Triple chocolate muffins

Yep, another chocolate thing. Not very inventive on my part, but a classic which never goes out of style.

Triple chocolate muffins

I use a standard muffin recipe as a base for all my muffins, but I generally vary the liquid portion to create the flavour base, then add other things for oomph. This one uses a combination of sweetened condensed milk and melted milk chocolate as the liquid portion, meaning there is no need to add additional sugar because both of those are sweet enough. If you use dark chocolate, you may want to add a couple of tablespoons of sugar when you whisk up the dry ingredients.

Ingredients

Makes 6 jumbo or 12 standard sized muffins

250g (2 cups) all-purpose (plain) flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
120g (4 1/4 oz, about 2/3 cup) chocolate chips/chunks
180ml (3/4 cup) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
80ml (1/3 cup) sunflower oil
2 large eggs
200g milk chocolate, melted

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Grease a muffin pan with vegetable oil or line with paper liners.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.

In one bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Toss through chocolate chips/chunks.

In a second bowl, whisk together condensed milk, vanilla, oil and eggs, in that order. While whisking, drizzle in the melted chocolate – it will still be warm and you don’t want the eggs to cook, so you are tempering them by mixing it in slowly.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir just enough to combine, only until moistened.

Spoon batter into the muffin cups. Bake in centre of oven for 27 minutes for jumbo or 22 minutes for standard sized, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with just a few small crumbs.

Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Posted in cake, muffin, snack, sweet | 2 Comments

Peanut butter & chocolate cookies

Decisions, decisions!
What kind of cookies will I bake?
Peanut butter?
Chocolate?
Both?
Okay!

Peanut butter & chocolate cookies

Ingredients

Makes about 24

115g (1 stick, 1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
100g (1/2 cup) granulated (white) sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
280g (2 1/4 cups, scooped and scraped) all-purpose (plain) flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder

100g (6 tbsp) smooth/creamy peanut butter

100g (3 1/2 oz) dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

Directions

In a bowl or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine well.

Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder and add to the butter mixture. Stir just to combine.

Divide the mixture in two (it should be about 560g or 20 oz, so 2 x 280g or 2 x 10 oz) and add the peanut butter to one half and the melted chocolate to the other half, stirring each until well combined.

Form each dough into a slightly flattened ball, wrap each in plastic or place in ziploc bags and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F) and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

When ready to bake, take a good pinch of each dough, roll each into a ball and squish them together to form a larger ball. Arrange the balls about 5cm or 2″ apart on the baking sheets, with the seam running across the top, and flatten them slightly with your fingers.

Bake one sheet at a time in centre of oven for about 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Posted in biscuit, cookie, snack, sweet | 4 Comments

Strawberry & cream muffins

Back to school means back to baking lunchbox treats. I had a mind to make muffins and as I was browsing the kitchen for ideas, I found a tub of double cream in the fridge that I’d bought for another project but hadn’t used. Waste not, want not!

strawberry and cream muffins

These strawberry and cream muffins are rich and flavourful, and so soft and moist! For me, texture is the deal-breaker for muffins – they should not feel like hard work to eat! I’m pleased to say these are not hard work at all, either to make or to eat :) They don’t require an electric mixer, just a couple of bowls and a whisk.

Ingredients

Makes 12

250g (2 cups) all-purpose (plain) flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
50g (1/4 cup) granulated (white) sugar
250ml (1 cup) double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
80ml (1/3 cup) light olive oil (or sunflower oil)
2 large eggs
120ml (1/2 cup) strawberry jam

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Grease a 12-hole muffin pan with vegetable oil or line with paper liners.

Stir jam until very smooth, microwaving for a few seconds if necessary – you want it quite thin. Set aside.

In one bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a second bowl, whisk together cream, sugar, vanilla, oil and eggs, in that order.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir just enough to combine, only until moistened. Swirl through strawberry jam, just until there are no big clumps of jam but it’s not entirely combined.

Spoon batter into the muffin cups. Bake in centre of oven for 22 minutes, until deep golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with just a few small crumbs.

Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Posted in cake, dessert, muffin, snack, sweet | Leave a comment

Chocolate & vanilla surprise cupcakes

As you may have noticed around the food blogging community a few weeks ago, July was the Daring Bakers “Surprise Cakes” challenge. This post is clearly very late, so late that I’m not going to bother with the Daring Kitchen blog checking lines, but I ran out of time before we went on vacation, then my first full-sized attempt was too dry. I was determined to get it right, though! Better late than never.

 Chocolate - vanilla surprise cupcakes

These are soft and moist and delicious, and the polka dot is a fun surprise for kids and adults alike.

Chocolate - vanilla surprise cupcakes

Makes 12

Polka dots

You’ll need a 12 hole cake pop mold

85g (2/3 cup) all-purpose (plain) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
50g (1/4 cup) granulated (white) sugar
40g (1/3 stick) butter, room temperature
1 large egg
60ml (1/4 cup) milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F) and prepare your cake pop pan as per the manufacturer’s directions.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

In a second bowl, beat together sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Add egg and mix well, then add vanilla and mix well.

Alternate adding flour and milk (flour-milk-flour-milk-flour), mixing after each addition until combined.

Spoon batter into the mold, coming right up to the brim.

Fix the top on and bake in centre of oven for 20 minutes. Allow to cool in the mold for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Cupcakes

You’ll need 12 cupcake liners

175g (1 2/5 cups) all-purpose (plain) flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
100g (1/2 cup) granulated (white) sugar
85g (3/4 stick, 3 oz) butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
120ml (1/2 cup) milk

Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F) and line a muffin pan with 12 paper cupcake liners, or place silicon liners on a baking sheet.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

In a second bowl, beat together sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix well.

Alternate adding flour and milk (flour-milk-flour-milk-flour), mixing after each addition until combined.

Spoon a tablespoon of batter into each liner, drop in the vanilla cake balls, then spoon the remaining batter evenly over them, a heaping tablespoon each.

Bake for about 21 minutes in the centre of the oven, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the chocolate part. Remove from pan/baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting

2 tbsp all-purpose (plain) flour
100g (1/2 cup) granulated (white) sugar
small pinch salt
120ml (1/2 cup) whole milk
115g (1 stick, 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

12 Maltesers or similar for decoration

Whisk flour, sugar and salt into milk and place over medium heat in a small saucepan. Heat until thickened, whisking constantly – about 8 minutes once it begins to boil. It should have the consistency of thick béchamel and the sugar should be completely dissolved. Pour mixture into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface. Set aside to cool completely.

In a mixing bowl or a stand mixer, cream the butter until pale and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix in well.

With the mixer on medium speed, add the cooled milk mixture one tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated and you have a light and fluffy frosting.

Transfer mixture to a piping bag and pipe onto the cupcakes. Top with a Malteser.

Posted in cake, daring bakers, dessert, muffin, snack, sweet | 6 Comments

Convent cake

So soft, moist and flavourful. And it’s butterless, so I can have 2 pieces, right?  ;)

Convent cake

According to the site where I first saw this cake, Aisha Kandisha, (I have translated it and converted the measurements), it gets its name from the nuns who developed the recipe, Sister Liliana and Sister Beatriz of the convent of the Hermanas Concepcionistas Franciscanas de Segovia in Spain. They are some lucky nuns if they get to eat this on a regular basis!

Ingredients

4 large eggs
400g (2 cups) granulated (white) sugar
240ml (1 cup) milk
240ml (1 cup) sunflower oil
finely grated zest of 1 lemon (or a pinch of anise)
15g (1 sachet; 1/2 oz; scant 1 1/2 tbsp) baking powder
375g (3 cups, scooped and scraped) all-purpose (plain) flour

powdered sugar for dusting

Directions

Preheat oven to 170°C (340°F), bottom heat only, and grease a large cake pan. I used a square 23cm x 23cm (9” x 9”) pan, but you could use a 26cm (10”) diameter round pan or a large bundt pan instead.

Beat the eggs and sugar together with a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, until very light and fluffy.

