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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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. Continue reading

Pecan paprenjaci // The Dinner Bell

Pecan paprenjaci

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. Continue reading

Cheddar beer bread

Aren’t they the three best words to see together? I mean, of course there’s “I love you” and “Dinner is ready!” but…cheddar beer bread.

It’s been a bit of a month for bread around here, as I spend my weekends scouting out local bakeries and other produce and, well, it’d be rude not to take some home for the week, right?

But I’ll leave the complicated styles to the pros. This bread – the type that doesn’t require rising time or kneading – takes about an hour from start to finish, so it’s a great easy accompaniment to a hearty autumn stew or chilli. (The ease is a relief when you’ve spent the first half of your evening chopping, stirring, and lifting absurdly heavy pans in an effort to batch-cook something excellent.)

I feel like the base recipe also has plenty of scope for adaptions – herbs? Heavier beers and cocoa? More cheeses?

But we’ll start with this. Cheddar beer bread, I love you (dinner is ready!).

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