Macadamia Nutty Chocotastic Cookies

Hi, I’m so excited to share this new recipe to all you cookie lovers, chocolate lovers and nut lovers. Welcome to my Macadamia Nutty Chocotastic Cookies!

 

Macadamia Nutty Chocotastic Cookies www.feastingisfun.com
Macadamia Nutty Chocotastic Cookies www.feastingisfun.com

 

Are you a cookie lover?  I am!

Homemade cookies are sooo much better than regular, shop bought ones. The taste is always better, you know exactly what has gone into them and you just cannot buy the smell of home baked cookies. Ooh that warm, buttery, delicious smell that drifts from the oven making your home feel – well – more like home!

These Macadamia Nutty Chocotastic Cookies so deserve their wacky name. They are stuffed to the brim with nuts, chocolate chunks and are Chocotastic!!!

Macadamia Nutty Chocotastic Cookies www.feastingisfun.com
Macadamia Nutty Chocotastic Cookies www.feastingisfun.com

 

Everyone who has tried these cookies had absolutely fallen 100% in love with them and immediately requested more. Now that, has got to be a reaction worth sharing.

Sharing is a major inspiration in my baking. I love seeing the reaction on someone’s face, when you give them something that you have made with them in mind. For this recipe, the inspiration was our children. They all work so hard at school and home and it’s wonderful to treat them.

My cookie preference, as I’ve mentioned before, on this blog, is always for oat/fruit cookie combos like these Walnut Fig Oat Cookies . But I know how much our children love chocolate and they don’t have chocolate bars very often at home, so baking something special like these Macadamia Nutty Chocotastic Cookies really is a treat for them. As I use good quality ingredients there are no hidden nasties, that is very imortant to me.

Recipe : Makes Approx. 26 Macadamia Nutty Chocotastic Cookies

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter at room temoerature

175g/6oz Dark Brown Sugar – I used muscavado sugar

1 Large Egg Yolk

1tsp Vanilla Extract

225g/8oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Cocoa Powder

1/4tsp Salt

175g/6oz Macadamia Nuts – roughly chopped

225g/8oz Milk Chocolate Chunks or Chips

Method : Preheat oven to 185C/170C fan.

Place the sugar and butter in a bowl.
Place the sugar and butter in a bowl.

 

You really do need the butter to be very soft. I actually put the bowl in the microwave on medium for 20 seconds, as my butter wasn’t soft enough. Ideally you want butter that you can easily push a knife, flat side down, through.

Beat or whisk the sugar and butter together, for 5 minutes, until pale and light. Don’t worry if there are still little specks of sugar once the mixture is whisked.

Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract to the bowl.
Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract to the bowl.
Whisk or beat for 5 minutes until the mixture is paler.
Whisk or beat for 5 minutes until the mixture is paler.
Sieve the flour, cocoa and salt into the bowl.
Sieve the flour, cocoa and salt into the bowl.
Add the chopped nuts and chocolate chunks.
Add the chopped nuts and chocolate chunks.
Mix everything together until the have the most delicious, chocolate, nut studded cookie dough.
Mix everything together until the have the most delicious, chocolate, nut studded cookie dough.

 

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using an ice cream scoop make 1" balls of cookie dough.
Using an ice cream scoop make 1″ balls of cookie dough.

 

Ensure the cookie dough balls are well spaced apart.

Press down on each cookie dough ball to flatten.
Press down on each cookie dough ball to flatten.

 

Place the cookies into the oven and bake for 15 minutes exactly. The cookies will still seem soft when baked. Remove from the oven.

Macadamia Nutty Chocotastic Cookies allow to cool completely on the tray.
Macadamia Nutty Chocotastic Cookies allow to cool completely on the tray.

 

As this mixture makes such a big batch of cookies you can freeze half of the dough, in a freezer bag, for up to 3 months, or keep wrapped in cling film and refridgerated for up to a week. Or you can wash up the baking trays and bake the rest, just as I did ūüėČ

 

Macadamia Nutty Chocotastic Cookies www.feastingisfun.com
Macadamia Nutty Chocotastic Cookies www.feastingisfun.com

 

Once cooled, these cookies have a deep chocolatey flavour complimented by the beautiful, buttery, Macadamia nuts. Ooh these are sooo good. They have to be up there, at the top of my favourite cookies ever list. What? Don’t you have a list???

Make these for yourself, to share with friends, family, neighbours. If you know someone who loves cookies bake them some Macadamia Nutty Chocotastic Cookies and watch the smile spread across their face as they take their first bite!

If you love cookies then you will love these Extreme Chocolate Cookies 

Cheer Up Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sammie x

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Chocolate Madness Muffins

Well hello lovely people. I’ve got mayhem happening in the kitchen today, in the form of Chocolate Madness Muffins.

FF Chocolate Madness Muffins

 

Yep see what I did there? Got straight into the photos of these chocolate masterpieces. Amazingly light chocolate sponge, studded throughout with milk and white chocolate chunks and chips.

Ooh then I pressed extra chocolate chips into the top of the batter before the Chocolate Madness Muffins hit the oven.

Just in case there is any doubt about how madly, chocolatey, delicious these muffins are, I scattered a few extra chocolate chips over them, after they are cooked, because, why not??

Bring the Chocolate Mayhem on!!!

Chocolate Madness Muffins for the chocoholic in you!! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Madness Muffins for the chocoholic in you!! www.feastingisfun.com

 

It’s good to shake things up once in a while, well not fizzy water – but that’s another thing entirely!

Chocolate Madness Muffins the ultimate chocolate treat www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Madness Muffins the ultimate chocolate treat www.feastingisfun.com

 

Traditional muffins are quite dense and usually quite good for you. These Chocolate Madness Muffins don’t tick either of those boxes (RECIPE REBEL!). I was aiming for the cafe style muffins, but better. Big, beautiful, light-as-air sponge, enveloped in these gorgeous tulip style cake wrappers.

As you unwrap your own moment of madness, it really is like having a special chocolate present all to yourself. Unless, of course, you bake these Chocolate Madness Muffins and then invite lots of friends round. Ooh imagine sharing the Madness Mayhem. Now that sounds like my kind of party.

Chocolate Madness Muffins delicious chocolate packed treat! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Madness Muffins delicious chocolate packed treat! www.feastingisfun.com

Muffins are not cupcakes:

Incredibly easy to make, the only difficulty with these Chocolate Madness Muffins is waiting for them to cool. Beautiful though these tulip cake cases are, the trick to them not peeling off as they cool, is to leave the muffins to cool completely in the pan. Once they are room temperature they can be removed from the pan.

I love the tulip cases, but they can be pricey. I’ve found buying online is much cheaper than any of the supermarkets. Also, unless you are going to make huge cupcakes, these tulip wrappers make piping icing pretty tricky. If you want to add frosting it’s easier just to dollop it on with a spoon see my Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes.

Please don’t worry if you haven’t got these tulip cake wrappers, this recipe will make 18 regular sized muffins instead of 12 Mega Chocolate Madness Muffins.

