Wheat Free White Chocolate Chip Cookies

There have been a few dramas in the kitchen in the past few weeks – the brand new kitchenaid breaking for starters! Its currently off getting repaired somewhere and by the time it gets back it will actually have been for repairs for longer than I’ve actually owned it! Typical!

In the mean time, I have (begrudgingly) gone back to my recent days of doing everything by hand. Fingers crossed my kitchenaid will be back and fully functioning soon!

Now, down to the baking. I’ve been making more and more wheat free and gluten free recipes recently as my Mum is wheat intolerant and it doesn’t entirely agree with my Sister either. I’ve actually got a few recipes ready to post up, but decided to go with this one today as I’ve just finished munching on the lot.

Wheat Free White Chocolate Chip Cookies

(from www.wheat-free.org)

  • 115g butter
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 75g brown sugar ( I used dark brown, but light brown should be fine too)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 165g rice flour (I used brown rice flour, but white can be used)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 150g white chocolate (in chunks, I used broken up Milkybar buttons)
Makes 15

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. In a bowl, cream together the butter and the two sugars.

2. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract.

3. Sieve in the rice flour, cocoa powder, soda and baking powder and mix together.

4. Fold in the chocolate chunks. Take spoonfuls of the dough and place evenly on your baking paper lined tray. The cookies will spread an inch or so in the oven so leave some space between cookies.

5. Put in the oven for 12-14 mins. Leave to cool for a few minutes before cooling fully on a wire rack (or at least before stuffing in your mouth!).

Just a quick note on my food photography – this is actually using natural light for once, but in the only place in my flat that gets it, that is, the window sill. Not the best studio I’ll be honest!

Millionaire’s Shortbread and a Very Special Christmas Present

Well, well, well – look what I got for Christmas! Wahoooo! I’m well aware I’m showing how cool I am, but I still can’t quite get over how ace it is. Only problem so far is that it means I’m doing waaayyyy more baking thats far too easy to eat. Oops!

So there’s been a distinct lack of posting of late. This is due to many reasons; mainly its being busy with my job that I started back in June and the fact that my new flat has close to zero natural light. Therefore my usual sketchy photography is taken back to near diabolical. My apologies.

While I work on my dire photography skills, I’ll share with you a recipe that I tried out a few months ago that I’d wanted to test out for ages!

Millionaire’s Shortbread

(Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food and the Carnation website)

Shortbread:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 175g butter, softened

Caramel:

  • 150g butter
  • 150g dark brown soft sugar
  • 397g can Condensed Milk

Chocolate:

  • 200g Dark Chocolate
  • 50g White Chocolate/Milk Chocolate (optional)

1. Start by preheating your oven to 180°C and grease and line a 13×9 inch swiss roll sheet pan with baking paper.

2. To make the shortbread, put the flour and sugar in a bowl and mix. Rub in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. Pull the mixture together into a dough, picking up all the dry ingredients. Press this dough into your prepared pan. Prick all over with a fork and place in the oven for around 20 minutes until very lightly browned.

3. Prepare the caramel while the shortbread cools. Heat the dark brown sugar and butter in a pan until the sugar has melted. While stirring continuously, add in the tin of condensed milk and bring to the boil fairly quickly. Cook for a minute or two until the caramel has thickened. Pour over the cooled shortbread and place in the fridge to set.

4. Next, melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water, or melt in the microwave (in short bursts with regular stirring to avoid burning). Pour the chocolate over the caramel and shortbread and spread out evenly. If you want to get a bit more creative you can melt white or milk chocolate and, using a spoon, drizzle the it over the still runny dark chocolate. Use a toothpick to swirl the two chocolates together.

Now you’ll notice that I’ve actually done a base of milk chocolate with dark chocolate swirled in. Thats because I forgot until I just uploaded the picture! You can do any combination of chocolate you like though – I’m currently envisioning white chocolate with dark chocolate swirled in – yep definitely going to have to try that one now!

