Friday, 5 September 2014

No Bake Coconut & Key Lime Cheesecake


So we've been living at my parents for 7 weeks now which is partly why I haven't blogged much! I've still been baking lots, but have mostly been making requests for my family who don't get to sample my baking as much as they'd like, and so it's mostly been stuff that I've blogged about before!!

It did give me a good chance to whip these treats up though because my mom is a huge key lime pie fan, and my dad loves anything coconut - can you tell where I get it from?! So it seemed rather fitting that I should make this bake...or no bake I should say!


I also had a packet of key lime pie crunch cream biscuits I'd been hoarding because I knew they'd be awesome in a dessert one day!

So they made their way into the crust to make for one tasty slice!


Cheesecake is not something I bake very often but everytime I make it I wonder why that is...because for starters it is so quick and easy to whip up (especially when it's no bake) and also it's SO creamy and yummy! Apart from the patience required to wait while it chills at the end is not my favourite part ;)

I made my cheesecakes in an individually portioned square tray thinking it would give them nice straight edges for beautiful photographs! but somehow they still turned out a bit messy! You can make it in one large dish and probably slice nicer edges than mine!

So while we mourn the end of summer, yes I made my parents turn on the heating last week as it was getting SO cold already! and the leaves are starting to turn, booo! you can retreat with a slice of this and close your eyes and pretend you're still somewhere totally tropical whilst the lime and coconut tingle on your tastebuds!


No Bake Coconut & Key Lime Cheesecakes:
Makes 16
Adapted from Beyond Frosting 

For the crust:
300g key lime pie crunch creams (or biscuit of your choice)
80g unsalted butter

For the filling:
2 cups double cream
1/4 cup icing sugar
450g cream cheese
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp coconut extract
zest of 2 limes
1 1/2 tbsp key lime juice
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup shredded coconut

5 tbsp shredded coconut for decoration

 Prepare the crust by blitzing the biscuits into fine crumbs in a blender.  Melt the butter in a heatproof bowl in the microwave.  Add it to the biscuit crumbs a little at a time to see when it is moist enough to roll a ball of the mix in the palm of your hands and have it hold it's shape (if you are using biscuits without a filling, you will probably need more butter to hold it together).

Press the crust into a 9x13" pan, or individually portioned square pan.  Set aside.

Whip the double cream in a stand mixer until peaks start to form, add the icing sugar and continue whipping until still peaks form.  Transfer into a bowl and refrigerate.

Beat the cream cheese and brown sugar, with the beater attachment in a stand mixer, on high speed for 2-3 minutes.

Add coconut extract and lime zest, along with the key lime juice (or juice of the limes you have just zested if you have access to real key limes).  Beat into cream cheese until well mixed. 

Add both coconuts and beat to combine. 

Remove the cream from the fridge and gently fold into the cream cheese mixture until combined.  Take care, as you don't want to deflate the cream.

Spread over crust with a knife until distributed evenly.

Sprinkle with the extra shredded coconut.

Refrigerate for 2-4 hours.  Keep refrigerated.

Eat and enjoy!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter Choc Chunk Cookies

 

Lately there's been a lot of cookie making going on around here! My husband LOVES cookies, and gets very excited whenever I bake any! 

I was also trying to use up that ginormous jar of Nutella as I mentioned before so a stuffed Nutella cookie seemed like as good an idea as any.  When I went to my Nutella pinterest board in search of inspiration and I found Tracey's brown butter Nutella stuffed choc chip cookies I knew I needed to look no further! 


I made up the cookie dough and kept it frozen and baked four cookies each night over the period of a week.  This was for two reasons - one, because I knew they were going to be so downright delicious that if I'd baked up all the cookies at once I would have had a hard time restraining myself to eating just a few! and two - because it gave me the opportunity to try out different methods to see which was best for stuffing the Nutella in the cookie.

Most recipes I came across seemed to use their Nutella frozen in the cookies.  This seemed like a logical idea to me - bake it frozen and in the oven it will turn into a gooey melty pool of Nutella that we know and love.  So I put my Nutella in a piping bag and piped lovely little round discs of Nutella and froze them, ready to be stuffed into the cookies.  I popped a frozen disc in the middle and baked it up.  I was SO excited to get my cookies out the oven - but when I did there was no melty pool of Nutella oozing out the middle! the disc of Nutella was still pretty solid! and more like a giant chocolate chip - that really wasn't what I was after!