Recipe : Makes 12 mega or 18 regular Chocolate Madness Muffins

225g/8oz Caster Sugar

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

1/4tsp Salt

1tsp Vanilla Extract

4 Large Eggs – I use free range

200g/7oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Cocoa Powder – I use Callebaut powder and chocolate chips/chunks

2tsp Baking Powder

100ml/4fl oz Whole Milk

150g/5oz Milk Chocolate Chunks or Chips

150g/5oz White Chocolate Chunks or Chips

Optional – extra chocolate chips for decoration after baking

Method : Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan, 350F, gas mark 4

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add 2 eggs, vanilla extract and then whisk together.
Add 2 eggs, vanilla extract and then whisk together.

 

Place your flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a bowl. These are your dry ingredients.

Sift in half of the dry mix. Mix until just incorporated.
Sift in half of the dry mix. Mix until just incorporated.

 

Repeat, adding first the eggs and milk. Then sift in the rest of your dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter.

Add in 100g/4oz of both the white and milk chocolate. Fold gently into the batter.
Add in 100g/4oz of both the white and milk chocolate. Fold gently into the batter.

 

Line a muffin pan with 12 tulip cake wrappers. Using a large ice cream scoop, add a large rounded scoop of batter into each wrapper.

And so the madness commences.
And so the madness commences.
Chocolate Madness Muffins sprinkle over the remaining 50g each of milk/white chocolate chips.
Chocolate Madness Muffins sprinkle over the remaining 50g each of milk/white chocolate chips.

 

If using standard muffin cases, scrape the scoop against the side of the bowl. Add the smoothed off scoop to each case. Then sprinkle with the chocolate chips.

These muffins are now ready for the oven.

Bake for 20-23 minutes (15-18 minutes for standard muffins) until the muffin springs back when lightly pressed.

Chocolate Madness Muffins remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.
Chocolate Madness Muffins remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.

 

Once cooled sprinkle over a few extra chocolate chips.

Chocolate Madness Muffins maxing out chocolate mayhem! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Madness Muffins maxing out chocolate mayhem! www.feastingisfun.com

 

To make the most of these Chocolate Madness Muffins I suggest sharing them. If you have chocoholic friends invite them round for a chat and a treat. Once they see these muffins the mayhem will commence. These muffins are most definitely FUN FOOD!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Chocolate Madness Muffins you may also like these:

Caramac Drizzle Rolo Caramel Brownies

FF Chocolate Madness Muffins
Caramac Drizzle Rolo Caramel Brownies

Chocolate Honeycomb Sponge Cake

FF Chocolate Madness Muffins
Chocolate Honeycomb Sponge Cake

Maltesers Popping Candy Cupcakes 

FF Chocolate Madness Muffins
Maltesers Popping Candy Cupcakes

 

I don’t suggest eating one of these every day, but once in a while, why not let loose?? All food is much more fun when shared.

Do you have a favourite recipe you like to share?

Sammie x

 

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Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies


Hello lovelies. Do you need a chocolate hit? Do you want to sink your teeth into something chocolatey, fudgey and studded with nuts? Good. I’m here to help! Welcome to my¬†Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies.

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies - they taste soooo good www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies 

 

 

So, the other night I was craving, I mean really craving chocolate. Not in the bar form, in a Brownie! Am I alone in my craving? Thought not!! Anyway it was too late to bake, so I settled down to sleep, thinking about Brownies.

It was still there, the craving, in the morning. Not so much the craving for chocolate, more the need to bake Brownies.

Now I have a couple of Brownie recipes¬†Nuts About Brownies & Triple Chocolate Brownies already on this site, but I was in the mood for experimenting. Given that I’d had a couple of baking disasters during the week I knew this could be risky business!! Still I ploughed on, wading through my collection of cookbooks in search of inspiration. As usual I took a bits and pieces of information from here and there and came up with an idea-ish of a recipe!!

I love looking through cookbooks, however, I can honestly say there are very few recipes I follow completely from the start. The books are more a visual and written inspiration for how I like to cook/bake. I still have much to learn, what I know already serves to help me put a recipe together. It’s fun too, coming up with flavours, textures etc. on my own. It’s also how I learn and that is a big part of the enjoyment I get from cooking and baking.

So to the Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies –¬†melted chocolate was top of the list in creating this recipe. Lots of it. Having a new bag of Macadamia Nuts in the cupboard meant they were guaranteed a starring role. Chocolate Chunks obviously, because – more chocolate!! The rest, well I know that brown sugar lends a depth to chocolate recipes, yet I still wanted that shiny, crackled top, synonymous with a good, fudgey brownie.

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies look at the top, all shiny and yum! www.feastingisfun.com
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies look at the top, all shiny and yum! www.feastingisfun.com

 

 

These Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies are everything I wanted and more. Fudgey, dense, intense chocolate flavour, with whole, buttery, Macadamia nuts for added crunch. So pleased am I with them I am sharing the recipe with you.

Recipe : Makes 20 Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies

200g/7oz Milk Chocolate

150g/5oz Dark Chocolate

225g/8oz Unsalted Butter

4 Large Eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract РI use Nielsen-Massey 

1/4tsp Salt

125g/4.5oz Dark Brown Sugar

100g/4oz Caster Sugar

75g/3oz Plain White Flour

1/2tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

225g/8oz Macadamia Nuts

175g/6oz Chocolate Chips – plain or milk

Method : Preheat the oven to 175C/160C fan

Break up the chocolate (or chop) into individual squares, dice the butter and place both into a heat proof bowl. Place the bowl over a simering pan of water (a double boiler) ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

Yep, I know. My bowl was too small, even for my smallest pan. Duh!!! So I improvised by using a steamer on top of the pan and placing my bowl in the steamer. This way you definetely won’t have the bowl touching the water. If you do try it make sure the water is just simmering, otherwise your hands could be burnt by the steam.

Stir the chocolate/butter until two thirds melted.

Improvised double boiler using a steamer!
Improvised double boiler using a steamer!

 

Then remove the bowl from the pan and continue stirring until the chocolate and butter are completely melted. Using this method may be a little more labour intensive, it does stop the mixture heating up too much, thus less time for it to cool down. Me impatient? No I like to call it efficient!!!

Set the melted chocolate and butter aside to cool.
Set the melted chocolate and butter aside to cool.

 

Line a 22.5cm x 30cm (9″ x 12″) tin with aluminium foil. This makes it so easy to remove the brownies once baked and less time cleaning up. Win win.

Place the eggs, vanilla extract and salt into a bowl. Mix until combined.

Add the two sugars into the mixed egg and vanilla.
Add the two sugars into the mixed egg and vanilla.
Stir the sugar and egg mixture until combined.
Stir the sugar and egg mixture until combined.
Pour the cooled chocolate mixture slowly into the bowl stirring slowly.
Pour the cooled chocolate mixture slowly into the bowl stirring slowly.
Ooey gooey chocolate brownie mixture.
Ooey gooey chocolate brownie mixture.

