New Classic Brownie

Since I’ve moved back to Sydney, I have been on a baking craze. I will casually browse through food blogs the night before, especially tastespotting because it has everything in a page. It is not hard at all to find something that I’d wanna bake. Then, I will be in a dilemma over which to try out and I stress myself out a little sometimes. Next morning, I will start getting my ingredients and bake.

Lately, I have been so caught up with work I do not even have the time to go through food blogs. Okay, I still go through them, but I had to stop because its such a torture to see and having the urge to bake but you know how much time constraint you have and alternating between work related tabs and food tabs on the browser can get pretty stressful and gives you the guilt trip.

So after some off days/week from flour and sugar, I finally had the time to myself, but I was stressing myself again. Why? I was so overwhelmed by so many recipes that I’ve been thinking of trying that I suddenly did not know how to pick. Choices. Reminded me about The Paradox of Choice.

It was tough, but in the end, I settled for good old brownie. I needed something familiar and quick.
After reading how awesome the brownie were and how people raved about it, I was sold. But seriously, how bad can a brownie be? And I wonder, how many brownie recipes have we all gone through and still go on searching for more? We are all spoilt with brownie recipes. So many ‘Best brownie ever’ and ‘Fudgiest brownie ever’ recipes.

Anyway, like anyone else, I am still willing to try out different brownie recipes. and here it is. A really fudgy brownie. I wished I used better chocolate, as it turned out, my cadbury 70% dark chocolate just couldn’t make it ( that’s all I have).
They are called NEW CLASSIC BROWNIES. I found the name weird at first, but then I understood. I guess its because the author made some tweaking to the conventional brownie method.

Brownie turned out to be super fudgy, crisp on the top ( how a brownie should be ). I also sprinkled some sea salt and dropped some dark chocolate chips on top before popping them into the oven.

SO here it is:

New Classic Brownie,
adapted from Anna of Crunchycreamysweet

Ingredients

113g ( 4 oz. ) unsalted butter
100g unsweetened chocolate (I used 70% cadbury dark chocolate)
225g castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, room temperature
60g all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F and line a square 8inch cake pan with baking paper.

2. Melt butter and chocolate over a double boiler until a few pieces of chocolate are still visible. Remove from heat.

3. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla until well combined.

4. Whisk in eggs one at a time. Make sure the egg is incorporated into the batter before adding the next.

5. Add flour and fold using a spatula.

6. Whisk the batter with a mixer/wire whisk for about a minute until the batter pulls away from the mixing bowl ( I accidentally omitted this step, I think it might help in making the brownie more fudgy and chewy)

7. Pour the batter into the pan. (I also sprinkled sea salt and topped it with dark choc chips) and bake for 20 minutes.

8. While it is baking, prepare an ice bath at the sink.

9. Once the brownie comes out from the oven, gently place it onto the ice bath to stop the brownie from further cooking (so the insides remains fudgy) and let it cool completely before slicing.

Now, take a few slices and make yourself a cup of earl grey.

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Caramel topped banana bread/cake

I grew up eating banana cake, not banana bread. Honestly, I am not sure of the difference. No one calls it banana cake here in Australia. Perhaps because its baked in a loaf pan, resembling a loaf of bread? But one thing’s for sure, they are both so easy to love and eat.
I have gone through countless recipes for banana bread….cake..bread. It was disastrous the first time i baked it. My friends and I ended up using the cake for a game where the loser had to finish them up. But that was during one of my early baking days. Still, that cant be an excuse because I baked another banana nutella bread not too long ago ( I mean, how bad can that be?) and let’s just say, it was definitely for the health conscious and someone who wants a  banana bread but tried to cheat and failed.


Banana bread after bread after bread. Then, comes this. Caramel, banana bread. Yes, caramel may seem too much for a banana bread to handle, but it worked so well! Especially when the caramel sets on top and a little on the sides. Neither one overpowered the other. This recipe has been in my Bourke St Bakery cookbook but somehow i always flip past it and jump to the familiar cakes i always see on display at their bakery. I don’t remember seeing this crazy banana bread in BSB!

So yeah, I shall call this the final banana bread recipe. I am going to stop searching for another one. Unless I stumble upon another one of course 😉


I don’t recommend toasting this like how we always toast and butter them. This should actually be called a banana cake, its more cake like. In fact, the recipe uses a round cake pan instead of the loaf pan but I halved the recipe and it fills up just nice in the loaf pan.

I made the caramel sauce earlier, just to feel more prepared.

Banana cake with caramel sauce (makes a 28cm round tin cake)
adapted from Bourke Street Bakery cookbook
For the banana cake:

250g unsalted butter

355g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

4 eggs

200g sour cream

300g self raising flour (sifted)

2-3 ripe bananas

20g soft brown sugar or golden syrup

1. Preheat oven to 200C.

2. Grease and line a 28cm (11 1/4 inch) round cake tin. Allow the baking paper to protrude 1 inch above tin.

3. Lightly mash bananas and drizzle with the brown sugar/golden syrup. Put aside.

4. Cream butter and sugar and vanilla with a paddle attachment on mixer. (if not, just use the normal beater) until soft and creamy.

5. Add eggs one at a time. Make sure it is fully incorporated before adding the next egg.

6. Add sour cream in two batches, then fold in sifted flour in two batches. ( I alternate between these 2)

7. Fold in the mashed banana into the mixture and pour into baking tin.

8.Bake for 55min to 1 hr 15min.