So the next night, I got them out the freezer slightly earlier in the process, and thought that would help but again it didn't really melt the way I wanted it too.  Finally on the last night, I forgot about my frozen discs altogether! I dolloped a little teaspoon of room temperature Nutella in the middle of my cookie ball and squeezed the cookie dough around the Nutella, as I squeezed it together all kinds of Nutella squirted out and I had to roll it back into the cookie which left the cookie perfectly streaked - now this was my kind of Nutella cookie! Once it came out the oven, the Nutella was perfectly gooey and delicious in the centre of the cookie but also there were lovely streaks throughout the cookie.

Perfection! So if you were to bake these in your kitchen, that is the method I would recommend using! I have a feeling the pictures I took for you were on day 3 of the method testing, day 5's results were so delicious that they did not hang around to be photographed! So if you want to see that big gooey pool of Nutella oozing out a cookie...you're just going to have to bake some up for yourself!


Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter Choc Chunk Cookies:
Makes 20

225g unsalted butter
300g self raising flour
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
170g packed light brown sugar
100g caster sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp semi skimmed milk
180g milk chocolate chunks
15g grated milk chocolate
1/2 cup Nutella

 Slice up the butter thinly into chunks, and add it to a frying pan over medium heat and let it start melting.  Continue cooking, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter becomes golden brown and smells nutty (be patient and watch carefully - it can go from brown to burnt quickly).  Pour the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Let it cool.

Whisk the flour and sea salt together in a medium bowl.  Add both the sugars to the bowl of the mixer along with the cooled brown butter.  Beat on medium speed until blended.  Add the egg and egg yolk, mixing until incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Mix in the vanilla, and milk.  With the mixer on low, add the flour and salt mix in two additions, beating until just incorporated.  Add the chocolate chunks (but reserve some for adding to the top of the cookies - I like to put 3 full chunks on top of each cookie before it is baked) and grated chocolate and mix until evenly distributed. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.  Line your baking trays with parchment paper or a silpat mat. 

Using a small cookie scoop, about 2 tbsp, portion the dough into balls.  Working with one ball at a time, use your thumb to create a well in the centre of the ball.  Add a dollop of room temperature Nutella, straight from the jar, into the well and then seal the cookie dough around it so it's completely enclosed.  Repeat with all of the dough and Nutella, placing the balls of dough 2 inches apart.

 Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and set.  Let cool for 10 minutes and then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.  

These cookies are best warm from the oven, which is why it's good to freeze the dough and just bake a few as and when you want them.  Alternatively, microwave for 15-20 seconds before eating!

Eat and enjoy!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Nutella S'mores Fudge Pie


Sometimes I feel like I have a disorder...that is going to prevent me from ever baking anything without nutella again!! Like my hand literally has to reach for the jar of Nutella anytime I whip something up! I'm sorry to some degree, variety is the spice of life and all that, but in my opinion Nutella adds a new dimension of tastiness to every bake so for that I'm not sorry! 

To be fair, I also had one of those monster size bigger than your head jars of Nutella from Costco that I needed to use up before we moved...so now we have, and the jar is empty, and so with the exception of my next blog post there will be a Nutella lull for a while and regular varied blogging will resume :)

 

Have I told you before there are 27,345 reasons why I need to move to North America? Well...there are! and S'MORES are definitely in the top 10 of all the reasons!  So when our good friends invited us over for a farewell meal I knew I wanted to bake something s'more-licious, since they are marshmallow lovers, and I came across this pie! and as I was whipping it up I thought 'hey I know I'll sub out half the chocolate and add in Nutella instead'...

so the Nutella S'mores Fudge Pie was born!

and after toasting up the marshmallows under the grill, of course there was really only one thing to finish it off with - and that was more Nutella! because nothing makes my heart happy like drizzled Nutella...and sitting around a fire making s'mores - so I felt like this sort of combined the two!

Bake this up today...it will cure your North American blues for about a day until you wake up and realise you need to live somewhere where root beer, graham crackers, and marshmallows as big as your fist are freely available at your local supermarket!!


 Nutella S'mores Fudge Pie:
Serves 12
Adapted from Pixelated Crumb

22 graham cracker squares (digestives/hobnobs can be subbed if you are in the UK)
165g unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup semi-skimmed milk
3/4 cup double cream
100g milk chocolate
40g dark chocolate
140g Nutella
2 eggs
pinch of salt
15 marshmallows - cut in half
3 tbsp Nutella (for drizzling)

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.

