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Tag Archives: nutty

Fully Loaded Favourite Cookies

Fully Loaded Favourite Cookies

Cookies, stuffed full of raisins, milk and white chocolate and toasted hazelnuts

Inspiration for new bakes can come from all kinds of places, but I never thought the One Show (don’t judge me, my landlord watches it) would lead me to bake such a cracking cookie. They did one of their scintillating features on biscuits – the science of dunking, the nation’s favourite biscuit – all that need-to-know stuff. Anyway, they made some biscuits with the nation’s favourite ingredients – chocolate, raisins and hazelnuts – and apparently they were really rather good. So I decided I’d have a bash at something like it myself and here’s the result.

The hazelnuts keep the cookies from being overly sweet, what with all the chocolate and raisins in there. If you can’t get hold of toasted hazelnuts, put them on a baking tray in a hot oven for about 5 minutes. You can then get the papery skins off quite easily by rubbing them with a clean tea towel or some kitchen paper, but it doesn’t matter too much if you don’t remove the skins.

Fully Loaded Favourite Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 120g butter, softened
  • 100g soft, light brown sugar
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 190g plain flour
  • half tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • small pinch salt
  • 50g raisins
  • 50g milk chocolate (drops, or chopped into smallish chunks)
  • 50g white chocolate (drops or chopped)
  • 50 toasted hazelnuts, chopped a little

Heat the oven to 190C. In a bowl, or in a freestanding mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy and light. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well until well incorporated.  Add the flour, bicarb and salt and give another good beating so that you have a thick, sticky cookie dough with no lumps of flour. Chuck in the raisins, both types of chocolate and the nuts and give a good stir so that everything is well distributed in the dough.

You’ll need a couple of baking trays. Use your fingers to pinch off a lump of dough and roll roughly into a ball shape, about the size of a gold ball. Place the balls on the baking sheet, well apart as they will spread as they cook. I only got 4 to a baking sheet – you can always cook them in batches. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. They’re done when golden, but should still be soft to the touch as they’ll firm up as they cool and it’s better to under-bake a cookie so you get that soft, chewy middle. Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool (eat one while they’re warm – lush!).

I made 8 cookies with just over half the dough. Cookie dough freezes brilliantly, so just put any that you don’t use in a freezer bag, sling it in the freezer and then the next time you want a quick batch of cookies take the bag out and leave it on the kitchen counter – it’ll be ready to use in about 30-40 minutes!

For more of my cookie and biscuit recipes, take a look here.

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Boozy Chocolate and Hazelnut Pie

Boozy Chocolate and Hazelnut Pie

Boozy Chocolate and Hazelnut Pie; plenty of festive spirit in this one!

This week was the December meeting of the Bake Club I’m part of and the theme was Boozy Bakes – helpful for getting us all in the festive spirit (sorry, I’m a bit of a pun fan)! Though I rarely drink, I have a fairly extensive array of liqueurs that mostly get used This week was the December meeting of the Bake Club I’m part of. Our theme was for baking. When deciding what to make I recalled making grasshopper pie a while back and thinking there were endless possibilities for other flavour combinations; after a little deliberation I settled on hazelnut and chocolate.

This isn’t a pie in the classic sense of the word, certainly it’s more US inspired than GB, but calling it a tart didn’t seem right somehow. Regardless of the name, it’s delicious; the marshmallow cream gives the filling an incredible texture and the liqueurs make it a distinctly grown-up dessert. My top tip when making this is to melt the marshmallows slowly – too much heat can mean the gelatine from the marshmallows doesn’t work its magic and the filling doesn’t set properly. Other than that, this is super easy to make so give it a go!

Boozy Chocolate and Hazelnut Pie

For the base:

  • 300g bourbon biscuits
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 50g butter, softened

Chuck all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz them up until they begin to clump. Tip into a tart tin and press down with the back of a spoon, smoothing into the edges and up the sides, trying to make it as even as possible. Place in the fridge and chill until your filling is ready.

For the filling:

  • 125ml full-fat milk
  • 150g mini marshmallows
  • 60ml (4 tbsp) creme de cacao blanc (or other chocolate liqueur)
  • 60ml (4 tbsp hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico or similar)
  • 375ml double cream
  • a few grams dark chocolate to decorate (optional)

Put the milk and marshmallows in a saucepan and melt slowly on a low heat – the milk should never boil, just begin to foam, and you’ll be able to hear the marshmallows foaming as they melt. I can’t stress enough that you should take your time with this stage; keep taking the milk off the heat and stirring the marshmallows to get them to melt without letting the temperature get too high. Once the marshmallows are completely melted, remove from the heat and stir in the liqueurs. Transfer the liquid to a heat proof bowl and leave to cool.

Once cooled, whisk the cream in a large bowl until it’s getting to soft-peak stage. Add the boozy marshmallow mixture and continue to whisk until smooth and thickened – it should be the texture of very soft (Mr Whippy) ice cream. Pour into the biscuit base and smooth out to the edges. Finely grate a little dark chocolate over the top and chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight before serving.

Snickers Pavlova with Nutella Cream

Snickers Pavlova with Nutella Cream

Indulgent pavlova topped with Nutella Cream and chopped Snickers bars

Pavlova is always an impressive dessert, and the good news is that they should look a little imperfect, so no need for fancy decorating or piping skills! There’s also not much skill involved, other than a lot of whisking, but if you have an electric hand whisk or stand mixer then it only takes a few minutes. I’ve used chopped up Snickers bars to top this pavlova because the nutty crunch works well the other textures here; smooth Nutella cream and the crisp outer and marshmallowy centre of the meringue. You could easily substitute another favourite chocolate treat – Crunchie, Malteasers or something with a caramel centre would all work well.

Snickers Pavlova with Nutella Cream

For the meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp white wine or cider vinegar

Heat the oven to 160C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. In a clean glass or metal bowl (wipe the inside with the cut half of a lemon or a little vinegar to ensure it’s grease-free) whisk the egg whites until opaque white, fluffy and you can make stiff peaks with them. Slowly add the sugar a spoonful at a time, still whisking all the while and making sure each spoon of sugar is fully whisked in before you add the next. Once all the sugar is incorporated you should have smooth, glossy whites. Sprinkle the cornflour and vinegar over the meringue and give a final whisk to ensure well blended.

Use a little blob of the meringue on the underside of your greaseproof paper to help it stick to the baking tray. With a spatula, make a large disk of meringue on the baking tray, approximately  9″ in diameter (you can draw a circle on the underside of the baking paper if you want to be precise). Pile all the meringue on the circle and smooth it as best you can until you have a crown-like dome. Put the meringue in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 150C. Bake for an hour – the meringue should be pale golden and firm to the touch after this time (don’t worry if there are a few cracks) – then turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven to cool completely.

For the topping:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 100g Nutella (or other hazelnut chocolate spread)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Snickers bars

In a bowl, whisk the cream, Nutella and vanilla until luxuriously thick – it should cling to the whisk but drop off when given a sharp tap on the side of the bowl. Chop the Snickers bars into little chunks. I all honesty, I used about 1 and a half bars, so it doesn’t matter if a few chunks go astray!

Remove the cooled meringue (which may well have cracks in now it’s cooled, but that’s a good thing) from the greaseproof paper and put it on a serving plate. Pile the Nutella cream on to the centre of the meringue and scatter the Snickers pieces all over the top. Chill in the fridge for about an hour before serving.