Chocolate Espresso Biscotti

I adore coffee, there are few smells that make me as happy as the smell of coffee. I can understand why people have coffee addictions (myself included) and how the aroma truly makes or breaks ones morning. Luckily, I now live in a country that is equally passionate about coffee, good coffee. When I came across this recipe, I knew it was for me. Biscotti is a twice baked Italian cookie, normally Im very American when it comes to cookies, the softer the better. However, I am prepared to sacrifice my soft cookie preference for a good biscotti.

I’ve started sending home baked treats with my colleagues to give to their partners, sharing is caring and honestly I think its cute and very undutch. One of the partners was so impressed with this ‘cookie’, that he emailed me to thank me and sent me the link to the Dutch version of the Bake Off. Whilst I was flattered, I politely declined. Its always nice when individuals appreciate your baking and being entirely honest, I even impressed myself with this baked treat!

Chocolate Espresso Biscotti

Makes: 30ish 1 inch cookies  Prep time: 10 mins  Cook time: 2 X 30 mins  Total time: 80+ mins

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Required Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (256g) plain flour
  • ½ cup (50g) cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5 cup (230g) dark chocolate chopped 
  • 1/2 cup (113g) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate coffee beans (or a chocolate covered coffee bean works) with 30ish reserved to decorate with
  • 1/2 cup (100g) white chocolate

Now how to make these delightful espresso twice baked cookies:

1. Pre-heat oven to 300 F (150C), line two baking sheets with greaseproof/parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of your food processor, combine the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, salt, baking powder, and 3/4 cup of chopped dark chocolate. Pulse until the chocolate is ground into the flour mixture, set aside.
3. In the bowl, cream the butter and then add in the sugar, mixing until creamed together. Add in the eggs and vanilla, mix until combined.
4. Now stir in the chocolate flour mixture just until combined, use a wooden spoon to ensure that you did not over it. I left quite a bit of flour around the sides, knowing that I still had the chocolate and expresso beans to mix in. Stir in the remaining 3/4 chopped dark chocolate and chocolate espresso beans.
5. On the parchment/greaseproof paper,  divide the dough in half and form two logs, leaving at least a 4 inch gap, be warned, they will spread whilst baking! Shape your logs so that they are smooth, even and vaguely the same shape/size.
6. Bake for 30 minutes, the logs should be firm but not hard. Allow them to cool for at least 15/25 minutes before moving them to a wire rack. I was overly keen and managed to crack mine in half in trying to move it too soon. I left mine to cool for about an hour, as the crack put me off.
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7. On a cutting board using a serrated knife, cut slices of ½-1 inches (if the slices are overly crumbly, allow the loaf cool a little longer, they will be somewhat crumby). Lay the the slices back on the parchment/greaseproof paper and bake for 30 minutes until the surface of the cookies is dry ( though the chocolate and chocolate espresso beans will be melty).

8. Melt your white chocolate (I was being lazy and opted for the microwave at 30 second blasts until melted) and using a piping bag or freezer bag with the corner cut off, drizzle the white chocolate over your cookies. I then decorated them with chocolate espresso beans I put to the side.
9. Allow the chocolate to ‘harden’ and store in an airtight container.

 

Remember to share with friends and enjoy!

 

Chocolate Pine Nut Tart

I was recently made an honorary Dutch citizen, sounds exciting, right? Yeah, this means I was hit by a car whilst on my bike (if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d literally have no luck at all). Luckily it wasn’t my fault even though the car driver really wanted me to think that it was (insert several expletives) but it most certainly bruised my ego more than my legs (which were most certainly 50 shades of bruising). Im very lucky that I wasn’t seriously hurt, my legs were covered in bruises and I broke a nail (which upset me more than the bruising). I naturally heal slowly, so being covered in bruises whilst the weather has been nice has added insult to injury, all I really wanted to do is get out my lovely bronzed legs and show them off and three weeks later I was still in black tights. Ive now shed the tights, with a bit of bruising to show my roadkill survival.

One of my colleagues brought me a load of pine nuts on the basis ‘you bake, make something sweet with these’! Awesome… was not the first thought that I had. Ive never worked with pine nuts and was slightly clueless, however, this did not deter me. I have the ultimate sweet tooth and love a challenge to make new sweet things.

My Pinterest search began and I came across this awesome recipe, Chocolate Tart with Pine Nuts and decided to jazz it up and make it more to my taste.  Heres the step by step tutorial on how to make this rich chocolate tart, which was enjoyed by many colleagues. They seriously love the fact that every Monday I bring in something different, new and something that most of them have never tried.