 In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until evenly coated.  Press mixture into a 10" tart dish (you may have some crumb mixture left over).  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until just starting to brown.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cream and milk.  Warm over medium-low heat.  Add in both chocolates and Nutella and stir until mixture has melted and is smooth.  Slowly add the whisked eggs and mix until smooth.

Pour the chocolate filling into the baked pie crust.  Bake for 18-25 minutes, or until chocolate filling is set and does not move when pie is lightly shaken (if there is slight wobble still this is okay because the Nutella prevents it from setting up as much as if you only used the chocolate).  Remove from oven. 

Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife cut the marshmallows in half.  Place halves in concentric circles until you completely cover the top of the pie.  (I left gaps in mine because I remembered how when you bake marshmallows they spread alot...however because you are only grilling them they don't expand at all so I had to go back and add in more marshmallows! so make sure the whole thing is covered first time around!)  Place the pie under the grill, watch it closely because the marshmallows toast quickly between 1-4 minutes, and they will turn to charcoal in about 2 seconds if you aren't watching them like a hawk!

Melt 3 tbsp Nutella in a bowl in the microwave for approximately 45 seconds.  Fill a piping bag, and drizzle across the top of the pie first in one direction and then in the opposite direction.

Chill the pie in the fridge to set for at least 2-3 hours. 

Whilst the pie can be eaten cold, it's best and at it's most s'more like when slightly warmed.  Heat the slices in the microwave, one at a time, for 20-40 seconds until the marshmallow is a warm gooey mess and the Nutella has melted into it.

Eat and enjoy!


Monday, 21 July 2014

Ferrero Rocher Brownie Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting


Generally, I like to try and space out blogging about similar flavours but too be honest I've been baking with Nutella SO much recently that it's proving difficult! Also, I instagrammed this picture of the cupcakes earlier and my sister messaged me to say her and her colleagues were drooling over the pic and since it's her turn to bring cakes in to work on Wednesday she'd like the recipe so I figured it had to be done!!

So hot on the heels of the Fudgiest Nutella Brownies, I bring you these Ferrero Rocher brownie cupcakes with Nutella frosting. 


 Our time in Scotland is very swiftly coming to an end, we have just a week and a half left! So when some of my mummy friends organised an impromptu picnic for today, since it was going to be nice weather...and in Scotland when the sunshine finally comes you do drop everything and get outside, I decided it would be one of my last chances to bake for them and so I'd better pull out all the stops!


So I whipped up my all time favourite Martha Stewart Brownie Cupcakes as the base, because they are so fudgy and delicious...and I'm not going to lie, because they can be made in just one bowl and don't require turning my Kitchenaid on because the baby was napping!  When she woke up, I brought her into the kitchen in her little bumbo as my 'sous chef' whilst I whipped up this creamy dreamy Nutella frosting - Ella just loves the loud noise of the Kitchenaid so was more than happy to sit and listen to it working its magic!

...and of course no Nutella cupcake is complete without a Ferrero Rocher topper! So a whole, I was considering cutting them in half but I figured if we were going to go decadent we might as well go all the way, Ferrero Rocher was placed on top of each mound of frosting and some melted Nutella was drizzled across them as the finishing touch!

If you're a chocolate lover...you are going to love these, if you are a Nutella lover - even better! Go and whip up a batch today, you will be so happy that you did!


Ferrero Rocher Brownie Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting:
Makes 12
Adapted from Martha Stewart via Cupcake Crazy Gem

175g dark chocolate
50g milk chocolate
1 cup caster sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F.  
Place both chocolates and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Stir occasionally until just melted, about 4-5 mins.
 Remove bowl from heat.  Whisk in sugar and salt until mixture is smooth, whisk in eggs to combine.  Gently whisk in flour and cocoa just until smooth (do not overmix).
Fill cupcake cases until 3/4 full.  Bake, rotating tin halfway through, until an inserted knife comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, for 20-25 minutes*.

*Mine were ready at 22 minutes - you want moist crumbs to still be attached to your inserted knife since these are brownies and fudgy, and not cake like.

Nutella Frosting:

113g unsalted butter
185g Nutella
pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
340g icing sugar
4 tbsp heavy cream or milk

12 Ferrero Rocher chocolates
4 heaped tsp Nutella, melted

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and Nutella until thick, fluffy and well combined for about 5 mins.  Slowly add in icing sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.

