Category Archives: Chocolate

Brainchild of Halloween

I feel like I’ve been having the greatest kind of days. You too? Nice.

Each day deviated from the original plans. I met one of my closest friends the other day,with the intention of being all big-girl-like and having a fancy dinner followed by drinks at a swanky new joint. Only thing is we made it to the most cliche old-school dinner place in town (the kind that used to be cool when your mom was your age), cheap manicures, flea markets and a much-deserved foot massage. Oh, and those drinks? Swapped it with bubble tea instead.

And yesterday was meant to be productive, only thing is I spent it watching Harry Potter and baking cupcakes. But it was pretty awesome. And today, the beach was on the agenda, but after a late night of dancing, I think it’s going to be more Harry Potter and eating cupcakes. Probably a horror movie thrown in somewhere all in the spirit of Halloween.

My point is, no matter how you plan things, anticipate the scenarios, draw up a five-year route you’re going to take,it’s really rather amazing to go along with a bit of hope that someone’s got a plan you never thought of, but brings you along anyway. I used to get panicky every time I felt the pressure to come up with something, like I needed to conjure a well-thought of road map, with all my back up plans in place. Plus, the hazard that comes with the work I do requires I think of the worst case scenario in every scenario. But the greatest thing comes when you see that it’s okay to not have a plan, or have a plan different from what people expect you to have. I can deal with different.

I can deal with dancing to the music inside my head. I can deal with laughing at things people don’t find that funny. I can deal with eating ice cream for dinner. I can deal with picnics in the living room. And the best thing is, he can deal with me.

To get started, let’s not make pretty cupcakes. Let’s go all cool and CSI-like. Let’s go with brains.

Brain Cupcakes (Chocolate Mud Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream)

Chocolate Mud Cupcakes (adapted from The Crabapple Bakery Cookbook)

3 tbsp instant coffee granules
3/4 cup hot water
250g butter, unsalted
300g dark chocolate, chopped
4 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups GF flour blend
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder

1) Preheat oven to 160°C. Line three 12-hole cupcake tins with cupcake cases.

2) Dissolve coffee in hot water. Put the butter, chocolate and coffee into a metal bowl, set over a bain marie, and stir gently until butter and chocolate are thoroughly melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, oil and buttermilk until combined. In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and cocoa together. Make a well in the centre and pour in the egg mixture and mix until well combined. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until homogenous.

4) Divide evenly between the 28 cupcake cases and bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

To Frost:

1) Fit a piping bag with a 6 or 8 mm round piping tip. Fill bag with the buttercream.

2) To get the design, pipe 2 straight lines down the centre of the cupcakefollowed by a repeated swirl on either sides. For the ‘blood’, the consistency of lightly warmed cherry/raspberry jam works well. Ensure the jam has NO seeds.

Leave a comment

Filed under Chocolate, Cupcakes, Events, Frostings, Inspired, Recipes

{The Fudgier, The Better} Brookies

I must’ve missed out on a lot, especially since I haven’t written in awhile. Have you started taking sugar with your tea? Have the flowers in the garden, blossomed? When did you get your haircut? I like the new streaks in your hair. Glad you went with the maxi dress for that party.

Things have been shifting around here. Some of the dresses I hardly wear have made it into the other wardrobe (the one filled with everyone’s other things); the weather seems to be going bi-polar; relationships have been moving forward (in a great way), I’ve shifted from scaredy cat to daredevil rollercoaster rider. Yeah sure it took a whole lot of convincing together with an insane amount of screaming and cussing but I made it.

So what’s new with you? Some days I figure there’s nothing quite new with me and it’s actually rather comforting. Plus I figure I’m too lazy to think about what’s really ‘new’ since I go through things everyday and it’s not particularly newsworthy. Maybe one day we’ll run out of things to talk about.

When that happens, we can stick to topics about the weather, food and shopping. And you’ll tell me how your day’s been, we’ll spend the afternoon with tea (or coffee, you pick) and something freshly baked. I reckon people always prefer it that way, you know, homemade with love and all that warm fuzzy feelings sort of thing. And if we realllyy end up with nothing but dry words, these Brookies are so fudgey (with a hint of cookie; brookie = brownie + cookie) that it’s almost impossible to talk with them in your mouth.

(non)Conversation sorted. You’re welcome.

Brookies (adapted from Clinton St Bakery)

2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup GF flour blend
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups couverture chocolate (55%)
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp butter

1) Preheat oven to 170°C, fan forced. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment (or Silpat).

