Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Gluten Free Frying Pan Chocolate Chip Cookie and a Review

Recipes are created for all sorts of reasons and one of those might be that a baker wants an excuse to use a partiulcar piece of equipment. This cookie came about for just that reason after the lovely people at Moderna Housewares sent me a 20cm Green Frying Pan by Ozeri to review. 

I'm afraid I can't give you a good picture of the frying pan in it's packaging because I was so eager to have a nosey at it that I had it open far too quickly for my own good. Thanks yet again to Pinterest I've been looking forward to making a frying pan cookie, or skillet cookie as they are known on the blogs I had looked at, for some time. As soon as I knew it was the frying pan I would be receiving these massive cookies were back on my baking radar because I thought it would be an ideal way to test out the super-non stick coting used on the pans. It aced the test because five minutes out of the oven and all the cookie needed was a little wiggle of the pan and I could feel it was loose but whole. Look:

The pan barely neeeded a wipe to clean it too. I know non-stick coatings get a lot of bad press now because of increased awareness that they easily come loose and enter the food leading to all manner of possible of negative health side effects but I felt completely comfortable using this pan because it is PTFE and PFOA free - the two nasties used in other non-stick coatings. It uses a very safe ceramic coating instead which also helps with heat distribution and retention for better cooking. I was migtily pleased with how this monster cookie turned out so it must work!
I also did the obligatory fried egg test and I am pleased to say it didn't stick even without the addition of oil. I love fried dippy eggs but don't have them often because of the fat content so this is a great pan for anyone of a similar opinion who is watching their weight. Poached eggs are good too but sometimes fried is necessary!
The other thing I tested in this pan was a pizza based on my Lazy Person Pizza recipe. I was so pleased with how it turned out I wrote about it on my university student union blog which you can have a peep at too here

So the cookie. It is big, very big. Fresh from the oven and served warm with a cup of tea it has a soft, melting almost cakey texture with large pools of molten chocolate that burst and flood your tongue with the sensations that epitomise a good great chocolate chip cookie. I made this gluten free so that my housemate could try it and I had barely got out the question if she wanted some when I received a 'hell yeah!' and a quick run down the stairs. And yet I still mae her wait while I attempted to take photos!

On the second and following days the taste didn't diminish in the slightest. It developed to perfect cookieness if anything. The texture was no longer remotely cakey but neither was it dry. A good old melting crumble was the reward for each bit. It was a struggle to eat just one piece a day believe me.

A little more about the frying pan now.
What I particularly liked:
  • The colour - I see no reason why pots and pans should be a dull grey. Bright colours are much more cheerful and I do like green. Red would have been even better but then I am biased because it is my favourite colour.
  • The non-stick coating - as already noted the refreshingly safe non-stick coating really does work. Less fat, easy to clean and far better for your health and environment.
  • It's oven safe - a lot of frying pans aren't oven safe but this one is to 180 C. There is a leaflet included in the box to tell you all you need to know and although most people throw this sort of thing away, I found it interesting. I'm a self-confessed nerd. 
What I thought could be better: 
  • I would like to see more colours offered in the range. Like red for instance (just daying.) If I asked my mum she'd probably say country cream.
  • This may be a little fussy but I would have like the inside to be white so I could see the colour of things better if necessary. Like if I was browning butter it would be easier to see the colour change against a white background. This is only a minor point though and it wouldn't stop me from buying the other pan sizes.
Don't just take my word for it - nip over to Elizabeth's blog to see what she thought of the same pan.

Now I owe you a recipe.

As always, all opinions are my own. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Recipe adapted from Urban Baker

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Biscuit Barrel October 13 Round Up

Welcome to the second ever round up for the Biscuit Barrel challenge. Once again I've enjoyed receiving and reading each and every entry. It has been particularly interesting this month because it gave me chance to nosey into the things that other bakers have bookmarked to bake at a later date. I know for certain I'm not the only one that adds to their 'to bake' list on a daily basis at a rate far greater than I can actually cross things off and after such an enjoyable challenge it looks like I'll be adding to it again!
First up are these Bear Paws from Elizabeth at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary and what a wonderful entry to start the biscuit dough ball rolling. Such a creative recipe fun recipe packed full of treacle, syrup and spices - perfect for the autumn season but I would love eating these at any time of year. Elizabeth hasn't made these biscuits in years having not being able to find the molasses here in the UK the recipe originally called for but if you pop over to her blog you will find the perfect solution.

