Tag Archives: chocolate

Banana, chocolate and cardamom cakes

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One of the (several) cookbooks I received for my birthday/Christmas was something I never would have chosen for myself – Fruit by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Despite my hesitations (not even sure why) we have made at least 3 recipes from the book already, with great results. Most are simple (we aren’t talking Ottolenghi here) but with out-of-the-ordinary flavour ideas.

We had more bananas turning very ripe in the fruit bowl, and we thought we’d try something new. As usual, I changed a few ingredients to suit what we had at home, and loved the results.

[Need some more recipes for ripe bananas? Try these naturally sweetened treats – loaf cake and baby friendly snack bars!]

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The original recipe (can’t find online, but similar to this one) makes a large loaf, but we wanted some smaller cakes that could be taken to work or shared with C – as you can see, he was delighted :)

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Banana, cardamom & chocolate muffins
makes approximately 18 small cakes

Ingredients:

100ml coconut oil, melted to liquid (or sunflower oil)
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
150g light brown sugar
2 medium eggs
3 medium bananas, mashed
75g plain yoghurt
200g wholemeal flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
100g dark chocolate, chopped
Method:

Preheat oven to 180degC

In a large bowl or mixer, beat the coconut oil and sugar, then add the eggs.

In a separate bowl, combine the mashed bananas, yoghurt and cardamom. Add this to the coconut/sugar/egg bowl and thoroughly combine.

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl and gently stir to combine.
Stir through the chopped chocolate.

Fill muffin/cupcake cases 2/3 of the way and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, until cakes are springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Bake
xoxo

 

Spiced coffee and chocolate wholewheat shortbread

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When I found out about the Food Blogger Cookie Swap, I thought it was one of the best ideas I’d ever heard: bake cookies, send them to 3 food bloggers, receive 3 dozen cookies in return.

That’s my kind of fun :)

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What’s even better about it? It’s not just another reason for food bloggers to bake, the purpose is to raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. We’ve managed to raise over $13,000 so far this year thanks to the expert organisation from Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen.

The cookies I made (recipe below) combined some of my favourite things in the world – coffee, chocolate and festive spices.

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Baking these cookies during December is the perfect way to prepare for the Christmas season, as is gifting them to people you don’t know.

I actually knew of two of the three people I sent cookies to – Kate (The Little Loaf) and Iris (Whatever Gets You Through The Day) are two of my favourite UK bloggers (which made me extra nervous!).

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Once my cookies had been carefully packaged and posted, I had the excitement of waiting for my cookie gifts. Poor Shake had to stare at the packages each day until I returned home from work to open them (not convinced I could have waited if I had been in his shoes…).

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Our first treats were addictive heart-shaped cinnamon sandwich cookies (with cinnamon icing inside!) from Lucy. Thank goodness we love cinnamon in this house, but honestly they were so delicious and perfect with a cup of tea.

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The following day we received two deliveries – sour cherry and almond shortbreads from Jennie and coconut oatmeal cookies from Jen. Both were incredible and we were thrilled to have a real variety of flavours and textures. You should really check out their blogs for the recipe details, I recommend all of them wholeheartedly!

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My recipients sent some lovely feedback about the cookies, and I’ve been itching to share them with you, but the rule was we all post our recipes today! So, without further ado here you go:

Spiced coffee and chocolate wholewheat shortbread
makes approximately 36 small shortbreads

Ingredients

220g unsalted butter – at room temperature
100g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or seeds of 1/3 vanilla pod
1 teaspoon four spice (mine was from France and included cloves, nutmeg, black pepper (!) and cinnamon)
2 teaspoons finely ground fresh coffee (you could substitute 2 tbsp instant espresso, but it won’t be quite the same)
220g plain flour – I used wholewheat, because I prefer it
100g dark chocolate chips/chunks

Don’t preheat the oven just yet – the dough needs to chill before baking.

In a mixer, beat the butter and sugar for at least a few minutes, until thoroughly combined.

Add the vanilla, spices and coffee and mix again for a further minute or two so that the mixture is evenly speckled with coffee and spices.

Now add the flour and mix slowly, only until it has disappeared into the dough but has formed a ball – you don’t want to overwork it.

Lastly, stir through the chocolate chunks.

Lay a large piece of clingfilm on a flat surface and turn out the dough. Top the dough with another large sheet of clingfilm and start working with the rolling pin.

I warn you, the dough is sticky (but delicious).

Roll out the dough until it is approximately 1/4inch thick and relatively rectangular. Transfer to large dish or tray and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Once refrigerated, preheat the oven to 170degC.

