to go on forever and Maida, being Maida, loves to add in convoluted notions... just to make things extra laborious I think. But I've cut all of that out. Ain't nobody got time for that!

Concentrating on the fact I have made this easy for you, it's well worth the bake.

This bake also highlighted my lack of serving trays.. Craziness if you ask me! I really need to catch a hold of myself!!! I don't think I have ever made a rectangular shaped layer cake, so have had no need for a serving tray that shape. I did however have a cheese board, for when I am playing grown ups with my friends and have them over for fancy nights with wine... oh, and cheese* of course!

* cheese may not be included...


Black and White Layer Cake
adapted from Maida Heatters' Cakes pg. 129 

Are you ready, ok... here we go...

You want to cover two rectangular baking sheets in tinfoil. If you turn the pan over and make the shape on the bottom, it'll sit a lot easier into your pan. Spray the whole sheet with cake release of grease the entire thing with some melted butter. Set to one side. Preheat your oven to 350 F/ 180 C or Gas Mark 4.

White Sponge Layer 
5 large range eggs, separated
65g granulated sugar
35g self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

In a mixing bowl combine the egg yolks and vanilla with 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Beat until thick and pale. Fold in the flour, until just smooth. Scrap the sides down of the bowl.

In another bowl, using clean beaters or a whisk attachment, whip the eggs whites with the salt until soft peaks form. Add the rest of the sugar in three installments, until the egg whites are firm, but not stiff or dry.

Add one third of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture and fold through until just incorporated. Fold in the rest of the egg whites, carefully until just blended. DO NOT over mix.


Pour the mixture onto a prepared tray and spread it out to the corners. Smooth out the top. Pop into your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the tops spring back when touched and the sides start coming away slightly from the pan.

Flip the cake out onto a wire rack, take off the pan, peel off the tinfoil and all the cake to cool.

Chocolate Sponge Layer
4 large range eggs, separated
65g granulated sugar
45g self raising flour
60ml hot coffee
170g dark chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

In a mixing bowl combine the egg yolks and vanilla with 3 tablespoons of the sugar. Beat until thick and pale. Fold in the flour, until just smooth. Scrap the sides down of the bowl.

heat the chocolate in the microwave until just melted, add the hot coffee and allow to cool slightly.

In another bowl, using clean beaters or a whisk attachment, whip the eggs whites with the salt until soft peaks form. Add the rest of the sugar in three installments, until the egg whites are firm, but not stiff or dry.

Fold the coffee/chocolate mix through the egg yolk mix until combined.

Add one third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and fold through until just incorporated. Fold in the rest of the egg whites, carefully until just blended. DO NOT over mix.


Pour the mixture onto a prepared tray and spread it out to the corners. Smooth out the top. Pop into the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the tops spring back when touched and the sides start coming away slightly from the pan.

Flip the cake out onto a wire rack, take off the pan, peel off the tinfoil and all the cake to cool.




Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
125g soft, super soft unsalted butter
250g sifted icing sugar
3 tablespoons of cocoa powder 
3 tablespoons double cream

Beat the butter on high until it is very soft and pale. I find that if you give the butter a couple of seconds in the microwave, to when it's almost starting to melt, before you beat it, you end up with the lightest and fluffiest of frosting. 
Add in the icing sugar a few bits  at a time.
Add the double cream and keep mixing until light and fluffy.

Assembly
When cooled, cut the cake into three even strips each... Giving you 6 layers.
Staring with what ever colour you want, layer the cake sandwiching the layers with some chocolate buttercream. Thin layers of buttercream will suffice here. Continue in the same fashion, until all the layers are sandwiched. Coat the tops and sides with the remaining buttercream and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Take out and dust over with cocoa powder, serve cold. Or at room temperature for a softer frosting... Either way it's going to taste pretty damn special!








And there you go... A Black and White layered cake with a yummy buttercream frosting filling worthy of any wine and cheese night... Have a look at what the other members of the group baked through the links below! Enjoy!


Red, White and Blue

04 July 2016


A gentle nod to my American friends and readers across the pond today. Wishing all y'all... a little phrase my Texan bestie Tammy taught me... a very happy 4th of July. A very happy day of festivities and fireworks and all things fun and aaahhh... American!

We don't celebrate the day here, obviously, but I wasn't one to just let it pass without doing something in those awesome colours. 

also didn't have a lot of ingredients to hand. Seems to be the story of my life lately.... I really need to restock my pantry. So this is what I came up with.

Blue vanilla cake, layered with a white, creamy vanilla no bake cheesecake, topped with a soft set strawberry eeeehhh.. topping!! I was actually quite impressed with myself for pulling this together and it working out. It look the real deal.. tastes pretty darn decent and basically that's all you need.

It's also in the American colours, in case I needed to point that out, and it's so easy to make! There's no excuse. 



Strawberry Topping

450g strawberries
55g caster sugar
60ml water
1 tbsp cornflour

Mix the corn flour with the water.
Hull and quarter all the strawberries and put them in a pot with the sugar and the water/cornflour mix. Stir to coat the strawberries.
Over a medium heat let the mix bubble up, but not over boil. Take off the heat, pour into a bowl and all to cool to room temperature.


Blue Vanilla Cake

85g caster sugar
1 large free range egg
160g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
80ml buttermilk
80ml vegetable oil
blue food colouring

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F or Gas mark 4.
Line a 9 inch spring form tin with parchment on the bottom and spray with cake release around the sides.
Beat the sugar and the eggs until light and fluffy.
Add the flour and the baking powder, and give a quick mix. Follow with the buttermilk and oil, mix until just combined.
Add the blue food colouring, I use gel as you use a lesser amount than the liquid colouring, to the depth of blue you want. Mine took 4 good drops.
Cook for 20 minutes, until the top has slightly domed and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clear.

Using a clean cloth/tea towel, push the cake down gently so that you have a flat top. Allow the cake to cool fully in the tin.



No Bake hard to photograph Cheesecake

200g of cream cheese (use the best quality brand you can afford)
150ml single cream
1 vanilla pod
60g caster sugar

Whip the cream cheese until smooth and add the cream and vanilla seeds from inside the pod. Add the sugar and whip until thick, but still light and soft. Be careful not to over whip. 
Put the cheesecake on top of the cooled, blue cake and smooth out the top.

Put the whole pan into the fridge for at least two hours to set up. 

When you think the cheesecake has set up enough, take it out and using a hot, sharp knife, run it around the edge of the tin. Clip open the tin and gently lift it off over the cake. Pour over the strawberry topping,, cut and serve.

You could pour the strawberry topping in over the cheesecake, once it's set up and leave it over night. The jam parts solidify and make for a yummy, sticky topping.  






If you are needing to go to an American themed party and you want to bring dessert or you want to wow your buddies with a patriotic themed easy bake... this has got you covered!!

Have a good day you guys!! Be safe, mind each other.
 
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