Next is the first of my two entries. I've had my eye on these Nutella Stuffed Cookies for quite some time because I thought they sounded delicious and yet incredibly easy. How could anything that uses so much Nutella not be yummy?! Since making these I've had several other ideas for fillings that are sure to be filling my uni house kitchen soon.
Now we have these amazing Chai Spiced Butter Biscuits from Chinskitchen. Buttery biccies are a comforting delight to start off with then you add in the added flavour of chai spices and these biscuits are taken to the next level, especially when made using a homemade spice mix. Mmmmmmm......
People who need or choose to follow a gluten free diet often have to miss out on some lovely biscuits but these Pistachio, Hazelnut, Apricot and Apple Biscotti by The Gluten Free Alchemist Kate will make up for it for certain. I love the combination of flavours and textures but what really got me hooked was the description. I really think you ought to pop over and readit for yourself. I've not yet made the perfect biscotti myself but these have inspired me to try again.

My second entry this month are these Ginger Bonfire Toffee Crinkles. The original recipe used molasses but I decided that black treacle was close enough so went with that instead. It took just one bite to get me hooked on these. I instantly thought of the bonfire lollies I used to have as a child and everybody I described them too were really intrigued by what I said. They were even more intrigued when I said I wanted to try a cake version!

Our last entry to drool over this month is Choclette's Chocolate, Apricot and Walnut Tortes from Chocolate Log Blog. You probably woulodn't have considered a torte as being a biscuit but Choclette describes these as a light chewy and crunchy biscuit and seeing as they are my favourite kind hwo could I argue? Especially when they sound so delicious. I can well imagine the contrasting flavours and textures of the apricots and walnuts go wonderfully together and with the addition of chocolate, I don't see how these can fail.

That's it for this month and thank you to all the entrants and supporters. Come back in a few days to see what the November theme will be and I do so hope you can join in. 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Fruit and Veg Cake

I know, I know, the title makes this cake sound disgusting. Especially when I add that there is a good layer of white chocolate cream cheese icing on top with a heavy garnish of chocolate curls. If you can just bear/bare (I'm never sure which one) with me I'll explain. 

This cake is a cake that will tolerate no arguments. It is what it is and is proud. It is a no nonsense cake, accept me or move on cake with a layer of creamy sweet deliciousness on top. What it isn't is a light and feathery cake. Carrot, cherries, parsnips, raisins and banana combine in the best of ways to give something that is so moist you wouldn't believe it with the squidgy texture you expect from a banana bread. It's also very forgiving. I made this particular one when I was so very tired but needed to do something I enjoyed and hence I wasn't really paying attention and eneded up melting half of my butter instead of softening it. I couldn't be bothered to wait for it to firm back up so I scraped it into the bowl and got on with the creaming anyway. It still worked like a dream. I truly think I might be in love with this cake.
The first couple of times I made this I didn't ice it and took samples into uni for people to try my invention. It was a resounding success and I only told people afterwards that it had parsnip in. They looked at me aghast but seeing as this was after they had said they loved it, there was nothing they could do. I suggested at the time a tangy lemon glace icing but never got to try that idea out because when I made it at home this time I really wanted to enter it into a particular blogging challenge so needed to include chocolate in it somewhere. I wasn't sure if white chocolate would work with the cake flavours but oh-my-goodness it does. The cake itself isn't too sweet so the flavour from the white chocolate works perfectly swithout being overpowering because the cream cheese still provides a bit of a tang. That is all I'm going to say on the matter though because I want to let you decide what you think. Please let me know if you give it a go. I promise it is good. And it practically counts as your five a day in one slice!

As I mentioned, I wanted to enter this into a blogging challenge. There are a few it is eligible for so I hope all the readers and followers of these agree that it is intriguing. Here we go...

First of all is We Should Cocoa, created by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog and Chele (retired blogger, sadly.) This month Ness at JibberJabberUK is guest hosting and has chosen the theme of vegetables. It was between making this and a chocolate cougette cake but my wish to remake this cake won.

AlphaBakes this month has the letter C as a starting point. Created by Caroline of Caroline Makes and Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker, Ros is hosting this month. There are a fair few C ingredients in my recipe so I'm sure it counts! There are carrots, cherries, chocolate, cream cheese...

