Tag Archives: cocoa powder

Condensed Milk Cookies

I’ve posted this recipe before calling it American Cookies but I’m British so all my cookie recipes are ‘American’ or I call them biscuits.  When people ask me to make these they ask for “the condensed milk ones” and so I have renamed them.  I’ve also discovered since I first made them just how versatile the basic cookie dough can be.  Today I made the final addition to everyone’s christmas hamper:  Individually flavoured cookies. 

My sister has become obsessed with peanut butter and chocolate and so I made her peanut butter and chocolate cookies.  Dad loves ginger and chilli and so that’s what he got.  Mum was harder as she’s a mum and so says she likes whatever I make her but I know she loves marzipan so she got a sort of bakewell cookie… a fakewell if you will.  I also made myself a batch of chocolate and hazelnut cookies for immediate snacking.  There are no photos of that flavour as my family immediately snacked on them!  The joy of this is I made one batch of dough and then simply divided it into 4 and carried on to do all the different flavours I wanted. 

Makes ~36 cookies

255g unsalted butter, softened
225g golden caster sugar
170g condensed milk
350g self raising flour

For the toppings: (no amounts as it depends how many you make of each flavour)
natural coloured glace cherries
marzipan
flaked almonds
stem ginger in syrup, chopped into eighths
ginger and chilli sauce (I used Tesco’s Finest ice cream sauce but it’s totallyoptional.) 
cocoa powder
peanut butter
chocolate chips
chopped hazelnuts

– First line 5 baking sheets with baking paper and heat the oven to gas mark 4.  (If you don’t have 5 then just prep the paper and then reuse trays as they come free.)
– Cream together the butter and the sugar until soft and fluffy. 
– Mix in the condensed milk. 
– Add the flour and mix until it is all combined in a soft dough. 
– Divide the dough into 4 if making 4 flavours. 

For Chocolate and Peanut Cookies:
– Take 1/4 of the dough and put it into a smaller bowl. 
– Add a few spoons of cocoa powder and knead in until it forms a nice even chocolate colour. 
– Pinch off a walnut sized (and I really mean walnut sized, it’s smaller than you’d think!) bit of dough and roll it into a ball. 
– Flatten into a disc between your hands.
– Add a spoon of peanut butter to the centre. 
– Fold and pinch over the edges so that the peanut butter is completely enclosed in the dough. 
– Place on the baking tray leaving at least 1″ between cookies and flatten slightly and tidy up any really wonky ones. 
– Repeat with the rest of that dough. 

For Ginger Chilli Cookies:
– With the next 1/4 pinch off walnut sized bits and make into balls. 
– Flatten into a disc between your hands.
– Place 4 chunks of ginger in the centre of the disc and fold up the edges of the dough to make a sort of bowl around it. 
– Place on the baking tray leaving at least 1″ between cookies and then pour over a little of the syrup from the jar or some of the chilli ginger sauce. 

For the ‘Bakewell’ Cookies:
– With the next 1/4 pinch off walnut sized bits and make into balls. 
– Flatten into a disc between your hands.
– Pinch off a ball of marzipan about the size of a Malteaser and flatten into a disc. 
– Place the disc in the centre of the dough and fold over the very edges. 
– Place a glace cherry in the centre and then flaked almonds aroung that. 
– Place on the baking tray leaving at least 1″ between cookies. 

For the Chocolate and Hazelnut Cookies:
– With the final 1/4 flatten the dough out and sprinkle with chocolate chips and chopped hazelnuts. 
– Knead these in until well distributed throughout the dough. 
– Pinch off walnut sized bits and make into balls. 
– Flatten into a disc between your hands.
– Place on the baking tray leaving at least 1″ between cookies. 

– Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.  (I switch over the top and bottom trays after 10 minutes then give them both 5 minutes more.)
– Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for 5-10 minutes. 
– Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 NB. These cookies do spread a lot, almost double, so be very careful not to place them too closely together:

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Filed under Cookies and Biscuits, Easy

Hot Chocolate On A Stick

I’ve bought these as gifts before but when I saw a recipe for making them myself I couldn’t resist!  So cheap, so easy, so fun!  Stuff on a stick is great, I love almost any food that comes on a stick.  Hot Chocolate, even better!  You will need an icecube tray and some sticks to make these.  I went out and bought sticks from a cookware shop but if I weren’t giving them as gifts I’d have just gone into Starbucks and nicked a handful of the stirry things.  As for icecube trays the world is your oyster.  Use whatever shape you like, the big rectangular ones are great because you get a perfect amount for a standard cup of chocolate. 

Makes 10

225g chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
100g icing sugar
50g cocoa powder
tiny pinch salt

– Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.  Don’t let the water touch the bowl. 
– Remove from the pan when it’s still got a few chunks in it and stir until they melt. 
– Add the cocoa powder, icing sugar and salt and stir until combined.  It should be very thick.
– Then pipe into your icecube tray or spoon very very carefully. 
– Add the sticks and leave to cool. 
– Turn out and package as you like. 
– To use simply put in a mug of hot milk and stir!
– Will keep for a good 6 months or longer in an airtight container.

