This muffin recipe puts a twist on the regular choco chip muffin by adding spices. I used a spice I found in the Sunday Riverside market in Cardiff. It’s called Victorian cake spice. I’m not really sure what’s in it – if you know, feel free to enlighten us! But it smells of Christmas, of cinnamon and nutmeg!
I have been wanting to do some baking but in the summer, I don’t really crave a lot of heavy cake-based kind of desserts. Eating fresh fruits beats any kind of fancy dessert in the summer. My favourite summer dessert is probably Eton Mess.
Still, I fancy getting the oven working to make me something lovely that does not need to be eaten in a couple of days. This biscotti should last a week if you store it well.
I have adapted this from the Hamlyn Cookery Book which is a fantastic book for beginning cooks (like myself).
You will need:
150 g of dark chocolate, chopped (I only have chocolate chips in my cupboard so I used those)
25 g of unsalted butter (Also run out so I used a slightly salted one)
225 g self-raising flour
2 free-range eggs
50 g light muscovado sugar (Didn’t have any so I used light brown caster sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
100 g almond nuts, chopped or sliced (original recipe called for pecan nuts)
icing sugar, for dusting
baking sheet, greased or lined with baking paper
Pre-heated oven at 190˚C
What to do
Melt 200g of the chopped dark chocolate with the butter.
Dust the work surface with flour, transfer the dough, and cut it in half.
Form two logs of about 10 inches long (really depends on how big the baking sheet is!), flatten to about 2 cm thick (a little less than an inch). Transfer to the baking tray and then bake for 18-20 mins.
Remove from the oven and then reduce the heat of the oven to 160˚C.
Leave the biscotti to cool for 20 mins before cutting it with a bread knife (serrated) into 2 cm thick slices. In my first try, it keeps crumbling so I lost a few biscotti 😦 So I started cutting them a bit thicker.
So far I’ve done 3 recipes from the hummingbird bakery cookbook. The Pecan pie, that was first, and then this wonderful peanut butter cookies, second. The third one was the lemon loaf but that will be another post.
If, like me, you enjoy a super chunky peanut butter and dark chocolate, then this is a little piece of heaven on earth! It was even more delish after a day or two as the cookies become a bit chewy.
I met Monette when we were in first grade (age 7) in school. Then we became neighbours in 1985. She recently moved to London to study and work, and after 8 months, she found her way on a megabus to visit me in Cardiff. Yay!
So, a special treat was in store for this wonderful visit. Drinks on Friday night with friends from work, Saturday brunch on my balcony and home-made dinner, and Sunday kedgeree brunch (from previous post) and trip to the beach.
I wanted to try a new dessert from one of the cookbooks I got for my birthday– I got 2 cookbooks from Dan and 2 from my brother and his wife. More on the other cookbooks in the next posts. For this pecan pie, I used a recipe from the hummingbird bakerycookbook.
It was a decision between pecan or key lime pie. Pecan won.
Basic pie crust dough – the recipe I used will be for another post, here are some recipes
100g chopped pecan nuts, leave some whole ones to put on top
60g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
250ml golden syrup – if you can find dark corn syrup, use that instead
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
23-cm pie dish
preheated oven at 170˚C
What to do:
Dust a clean work surface in your kitchen with flour. Roll out the dough using the rolling pin. Line the pie dish with the dough and then trim the edges.
In a large saucepan, put the sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to boil on medium heat then remove from the heat. Allow it to cool a little but don’t let it cool down completely or it will be very thick!
In a bowl, whisk eggs until they are mixed. Pour the warm syrup into the eggs and stir quickly.
Add butter and vanilla extract to the mixture until the butter has melted and evenly distributed.
Put the chopped pecan nuts into the crust then pour the mixture on top of it. Put the remaining pecan nuts on top of the mixture, close to the edge.
Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until it is a caramel colour.
With my oven’s thermostat fixed, I’m so excited to try a new dessert. Something I haven’t done before. My first stop is the Divine: Heavenly Chocolate recipes book. It has wonderful recipes with beautiful images. This is the second recipe I’ve used from the book. The first one was the rich, dark chocolate cup cake.
The cheesecake turned out really well. It has a perfect texture and the coffee taste really works well with its creaminess.
Oh, I should remind you that this is best prepared the day before. Now how to make this gorgeous dessert…
Break the chocolate into small pieces, put in a heat-proof bowl with the diced unsalted butter. Melt together. If you have not done this before, you can read here.
Crush the biscuits. I put them in a ziplock bag and then used a rolling pin.
Once the chocolate with butter is melted, remove from heat and then add the crushed biscuit. Mix very well then tip the mixture into the cake tin. Press the mixture into the base of of the tin and halfway up the side. Chill.
The photos I took for this recipe are also part of my project in the Intro to Photography class I am currently taking. The homework is take images that shows depth of field. If you have some time, please please please visit my flickr site by clicking here.
If you want to see the cappuccino cheesecake collection, you can click here. Or to see in a jazzy slideshow, click here.
Melt the dark chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl and put it over a pan of steaming (not boiling) hot water. If you haven’t done this before, I wrote a bit about doing this when I made this rich dark chocolate cupcake. Btw, use a wooden spoon!
Add the chocolate mix to the egg mix (not the other way around!) gradually while running the mixer on medium speed. Whisk until it firms up a bit- the “loose ribbob stage” which means when the whisk is lifted, the mix is creating clear lines in the surface before it disappears
Semi-whip the double cream then gently fold into the chocolate mixture.
This recipe is from my favourite dessert cookbook called Divine and it uses a lot of the Divine chocolates which some of you might know is a fairly traded chocolate. In doing this recipe, I was trying out 3 things:
my fan-assisted oven – I think the thermostat is not working properly and it emits too much heat. The first batch turned ok, a bit over-cooked around the edges but nice and soft inside. The second batch was quite burnt on the outside.
cake & biscuit set – a gift from Tonet and Dino
magimix 3200 compact food processor – I was deciding between a kitchenaid stand mixer or this food processor and decided to get the food processor this time and then think about getting the stand mixer another time. I want to learn how to make fabulous cakes and I read that a stand mixer is really good for making cake. For this recipe, I used the food processor to mix the cake and, you know, it’s not bad!
Now on to the recipe!
Melt 2 x 100g bars of Divine dark chocolate by breaking it relatively equal pieces. Put in a heatproof bowl and set it over steaming water (not boiling!). Be careful not to get any water in the chocolate. When the chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool.
Put 200g of very soft unsalted butter and 200g caster sugar in a bowl of your food processor or stand mixer if you have one – lucky you! Mix until light and creamy.
You will need 4 large free range eggs (at room temperature is best). Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat well after each egg.
Stir in the 100ml sour cream on low speed then mix the 200g self-raising flour. Lastly, mix the melted chocolate gently until it’s all mixed up well and the mixture is smooth and looks really yummy!
Now you can make them into cup cakes by spooning them in muffin cases or you can make it into a chocolate loaf using a loaf tin (greased and base-lined).
Cook at 180˚C (or much less if you have fan-assisted oven) for 20-25 mins or until firm.
Optional topping or “icing“: melt 1 x 100g bar of Divine dark chocolate and when it’s all melted stir in the 1 tbsp golden syrup and 25g unsalted butter. Did you like it Dan? 🙂 It was delicious. And much tastier for having been so beautifully photographed…