Classic Chewy Brownie

I made these a few days ago for a friend’s 17th birthday. To her and my surprise I’d never made brownies up until then, a staple in the baking world! This recipe is very simple and very tasty. Infact I sourced it from taste.com, so you’d hope that it was tasty. I had no dramas and have no suggestions for changes to the recipe so I shall just type it out as is. 

Here goes:

Ingredients 

125g unsalted butter, chopped

125g dark chocolate, chopped

3 eggs, lightly whisked

335g (1 1/2 cups) white sugar

115g (3/4 cup) plain flour

30g (1/4 cup) Dutch cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan forced. Grease a 20cm (base measurement) square cake pan and line with baking paper.

2. Place butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water). Stir with a metal spoon until melted. Remove from heat. Quickly stir in egg, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt until just combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Set aside to cool completely.

The good thing about this recipe is you can play with it as much as you wish. For instance I thought I’d put some white choc chips on the top. They did however brown very quickly so this might not be the best idea for decoration, but you could also do things like incorporate nuts and dried fruit into the mixture. Next time I make these I am going to put pistachios and dried cranberries in the mixture, as it will be near christmas time, and well red and green make me think of Christmas. The point is you can do whatever you want in terms of decoration and adding flavour. 

Carrot Cake


I had a lot of fun with this recipe, especially mucking around with the walnuts to form some sort of decoration at the end. It is fairly simple to make and a healthier alternative to your usual carrot cake as it uses half wholemeal flour and little sugar. The recipe does not specify an oven temperature so I have added this to the recipe in a bold font.

For the original recipe go to:

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/38786/delicious+healthy+carrot+cake
Here is the recipe with a few adjustments:

Ingredients

Cake

2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence

1/2 cup canola oil (grape seed oil works as a substitute)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup wholemeal plain flour

1/2 cup white self-raising flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground dry ginger

300g carrot, grated

250g walnuts, chopped

Cream Cheese Icing

45g butter

100g cream cheese

1 cup icing sugar

10ml lemon juice

Decoration

Roughly 10 walnuts, chopped 

Green writing icing

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

2. Mix eggs, vanilla essence, oil and sugar in a large bowl.

3. In a medium sized bowl combine flours, bi-carb and spices. Add the dry mix to the wet mix and stir.

4. Add in the grated carrot and chopped walnuts and mix until just combined.

5. Put mixture in the loaf tin and cook for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

6. For the icing, let the butter and cream cheese soften.

7. Mix all the ingredients together using an electric beater until creamy and smooth.

8. Ice cake liberally once cool.

9. On a flat surface arrange chopped walnuts in a triangular shape, to mimic that of a carrot. 

10. Carefully place walnut pieces on the cake, one piece at a time so as to reconstruct the triangular shape made in the previous step. Carrot decorations can be placed in any pattern or order you wish.

11. Pipe green stalks above walnut triangles to create carrots. 

The decoration was my idea, hence why it is also in bold. I think it elevates this already excellent cake and frankly just looks cute. 


Butterflies

I’ve always wanted to make butterfly cupcakes due to their incredibly simple but effective design. The recipe I used is from women’s weekly classic cupcakes was easy to follow and achieved good results. 

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

Vanilla butter cakes

90g butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 C (110g) caster (superfine) sugar

2 eggs

1 C (150g) self-raising flour

2 tbsp milk

Decorations 

1/2 C (125ml) thickened (heavy) cream

1/3 C (110g) strawberry jam

1 tbsp icing (confectioner’s) sugar 

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line eight of 12-hole (1/3-cup/80ml) muffin pan with paper cases.

2. Beat butter, extract, sugar, eggs, sifted flour and milk in a small bowl with electric mixer on low speed until ingredients are combined. Increase speed to medium; beat until mixture has changed to a paler colour. Drop 1/4 cups of mixture into paper cases.

3. Bake about 20 minutes. Stand cake in pan 5 minutes before turning, top-side up, onto wire rack to cool.

4. Beat cream in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form.

5. Cut a round hole using a butter knife, about 2.5 cm deep, in tops of cold cakes; halve the rounds to make butterfly wings. Fill holes with jam, then cream. Position wings on cakes; dust lightly with sifted icing sugar.

So my only peace of advice regarding this recipe is don’t go too crazy on the jam and the cream, however tempting, as otherwise you will have a similar Eureka moment to Archemides. 

Lemon Tart

Now this recipe is not as easy as it seems. The first attempt was a total disaster that ended up with me cleaning lemon filling out from the bottom of the oven, making the pastry extra extra extra crispy and wallowing in my sorrows… it really wasn’t that bad but I’d hardly call what I made edible. The second attempt went far more successfully and I will alter the recipe slightly so as anyone wishing to try this tart does not end up having the same experience I did. To be fair I’d only just finished the HSC, or been released from hell, however you wish to see it, and my mind wasn’t at its finest. 

So without further ado, here is the recipe from women’s weekly; homebaked, slightly altered:

Ingredients

Pastry

1 1/4 C (185g) plain flour

1/4 C (40g) icing sugar mixture

1/4 C (30g) almond meal

125g cold butter, chopped

1 egg yolk

Lemon Filling

1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind

1/2 C (125ml) lemon juice

5 eggs

3/4 C (165g) caster sugar

1 C (250ml) thickened cream

Method

1. Blend or process flour, icing sugar, almond meal and butter until combined. Add egg yolk, process until ingredients just come together. Knead dough on lightly floured surface until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerate 30 minutes.

2. Start preparing ingredients for the filling; grate the lemon and juice it, prepare eggs, cream and sugar. Place ingredients into a medium bowl ready to be whisked. 

3. Roll pastry between sheets of baking paper until large enough to line 24cm-round loose-based flan tin. Ease dough into tin; trim edge gently with a knife. Cover; refrigerate 30 minutes. 

4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius and mix ingredients for the lemon filling thoroughly. Set aside the filling mixture in a cool area of the kitchen, but not the fridge so as to avoid the filling setting. 

5. Line pastry case with baking paper, fill with dried beans or rice. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove paper and beans; bake, uncovered, for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned. 

6. Reduce the oven to 150 degrees celsius.

7. Pour lemon filling into pastry case while it is sitting in the oven so as to avoid spillage. Bake at 150 degrees celsius for 15 minutes. Place a piece of foil on the top shelf of the oven, covering the tin in shade, to prevent the pastry from burning. Cook for a further 10 minutes or until filling has set slightly; cool.

8. Take the tart, once cooled, out of the tin and place it into a container. Refrigerate until cold. Serve dusted with sifted icing sugar, if desired. 

My main issue with this recipe is that it is too brief in parts, which resulted in me making judgements about what to do that were, initally, incorrect. Also, the recipe called for a moderately hot oven (190 degrees celsius) which cooked the pastry far too quickly in the blind baking stage. Once I sorted out these few hiccups the tart worked out wonderfully.