Tag Archives: chocolate

Spiced Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cookies

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Do you bake to impress or bake to satisfy cookie cravings? Or perhaps, a routine? Even if it is a day to day passionate baking, certainly there is a motive that made you top the cupcake with chocolate shavings, pipe the perfect rose patterned icing or shaping the evenly squared cookie log before slicing them carefully. Most of the time I bake things that I would like to eat ( and that means more chocolate recipes! ) and so it is not so camera friendly but, it’s not an excuse really. I try to make things look as pretty as possible sometimes so that I can take beautiful pictures of it. That is baking to impress somebody, to the world. At times when I bake out of cravings, I bake something really quick, get it out of the oven, impatiently wait for it to cool, desperately snap a few pictures and poof! Gone into my tummy!

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So when I have a day all to myself and probably not craving anything in particular, I like to try baking to impress. Means I put in more effort to make everything look prettier. And I came across a cookie that looks like it came out from a gourmet cookie box sitting in one of those hipster grocers. Pistachios, half covered with dark chocolate, shortbread. I told myself that even if it didn’t taste as good as it looks, I can still look at it and sigh, how pretty!

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I took my time baking these pretties, making sure I pause at each step. I’m glad they turned out slightly rustic looking and it would’ve been a nicer bite if the cookie is more short and less crisp. And maybe brush the dark chocolate more liberally, which I did towards the end.

The next time i bake these again I might use earl grey or cinnamon instead. The variations are just endless! They make an excellent gift as well because they look elegantly rustic.

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If you want to bake to impress, give this recipe a shot. It looks like there is a lot of effort, but actually there is just a few simple ingredients involved and best of all, a log and slice cookie where you can hide the imperfections with a brush of dark chocolate.

Spiced Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cookies

adapted from The Roaming Kitchen

225g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
115g (1/2 cup) castor sugar
55g (1/4 cup) light brown sugar
30g (1/4 cup) Icing sugar (sifted)
30g (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I substituted with cardamom and cinnamon instead)
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
3 tablespoons freshly brewed coffee
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
220g (2 cups) flour
100 grams good quality dark chocolate
1/3 cup pistachios (as needed)

1. Cream butter for about 1 minute until smooth, preferably with a paddle attachment on medium speed.

2. Combine all three sugars, cocoa powder, salt and spices into the bowl of creamed butter. Beat until everything is incorporated and creamy (about a minute).

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3. Reduce mixer speed to low, add egg yolks one at a time, followed by coffee and vanilla extract.

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4. Turn off the mixer and add in the flour. You may use a wooden spoon/spatula to mix at this point till it is just incorporated. Do not overmix. The dough should be soft and quite moist.

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5. Take half the dough and place it on a cling wrap/baking paper. Roll and shape into a rectangular log. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

6. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until it is firm enough.

7. When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 175C.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

8. Slice the cookies into about 1cm thick. I think a thicker cookie works better here because you do not want the cookies to flatten too much in the oven, especially if the dough isn’t cold enough. That happened to my cookies and I thought a thicker slice would give a better result.

9. Bake for about 20 minutes and let it cool on a wire rack.

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10. When cookies are cooled, melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Roughly chop the pistachios.

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11. Brush the melted chocolate a few times over half the cookie and sprinkle with pistachios! Be patient and let the chocolate set before storing.

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Chocolate Banana Bread

Whenever I give away my cakes, I get things like “Oh this is so you.”

And “why?”.

“It’s always in a loaf, with chocolate.”

I tried to put on a weak smile. Thanks.

It just occurred to me that the things I have been baking has been quite repetitive. When I go through the things I’ve baked, I see loaves of banana bread, marble cakes and any home baked looking cakes. I thought I needed to get out of the cycle and start challenging myself.

Hah! Back to good ol’ banana bread, with chocolate.

Its hard to pass up comfort baking sometimes.

Here’s an amazing chocolate banana bread recipe I got from Citrus and Candy.

I felt that the chocolate may have overpowered the banana a little but you can treat it as a Chocolate Cake with Banana, more than a banana cake with chocolate.
Still, a keeper, definitely. Even better if kept overnight and toasted, with some butter loving.

It is different from Bourke St Bakery’s banana cake , this one is more bread like and more suitable for toasting, oh yums!

Chocolate Banana Bread,

adapted from Citrus and Candy

195g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (I omitted)
120ml canola or vegetable oil
190g light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Bananas, mashed
100g dark chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 170°C and grease a large loaf tin.

2. Sift the flour, bicarb, baking powder, salt, cinnamon (and nutmeg) into a bowl and set aside.

3. With an electric mixer, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract for a couple of minutes until well blended.

4. With a wooden spoon, stir through the banana mash then add the sifted flour mixture and gently stir until just combined (do not over mix). Divide the batter into two portions then add the melted chocolate into one portion and stir to combine.

5. Add random dollops of each batter into the tin then grab a skewer and start swirling. (I got a little excited and swirled too much, so marbling effect wasn’t obvious).Bake for 55-60 minutes or until the bread has risen and a skewer comes out clean.

6. Cool on wire rack then remove bread from tin.

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.

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.