Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m beginning to see a bit of a trend with my food posts, they all seem to be biscuits, cakes or puddings!I like to think that’s because they are the most appealing recipes rather than I eat more sugar than health-food but I’m beginning to wonder.

It doesn’t help having children of course. I’d rather bake and give my 7-year-old home-baked biscuits than rubbish stuffed full of aspartame and trans-fats. Still, it isn’t doing my waistline any favours, especially when the biscuits are THIS delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 250g/9oz butter
  • 150g/5.5oz caster sugar
  • 300g/10oz self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 50g chocolate chips

Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/Gas 4/fan oven 160 degrees.
  • Beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy
  • Stir in flour, orange zest and milk and mix well
  • Add the chocolate chips and mix gently
  • Divide the mixture into 18 portions and put flattened balls of cookie dough on your baking sheets, leaving room for the biscuits to ‘spread’ in the oven
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.
  • Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets then remove to a wire rack to cool and crisp up.

Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Making Brandy Snap Baskets

Making brandy snap baskets

I love those occasional weekend days you get when there’s nothing to do. The boys are entertaining themselves watching football/watching motorsport/playing cars/doing boy stuff (delete as appropriate) and I’m free to just potter in the kitchen for an hour or two.

What I really fancied making was a cake, but I’d run out of eggs and couldn’t be bothered to trek to the shop, so I searched for something else instead. And what I settled on was Brandy Snap Baskets.  Just because I’d always meant to try them but had never got around to it.

The mixture is easy to make, but the rest of it takes a little more patience and a bit of trial and error.  The spoonfuls of mixture spread ENORMOUSLY when they cook (a tablespoon spreads to be approx 6 inches across) so you have to leave MUCH more room than I did in the picture below. Also, watch the oven like a hawk for the last 2 minutes of cooking, they go from underdone to burned very quickly.  They’re well worth the effort though, they make a scoop of vanilla ice cream into something really special!

Ingredients:

Strawberry Swirled Meringues

Strawberry swirled meringues

There’s little in life as delicous as a home-made meringue, especially when they’re served with whipped cream *sigh*

I made these meringues for our Halloween Harry Potter party and thought that the strawberry swirl would make them look suitably ghoulish. I called them ‘Bloodthirsty Meringues’ and they didn’t last long at all!

They’re super-simple to make. Just make regular meringues and swirl some strawberry sauce through the mixture before you pop them into the oven. The strawberry sauce makes for a slightly gooey strawberry-flavoured toffee-type swirl on the top of the powdery meringue. Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 3  egg whites
  • 175g white caster sugar
  • Strawberry sauce (like the kind you put on ice-cream)

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Heart Healthy Banana Cake

Heart Healthy Banana Cake

This is a cake you can feel virtuous about eating. Not only is it packed with over-ripe bananas that you don’t know what to do with (I seem to constantly have this problem), but it’s also bursting with sultanas and cinnamon and tastes *amazing*! (recipe below)

It does have butter in it, but only 50g for the whole cake. The way I look at it butter (in moderation) has got to be way healthier than margarine (which after all is a by-product of the petrochemical industry – yeuch) and I’m just not as keen on cakes made with oil. So the butter was worth it IMHO. You could alwasy substitute it with oil if you prefer. I tried to find the conversion and found that 50g of butter = approx 50 ml of oil, but I haven’t tried this so let me know if you have more experience please! 🙂

Also, I was trying my new silicone cake tin out – only £5 from Ikea – how good is that? I just wish I’d bought their loaf tin from the same range, cakes always seem to get stuck in my regular loaf tin! Gotta love Ikea! Anyway, it left such pretty patterns in the bottom of the cake that I decided to whip up some chocolate ganache and spend a calming half an hour piping melted chocolate into the pattern (see my finished efforts below). Very satisfying!

Plus it meant my 7-year-old was very keen to eat the cake and had 2 slices – any way I can get fruit into him has got to be a good thing!

It was also such a healthy cake that I felt justified having a slice of it for breakfast this morning. What a great start to the day!

Heart Healthy Banana Cake

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Store Cupboard Heroes: Chocolate Jam Cake

Chocolate Jam Cake

This is a great and easy-to-make everyday cake. I very much subscribe to the Marie Antoinette school of cake-eating where cake is an expected part of the day rather than a special treat. This cake is plain enough to stop you feeling like you’re over-indulging, but it’s dense and moist and tasty enough to hit the spot. It’s also National Chocolate Week this week (apparently) so that’s an extra excuse too.

It’s based on a Nigella recipe which uses Marmalade to flavour a chocolate cake, but I fancied a strawberry version and very delicious it is too!

I think using black cherry jam would be equally delicious…

It’s great served still warm from the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or left to go completely cold and eaten in big slices with a cup of tea.

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Chocolate Toffee Brownie Cake

Chocolate Toffee Brownie Cake

This is made using the same recipe as the Chocolate Toffee Brownie recipe I posted yesterday. Don’t kid yourself though, it may look like a birthday cake but it’s actually an enormous chewy, dark and delicious chocolate brownie topped with cream cheese icing. It’s worth warning people, otherwise on first bit they might think you’ve made the heaviest sponge cake in the world!!!

One word of warning: I wouldn’t recommend using the same Happy Birthday candles I did. By the time you’ve lit them all it’s a bit like a blazing inferno and they’re dripping wax all over the cake. Not the end of the world, as long as you don’t mind slightly waxy frosting…

Anyway, see the brownie recipe here. Just tip into a cake tin and cook for an extra 10 minutes.

Chocolate Toffee Brownie Cake

The  cream cheese frosting recipe is below:

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Individual Chocolate Toffee Brownies

Chocolate Toffee Brownies

Sometimes you need to indulge, and these Chocolate Toffee Brownies are a great way of doing just that! They are deeply chocolately, chewy and oh so satisfying! I had a bad case of that Monday-morning feeling yesterday, so I made a cup of tea and ate 2 of these little beauties and life suddenly seemed much brighter. I swear there’s magic in a good brownie!

The marshmallows melt and bubble and turn into gooey toffee inside the brownies. It wasn’t intentional when I added marshmallows to the mix, but it was a great result. Sometimes some of life’s greatest discoveries are by accident and this is one of those!

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 120g plain flour
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 250g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 handfuls of mini marshmallows
  • 30g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

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