Chocolate Pine Nut Tart

Makes: 8-12 portions   Prep time: 3.5 hours Bake time: 25 mins Total time: 4 hours approx

Crust ingredients:

  • 1 cup (128g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (43g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (100g) ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup (67g) ground toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup (35g) toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup (225g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dried instant espresso grounds

Chocolate filling ingredients:

  • 6 ounces (150g) dark chocolate
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (40g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch sea salt 
  • 1 shot espresso

Now to make this very nice and delicious tart:

For the crust:

1. Grind the pine nuts down, I found that they went into a paste, which was unexpected but understandable (and made a bloody awful mess in my coffee grinder). I would suggest maybe using a pestle and mortar to grind the pine nuts down.

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2. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Add in the flour, cocoa, ground almonds, pine nuts (ground and whole), dried espresso and sea salt, mix at low speed until combined.

3. Roll the dough between sheets of parchment (greaseproof) paper to about 1/8-inch thickness. Refrigerate for a minimum of2 hours or overnight.

4. Once your dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F (180° C). Coat a 10-inch tart or springform pan with a removable bottom with butter or line a springform pan with greaseproof paper (like I did).

5. Carefully press the dough onto the bottom and sides of the pan (not going to lie, this was beyond tricky and difficult for me). Bake for 15 minutes (I let mine go for 25 mins because it just didnt look ‘done), until firm to the touch. Be prepared – the crust will slouch/fall down the edge of the pan a little as it bakes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool whilst making your chocolate filling.

For the chocolate filling

6. Melt the chocolate slowly over a bain marie (double boiler). Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly.

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7. Using an electric mixer (or kitchen mixer) whip the eggs and sugar on high speed until very pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla, espresso shot and sea salt. Gently fold a third of the egg mixture into the chocolate just until incorporated to lighten the mixture, then gently fold in the remaining egg mixture.

8. Immediately pour the filling over the cooled crust and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until puffed and set. A skewer or toothpick stuck into the center of the tart should show some crumbs but not a runny filling. Let cool before slicing into wedges.

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9. Refrigerate any cake that you do not eat and consume within 3 days, if it lasts that long!

 

Verdict: Im not going to lie, it was a LOT of effort that took hours to make and the taste was like a very rich brownie. You cant taste the coffee, as it just enhances the chocolate flavour, which is amazing. Part of me was like, ‘seriously, its just easier to make brownies’ but my colleagues were very impressed and asked for the recipe. I get the feeling once they realise how much effort it takes, they will be less keen to make it. Having said that, it did make an absolutely awesome Monday treat in the office.

Remember to share with friends (or colleagues) and enjoy! 🙂

Loaded chocolate chip cookies

I honestly believe in starting off the week right by taking sweet treats to work on a Monday, true story! Mondays are pretty awful and anything you can do to make them better, do it! Ive been doing this for years if not well over a decade now. British colleagues thought it was great and never questioned the motive behind the baked good because well free baked goods. Dutch colleagues, this is a different matter and every week they ask me if its my birthday, as apparently you only bring something to the office if its your birthday. I find this entire concept strange, bringing in your own cakes for your birthday, I dont know, it seems slightly usual and kind of cruel. I think I will soon quit explaining its not my birthday and just say ‘yes’ every week instead.

Whats the difference between a biscuit and a cookie? This is only ever a question asked in the UK and possibly Europe but absolutely never asked in the States. Cookies are soft and slightly fluffy, generally melt in your mouth when you eat them. Biscuits (I refer to the British edible) is a very hard cookie that you are forced to dunk into tea/coffee to make it soft enough to chew without damaging any dental work. Given that my childhood was in the States, I prefer cookies and find British biscuits, well, sad.

I happened across these cookies and kind of feel in love with them, they are fully pimped out chocolate chip cookies that are over loaded everything but the kitchen sink.

Overloaded everything but the kitchen sink chocolate chip cookies

Makes: 25 cookies   Prep time: 15 mins Bake time: 12 mins per batch Total time: 60 mins approx

Required Ingredients:

  • 1.5 (195g) cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (170g) butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) Caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1.5 cups (265g) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1.5 cups (135g) old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cups (60g) toasted coconut
  • 3/4 cup (95g) chopped pecans
  • 1 box (4oz/113g) Reese’s Pieces

Now to make these super delicious cookies

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a baking/cookie sheet with parchment/greaseproof paper.