2) In a heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate, oil and butter in the microwave using 40 second bursts on med-high heat until melted. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

3) In another bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking powder together.

4) In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla together. Slowly add in the melted chocolate and fold as you go. Fold in the flour mixture until no streaks of white are visible.

5) Place the batter on a shallow tray, such as a pie plate, and chill in the freezer for 6-8 minutes or until it firms up slightly.

6) Drop the batter in tablespoonfuls on the prepared baking tray and bake for 11 minutes or until the tops are crackly andslightly firm to touch. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from baking paper. Cookies will be fudgy and chewy. Milk isn’t mandatory but highly recommended for maximum pleasure.

Leave a comment

Filed under Chocolate, Cookies, Recipes

Walnut & Dark Chocolate Scones

One day I might get sick of Foster the People.

One day I will find the perfect chocolate cake recipe.

One day I’ll definitely have cereal for dinner.

One day I could get to see Orcas in real life.

One day I’m going to go shopping with wild abandonment.

One day I shall make my way to Vienna and Germany.

One day I hope to take my mom on a holiday.

Today though, I shall smell like walnut and dark chocolate scones, have lunch with some of my favourite people, then dinner with more favourite people, talk about everything over brownies, listen to more Foster the People, figure out how to do my hair and then change my mind all over again.

It’s really a lot easier focusing on all the things that keep you happy. Some days, the annoyingly optimistic kid in me reminds me that the best things about a crummy day is that it’ll eventually end. And when it does, you better be prepared to embrace the good stuff. There’s no waiting around for it to come back again; think about it…would you sit around while some random stranger comes and takes away the perfect dress?! Thought so.

Wait, is this me being smarter than usual?

I kid. The truth of the matter is, my dad came home for a surprise visit yesterday. My man bought me a cookbook just because. The cutest little boy loved the cake I baked so much that he gave me two thumbs up; twice, and wouldn’t share it with anyone else. My mom did a massive grocery shop up for me. My sister’s coming to dinner tonight. The other one’s thinking about us all the way in London.

It’s all love here!

Walnut and Dark Chocolate Scones [adapted from Gluten-free Gourmand]

1 3/4 cups GF flour blend
1/4 cup oat/sorghum flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
90g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
80g dark chocolate, chopped
50g walnuts, roughly chopped

1) Preheat oven to 210°C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper or Silpat mat.

2) Mix the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

3) Whisk the cream, vanilla and egg together.

4) Cut the butter into the flour mix, either by hand, food processor or stand mixer until it resembles breadcrumbs.

5) Mix in the liquids until combined. Stir in the chocolate and walnuts.

6) Tip the scone batter onto the prepared tray and shape into a large rectangle, about 1.5 inches tall. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and gently cut into 9 pieces. Bake for a further 4-5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

7 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Chocolate, Nuts, Recipes

[Heart Throb] Dark Cocoa Brownies

A few things have turned dark recently. For one, I look in the mirror now and see the darkest hair I’ve ever had. I haven’t decided if it’s because of my recent quest to complete the entire Underworld series or if it’s me deciding that I would much rather spend more time doing other things as opposed to sitting in a chair at the salon, waiting. [natural hair colour = black hence, no more having to re-colour it]. Don’t you just love it when your hairdresser does exactly as you want and not suggest you have flaming red hair instead.

Then there’s also my new favourite dark cocoa brownie recipe. Well, technically it isn’t new; it’s just a renewed love for it. Challenging my idea that brownies made with melted chocolate are richer (therefore, better, duh!), a damn fine cocoa makes for a wicked brownie. I think I’ve met my soul mate equivalent. Now, only to find the perfect excuse to bake it all the time.

On a completely random note, try saying dark 10 times in a row, stressing on the ‘arrrkk’ part. Bet you’ll start finding it a rather bizarre word.

In other non-related news, I chanced upon a book yesterday ‘Perfect Kids Names’. Don’t give me that look, it was right next to the cookbook section. But my point is…what in the world is a perfect child’s name?! Are we not seeking perfection in pretty much everything already? Now we’re even trying to control what other people name their kids? Will people be telling me when’s the best time to eat chicken soon? Actually, they’ll probably tell me how much carbon eating meat causes and make me feel guilty. And I can repent for my sins by hugging trees.

I love vegetarians, just not the hemp wearing, yoga posing, meat-is-the-spawn-of-the-devil ones.

Brownies are vegetarian. So I guess we can all just get along now?

