Category: Desserts

Caramelised white chocolate and pecan cookies

Sometimes I just absolutely have to bake cookies. There’s no negotiation. Luckily 9 times out of 10 I have all the ingredients in ready to whip of a bowl of dough. After reading Michelle’s post last week about slice and bake chocolate chip cookies I had to give them a go. So Friday afternoon Matilda and I played in the kitchen and made cookies. I didn’t freeze them but just left them in the fridge overnight. The recipe is from Tara O’Brady at Seven Spoon’s book and is my new favourite cookie recipe. So so easy and tastes amazing.

It’s been a while since I revisited caramelised white chocolate and I forgot that it’s actually a doddle to make. I had a couple of bars of Lindt white chocolate lying around from Christmas – how these didn’t get eaten I don’t know, White chocolate is like crack to me. I heated my oven to the lowest heat – 130 C/266 F – and spread chopped white chocolate over a clean oven tray. At ten minute intervals I stirred the chocolate around the tray with a spatula until it was smooth and golden. I transferred the melted chocolate to a small tray and let it re-set in the fridge before I chopped it into caramelised white chocolate chips. Just try not to eat them all before they go into the dough. It’s basically a homemade Caramac bar.

I had Matilda’s wonderful assistance the second time as well and whilst I was taking the photos she brazenly walked up and helped herself to a cookie. I said if she was going to pinch the cookies she could at least be cute and hold a plate of them as well >.<

These cookies are crisp and buttery on the edges and soft in the middle. The caramelised white chocolate works perfectly with the pecans and a hint of sea salt on top balances everything out. Just as in Michelle’s post you can of course freeze the dough in balls if you only want a few at a time. If you want to make a full batch then leave them in the fridge overnight. Letting the dough rest is like magic and the difference between baking straight away and waiting overnight is very noticeable. They are definitely worth the wait.

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Kitchen sink raspberry jam blondies

This is my favourite kind of baking. Throw everything in baking. This tray of blondies seriously disappeared in less than 24 hours. I didn’t even have a full tray to photograph because it was too dark when it came out of the oven and there was no way we weren’t going to eat them until the next morning. Sorry, I have no self control when it comes to eating cake.

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Recipes revisited: two ways with dulce de leche

Recipes revisited: two ways with dulce de leche

It’s been a little while since I was last here: toward the end of last year I launched NorEats, a directory of the best independent food and drink in Norwich, and so have been busy eating and writing about all the region has to offer. Truly, a hard task.

I’ve not been resting on my laurels, though, having been told in no uncertain terms that I had to bring a birthday cake to my friends’ celebrations. Cue the troublesome jar of dulce de leche.

A jar of dulce de leche in the cupboard that you need to get rid of is a good problem to have, even if the necessity is there because you can’t help dipping a spoon into it with alarming frequency. So instead of going directly jar to mouth, I’ve taken it on a slight detour via two tweaked recipes: one for white chocolate & salted caramel cake and one for After Eight chocolate mint cake. Read More

Pecan paprenjaci

Pecan paprenjaci // The Dinner Bell

I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a while, since my enthusiasm for festive food got the best of me far before it was acceptable, but the tightness of my jeans indicates it is time.

These little darlings are based on traditional Croatian Christmas biscuits –  the inclusion of black pepper sounds a little odd but it gives a subtle warmth to the biscuits, which are similar to gingerbread and have a comforting softness to them.

As I inherited a slight walnut allergy from my mother, along with sturdy thighs and a love of food, I switched out the traditional walnuts in favour of pecans. I also used a tiny squirrel cutter instead of the wooden moulds they’d be made with in Croatia, because the tiny squirrel was too cute to resist.

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Sweet potato cake with maple cream cheese frosting

This cake is perfect for autumn. It’s just slightly adapted from a David Lebovitz recipe for carrot cake and you probably wouldn’t know it was sweet potato if I didn’t tell you but it’s the maple frosting that makes it. I had a glut of sweet potatoes lying around and I figured there was no reason why I couldn’t use them in the same way as carrots. This frosting is much sweeter than your basic cream cheese frosting so you don’t need a big slice when it comes to eating, but who am I to tell you how to eat your cake?!

It is crumbly without being dry and has the right balance of sweet and spice. As with all cakes, I recommend a strong coffee. Read More

How to: Swiss meringue

I didn’t get nervous about the Swiss meringue until I saw the polyester sleeve of my mother’s dressing gown dangling perilously close to the flame flying out of the blowtorch.

Let me start at the beginning. When we decided to make cakes for my mother’s birthday, I went with my usual method of imagining something and deciding to leap in without being fully sure of my method. It sounds like a reckless process when I write it down like that, but “Eh, I’ll learn by trying” has served me pretty well so far.

What I didn’t realise when I pictured a cake topped with fluffy meringue, piped tips torched golden, is that Swiss meringue is notoriously finicky. Thanks to reactions between proteins that I don’t completely understand and definitely can’t pronounce, Swiss meringue can be both unstable and less fluffy than you’d hope. It can weep. It can collapse. If I’d known this, I might have been nervous earlier than when I had visions of my hand flying off to the left and setting the kitchen on fire.

Thankfully, using this method, the meringue – and I – did not weep or collapse. Instead, it came out glossier than a show horse, and once I’d moved that pesky sleeve out of the way, turned the most glorious golden colour after being kissed by a blowtorch.

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Masala chai scones

It’s a blessing and a curse, being with someone who loves food as much as you do. A curse because of the inevitable weight gain that results from eating a lot of cheese; a blessing…for so many reasons. You know — brie, camembert, weird Wensleydale varieties.

Our story is a long path studded with pubs and restaurants, coffee shops and stores filled with local produce and good beer. It took a while, with months of not talking, then hours-long phonecalls, both of us too idiotic to know the other’s feelings. It featured a lot of chai teas, and these days a lot of scones. We got there in the end.

I’m not sure why I expected making chai scones with our story in mind to be a smoother process.

Two recipes, both alike in dignity, in fine Norwich, where we lay our scene… Read More

Super gooey espresso cheesecake brownies

I think there are two categories of brownie, dessert and snack. Dessert brownies are messy and probably need to be eaten with ice cream and a spoon. Snack brownies are the ones you can wrap in foil and sneak into your handbag for emergency brownie situations – these situations arise almost daily for me. I place myself more on the dessert end of the spectrum, I find a dry, cakey brownie just about the most disappointing thing that could happen to me in a world of baked goods. Read More

Rhubarb and rose tea cakes

The problem with these tea cakes is that it’s really easy to keep eating them. There’s no muffin case getting in your way and all these pretty little tea cakes are just lying around whispering ‘ooh [insert name here] why don’t you put the kettle on and eat us all?!’.

What? You mean your cakes don’t talk to you?

I jest of course but cake definitely finds a way to call to me in some way. I know how to be stronger and resist. If I make sure I get more sleep and eat well in the day then I can turn cake down but if I’m tired and hormonal then it’s every cake for himself.

These are the perfect no frills tea cakes. Whipping up the egg whites separately means the batter is much lighter. Rose and rhubarb is a wonderful flavour combination and one of my favourites. Read More

Lemon shortbread

Well, this is quite a ride, isn’t it? Waking up to political chaos, walking into work while it rains and taking a lunchbreak in the sunshine. I mean, it would be quite a ride, if turmoil and multi-season days hadn’t become the new normal for a British summer over the past few years. I’m excited to see what we’re going to vote on next June.

Another classic reaction to stressful situations in the UK is biscuits, and so today we return to shortbread, via fingers plunged into butter, bits of dough snuck into mouths before it can hit the oven, and the scent of freshly zested lemon.

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