2. In large bowl or kitchen mixer, beat your room temperature butter until soft. Gradually add in the sugars and mix until light and fluffy. (this is me forgetting to take a picture when between putting in the caster sugar and the brown sugar)

 

3. Add in the eggs, vanilla and cinnamon. Mix until fully combined. Technically you should add in the eggs one at a time but Im lazy and think its easier just to chuck them all in.20180415_150537

4. If using a kitchen mixer or electric mixer, switch over to a wooden spoon at this point. Stir in the flour and salt until just combined ( I forgot the cinnamon in the previous step, hence the extra brown colour). You NEVER want to over mix a cookie dough, as this can create hard cookies (or the ultimate insult, it can your your cookie into a biscuit, OH THE HORROR).

5. Stir in chocolate chips, oats, coconut, Reeces Pieces and pecans. Mix until just combined and no more (see note above).

6. I use a medium sized ice cream scoop for cookie portioning, as this allows for each portion to be roughly the same weight and size. Otherwise use two large tablespoons and place cookie dough 3 inches apart on baking sheet. The dough is super wet/sticky, so dont try rolling it between your hands, you’ll just make a mess. I do also flatten the tops slightly with a spoon. As you can see Im rather heavy handed with my scoop and rarely are my cookies ever the same weight/size/shape etc, I like to think they are all unique differently with a homemade look about them.

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7. Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. The middles should appear slightly under done. Remove cookies from rack to cool.

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These are the super delicious overloaded everything but the kitchen sink chocolate chip cookies. I have to say Im kind of impressed with myself and these cookies. My colleagues and friends also liked them, so Id say these are a bit of a success.

Notes: I dont use baking powder or baking soda in my cookies, as this makes them too fluffy and more cake like than cookie like. You can also make an adult version of this cookie buy mixing in 1 shot of espresso into the batter, which will enhance the flavour. You can substitute peanut butter chips for the Reece’s Pieces. You can basically throw in anything you like to this recipe, such as dried banana chips, chopped up pretzels, or even mini marshmallows.

Remember to share with friends and enjoy! 🙂

 

 

 

No Bake Granola Bars

I love a good granola bar but I really dont love having to pay around the €2 mark for one that looks unappealing and tastes like cardboard. I use to bulk buy them from Costco (being honest, I shipped over with me around 60 Protein Natures Valley bars but Im kind of over them) but I dont have the option to buy more once they are gone and theres a sense of accomplishment in being able to make your own. This is my go to recipe, that Ive made successfully (yah!) and not so successfully (damn you oven, burning my oats rather than roasting them – ok maybe I got carried away multi tasking and forgot them).

This recipes makes super thick bars, which are VERY yummy.  It also requires a lot of prep work but is well worth it and the best thing about this recipe? You can change it to suit your taste, as per the notes at the bottom. Take out ingredients that you dont like (or don’t have in the cupboard) and add in things that you do love (or have in your cupboard). You can take out of the chocolate (remember that life is SO much better with chocolate) or you can drizzle melted white and milk chocolate over the top (refer to previous statement). If you dont fancy feeding your neighbour, cut the recipe in half or if you want to feed your colleagues, local school and fellow passengers on your flight, double the recipe!

These are technically roasted no bake granola bars, all of which will become clear below.

No Bake Granola Bars 

Makes: 20+ bars (makes 9X13 pan)   Prep time: 15 mins Make time: 10 mins   Total time: 25 mins

Required Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (360g) old fashioned oats
  • 2 C (50g) rice crispy cereal
  • 1/2 C (50g) shredded coconut
  • 1/2 C (125g) butter
  • 1/2 C (170g) honey
  • 1 C (200g) brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C (120g) dried cranberries
  • 1 C (150g) raisins
  • 1 C (190g) dried mango
  • 1 C (190g) dried apricots
  • 2 C (350g) semi sweet chocolate
  • Wax / Baking paper

Now to be converted to these home made granola bars!

1. Take your oats and roast them in the oven for roughly 15 mins at 180C/350F, turning them every 5 mins.  Simply pour them into a pan/cookie sheet (dont grease the pan) and let them do their roasting thing. (Instant oats is seriously not a thing in Europe and as is a specific no bake recipe, you really dont want crunchy oats – tried, tested and was NOT a win). After 5 mins, you will notice the edges starting to brown and the smell of oats.  Start to turn the oats, pulling them in from the edges and putting them to the middle. Remember to keep an eye on them and not to let them burn.

