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Deadly Cookie-Brownies

Uncategorized March 21, 2011

Hey y’all. How is everyone doing?

As you can imagine, I have wedding on the brain right now. I picked up a Cosmo Bride magazine yesterday and I was bombarded with all the things I’m supposed to be thinking about.

Engagement party, photographers, hair and makeup, dresses, reception invitation list, actual invitations, actual reception venue, honeymoon locations… It’s all making me a teensy bit mad, but hey.. It’s gotta be done, right? At least I feel like we’re making a little bit of progress (in the way of research anyway.)

I’ve also joined a gym and made major changes to my diet in an attempt to fit into a bridal gown.. I’ve given myself a good six months to drop the kay-gees (or kgs haha) before I go dress shopping. I’ve been told that dress-makers are going to absolutely freak on me, but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do! Besides wanting to get into shape, I honestly do not think I could plan this whole wedding in under 12 months without having a mental breakdown – all this planning is giving me a serious headache!

Anyway… This post is an indication of what you almost definitely should not be eating when you’re on a crazy bride-diet. Bakerella calls these Thaank you Betty! brownies, but I kind of call them ‘deadly brownies.’

I have to say.. Every single time I have baked these I have received nothing but compliments. I’ve been told these are the best brownies I’ve ever made (on several occasions). And its true. They are completely amazing. It’s a combination of brownie AND cookie (AND chocolate ganache.) Something about the cookie dough and the brownie batter melds together to marble together in this amazingly wonderful fudgy, dense, incredible way to create something completely magnificent.

The best thing about them is how absolutely easy they are to make AND they cut down on clean up (people with no dish washers shout “hooray!”)

You only need a few things.

Ingredients:
1 brownie box mix; My favourite box-mix by FAR is White Wings. I’ve tried all the other brands and I swear by this one – been using it for years with great results every time. I fail to make a brownie this good – shame, right?
1 box mix of cookie dough Oddly enough the Betty Crocker brand far outweighs the White Wings cookie dough, which I have also tried. Weird, right? I guess you need the best of both worlds to make this one.
PLUS the ingredients to make the box mixes. From memory, the brownie mix requires 1 T of water, 2 eggs and 1/4 oil (i always use melted butter) and the cookie dough needs 1 egg and something like, 1/3 cup of softened butter.

PLUS you will need some chocolate ganache.
1 cup cream + 250 grams of good eating milk chocolate (I just use the Coles Belgium chocolate brand and it’s gooood.)

To make the chocolate ganache, boil the cream in a saucepan until bubbling. Pour over chopped/broken up chocolate in a bowl and leave for about 30-60 seconds (until chocolate is melted) and stir together. Wow! You just made chocolate ganache. Give yourself a pat on the back. Now take a spoonful of chocolate ganache and contemplate how good chocolate is. Then put the ganache in the fridge and stop eating it. Seriously. Stop. I said stop eating it! Thank you. Allow it to cool for a good hour. You could make this a day beforehand if you were feeling particularly productive.

(PS: In case you didn’t know this, chocolate ganache makes a mean chocolate milk, mixed with cold milk or a beaut hot chocolate with hot milk. OR drizzle it over vanilla ice cream for the perfect chocolate topping.. It can even be used as frosting for a cakes. Ohhh chocolate ganache how you thrill me with your many uses!) Yep. It’s true. Chocolate ganache is a magical substance.

To make the brownie slice, whip up the brownie batter and pour into a greased and/or lined brownie tray. Mix together the cookie dough and then drop in large chunks of cookie dough into the batter. Not too big, I just like to break off a little bit with my fingers and distribute them randomly in the batter. Bake in a hot oven (about 160 degs, don’t wanna overbake these babies) for about an hour or until the cookie dough starts to brown (and the brownie batter is cooked – test with a cake tester – it should yield moist crumbs.) Cool completely. Pour over chocolate ganache and refrigerate until completely set. Cut into slices and serve.

Ah-mazing!!

If you need any more convincing about these brownies, I took some on a picnic.. And the next thing I knew .. I was engaged. Coincidence?

 

.. I don’t think so.