Use a sharp knife to cut out your shortbreads. Mine were approximately 2inch by 1inch rectangles. I’m not especially good at being consistent, so some were larger than others ;)

Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 8 – 12 minutes, depending on size and shape made. You want slight colour around the edges.

Don’t panic if they are still very soft, the shortbread hardens as it cools.

Enjoy :)

Bake
xoxo

 

Favourite posts this week

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:: Like the idea of this photo series

:: I love these cards, and the name of the website is amazing :)

:: What does your kitchen say about you? (Mine would probably say “clean me”)

:: We found British raspberries at the market today, this Baked Alaska might be just the thing for them

:: Great interview with Ottolenghi - who knew he was a Pilates instructor!?

:: The ultimate club sandwich, indeed.

:: Things on dogs

:: I LOVE prunes, and it looks like they are making a comeback

:: This chocolate cake is my idea of heaven

:: Salads in jars – what a cool idea!

Happy Weekend!

Bake

xoxo

Favourite posts this week

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:: I don’t work from home, but was fascinated by and so impressed with the honesty in this post about help. Food for thought for the future.

:: This salad looks delicious, and a great use of fig jam!

:: Even though we are moving away, we really want our boy to be able to speak French. This post about learning a second language is something we’ll refer to time and time again, I’m sure.

:: Broccoli and pasta soup – simple ingredients, but looks delicious. My kind of cooking!

:: Beautiful microscopic photographs of food

:: Bacon fried rice – oh yeah!

:: It’s baby’s first birthday (sob!) in two weeks and I still don’t know what to do for a cake. Maybe these brownie cakes with chocolate coconut frosting will be a hit?

Ok, that’s it for now, I have packing to finish and homework to do!

Bake

xoxo

Favourite posts this week

:: Salted caramel flapjacks and Vinegar cake recipes from The Guardian. I like the sound of a wine and date cake, having also seen a red wine fig cake this week. I shall let you know if/when I give it a go.

:: These cacao nib pancakes sound delicious, especially with coffee syrup. Hello Saturday morning treat :)

:: I hope in time I work out how I want to spend my days, post baby-raising. This post about being a “mompreneur” made me feel more positive!

:: A lesson in juicing. We try not to have too many kitchen gadgets, but maybe a juicer…?

:: Love the photos of this beautiful beetroot soup. I’m sure it tastes delicious too.

:: I’ve only made polenta once and I can’t say we were amazed by it. Joy’s recipe could change our opinion.

:: How to make chocolate bars. So simple, so pretty.

:: Less than a month until Valentine’s Day! Feeling crafty? These magnets are adorable, make them any time of year :)

:: Two lovely mom bloggers, one appropriate (to me) quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy. Just enjoy every moment and don’t compare it to what you expected or what it seems like others experiences are.” Ah, so true right now.

Check out the rest of the interview here.

:: Really enjoying this series on Parents Who Cook, especially when one of my favourite bloggers is featured. Some great advice in there.

:: An alternative to my lemon shortbread, how about something raw with Vanilla and Walnut?

:: Coconut hot chocolate? Perfect for these snowy days and nights.

:: So looking forward to our little guy being old enough to play games with. Shake and I play cards together a lot, but Soulemama has inspired me to look out for board games for my boys.

:: Yet another recipe that makes me want to make my own yoghurt! mustmustmust do it someday soon, especially given the amount our boy is eating these days :)

Favourite posts this week

I’m sorry I missed the post last week. After some stormy days we lost normal internet for almost a week and Shake’s backup satellite internet for work was almost all used up by Skype (oops!) and what was left was too slow for me to use properly…

:: Guardian/OFM 20 best cookbooks of 2012. Do you agree?

:: What the British say and what they really mean! Very unlike the French who love to tell you how it is…

:: Mulled Wine – YES! Another reason I love this time of year.

:: Go Sainsburys! Great news about sustainable fish, which we are struggling to find over here…

:: We aren’t buying baby anything for Christmas, but will keep this post on ethical toys in mind in case anyone else wants to, and for next year too!

:: Ottolenghi’s spice cookies from Luisa look amazing!

:: Winter food in pictures. Cute.

:: Mmm another post from Mr Lebovitz this week. Looks delicious.

:: Caramelized beetroot tarte tartin – on my “to make soon” list.

:: I also have an avocado problem. This recipe won’t help, but will undoubtedly be yummy.