2. Whilst your oats are toasting, dice up your fruit and set to the side.

3. Once oats have cooled,  in a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, cereal and coconut.

4. In a saucepan melt the honey, butter,  brown sugar, and salt together.  Stir together then leave it alone as it comes to a boil. Once the boil has reached all the way around the edges of the pan, begin timing.  Allow this mixture to boil for a minimum of 2 minutes and 15 seconds.  During this time, you will most likely need to turn the heat down, so it doesn’t overflow, but be sure it keeps boiling.  In short, let the mixture boil no less than 2 mins 15 seconds but its ok if you boil it longer, I normally do, try to avoid it boiling for longer than 5 mins.

5. Whilst your honey butter mixture is boiling, melt your chocolate, I blast it in the microwave 30 secs a go, stirring in between blasts until you can stir is smooth. Take your pan, put a layer of wax paper in it (or baking paper as its called in the UK), then put the melted chocolate in the bottom of the pan.  You dont have to use chocolate in this recipe at all, however, I find it a good ‘glue’ to help hold the bars together.  Smooth over the chocolate to an even layer in the pan.

6. Remove your honey butter mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture over the oats, using a rubber spatula to get all the sugar mixture out of the pan.  Mix the ingredients together until the oats are completely coated.  Add in the chopped fruit and mix well, to ensure honey butter mixture coats all.

7. Pour the mixture and press very firmly into your pan.

8. Now for my stoke of genius (doesn’t happen often but this was a good one!).  Cover the top of the bars with another layer of wax paper and use a can/tin of something (I used beans) and press down the mixture. I went over the pan about 5 or 6 times, ensuring to go over the entire size of the pan.  This gives the pressure required to ensure that the bars dont fall apart when you go to eat them. You’ll need to press down the edges of the pan with your fingers, as the roundness of the can/tin means that it doesn’t go right up to the corners. You will visibly be able to see the the mixtures has been presses down more than just with your hands.

9. Place them in the fridge for 2 hours then cut to size.  I tend to leave mine in the fridge for a couple of hours, because I have other things going on and like the idea of leaving things and dealing with them later.  If you dont use chocolate on the bottom, leave them in the fridge 30 mins instead, as the chocolate will not need to set up.

 

*Notes: you can mix and match this recipe and the ‘add ons’ as much as you like, you will always need the honey butter mixture (not to be altered) but you here are a few things you can add in or change out to make this recipe EVEN better: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger or nutmeg, peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, 1 cup of American peanut butter to the honey butter mixture, 1 cup diced maraschino cherry, or candied peel.

* For a extra touch toast off your coconut for added flavour!

*Should your granola bars fall apart (this has happened to me), dont throw it away but use it as cereal instead, a yummy breakfast treat.

Remember to share with friends and enjoy! 🙂 

DIY Gift: Hot Chocolate on a Spoon

Does being a hostess mean I have the mostess? Since starting my social group for expats, I seem to be hosting far more gatherings and events than I ever have, from parent and baby groups to ladies who chat over coffee and adult evenings where chat is had over a lot of beer. Having a sense of humour and being able to laugh at my own awkwardness helps a lot, I host parent and baby groups and yet have no children. The other parents naturally ask, ‘Do you have children?’, I awkwardly smile and say ‘No, I’m a crazy cat lady, just cats for me.’ I do get a lot of strange looks but they seem to be grateful the meet up has been arranged, so I get a pass, even if it is a slightly awkward one.

I recently hosted an expat event, it was equally horrifying and exciting. I decided that pizza and beer would be a great theme, its casual and yet combines two things adults love. I would make the pizza and the people would bring the beer (the irony here is that *I* dont actually drink beer). Then I secretly prayed that I wouldn’t have any gluten-free attendees. The pressure one person can put on themselves to host an event is incredible! I decided it wasn’t enough to open up my home (spending a day in advance cleaning it to be pretend like Im some sort of organised and tidy adult), to buy all the ingredients and make the pizzas from scratch, along with brownies and snacks, no no, I also needed to give a thank you gift to the attendees who came. Yes, Im sure its party planning rule 101 – one must give a gift of thanks for those who take the time to attend. Right! Great, now I need gifts, what gift do I give? Homemade gifts are the best gifts to give, it shows you’ve taken the time and initiative to make something, because clearly everything you’ve done above simply isn’t enough. 🙂 I thought, its practically winter, cold, rainy and what is something I can play on with that, and then like any good idea a light bulb went off, HOT CHOCOLATE!!! As I shouted ‘giddy up’ and fist pumped in the air, I started to make the list of things to buy to make these gifts.