 

Sift the flour and sodium bicarb. into the bowl.

Add the macadamia nuts on top of the sieved flour.
Add the macadamia nuts on top of the sieved flour.
Then add the chocolate chunks.
Then add the chocolate chunks.

 

Fold all the ingredients together, resisting the urge to taste a spoonful – or not!!!

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownie batter.
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownie batter.
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies pour the mixture into a lined pan. Rap the pan onto the worktop a couple of times to allow any air bubbles to rise to the top.
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies pour the mixture into a lined pan. Rap the pan onto the worktop a couple of times to allow any air bubbles to rise to the top.

 

Place the pan in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes. The Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies are cooked when the top is set and shiny, there should still be a hint of wobble when you gently shake the pan. Always better to slightly undercook Brownies than overcook. Once cooked remove the Brownie pan from the oven.

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies leave to cool in the tin.
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies leave to cool in the tin.

 

Once completely cooled it’s so easy to remove the Brownies from the pan, in the foil. Peel away the foil and slice into 20 squares.

These Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies are soo good. I’m not kidding, I was blown away by how dense, fudgey, chocolatey and more-ish these brownies are.

I shared them with friends, neighbours and of course our crew. All the feed back was good, so now I’ve shared them with you!

 

Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies delicious.
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Brownies 

 

How do you like your brownies?

Frosted, plain, with nuts, without?

I’d love to hear from you.

Sammie x

 

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Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake

Hello lovelies, if you’ve got the Monday, back to work blues, or just fancy cake, then I have the ultimate solution, my Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake.

Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake - light and moist.
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake – light and moist.

 

This Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake is so beautiful thanks to the Bundt tin moulding and the delicious topping of chocolate and toasted hazelnuts. It is so easy to make and delicious to eat!

Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake - delicious!
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake – delicious!

 

Making this cake was only my second attempt at using a Bundt tin. I gotta tell you, I love them!!! The beautiful moulding of the finished cake makes it look way more professional than I could take credit for. I also made sure I used a skewer to check the cake was cooked through (something I never normally do). The only potential problem with using a Bundt tin, is that it’s hard to specify a size, for example if I’m baking a cake in a regular cake tin I can give you it’s dimensions, with a Bundt tin that’s not possible. It’s all curved and moulded, with a hole in the middle!!! Fortunately the tin I used had a 6 cup measurement mark on the outside. So I just kinda winged it with the ingredient quantities and prayed for the best – and it worked!

Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake - what's not to like?
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake – what’s not to like?

 

Recipe :

175g/6oz Caster Sugar

175g/6oz Unsalted Butter – room temp

Pinch of Salt

1tsp Vanilla Extract

3 Large Eggs – free range if poss

100g/4oz Blanched Hazelnuts

100g/4oz Plain White Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

3 tbsp Cocoa Powder

50ml/2fl oz Whole Milk

150g Milk Chocolate – I used Green&Blacks

Method : Preheat oven to 180C/165C fan

Thoroughly grease the Bundt tin with butter.
Thoroughly grease the Bundt tin with butter.
In a bowl thoroughly whisk/beat the sugar, salt and butter, until light and creamy.
In a bowl thoroughly whisk/beat the sugar, salt and butter, until light and creamy.

 

Take half of the hazelnuts and process/chop them until they are very fine – similar to ground almonds.

Into the bowl add the eggs, chopped hazelnuts and sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Into the bowl add the eggs, chopped hazelnuts,milk and sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Whisk/beat until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Whisk/beat until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

 

Using a rubber spatula give the cake batter a couple of good stirs to ensure all the ingredients, especially at the bottom of the bowl, are combined.

Fill the Bundt tin with the cake batter, smoothing out the surface.
Fill the Bundt tin with the cake batter, smoothing out the surface.

 

Place the Bundt tin in the centre of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. The cake is cooked when an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Once cooked remove the cake from the oven.

Allow the Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake to cool in the tin for 10 mins.
Allow the Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake to cool in the tin for 10 mins.
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake - soo pretty!
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake – soo pretty!

 

Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Lightly chop the remaining hazelnuts and dry roast them, on a baking sheet for 5 minutes, after removing the cake from the oven. Remove and allow to cool.

To decorate the cake :

Break up the milk chocolate and melt either over a double boiler or in a microwave.
Break up the milk chocolate and melt either over a double boiler or in a microwave.
Remove the chocolate before it has fully melted and continually stir, allowing the residual heat to melt all of the chocolate.
Remove the chocolate before it has fully melted and continually stir, allowing the residual heat to melt all of the chocolate.
Pour the melted chocolate around the top of the cake. The chocolate will naturally flow down the sides and into the middle of the cake - yum!
Pour the melted chocolate around the top of the cake. The chocolate will naturally flow down the sides and into the middle of the cake – yum!
Milk chocolate topped Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake.
Milk chocolate topped Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake.

 

Next sprinkle the toasted chopped hazelnuts over the top of the cake. Now all you have to wait for is the chocolate to set – enough time to pop the kettle on, phone a friend and get ready to dive in and enjoy!!

Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake - slices into portions perfectly.
Chocolate Hazelnut Bundt Cake – slices into portions perfectly.

 

I really am so pleased with this cake, it’s scrumptious and easy – what more could you ask for??

Do you know a way of measuring Bundt Tins??

Sammie x

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Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers

Hello there lovely people, regular readers will know just how fond I am of Cookies! So it should come as no surprise that I also love biscuits and all variations in between. Actually what is the difference between Cookies and Biscuits? Anyway I digress – these Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers definitely fit in the biscuit category (whatever that is??!!).

Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers
Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers

 

The Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers have a light, buttery crumb, which is complemented by the high quality chocolate dipped ends. This is definitely not a biscuit that I would dunk!

Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers accompanied by Viennese Whirls!
Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers accompanied by Viennese Swirls!

 

I also made some Viennese Swirls, which had their bases dipped in chocolate. Oh my, the biscuity, chocolatey, deliciousness in the shape of a swirl. Both Viennese fingers and swirls look so pretty. I imagine them adorning high tea cake stands, alongside scones and little triangle sandwiches with their crusts cut off! Oh hang on, is that the Ritz on the phone putting in an order? As if!!!!!

Cup of tea anyone? Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers and Swirls.
Cup of tea anyone? Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers and Swirls.

 

These fingers and swirls are piped, using the largest star tip you can get your hands on! Because they literally take moments to cook and cool, then you can get a-dunking in the gorgeous melted chocolate. If you have children in the house you will instantly have them in the kitchen the minute you start dunking! I guarantee it!!!

In fact I made 6 swirls and 19 (so annoying that it wasn’t 20!) fingers yesterday and they’ve all gone. Next time I’ll make a double batch – or hide them!!! That kinda goes against the sharing theme of this blog – oops! ¬†Looks like a double batch then.

Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers and Swirls - that's a lot of biscuits munched!
Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers and Swirls – that’s a lot of biscuits munched!