Dark Cocoa Brownies

2 sticks butter, melted
3/4 cup GF flour blend
1 cup natural cocoa powder (it’s worth seeking out the best; I use Varlhona)
pinch of salt
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp hot water
2 large eggs
2 tbsp heavy cream (or milk)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a 8-inch square baking pan with greaseproof paper.

2) Sift the cocoa powder, flour and salt together. Add in the caster and brown sugar. Toss to mix.

3) Add in the melted butter and stir well.

4) In another bowl, mix the eggs, water, vanilla and cream together. Add this to the cocoa mixture. Stir to combine.

5) Fold in the walnuts. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 27 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out with a few crumbs/is moist.

6) Allow to cool before slicing! :)

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under Bars, Chocolate, Recipes

Plum Tray Bake with Lavender & White Chocolate Custard

Holiday plans work like coffee for me. Gives me that instant high, feeling all excited, imagining a whole new world of endless possibility.

Then there’s work.

Work isn’t bad. Work gives us the financial support for such day dreams of glorious sightseeing, late mornings and waking up in a place that allows you to be a new person; even if it’s just for a week. Work also makes the holidays so much better, it’s a bonus really! It’s like you paid the same amount as the dude next door, but because your job works you that much harder, you feel this much better. Score!

I like to make believe my work week gets lifted to loftier heights when I manage to squeeze in a bake session. Probably makes it even better when I feel utterly inspired and do something like whisk dried lavender flowers into my creme patisserie. And then it gets way groovier when I now have dessert sorted for the movie marathon with my man tomorrow.

What? It’s not Friday yet?!

Plum Tray Bake with Lavender & White Chocolate Custard

250g cream cheese, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup caster sugar
4 eggs
160g unsalted butter, softened
120g brown sugar
1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour (or  sorghum or buckwheat flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
400g plums, re-seeded and sliced about 1cm thick
1/2 cup sliced almonds

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a 18 x 28cm baking pan with greaseproof paper.

2) Add cream cheese, vanilla, caster sugar and 1 egg to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth.

3) Place butter, brown sugar, flour and remaining 3 eggs in a clean bowl and beat for 2-3 minutes until creamy. Spread the flour mixture in the tray followed by half the cream cheese mixture, swirling gently to combine. Top with half the plums. Repeat the process with remaining flour mixture, cream cheese mixture and plums. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the cake and bake until golden. About 50-60 minutes.

4) Remove the plum tray bake from the oven, allow to cool, dust with some icing sugar and serve warm with custard.

Lavender and White Chocolate Custard

1 cup milk
300ml thickened cream
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornflour
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp dried lavender flower buds
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g white chocolate, chopped

1) Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan until almost boiling. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, sugar and egg yolks together int a bowl until lightened. Slowly pour the hot milk/cream into the egg yolk mixture, all the while whisking to ensure the yolks don’t screamble.

2) Return the mixture to the pot and cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly. Add in the vanilla and dried lavender flower buds. When mixture begins to bubble, remove from heat immediately, whisking vigorously. Fold in the white chocolate until it has all melted. Run the custard through a sieve to remove lumps and flower buds. Serve with tray bake.

2 Comments

Filed under Cakes, Chocolate, Custard, Fruit, Inspired, Recipes

[Do it like a Dude] Chocolate Beer Cupcakes, Ganache & Beer Frosting

Sometimes you forget that it’s important to make a cupcake that involves three procedures. You don’t realise that it’s probably what you needed to get your head screwed on right. To know that whatever happens, stirring warm cream and dark chocolate will work better than any other form of therapy.

There are cupcakes, the sort that lay it all out for you; cake and frosting. Then there are cupcakes; the ones that hold dark secrets. Maybe they’re more like people; we all have secrets, stories we haven’t told, things we can’t share, the very ones that make us who we are. They don’t define us, they merely shape the way we operate. Much like us, these cupcakes aren’t about to bare all. It’s a dark chocolate cake, filled with ganache and topped with beer frosting. Yeah, it looks like chocolate and vanilla; but the beer gives the cake such an edge, it’s worth trekking to your local store for a gluten-free beer just so you can experience this all for yourself.

Things have happened since I last wrote, and with all that’s said and done, I’m glad I’m returning with these cupcakes; familiar, yet different.

Am I starting to trail off? Are we even talking about cake anymore?

Probably. Most definitely.

Cake makes my heart sing. I hope it does the same to yours too.

