Archive of ‘Desserts’ category

World’s best brownies

If you like your brownies like one big slab of moist chocolate filled with chocolate chips and macadamias then look no further. Bookmark this page, hand across my heart I tell you this is the best recipe ever.

If you like your brownies a bit lighter and cake-like, then go google cake recipes this is no place for you and your namby pamby brownie ideas.

Thank you to my cousin Michelle, and her co-worker Katherine who penned the recipe.

Just check out the ingredients you’ll need (I doubled the recipe, so your quantities won’t be quite so much).


Place sugar and flour in a bowl, and add your beaten eggs.

Melt your butter and dark chocolate on a super low heat.


That’s real chocolate right there.

Now add that to your bowl too. Stir well.

Fold through the milk choc chips, white choc chips and optional macadamia.


The spoon-cam says it all really.

Put it in a greased tray. Bake it. Eat it. Eat some more. Stop. You will start feeling sick.

This is going to be my last post for a little while as I’m due to get on an aeroplane any day now as I am moving back to Melbourne. I have a few minor things to sort out, job, house, car, life. You know, those little pesky things.

Very excitedly, I have a couple of boxes of kitchen goods waiting for me in a storage unit. Oh the joy of it! More than one mixing bowl! Electric beaters! Different plates! I’ll be back…

Ingredients
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
125g butter chopped
200g dark chocolate
150g white chocolate chopped
100g milk chocolate chopped
Optional: 100 grams of chopped macadamia nuts

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a 25cm square tin with baking paper. Tip: If you spray the tin with olive oil before the paper it makes it easier to line.
  2. Place flour, sugar and beaten eggs in a bowl, stir well.
  3. Melt dark chocolate and butter. WAIT! It’s very easy to burn chocolate while melting it. A lot of recipes tell you to use a water bath. A lot of effort. I don’t bother. As long as you keep it on a super low temperature on the stove and stir it as you go, you should be right. With that in mind, place your chopped butter and dark chocolate in a saucepan on the stove on a very low heat. Stir Stir Stir. The butter will start to melt. The melted butter will start to melt the dark chocolate. Take the saucepan off the heat before all the chocolate is melted and let the heat of the melted butter and chocolate finish it off. Better safe than sorry, you can always return to the heat.
  4. Pour the dark chocolate and butter mixture into your bowl with the flour-egg mix and stir well.
  5. Fold through your milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and optional macadamias. Eat some batter. Nom Nom.
  6. Pour in to your prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes. This was my first time making brownies and I was a bit concerned about when I’d know they were done. I looked up what Jamie Oliver said on the matter which helped me hugely “You don’t want to overcook them so, unlike cakes, you don’t want a skewer to come out all clean. The brownies should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle. Allow to cool in the tray, then carefully transfer to a large chopping board and cut into chunky squares.” Thanks Jamie! When you jiggle your brownie tray the middle should move a little.
  7. Eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or serve with ice cream for dessert. Makes 15 pieces.

Healthy? There is nothing healthy about this. 300 terrible-but-totally-worth-it calories a slice if you cut them into 15 pieces.

Gluten free: Brownies are easily adapted to a gluten free flour mix. Just switch out the flour for your favourite substitute.

Storage: They keep well in an airtight container. Padlock and key are handy too.

Great-grandma’s pumpkin cake

This recipe was passed on to me by an Aunty. It was passed to her by her Grandma. And now I’m passing it on to you!

Great-grandma Beatrice was a farmers wife with four sons and one daughter. Practical recession-busting recipes like this were very much the go. But this recipe is by no means cheap on taste.

The pumpkin makes this cake lovely and moist, and the spices and mixed fruit remind me of Christmas.

I never met my Great-grandma as she passed away before I was born. I really like the idea of making a cake that she made. This to me is what cooking is all about.

To complete the little loop I’ll be taking some of this cake with me on a walk in the English countryside with the Aunt who gave me the recipe. Then it’s all tied up with a nice little bow.

Note: I used dried cranberries, dried cherries, almond, sultanas and the rind of a lemon and orange for my mixed fruit component. I’d usually use a bag of mixed fruit, but the bag of mixed fruit at the supermarket was 80% sultanas and 15% currents. How is that mixed? That’s just sultanas and currents. Pffft. And yea, I know almonds aren’t fruit. But I like them, so they went in.

