Recipes · Sweet Saturday · Uncategorized

Sweet Saturday; Nougat, Chocolate Chip and Oat Cookies

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I had planned to make the oat biscuits I normally make with La Belle Fille the day before she started school. When I spotted a packet of nougat pieces in the baking aisle of LeClerc it got my mind going and I ended up with this recipe.

I should warn you though, the cooking times are going to be a bit vague, so you’ll have to keep an eye on the cookies as they bake and then decide how long to cook yours for. The reason? The oven in our little home.

I remember my mum having one of those old gas ovens when I was young, you know the type that looks like this……

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In fact I even had one like it in my own house, but as I very seldom cooked I don’t think it was ever a problem. This oven thigh is a mystery. Firstly, unlike any old gas oven I’ve ever come across, the gas jets aren’t at the back. I know the ignition didn’t work and I was waving my lighted flame towards the back of the oven trying to find where on earth I needed to light it. Eventually I found where the gas was released; right at the front in the bottom of the oven. In fact all the gas jets were running down the length either side of the oven base, not along the back.

When La Belle and I had made the cookies and we’d put them in the oven I placed the two baking sheets about 1/3 and 2/3s up respectively. I’d been wary about the time so I checked them half way through and found the ones in the bottom burning underneath, the ones on top – where you’d expect the majority of the cooking to be happening in a none fan assisted oven – were hardly touched.

There then followed a series of experimentation to get the remainder of the cookies right. Different oven positions and flipping the cookies over like a burger halfway through (?) were the two methods I tried. Eventually the final set turned out perfect, even though I only put them in the oven.

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that it’s because I hadn’t let the oven heat up enough before starting to bake them. I guess I’ve got used to fan assisted ovens and their quick heating times. Tant pis!

Anyway, the cookies were delicious. If you want to try them, even after my uninspiring baking description, here’s the recipe.

Ingredients and Method

100g (4oz) porridge oats
50g (2oz) plain flour
50g (2oz) nougat
50g (2oz) chocolate chips
100g (4oz) softened butter
50g (2oz) honey
50g (2oz) golden syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas 3.
2. Measure all the ingredients in a bowl and stir them well.
3. Using a table spoon scoop up some mixture into one spoon and them take another to level the amount and then scoop it onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. This will keep the cookies a similar size (the mixture is a little moist for normal cutters).
4. Bake and check after ten minutes when the oven is at the right temperature. Check that they’re golden on top, then remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Even though they were trouble to make La Belle and I agreed – they’re worth it! In fact after threatening to eat them ourselves in the normal ‘you have to eat your dinner or you won’t get…” threat La Belle Fille rebelled. “You’re not going to eat them. You have to go straight to bed.” It’s quite something to be told off by a stroppy four year old!

Recipes · Sweet Saturday

Sweet Saturday; Peanut Butter Centred Chocolate Cookies

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This is late, but I’m just trying some pre-scheduled posts to see if they work whilst I’ve limmited access to the Internet. We made them before leaving the UK, but I was so busy packing I didn’t post the recipe, but they’re delicious and were eaten very quickly. If you make them I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients and Method

for the cookies:

1 cup of dark brown sugar

8 tablespoons softened butter

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

for the filling:

3/4 cup icing sugar

3/4 cup peanut butter

1. Preheat the oven to 375C/190F/Gas 5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

2. To make the filling, cream together the peanut butter and icing sugar. Refrigerate.

3. To make the dough beat together the brown sugar, butter, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda, and mix until a thick dough forms.

4. Divide the dough into twenty pieces that are roughly equal in size. Remove the chilled filling from the fridge and divide it into 20 equally sized pieces, then roll them into balls and set aside.

5. Place a piece of dough in the palm of your hand and flatten it out. Place a filling ball in the middle of the dough and wrap the dough around it, rolling it into a ball to seal it. Place it on the baking sheet, and flatten it lightly with your hand. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing it out on the cookie sheets.

6. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are set and slightly cracked around the edges.

Scrummy! What’s the equivilant to scrummy in French?

Recipes · Sweet Saturday

Sweet Saturday; Chocolate Mousse

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This is a recipe Le Marie made for me one Mother’s Day. It only has 147 calories per portion (it serves 6), which is why I asked for it at the time (I was on one of my diets). Be careful of who you serve it to though as it does contain raw eggs.

Ingredients and Method

100g good quality plain or milk chocolate, 300g low fat, ready made custard, 3 large egg whites, 159g fresh raspberries, chocolate drops to decorate.

1. Break the chocolate into pieces and heat in a bowl over a pan of water stirring throughout to make sure it’s completely melted. Allow it to cool, but not set, then stir in the custard into it until smooth.
2. Whisk the egg whites in a bowl until stiff but not dry.
4.Stir a third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture with a metal spoon then fold in the rest.
5. Divide he mixture between dessert dishes or tea cups, cover with cling film and chill for at least an hour.
6. Once ready to serve remover the cling film and place a few raspberries on the top with some chocolate drops.