Kate from Turquoise Lemons hosts a fantastic No Waste Food Challenge aiming to encourage people to reduce food waste and create something yummy from those ingredients instead. This month the theme is root veg and this recipe contains two - carrots and parsnips. Grating them when past their best is a great way to use them up without feeding them to the bin.

Finally I'm sharing this cake with a challenge I have been meaning to enter for a while - Credit Crunch Munch, currently guest hosted by Michelle from Utterly Scrummy Food for Families. This challenge is all about saving money in recipes and as well as the root veg mentioned above, this recipe utilises bananas that are going very ripe. Let's not foget the founders, Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and Camilla from Fab Food 4 All.

And simply because I'm not adverse to a shameless plug, I'd love it if you could share the story of my own challenge, the Biscuit Barrel. This month the theme is BOOKMARKED recipes.


print recipe

Fruit and Veg Cake
A deliciously moist cake packed with five tupes of fruit and veg and crowned with a smooth white chocolate cream cheese icing.
  • 115g softened butter
  • 125g soft brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 2 generous tsp cinnmon
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and grated
  • 1 large very ripe banana, mashed
  • 50g raisins
  • Orange juice
  • 75g glace cherries
  • 100g white chocolate
  • 25g softened butter
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 100g Philadelphia, full fat
1. An hour or two before starting, cover the raisins in orange juice, heat for 2 mins in the microwave and lset aside. When ready to start, drain and reserve the juice. Cut the cherries in half, rinse and dry thoroughly an toss in a spoonful of the measured flour with the raisins.2. Set the oven to 170 C/150 C fan. Grease and line a 9" square baking tin or traybake tin.3. Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy then beat in the eggs a little at a time. Add a spoonful of flour near the end if it threatens to curdle.4. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and gently fold in. When almost flour free, fold in the fruit and veg a bit at a time. Use a splash of the reserved orange juice to loosen the mixture if necessary.4. Pour the mixture into the tin, level the surface and bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 mins ish. When a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 30 mins before turning out and leaving to cool completely.6. To make the icing, melt 60g of the chocolate in the microwave and leave to cool. Beat the butter, sugar and cream cheese together then beat in the chocolate until smooth. Spread over the cake and decorate with curls made from the remaining chocolate and a vegetable peeler.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Bleeding Cobweb Cupcakes

Phew, it's the weekend again. I'm not saying that because I've had a horribly busy week but because I've had a frustrating week where I've not really known what I've been doing most of the time. I'm sure everyone will agree that is a horrible feeling. I feel like I have spent more time this week wandering around the science building corridors and up and down the stairs trying to figure out what to do and looking for people, than I have done actual science. I don't know what next week will bring, whether it will be any better or worse but for now I'm having a breather and writing about cake. Much more enjoyable.

I might not have known what I was doing for placement work and getting horribly stressed over that (not to mention the uni house freezer breaking on Thursday when I had filled it with a lot of batch made meals only the previous weekend) but I had a crystal clear image of what I wanted to do for these cakes. I very rarely make Halloween based stuff because it's not something we celebrate in our house so it was lovely to get to play about. I've spent far too long looking at some amazing ideas (yep, Pinterest again) so when I saw that two of the baking challenges that I follow had the theme of Halloween I was determined to come up with something. Still, due to uni work and placement, not to mention my amazing procrastinating skills, it had to be something reasonably simple. I think these cakes achieve to simple yet fun Halloweeny feel I was after while being rather yummy to eat too!

From the base up we have a classic soft and velvety vanilla sponge  cupcake drizzled with warmed jam just as they come out of the oven as a cross between the American poke cake and the drizzle cakes I'm more used to. Then to cap it all all is a thick layer of white chocolate with a cobweb on top. You can see the jam peeping through the white of the cases but it's when you bit into the deliciousness that they cakes really start to bleed. Because who doesn't want a bit of gruesomeness around Halloween? 

