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Lemon Meringue Blondies

Lemon Meringue Blondies

Lemon Meringue Blondies

I know, I know; I’ve been using lemon in my bakes a lot recently. But it’s so gloriously hot and they lend such sunshine bright flavour that I just can’t help myself. So here’s my latest lemony lip-smacker – a spongy, gooey, chewy delight that isn’t too heavy in this heat.

Lemon Meringue Blondies

Ingredients:

  • 200g butter (plus a little for greasing)
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 lemons
  • 40g ready made meringue (I used shop bought mini meringues)
  • 3 tbsp lemon curd

Heat the oven to 170C and butter and line a tin (approx 25x22cm) with greaseproof paper. Gently melt the butter in medium saucepan (you don’t want it to brown, just to become liquid). Turn off the heat and add 100g of the white chocolate and stir until melted.

In a large bowl whisk together the sugars and eggs until light and fluffy. Add the flour and the melted butter/chocolate and fold in until well combined. Add the vanilla and finely grated zest and juice of the lemons and stir through. Chop the remaining 100g white chocolate into chunks, crumble the meringue and scatter both over the batter, giving a final stir before tipping the whole mixture into the prepared tin. Dollop the lemon curd on top in a few places then ripple through the uncooked blondie with a skewer or the end of a teaspoon.

I baked this for 50 minutes, but I covered it with foil after half an hour to stop it from browning too far. The top should crack, like a brownie does, and it should feel firm but with a little give as it should be very moist inside – a skewer inserted should come out mostly clean with just a little goo. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, uncovered, before cutting into portions to serve.

Strawberry Milkshake Blondies

Strawberry Milkshake Blondies

Strawberry Milkshake Blondies with White Chocolate Chunks

I’ve been wanting to bake something strawberry milkshake flavour for ages. Today, I did it. I had half a punnet of strawberries in the fridge, some milkshake powder and white chocolate in the cupboard so I settled on blondies. Today the sun is shining (for once) and I’m going to take these little bites of summer to a barbeque.

Strawberry Milkshake Blondies

Ingredients:

  • 200g strawberries chopped into chunks
  • 200g butter (plus a little for greasing)
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 3 tbsp strawberry milkshake powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 150g caster sugar (plus 1 tbsp for the strawberries)
  • 200g plain flour

Heat the oven to 170C and butter and line a tin (approx 25x22cm) with greaseproof paper. Warm the strawberry chunks and tablespoon of sugar in a saucepan until the sugar is just melted and the strawberries are beginning to release their juices. Remove from the heat and set to one side.

Melt the butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the milkshake powder and 100g of the white chocolate and stir until everything is melted and combined (it might separate a bit on standing but don’t worry). Turn off the heat.

In a large bowl whisk together the sugars and eggs until light and fluffy. Using a spatula, stir in the flour and melted butter/chocolate mixture until everything is well combined. Pour into the prepared tin. Chop the remaining chocolate into chunks and scatter over the surface of the brownie batter. Follow by scattering the strawberry chunks, reserving as much of the juice as possible. Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes – they’re done when brown on top but still a little gooey if you insert a skewer. Remove from the oven and drizzle over the remaining few spoons of strawberry juice. Leave to cool in the tin before turning out and chopping into squares.

Brilliant Mini Creme Egg Brownies

Choc full of chocolate and Cadbury's mini Crème Eggs, my brilliant brownies.

Choc full of chocolate and Cadbury’s mini Crème Eggs, my brilliant brownies.

I know it’s not that long ago I posted a brownie recipe, but these are an awesome Easter treat so with a week to go until the day when it’s socially acceptable to eat chocolate for breakfast, I thought I’d share. You could easily leave out the mini Creme Eggs when they disappear from our shelves for another year – the brownie itself is spectacular, with most people I’ve given them to agreeing they’re the best they’ve tried.

