Chocolate is happiness overload – Cookies, cookies, cookies.

White chocolate shortbread

So I’ve got everything I love: my (very soft and lovable) dog is sitting beside me, it’s raining outside, I’m listening to Stacey Kent, and I’ve got a glass of insanely good wine right next to my computer. Does it get better than that? Mmmm…yes. I also just ate some of the most chocolatey-rich-gooey-intense-cookies I’ve ever made (Can’t say the best ever because that doesn’t really exist. All home made cookies are equally great in the eyes of god just for being cookies. Ahem) with a glass of cold milk. There really is nothing that could top that right? Except maybe two chocolate cookie recipes all in one post. Yup, two. And they couldn’t be more different from one another. Let me tell you about the first one. It’s a a recipe of my own which I can dare to call the perfect cookie to accompany your espresso. A rich in cocoa chocolate shortbread topped by a thick layer of white chocolate, the ideal combo of sweet and chocolate-y, just what you want after a long sip of good dark coffee, right? And not only that, they’re lovely looking AND easy to make. And they keep for more than two weeks. (can’t tell you how much longer because I’ve never actually been able to have shortbread lying around uneaten for that long). Just what you need when you have company over for coffee, trust me. And the second recipe: double chocolate cookies which are gooey inside, crumbly outside, warm from the oven and have to be had with a glass of really cold milk? Yes, a dozen please. That recipe comes courtesy of Kim at Strawberry Ginger, a great blog with tons of delicious recipes. This double choc recipe is one of the best I’ve tried, or at least they turned out really well for me! I highly recommend warming them slightly in your toaster oven before eating them, the chocolate chips will melt blissfully in your mouth. But enough talk about chocolate, go read the recipes.

Double chocolate chip cookies Continue reading

Tiny dinner again? – Chocolate and Peanut Butter Tartlets

Chocolate and peanut butter tartletsChocolate and peanut butter tartlets

I have continued to neglect the uploading of recipes….I know…I’m terrible. But I’m always busy or sick. Right now I’m recovering from my 4th respiratory disease of some sort in less than two months. It’s crazy. Just when I’m getting back on the wagon, back to a good daily routine with lots of exercise, cooking, crafting and gazillions of endorphins per day (either from exercise or chocolate…you guess)….no, my body says. And its back to resting for three days straight without doing anything fun. Hmmph. This has to stop! The good part of not posting though, is that I’ve cooked a lot of new things in between posts, and so I can pick the yummiest! This time I present you with a hard to surpass combination; chocolate and peanut butter, on a crunchy, buttery, flaky tartlet. Sounds delicious? That’s cause they are. I created these because I had a birthday dinner party for one of my best friends, but she’s super tiny (tinier than me) and so I made mini everything for dinner. (Yes, again) Tiny burgers, tiny fries, tiny salads, tiny stuffed portobellos, and of course, tiny desserts! Pavlovas, which I’ll post as soon as I sort the photos out, and these incredibly good chocolate peanut butter tartlets. The tartlet shells are a bit tedious, yes. But you can skip that and make a regular size tart using a pastry ring, because the filling is really really easy and fast. Just make sure you weigh your tart shell properly. Read more for the recipe!

(The above mentioned tiny dinner. See why I had to make tarlets?)

tiny dinner

Beating eggs into doughSablageShort pastry dough

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Teatime heavenly bites – Butter and sugar biscuit thins

Teatime Heavenly Bites

I confess that I’ve been saving this post because I couldn’t come up with words good enough to describe these biscuits. As I’ve said before, (and have shown in the shameless invasion of cookie recipes in this blog) I absolutely adore cookies, in any form. And while there’s no such thing as the perfect cookie, because the perfect choice depends on the moment, weather, accompanying beverage, and previous meal, these ones are pretty close to being the perfect teatime bite. (Also could be the perfect coffetime bite, but people never say 5 o’clock coffee, for some reason). I love having something to accompany my tea, and I always childishly try to eat it in as small bites as I can, to see if I can make it last until I see the bottom of my cup. These, for sure, will NOT last until the bottom of your cup. They don’t melt in your mouth; they crumble, ever so thin and light. Buttery-sweet-flakey. The vanilla ones are perfect for tea, and the chocolate ones for coffee. But be careful and serve only a bit, or you’ll find yourself having a whole meal comprised solely of these biscuits. To add to their wonderfulness, they keep very well as long as they’re placed in an airtight container, preferably with a sign on the tin that reads “don’t grab anymore, you’ve already had 10!”) .
They’re a variation on the recipe for the traditional french sablés below, of which I baked about a ton for a special order. These are also delicious, but quite heavier and best served with a glass of cold milk.

Butter sables on platter

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Baking Frenzy Part II – Nutella Banana Muffins

Nutella Banana Muffins

So for baking frenzy part II, which I know, I’ve taken waaaaay too long to post, I’ll share with you one of my must recipes. I make these pretty often, not because they’re easy, not because I love nutella, not because I love banana muffins, but because they are the perfect combination of all that I’ve just said. I even know the recipe by heart now! The original recipe comes from Delicious Days, one of my favorite food blogs, with a few modifications of my own.

The Recipe:

Nutella-Banana Muffins
(adapted from Delicious Days)
Yield: 30 small muffins

2 eggs
125 g soft butter
100 g brown sugar
2 large ripe bananas
150 g Nutella
100 ml milk
250 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Cream together in a large bowl the eggs, butter and sugar, then fold in squashed banana and whisk.

In a separate bowl, combine milk and baking soda and blend well. Also separately, mix the flour with the baking powder. Now alternately blend in a part of the milk mixture, then a part of the flour mix, part of the milk, … until everything is combined. Add the nutella and with a rubber spatula swirl it into the batter, taking care not to mix it too much, leaving whole streaks of it unblended.

Now pour batter into prepared muffin tins (I used silicon) and bake  in the preheated oven until golden brown, or a when tested with a wooden skewer it comes out clean.

Serve warm, the nutella truly kicks in then.

Batter with nutella

Chocolate chip cookies – for a break up

Chocolate Chip Cookies

There’s nothing more comforting than chocolate. Especially when it comes right out of the oven after having been mixed with sugar, butter and flour. I made these just after finding out one of my best friends was in need of some of the aforementioned comforting – after a break up. It is so far the best recipe I’ve tried for chocolate chip cookies (probably because its my own recipe, after several modifications to several recipes). Crunchy on the outside but very soft on the inside, tons of chocolate, and just the occasional walnut bit -every other bite or so.

They’re quick to make, quick to bake, and quick to put a smile, even if a small one, on a sad face.

Anyhow, here’s the recipe:

Chocolate chip cookies
(Own recipe)

Yield: 36 medium cookies

2  1/2  cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1  1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon milk

2 cups roughly chopped semi-sweet or milk chocolate (keep the chunks big)

2/3  chopped walnuts

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 360ºF
Place the softened butter along with the brown sugar in the bowl of your mixer, and using the whisk attachment, beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. While this happens, sift together the salt, baking powder and flour in a separate bowl. Return to your butter (now light and fluffy) and add the eggs, one at a time, and finish with the milk and vanilla. Switch to low speed and add, a little at a time, the flour mixture. Using a spatula, mix in the chocolate and walnuts, until evenly spread out.

Using your hands, form medium sized balls and flatten slightly on baking sheets. Bake until slightly golden at the edges. (I don’t use times, since each oven is extremely different! If yours tends to heat unevenly, like mine, rotate the baking sheets after about 5 minutes in. I think mine took about 10 in total)