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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.

Gluten-Free Bacon and Peanut Butter Brownies

Gluten-Free Bacon and Peanut Butter Brownies

Totally over-the-top gluten-free bacon and peanut butter brownies

My friend Nicole LOVES bacon. She’s the Pork Princess. So when it came to baking some kind of birthday treat for her I really wanted to include bacon in the recipe; and if you’re going to be bold with your flavours you may as well go all out! That’s how I settled on these bacon and peanut butter brownies. The salty, savoury bacon and peanut butter make for a pretty intense brownie, but birthdays should be about indulgence. The bacon doesn’t really make the brownies taste meaty, you just get little chewy, salty-sweet nuggets in every few bites. I made these brownies gluten-free for Nicole, but if you’re not concerned about avoiding gluten you could make them with normal plain flour.

Gluten-Free Bacon and Peanut Butter Brownies

For the brownies:

  • About 100g streaky bacon (I used 5 rashers Oscar Meyer American bacon)
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 175g butter
  • 125g dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125g plain gluten-free flour (I used rice flour)
  • 25g cocoa powder

Heat the oven to 180C and grease and line an 8″ square baking tin. Cut the bacon rashers into small pieces (easiest with scissors) and fry off until starting to crisp up. Add the golden syrup and cook for another minute or so until the bacon fat and syrup bubble up into a sticky, delicious looking liquid. Take off the heat and tip the bacon pieces onto a plate to cool, trying to keep them apart so they don’t stick together.

In a large saucepan gently melt the butter on a low heat, then break the chocolate into pieces and add to the pan, stirring until melted. Add the vanilla extract and remove from the heat. Add the sugar and stir vigorously until well combined and there are no small lumps of sugar. Break the eggs into a mug or bowl and give a little mix with a fork to break up the yolk. Pour into the chocolate mix and stir quickly to combine. Sift the flour and cocoa (just because cocoa can be a bit clumpy) into the pan and mix well. Finally, add the bacon and stir through. Place to one side while you prepare the peanut butter.

For the peanut butter swirl:

  • 30g butter, softened
  • 100g smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 40g icing sugar, sifted

In a bowl, mix together the butter, peanut butter and vanilla, then add the icing sugar and mix again until well combined.

Put about half the brownie mix into the prepared baking tin, spreading it out so it reaches the corners. Dollop on about 5 teaspoons of the peanut butter mix and try to spread it a little (you’re not trying to make a layer over the whole base so don’t worry too much if it doesn’t spread well). Spoon the rest of the brownie mix on top and spread it out, then add spoonfuls of the peanut butter mix all over the top and use the tip of a dinner or butter knife to swirl it through the brownie mix until you have a marbled effect.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is firm and a skewer comes out mostly clean. Brownies should always be a little gooey in the middle so you’re better off under-baking rather than over-baking. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Once cooled, cut into squares and serve.

Happy blog birthday to me!

Rainbow cake to celebrate my blog's first birthday

Rainbow Cake

Not a recipe this one. Just a bit of a thank you, really. I’ve been writing this blog for a year now, and it makes me really happy. As much as anything it’s a great way for me to keep my recipes, but I do enjoy sharing my baking and this way I get to share it with all of you who read it.

Along the way, even before I started, there’ve been some people who’ve been super supportive and encouraging. I want to say a little thank you to a few. They’re all lovely folk, and you could do worse than follow them (on Twitter) or check out their blogs.

Firstly, The Ginger Bread Lad, one of my favourite baking bloggers, who was always so nice about my baking on Twitter and suggested I give blogging a go. Definitely one to watch, this one – I expect big things from him in the future. Have a look at his recipes here.

Then there’s Alice. Lovely Alice. Encouraging me to blog doesn’t really cover it. Nagged. Pestered. Bullied. Even came round my house and helped me get it working properly and gave me a 101 in WordPress. If you’re lucky enough to know Alice (and if you live in Brighton, I’d be surprised if you don’t, networking queen that she is), then her generosity of spirit knows no bounds. She’s also a good excuse for me to come up with more gluten-free baking. Check out her Gluten-Free Dining Guide.