I think these would be perfect for a themed party or if you were baking with children, they would find it fun to feather the chocolate to make the cobwebs. I would have loved to have made a full size batch of these but seeing as there is only me in the house who could eat these because I didn't make them with gluten free flour I was sensible and only made four. I think I must have used enough chocolate to make the full batch though because I kept, erm, sampling the white chocolate then the dark chocolate. Then I got into a mess when I started the decoration and had to melt another lot but I most certainly wasn't going to let the previous stuff go to waste. My uni friends wouldn't have minded helping me out though if I had made the full batch. One morning I had been sat with a few of the guys for five minutes before heading up to the lab when one said "Have you got any cake?". No 'Have fun in the lab Laura'. They just wanted feeding.That's charm for you. At least I got a 'good morning' first. Then throughout the rest of the week I've been asked for Millionaire's Shortbread multiple times, the same with a giant Rolo, a giant Jaffa cake has been mentioned, a cake version of these ginger bonfire toffee crinkles as well as more bonfire themed food. I think they like my cooking. Maybe.

As mentioned I'm sharing these with two challenges this month. Treat Petite is being hosted this month by Stuart from Cakeyboi who created the challenge along with Kat from Baking Explorer.

Calendar Cakes is being hosted by Rachel from Dollybakes this month as it was Laura from Laura Loves Cakes turn last month. The theme is all things wicked so I think my cakes fit! 
I love all of these blogs and am already looking forward to seeing what other bakers have come up with. I've got a feeling I'll be adding to my Pinterest boards when the round-ups are out!

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Bleeding Cobweb Cupcakes
A sweet vanilla sponge topped with a blood red jam and a thick layer of white chocolate and cobwebs red to be broken and bled.
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175g self raising flour
  • A few scoops of red jam, sieved and heated
  • 150g white chocolate, chopped
  • 50g dark chocolate, chopped
1. Set the oven to 190 C/170 C fan and line a 12 hole muffin tray with paper cases. Beat the butter until creamy then add in the sugar and cream until light and fluffy.2. Mix the vanilla and eggs then beat into the sugar/butter a little at a time, scraping down the sides as you go. If the mixture threatens to curdle then add in a spoonful of the measured flour.3. Sieve the flour and fold into the mixture until no streaks remain. Fold in a little milk if the mixture is too stiff. Divide between the cases and bake in the preheated oven for around 18-20 mins until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Place on a wire rack.4. Use a fork to poke holes in the cakes when they come out of the oven.Spoon the jam over the cakes, focussing on the holes if you can. Remove the cakes from the tin and cool completely on the wire rack.5. Melt both the chocolates in separate bowls and allow to cool to room temperature. Spoon the white chocolate over the cooled cakes. Fill a piping bag with a small holed nozzle with the dark chocolate and pipe a spiral onto each cake. Use a toothpick to drag out the lines to create the cobwebs. Leave the chocolate to set or enjoy warm as you wish.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Ginger Bonfire Toffee Crinkles

A week is far too long to go when you have baking and blogging on you mind every minute of every day. Faaaaar too long. This week has been extremely tiring for me (largely from not sleeping but my sleep problems are a whole different story) and I've been dying to bake these biscuits for so long now but haven't had the time. Friday evening though I was determined. I was going to bake and neglect my assignments and that was all there was too it. So I did bake. And got everything ready for an overnight slow cooker meal. And I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Big smiles come bed time for the first time this week.

I found this recipe on Pinterest and knew right away I had to make them. Ginger biscuits are very popular in my family and although I made these in my uni house rather than at home I made sure I thought of everyone when I took a bite of the first one. Then of the second and ok, maybe third. They really are very, very good so a big hats off to Willow at Will Cook for Friends for the wonderful recipe. Of course, I couldn't follow the recipe letter for letter. I think I would actually turn to stone if I did that. I didn't have any cloves so threw in a bit more mixed spice and I used black treacle instead of molasses. I know some people argue there is a big difference between the two but seeing as I couldn't get hold of any molasses and I was dying to make these anyway my whole attitude was 'meh, same difference'. If that sort of thought annoys you then I'm sorry for that and I hope you can forgive me once you've tried these. 

