Walnut brownies

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Ingredients

  • 200g butter
  • 1 bar of dark 70% chocolate (100g)
  • 1 bar of milk chocolate (100g)
  • 3 eggs
  • 180g icing sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 80g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 150g walnuts

Dice the butter, finely chop 200g of chocolate and melt together in a bowl over a pan of hot water.

Whisk the eggs, icing sugar and salt until thick and creamy. Let the chocolate mass cool down and add to the other ingredients.

Chop the walnuts and the rest of the chocolate coarsely, mix with flour and baking powder and add to the mix.

Pour the mix into a greased baking tin and bake it in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for approximately 30mins, until the surface is hard but the inside is still soft.

Let it cool down in the tin, turn it out onto a flat surface and cut into cubes.

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Mixed Cupcakes

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Preheat oven at 180°C/ 350°F/ Gas Mark 4

Base:
125g butter
125g caster sugar
125g self raising flour
2 medium eggs
2 drops vanilla essence
1 tbsp cocoa powder

Icing:
150g unsalted butter
225g icing sugar
2tbsp warm milk
2 drops vanilla essence

Mix the ingredients together and split the mixture (except the cocoa powder) in two and add the cocoa powder in one of the halves. Fill in the cupcake holders with the chocolate mix for the base and top up with the vanilla mix.

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Macaroons

This was my first time making macaroons and I must say I was quite impressed! Even though some of them broke in the oven, they tasted perfect!

Ingredients:

4 large egg whites 
70g caster sugar 
230g pure icing sugar
120g ground almonds
pinch of salt
gel food colouring (optional)

Whipped cream for the filling

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Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C 7 minutes before placing them in the oven.
Place egg whites and cater sugar in a bowl and mix with electric mixer until stiff enough to turn the bowl upside down without it falling out, continue to whip for 1-2 more minutes.  If you want, add gel or powdered food colouring and continue to mix for a further 20seconds.

Sift the ground almonds and icing sugar and salt twice, discarding any almond lumps that are too big to pass through the sieve. Fold into the egg white mixture. It should take roughly 30-50 folds using a rubber spatula.  The mixture should be smooth and very viscous, not runny. Over-mix and your macarons will be flat and have no foot, under mix and they will not be smooth on top.

Place in the oven for 7 minutes.

When you take them out of the oven leave them to cool down before removing them from the baking paper/ tray.

Once cooled down apply whipped cream and match them together.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

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Ingredients

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coca powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 bottle red food colouring
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ 350 F

In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients together

In a large bowl mix all the wet ingredients and whisk them together

Add the dry mixture to the mixture little by little until it’s well combined

Fill the cupcake holders and put in the oven for 18-20 minutes

Frosting

1 lb of cream cheese
2 sticks of butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups of icing sugar

Mix the butter until smooth and creamy

Add the cream cheese and mix well

Slowly add the icing sugar until it’s well combined, then mix at a higher speed

Finally, add the vanilla

Vasilopita (New Year’s Cake)

It’s a Greek tradition to bake a Vasilopita, also known as the New Year cake, which we cut in the household as the new year enters. The cake contains a hidden coin and the person who finds it in their piece is known to be a lucky person for the year. It’s usually decorated with icing sugar and the new year’s number.

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History of the coin:
In Greek tradition vasilopita is associated with a legend of Saint Basil. According to one story, St. Basil called on the citizens of Caesarea to raise a ransompayment to stop the siege of the city. Each member of the city gave whatever they had in gold and jewellery. When the ransom was raised, the enemy was so embarrassed by the act of collective giving that he called off the siege without collecting payment. St. Basil was then tasked with returning the unpaid ransom, but had no way to know which items belonged to which family. So he baked all of the jewellery into loaves of bread and distributed the loaves to the city, and by a miracle each citizenreceived their exact share, the legend goes. In some tellings the sieging chieftain is replaced with an evil emperor levying a tax, or simply with St. Basil attempting to give charity to the poor without embarrassing them. (Source; Wikipedia)

Christmas desserts 2014

I was in charge of decorating the Christmas desserts for this year – a ginger bread house and a Christmas cake (actually baked by my mum). Although I am celebrating the holidays away from snow this year, the frosting was still a must! So here’s how they turned out!

Ginger bead house

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Christmas Cake

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Chocolate Birthday Cake

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Last week it was my cousin’s 19th birthday and of course I made her a cake! She’s a chocolate lover so it had to be a chocolate cake. I baked a basic chocolate sponge and filled it with whipped double cream. The cake was glazed with dark chocolate ganache and decorated with buttercream icing (19), a gold icing rose and sprinkles!

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Chocolate sponge ingredients:

  • 6oz/170g unsalted butter, softed, not melted
  • 6oz /170g caster sugar
  • 4oz/115g self-raising flour or plain flour with a teaspoon of baking powder
  • 3 large egg
  • 2oz/ 55g cocoa powder, not drinking chocolate
  • pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190c/170c fan or gas mark 5. Grease and line two tins.
  2. Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and mix until creamy and lighter in colour, using a spoon, hand held mixer or frestanding mixer.
  3. Sieve the cocoa, flour and salt into a bowl and crack one of the eggs into a cup or ramekin. Stiring all the time, add the egg and a third of the flour mixture into the sugar and butter, add the second egg and third of the flour and add the last egg and flour mixture in to the butter and sugar. You should have a smooth thick batter. If your batter is sift, add a splash of milk and stir.
  4. Put into the oven and bake for 25 minutes until springy to touch. Take out of the oven and leave for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool cut into two even parts.

Filling ingredients:

  • 400ml double cream
  • buttercream icing
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • cherry jam

Whip the double cream adding in the sugar and buttercream icing until not runny (but not too firm). Layer the bottom sponge with cherry jam and add the cream filling on top.

Add the top cake sponge on top and decorate.

Serves 12