Happy New Year, a little late, but better than never! :)

I used Guinness for my cupcakes since the lucky guy who’s receiving them isn’t gluten intolerant. Please, PLEASE find a gluten-free version if you’re allergic to it. I’ve seen sorghum beers around and I’d like to suggest that beer/root beer may work as well!

Chocolate Beer Cupcakes (Adapted from The Butch Bakery Cookbook, makes 12 standard)

1 1/2 sticks butter (180g)
1/2 cup Valrhona cocoa powder (or any natural cocoa)
3/4 cup dark stout (Guiness or try a cola or root beer; poured and settled before you measure)
2 large eggs, broken
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup + 1 tbsp GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

2) In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat. Stir in the cocoa powder and stout. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

3) Whisk the flours, sugar, salt and baking powder together in a separate bowl.

4) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sour cream together. Add in the chocolate-stout mixer and mix well. Add in the flour mixture and mix until no white streaks remain. Divide evenly between the cupcake liners. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

5) Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from tin to cool completely.

6) To fill, use a small sharp knife to cut a ‘cone’ out of the tops of the cupcakes. Using a melon baller or a small teaspoon, hollow out the hole a little more so it can hold more ganache. Using another teaspoon, fill each cavity with ganache. Top the cupcakes with the cone you just cut out. Press gently so it’s almost flat.

7) Using a palette knife, spread two tablespoons of frosting over the cupcake. Dust with cocoa powder. ENJOY!

Chocolate Ganache

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup 55% chocolate chips

1) Place the chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl.

2) Heat the cream in a microwave-proof bowl in 30 second bursts until it starts to bubble. Pour over the chocolate.

3) Using a spatula, slowly stir until all chocolate has melted and combined happily with the cream. Allow to stand until it’s of a spreadable consistency.

Beer Frosting

1 stick unsalted butter, softened (120g)
2 2/3 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp stout
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and 2 cups of icing sugar together until well combined.

2) Add in the stout, vanilla and salt. Mix well.

3) If icing isn’t stiff enough, add in the icing sugar, 1/3 cup at a time until you get your desired consistency.

1 Comment

Filed under Chocolate, Cupcakes, Frostings, Inspired, Recipes

Toffee Pudding with Ginger and Chocolate

At some point, I’m going to have to admit it. My idea of a great weekend consists of some part of it being slightly fuzzy, in this slightly happy state of yeah.

Yeah.

Am I making sense?

Like when you’re trying to put on your 4-inch heels and realising you’ve been trying to put right to left for the past 5 seconds…and then just having a small laugh to yourself, and going yeah.

Or when lunch consists of fried rice and fresh mango. Yeah.

Left your cell phone on the charger at home, on the bed. Yeah.

Walked out of the store without taking back your credit card and the new necklace you just bought. Yeah.

Store assistant rings your mobile phone 8 times and you can’t answer because you don’t have your phone. Yeah.

The whole house smells like toffee and butter. So does your hair. Yeah.

Gym at 4pm…errrr…yeah?

You get my drift. It’s like when you’re almost unfazed by anything because there’s a slight cloud of something which is almost making everything seem fairly ordinary. Yeah.

Can we just apply this to all the things that try to get us down? The things I stress about on a daily basis when there are 1000 things way more important happening concurrently? I need to prioritise the things that I place importance on and remind myself that some days, like today, it’s really liberating to say “big fat hairy deal”.

I hope you’re having a hazy, good day. I know I am. And I smell like toffee!

Toffee Pudding with Ginger and Chocolate (adapted from Best Desserts by The Australian Women’s Weekly)

3 3/4 cups dates, pitted
3 cups hot water
2 tsp baking soda
2 3/4 cup GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
185g butter, unsalted and softened
6 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup crystalised ginger, chopped finely
3/4 cup dark chocolate, 55% and above, chopped roughly

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a large rectangle tin, roughly 35 x 25cm, with parchment.

2) In a large pot, bring the dates and hot water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add in the baking soda. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before whisking to break up the dates.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until lightened in colour. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix well. Mix the flours and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add the dates and flour mix into the creamed mixture alternately, starting and ending with the flour.

4) Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle the ginger and chocolate all over the top. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Serve warm with butterscotch sauce.

Butterscotch Sauce

250g butter, unsalted
2 cup brown sugar
2 cups heavy cream

1) Place all the ingredients in a large pot and simmer until all the sugar had dissolved and butter has melted. Allow to simmer further for 3-4 minutes. You may stir the mixture to quicken the cooking process. Allow to cool slightly before serving with pudding.

4 Comments

Filed under Cakes, Chocolate, Pudding, Recipes, Sauces