I had to rename them (another sorry, this time to Willow) because the first thing I thought of when I tried one warm from the oven was bonfire toffee lollies. A ginger version of course because there is a lot of ginger in these. Lots.
In hindsight it wasn't very clever of me to take a picture of woody coloured fresh ginger on top of a wooden chopping board. Anyways, the combination of the treacle and ginger works wonderfully. Bonfire lollies were something I looked forward to in the autumn and there was a particular type I favoured. They were big and oblongish and sort of striped with different shades of bonfire glory. That is a terrible description but I'm having to do this from memory because I haven't had one for so long. My dad once bought be back two stuck together in a bag after he had been on the trucks for a week. It was a very happy night that night. Sadly, that particular type seemed to disappear from the shops and the bigish but circuar ones became more prevailant. Disappointingly they have a slightly different flavour which is nice in it's own right, but not the be all and end all for me. If I ever do find the exact right ones again I'll be running back to the shop to buy them all before they disappear again. In the meantime, I will have to make repeat batches of these biscuits to make up for it. 

Dark, chewy, comforting and a kick of warmth from the triple amounts of ginger, these go perfectly with a cup of tea. I've extensively tested this fact and am pleased to report that although deliciously chewy, they are perfect for dunking. Instead of going immediately to mush, they soak up enough tea to dissolve on the tongue, releasing all the flavours of autmun you could desire while remaining in tact long enough to make the transfer from liquid to mouth. I knew I would not be disappointed when I first pinned these. I'm just not sure if I am at the stage where I want to share them with people at uni. You know when you go past the point of wanting to keep them all for yourself and arrive at being so pleased you want to proclaim your happiness to anyone who will listen and tast test? Maybe I'll have to sample a few more first just to make sure. 

In the meantime, while I'm deciding, I'm sharing these with a couple of blogging challenges. First of all is my own Biscuit Barrel challenge. I chose the theme of BOOKMARKED recipes for this month so these are ideal to enter. I would absolutely love it if you joined in and shared one of the recipes you've been making too. Just pop over to the Biscuit Barrel page or follow the link and you'll see the details.

I'm also sharing them with Jacqueline over at Tinned Tomatoes for her Bookmarked Recipes challenge this month. It's my second entry and I'm really looking forward to seeing what other people have been making at the end of October.

Hope you enjoy!

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Ginger Bonfire Toffee Crinkles
A deliciously chewy ginger crinkle biscuit with a flavour reminiscent of old fashioned bonfire toffee lollies.
  • 185g plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 generous tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp mixed spice
  • 0.25 tsp nutmeg
  • 120g crystallised ginger, finely chopped
  • 114g unsalted butter. softened
  • 3 very heaped tbsp black treacle
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 114g soft brown sugar
  • brown sugar (for rolling)
1. Sift together the flour, bicarb and spices and mix in the crystallised ginger, using a rubbing in motion to disperse it fully. Set the oven to 170 C/150 C fan and line a baking sheet with baking paper or a silicone mat.2. Cream the butter and sugar until well mixed then beat in the fresh ginger and treacle. Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined - you may nee to do this with a spoon/your hands. The mixture will be fairly sticky. You can chill the dough at this point to reduce stickiness but I didn't want to wait.3. Roll the dough into small balls, roll each in the extra sugar and arrange on the lined sheet. I made 28 biscuits, each 24 to 25g. 4.. Bake the first batch for 10-15 mins depending on size and how soft you want them. I had mine in for 12 mins, turning half way through. Prepare the second batch so it is ready to bake. 5. Cool the biscuits on the tray fro 5 mins to allow them to firm up from their very soft states, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If you can last that long. 

Recipe credit goes to Willow at Will Cook for Friends

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Madeira Cake Story Part 2

Any of my regular readers may remember that some time ago I set out on a baking journey to find my perfect chocolate chip cookie. While I have in no way forgotten that journey I seem to have started another and hence why I should be hailed as a genius because I have achieved time travel, being able to be on two jounies, in two places, at once. I would gladly share my science secrets with you because I know how important it is for us bakers to have more time to try out all our ideas but sadly I can't even share them with myself seeing as I have no idea how I have achieved it. But it's ok, flitting from one to the other idea is perfectly acceptable in baking. (Anyone else do this?) And so, at the moment, it's all about cake. This cake. Part two of the Madeira cake hunt and if you're wondering what on eart I'm gabbling on about you can read the first part of the story here.

