Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Cake'n'Bake Wedensday: Bailey's Blondies

These Blondies are also known as "Monica Geller's" because they came to be due to my uncontrollable need to please people.

What happened was this: on the day of our December meeting we had a few last minute cancellations, which under normal circumstances wouldn't pose a problem, but because of the Secret Santa theme we had in December 2012 it meant that some bakers would not receive their "gift" (i.e. have their word baked) and that simply wouldn't do.

I generally finish work at 5pm, and on club nights aim to get to the Friends Meeting House by 7pm to start setting up. Usually I take my bake club things to work with me in the morning, stay at work until 6:30pm and go straight from there, as work is about halfway between my house and the meeting house. This time, however, to ensure that everyone got their words baked, I left work bang on 5pm, ran to the supermarket to buy some ingredients, ran home, and started baking like a mad-woman! Anyway, I ended up getting a taxi up to the meeting house, and the brownies were still lovely and warm by the time I got there. Thankfully, Ruth had arrived before I did and started setting up shop :-) We then sat and ate some of the gooier brownies with spoons. It was a good day.

Anyway, the words that needed to be baked were Bailey's, Stars and Red. so below is my recipe for Bailey's Blondies with white chocolate stars and red edible glitter to decorate!

200g slightly salted butter
100g white chocolate
2 medium eggs
135g caster sugar
100ml Bailey's Irish Cream
300g plain flour
Edible glitter and white chocolate stars to decorate (optional)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 - 40 minutes
Makes 16 blondies

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 5 and line a square tin with baking paper.
  2. Put the butter into a small microwavable bowl and melt in the microwave. Place this to one side to cool.
  3. Melt the white chocolate, either in the microwave in 20 second blasts, or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once melted, place to one side to cool.
  4. Put the eggs and caster sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat until frothy. Beat in the cooled melted butter, Baileys and white chocolate. Finally add the flour to the mixture and fold in until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepare cake tin, then sprinkle on the edible glitter and white chocolate stars, if using, to decorate.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown in colour, and springy but still moist to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan before turning out and cutting into 16 gorgeous, gooey brownies! (Blondies...!)

Happy Thoughts

Friday, 6 December 2013

Celebration Brownies

Ho ho ho!

I said I'd be back with Christmas bakes... and here we are!

Growing up, it was an absolute guarantee in my house that we'd have enough tins of chocolate to open up our own shop. My mum would always buy in some tins for when we had visitors, and the visitors would always bring along a tin so as not to come empty handed. We always had enough Roses, Quality Street, Celebrations and Heroes to last us well into the New Year, so that's my inspiration for this festive bake. I took these into work last week, and my colleagues loved them. Especially trying to figure out which chocolates appeared in their brownie - there was a good 10 minutes worth of "I think it's a Milky Way," "I had a Snickers", and "Oh my god there was a whole piece of Galaxy in that bite!" :-D

Prep time: 15 mins
Bake time: 40-45 mins
Makes 16 brownies

225g margarine
75g cocoa powder
4 medium eggs
300g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
150g self raising flour
Half a box of Celebrations (around 20 sweets)

  1. pre-heat the oven to 180 and line a square brownie tin with greaseproof paper
  2. melt the margarine in the microwave for 30 seconds, then stir in the cocoa powder. Place this to one side to cool. (You might want to start unwrapping the sweets at this point!)
  3. in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla until pale and foamy. Whisk in the cooled cocoa mixture until well combined.
  4. sift half of the flour into the bowl and fold into the mixture. Sift the other half of the flour into the bowl, then add the sweets before folding in until all combined.
  5. pour your mixture into the prepared brownie tin and level with the back of a spoon. Pop this in the oven for 35-40mins - when done the brownies should be springy to touch but still a little gooey in the centre
  6. remove from the oven and allow the brownies to cool in the tin. Once cool, take out of the pan and cut into 16 pieces.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Cake'n'Bake Wednesday: Ginger and White Chocolate Cheesecake

The club had decided to try not to repeat themes from the previous year, but we also decided that we couldn't NOT do Christmas in December, so we put a Secret Santa spin on it. Each member had to put a word or phrase which made them think of Christmas into a hat, and then the words were drawn out at random for another member to use as baking inspiration.

The word I drew out of the hat was "Ginger". Originally I was planning to bake a gingerbread house that we could assemble together at the meeting, but as I did the draw I knew that another member had gingerbread, so I decided to go for something a little bit different. A ginger and white chocolate cheesecake!

200g gingernut biscuits
100g margarine
30g crystallised ginger, plus extra to decorate
150g white chocolate
300ml double cream
300g cream cheese
150g icing sugar
A little bronze lustre dust
Gold edible shimmer spray

Prep time: 20 minutes
Chill time: 3 hours (minimum)
Serves 8-10

  1. Crush the gingernut biscuits into fine crumbs, either by putting in a blender, or by bashing with a rolling pin the old fashioned way.
  2. Melt the margarine and mix into the biscuit crumbs. Pour the biscuit mixture into the cake tin you are using (I used a 7 inch springform pan) and press down with the back of a spoon to flatten. Pop the tin in the fridge to allow the biscuit base to set whilst you make the cheesecake filling.
  3. Start by chopping the crystallised ginger into teeny tiny small pieces, and put these to one side. Melt the white chocolate - either in the microwave or in a bowl over hot water - and put this to one side to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the double cream to soft peaks, then whisk in the cream cheese and icing sugar. Separate 250g (approximately 1/3) of the filling into a smaller bowl, and stir in the chopped ginger and bronze lustre dust. Put this to one side.
  5. Whisk the cooled white chocolate into the remaining cheesecake mixture.
  6. Remove the biscuit base from the fridge and start to layer the cheesecake fillings on top of this, making sure to level the top of the cheesecake between each layer. Start with half of the white chocolate filling, then all of the ginger filling, then the remaining white chocolate filling.  
  7. Spray the top of the cheesecake with the gold shimmer spray, then place one or two pieces of ginger in the centre to decorate. Pop the cheesecake in the fridge for at least 3 hours to set before serving. (It's best to leave it overnight, if you can!)

Happy Thoughts