 

Anyway, let me show you how I made these –

Recipe : Makes Approx 30 Fingers

200g/7oz Unsalted Butter – very soft

50g/2oz Icing Sugar

15g/ 1/2oz Corn Flour (also known as corn starch)

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

1/8tsp Salt

100g/4oz Self-raising White Flour

100g/4oz Plain White Flour

150g Milk Chocolate – I used Green and Black’s as it has 37% Cocoa, most chocolate bars have 20%-25%

Method : Piping bag fitted with a large star tip.

Preheat oven to 180C/165C fan.

Whisk together the very soft butter, icing sugar and salt until light and fluffy.

Note – as the finished mixture is piped, having very soft butter will make the piping easier.

Add the vanilla extract and corn flour and whisk into the butter/sugar mixture.
Add the vanilla extract and corn flour and whisk into the butter/sugar mixture.
Sift both flours into the bowl.
Sift both flours into the bowl.
Mix all the ingredients until they just come together.
Mix all the ingredients until they just come together.
Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip - I've used a disposable piping bag.
Scoop the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip – I’ve used a disposable piping bag.

Ensure your piping bag is fitted with a large star tip, Wilton #1M is ideal.

Either use parchment paper lined baking sheets or non stick – I used a combination of both.

Here’s how to pipe the Viennese Fingers in pictures –

The mixture is quite stiff! Use one hand to guide the tip and the other to apply pressure to the bag. Squeeze....
The mixture is quite stiff! Use one hand to guide the tip and the other to apply pressure to the bag. Squeeze….
Keeping the pressure on the bag, pipe slowly, in a straight line.......
Keeping the pressure on the bag, pipe slowly, in a straight line…….
Continue piping until the finger is 10cm/4" long. Release the pressure on the bag and pull the tip away.
Continue piping until the finger is 10cm/4″ long. Release the pressure on the bag and pull the tip away.
Soo pretty! Keep a piped finger's width between each one as they spread a little whilst baking.
Soo pretty! Keep a piped finger’s width between each one as they spread a little whilst baking.

Now if you fancy making the Viennese swirls, this is how you do it!

Pipe a swirl, approx 5cm/2" across.
Pipe a swirl, approx 5cm/2″ across.
Pipe inside the swirl in a circular motion, until the circle is filled in. Bring the piping tip to the centre and release the pressure.
Pipe inside the swirl in a circular motion, until the circle is filled in. Bring the piping tip to the centre and release the pressure.

 

Place the swirls and fingers in the oven. Bake the fingers for 10 minutes and the swirls for 10-12 minutes. They are cooked when they have just turned golden.

Beautifully golden, cooked Viennese Fingers.
Beautifully golden, cooked Viennese Fingers.
A gorgeous, golden, Viennese Swirl.
A gorgeous, golden, Viennese Swirl.

 

As soon as the biscuits are baked remove from the oven. Leave to cool on the baking sheets for a couple of minutes and then, using a palette knife, move the fingers and swirls to a cooling rack.

Once cooled the fingers are ready for dunking in chocolate.

Chop the chocolate and place in a heat proof bowl.
Chop the chocolate and place in a heat proof bowl.
Melt the chocolate either over a double boiler, or if you're confident in the microwave - I nuked my chocolate and it was fine.
Melt the chocolate either over a double boiler, or if you’re confident in the microwave – I nuked my chocolate and it was fine.
Dip one end of the Viennese finger in the chocolate.
Dip one end of the Viennese finger in the chocolate.
Holding the biscuit in the middle dip the other end in the chocolate.
Holding the biscuit in the middle dip the other end in the chocolate.

 

Place the Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper – DO NOT place back on the cooling rack as I did. I’ll show you why later!!!

For the swirls I used a spoon to cover the base of the swirl with melted chocolate and then left them to cool, upside down, on the cooling rack.

The swirls are fine to cool, upside down, on the rack.
The swirls are fine to cool, upside down, on the rack.

 

You now can present your Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers and Swirls!

Ah soo pretty - Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers and Swirls.
Ah soo pretty – Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers and Swirls.

 

I promised to show you what happened when I cooled the Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers on the cooling rack…..

Some of the biscuits stuck and broke when I tried to get them off!!!
Some of the biscuits stuck and broke when I tried to get them off!!!

 

Totally my fault and very embarrassing as my previous post stated the importance of reading through a recipe before you start. Guess what, if I’d read the recipe I’d have known to cool the chocolate dipped fingers on parchment paper. My bad!!!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers you may also like these:

Bakewell Shortbread Bars 

FF Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers
Bakewell Shortbread Bars

Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares 

FF Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers
Multi Millionaires Shortbread Squares

Chocolate Vanilla Viennese Finger Biscuits 

FF Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers
Chocolate Vanilla Viennese Finger Biscuits

We had fun eating all of the broken biscuits. Since life isn’t always perfect, I try to make the most of everything. Having a laugh at mishaps, eating the spoils, it all makes memories.

Have you had an memorable baking mishaps??

Sammie x

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Nuts About Brownies!

Hello, have I baked up something delicious for you? If you love Chocolate and Brazil Nuts then you will be Nuts About Brownies!

Brazil Nut studded, fudgey Chocolate - you will love Nuts About Brownies!
Brazil Nut studded, fudgey Chocolate – you will love Nuts About Brownies!

 

This Brownie recipe is so easy as it’s all made in one saucepan. Come on we so love a recipe that doesn’t involve a mountain of washing up? Not only that, you line your baking dish/tin with foil – so even that stays clean! Anything to make life easier is very welcome around here!

Go big or stay small, each bite is chocca full of nuts!
Go big or stay small, each bite is chocca full of nuts!

 

Nigella is the inspiration behind this recipe. I’ve tinkered with it a little bit and I’d like to think she would approve. I’ve used Brazil nuts in these Nuts About Brownies,¬†but Walnuts and Pecans work very well too. Whatever nuts I add, these Brownies disappear very quickly in our house!!!

I'm Nuts About Brownies - are you?
I’m Nuts About Brownies – are you?

 

Recipe : Makes 9 – 15 Brownies

150g/5oz Unsalted Butter

300g/10oz Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar

75g/2.5oz Cocoa Powder

150g/5oz Plain White Flour

1tsp Sodium Bicarbonate

1/4tsp Salt

4 Large Eggs – pref free range

2tsp Vanilla Extract

150g/5oz Brazil Nuts

150g/Dark Chocolate (70%)

Method :

Preheat oven to 175C/160C fan.

Line a 30cm x 20cm (12″ x 8″) baking tin with aluminium foil. Ensure the dish is at least 5cm (2″) deep.

Place the butter and sugar into a large, heavy bottomed pan...
Place the butter and sugar into a large, heavy bottomed pan…

Melt the butter and sugar gently over a low heat.

Add the cocoa to the melted butter/sugar, off the heat.
Add the cocoa to the melted butter/sugar, off the heat.
Stir in the cocoa until thoroughly combined.
Stir in the cocoa until thoroughly combined.
Now add the flour, bicarb. and salt.
Now add the flour, bicarb. and salt.
Mix thoroughly - the mixture will be quite dry and claggy at this point - don't worry!!
Mix thoroughly – the mixture will be quite dry and claggy at this point – don’t worry!!

