Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Coffee + walnut cupcakes

This was supposed to be about coffee and walnut cake but I’d misplaced the recipe.  I’ll call it serendipity for these are just the texture and taste I was looking for in my cake; reminding me of good old-fashioned coffee and walnut cakes we had in Edinburgh way back in my childhood.

They deliver just the right amount of rich coffee mouthfuls, crunchy with chopped walnuts and topped with a light coffee mascarpone cream.  I think they’d also taste good with a coffee buttercream icing so I will make that the next time around when I can practice my piping skills L. 

I topped the cakes with walnut halves and the remainder with chocolate covered coffee beans.  I preferred the latter mainly because there are already plenty of walnuts tucked inside and the beans give them a contemporary look.

These are for Sweet New Zealand, a monthly blogging event hosted this month by Delissimon.

Coffee & walnut cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

2 tsp instant coffee
100ml boiling water

100g butter, softened
50g light brown sugar
50g muscovado sugar
2 large eggs
100g self-raising flour
a pinch of salt
35g walnuts, chopped finely
walnuts/chocolate covered coffee beans for decoration


200g tub mascarpone
2 tbsp muscovado (or dark brown) sugar
3 tsp cold coffee mix (from recipe above)

Heat oven to 180°C. 

Mix the two teaspoons of instant coffee with the boiling water and leave to cool.

Place paper cupcake cases into a 12-hole cupcake tin.

Beat the butter and two sugars together until creamy.  Add the eggs, flour and 4 teaspoons of the cold coffee (keep leftover coffee aside to add to icing) and a pinch of salt.  Beat to combine.  Stir in the chopped walnuts.

Spoon the mix evenly amongst the paper cases.  Bake for 18-20 minutes until the tops spring back when pressed lightly with your fingers.

Cool for a few minutes in the tin and then transfer to a cake rack to cool completely.

Once cool, spread the icing as thickly as you like over the cakes and top with a walnut or chocolate covered coffee bean.


Beat the mascarpone, sugar and coffee together until smooth. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Maltesers Ice Cream

Summer has come and gone (although we are still doing well weather-wise) and not once did I use my ice cream maker.  Not that it's a fancy-pancy one, but I did get excited about hauling it out of its box (yes, it lives in its box still) and trying out some of those fruit ice creams I'd been drooling over.  Sadly they never came to fruition (unintended pun!).  So I was kind of excited about this recipe until  I realized it didn't even require an ice cream maker.  Oh well, maybe next summer...

In the meantime, we can make the most of our Indian summer and try this creamy vanilla ice cream with little crunchy nugget bites of malt and chocolate. For those experiencing winter, It will just have to be hot chocolate or malt drinks, I'm afraid.

Maltesers Ice Cream

300ml single cream
40g caster sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 drop vanilla essence
1 small bag Maltesers (40g), crushed

Whip the cream until thick, cover and chill.  

Place the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl and beat until thick and fluffy.  Fold into the cream with the vanilla and chill again.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until thick and fold them into the ice cream mix, ensuring they are fully combined.

Pour into a freezer-proof container (an old ice cream container is perfect!) and freeze for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the ice cream is just beginning to freeze.

Fold in the crushed Maltesers and mix through.  Freeze for at least six hours or overnight.

This ice cream is best eaten within a couple of days.

For a touch more luxury you might like this 

Recipe adapted from The Utterly Unrefined Cookbook (Billingtons).

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies and a revamp

See what my lovely girl has done to my website.  I love it!  I had tired of the old design but being rather timid with technology has been a bit of an issue when it came to revamping the blog.  Sometimes I wish you could keep the old posts on the old template and revert to the new design from "this point forward".  But you can't so I hope you like the new design.

Chocolate chip cookies

I seem to have lost my baking mojo.   This happens, I suppose, when there are just two of you and you wonder who is going to eat all that cake you are going to bake (and the answer is usually me!).  So I’ve been drifting around aimlessly looking at one recipe or another hoping something caught my eye.  And it did. 

These may not be chocolate chip cookies as you know them – soft, chewy and chocka with chocolate – and I admit I was tempted to double the quantity of chocolate bits (and go ahead, you are welcome to).  But I quite liked that these biscuits showed some signs of restraint.  They baked crisp and you get to taste more of the actual biscuit, and there is the odd chocolate chip if you are lucky! 

I’d be happy to make these again as a good alternative to the more indulgent version.

Chocolate chip cookies

225g (1/2lb) self-raising flour
a pinch of salt
150g (5oz) butter, diced
100g (4oz) caster sugar
50g (2oz) dark or milk chocolate bits
1 egg, beaten

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.  Add the diced butter and rub in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Stir in the sugar and the chocolate pieces.  Mix in the beaten egg and bring the dough together into a ball.  Knead lightly on a floured surface until smooth.  Roll into a ball or log shape, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 180°C (350°F).  Roll out the dough fairly thinly on a lightly floured surface and cut into rounds with a 5cm (2 inch) biscuit cutter. 

Place the biscuits on a lined baking tray, leaving a space between each to allow for spreading.  Prick the biscuits with a fork and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden.

Remove from the oven and leave on the tray for a few minutes, before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe slightly adapted from a very old Marks & Spencer* cookbook.

*Marks & Spencer is a department store in the UK.