23 April 2017

Fully Loaded Brownies

If you like your brownies cut like cake, tasting and acting like cake... then unfortunately these brownies are not for you. If you are counting calories, syns or points, again sadly, these are not for you. But, if you are partial to paddling in the pool of pure profligacy, using up your leftover Easter Chocolate in one foul swoop.. then these guys are for you! Huzzah!!

I shared this post a few months back over on The Taste but feel like they could help those of you staring down the endless bag of Easter Eggs, praying they'll just disappear. 

Starting with a rich, dark chocolate fudge brownie base and topping it with melted marshmallow, crunchy pretzels and salted peanuts, these are the ultimate in junk food. To finish off, the toppings are drizzled in a soft-set caramel sauce. These brownies are not for the faint hearted. They contain pretty much no nutritional value, but honestly I don't even think that matters. 

They won’t take you long to make and an even shorter time to eat! The brownies alone are pretty special but combined with garnishes they exude versatility, allowing you to change up the toppings to suit your own junk food style.

The Brownie Batter

75g good coco powder
120g self-raising flour
¼ tsp of salt
½ tsp baking powder
150g butter
175g good quality chocolate
2 eggs
400g caster sugar
125ml boiling water

200g mini marshmallow
125g broken pretzels
65g salted peanuts

The Caramel Sauce
125g butter
180g light brown sugar
200ml double cream

Preheat your oven to 350F, 180C (160C fan) or Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 9x13’ pan with some parchment/greaseproof paper.

Sift the coco, flour, salt and baking powder together.
In a separate bowl, melt the butter and chocolate together. You can do this in the microwave or over a pot of boiling water on the stove. Add the sugar and the eggs to the melted butter chocolate combination and mix until combined. Add the vanilla, mix.

Add the wet mix to the dry mix and pour in the boiling water. Mix until fully combined. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and bake for 25-30 minutes in a preheated oven.
Make the Caramel Sauce while the batter is baking. Add the butter and sugar to a pot and allow them to melt and come together over a medium heat, stirring often so the mix does not burn. Remove from the heat and add the cream, stirring vigorously until all incorporated. Put the pot back on the heat, allow the sauce to come to the boil and then transfer the sauce to a heat proof bowl to cool.
About 5 minutes before you think your brownies will be done, take them out of the oven. Cover the top completely in the mini marshmallows and pop the pan back in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until the marshmallow has melted.

Remove the pan from oven, stand on a wire cooling rack and sprinkle the crushed pretzels and peanuts over the melty marshmallow. Squash them down a little, being careful not to burn your fingers.

Finally drizzle the cooled caramel sauce all over the toppings and allow the whole thing to stand in the baking pan, on the wire rack for at least 30 minutes (ideally longer, if you can wait!)

So what do you think? Worth rounding up the eggs and melting them down right... The kids will love you for it!

20 April 2017

Lime and Pistachio Loaf

At the start of this year I decided to be more environmental, that meant,  for me, consuming less and making do with more. More of what I had in the pantry, finishing tubes and potions off to the end before replacing, bringing my travel coffee cup with me everywhere I go so I am not buying a new cup on the go. So far, with a few minor slip ups on the coffee cup front, I have been doing good.

I have helped myself notice how little I need to live with, what little 'stuff' I genuinely need. How content I am with being part of the everyday ebb and flow, taking life as it comes. That's not to say I am some kind of superwoman, converted to this new lifestyle but I feel a lot less anchored to 'stuff' these days. I am definitely learning to live without.

Soooo.. and I'm not going to lie to you, I didn't read the recipe properly on this one.. or did read it ages ago, decided  I was making it and totally flaked on the fact the original recipe calls for lemons too.

My bad.

Going to chalk that down to good old age, brain fuzz and maybe the million other things life throws at you at any given time. But I was going to make it regardless because I had everything else that I needed in the pantry and was content with doing without the lemons.

Lime and Pistachio Loaf- 
adapted from World Class cakes pg 75

3 large eggs
180g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
125ml vegetable oil (or 125g soft salted butter)
175g crushed pistachio nuts
zest and juice of two limes

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F or Gas Mark 4. Line or grease and flour a 2 lb loaf pan, or two 1 lb loaf pan. Ideally the 2 lb is better as the mixture doesn't quite make two high sliced 1 lb loaf. I divided it, but retrospectively should have just made one loaf.

Start by beating the eggs until they have doubled in volume and are thick and mousy looking.
Add the sugar, a bit at a time and continue to beat the eggs.

**If  using the butter, cream the butter and suagr together until light and fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time scraping down the bowl as you go.**

Add the flour and baking powder, followed by the oil (not required if using butter) and fold through, until one homogeneous mess.
Remove from the mixer and fold through 3/4 of the nuts, all the zest and juice.
Pour into your prepared pans and sprinkle the remaining nuts over the top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes on a low shelf, until the center has cracked and a skewer inserted in the middles comes out clear. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, before removing to cool fully on a wire rack.

This tastes so much better the next day... if it lasts that long!

This cake was the perfect breakfast loaf. All my guys here loved it.. I am sure the lemon added another zesty flavour to the loaf but the mixture of salty and sweet was just divine! I will definitely make this one again as I was very happy with the results.

A soft fluffy cake, with a fresh zesty, salty bite! Ticks off everything in my books!

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