Also, as you can see in the picture above, I discovered my swiss roll pan was slightly too long and I couldn’t spread out my shortbread any more – no big deal, just some edges that I had to neaten up*.

And there you have it! I always thought Millionaire’s Shortbread was really hard to make, but as you can see – easy peasy!

*When I say neaten up, I obviously mean ‘stuff my face with’**.

**In fact I neatened up so many edges I’m not allowed to make these again…

The BEST Brownie I have ever tasted. Ever.

Yes ok, thats a little bit of a boastful title, but I take no credit for the creation of this beautiful batch of brownies, apart from the fact that I made them… I discovered the recipe originally on http://www.browneyedbaker.com, who in turn got it from ‘Baked: New Frontiers in Baking’ by Renato Poliafito and Matt Lewis.

Now, I’ve been having a bit of an issue in my search for the perfect brownie, in that I just couldn’t get any right. Pretty much every single one I tried, ended up being a bit of a nightmare. I knew what I was looking for; in Swansea theres a place called the One Shoe Cafe, and the brownies they sell there are spectacular. As I no longer live in Swansea I knew I had to find something that could match the greatness of those brownies. And so, when I saw this particular recipe, I knew it had to go on the list to try. I bookmarked it and then forgot about it. For months. Then, last Wednesday I stumbled upon it again and knew I couldn’t forget about it again. As soon as I had obtained the 310g (!) of chocolate needed to go into it, they were being made.

I think its fair to say that these are some pretty sexy brownies – extremely rich, moist, crackly on top, chocolatey squares of yumminess, ideal when eaten warm out of the oven, but just as perfect when cold. Yes, yes, they aren’t on the list of my healthiest baking options, so you may want to have somewhere convenient to send them straight away; I packed them off to work with David and apparently I’m quite popular in his office now. My search for the perfect brownie is finally over!

The Baked Brownie

http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/10/08/the-baked-brownie/

My recipe is pretty faithful to the original, with only one or two changes – the original calls for a teaspoon of instant espresso powder to go in with the melted chocolate, but I didn’t have any so left it out.

You will need:

  • 1¼ cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I had to use some milk chocolate, about a 5th, as I ran out of dark!)
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, and prepare your pan. Grease a 9×13 dish/baking pan and line the bottom with baking paper.

2. Whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder together and put to one side.

3. Put the chocolate and butter into a large bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water until it has melted and combined together. Take off the heat, but keep over the water and add the sugars. Whisk together and leave until room temperature.

4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mix and whisk until combined. Add the other 2 eggs and whisk together. Add the vanilla and stir in. Be careful not to whisk too much at this stage or it may become a bit cakey.

5. Fold in the flour mixture using a spatula, until all but a small amount of flour has been mixed in.

6. Pour the batter into your prepared dish and smooth the top. Place in the oven and bake for around 30 mins. I was really nervous that I would overdo the brownies so from 25 mins I was checking them every few mins, but I found they weren’t done until about 35 mins. The brownies should be ready when the mix no longer wobbles and a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs still sticking to it.

7. Let cool completely and cut into squares and serve. Or if you’re like me, let cool for 10 minutes and then dive right in and eat a large, still very warm piece with a great big dollop of ice cream. Nom.

Jaffa Cake Cupcakes

Yes, this was my idea I had at 3am Saturday morning. And even though it is the weekend and I had all the time in the world, I STILL didn’t make them in time to take photos in natural light. I’m beginning to think I shouldn’t be trusted with a camera! At least we’re on our way into Summer now though, so it can only get lighter from here!

I’ve always been a Jaffa Cake lover and so when the idea for these cakes popped into my head there was no way I wasn’t going to make them. My only problem then was deciding exactly how I would do them, should I do an orange sponge, or a chocolate orange sponge? Should I put orange jelly in them? Should I do orange buttercream or chocolate orange buttercream? Should I melt chocolate on top?