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Filed under Drinks, Easy

100th Recipe Celebration Cake

Yay!  This is my 100th recipe posted here!  To celebrate I made a cake.  Chocolate cakes and I have a tricky relationship.  I’m very demanding when it comes to chocolate cakes.  I am after perfection!  I’m not sure I’m quite there yet but this is the best chocolate cake I’ve made yet.  It’s moist and fudgey and squishy but not too rich.  It’s quite dense but stops just short of being called brownie-like.  The best thing about it is that it can be thrown together in a blender or mixer if you don’t want to do it by hand.  It was ridiculously easy.  All in all this cake was a success. 

I was going to do fantastic things icing this cake.  I made fondant icing from scratch, well, a box of fondant icing sugar.  But I had to get the Kenwood out to mix it and spent over an hour rolling it out.  Blood, sweat and tears went into this icing, literally.  Then I finally had it rolled out to the right size.  I went to pick it up to drape it over the cake and… DISASTER.  It stuck to the plastic sheets I’d been rolling it out between and then it stuck to itself and then it fell apart.  I honestly don’t know if it was too wet, sticky, or too dry, cracked into pieces.  But I cried. 

So I just stopped with the buttercream icing and decided that may be I should practice with ready rolled a bit first.  Learn to walk before I try running if you will.  As for the decorations… well, I have the artistic ability of a drunken ferret.  I love edible ball bearings and all baked goods should be blessed with them.   Strawberries or raspberries would look great on this but they’re out of season at the minute so I used raspberry jelly sweets instead.  A layer of fresh fruit inside would be nice too. 

Makes 1×8″ cake

For the cake:
225g granulated sugar
200g plain flour
100g cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
120ml milk
60ml vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
120 ml boiling water

For the buttercream*:
180g plain chocolate
225g unsalted butter, softened
240g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

– Heat your oven to Gas Mark 4 and prepare two 8″ sandwich tins. 
– In a large bowl mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa**, baking powder and salt. 
– Add the egg, milk, oil and vanilla essence to the dry ingredients and mix well.  It make seem very dry but keep at it.  It will come together to form a dough.  Keep mixing until it is a smooth, even consistency. 
– Add the water and mix thoroughly. 
– Pour the batter into the two tins.  If you want completely equal layers you can weigh them but I usually do it by eye. 
– Smooth the batter out so it is even. 
– Bake for 25-30 minutes.  You will be able to see if the centre is uncooked and a skewer inserted will come out clean. 
– Make up the buttercream by melting the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.  Allow to cool.   
– Cream together the butter and the icing sugar and then add the vanilla essence. 
– Mix well then add the melted chocolate and stir thoroughly until everything is combined. 
– Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes or so then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
– Once completely cool fill between the two cakes and ice all over with the buttercream using a palette knife to smooth it over the cake. 
– Decorate as you wish. 

* I only made 2/3 this amount and it needed more so expect better coverage than seen in the photo. 
**Sift this in or you will get lumps.

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Filed under Cakes, Easy

Black Forest Cupcakes

Guilty secret time.  I have been known to buy one of those 99p frozen supermarket Black Forest Gateaux and eat the entire thing in about 20 minutes.  I LOVE Black Forest Gateaux!  In times of stress I reach for one of those and a fork.  Today has been very stressful.  Suffice to say it involved calling 6 different helpline numbers who all told me I had to speak to a different number before eventually putting me through to the first number.  Joy.  I needed cake in a serious way. 

I’ve been thinking about making these for a while now.  Traditionally a Black Forest Gateaux would need to be made with whipped cream but we didn’t have space in the fridge to store them so I opted for buttercream instead.  If you were making these for a party though I would suggest topping them with whipped cream as the flavours all go together so well.  Also if making these for kids you don’t have to put the Kirsch in.  For those of you trying to be good in the run up to Christmas the I have it on good authority from my mother that they taste great topped with creme fraiche as a low-fat alternative and they look pretty good too!*

Makes 12

For the cakes:
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g golden caster sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp Kirsch
200g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder

For the toppings:
1 ~425g tin cherries
2 tbsp Kirsch
5 tbsp sugar
1 tsp arrowroot powder
80g unsalted butter, softened
180g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1-2 tbsp milk
chocolate sprinkles
12 natural coloured glace cherries

– Heat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. 
– Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. 
– Gradually add the eggs, beating well between additions.  Aim to do this in about 6 stages for best results. 
– Stir in the Kirsch. 
– Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and fold in. 
– Divide equally between the 12 cases. 
– Bake for 20-25 minutes, testing with a skewer or tooth pick to see if they’re done. 
– Place on a wire rack to cool completely. 