Add salt, vanilla, and 2 tbsp heavy cream or milk.  Blend on low speed until moistened.  Add an additional 1-2 tbsp of heavy cream or milk until you reach desired consistency*.

Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

*I added 3 tbsp of milk to create stiff enough frosting that would hold its shape when piped.  If I'd had cream in the house I would have rather used that as it makes for a tastier frosting!

Frost cupcakes.  Add a Ferrero Rocher on each one.

Melt 4 heaped tsp of Nutella in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute.

Transfer to a piping bag, snip a tiny bit of the end and drizzle over the cupcakes.

Eat and enjoy! 

Friday, 18 July 2014

Smarties & Chocolate Chunk Cookies


I have a smarties obsessed husband! I haven't had the inclination to eat anything smarties related since I was about 10! Byron, on the other hand, requested smarties birthday cakes for three years running!  So when we were in the supermarket the other day he picked up a multi pack of smarties and asked if I could turn them into cookies - how could I say no?!

 

 I decided to add in some big chocolate chunks too, because I was going to be eating some of these after all as well! we had to add a little sophistication to them somehow! Actually sophistication should have probably come in the form of dark chocolate chunks but I can't stand the taste of dark chocolate...milk all the way for me!

 

 These cookies were the perfect mix of chewy and soft on the inside and golden and crisp on the outside.  I got served a very overdone choc chip cookie at a cafe the other day and it made me sad! Surely everyone knows the rule that you take out cookies when they look underdone and that will let them bake to the perfect consistency as they cool down on the tray!

I got out my triple tiered cooling rack in anticipation of the vast amount of cookies we were going to bake up, but I needn't have bothered because we'd demolished the first batch before the second was even out of the oven! I seem to remember it was a grey and rainy Saturday afternoon...and when all your friends down south are posting gloriously sunny blue sky antics on instagram and facebook and you're stuck in gloomy Scotland on a grey day when it SHOULD BE THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER, well...eating your way through whole batches of cookies is the only thing to keep spirits up!


Smarties & Choc Chunk Cookies:
Makes 18
Adapted from Picky Palate

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3 tbsp instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup large milk chocolate chunks
1 cup smarties

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper, or a silpat liner is what I use.

In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until well combined.  Add the egg and vanilla, mixing to combine.  Add the flour, pudding mix, bicarbonate of soda and salt, stirring to combine with a wooden spoon.  Chop up the chocolate chunks and add them in with the smarties, stir with a spoon or spatula until they have all been incorporated.  

Using a medium cookie scoop, place dough 1 inch apart from each other.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until cooked through (but still appearing to look underdone).  Let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Eat and enjoy!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The FUDGIEST Nutella Brownies


 Yes, this is my second post in a row involving Nutella.  No, I'm not sorry! With my latest feelings towards Nutella, don't be surprised if all my future bakes include Nutella somehow! 

Just this week my husband said to me that it seemed like Nutella was my latest obsession! and then he commented about how I never just like things...but always get obsessed with something! This seemed like a surprise to him! but I've always been this way...when we started dating it was Gwen Stefani/No Doubt - but soon my Gwen covered walls had to get taken down and replaced by photos of Byron instead! When we got married it was polka dots...so our wedding was polka dot themed - in fact I'm still a polka dot lover! America is an underlying obsession that I don't think will ever go away, as are cupcakes! and in the past few years coconut has dominated my latest baking related obsessions until now...


I love nutella so much I have a whole pinterest board dedicated to recipes involving that hazelnutty goodness, and for my birthday last month my friend even managed to find me a Nutella recipe book shaped like a jar of Nutella - how awesome can you get!


 So we were craving something sweet, as always, and our cousin from South Africa was visiting so I gave him a few options of what I could bake up and Nutella Brownies was one of them! He said he had never heard or tasted anything like that before so it was a done deal! 

This recipe was one of the 'pinterest' stars of 2013 so I knew it would be great! They are some of the fudgiest and most delicious brownies I have baked in a very long time! As far as Nutella flavour went, I could have definitely done with more but that's why I added some melted Nutella and ice cream when serving and that helped give it additional flavour! I loved the addition of the milk chocolate chunks too, when served warm, each chunk was an oozing pool of chocolate-y goodness!!

Bake these up for some Nutella fans...or brownies lovers - they won't be disappointed!