I also didn’t have mixed spice and am trying hard to not accumulate things as I’m leaving London so soon, so used a combo of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. It was lovely. I hope my Great-grandma was OK with all this. I think she would be.

Mixed fruit and the rind of a lemon and orange for extra zest

Ingredients
250 grams pumpkin, cooked and mashed
¼ cup butter
2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
250 grams of mixed fruit
1 teaspoon mixed spice (lacking this – I used a combination of ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg)
1 ½ cups self-raising flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon vinegar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C and grease a 18cm round or square cake tin.
  2. Into the hot cooked pumpkin, add the butter and allow to cool.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.
  4.  Pour in to your prepared cake tin and bake for 50-55 minutes. It’s done when a knife comes out clean and it’s nice a golden on top.

Healthy? Cut up into 16 peices to take to work with tea makes them 165 calories a slice. The whole cake is 2,650 depending on your fruit choices.

Gluten free? I think you could easily swap in a GF flour and it would bind well. But I haven’t tried it.

Storage: In an airtight container. It also freezes beautifully.

Cherry ripe slice

Like all good stories, we should start at the beginning:

1. Cherry ripe bars (not the slice below, I’m talking about an actual chocolate bar here) are Australia’s oldest chocolate bar. It’s not hard to be the oldest thing of anything in Australia, but when something is, we respect that.

Word.

2. Cadbury, the makers of the bar, describe it as “… ripe juicy cherries and moist coconut smothered in rich Old Gold dark chocolate …”

3. What the marketing team doesn’t mention is you can’t get them in London. This is a problem for me.

This recipe was printed in the The Guardian Weekend newspaper. so armed with three packets of glace cherries, I gave it a shot. It’s delicious. So good. I took it to a BBQ and another couple of Australians there said the taste was just the same as the chocolate bars.

Next time I make it though, I’m going to half the base. I’m more about the chocolate and the cherries. But other taste testers at the above BBQ liked the base as is. I’ll post an update once I try it.

Before I launch in to the recipe I would like to issue a challenge:

You can either chop up the cherries needed for this recipe by hand or use a food processor. If you have a child under 10 (who you trust with a knife) I think you should let them chop the cherries. Then email me at  a picture of the resulting cherries/child combo at clevermuffin@gmail.com. I promise to post it. *hehe*

Ingredients: Base
1 1/3 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
½ cup caster sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
100 grams butter, softened
¼ cup cold milk

Ingredients: Cherry filling
600 grams glace cherries
125 grams sweetened condensed milk
1 ¾ cups desiccated coconut
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

Ingredients: Chocolate topping
250 grams dark chocolate
4 teaspoons olive oil

Method: Base
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (160C fan-assisted, 350F, gas mark 4).
2. Take a 18cm square cake tin, preferably one with a removable base, and line bottom with baking paper. Spray with cooking oil for good measure.
3. Put the flour, cocoa, sugar and baking powder in a bowl and rub in the butter until it’s worked through and all the lumps have gone.
4. Add the milk and mix to a soft, even dough.
5. Press firmly and evenly into the base of your prepared tin.
6. Set to bake for 15-20 minutes, or until set and dry on top. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Method: Cherry filling
1. Put 400 grams of glace cherries in a food processor to mince very finely. I did start this process by hand (see above) which is possible with a bit of patience. But very sticky. I then borrowed a food processor from my neighbour. Much quicker.
2. Mix in the sweetened condensed milk, coconut and vanilla until you have a smooth, pink paste.
3. Cut the remaining cherries in half, stir through, then spread evenly over your cooling base (doesn’t matter if it’s not completely cool).
Warning: even through the base has been cooling and the sides are cool, the bottom is still piping hot, don’t try and pick it up with your bare hands to put it back in the oven (guess how I learnt that lesson).
4. Bake at the same temperature for a further 25 minutes or until it starts to go golden on top.
5. Refrigerate until the slice is cold – about two to three hours.

Method: Chocolate topping
1. Place the chocolate and oil in a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted.
2. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
3. Spread over the slice.
4. Refrigerate until firm.
5. Cut with a heated knife. This will take a bit of muscle. I had two tall cups full of boiling water to assist with the process.

But it’s worth it. Oh, it’s so worth it.