Crack the eggs into a jug. Add the vanilla extract and mix – don’t whisk as you don’t want to incorporate air.

Add the egg/vanilla mixture to the cooled contents of the pan.
Add the egg/vanilla mixture to the cooled contents of the pan.
Mix thoroughly, until you have a smooth, silky, brownie batter.
Mix thoroughly, until you have a smooth, silky, brownie batter.
Pour the brownie mixture into the foil lined tin.
Pour the brownie mixture into the foil lined tin.
Chop the nuts and chocolate into large chunks.
Chop the nuts and chocolate into large chunks.
Sprinkle the chopped nuts and chocolate evenly over the top of the brownie batter.
Sprinkle the chopped nuts and chocolate evenly over the top of the brownie batter.

 

Now the next step is important but might sound a bit odd – rap the baking tin hard against the worktop 3-4 times. This brings any bubbles to the surface, we want our brownies to be dense and fudgey, not light and airy like cake! Rapping the tin also settles the chocolate chunks and nuts into the batter.

Place the brownies in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. The brownies are cooked when the top is set, but there should still be a little bit of wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes.

Your Nuts About Brownies are nearly ready to eat!! Remember it's always better to slightly undercook them, that ensures fudgey, gooey, yumminess!!
Your Nuts About Brownies are nearly ready to eat!! Remember it’s always better to slightly undercook them, that ensures fudgey, gooey, yumminess!!

 

Remove the brownies from the tin by simply lifting out the foil. Place on a cooling rack, pulling the foil away from the sides of the cooked brownie. Congratulate yourself on one less item to wash up!!!!!

Once cooled cut into squares. 9 big ones or 15 smaller ones. Pour yourself a large glass of milk and get ready to taste Nuts About Brownies!

These brownies are so simple to make and bake. 30 minutes from start to taking them out of the oven – perfect for when you have a chocolate brownie craving! Or is it just me that gets those???

Brownies are perfect for sharing.
Brownies are perfect for sharing.

Would you share your brownie?

What foods are off limits when it comes to sharing?

Sammie x

 

 

 

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Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes.

Hi there, I hope you are having a good day and hopefully this recipe for Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes will make you smile and encourage you to get baking!!!!

So late (7.30pm – that’s late for me!) the other night, I was in bed and our lil man popped his head round the door and said “Mummy it’s the school bake sale tomorrow. ¬†Do we have anything that I can take in?”. ¬†Looking at me with his angelic, freckled face and gorgeous green eyes, hopeful, expectant. ¬†Mummy’s can sort anything out, at a moments notice – can’t they????

Well of course we can!  Improvisation is one of the most important parenting tools any mum or dad learns.

So, fortunately my cupboards are groaning under the weight of baking ingredients at the mo, due to being unwell over Christmas – see there’s a silver lining to every dark cloud! ¬†If I was going to bake I was definitely going to blog about it. ¬†Only problem with that is, have already posted Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes (chocolate cupcakes guaranteed to sell and make the most money!), I needed a different chocolate recipe. ¬†So I invented a new recipe on the spot – Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes!

They look and taste soooo good!
Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes. They look and taste soooo good!

Given my desire to get back to bed ASAP I decided not to frost these cupcakes. Sprinkling each individual cupcake top with chopped up crunchy¬†after dinner mints¬†turned out better than I hoped for. ¬†The crunchy¬†mint chocolate shards didn’t melt, or lose their shape and once cooled provided an excellent topping in itself! ¬†Ditching the frosting also made it much easier for my lil man to transport these scrumptious (WHAT?? – of course we had to try them!!!) cupcakes to school.

Recipe : Makes 33-36 Cupcakes

1lb/450g  Unsalted Butter Рat room temp

1lb/450g  Light Soft Brown Sugar

8 Eggs – Large, room temp – pref free range

2tsp. Vanilla Extract

1tsp. Peppermint Extract

1/4tsp. Salt – I use Kosher (free flowing and additive free)

12oz/350g White Self Raising Flour

4oz/100g  Cocoa Powder

8oz/225g  Milk Chocolate Chunks (or chips)

4oz/100g  Dark Mint Chocolate

Method :

Preheat oven to 190C (175C fan).

Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl and whisk (using an electric whisk, or beater paddle in a stand mixer) until completely combined (this is called creaming) and light and fluffy in texture.

A mix of sugars. Dark and light brown and white caster - it was late and it was the best I could do!!!!
A mix of sugars. Dark and light brown and white caster – it was late and it was the best I could do!!!!
It all whisked up beautifully - breathed sigh of relief!!!!
It all whisked up beautifully – breathes sigh of relief!!!!

Add the vanilla/peppermint extracts and the salt. Whisk in thoroughly. ¬†Now add the eggs, one at a time, whisking between each addition – I break each egg into a separate bowl before adding it to the mixture – ¬†it helps keep any errant eggshell out of the batter. ¬†If the eggs are at room temp then the batter shouldn’t curdle, however, if it does start to curdle just add 1 tablespoon of your flour and the mixture will come back together again.

All 8 eggs whisked in and no curdling! I was relieved.
All 8 eggs whisked in and no curdling! I was relieved.

Next sift in the flour and cocoa powder.  Fold this in using a spoon/spatula, using a gentle figure-of-eight movement rotating the bowl to ensure the flour/cocoa become fully incorporated. The idea is to keep the mixture light and not lose too much of the trapped air from the whisked in eggs.

Add the milk chocolate chunks and fold these into the Cupcake batter so they are evenly distributed.

This mixture looks, smells and tastes scrumptious!
This mixture looks, smells and tastes scrumptious!

Line you cupcake/muffin tin with cupcake cases and using an ice cream scoop, fill the ¬†cases 3/4 full (one scoop full). ¬†Remember I’m not frosting these cupcakes so I want them to have a nice rounded top!

Ready....
Ready….
Squeeze.....
Squeeze…..
Plop! The exact amount of batter drops into the cupcake case - brilliant - and quick - and much less messy than using 2 spoons!
Plop! The exact amount of batter drops into the cupcake case – brilliant – and quick – and much less messy than using 2 spoons!

Sprinkle the crunchy, dark mint chocolate shards over the top of each uncooked cupcake, pushing slightly into the batter.

Ready for the oven!
Ready for the oven!

Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 mins depending on your oven. ¬†I usually test if cupcakes are cooked by lightly pressing in the middle and if it springs back it’s cooked. ¬† I DON’T suggest you do this – I did, forgetting there would be melted chocolate on the top – OUCH!! ¬†So, when the Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes are risen, with a nice dome shape, lightly press the SIDE of the cupcake top. ¬†If firm remove the cupcakes from the oven, if it’s still a bit sticky and wobbly, leave them in the oven for 3-5 minutes until firm and then remove.

Leave to cool for a good 5 minutes before removing to cool on a baking rack.
Leave to cool for a good 5 minutes before removing to cool on a baking rack.