– Meanwhile separate the cherries from the juice they came in and place the juice and 5 tbsp sugar in a small pan.  Pour 1 tbsp of Kirsch over the cherries. 
– Gently heat the juice until the sugar has dissolved then boil rapidly for at least 5 minutes. 
– Remove from the heat.  In a small dish mix together the arrowroot powder and last tbsp of Kirsch.  Add this to the pan. 
– Return the pan to the heat, stirring constantly until the white colour has gone and bring to boiling point. 
– Remove the pan from the heat and keep stirring until the sauce has thickened.
– Add the cherries to the sauce and allow to cool a little. 

– Trim any domes from the cupcakes, leaving a flat surface. 
– In the centre of each cupcake use a paring knife to cut a circle and remove a core from the cake leaving a hole. 
– Add a spoonful of cherries and sauce to fill each hole.  My tin had enough for exactly 3 cherries per cake.  Allow to stand for a minute or two then add more of the sauce. 

– In a small bowl mix together the butter and 80g of icing sugar until smooth. 
– Add the rest of the icing sugar, the vanilla and 1 tbsp of milk. 
– Mix together until totally smooth adding more milk if necessary. 

– Pipe the buttercream on top of the cupcake, sprinkle with chocolate and add a glace cherry. 

*Here is the low-fat(ish) version:

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Filed under Cupcakes and Muffins, Moderately easy

Pear and Chocolate Puds

There’s something about pear and chocolate that just works but pears in general are, to my mind, an under used fruit.  Not that many people cook with them and those that do usually poach them, which can be delicious but that gorgeous crunchy texture is lost.  I bought a big bag of pears today and had to make pudding with them tonight.  I really should have waited a day or two for them to ripen but I was impatient.  It didn’t effect the taste of this pud but it was slightly troublesome cutting the pear apart with a teaspoon!  If you find yourself in a similar circumstance I suggest that you peel the pears, leaving the stalks on, or microwave them a little before inserting them into the cake mix. 

I try not to peel fruits and vegetables because the top layer just under the skin is supposed to contain the most nutrients and the fibre in the skins can’t be bad for you but sometimes this does affect the aesthetic of a dish.  Since this was just a regular family meal I decided to go for nutrition rather than aesthetics and left the skin on.   The pudding itself is lovely and chocolatey with a crisp top and deliciously goopy inside.  The honey drizzled on top complements both flavours marvelously. 

Pear and Chocolate Puds

Makes 4

75g unsalted butter
75g caster sugar
2 eggs
25g cocoa powder
75g self raising flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
4 small ripe pears
4 tsp runny honey

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4 and butter 4 ramekin dishes. 
– Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. 
– Beat in the eggs one at a time making sure the misture is well combined. 
– Beat in the cocoa powder. 
– Fold in the flour and baking powder and mix until fully combined. 
– Divide the mixture equally between the four ramekins. 
– With a melon baller remove the core of the pear by going in from the bottom and scooping out small balls until you have removed the seeds.  You could also do this with a paring knife and a teaspoon if careful. 
– Place the pear stalk up in the centre of the ramekin, pressing down gently into the cake mix. 
– Bake in the oven for 16-20 minutes.  Slightly longer if using less than ripe pears. 
– Drizzle with a teaspoon of honey and serve straight away putting the ramekins on plates as they will be hot.

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Chewy Chocolate Cookies Recipe

Well for my first post over here at WordPress it seems fitting to post what is probably the messiest recipe I routinely cook but ultimately one of the most rewarding.  Hopefully the comparison will carry through!  I’m still getting used to how things work over here and anyone who can see it at this stage can see that this page is still a work in progress.  The filling is here it’s just the decorations that are taking a little time!  I hope that you’ll bear with me while I get all moved in and sorted out but in the mean time here is my recipe for Chewy Chocolate Cookies:

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

Makes 18

4 egg whites
300g icing sugar
115g cocoa powder
2 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1 tbsp water
100g chocolate chips (plain, milk, or white are all fine, I like to use a mix of plain and white)

– Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4 and line 3 baking sheets with baking paper and grease well. 
-Use and electric whisk to beat the egg whites in a large bowl until frothy. 
– Sift the icing sugar, cocoa powder, plain flower and coffee powder into the egg whites. 
– Add the water and gently mix together using a spoon until the powder is combined then use the electric beater to beat it until the mixture thickens.  (If you just go straight in there with the electric whisk the powdery ingredients fly up and cover everything in the kitchen.)
– One the mixture is a glossy dark chocolate colour add the chocolate chips and stir through the mixture. 
– Use spoons to place a generous spoonful of mixture onto the prepared trays leaving one inch between each mound. 
– Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the top is set and cracked but the inside is soft.  If you don’t have an extra shelf just do two batches. 
-Leave the cookies on the tray for a minute or two then use a metal spatula or pastry scraper to remove them from the paper and place them on a rack to cool.

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Filed under Cookies and Biscuits, Moderately easy