Oh and just a little side note: if you noticed that the chocolate ganache looked like it had a couple of air bubbles in it, its because I put this slice in the fridge with some plastic wrap when it was setting and the air bubbles created that weird effect. I didn’t really notice until later but it was fine to spread to even out the texture.

Hope you are all having a wonderful week!

xx

Christine

 

 

PS:

These freeze beautifully. Pop slices between squares of baking paper and then wrap in cling wrap – perfect for those days you just need a quick and sinfully sweet pick-me-up. Though I don’t drink it, I imagine these would be great with a coffee 🙂

8 Comments
front-image

Valentine’s Day Cookies

Uncategorized February 28, 2011

Hey everyone! Sorry I’ve been MIA for awhile. I’ve been soo busy with work, church, apple picking and of course baking. 🙂 I thought I’d take a bit of time to do some blogging 🙂

I couldn’t think of what to do for my bf for Valentine’s day… Since at the time, his V-day gift to me was a surprise, I had to come up with something romantic. I figured that since I love baking, and there are so many cute V-day themed bakeables, that I should bake something sweet. I also got the chance to use my cupcake shaped cookie cutter for the first time! I ended up baking him a bunch of basic sugar cookies decorated with royal icing 🙂

Sugar Cookies (adapted from a bunch of sources, you will see this one everywhere)
3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract

Cream together butter and sugar, add egg and vanilla. Add flour+baking powder cup by cup until you have a crumbly dough. Refrigerate for about half an hour (makes it easier to roll out). Roll out, cut into shapes and bake for about 15 minutes at 150-160 degrees Celsius or until a pale creamy light golden colour (don’t underbake!) Cool completely and decorate.

For the frosting for this, I simply used a mixture of royal icing powder and lemon juice, then used Wilton paste dyes to colour it.

I loved making these, sooo cute!

This cupcake shape crumbled a bit on the side when I took it off the baking sheet, so I took the opportunity to make it “interesting” haha.

I also made some pale pink hearts with sprinkles.

Then experimented with some bow ties and polka dots.


In fact, I made so many that I bundled them up and took them to the office!

You can buy (quite large) cupcake shaped cookie cutters from Alfresco Emporium (I bought mine from Cherrybrook) for $9.95 🙂

Enjoy! xoxo

Christine

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caramelscoop

Caramel Cookie Crunch Ice Cream

Uncategorized January 14, 2011

Did you know that if you google “Ice Cream Recipe”, that Caramel Ice Cream Recipe from Taste.com is the third recipe to show up?
It’s a true story. It happened to me. It could happen to you, too.

Well of COURSE I had to make it. Caramel is one of the best things in the world. It’s been a favourite flavour of mine, trumping strawberry and chocolate by far in the ice cream, ice cream topping and milkshake flavour stakes of my childhood. Ever since I got an ice cream maker for my birthday, I’ve been on the look out for new ice cream recipes (as well as dreaming up a few of my own. I’m thinking raspberry and white chocolate, I’m thinking honeycomb, I’m thinking banana with caramel swirl, brownie mosaic ice cream, chai ice cream, caramel ice cream with chai swirl, mint choc chip…! The opportunities are endless!)

I had a look at David Lebovitz (author of the Perfect Scoop)’s Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream recipe, but it looked soooo complicated!! I know, whinge, whinge. But I’m a sucker for simplicity. And the taste.com recipe was quite a bit easier.

I also had some extra shortbread Chrissy cookies leftover in the fridge that nobody was using. I decided to add a bit of a tasty cookie crunch as an experiment and it totally worked.

I did actually adapt the Taste.com recipe just slightly.

Ingredients

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 350 mls full cream milk
  • 1 scant cup of vanilla caster sugar (I just throw my old vanilla beans into the caster sugar container, voila! Who wouldn’t ever want to use vanilla sugar? Also it saves me adding extract each time. By the way, if you don’t have vanilla caster sugar, don’t sweat it. It ain’t necessary, I just use it cos I have it, but regular would taste juuust fine.)
  • 300 mls thickened cream

Separate your eggs, save your whites for something else (may I suggest angel food cake, meringue buttercream or an egg white omelette?)
Whisk your yolks in a bowl.

Heat milk in a small saucepan and whisk into eggs.