If you’ve only got a couple of cupcake tins you can pop them on the garden bench to speed up the cooling process, so you can decant the cupcakes, wash the tins, get the next batch in the oven and get back to bed!!!!

Come on babies, cool quickly please?
Come on babies, cool quickly please?

When the cupcakes are all cool, pack into an airtight container, cupcake box for school bake sale or place one on a plate pour a glass of milk and take it up to bed to enjoy!!!!

All Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cupcakes were sold out in 2 minutes the next day, raising £10 for the charity Mencap!!!

The fun bits……..

Who needs a dishwasher......
Who needs a dishwasher……
When you have chocolate loving children
When you have chocolate loving children

You could easily halve this recipe, should you not have a cake sale to bake for, or, here’s a thought – use the recipe, as is, and surprise someone with a tin/box/plateful of scrummy cupcakes!!

Remember Food Tastes Better When It’s Shared. Happy Feasting!

Sammie x

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Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova

Hello, I’m writing this blog with fond memories of our week spent in the heart of Devon during half term. This¬†Raspberry¬†Chocolate Pavlova was made, at the barn, with minimal equipment and only my memory for the recipe! I’d call that a challenge!!

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova made again at home.

Physically it was a bit of a struggle for me, but that was more than compensated by the time we spent as a family. Hanging out together, all 5 of us on a trampoline ( trust me I wasn’t jumping !!!!) that I thought was going to collapse at any second. Taking turns to row around the pond. Discovering semi-wild farm cats and their kittens in the hay barn – sooo cute. Spending¬†time with our Devon family‚Äôs, both in church and on the farm. Yet most of all being together Feasting¬†and Having Fun!!!!!

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova perfect for dessert or afternoon tea.

Firstly I have to give complete credit to Nigella for inspiring this scrumptious Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova.

Whilst staying in our gorgeous Barn in the middle of nowhere Pip had invited us to share a meal with her and her wonderful hubby Sailor Man and their daughter Leggy Lou!

Pip would be cooking Lasagne and I offered to do pudding!!

We’ve been staying on the same farm, in the same barn at least 10 years. I was pretty confident, given the restricted equipment available in the barn, that ¬†I could ‘easily’ whip up a¬†Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova!!

This is one of those puds that not only has the WOW factor visually but tastes even better than it looks. So simple to do then?

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova a delicious combination of flavours.

While out shopping I remembered ALL the ingredients (I may have made this a few dozen times before!). Although I couldn’t remember the quantities!

Back at the farm, in a rare moment of actually being able to get a signal, I successfully popped onto Nigella’s website ¬†and got the recipe. ¬†Fortunately I had not forgotten anything – boy was I relieved!!

Recipe:  Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova serves 8

You will need a good sized baking sheet that can take a 30cm diameter circle of meringue, lined with parchment paper.

6  Egg whites. (Preferably free range) at room temp

300g  Caster Sugar

3 tbsp Cocoa Powder (not drinking chocolate)

1 tsp Balsamic vinegar (your just gonna have to trust me on this one???!!)

50g  Chopped Dark (70%) Chocolate + an extra 25g Dark (70%) Chocolate chopped very fine, for sprinkling over before serving

450ml Double Cream

300g – 500g Raspberries – Fresh if possible. I have used decent thawed frozen ones in the midst of winter and it worked – Waitrose sell good quality frozen berries

Method:  Preheat the your oven to 200C/180C fan (350F, gas mark 4).

Firstly if you have any kind of electric whisk PLEASE use it. You can see from the photo below that I did not have one and it was VERY HARD WORK!!!

Oh yes - I whisked 6 egg whites using a rotary whisk!!! Gone are the bingo wings!!!!
Oh yes – I whisked 6 egg whites using a rotary whisk!!! Gone are the bingo wings!!!

Once the egg whites form stiff, satin peaks slowly add the caster sugar and keep whisking. Oh the joy, what was already a hard job became much more difficult as the sugar mixed into the whites. The mixture will become much thicker.

Once all the sugar is fully incorporated whisk until the meringue mixture is glossy, satiny and holds a stiff peak!

Next add the sieved cocoa, chopped chocolate and balsamic vinegar (stay with my guys it’s really worth it in the end!!!)

I'm not a big sifter?(I am a big sister!!!!!), but cocoa really does need a god old sift to remove any lumps!!
I’m not a big sifter?(I am a big sister!!!!!), but cocoa really does need a god old sift to remove any lumps!!

Using a metal spoon gently fold in the chocolate, cocoa and balsamic vinegar until the ingredients are fully combined. This was challenging for me, as you can see from the photos I’d used a straight sided, flat bottomed casserole dish as a mixing bowl!

Still I’m nothing if not adaptable!

When at home I draw round a 12″ (30cm) round cake tin, with pencil, on to parchment paper. On holiday I had to ‘guesstimate’!

Flip the paper over, so that the pencil marking is on the underside. At this point, you can attach the parchment to the baking sheet with little dobs of meringue mixture. These act like glue and stop the paper moving around.

Using the drawn circle as a guide, gently pile on the meringue mixture into the centre using a metal spoon. Use a palette knife (or butter knife if on hols!!!) to gently spread the mixture into an even circle shape approx 30cm across.

I’ve found it helps the cooked Pavlova not to crack if you build the sides up slightly so the centre is approx 1-2cm lower than the edge. It doesn’t matter if it does crack as later on you will be smothering it in whipped cream and raspberries! Using your knife smooth out the centre and create swirls around the outside of the Pavlova. Let your creative, fun¬†side run free!! It’s soo much fun¬†and you can swirl to your hearts content!

The lighting was beautiful in the barn and it makes the Pavlova look sooo pretty x
The lighting was beautiful in the barn and it makes the Pavlova look sooo pretty x

Place the beautiful Pavlova on the middle shelf of the preheated oven (180C Р350F or gas mark 4), immediately turn the oven temperature down to 150C (300F gas mark  2) and bake for  1, 1/4 Р1, 1/2 hours.

If you are confident about the eggs you have used, gather the children around the bowl and let them lick the bowl clean. Make sure you have a little taste too. It’s GORGEOUS. ¬†I think it tastes like the lightest chocolate mousse. ¬†You are eating raw egg so please do not taste if you are pregnant, unwell or elderly. Also I wouldn’t let my children taste it when they were very young. ¬†Our youngest is 12 now so he was allowed to try some!

The Pavlova is cooked when the outside looks lovely and crisp and you can see the dark, fudgey inside through the natural small cracks in the surface.

Turn the oven off and leave to cool completely in the oven.

Once the Pavlova is completely cool remove from the oven and peel off the Parchment paper (I’ve never yet had one stick using Parchment, if you use greaseproof paper I can’t guarantee it will peel off as easily).

Place the Pavlova on a flat cake stand, cake board or metal tray if that’s all you have to hand!!

Whip the cream until thickened but still floppy (adding a teaspoon of caster sugar if you prefer to sweeten the cream) and smother the top of the Pavlova with it leaving a cream free edge.