Brilliant Mini Creme Egg Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 200g butter
  • 200g dark chocolate, broken or chopped into chunks
  • half tsp salt (UNLESS you’re using salted butter, in which case none at all)
  • 4 eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 150g soft brown sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 50g cocoa, sifted
  • half tsp baking powder
  • 200g Cadbury’s mini Creme Eggs

Heat the oven to 180C and line a tin approx 25x20cm with tin foil or baking paper. In a saucepan over a low heat, melt the butter until just liquid (you’re not aiming to colour the butter at all. Remove from the heat and stir through the chocolate until melted and combined with the butter.

In a large bowl.  or bowl of your stand mixer if you have one, whisk together the eggs and sugars until increased in volume and a sort of creamy brown colour. Fold in the flour and sugar, making sure you don’t leave any pockets of dry ingredients unmixed. Then pour and scrape in the chocolate and butter mixture and fold this through until you’ve achieved an even colour. Pour into your prepared tin, then stud with the mini Creme Eggs, pushing them in just a little. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

MORE CHOCOLATE! Make your brownies even more indulgent with the addition of Cadbury's mini Crème Eggs!

MORE CHOCOLATE! Make your brownies even more indulgent with the addition of Cadbury’s mini Crème Eggs!

The brownie will form a crust that will probably begin to crack, but you can’t test if they’re done the way you do with a cake as the whole point of a good brownie is to be moist, sticky and sodden inside, so don’t be tempted to bake them longer. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into pieces. A small piece of this rich, gooey brownie should be enough to keep any chocoholic in a state of bliss!

Rich and gooey in the middle, studded with sweet surprises of Cadbury mini Crème Eggs

Rich and gooey in the middle, studded with sweet surprises of Cadbury mini Crème Eggs

For more brownie recipes click here. Or change things up a little and check out my blondies.

 

Rich Raspberry and White Chocolate Brownies

Rich Raspberry and White Chocolate Brownies

Brownies, filled with love (well, raspberries and chocolate)!

I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day, but I’m not really traditionally romantic. I don’t like flowers all that much, I don’t particularly like having stuff bought for me and the idea of being ‘spoiled’ is something I can’t get my head round – after all, something that’s spoiled is a bad thing, right? The most ‘romantic’ things that have ever been done for me, gestures filled with emotion at a time when I really needed to feel loved and cherished in some way, have all been done for me by friends. I don’t think you should need a special day to show somebody that you love them, or if you do want to show somebody how much they mean to you I don’t think that person needs to be a romantic partner. I mostly show people how much they mean to me with food – cooking their favourite meal, baking something using their favourite ingredient or making dinners they can chuck in their freezer  to use when their time is needed for something more important than cooking. If you did want to show somebody how much you care, I think these brownies are a pretty good place to start.

Rich Raspberry and White Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients:

  • 250g butter
  • 200g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 160g soft brown sugar
  • 65g plain flour
  • 80g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 150g raspberries
  • 100g white chocolate, chopped into chunks

Heat your oven to 180C and line a tin (approx 25x20cm) with foil (leave it hanging out of the tin a bit as you’ll be able to use it to lift the brownie out once cooled). In a medium sized saucepan, gently melt the butter until liquid but not browned. Turn off the heat and add the chopped dark chocolate, stirring until melted. Add the sugars and continue to stir until well combined. Next add the flour, sifted cocoa and baking powder and mix well so that no patches of dry ingredients remain. Crack the eggs into a mug or bowl and lightly beat them before pouring into the chocolate mix and giving the whole thing a big stir so it’s all well combined and glossy.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared tin and spread it out evenly so it’s right in the corners. Scatter the raspberries over the surface, followed by the white chocolate chunks. Use a teaspoon to sort of nudge the raspberries and chocolate into the brownie mix so that they’re nestled and smothered into the raw brownie mix. I suppose you could just add the fruit and chocolate to the brownie mix before you pour it into the tin, but by doing it this way you should avoid everything just sinking to the bottom as it cooks. Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes – the brownies are done when the top is set and firm but a skewer inserted still has a little gunge clinging to it – brownies should always have a bit of goo to them even when cooled, and the abundance of fruit in these helps them stay incredibly moist. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin, before lifting out and cutting into squares. OR you could serve them, still a little warm, with some pouring cream or ice cream as a lush dessert to end a special meal.