In another clean saucepan heat the caster sugar with 2 tablepoons of water to make a caramel. Heat to medium until the syrup becomes a dark caramel colour, but be careful not to burn it. Pour in the cream, being very careful as it bubbles up. Mine formed a few lumps of caramel, but don’t worry as these will melt when you heat the mixture later. Sorry I didn’t get any pics of the caramel being made, but it was a very delicate and fast process so I didn’t have time to snap anything.

Pour caramel into egg and milk mixture and heat over medium until thickened. Churn in an ice cream mixture according to instructions or check out the taste.com recipe for instructions if you don’t have a mixer 🙂

To make the cookie crunch, take shortbread cookies, like these ones;

Place them in a ziplock bag.

And seal it up.

Grab a rolling pin and bash it up. Don’t go crazy, you still want some big biscuity pieces to crunch into, so you don’t want it too finely crushed.

About five minutes before your ice cream has finished mixing, pour the biscuit crumbs into your mixer.

If you are making it with an electric hand mixer sans ice cream mixer, I would recommend adding the crumbs to the ice cream before the final freeze and last time you blend it.

After mixing for a good 30 minutes with your mixer, chuck it into the freezer to finish freezing. Scoop it up.

Success!

Enjoy this one! I know I did 🙂

Christine

5 Comments
1

Gingerbread

Uncategorized December 3, 2010

Gingerbread is one of my favourite types of cookies. I never had it much as a kid, but I remember drooling over the shiny packets holding its iced gingerbread tastyness at Woolies and Coles when I was a kid. Wasn’t really allowed them, sadly (probably the right thing to do lol) but since I’ve started baking, it’s been a big favourite of mine. I particularly love the softness and the spice of the cinnamon and ginger that blend so perfectly together. They’re also great for Christmas. I still remember the plate of gingerbread cookies my friend Kira baked for Christmas a couple of years ago. The softness of the cookie melded so perfectly with the crispness of the icing with a teensy lemony tang Kira had added. Yep, we had gobbled them up. I even have a picture of them.

Ah, that takes me back.

Fortunately gingerbread is also one of my boyfriend’s fave cookies as well, which gives me a good excuse to whip up a batch every now and then.

I recently  bought a set of star shaped cookie cutters and well, it was a good excuse as any.

You can check out the recipe I used here. I highly recommend this one, super easy and delicious! This recipe is definitely a keeper.

I experimented a little with the icing – one with water and icing sugar and one with milk and icing sugar. I noticed that there was no real discernible difference in the taste, but the icing with the milk was a lot shinier in appearance whereas the water-icing was dull. Hopefully you’ll be able to tell the diff in the above pix.

I didn’t attempt to replicate Kira’s amazing icing because it contains raw egg and I am a superstitious ninny when it comes to raw eggs. Maybe one day I’ll try it. But for now…

I’ll stick to being paranoid.

Have a wonderful weekend!~

xox

Christine

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1moneyshot

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies

Uncategorized September 20, 2010

It’s a difficult thing to find a Really Good Cookie Recipe. There’s usually one problem – too crispy, not soft enough, too many choc chips or not enough. My ultimate cookie is a soft, dense cookie. Chewiness will also not go amiss. Oh-so-slightly crispy at the edges but gorgeously soft and dense in the centre.
Probably one of the best cookies in the world come from Subway, but I almost never allow myself to buy them since I discovered they were 200 calories a pop (and seriously, who can resist that three cookies for $2.50 deal? come on people, i don’t have that much self control).

These aren’t particularly chewy, but they are certainly dense, soft and crispy. Love, love, love them. I was passed on the recipe from my friend Niwa, can be found here. The original recipe is for white chocolate macadamia cookies, but i’ve made these with regular choc chip with same success – it’s a great basic cookie dough.

Ingredients
2 1/4 C plain flour I once made these cookies without adding baking soda. They were far better with the baking soda – too dense.
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C white caster sugar

3/4 C butter, room temperature – (important for creaming)
2 large eggs
2 t vanilla essence/extract
1 cup nuts (pecans or macadamia)
– I used macadamias
1 1/2 C white chocolate, chopped – I used 1 cup of white chocolate chips


Preheat your oven (180 C) and line a baking tray with baking paper or a baking mat. In a dry bowl, mix together flour, salt and baking powder.