The FUDGIEST Nutella Brownies:
Makes 16
From Buns In My Oven

1 cup unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup Nutella
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain flour
280g milk chocolate chunks

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 9x13 baking dish with butter.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter completely.  Stir in sugar and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Do not allow sugar mixture to boil.
Remove from the heat and stir in the Nutella until well combined.
Pour butter mixture into a large bowl or stand mixer, beat in cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and vanilla extract.  Mix until combined.
Stir in the flour and milk chocolate chunks until just combined.  
Spread into prepare pan, the mixture will be very thick and sticky. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out with several moist crumbs attached.  I usually transfer my brownie pan with a tea towel underneath straight into the freezer and leave for 15 minutes - this helps it remain super fudgy inside.

We served ours with scoops of vanilla ice cream and lashings of melted Nutella - delish!

Eat and enjoy!

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Nutella and Raspberry Cheesecake in Jars

 

 These nearly never happened! Well they did...but they nearly never made it to the blog! I taught a class at a church activity day a few weeks back on how to make cheesecakes in jars! So I made several practice ones in the run up to the class, and then even made several on the day during the class for people who hadn't been able to attend! There were several different classes running with sign up sheets, and my class got filled up within the first 5 minutes of the day so lots of my friends never got the chance to attend! I ended up with lots of jars left over too so last week I made more for some friends and neighbours who were having a tough time, and still I kept glancing at my camera knowing I should snap some pics...but I didn't!

So eventually yesterday I had a tiny bit of cheesecake mix left in the fridge...and I knew what had to be done! I whipped up this little bad boy, photographed it just for you - and even got the flashgun out and everything! I'm trying hard to make it up to you after neglecting you all for so long! and then I devoured it for my lunch, whoops!


 The thing I love about cheesecakes in jars is they are SO versatile! You can mix and match fillings and flavours and just go crazy!

During the class I did, I had TONS of ingredients for people to mix and match with.  There were mini meringues, shortbread chunks and fresh strawberries to layer with vanilla cheesecake for the fruit lovers.  There were snickers, dulce de leche and mini millionaire's pieces for the caramel lovers, and brownie chunks and crushed oreos to layer with nutella swirled cheesecake for all the chocoholics!

The nutella flavoured cheesecake was my fave so I went with it this time around...because who doesn't love nutella?! It's my FAVE! I just used a small amount to give it a hint of chocolate hazelnut-ness so as not to overpower the cheesecake filling.  The fresh raspberries add sweeteness and it all pairs beautifully with an oreo base!

Go find a jar, fill it with cheesecake goodness and give it to someone you love - I promise you they will love you forever for doing so, or eat it for your lunch and I won't tell ;)


Nutella and Raspberry Cheesecake in Jars:
Makes 5
From Cupcake Crazy Gem

 15 Oreos, crushed into crumbs
5 tsp unsalted butter, melted

300g Philadelphia cream cheese (I've said it once...don't scrimp with the cheap stuff!)
275ml double cream, whipped
100g icing sugar
3 heaped tsp Nutella

Punnet of fresh raspberries
Handful of milk chocolate chips

Crush your Oreos using a blender until they have blitzed into crumbs.  Stir in the melted butter until the mixture comes together.  Add 4 tsp of oreo mix into the bottom of each jar.  Press it down with the base of your spoon, you may need to use your fingers for the middle of the base, depending on how small your jars are you are using.

Using a freestanding electric mixer, whisk the double cream until peaks form.  Change to a beater, and add in the cream cheese.  Mix until it is combined.  Sieve in the icing sugar and continue to mix.  Add in the Nutella and keep beating for 2-3 minutes until everything is completely blended together.

Transfer your cheesecake mix into a piping bag fitted with a star tip.  You can spoon it in but it makes your layers less defined and not as neat so I found the piping bag was the best way to make it more presentable! Pipe a layer of cheesecake starting from the outside of the jar, finishing off in the middle.  Using paper towel, dab some of the moisture out of your raspberries.  Add as many fresh raspberries as needed to cover the whole layer.  Repeat with a layer of cheesecake, and then another layer of raspberries again.

Finish off, with one final layer of cheesecake.  Top with a raspberry and a sprinkling of milk chocolate chips. 


You can also go crazy with ribbons and tags and patterned paper to decorate your lid and jars if you are giving them as gifts! or grab a teaspoon and eat and enjoy :)

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