Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

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Chocolate and raspberries together make brownie perfection!

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I love the ways these turned out – so creamy and rich! And the slight tartness of the raspberries complement the sweetness so well. The raspberries can be replaced by your favourite add-ins. I’d recommend cherries, walnuts, white chocolate pieces or macadamia nuts – get creative!

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The important thing to remember is not to overbake brownies. I have done it on one too many occasions and the result is a disappointing, dry cake. You also don’t want a mouthful of sticky dough, so try to get the balance right. The aim is a soft, moist interior and a deliciously crunchy top.

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Chocolate Raspberry Brownies (makes 9 squares)

Ingredients

  • 185g unsalted butter
  • 185g dark chocolate
  • 85g plain flour
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 3 large egg
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • handful of raspberries (can be frozen)

Method

  1. Line a 20cm square tin and preheat the oven to 180c
  2. Melt the butter and dark chocolate in the microwave and set it aside to cool slightly
  3. Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and light
  4. Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the eggs and fold together
  5. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture and fold gently
  6. Add the raspberries and fold
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 mins. If the middle is still wobbly, keep baking for another 5 mins and keep checking – make sure not to overbake!

Beautiful Chocolate Marble Bread

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Beautifully golden-brown – the most divine chocolate marble loaf!

A chocolate slab is used in the dough and plaited to create this gorgeous marbled effect – even I’m surprised by how neat this turned out!

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This bread was made using the tangzhong method, which creates wonderfully soft bread. It involves cooking a paste using flour and water, before adding it to the main dough – a simple addition that makes such a difference to the texture of the bread, and helps it to stay soft for a few days. It has been my go-to method for making soft bread for a few years now. Give it a go and let me know how it goes 🙂

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Chocolate Swirl Bread (makes 2 small loaves)

Recipe adapted from Christine’s Recipes

Main dough ingredients:
  • 25g bread flour
  • 125ml water
  • 350g bread flour
  • 6g instant dry yeast
  • 60g sugar
  • 4g salt
  • 24g milk powder
  • 150g milk
  • 30g unsalted butter
Chocolate dough ingredients:
  • 50g plain chocolate
  • 20g margarine/ butter
  • 20g bread flour
  • 10g cocoa powder
  • 5g corn flour
  • 60g milk
  • 30g sugar
  • 1 egg white

Main dough – Method

  1. To make the tangzhong, whisk 25g bread flour and 125ml water together in a small saucepan over a low-medium heat. The mixture will thicken quickly and when lines appear in the mixture, remove from the heat.
  2. Add tangzhong and all ingredients except the liquid and butter in a bowl, gradually add 1/2 of the water and knead well (gradually add milk if required). Add 30g butter and knead until the window pane stage is reached (simple guide here).
  3. Spray water on doughs and place in separate containers. Cover and let it proof for 60 mins.
  4. Punch down the doughs, roll into respective balls, cover and let it rest for 10 mins.
Chocolate dough – Method
  1. Melt the chocolate and margarine via double boiler method, and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, and cornflour. Then add in milk and sugar. Mix well and then add the melted chocolate, margarine mixture. Lastly add in egg white. Whisk till all well combine.
  3. Cook the mixture on a low heat and whisk constantly. The chocolate filling is ready once the mixture turns thick (obvious lines appear on the mixture surface as you stir).
  4. Transfer the chocolate dough onto clingfilm. Cover and leave aside to cool (about 3-5minutes).
  5. Separate into 2 portions and roll each out to about 18cm x 12cm. Wrap and keep in the fridge to set.

Assembly

  1. Roll out one of the main doughs into a rectangle shape 20x15cm. Place one chocolate dough on top of the white dough. Roll out to 30x20cm.
  2. Cut into 2 equal portions. Place one piece on top of the other. Roll out the dough to 30x20cm, repeat another two times.
  3. Cut it into three strips and plait them together. Place the dough into a greased tin. Spray water and cover.
  4. Repeat with the other main dough and chocolate dough.
  5. Let it proof for 40-60 mins or until doubled in height.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 30-35 mins.
  7. Remove from the tin and let it cool on a wire rack for 2 hrs before cutting.

Chocolate Dipped, Orange and Raisin Biscottis

I love a crunchy biscuit, so biscotti is perfect, especially dunked in a cup of hot tea (or coffee for me…). Biscotti is an Italian biscuit that is twice baked to give it that crunchy texture. It is so easy to make, although requires more time in the oven than most biscuits.
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You can really play with flavours with biscotti but there are some that are just made for each other – chocolate and orange being one of them.The addition of raisins add another dimension of texture, which works well with the crunchiness.
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The recipe and baking time all contribute to the final texture – which is oh so important (my colleagues have experienced some teeth shattering biscotti…) I have used the traditional recipe with eggs and no oil/butter. The eggs provide structure and ensure the biscuits are not too dry. I used to keep these in the oven to dry out but this makes them too hard, so stick to the 20 minutes at the end of the recipe.
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Chocolate Dipped, Orange and Raisin Biscotti
Recipe adapted from All Recipes
Ingredients
  • 130g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 90g (~1/2 cup) white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 50g plain chocolate
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 175C (350F).
  2. Rub the orange zest and sugar together (this brings out more of the orange flavour!) Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat in the egg and egg white, then mix in the raisins.
  3. Roll the dough into a log and place on a baking sheet. Press down to about 2cm thickness and adjust the width of the log to how long you want each biscotti.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes in preheated oven until lightly golden and firm to touch. Cool on a rack for 10-15mins. With a serrated knife, cut into ~2cm slices. Place slices, cut side down, back onto the baking sheet.
  5. Return them to the oven for an additional 20 minutes; turning over half way through the baking. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Dip one side of the biscotti into it. Place cookies on wire racks, chocolate side up, until cool and dry.