Recipes · Sweet Saturday

Sweet Saturday; Chaps Coconut Birthday Cake

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I’m trying to come up with inspiration about what to bake for Le Marie for his forthcoming birthday. I cam across these pictures of an old coconut birthday  cake which is manly enough for a man. No frills, no fuss – it goes against my normal style. Eventually I came up with this simple design – I hope you like it. For the moustache I just searched Google to come up with a suitable design, printed it out and cut it up to make a template.

You will also need an icing smoother, a polythene rolling pin, two round cookies cutters of two sizes (to make the monicle), a piping bag with a thin nozzle or a store bought designer icing tube and 2 x 20cm cake tins, pizza wheel and ruler.

Ingredients and Method

For the cake

225g unsalted butter, 225g caster sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 4 eggs, 200g self raising flour, 25g cornflour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 50g desiccated coconut soaked in 150ml water.

For the icing

100g desiccated coconut, 150g unsalted butter, 300g icing sugar, 2 tbsp Malibu, 1kg pack of white fondant icing and black food dye.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C Fan. Grease and line the baking tins with parchment.
  2. Boil the water and soak the coconut in it.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar.
  4. Add an one egg and a spoonful of flour to the mixture and mix well before repeating this process for all of the eggs.
  5. Stir in the vanilla essence then add the remainder of the flour, cornflour and baking powder.
  6. Add the coconut and water to the bowl and mix well again.
  7. Divide the mixture evenly between cake pans and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the cake is coming away from the tin and bounces back when you press it firmly.
  8. Leave the cakes to cool in their tins before removing them to cool completely on a rack.
  9. Whilst the cakes are cooling take a little of the coconut at a time and dry fry until lightly toasted. Don’t wait until all of the coconut is brown though as it will quickly burn, so be careful.
  10. Cream the butter and icing sugar in a bowl and once finished mix in the Malibu well.
  11. Once the cake is completely cool take one third of the coconut icing mixture and spread it on one cake then sandwich that two together. Take the remainder of the mixture and cover the top and sides.
  12. Then take the white icing and roll it out on some greaseproof paper to a size that will cover the cake. Once big enough move it to where the cake is still on the greaseproof paper. Place it on the cake icing side down. Gently peel the greaseproof paper away and then smooth the icing over the cake. Where there is too much icing cut a triangular shape to make it fit better and smooth into place. Use the pizza wheel to remove the excess from the base and the icing smoother to finish it.

For the ribbon around the bottom of the cake you can use a normal ribbon if you don’t feel confident. Just measure a ribbon around the base of the cake – enough for a small overlap- and fix it into place with some piped icing. If you’re brave enough though you can give the iced version a try as below.

  1. Take the remainder of the icing and knead in the black colouring until it’s all black.
  2. Take a length of greaseproof paper that will fit the circumference of the cake with about 5 cm to spare. Estimate the depth of the ribbon according to any un-slightly marks that you can’t smooth away and add a further 5cm to this depth then cut the length of the paper with to this depth – it will make the icing’s transference easier later.
  3. Roll the icing out along the length of the greaseproof paper. Do this by be raking off a piece of icing at a time and then rolling length ways before adding a little more on each side and rolling again. Do this until you have a long thin length that’s at least 2 inches thick along it’s length.
  4. Sprinkle the icing with a little icing sugar along it’s length (it can be removed from the black with water later) and then identify a clear line along the bottom without gaps or tears in it. Fold your greaseproof paper along this line in order to creat a clear, bottom line for cutting. You need to fold hard enough for the line to be clear, but not too hard so that it sticks to itself.
  5. Undo the fold and you should have a clear straight crease along the edge of the icing. Use a pizza cutter to cut a line along the edge and remove the excess icing. Alternatively you could use a ruler to make a line, but I find this harder to ensure it’s straight when you need more than 30 cms.
  6. Then repeat the same process above with the appropriate depth.
  7. Run a thin line of piped icing in the middle of where you estimate the iced ribbon will be to adhere it to the cake.
  8. To move the iced ribbon to the cake dust it’s length with some icing sugar and using the greaseproof imagepaper turn the icing over so the smoother side is facing upwards. Dust it with some more icing sugar and, starting from one end with your rolling pin, start to roll the icing ribbon so it wraps around it like a wheel. Obviously make sure that the wrap is light enough for the layers not to stick. Then move it to the cake and unwind it whilst sticking the ribbon to the cake. You may need an extra pair of hands to do this; I didn’t have one, hence my sourcing this picture for a visual! Make sure there’s a little over lap on the end by trimming any excess with a pair of scissors and sticking it together with some more piped icing.
  9. Then cut out the moustache shape and place it onto the remainder, rolled icing. Using the scissors cut round the moustache shape template; you can alternatively use a sharp knife to do this if you prefer. Smooth the edges by running your wet finger along it and stick it to the cake surface with some royal icing.
  10. Use the two round cutters to cut a circle for the monicle – one to remove the centre – and apply that to the cake in the same way.