Just waiting to be adorned.
Just waiting to be adorned.

Tumble (or carefully place it’s your choice!) the raspberries over the cream topped Pavlova.

Now finally sprinkle over the remaining 25g (about a tablespoon) of finely chopped dark chocolate.

 

Soo beautiful, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating!!!
Soo beautiful,Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova. the proof of the pudding is in the eating!!!

We shared this with our dinner hosts who were extremely complimentary about the combination of flavours, but mostly the hidden, almost brownie like middle of the Pavlova. The contrast between the crunchy outer layer, the sublime tartness of raspberry enveloped in velvety whipped cream and then the surprise, almost fudgey centre with nubs of chocolate work to create a TASTE SENSATION! Thank you Nigella for inspiring this recipe.

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova the perfect sweet treat to take to take to someone’s house.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova you may also like these:

Lemon Lime Meringue Pie

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Lemon Lime Meringue Pie

Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova 

FF Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova
Raspberry Topped Lemon Curd Pavlova

Pavlova the perfect dessert for Sharing, Feasting and Having Fun!

Sammie x

 

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Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes!!

Well a very good day to you. The storm has finally cleared the UK and I sincerely hope you survived it unscathed?  If you are sleep deprived, due to the banging, blowing and crashing howls of wind a Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes may be just what you need to help you get through the day with a smile!

Fudgey, chocolate icing with hearts, stars and gold dragee balls!
Fudgey, chocolate icing with hearts, stars and gold dragee balls!

Nature’s beauty can be mesmerisingly beautiful, but we should never underestimate it’s force or ruthlessness and ability to deprive us all of a good nights sleep!

CUPCAKES!!!!!
I’ve posted lots of pics, now I give you the recipe:

Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes (makes 18)

You will need:

2 x 12 Deep Muffin Tins (not shallow fairy cake tins)

18 Cupcake liners (I’ve used brown ‘tulip’ liners – plain white ones look good with chocolate, but the choice is yours!)

Recipe : Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes – makes 18

10oz Unsalted Butter (at room temp)

10oz Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar

2tsp Vanilla Extract

Pinch of Salt (I use Kosher)

5 Large Eggs (Pref Free Range – at room temp)

3oz Cocoa Powder (NOT hot chocolate powder)

7oz Self Raising White Flour

3-4tbsp Whole Milk (at room temp)

6oz Milk Chocolate Chunks or Chips

Large bowl & an electric whisk (it really makes creaming the sugar & butter bearable!!!!)

Method :

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 175C (160C Fan Oven).

Line the muffin tins with 18 cupcake cases.

Pretty tulip cases, worth the extra effort!!!
Pretty tulip cases, worth the extra effort!!!

Firstly place the butter and treacly dark sugar into a large bowl (of stand mixer, if using, with the paddle mixer attached).

No lumps here!!!!!
No lumps here!!!!!

Unless you are ready for a serious workout I really recommend using an electric whisk to beat the sugar/butter mixture. It will take a while (approx 5-10 mins) for the mixture to become smooth and fluffy.

Next add the punch of salt& vanilla extract and beat the whole mixture until thoroughly combined.

Now if you want to switch to a wooden spoon for mixing you can. Using an electric whisk/beater is also ok, just make sure you don’t over mix once the flour is added, otherwise you won’t have light, cupcakes.

Add 2 of the eggs (I always crack them into a separate bowl first, no one wants crunchy cupcakes!!!) and a third of the cocoa/flour (sifted). Gently mix until almost incorporated.

Repeat this process again.

Callebaut milk chocolate chunks take this cupcake to another level of scrumptiousness!!!!!!!
Callebaut milk chocolate chunks take this cupcake to another level of scrumptiousness!!!!!!!

Now add the last egg and mix gently. Then add the last of the flour/cocoa & the chocolate chunks/chips. Fold these ingredients in gently adding 1 tablespoon at a time to loosen the mixture and allow all the ingredients to mix thoroughly and have a slightly wet dropping consistency.

The cake batter should look like this, ready to scoop!!
The cake batter should look like this, ready to scoop!!

I use an ice cream scoop to evenly fill the cupcake cases. But you could always use 2 desert spoons. Just ensure an equal amount of mixture is placed into each case. This ensures that all the cupcakes will be cooked evenly & in the same amount of time.

Using an ice cream scoop to portion the cupcake batter.
Using an ice cream scoop to portion the cupcake batter.
Centre the scoop above the cake liner.
Centre the scoop above the cake liner.
Squeeze the scoop & release the batter into the case!!!
Squeeze the scoop & release the batter into the case!!!

Cook for approx 20 minutes. The cupcakes are cooked when lightly pressed in the middle and the cake springs back.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 mins until cool enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
NOTE: if using the tulip style cupcake cases, I’ve found it best to leave the cupcakes to COMPLETELY COOL IN THE TIN. The paper cases will then adhere to the cupcakes when removed from the tin.

I left these cupcakes to cool completely in the tin.
I left these cupcakes to cool completely in the tin.

These chocolate chunk cupcakes are then perfect to serve unadorned!

However if making for a special occasion or just because, you can ice or top them with whatever you like!!

I’ve used Betty Crocker’s Chocolate Fudge Icing (which I’ve found is easier to apply using 2 teaspoons, rather than piping, when using the tulip cupcake wrappers. I’ve then sprinkled a variety of gold sugar balls, white chocolate stars, glitter, even rice paper figurines.

Fudgey, chocolate icing with hearts, stars and gold dragee balls!
Fudgey, chocolate icing with hearts, stars and gold dragee balls!

Melted chocolate drizzled over the top, or half double cream/half chocolate melted together in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (making sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water), creates a chocolate ganache. If using ordinary (not tulip) cases the cupcakes can then be dipped into the ganache, covering the entire surface of the cupcake. This will then cool to a soft, fudgey consistency, whereas melted chocolate on its own will harden on cooling.

Ganache dipped cupcakes with a sparkly addition of gold dragee balls.
Ganache dipped cupcakes with a sparkly addition of gold dragee balls.

You can then sprinkle & adorn to your hearts content. Although left without the sprinkles these cupcakes still look gorgeous & scrummy.

Now it’s time to share!!

I invested in some individual clear, plastic cupcake holders, which not only allow the cupcakes to be transported easily but also allow the recipient to clearly see their gift. I have also popped the cupcakes into cellophane bags tied with rafia. This also looks beautiful, but is more fiddly & you have to be careful not to get any of the icing on the inside of the bag, as it spoils the look.

If you want to make someone smile, or you know someone who needs cheering up, this recipe is FOOLPROOF.

When I give a gift, especially one I’ve made, I’m NOT looking to be basked in thanks & glory for what I’ve given. I want the recipient to feel special. To know that they’ve been thought of & know that they are special to me.

I’ve received gifts that are more about the giver than the recipient & although I’m always thankful, somehow, if the giver is looking to be showered with praise, the gift feels soulless.