Matcha Green Tea Macarons

This matcha craze doesn’t seem to be subsiding so let’s add to the green tea fun! The slight bitterness of matcha works so well in desserts as the sweetness mellows the bitterness slightly, creating the perfect balance.
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Here, I’ve made two fillings: matcha buttercream and a dark chocolate ganache. Both are great accompaniments with matcha – the first is buttery, floral and perfect for a green tea lover, and the second is rich, smooth, and decadent.
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Macarons are infamously difficult to perfect, but it just requires a few practices. This great video from Talita makes it look so easy! And the trick to softer, moister macarons is to wait a few days before eating, or add the filling and serve the next day. Trust me, the patience is worth it!DSC_0465 (1)
Matcha Macarons (makes 16 macarons)
Ingredients
  • 60 grams egg whites
  • 76 grams almond meal
  • 90 grams powdered sugar
  • 46 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp matcha powder
  • Pinch cream of tartar

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350℉.
  2. Line two baking pans with greaseproof paper and lay macaron templates underneath.
  3. Pulse the ground almonds and icing sugar in the food processor and sift into a bowl to remove most of the large clumps. If a few small pieces remain, you can add back in the bowl or leave them out (depends how neat you want them).
  4. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy.
  5. Add the granulated sugar and process for 2-3 minutes until the granulated sugar has been incorporated and the mixture is thick.
  6. Add the cream of tartar and the matcha powder and whisk the egg whites on high until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  7. Add ⅓ of the almond meal mixture to the egg whites. Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients a few times following the curve of the bowl and towards the center. Once the first ⅓ of the dry ingredients have been mostly incorporated repeat with the second ⅓ then the the remaining ⅓ of the almond meal mixture. Do not overmix as you want a thick, glossy batter that flows thickly from the spatula. You should have a ribbon of batter that takes about 20 seconds to be incorporated back into the mixture.
  8. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip. Pipe 4cm rounds (following a template) onto the greaseproof paper. I pipe with the tip directly above the baking sheet and use a slight swirling motion from the center of the round, pushing the batter out.
  9. Tap the baking sheets against the counter a few times to remove air bubbles, and let the macarons rest until a skin forms. They’re ready to bake when the batter doesn’t stick to your finger.
  10. You should only bake one sheet at a time, otherwise the bottom tray will not rise well (I’m speaking from experience!) Bake for 13-14 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through the baking period. The feet should develop in the first 5-6 minutes. Be careful not to let the macarons get brown. Remove the first batch from the oven and repeat the same steps with the second.
  11. Let the baked shells sit in the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. You will know they are done when they lift easily off the parchment paper or silicone baking mat. If the shells stick, they’re undercooked.
  12. Fill with your favourite filling and serve the next day.

Chocolate Meringue Cake

When I suggested this Chocolate Meringue Cake to a friend for a recent dinner get-together, the response was an emphatic “woahh…let’s do that!” – absolutely no doubt. Just look at the chocolate-y, sugary goodness!

2014-07-29 20.41.45The meringue was not too sweet, but it added a nice crunchy texture to the cake, and the berries cannot be forgone, since it goes well with the chocolate and cuts through the sweetness.2014-07-29 20.41.26

Notes:

  • I overbaked the cake base, since I used a larger pan. I would reduce the cooking time to 15 minutes, since I found that the meringue took at least 30 minutes to harden.
  • I would suggest serving this warm, and place berries on the cake just before serving otherwise the meringue will soften.

Chocolate Meringue Cake

Adapted from The Artful Desperado

For the cake:

  • 225g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 170g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 65g brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 43g all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
  • 43g almond meal

For the meringue:

  • 4 eggs whites
  • 95g super fine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 40g dark chocolate, melted

Berries to serve (I used strawberries, blueberries, red grapes)

Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly grease a springform 8 inch pan (I used 9 inch, but smaller is better for height and texture of cake), place some parchment paper on the bottom and set aside.
2. Place butter and chocolate in a small pot over low heat and warm enough to melt them. Turn off the heat let it stand for a bit.
3. In a large bowl place the eggs, egg yolks, brown sugar, and vanilla and mix or whisk for about 5 minutes until the mixture is pale and has doubled in size (it should look really frothy and thicker). Add the chocolate/butter melted mixture, flour, baking powder, and almond meal and gently fold until combined. Place batter in the cake tin and bake for about 30 min JUST until set – DO NOT COOK FULLY! We need to add the meringue so it should 3/4 done (it’s ok if it’s looks a bit “raw” still). Remove from the oven, set aside.

Meringue
Start the meringue as soon as you take the cake out of the oven. Not before, as meringue can’t sit.

1. Increase temperature in the oven to 350F
2. Place egg whites in a CLEAN bowl (no grease, no water) and beat them to soft peaks. Slowly add the sugar (about 1 tablespoon at at time). When you’re done with the sugar, add the vinegar and beat until meringue is nice and glossy. Add the cornstarch and cocoa and gently fold. Finally, slowly drizzle the melted chocolate and place the whole thing on top of the cake. Don’t mix the chocolate as you want natural swirls to happen!
3. Place the cake with the meringue back in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the meringue feels dry. Remove from the oven when done and let is stand outside for a bit.