The cake is lovely and light but I couldn’t help thinking that it would be better with a little chocolate melted into the coconut, butter icing. Bountyliscious!

Recipes · Sweet Saturday

Sweet Saturday; Millionaires Shortbread

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I’m trying to lose weight before the big move; suffice to say making these was a mistake. If you’re not on a regime though baking these would win you all sorts of favours from your family. Just don’t think of the calories.

Ingredients and Method

For the shortbread;

250g plain flour

75g caster sugar

175g softened butter

For the caramel;

100g butter

100g light muscavado sugar

2 x 397g cans condensed milk

For the topping;

200g milk and 100g plain chocolate

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Lightly grease a 33x23cm baking tin.
  2. In a mixing bowl put the flour, sugar and butter and mix together by rubbing between your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Knead this into a dough and press it into the base of the tin. Prick the mixture with a fork lightly all over. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Cool in the tin.
  3. When cooled put the butter, sugar and condensed milk into a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil making sure you stir all the time as it will burn easily. As soon as it boils reduce to a simmer and continue stirring for about five minutes until it’s thickened. Pour over the shortbread and leave to cool.
  4. Once this is cooled start the topping. Break all the chocolate into a bowl and heat inside a saucepan partially filled with water. Once melted poor over the caramel, smooth and leave to cool. Once partially cooled you may want to move to the fridge to set. When cooled completely cut into squares.

These are so good – they’d make wonderful gifts!

Father's Day · Holidays · Recipes · Sweet Saturday

Sweet Saturday; Coconut Ice

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A rather feminine looking Fathers Day gift, but Le Marie loves coconut ice and with two little girls wanting to declare their love it’s gone a bit girly! Père has already had a sneaky taste of the girls ‘secret’ and approves. If you want to make some here’s the recipe.I filled up two large Kindle jars so we can give some to Granddad London too; so you may want to half the ingredients.

Method and Ingredients

2 x 397g can condensed milk
600g desiccated coconut
450g icing sugar
Pink or red food colouring

  1. You will need a 23cm x 20cm x 4cm deep cake tin. Line the tin with baking paper so it covers the base and sides.
  2. Pour the condensed milk into a big bowl. Add the coconut, icing sugar and mix really well.
  3. Spoon half of the mixture into the square cake tin, then flatten it by pressing with damp fingers.
  4. Add a few drops of pink or red food colouring to the mixture left in the bowl and mix evenly. Spoon the coloured mixture over the top of the white layer and use damp fingers to smooth the top.
  5. Loosely cover and put in a cool place to start to set. With a pizza cutter or knife cut squares into the paper (it’s easier to do at this stage before it’s completely dry) and then dry overnight. In the morning us the baking paper to lift the coconut ice from the tin and separate the pieces out. Store in an airtight tin – or a fabulous, preschooler decorated Kilner jar – and store in a cool place for up to 3 weeks.
Recipes · Sweet Saturday

Sweet Saturday; Lemon Meringue Pie

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This is a Mary Berry recipe; the biscuit base makes it truly delicious. It’s very easy to make, the only tricky part being the meringue. As long as you add the sugar a teaspoon at a time to the whipped egg whites and ensure its whisked in well before adding another it works out well.

It’s delicious warm, but I like it cold as the biscuit base is crunchier.

Ingredients and Method

For the base

175g digestive biscuits image

75g butter

For the filling 

397g can condensed milk

3 large eggs yolks

finely grated rind and the juice of 3 lemons

For the topping

3 large egg whites

175g caster sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C/Gas 5.
  2. In a plastic bag crush the biscuits with a rolling pin. Melt the butter in a pan and then add the biscuits crumbs to it. Put the mixture into the base of a 20cm, deep oven proof dish. Press the crumbs down to make them firm and place this in the fridge.
  3. Pour the condensed milk in a bowl with the egg yolks, lemon rind and juice. Beat them together. Spoon this into the dish and smooth it out.
  4. Whisk the eggs white until they’re stiff but not dry. A teaspoon at a time add the sugar, making sugar it’s well whisked in before adding another teaspoon. Spoon the meringue over the lemon filling and bake in the oven for between 15-20 minutes until the meringue is light brown. You could do it browner than mine – I just always worry it will burn!

Scrummy! If you’re going to eat it warm allow extra time for it to cool a little – about 30 minutes should do it.image