With the mixer still running, add the rest of the ingredients one at a time in the order they are listed, finishing with the flour, mixing everything to combine well.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in centre of oven for 65 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Posted in cake, snack, spanish, sweet | 2 Comments

Cocoa Krispies cake bars

The cereal in these bars goes by many different names – Coco Pops, Cocoa Krispies, Choco Krispies, Choco Pops depending on the country you’re in – but who can resist chocolate flavoured rice cereal?!

Cocoa Krispies cake bars

I have an early morning routine that involves two cups of coffee and an hour browsing foodie websites in an endless search for inspiration. Sometimes I’m looking for dinner ideas, sometimes it’s bread, elegant suppers for guests, tasty weekend lunch ideas, but very often it’s a search for lunchbox treats for the family. One particular day, I had in mind a snack bar type thing and had bought Choco Krispies (as they are called hereabouts) in anticipation, so when I spotted this recipe, I knew I had to adapt it. The family is happy I did!

Ingredients

Makes 12 servings

125g (1 cup, scooped and levelled) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine salt
2 tbsp cocoa powder
75g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
100g (1/2 cup lightly packed) light brown (Demerara) sugar
170g (1 1/2 sticks or 6 oz) butter, melted
60ml (1/4 cup) milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
120g (4 cups) chocolate rice cereal

Topping

200g (7 oz) milk chocolate
30ml (2 tbsp) milk
65g (1/2 cup unsifted) powdered (confectioners’) sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F) and butter a rectangular or square baking pan, approximately 20 x 25cm (8 x 10″)

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cocoa, sugar and coconut.

Whisk together the melted butter, milk and vanilla extract and add to the flour mixture to make a smooth batter.

Stir in the rice cereal so it’s evenly distributed in the batter.

Dump the mixture into the baking pan and press in with a spatula.

Bake in centre of oven for 18 minutes, until set.

Remove pan from oven to a wire rack and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Melt the chocolate with the milk in a double boiler, then stir in powdered sugar. Spread over the cereal cake and allow to set, about 20 minutes.

When cool, use a plastic spatula (if using a coated non-stick pan) or knife to cut into pieces.

Posted in biscuit, cake, cookie, dessert, snack, sweet | 6 Comments

Caramelized white chocolate ice cream

Thick and rich and creamy, with a spectacular flavour, and all it requires is 3 ingredients and a mixer. 3G’s comment after the first mouthful was  Sweet mother of chocolate!

This is definitely a small-serve special treat. But it’s okay to splurge once in while, right?

Caramelized white chocolate ice cream

I do have an ice cream machine… but I never remember to put the disc into the freezer 24 hours ahead of time, and the freezer is too small to keep it in there all the time on the off-chance. For the longest time, I avoided filling my kitchen with gadgets, resolving to make do with what I had, but I’m getting more self-indulgent. Not sure that’s always a good thing. It means I have a few things that I now don’t know how I ever lived without, but it also means a cupboard full of other single-purpose machines that rarely, if ever, get used. Do you have one of those cupboards? Or are you a wiser shopper than me?

Caramelized white chocolate

200g (7oz) good quality white chocolate

Preheat oven to 120°C (250°F), top and bottom heat with the rack in the centre.

Chop the chocolate roughly and spread evenly in a shallow baking dish.

Cook it in the oven for an hour or so, stirring with a spatula every ten minutes. The length of time it takes will depend on the chocolate.

It’s ready when it’s a rich caramel colour.

Set aside to cool to room temperature. It won’t take long to cool, about 30 minutes, and it needs to still be soft.

Ice cream

Makes about 1.5 litres (3 pints)

500ml (about 2 cups or 16 fl oz) whole cream
1 x 397g (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
caramelized white chocolate from above

Beat everything together on medium-high speed until thick and moussey but not to the texture of whipped cream, 3 – 4 minutes. Don’t be tempted to overbeat it, or the ice cream will end up with a buttery taste and a fatty mouthfeel. If using a whisk, you’ll have your work cut out for you, so I’d recommend an electric mixer.

Pour mixture into a container, seal tightly and freeze for at least 8 hours.

There shouldn’t be any need to soften it before serving – it’s so creamy (i.e. full of fat!) that it won’t freeze rock hard.

Posted in dessert, ice cream | 11 Comments