In my world GIFTS SHOULD ALWAYS BE ABOUT THE RECIPIENT NOT THE GIVER.

Don’t get me wrong a thank you is nice, but other than that I’m not seeking praise. I really try to think of who I am giving to & what their likes & preferences are. In doing this I must disregard what I want and focus on others.

Some people like a big fuss & that’s fine. They like attention & they enjoy being the centre of it. So when giving them a gift I know they don’t mind if it’s in a roomful of people. They enjoy celebrating in a big way.

Others are quieter. They would be mortified at the notion of being centre of attention. That is fine too. So the gift will be given quietly, without pomp & circumstance. Because it’s not about the giver but the recipient.

If you’ve taken the time, love & care to make something for someone, give equal thought to how you will give it to them.

Nobody, especially me, gets it right all the time! But we can all try, me included.

A well meant gift, given in a thoughtful way says you care.

Have fun trying the cupcakes. If you want to make fewer a rough guide is 1 egg/2oz butter/1 1/2oz self raising white flour/1/2oz cocoa powder.

I’d love to hear how you get on, so please leave a comment?

In the mean time have lots of fun, feasting and sharing!!

Sammie x

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Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies!!!

If you like chocolate cookies & love the taste of Mars Bars – you will totally flip out over these Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies!!
I could keep you in suspense no longer.

Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies
Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies

I may have mentioned my particular preference for a cookie with my cuppa? This combined with my natural curiosity led to these Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies being made.
But, if I’m going to completely truthful, I had an ulterior motive for making them!! More on that later.

Soooo Delicious
Soooo Delicious

I do apologise I have not yet said hello & good morning to you. I hope you are well today & encourage you to read yesterday’s blog: more food for the soul, than for our tummies & definitely way more important. I hope it makes you think, question, wonder & seek.
Today the rain is lashing down, giving the gardens a well needed dousing. Tomorrow the sun is supposed to shine, YAY! Sunshine always seems to make people seem brighter & happier – listen to me! English & talking about the weather – I’m a stereotype!!!!
I promised you my reason for the ulterior motive behind these cookie. Well…… I also made PEANUT BUTTER SNICKERS COOKIES which I absolutely lurve – I will post that recipe soon!
Making the Chocolate  Mars Bar Cookies keeps my lil kiddly winks away from the Snickers Cookies! They prefer chocolate Cookies over any other!!!
I know, I know I go on about sharing & I do. I really do! I shared the Snickers Cookies with my special QC friend!

Recipe : CHOCOLATE MARS BAR COOKIES Рmakes approx 28-32

You will need 2 x Baking Sheets (lined with parchment paper, even if non stick)

5oz ¬†Dark Brown Sugar (light brown is fine if that’s what you have to hand)

8oz  Unsalted Butter Рroom temp

1/4  tsp Salt

1  Large Egg Yolk (pref Free Range)

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

3oz  Cocoa Powder

7oz  Plain White Flour

3-4  Mars Bars Рchopped

Method :

Preheat the oven to 180C (165C fan)

The gorgeous dark brown sugar gives these cookies a fudgier flavour!!!!!!
The gorgeous dark brown sugar gives these cookies a fudgier flavour!!!!!!

Place the sugar, butter & salt into a bowl. Whisk or beat until light & fluffy.
Add in the egg yolk & Vanilla Extract. Whisk or beat until fully incorporated into the butter/sugar mixture.

Naughty - I didn't sift my flour/cocoa - whoops!!!!
Naughty – I didn’t sift my flour/cocoa – whoops!!!!

Next add the flour & cocoa ( you can sift them in if you prefer) & the chopped Mars Bars (don’t try to sift them – just trying to be helpful!!!!).
Slowly mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated together – it is inevitable that during this time the chunks of Mars Bar break up a bit, DON’T WORRY!!! This just adds to the gooey texture of the cookies!

Gooey, chocolatey, cookie dough!!!!!
Gooey, chocolatey, cookie dough!!!!!

Take a desert spoonful of the mixture and roll into a ball using your hands. The ball should be approx 1″ across, add or take away cookie dough to get the right size.

Cookie dough balls, ready to be lightly squished!!!
Cookie dough balls, ready to be lightly squished!!!

Make 16 balls, as above & place 8 on each cookie sheet, evenly spaced as they will spread on baking.
With clean hands use your fingers to gently flatten each ball.
Place in the preheated oven & cook for 10-13 mins (depending on size of cookies & oven).

Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies!!!!
Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies!!!!

WITH THE REMAINING COOKIE DOUGH: Place onto a long piece of cling film, gently roll into a log shape.

Cookie dough log removed from fridge & left to warm for 20 mins before slicing.
Cookie dough log removed from fridge & left to warm for 20 mins before slicing.

Wrap thoroughly in the cling film & refrigerate for up to 4 days, double wrap & freeze for up to one month. When ready to use, thaw in the fridge, overnight, if previously frozen, then remove from the fridge 15-30 minutes before slicing into 1/4″ thick discs.

Bake as follows :

With cocoa in the dough mixture it can be difficult to tell when the cookies are cooked: Firstly, don’t be surprised if some of the Mars Bar¬†chunks burst from the edge of the cookie & bubble away – this is fine. They will easily come away from the parchment paper when cooled (hence the need for parchment paper, so you don’t have to use a knife to scrape your non stick baking sheets!!!).
The cookies will be set around the edge & although still soft to the touch (they will harden in cooling) each cookie will have a fixed shape & have a dull surface (not shiny where the butter & sugar are still baking).
It’s very hard to give an exact cooking time for these cookies due to the inherent variations of the cookie size & different ovens.
My suggestion would be to remove them from the oven if they fulfil the above criteria & to DEFINITELY not cook them for longer than 13 mins.
The large proportion of Cocoa will result in a dry, claggy, stick to the roof of your mouth Cookie if over cooked.
Better to have a soft chewy, slightly undercooked Cookie.
Remember Cookies are not like cakes! Once cooled & hardened if you feel they really are too undercooked, pop them back into the preheated oven for a couple more minutes. This should finish their cooking!

Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies, made for sharing!
Chocolate Mars Bar Cookies, made for sharing!

These cookies are at their best the next day after making (I’m sorry) but they still taste good once cooled!!
They make excellent gifts: Pop a few in a cellophane bag, tie with a pretty ribbon or rafia, or place in a pretty tin for a larger gift.
We don’t have to wait for special occasions like birthdays or Christmas (although these are always good opportunities to share & give).

Have you ever been surprised by a gift, just because someone wanted to show you they cared? If not, why not start a new tradition?
I know of a church, in Devon, who buy lots of Easter eggs & give them out to the businesses of their small town as a thank you, for the services the businesses supply to the townsfolk throughout the year!!! What an amazing idea!
Sharing is contagious! Now what I am ABSOLUTELY NOT saying is that we should give to receive. Only that by giving & sharing we are showing others & they in turn may go on to share.

A SHARING REVOLUTION : imagine the difference & smiles that would generate?

Everyone SHARING FEASTING AND HAVING FUN!

Sammie x

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