Cut in to 2cm squares, this makes 30.

Healthy? It’s no fruit salad love. 200 calories per slice.

Gluten free? The base is not. The GF recipes I have seen just substitute the flour with GF flour, but I haven’t tried it. With all the butter and sugar, I think it would be fine and bind well enough. Or, you could do something like:

Gluten free alternate for base
Ingredients
170 grams digestive type GF biscuits from the supermarket, crushed
60 grams butter, melted
2 tablespoons cocoa

Method
Combine the digestive biscuits, butter and cocoa together. Press firmly into the base of the tin. No need to cook it for this method. Then just add the cheery mixture on top and keep going as above.

Storage: In an airtight container.

Source: Modified from The Guardian Weekend “How to bake: cherry ripe bars” by Dan Lepard p. 63. 18 July 2011.

Perfect chelsea butter buns…guest post

These chelsea butter buns are PERFECT!!! They are the best perfectly perfect fabulous awesome loveliness (running out of adjectives). I know this because I didn’t make them. Megan did. Megan, who needs no introduction after sharing her lovely soups and savoury muffins previously.

Here’s her fabulous how-to guide for Chelsea butter buns – old school style with pink icing, coz it tastes better than way. Perfect! Take it away megs:
—————————————

I have been meaning to make these for weeks, ever since Aimee and I visited this amazing little cafe in Soho in London, where we shared this amazing Chelsea butter bun.

When I came back to Melbourne, I dragged out my copy of the Women’s Weekly ‘How to Cook Absolutely Everything’ book and sure enough, there was a recipe in there for these delicious little buns!

So this weekend, I attempted to make them. I followed the recipe below verbatim, but found you could definitely cut the butter ratio to around 100 grams, brown sugar to about ½ a cup and even the currants to about 1 ½ cups.

It goes a little something like this:

Cut them up, nice are carefully.

Line them up on your greased tray. Then cook them!

ice ’em. eat ’em. (say hello to the chelsea butter bun official tester. tough life for some!)

Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients
1 tablespoon of dried yeast
1 tablespoon caster sugar
4 cups plain flour
1 ½ cups warm milk
2 cups  (320g) dried currents (see notes above, I would use 1 ½ next time, you can also use a selection of dried fruit)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg
125g butter, melted
2/3 cup of firmly packed brown sugar

Icing
1 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
pink food colouring

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to moderately hot (200°C/180°C fan forced).
  2. Combine yeast, 1 teaspoon of the flour and milk in small bowl, cover, stand in warm place for about 10 minutes or until mixture is frothy.
  3. Place currants in small saucepan, cover with water, bring to boil. Remove from heat, cover, cool for 15 minutes. Drain currents well, combine in small bowl with rind and cinnamon.
  4. Whisk egg into yeast mixture. Sift remaining flour into a large bowl; stir in yeast mixture. Cover, stand in warm place for about 40 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. Use this time do the dishes you were meant to do last night, except you went to the pub instead.
  5. Knead dough on floured surface for about 3 minutes or until smooth. Roll dough into 30 cm x 40 cm rectangle. Brush with a quarter of the butter and sprinkle with a third of the brown sugar.
  6. Grease a deep 23cm square cake pan. Fold one end of the dough to come two-thirds of the way up the dough, fold over top third to cover first fold. Turn dough halfway around to have the open ends facing you. (see pics above)
  7. Roll dough into 30 cm x 40 cm rectangle. Repeat folding from Step 5, using the same amount of butter and brown sugar. Turn dough halfway round, roll into 30 cm x 40 cm rectangle. Brush dough with half the remaining butter, sprinkle with remaining brown sugar and the current mixture.
  8. Roll dough firmly from the long side like a Swiss roll (I’ve never made one of these, but I like to eat them!). Cut dough evenly into nine pieces, place buns, cut side up, in the greased pan. Sprinkle with the remaining caster sugar. Stand, uncovered in a warm spot for 20 minutes or until buns have risen slightly.
  9. Drizzle buns with remaining butter. Bake, uncovered for 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to moderate (180°C/160°C fan forced). Bake for a further 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Meanwhile make icing. Use no more than one drop of food colouring, unless you like my psychedelic pink icing in the photos above, in that case use 3-4 drops.
  11. Turn buns onto wire rack, drizzle a little icing onto each bun, cool.
  12. To make icing: Sift icing sugar into small bowl, stir in enough milk to form a thin, smooth paste. Tint with food colouring.