When I was gathering all the bits and pieces together for this cake I pretty much said to the silicone bundt mould that I used "Now I don't like you and you don't like me but if we don't have a repeat of the cherry almond cake incident we'll get along much better". You see, while I'm testing out which recipe I favour for a Madeira cake, the version with ground almonds, or the one that is like a Victoria sponge but with extra flour, I want to use a slightly fancier than normal cake mould to make it more attractive. I said in the Madeira cake story part 1 that I disagree entirely that a Madeira cake is plain flavoured but I will admit that the appearance of a Madeira is unassuming. I've collected rather a lot of bakeware through my Baked and Delicious subscription so this is the perfect time to put some of it to use. The last time I used this particular piece it ripped the beautifully baked cake in half as I was trying to get it out so I ended up using the broken bits to make Almond Cake Pop Truffles. A success in the end but I wasn't going to let a bit of silicone rule me so this time I made sure it behaved.

Onto the cake. It was good. Really, really good. I put the lemon zest in this time, using a creamed Victoria sponge recipe and method with an extra 50g of flour. I wasn't sure whether it should have vanilla or almond extract in because I've seen recipes using both but seeing as I keep forgetting to buy almond I went with vanilla. The flavour was delicious with a moist, close crumb that is true of a Madeira but it wasn't dense or heavy. I had lots of fun with these pictures because after I'd dusted the cake with icing sugar and moved it I was left with a doughutesque outline, as if Homer Simpson had been passing and had found one of his favourite treats left unattended. Ahhh, small things.

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed making (and eating) this cake, and would thoroughly recommend it to others, for me it still doesn't have that quintessential Madeira quality about it that I'm hunting for. I think I'm almost there though. The next thing I'm going to try is lemon zest in the ground almond version I made last week with almond extract thrown in for luck because I'm wondering if it's the combination on the taste buds of lemon and almond that screams Madeira. Once I get it just right I'm going to make a gluten free version too because my housemate Lauren really likes Madeira cake and I've been a bit mean to her lately with talking about and making these cakes she can't eat. So fingers crossed I crack the cake code soon. In the meantime...enjoy!

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Madeira Cake
A beautifully classic cake flavoured with lemon zest. Moist and rich without being dense or heavy.
  • 175g softened butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • Splash of milk
1. Grease and line an 8" round cake tin or if using a silicone mould, grease well with butter and dust well with flour. Set the oven to 170 C/150 C fan.2. Beat the butter until really creamy then add the sugar and cream until very light and fluffy, at least five mins. Beat in the lemon zest. Gradually beat in the eggs and vanilla, a little at a time scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Add a spoonful of the measured flour towards the end if you think the mixture is about to curdle.3. Sift and fold in the flour/baking powder in two batches. Fold in enough milk to achieve a soft dropping consistency (drops from a spoon with only a little jiggle of encouragement).4. Spoon into the tin, level the surface and bake in the preheated oven for about an hour (mine took 55 mins) until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Rotate the cake as necessary to get an even bake but don't move for the first 30 mins. When done, turn the oven off and leave in there until the hissing sound almost stops. Cool on a wire rack for about 30 mins then very carefully remove from the tin and leave to cool completely.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Nutella Stuffed Cookies

Can there really be anything bad about a recipe that uses almost an entire jar of Nutella? I swear this is a recipe and not just instructions to open a jar, get a spoon and dig in. (Not that there is any harm in that of course, I might have even tried it once in a while.) But a recipe that consists mostly of Nutella? Yes please, over here!

Now we've got that clear I'm going to get straight in there and tell you that these cookies are beautiful. The phrase 'it's what is on in the inside which counts' has never been more apt because although I could've made these look prettier (indeed, I thought about it, then decided using a fluted biscuit cutter to decorate the edges was too much fading about) the beauty is quite literally on the inside. I don't know how anyone can say that Nutella isn't beautiful. Let's not even go there. 

I made these when I'd come back from uni feeling somewhat frustrated and incredibly peeved. I won't bore you with why because it involves a lot of moaning and these delicious treats are a lot more interesting. I've been planning on making these for a while, since I'd seen Kat's wonderful post on them over at the Baking Explorer which gave a whole lot more explanation than the versions I'd seen on Pinterest. A three ingredient bake and a quickly obtainable chocolate hit, with just enough Nutella left in the jar to not bother putting it back in the cupboard and because anything that comes into contact with Nutella must finish off cleaner than before said contact, well, you get the idea. A chocolatey, chewy biscuit hiding a core of soft, molten Nutella is the result. I see no reason why one or three of these wouldn't marry a scoop of sweet vanilla ice cream and produce the most gorgeous pudding as offspring. And seeing as biscuits and cookies are usually all the more attractive warm from the oven, and weddings involve lots of decoration and sprinkles....Hmmmmmm. Alright, enough. Let me tell you about the recipe.