Cream butter and sugars with an electric mixer or with a wooden spoon and some serious elbow grease. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.

Add flour, cup by cup at a time. I always use a wooden spoon for this step, otherwise the flour shoots everywhere with the electric mixer. Flour + cookie dough on the walls = not good.

Fold in your chocolate chips and chop nuts.

Add nuts to the dough.

Macadamia nuts are hard to chop.. I find they have a tendency to shoot everywhere if you’re not careful. I tried bashing them in a ziplock bag, but I broke the bag. Haha. If you have a good solution for macadamia-bashing, let me know your tips and tricks!

Tip – leave in the fridge for 30-60 minutes to harden the dough. This makes it easier to shape into round balls and according to some, makes the dough denser when baking. I have no idea what the connection is, though. Feel free to share, if you know!

Shape tablespoons of dough into balls and place on tray. If you checked out my previous post, you may have halved the choc chips.. if you have, use the reserved amount to decorate cookies with. If not, just chuck in the oven and bake away away.

NOW LISTEN UP, BECAUSE THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART.
DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM YOUR OVEN. DO NOT DO IT.

The best way to get good cookies is by WATCHING THEM LIKE A HAWK. Too many times I have walked away from an oven in boredom, only for a few minutes, seriously and I’ve paid the price with sad, sad burnt cookies. It’s just so annoying buying good ingredients, putting it all together only to get screwed up results. Trust me. I’ve been through the heartbreak and I don’t want you, dear reader, to go through the same pain. It happened during PMS one time and I nearly cried.

Okay, getting a bit emotional here.

Back to the recipe.

In a hot oven, these tend to bake for about 10-15 minutes. When in doubt take them out earlier rather than later, because cookies tend to firm up quite a bit outside of the oven. You should take them out when they are only just beginning to brown on the edges. But never take too long because you have no idea how much burning is going on underneath the pretty white surface if your oven isn’t the right temperature. Trust me on this. If you get it right, the results are super delicious.


Cool on a wire tray and eat one warm with a glass of milk. It is pure magic – the combination of melted chocolate, crispy, soft cookie and cool milk. You’ll love this one.


xoxox

– Christine

If you want tips on how to freeze cookie dough, check out my previous post, here.

4 Comments
freezeforlater

Quick Tips: Cookie Dough

Uncategorized September 6, 2010

The Joys of Freezing

I love chocolate chip cookies. I would probably make them more often if I didn’t know how much sugar and butter and chocolate went into them. Another deterrent is getting all the ingredients – butter (usually one of the first ingredients to go in my boyfriend’s household and at home. i just loove my butter. Chocolate chips are also annoyingly expensive. I’ve found that in the past that there’s almost no point in buying the Coles No Brand cooking chocolate chips. They are AWFUL. So I always spring for the good brands, but they’re something like $4-5 AUD per CUP of chocolate chips. It seems so wrong, since you can buy good quality blocks of eating chocolate for about half the price. Something is wrong here, people. I seriously need to find a baking/chocolate warehouse and stock up somewhere cos these prices are killing me, man! Nothing will keep me from my chocolate chips… Anyway, moving on.

One of my fave tips for cookies is freezing half the dough I make from a batch of cookie dough. I roll it into a long roll and then wrap it in clingfilm and freeze. Whenever you want cookies, simply slice and bake. It’s so awesomely easy, it’s like buying the Aunty Kath brand from Coles. Except cheaper. and A Million Times Better.


Cookie dough at your service, sir.

One problem I used to have with my chocolate chip cookies, years ago, was a minor presentation problem. I love cookies, but I love pretty cookies. Everyone knows that the best choc chip cookies dazzle you with the little chips twinkling prettily through the cookie dough, like this. My cookies always turned out a bit like this, with the cookie part covering the chips completely. Sure, they still tasted good, but I wanted perfection, dammit. Cookies never look like that when you buy them, or on the front packet of cake mixes. Almost all cookie recipes instruct you to fold all the chocolate chips into the dough. I started reserving half the chips to dot over the top of the cookies…. and success. Pretty cookies! yay!

Naked cookie dough. Oh noes! Cover us with delicious chips, mister!

Ahh, that’s much better.

Yay! Cookies. OMOMOMOM.

THE END

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