Healthy? 16.9g total fat (10.4 saturated), 2788kj (667 cal), 112g carbohydrates, 13g protein, 5.0g fibre. I would actually have an ambulance on standby for when you go into a diabetic coma from too much sugar.

Gluten free? Not this recipe.

Storage? Web searches say you can freeze them. I’ll give it a go and report back.

Raspberry almond cake with mascarpone cream icing

I hate missing out on a party. The idea that all the people I know, or, a whole lot of cool people I don’t know, are having fun somewhere without me drives me batty.

I especially like birthday parties because it combines presents, food and cake. Total win-win.

I like throwing parties too. Especially ones where I make my guests dress up. Then I get to feed them all heaps of colourful punch and food. My favourite trick is to put party food in the oven, then attach the timer to a merry guest, and tell them to come and find me when they start beeping. Simple things…

It’s my friend’s Derek’s 30th and I can’t go to his party.

Derek’s raspberry and almond birthday cake

You see his party is in Melbourne, which I call home. (Quiet in the cheap seats, Perth, it’s not me, it’s you.) But I am currently on an extended holiday – it’s a tough life – and am living and working in London.

So I can’t go.

So this lovely cake, full of raspberries, almond meal and topped with rich mascarpone cream icing, is to say happy birthday. As I am a good friend, I have made you this cake Derek, and eaten it on your behalf. Happy Birthday!

I halved the below recipe, as even sharing it out with the girls at work and an Irish house guest, it was a lot. But don’t worry, I finished if off! No cake goes to waste in my house. The original recipe comes from my friend Felicity, so this was a team effort.

The raspberries in London at the moment are unbelievably lovely, so I used fresh ones. But frozen works just as well with these things.

The cake is rather heavy so you only need to eat a little, but the good thing is it lasts in the fridge for days so you can savour some later.

Preparation time: 20 minutes to prepare
Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: Serves 10 or more

Ingredients
250 grams butter, softened
2 cups (440g) caster sugar
6 eggs
1 cup (150g) plain flour
½ cup (75g) self raising flour
1 cup (110g) hazelnut meal
2/3 cup (160g) sour cream
300 grams fresh or frozen raspberries
fresh raspberries, extra, for serving

Note: If using frozen raspberries, don’t thaw them; frozen berries are less likely to ‘bleed’ into the cake mixture.

Mascarpone cream icing
1 cup (250g) mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup (80g) icing sugar
2 tablespoons Frangelico (any nut flavoured liquor would work, or maybe just a tablespoon of vanilla essence if it is what you have)
½ cup (120g) sour cream
½ cup slivered almonds, put in the oven for 10 minutes to brown

Note: I upped the amount of icing sugar from the original recipe (1/4 of a cup to 1/2 a cup as above) as it just seemed too runny. Friends have also substituted this icing with lemon buttercream icing with great success too.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease a deep 22cm-round cake pan; line base and sides with baking paper.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in medium bowl with an electric mixer (or, as I did, go crazy with a wooden spoon because I refuse to buy an electric beater while living away from home) until light and fluffy; add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined between additions. (The mixture will curdle at this stage, but will come together later.)
  3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, stir in sifted flours, almond meal and sour cream. Fold in raspberries and spread mixture into pan.
  4. Bake for about 1 hour 30 minutes. Stand cake in pan for 10 minutes; turn, top-side up, onto wire rack to cool.

Mascarpone cream

  1. Combine mascarpone, icing sugar, liqueur and sour cream in a medium bowl. Stir until smooth; stir in nuts.
  2. Place cold cake on a serving plate.
  3. Spread cake all over with mascarpone cream. Top and serve with extra fresh raspberries, if desired.

Healthy? Raspberries are healthy? It’s a cake, just enjoy.

Gluten free? I’m pretty confident that switching out the self-raising flour for GF flour would work well. Especially considering how moist it is and all the eggs.

Storage: Icing the night before works well. Store covered, in refrigerator. Unfrosted cake can be frozen for up to 3 months.

This recipe is adapted from a Raspberry hazelnut cake from Australian Woman’s Weekly. I like almonds better.

1 2