Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I was never the biggest fan of banana bread, or bananas for that matter, until I found this recipe. I’ve made a few changes to it over the years, but now I think it is perfect!

It is fair to say that I have a few hang-ups regarding bananas, as I love artificial banana flavoured things (Beacon’s Fruit Salad sweets come to mind) but I don’t love bananas themselves and the idea of a warm banana freaks me out! They’re okay when eaten slightly green, but after that they just become a slimy mess with an overpowering taste. So I made this recipe with two ripe bananas, not overripe, and I the end result just has a hint of banana.

 

This is definitely a recipe to save for the next time you miss the three seconds that bananas are perfect to eat!

Ingredients:

  • 220g  flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 100g milk or dark chocolate slab, chopped
  • 100g salted butter, room temp (I usually pop it in the microwave for a few secs)
  • 120g  sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 mashed bananas
  • 80 ml milk

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C and prepare a baking dish or loaf tin if you have one.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and chocolate in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla essence to the butter mixture and beat until combined.
  5. Mash the bananas until it is fairly smooth. I find a fork usually does the job.
  6. Add half the egg mixture and the milk to the mixture and beat until combined.
  7. Gently fold in the other half of the egg mixture and the bananas.
  8. Bake in the oven for roughly 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.
  9. Best enjoyed hot!
Continue Reading

Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

dsc_4290

A friend of ours recently proclaimed that “Surely no-one has all the ingredients necessary for a cake at all times!” I kept quiet about the my stash of my favourite cake mix and answered with a resounding, “Yes, cake recipes usually require so much butter! It is rare that I’ll have a full stick of butter on hand.”

I didn’t lie, I often don’t have enough butter for a full recipe which is how this chocolate chip cookie recipe came about. My sweet tooth demanded some chocolatey-goodness so I took a recipe I’d been meaning to try for a while, made some adjustments (replacements and halving the recipe) and I won’t look back! I’ve made fairly good chocolate chip cookies before but everyone that tasted one of my latest creations has been demanding more of this version. It is the perfect balance of sweet, salt and crispy-ness with a gooey centre.

dsc_4281

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cake flour minus 2 table spoons
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 160 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup treacle sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 90 g dark chocolate slab, roughly chopped into chunks

dsc_4277

Method

  1. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix well.
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients with electric beater. Add the chocolate chips last.
  4. Cover the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for 4 – 24 hours.*
  5. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
  6. Roll the dough in your hand to make small balls approximately 3 cm in diameter and press then down slightly on a prepared baking tray (baking paper sprayed with Spray & Cook). I made two batches and the ones I didn’t press down were smaller, thicker and wasn’t as crispy.
  7. Bake biscuits for approximately 15 – 20 minutes.
  8. Let biscuits cool on a cooling rack before serving.

* I haven’t tested this yet, but apparently the longer you refrigerate the dough the better the results are.

Mine made about 11 cookies (It is possible that I ate more than one cookie’s weight in raw dough though)

 

Continue Reading

Chocolate Macarons

wpid-wp-1420535635406.jpegBoth my cousin and I love baking, so on a recent visit we decided to attempt macarons. She had never had much success with them and I could also do with some practice. Despite the fact that we learned the importance of the bicarb, our somewhat sad looking macarons tasted heavenly! DSC_7540small

Ingredients

Macarons

  • 90 g almond powder, sifted
  • 100 g Castor sugar
  • 10 g high quality cocoa powder
  • Pinch of Bicarbonate Soda
  • 2 egg whites
  • 50 g Castor Sugar

Filling

  • 55 g butter, room temperature
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 20 g cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 20 g dark chocolate, melted
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract

DSC_7545small

Method

Macarons

  1. Prepare your baking tray. Line it with baking paper and spray it with non-stick spray.
  2. Sift together the almond meal, cocoa powder and icing sugar, at least twice.
  3. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and then add the Bicarbonate soda and castor sugar.
  4. Beat until hard peaks form and then gently fold in the almond meal and icing sugar mixture as well as your flavouring and colourant.
  5. Pipe out a few round macaron shells on your prepared tray. Try spacing it equally and to stick to one size. We pencilled out some circles on the other side of the paper which made it easier.
  6. Give the baking tray a gentle whack on the kitchen counter underneath all rows of macarons.
  7. Set the oven to 160C and leave the macarons outside whilst the oven preheats, for about half an hour.
  8. Bake for 6 min on one side and turn around before baking for another 6 min on the other side.
  9. Place on wire rack to cool before filling it.

Filling:

  1. Beat the butter, icing sugar and cocoa powder together.
  2. Add the eggs one by one.
  3. Melt the chocolate and add it to the mixture.
  4. Beat until it becomes light and fuffy.
  5. Finally, assemble your macaron shells by piping a fair amount of icing on one side of the macaron. There should be more than enough to go around and have a few taste testers!
Continue Reading

Chocolate & Almond Biscotti Recipe

DSC_1359If you follow this blog regularly, you’ll have noticed that I reserve a special place in my heart (in my stomach) for Italian cuisine. Naturally Biscotti, something between a rusk and a biscuit, is one of my favourite treats. This is the ultimate indulgent snack for winter. It is sweet, filling and ideal for dipping into coffee. The best part is how easy it is to make as you literally just throw it all together and mix before baking. 
DSC_1363aIngredients:

  • 100 g almonds, diced
  • 100 g milk chocolate chips or diced milk chocolate slab
  • 430 g flour
  • 15 ml baking powder
  • 300 g castor sugar
  • 5 ml cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 45 ml butter, melted

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160C and prepare a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Sift together all the dry ingredients and add the almonds and chocolate.
  3. Beat the eggs and butter in a separate bowl and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until it forms a big piece of dough
  4. Divide into two pieces and press and roll it out into two long ‘french loaf’-type shapes.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and leave to cool completely.
  6. Slice thin slices of biscotti (approximately 5 mm) with a sharp knife.
  7. Spread out on baking tray and bake for a further 20 minutes or until crispy at 60C.
  8. Let it cool and serve with coffee.

 

Continue Reading

Raspberry Chocolate Tart

100_3880This is the perfect indulgent summer dessert. The raspberries balance the sweet, creamy chocolate filling and the crispy pastry adds the perfect finishing touch to the smooth center.

Pastry

  • 220g butter
  • 200g castor sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 500g flour

Chocolate Filling

  • 120g butter
  • 450g chocolate, half dark chocolate half milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 165g castor sugar
  • 80 ml cream
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 150g raspberries, halved (to top)

Preheat oven at 180 ⁰ C

To make the pastry

Combine the butter and sugar in a blender and then add the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour and mix until it forms a dough. Cover in cling-wrap and refrigerate for one hour or more.

Remove from refrigerator and press into tart tins (at least 10cm). This is best done by pressing tiny pieces of dough into the shells, but try to make the shell as even as possible.

Place the tins in the fridge for 30 min before blind baking for 15 min or until slightly golden. Remove and allow to cool whilst preparing the filling.

 To make the filling

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler (or recreate the effect with one small pot and a slightly larger one) over low heat.

Beat the eggs, castor sugar, cream and vanilla together until it is light and fluffy.

Pour the butter and chocolate mixture into the egg mixture whilst beating continuously. Pour into the cooled tart shells.

Bake for 15 min. Allow the tarts to cool completely before removing from the tins.

Decorate with halved raspberries.

Makes 18 small tarts.

Continue Reading