The delightful Arusha Elworthy lent her magnificent skills by creating my logo. I particularly love my little pink-haired, leopard-aproned baker (me in cartoon form, even though my hair is no longer pink). Thank you for making me look so adorable!

My most unusual recipe to date has to be my Gluten-Free Bacon and Peanut Butter Brownies, created for the Pork Princess herself, Nicole ‘Snafflepuss’ Healing. She was even kind enough to re-blog my recipe on her blog, where you can find plenty of good stuff to read about all sorts of things. She’s also a marvellous yoga buddy.

Speaking of buddies, Hannah is my good Bake Club buddy. And she’s a dab hand with the old crochet hook, crafty mare, and made me the most amazing birthday present of some beautiful pink lips and a cake, which I proudly wear daily and get lots of compliments on. That’s them in the picture below. See how clever she is?! Oh, and she guest-blogged some tasty little biscuits.

Beautiful crochet brooches, handmade for my birthday by Hannah.

Birthday lips and cake

Endless encouragement and offers of help come from my favourite glamour-nerd on the street, Amy Blackburn. I’ve known and loved her long time, and I’m inspired and delighted by her success setting up her own business. If you like geeky, comic book stuff and super cute clothes then Geek La Chic is the place for you.

A few friends in Twitter-land, who I hope one day to meet for real, also deserve mentions for all their retweets, confidence boosting and even trying out my recipes. Thank you Faye, Dodie, Mike, Jacquie (perhaps better known as Bite Me Brighton) and Julie – you’re all awesome and deserve a huge slice of cake.

Whilst there’s no recipe this time, I did make myself a big old blog birthday cake. I would have blogged it, but honestly, though it looks pretty good in the picture there were a few disasters with this along the way. You’re bound to find a decent recipe for rainbow cake online, and I know that Holiday Baker Man is kindly willing to share his expertise if you are brave enough to give one of these mammoth cakes a go. Still, for all its issues, it didn’t half look impressive when I cut a slice!

There are plenty more people I probably should have thanked (ooh it’s all gone a bit awards ceremony speech), but I don’t want to run the risk of boring anyone so much they never come back to look at my recipes. So to all of you who’ve ever read my little blog – thank you!

Seven layers of colourful cake

Rainbow birthday cake

 

Easy Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Easy Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Easy Salted Caramel Ice Cream – goes brilliantly with brownies

There may be some very random recipes coming up in the next month – I’m moving and trying to use up stuff in my kitchen cupboards so I don’t have to take it with me. I made this in order to use a tin of caramel and a tub of cream (I bought it to make something else but realised I needed a longer expiry date). It’s ridiculously easy, requires just three ingredients and doesn’t need any fancy equipment. Add the salt in small increments, tasting as you go, but bear in mind that the flavours will be somewhat muted once frozen so be bold. Also, whilst a tin of Carnation Caramel (as I used) is 397g, there’s no need to be quite so precise with your measurements if weighing out from a larger jar.

Easy Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 500ml double cream
  • 397g ready made caramel/dulce de leche
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt (to taste)

In  a large bowl, whip the cream until it’s thick and forms soft peaks – it should cling to the whisk but drop off easily when tapped on the side of the bowl. Stir the caramel to make it smooth, then add to the cream and fold in with a large spoon or spatula, trying to get rid of any big lumps ( a few small deposits of pure caramel through your ice cream won’t hurt!).

Sprinkle a little of the salt over the caramel cream – start with about half a teaspoon – and mix well. Try a bit to see if it’s to your taste, adding more salt a little at a time until it’s how you want it. Pour into a freezer-proof box with a lid and freeze for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight. No need to keep taking it out and churning, it will set soft enough to be able to scoop just a few minutes after it’s taken out of the freezer. Delicious on it’s own, in a cone, or alongside warm apple pie or brownies!