These biscuits are of the sort that you can bake for a shorter time to get softer, gooey ones, or bake for a longer time to get firmer ones with a good balance of chew but are not too fragile to transport to uni in a backpack stuff with everything but the kitchen sink. I baked mine for 13 minutes with each 'disc' weighing 13g and each Nutella blob weighing 5g ish. (Yes, I know that's pedantic but I don't care. Chemists have to weigh things all the time and the habit sticks.) However, I'm so pleased with the flavour of the glorious ease of making these that I'm going to make softer ones the next time and maybe make them bigger so I can have one after my dinner instead of a piece of cake. Heaven help me if I have bananas needing using up at the same time because I'll be making banana ice cream to go with them!

I'm entering these into my own baking challenge, the Biscuit Barrel. The theme I've chosen this month is bookmarked recipes because I'm absolutely terrible at collecting recipes and saying I will try them one day then creating my own instead. Pinterest has a rather large portion of blame in that. As I've said, this one comes from Kat at The Baking Explorer (who in turn got it from MBakes)but obviously I couldn't resist putting my oar in so my (minor) adaption is the size. I made 18 biscuits and although I didn't use a cutter to pretty up the edges, I did do a quick press round each one with a fork.

I'm also entering these into Bookmarked Recipes over at Jacqueline's blog, Tinned Tomatoes. My theme means they are sure to be acceptable and it is always interesting to see what other bakers have been planning to make.

So here you are, easy peasey, chocolate goodness.

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Nutella Stuffed Cookies
A deliciously chocolatey chewy biscuit hiding a perfect core of Nutella. Three ingredients only!
  • 380g Nutella
  • 1 large egg
  • 150g plain flour
1. Line a baking tray and set the oven to 180 C/160 C fan. Mix the egg with 280g Nutella then mix in the flour to form a dough.2. Roll half the dough into small balls, flatten to discs and place on the baking sheet - you'll probably have to bake in batches. Top each disc with a blob of Nutella then roll the rest of the dough into balls, flatten and use to top the Nutella halves. Press round the edges to seal.3. Bake for 10-18 mins depending on the size you've chosen to make the biscuits and how firm you want them. Cool on the tray for a few mins before removing to a wire rack and using the tray for a second batch if necessary.4. Share or gobble up as you wish.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The Biscuit Barrel Challenge - October

Hello and welcome back to the Biscuit Barrel challenge! I hope you enjoyed the round up of last months entries which you can view here if you haven't caught it yet. Please don't ask me which my favourites was because I want to try out each and every one. Stupid uni getting in the way!

It has been really hard to decide on a theme for this month but after spending far too long yet again on Pinterest I've finally chosen the theme of BOOKMARKED recipes. So this month I'm giving you the excuse to browse through all those recipes you've been meaning to make for ages but have never quite got round to it before you've added a few dozen more to the pile. Choose one (or more) and make it/adapt it to your own then post it and add the link here. I truly cannot wait to see all the things you've had in your sights for a while so go have fun!

The Biscuit Barrel Challenge rules:
  1. Blog about your recipe that fits in with the theme of the month, linking back to I'd Much Rather Bake Than... Include the logo in your post and add 'The Biscuit Barrel' as a label.
  2. It would be lovely if you could follow I'd Much Rather Bake Than... using the Google Friend Connect Button.
  3. Add the link to your post to the linky tool at the bottom of the post of the month (see above for themes/inks) by the 26th of the month. Don't worry, it's really easy.
  4. The recipe can be your own or someone else, just give credit where it is due.You can also add old posts as long as they have been updated to include the logo/link/label.
  5. You can submit as many recipes as you like and enter your recipe into as many other challenges as you wish as long as it complies with the rules of that challenge.
  6. Don't be concerned about joining in every month. When you have time or when you feel like it is fine.
  7. If you are on Twitter tweet your link to be @MustBakeCakes and use #biscuitbarrel and I'll try to retweet those I see. I'll also pin entries onto the Biscuit Barrel board on Pinterest.
  8. Any questions feel free to ask in a comment or email at smile101@fsmail.net or laurajdenman@gmail.com
  9. Most important of all, have fun!