For a very different kind of brownie recipe click here. Or perhaps white chocolate in my blondies might tickle your fancy.

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade; light, luscious, sweet and sharp

My best friend loves lemon, particularly lemon curd. For our pre-Christmas get-together I decided to make a dessert with some lemon curd; something a bit sharp and zingy to liven up the taste buds when all around is super-stodgy, rich and spicy. I decided on roulade as, though it’s filled with cream, the sweet meringue is light and fluffy inside and the perfect foil to the tart lemon and raspberries. I was incredibly pleased with how this turned out – it’s easily as good as any luxury dessert you’d get at a supermarket – it’d be a brilliant centrepiece pud for a New Year’s celebration.

If you wanted, you could use ready made lemon curd, but make sure it’s the best quality you can afford, made with real lemons, eggs and butter and not full of additives and setting agents. However, making the curd is actually quite simple, gives you a great sense of satisfaction, and there’s plenty left over for toast (or give it as a gift in a pretty jar).

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

For the lemon curd: (I followed a Nigel Slater recipe)

  • 4 lemons, preferably unwaxed
  • 200g sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 3 eggs and 1 yolk (save the spare white for your meringue)

In a heat proof bowl, over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) combine the finely grated zest and juice of the lemons with the sugar and butter, stirring until everything has melted.

Give the eggs and extra yolk a little whisk to mix, then add to the lemon mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon or whisk frequently until the mixture thickens. It’ll feel heavier and be the consistency of custard. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for several hours or overnight (if you’re planning on giving some as gifts then put it in sterilised jam jars at this stage, whilst it’s still hot –  you’ll get a couple of small jars worth with enough left over to make the roulade)

For the meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 1 tsp cider/white wine vinegar
  • a little icing sugar for dusting

Heat the oven to 150C and grease and line a Swiss roll tin or high sided baking sheet (approx 23 x 33cm) with greaseproof paper. Now, to make your meringue it’s really important your bowl is scrupulously clean – if possible use a glass or metal bowl and wipe round the inside with the cut side of half a lemon or a paper towel with a little vinegar on; this should get rid of any grease. Put your egg whites in the bowl and whisk until you get to the stiff peaks stage. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking all the while. Sprinkle over the corn flour and vinegar and give one last short whisk until everything is combined and glossy. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared tin, smoothing into the corners with a spatula and trying to get a flat, even surface. Bake for 30–35 minutes until the surface of the meringue is just firm. Remove from the oven, let it cool for about ten minutes. Lay a sheet of greaseproof on a board and dust with icing sugar. Once the meringue has cooled a little turn it out onto the board and carefully remove the greaseproof from the base and leave to cool while you assemble the filling.

For the filling:

  • Approx 200ml lemon curd
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
  • 150g raspberries

In a large bowl, whip the cream with the icing sugar until thick – it should cling to the whisk but drop off easily if the whisk is tapped on the side of the bowl. It’s easy to over-whisk cream if you do it with an electric whisk or stand mixer so keep a close eye on it if you use a machine. It doesn’t take long to do with a balloon whisk and a few minutes whisking shouldn’t be too much work for most people. Once it’s the desired consistency, add six tablespoons of the lemon curd and mix well.

Use a spatula to smooth the cream mixture over the cooled meringue, trying to make an even layer and leaving a border of about 1 cm around the edge. Slather with the remaining lemon curd and then scatter with the raspberries. Now for the roll!

Before the big roll! Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

Before the big roll! Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

With the shortest end of the meringue facing you, roll it away, folding over and using the greaseproof paper to try and keep the roll compact. Once it’s fully rolled, place on a serving plate with the fold underneath. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving as this will help it firm up before you slice into it. It looks beautiful when cut, with swirls of snowy white interspersed with sunny yellow curd and ruby red raspberries. Luscious!

If you love a roulade, take a look at another recipe here, or if lemon meringue pushes all the right buttons how about some blondies or cupcakes?