:: This video made us both chuckle – I am sure if I had Instagram I’d be doing all of this too…I’m friggin’ Michelangelo ;)

Right, have to dash, baby eating cat food (that’s ok right?), homework to be done, presents to be finished, rooms to be tidied, dinner to be prepped, siblings to be called….

Bake

xoxo

 

 

 

Favourite posts this week

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:: My sister-in-law makes the best cinnamon rolls. I want to make her these ones.

:: Luisa just had a baby, released a book and went on a book tour. She still has time to make awesome cookies. I don’t know how she does it!

:: I love to hear how people manage work/life/children etc. “Daddy day” sounds great to me!

:: We don’t have a microwave, but if we did we would probably eat chocolate fondants every day (recipe in french).

:: What an incredible place for kids to spend time – love, love love.

:: The photos! The meringues! The lifestyle! I’m not saying I wish I could be someone else..but if I could… ;)

:: A Superhealth Community – so many important points here.

:: Three very good things indeed – but I’d go for the pistachio honey.

:: Please, please, please someone come and make me these scones. Thanks!

:: Geometric Food Art – how creative!

:: Fascinating to read what these foodies eat during the day.

:: For those of you in the UK with Sky, have you seen Girls? We watched the whole series in 2 days – watch it!!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend

Bake

xoxo

 

Macarons part deux

Coffee and chocolate macarons

I don’t know if you follow us on twitter, but if you do you’ll know that I managed to sneak in the second attempt of macaron making today.

Mixing on baby’s floor a.k.a multitasking

Those of you with babies will know that this is a minor miracle, especially when baby is napping less and moving more!

Nevertheless, I had my points for improvement from last time and was therefore focused and efficient.

Coffee macaron mix

I decided that whilst I’m still learning, I will reduce my quantities to just one egg white. I can’t stand waste! I didn’t weigh it though, so next time I will.

I made a few more folds when mixing than last time (although it was technically fewer as I had a larger volume then…but you know what I mean!). I think I should do more folds still next time as the mix was still a little pointy.

Time to rest

I also let the macarons rest for the full hour before baking, although I found some advice today saying 20-40 minutes is plenty…hmmm. Please ignore the fact that I didn’t fill my circles – laziness? lack of time? I just wanted to make more!

Some cracks did form, but only on half of the macarons – the ones at the back of the oven. Next time I might turn them around halfway through cooking.

Nicer bottom eh? This time only one stuck to the baking paper! I baked them for 15 minutes and then left them in the oven for another 2 minutes with the oven switched off.

Macaron “feet” starting to form

So the infamous macaron feet did start to form, which is much better than last time! Maybe with a little more folding the feet will improve. I’ll also reduce the resting time.

I filled the macarons with a chocolate buttercream, too generously according to just one person ;)

They were gone within an hour!

Bake

xoxo

Alternative Chocolate Cake

Sometimes I need chocolate, but I don’t need as much comfort as this cake provides.

Sometimes I don’t have any butter. This is rare, but sadly true.

Sometimes I feel like using different flours, just because they make me feel a little less naughty.

So when these powers are combined, I make this Olive oil, Chocolate and Rosemary cake.

The recipe is from one of my favourite books – Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. It’s honestly worth buying the book for the chocolate chip cookie recipe alone – they are the best I have ever tasted. Hmm. I need to buy some chocolate chips this week…

I really hope you make this cake soon. You won’t regret it. The flavour is so interesting (in a good way!) with the nutty spelt flour, hint of herb and the comfort of the good, dark chocolate.

Chocolate, Olive Oil & Rosemary cake

olive oil for the pan
3/4 cup spelt flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 eggs
1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), chopped/shaved into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 180degreesC. Rub a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with olive oil.

Sift the flours and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the sugar and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the olive oil, milk and rosemary. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, gently mixing just until combined. Stir in the chocolate.

Pour the batter into the pan, spreading it evenly and smoothing the top.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is domed, golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

The cake is extra delicious when served still warm.

Bake

xoxo

 

Bean Chilli with Chocolate and Walnuts

Last week I mentioned to you that I wanted to make this chilli, but to my surprise (and delight!) Shake made it for us a couple of days ago.

It was honestly delicious and I look forward to making it myself another time.

We left out the coffee, as September is water only for us (counting down the days to October, oh dear), but next time we will probably add it.

Thanks GKS for the recipe – think it will be a favourite of ours for Autumn/Winter.

Now my dears, go make this and snuggle up with the one you love.

Bake

xoxo

p.s. We have added a page to share with you the blogs we love. If there are any you like that we don’t know about, do let us know! xoxo