Ive previously made hot chocolate on a spoon (normally I give it to close friends at Christmas with their gifts) and have learnt what I like and what preferences people seem to like. Hot chocolate on a stick is VERY popular, its all over Pinterest and other internet locations. However, Im not a fan of sticks, I think of sticks and have visions of dogs running across a field with a large dirty muddy dribble soaked stick in its mouth. Oh hell no! Im equally awkward when I go into coffee chains and they only have the little wooden stirrers and I think ‘surely be an adult means Im capable of using an actual spoon!?”, I know, environmentally friendly, rah rah rah blah blah blah, just give me a spoon! I also find the texture of a stirrer weird on my tongue but we wont get into that.

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Makes: 15 shot sized glasses   Prep time: 15 mins  Cook time: 20 mins   Mixing and Filling time: 15 mins Total time: 50 mins

What you need to make these really great drinkable treats:

  • 9 oz. milk chocolate (not chips)  – I used 3 x100 gram bars
  • 7 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (not chips) – I used 2 x 100 gram bars
  • 1/2 c (59g) cocoa powder
  • 1 c (115g) powdered sugar/icing sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoons salt
  • 2 (10g) teaspoons ground cinnamon (or go wild and use pumpkin pie spice!)
  • 15 large marshmallows or 150 mini marshmallows
  • 7 mini candy canes (optional) – I put a mini candy cane in every other hot chocolate made, some people dont like them, so lets not force them to eat it.

Supplies

  • Plastic spoons
  • Plastic shot glasses (approx. 15) – you can use glass shot glasses ( you can use them to mould the mixture or you can give them away as part of the gift.
  • Cellophane to wrap each gift
  • Ribbon to wrap around each gift and to attach the label with

*Please note that I doubled the recipe for the pics below as I knew I wanted to make a lot and I couldn’t find shot glasses but I found double shot glasses instead, sure lets do that!

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Now to make these awesome drinkable treats:

1.  Chop chocolate into small pieces (or you can grate it if you really fancy it) and combine in a glass bowl. You can either microwave in 30 second bursts on 50% power, stirring between each burst, or you can use a double boiler (as I did) and allow it to melt over slowly over simmering water.

I was a bit of a idiot and thought super hot water = quicker melting time and actually seized the chocolate. Not going to lie, I didn’t even realise that you could ‘seize’ chocolate. I was able to rescue mine (hooray!) but play it safe and melt it slowly.

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2. In a separate bowl, sift together cocoa, powdered sugar, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. You need individually grease each shot glass (THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!!!), I used vegetable oil on a paper towel (kitchen roll) and lightly greased the inside of each shot glass.  This allows easy removal of hot chocolate once its set.

3. Once the chocolate has completely melted, mix in the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Mixture will be very thick, similar to brownie batter.

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4. I used two teaspoons and spooned the chocolate mixture into each cup or you can spoon the mixture into a piping bag (no coupler or tip is needed) and pipe it into the cups. I find the mixture too thick if Im honest and thought it easier just to spoon it into the shot glasses.

After you have filled all your shot glasses, shove a spoon in each one, ensure that it is straight, this will allow for easier wrapping. I then took a large marshmallow, cut it down the middle half way through (NOT all the way through) and then shove it over the spoon. When using mini marshmallows, I put 4 around the spoon and then just before I tie the bag up, I shove in about 6 more, as 4 mini marshmallows isnt enough!

Leave chocolates to dry a few hours.  Once all shots are dry, you can remove carefully from the glasses, the heat from your hand should be enough to release them from the glass, (obviously plastic is thin and this takes longer with an actual glass shot) wrap hand around glass around 10-15 seconds. I released each glass but put them back in the glass, to make it easier to remove when the giftee receives them and uses them.

I created the attached template that I use for labels on every cup. I print it back and front and it works great!

hot chocolate on a spoon

After everyone was full of pizza and beer and heading on their way out the door into a cold wet Dutch autumn evening, they were delighted with little gems.

