Easter is right around the corner. People keep on putting Crème Eggs in everything. This is not ok with me. At their best, Crème Eggs are sickly, at their worst they’re nauseating. I don’t dislike them, I just don’t see what they add to anything. At Easter these days there are so many better options, even from Cadburys. But king of the high street readily available eggs has to be the Galaxy Caramel Eggs. They are just better, hands down. They are better than the Cadbury’s Caramel ones too, but the same can be said for the chocolate bars of both. Sorry Cadbury’s! My dream would be for Lindt to turn their salted caramel bars into an egg though, then I’d probably be found in a coma surrounded by empty foils murmuring “just one more egg, it’ll be ok” over and over again.
I realised earlier that I’ve only done one recipe post in the whole of 2016, and hey, that’s just not on. I’ve talked about adventuring, looked back at what 2015 had to offer when it came to eating, baking and music, but I’ve only done one measly recipe post. I mean it was a pretty great recipe, and you should go and check it out if you haven’t already, but to say I’ve baked a few bits I should have blogged more. In my own defense I had no internet, and then I moved house. So both of those things combined have made for a turbulent and not necessarily productive few weeks. I’ve packed my life into boxes again, unpacked a chunk of it, done some DIY, unpacked more of it, and in amongst that still been baking. The kitchen stuff was of course first priority and not just for me. My new housemate has a taste for cake and I’m pretty sure it’s the main reason he’s let me move into his spare room.
What the hell is it with Blondies and Brownies just makes me unable to photograph them well? I mean, nights are setting in so I cracked my lighting kit out for the first time this “Autumn” which didn’t help as I was only starting to get used to it before so now months without practise haven’t been good. I baked this back when Autumn was first starting up. There’d been a chill in the air for about a week or so, with a few cold days on top of the crisp mornings. I welcomed it. Summer is overrated. To quote Brand New (who I was seeing on that Friday)); The time has come for colds, and overcoats. Which is why I’ve made my first vaguely autumnal recipe of the year; Pecan & Caramel Blondies. (Since this I’ve done a ton more and they’ll be coming up over the next few weeks).
A few weeks ago I took two of my favourite and simplest recipes, and put them together. I took my ultra-indulgent Chocolate Brownies and my Salted Caramel, covered one in the other pre-bake, and made Salted Caramel Brownies. Damn, they are good. Really good. I think I’ve reached peak brownie. They all got eaten before a single photo could even be taken. So I had to re-bake them (such a shame, I know). The trick is to layer half of the brownie mix, then add some caramel, top with the rest of the brownie mix and then enthusiastically drizzle more caramel on top before you stick it in the oven.
I’ve also (finally) got myself a new lighting set up. It’s a bit late, as the days are actually getting longer, but it now means I can take photos on an evening without having to rely on pesky yellow light/half light. It’s been particularly awkward since moving to London. I used to take photos on my lunch break in Leeds, but just can’t do that here, what with not being able to come home at lunch anymore.
Also, I’m looking for a London based Gin buddy. Applications accepted in the comments below. Must be keen on adventures, museums, gin and cake.
- Jar Salted Caramel (Store bought or home made)
- 250g unsalted butter
- 250g best dark chocolate
- 115g plain flour
- 53g cocoa powder
- 4 large eggs
- 370g golden caster sugar
- Melt together the butter and dark chocolate, by placing a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water. Making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir the mixture together as it starts to melt, over a low heat. (You can do this stage in the microwave, but I don’t own one). Set the mixture aside to cool to room temperature.
- While it is cooling, preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan assisted) and grease/line your tin.
- Over a medium sized bowl, sieve the flour and cocoa powder in together.
- Roughly chop the white and milk chocolate into chips and set aside.
- Break the eggs and caster sugar into the bowl of your electric mixer and whisk on high speed until it looks thick and creamy. This can take anywhere between 3 and 8 minutes. When you take out the paddle, as it dribbles onto the surface and leaves a trail for a second or two then it’s perfect.
- Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Slowly folding it until it’s completely incorporated. You want them mixed without knocking out all the air you just added in to the mixture with the whisking.
- Sift the flour mix into the egg/chocolate mix and mix until it’s completely combined. Again, being careful not to knock the air out. Followed by the chocolate chips.
- Pour half the mixture into the prepared tin. Dribble a layer of Salted Caramel (I warm it to make it easier) over the bottom layer. Pour over the rest of the brownie mixture and spread it out gently. Dribble more Salted Caramel on top. How much is up to you.
- Place in the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 25 minutes (20 if using the smaller pan). You’ll be able to see if it is done by wobbling the tray slightly. If the middle wobbles it needs a little longer, so put it back in for another 5 minutes.
- Once cooked, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack, still in the tin and leave to cool completely before removing and dividing in to squares.
First of all, I’m sorry. I’ve been really bad with baking updates the last couple of weeks. While I hope you all enjoyed my Scotland updates (you can see part 1, part 2 and part 3 here), I understand that they aren’t what you likely come to this blog for. I am warning you now that there will likely be one from my Chicago trip next week as well… featuring a lot of Pizza.
Anyway, before I get sidetracked rambling about pizza and my travels I thought it was time to do something a bit different. A week or so ago one of my closest friends put out a Facebook status declaring she wasn’t doing too good and asking someone to send her cake. So I am. She is currently doing a Paleo diet, which is something that I’m not even going to begin to pretend I’m an expert on. So she sent me across a few ideas she’d found while she herself had been doing Paleo cooking research.
I opted for Sweet Potato & Ginger Brownies. A lot of the Paleo recipes I came across asked for ingredients which I likely wouldn’t use again, unless I was to regularly do Paleo things. This meant that I wanted to be careful with what I was baking and not shell out for a heap of fancy ingredients. Being my first attempt at this sort of thing I also wanted to keep it simple. These Sweet Potato Paleo Brownies were just right. With the only slightly awkward (read: Expensive) thing I needed to buy being Coconut Flour. I opted for this recipe here.
Plenty of the Paleo recipes call for sweet potato or avocado, often both. They help replace a lot of the flour, butter and chocolate, the avocado being naturally oily and also creamy. The sweet potato being good to bake and help hold things together. A few other recipes that use these sorts of things can be found here.
Oh yeah and the big news? I’m moving to London at the start of October.
- 1 Large Sweet Potato (approx. 2 cups once mashed)
- 3 Eggs
- 57g Butter
- 60ml Honey
- 3 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
- 3 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 75g Dark Chocolate, chopped roughly.
- Peel and dice the sweet potato. Place in a pan of boiling water and boil until tender.
- Mash the potatoes until smooth.
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C(160 °C fan assisted) prepare and line a 9x13 inch brownie tin.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the potato, butter, honey and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix well, then stir in the chocolate.
- Pour into the prepared tin and spread into the corners.
- Place in the middle of the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes (a tooth pick inserted into the middle should come out clean).
- Remove from the oven and place on a rack, only removing from the pan once cooled.