 

Caramel sauce (makes more than enough for a cake, but can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week)

200ml whipping cream (35% fat)

100ml water

300g castor sugar

30ml liquid glucose (optional)

80g unsalted butter

1.Pour cream into saucepan over high heat and bring it to almost boiling point.

2. Put the water, sugar and glucose syrup in another larger saucepan over high heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Once it dissolves, do not stir and cook for another 7-10min or until it turns caramel in colour. Remove from heat immediately as it will continue to cook after.

3. Pour the hot cream into the caramel (be careful! as it will bubble up 4 times its original volume). Place it back on the heat and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat, cool a little and whisk in the butter.

 

Assembling

After cake cools for about 10min, poke about forty holes into the cake using a skewer and pour caramel sauce over the top while the cake is still warm.

 

 

 

Mixed Berries Upside Down Cake

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I have days where I just grab my to-go bag, that red knitwear I worn so many times i lost count, the same place where i get my coffee from. I know that nothing can go wrong with those, especially when I don’t want to be stressed out by tiny little things (not that I have a lot in my mind).

Days like those calls for a simple cake. Foolproof, fast yet comforting. That’s when this cake comes to mind, bookmarked ages ago! from Heather Christo. This is my second time using her recipe and it did not disappoint. The first being a beetroot chocolate cake I baked ages ago. Nobody could tell there was beetroot in it because it was absolutely rich and yums!

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After the flip! Hidden gems mmm.

Anyway, this cake is not as straightforward and common/predictable as pound cakes. But not that special either, this cake is just those cakes that hides among the crowd but when you need them, it just appears. Actually, I just had problems with pound cakes previously. The batter curdles every single time! I was afraid this is going to happen again but luckily, the batter was being nice and it turned out well.

Love it! It’s surprisingly light and moist, with the right amount of sweetness. I think I can call this a guiltless cake? Sorry, I don’t do REAL guiltless cakes. If you want a cake, you gotta have the real cake. Full fat.

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For this particular recipe, I added mixed berries instead of just raspberries and the buttermilk definitely helped, as usual in making this such a yummy cake. Oh, remember to turn the cake over before serving so you can see those little jewels on the top of the cake! And, the recipe:

Mixed Berries Upside Down Cake,
adapted from Heather Christo

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (113g) butter, room temperature

1 cup (225g) castor sugar

2eggs

1 1/3 cup (150g) flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 cup mixed berries

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (176C). Prepare a 9” round cake pan with a round of parchment paper in the bottom and some cooking spray.

2. Cream together the stick of butter and sugar until light and fluffy, using a handheld mixer.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, and combine well.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the wet, in three alternate additions, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. mix until it is a smooth batter.

5. Gently fold in the mixed berries.

6. Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan and bake the cake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees(176C), or until just done.

7. Let cool before turning out onto a platter and dusting with powdered sugar. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.

Peanut Butter Choc Chunk Cookies ( that will cost you your waistline)

So i baked another version of choc chip cookies again. Peanut butter choc chip cookies. On any other day, this recipe will not even be in my “to bake” list since I’ve baked so many choc chip cookies that I kinda given up on finding a good one or I’ll most likely grab a $2/box amazingly delissshh choc chip cookies from Coles. After baking the banana muffins with peanut butter the other day and realizing it was a total ughh because of the peanut butter, I have decided to bake these monster cookies, as requested by a friend who had the peanut butter in the muffins. So I googled for PEANUT BUTTER CHOC CHIP COOKIES and expected lots of recipes with lotsss of reviews but settled for this recipe by Curtis Stone, with zero reviews HAHAH! just because the picture looks nice and the recipe looks promising. choc chunks? YES! Loads of peanut butter? YES YES!

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Trust me, the cookies are just heavenly! They are not your crunchy cookies, more like brownie cookie like texture. It’s like munching into smooth peanut butter, surprising yourself with choc in between mmm yums!

Eversince I started baking on an almost daily basis i have developed (finally!) what i called “baker’s sense”. Look through the recipe and each baking step conjures up in your head and even the outcomes perhaps.

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ImageMix all the wet ingredients. Mix mix mix! Got a little too excited when everything were mixed together into this creamy goodness. I might have licked my fingers in the process oops!

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Go on, roll em up into balls with your hands! the dough was a little too soft, so i pop them into the freezer for abit before forming into balls.

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So here’s the recipe

Peanut Butter Choc Chunk Cookies
, adapted from Curtis Stone

Ingredients

1 cup (110g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup peanut butter (about 9 ounces / 280 grams) Recipe calls for chunky PB, but I only have smooth and its still yums, without the crunch
1/2 cup (packed) (115g) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (115g) granulated caster sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 125 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ tablespoons honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces / 155 grams semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
  2. Line baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, honey, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture in 2 additions.
  6. Stir in the chopped chocolate
  7. Scoop about half tablespoon of dough for each cookie onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart ( Recipe calls for 3 TABLESPOONS FULL! but i thought that would be Humongous! )
  8. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the cookies puff and begin to brown on top but are still very soft to the touch. (Dont worry when they come out soft and shaped like a dome, it will set and deflate once it’s cooled, that is why its soft in the middle! )
  9. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes.
  10. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack and eat warm or cool completely.

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