So after much dithering I finally got on with it and was filling our house with the smell of oranges. Lovely.

Jaffa Cake Cupcakes

I didn’t have an actual recipe so started off with the vanilla cupcake recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery and changed it a bit!

You will need:

  • 240g Plain Flour
  • 180g Caster Sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 80g butter or marg
  • 240ml milk (THB says to use whole milk, but I never have that around and semi skimmed has always worked fine!)
  • 2 eggs
  • Zest of a large orange
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

I got about 12 cupcakes out of these ingredients, but you could probably get more if you’re looking for a smaller cupcake.

You will also need:

  • Jaffa cakes (the same number as the amount of cupcakes you have)

And for the icing:

  • 250g Icing Sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 30g Plain Chocolate (I think I used a bit more than this as my scales haven’t arrived yet but I liked it like that. More chocolate is never bad)
  • Zest of half an orange
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

1. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl and mix together until it is all combined and has a sandy texture. Pour in half the milk until just incorporated.

2. Whisk the egg, orange juice and orange zest with the remaining milk and then pour into the flour mixture. Mix this all together until it is smooth. Then you should have something that looks like this: (including the mess by the way, if you manage to keep your kitchen clean whilst baking then I applaud you.)

I’d also like to point out that the rolling pin has no place in this recipe, but David was trying out the cinnamon whirls last night and left it out.

3. This is quite a runny batter so I always pour it into a jug and pour from that straight into the ready paper cases. If you don’t have a jug then just spoon the batter into the cases, but be aware you will probably make a mess. I still made a mess when using a jug, see:

Just a side note – I use muffin paper cases and a muffin pan to make my cupcakes. British cupcake cases tend to be what I like to call fairy cake cases, are much smaller and are normally baked in bun pans. I like my cupcakes BIG.

4. Stick the pan into the oven at 170°C for 20-25 mins. Mine were done in about 23 mins, but be careful if your oven cooks unevenly, I had to give mine as spin as its a lot hotter in the back compared to the front.

5. Let the cupcakes cool completely, icing has no place on a warm cupcake (unless its going straight into your mouth) as it melts and goes funny. Grab your jaffa cakes and remove the orange jelly from the middles. You could painstakingly remove the chocolate from them as well but a little bit more chocolate never hurt anyone so I left it on. Place them on top of your cupcakes and you should have something like this:

Edit (Feb 2012): As I mentioned down in the comments, I did figure out the making of the jelly which you can do if you have a bit more time. Make up some orange jelly, using only half the amount of water stated on the packet. I also replaced some of the water for fresh orange juice. Pour the jelly mixture into a long shallow dish and place in the fridge. When set, using a circular cookie cutter the same size as your cupcakes, cut out orange jelly circles and place them on your cupcake. Be aware, the jelly is really slidy, so I would advise piping your icing on.

6. Next up, buttercream. Soften the butter and slowly add the icing sugar. I found the butter started getting quite stiff so after I had added about half of the sugar I melted the chocolate and added it to the buttercream. At the same time add in the zest and orange juice. Mix it all together and continue adding the icing sugar. Use an electric whisk to get it all light and fluffy.

7. It would be a lot easier to pipe the icing on at this point, but I’ve only got small nozzles at the moment so decided just to smear it on. Not the most attractive and I did have a few issues with the jelly circles moving, but all in all it worked ok. I did debate drizzling some melted plain chocolate over the top but ended up just decorating with orange jelly tots.

I was trying to save one of these until after my dinner, but I succumbed and gave it a try. I can quite firmly say that these were a success. The buttercream is reminiscent of terrys chocolate orange and the jelly circle gives it a nice bit of tangyness. The main improvement I would look at would be possibly putting more orange zest into the sponge, but other than that, this is a lovely, not overly rich, chocolatey orangey cake. Nom.

And so that marks the end of my weekend, and probably the end of baking until the next one!