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!
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!!!
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
175g/6oz Macadamia Nuts – roughly chopped
225g/8oz Milk Chocolate Chunks or Chips
Method : Preheat oven to 185C/170C fan.
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.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Ensure the cookie dough balls are well spaced apart.
Place the cookies into the oven and bake for 15 minutes exactly. The cookies will still seem soft when baked. Remove from the oven.
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 😉
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 ChocotasticCookies and watch the smile spread across their face as they take their first bite!
Well hello lovely people. I’ve got mayhem happening in the kitchen today, in the form of 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!!!
It’s good to shake things up once in a while, well not fizzy water – but that’s another thing entirely!
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.
Muffins are not cupcakes:
Incredibly easy to make, the only difficulty with these Chocolate MadnessMuffins 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 ChunkCupcakes.
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
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
Place your flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a bowl. These are your dry ingredients.
Repeat, adding first the eggs and milk. Then sift in the rest of your dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth 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.
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.
Once cooled sprinkle over a few extra chocolate chips.
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!
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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.
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.
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
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.
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!!!
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.
Sift the flour and sodium bicarb. into the bowl.
Fold all the ingredients together, resisting the urge to taste a spoonful – or not!!!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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
Take half of the hazelnuts and process/chop them until they are very fine – similar to ground almonds.
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.
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.
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 :
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!!
I really am so pleased with this cake, it’s scrumptious and easy – what more could you ask for??
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??!!).
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!
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!!!!!
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.
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.
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 –
Now if you fancy making the Viennese swirls, this is how you do it!
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.
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.
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.
You now can present your 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…..
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!!!
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Hello, have I baked up something delicious for you? If you love Chocolate and Brazil Nuts then you will be 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!
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!!!
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
4 Large Eggs – pref free range
2tsp Vanilla Extract
150g/5oz Brazil Nuts
150g/Dark Chocolate (70%)
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.
Melt the butter and sugar gently over a low heat.
Crack the eggs into a jug. Add the vanilla extract and mix – don’t whisk as you don’t want to incorporate air.
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.
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???
Would you share your brownie?
What foods are off limits when it comes to sharing?
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!
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 – at 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
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.
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.
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.
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!
Sprinkle the crunchy, dark mint chocolate shards over the top of each uncooked cupcake, pushing slightly into the batter.
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.
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!!!!
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……..
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!
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! And I’d certainly call that a challenge!!
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. And spending time with our Devon families, both in church and on the farm. Yet most of all being together Feastingand Having Fun!!!!!
Firstly I have to give complete credit to Nigella for inspiring this scrumptious Raspberry Chocolate Pavlova.
While 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?
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
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).
Making The Chocolate Pavlova:
First of all, 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!!!
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!!!)
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!
Shaping The Pavlova
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!
Making The Chocolate Pavlova
Place the beautiful Pavlova on the middle shelf of the preheated oven (180C – 350F or gas mark 4), immediately turn the oven temperature down to 150C (300F gas mark 2) and bake for 1, 1/4 – 1, 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.
Decorating The Pavlova
As soon as 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.
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.
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.
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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!
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!
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!!!!)
PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 175C (160C Fan Oven).
Line the muffin tins with 18 cupcake cases.
Firstly place the butter and treacly dark sugar into a large bowl (of stand mixer, if using, with the paddle mixer attached).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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 ChocolateMarsBar 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 – makes 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 – room 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 – chopped
Preheat the oven to 180C (165C fan)
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.
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!
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.
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).
WITH THE REMAINING COOKIE DOUGH: Place onto a long piece of cling film, gently roll into a log shape.
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!
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?