Ive decided to work out the prices for these so you can see how affordable these great edible gifts are, all prices are based on prices at Albert Heijn unless otherwise stated (where the cheapest option has been chosen):

  • 3 x100 gram  milk chocolate bars  = €0.49 a bar = €1.47
  • 2 x100 gram  dark chocolate bars = €0.49 = €0.98
  • 1/2 c (59g) cocoa powder = €0.45
  • 1 c (115g) powdered sugar/icing sugar = €0.40
  • 2 (10g) teaspoons ground cinnamon = €.14
  • 15 large marshmallows or 150 mini marshmallows = €0.83
  • plastic spoons = €0.53
  • Plastic shot glasses = €1.29
  • Above total is €6.09
  • Total price per shot glass gift = €0.41

Remember to share with friends (and maybe take one for yourself to enjoy)! 🙂

The 2 B’s, baking and brownies

I grew up in southern America, in the mountains of North Carolina. America is incredibly diverse and every area is different to the next, even within the southern states.

I grew up with Betty Crocker. Shes amazing and knows her baking and almost always comes out perfectly! Growing up, I thought baking with Betty was baking from scratch, oh, how I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried! Betty Crocker is a boxed baking brand, you add eggs, water and oil to the mix and TADA you’re done.  Its easy, its simple and it ultimately almost always tastes amazing. I was always told this was ‘baking’ and for years I really did think I was baking from scratch. It was only when I moved out of the states that I realised this wasn’t the case and it was a shock! I wont lie, I did get more than a little bit excited when I noticed my local grocery story started to carry Betty.  In America, Betty Crocker is one of the major baking ranges that have practically everything you could ever need, from cake mixes, brownies, and cobblers to frostings.

Living in Europe, means that I now bake from scratch! The amount of boxed items 15 years ago when I moved over were incredibly limited (maybe one or two only), where as now its better. Honestly, nothing frustrates me more than when Im looking at a cake recipe on the internets and it says in the list of ingredients ‘1 box cake mix’, you’ve got to be kidding me!

Having learnt to adapt means that Ive mastered some things and still fail at others, no matter how hard I try I am completely unable to make a white cake.

One of my wins which I am so proud of are these amazingly awesome unctuous fudgey brownies. From the base recipe, you can keep it as it is or you can dress it up and make it an adult only espresso brownie, which is my favourite! Why espresso? It doesnt taste like coffee but actually enhances the chocolate flavour, giving them a deep richness that keeps you going back for more!

Ive also made them with gluten free flour and they work just as well, still coming out fudgey.

I hope you go off and make these and enjoy them as much as I do!

Unctuous awesome fudgey brownies

Unctuous awesome fudgey brownies

Makes: 1 9x13in Pyrex dish   Prep time: 15 mins  Cook time: 25mins  Total time: 45 mins

Required Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (250g) unsalted butter
  • ⅔ cups (55g) of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups (450g) of sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (128g) plain flour
  • ⅔ cup (115g) Chocolate chips and peanut butter chips (optional)
  • 1 shot espresso (if making the adult version of this)

Now how to make these truly awesome brownies:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line the pan with greaseproof paper.
  2. Melt your butter on the hob/stove top with the cocoa powder. Once the butter and cocoa have completely melted, add in the sugar.  Put this off the side to cool down for 10 mins, sit down, have a cup of coffee, read a book, take a break.
  3. Once the butter, cocoa, and sugar mixture have cooled down, whisk  in the eggs, salt and vanilla, mixing until completely incorporated and smooth in texture. (If making the adult version add in your shot of expresso now)
  4. Add flour and chips to the liquid mixture, and stir until just combined (do NOT over mix).
  5. Pour the brownie batter into the baking dish, put in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 25 minutes. Make sure it’s on the middle rack, not the top one
  6. When the brownie cools down, cut it into squares.  Store in  a air tight container for up to 4 days.

Edits:

Do not over bake! Its so easy to over bake a brownie, they are suppose to look slightly undercooked, as they then firm up and finish cooking off as it cools down.  25-30 mins at the very most is more than enough time to cook a brownie that has been placed in a pre-heated oven.

I love that you can add anything to these brownies! As per the picture below, I made the standard brownie and then I made an adult version, in my adult version, in addition to the espresso, I chopped up a white, dark, and milk chocolate bar and put it on top for extra unctuous ooey-gooeyness and then for crunch I added ½ cup toasted coconut and ½ cup chopped pecans. They were AMAZING.

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I also made them gluten free by swapping gluten free flour for plain and adding in 2 tsp of xanthan gum.

Remember to share with friends and enjoy!