Sunday, November 20, 2016

BLISSFUL BANANA MUFFINS


I have never really been a fan of muffins.  I have always found them a bit blah.  A few weeks ago though I decided to have a fiddle around with a few different recipes and I created my Blueberry Streusel Muffins.  Those muffins completely changed my attitude towards muffins.  They are so good that when I make them I have to get them straight out of the house before I devour them all.  So today I started thinking about banana muffins.  Out of all the muffins I have ever had, banana muffins are the muffins I like the least.  I have always hated their damp and heavy texture - bleugh!  So, I decided to have a play around with my Blueberry Muffin recipe and see if I could elevate the blah banana muffin to something enjoyable.  Well, I am happy to report that it worked!  These little devils are lovely.  Light and fluffy. Not too sweet but they have a gorgeous banana flavour. So if you have made other banana muffin recipes and found them to be dense little rocks, give these a try.  I hope you enjoy them.

BLISSFUL BANANA MUFFINS



Muffins
1 egg
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups of plain flour
2 bananas (between 450g - 550g unpeeled weight)

1. Grease a 12 hole muffin tray. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees.
2. Place the bananas in the bowl with the kneading blade. Pulse for 5 seconds.
3. Place the remain ingredients in the bowl. Select Speed 6 Time 40 seconds.
4. Pause the program after 15 sec and scrape down the bowl and blade. Resume program.
5. Place the batter in the muffin tray filling each cup nearly to the top. A standard icecream scoop is exactly the right size.
6. Place in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean or until the top of the muffin is firm to the touch.

NOTE - for a touch of spice you can add a 1/2 tsp of either ground cinnamon or ground nutmeg

Sunday, October 30, 2016

FROWNIES


Don't you just love a good hybrid?  You take a Labrador and a Poodle and you get a gorgeous Labradoodle.  You take a plum and an apricot and you get a plucot.  You take Brad and Angelina and you get Branglelina...oh wait...that's probably not a good example!  What is a good example is these Frownies.  It is a fudge and brownie hybrid.  Frownies are delicious, fast to make and best of all need only three ingredients!  If you are craving a chocolate hit you can have these made and baked in less than 25 minutes. Enjoy!

FROWNIES


200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa is best)
3/4 cup of condensed milk
1 cup of chopped pecans (you could use any nut you like but pecans are my favourite)

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Line a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper with the paper overhanging the sides.

2. Place the chocolate (broken into squares) into the bowl with the kneading blade. Select Speed 3 Temp 85 Time 4 in 30 sec. Start program. After 2 min pause the program and scrape down the bowl and blade. Resume program.

3. Add the condensed milk to the chocolate.  Select Speed 5 Time 30 sec.  After 15 sec pause the program and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the blade. Resume program.

4. Remove the kneading blade from the bowl and scrape batter off.  Add nuts to the chocolate and fold in quickly. Pour mixture into the prepared tin and spread out evenly.

6. Place Frownie in the oven and bake for 18 minutes.

7. Remove Frownie from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 15 min before lifting out using the overhanging baking paper and allowing to cool on a wire rack.  Cut into matchbox size slices to serve.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

GLUTEN & BUTTER FREE CHOC CHIP BISCUITS


So many people these days are cutting gluten out of their diet. Some people do it for medical reasons and some do it by choice.  Whatever the reason, being gluten free can make it hard to find gluten free foods that taste good. I'm not gluten free myself and nor is anybody in my family but I feel the need to starting creating some gluten free recipes to help out those living a gluten free life. I have only ever tried a couple of gluten free baked goods and I must say that I was less than impressed with the taste and texture.  These biscuits however are fantastic. I think that using coconut oil imparts a lovely texture and taste. If you aren't a fan of chocolate chip, these can also be made using sultanas.


GLUTEN & BUTTER FREE CHOC CHIP BISCUITS



1 1/2 cups gluten free plain flour (I used the "free from" brand from Woolworths)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup of liquid/room temperature coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar (for a more intense flavour use dark brown sugar)
1/4 caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of dark choc chips

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Place all ingredients in the bowl with the kneading blade.
3. Select Pastry P1 for 1 min 30 sec.
4. Stop the program after 30 seconds and scrape down the blade and sides of the bowl. Restart program.
5. When program is complete add choc chips. Select Speed 6 Time 20 seconds. Dough will appear crumbly and will not have formed a ball.
6. Use a 1/4 cup (or a cookie scoop) to take out portions of the dough. Squeeze the dough tightly in your hand to bring it together and roll into a ball.
7. Place balls of dough on the prepared baking tray, spacing them out to allow for spreading.
8. Gently flatten the balls. The edges will crack - just gently squeeze the cracks together. (You don't have to do that - it is purely for appearance.)
9. Bake in the prepared oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
10. Allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a cooling rack.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

BLUEBERRY STREUSEL MUFFINS


Lets be honest here....muffins aren't the prettiest things around.  These muffins are downright unattractive. However, we don't eat muffins because of their looks....we eat them because they are delicious.  These blueberry muffins are particularly delicious.  They are light and fluffy (thanks to a combination of sour cream and buttermilk)  and the streusel topping is just delightful.  They smell wonderful whilst they are baking.  So with all that, I think we can forgive them for being a bit homely looking!


BLUEBERRY STREUSEL MUFFINS 


Muffins
1 egg
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups of plain flour
1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries (do not defrost before using)

1. Grease a 12 hole muffin tray. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees.
2. Place all ingredients except the blueberries, in the bowl with the kneading blade, in the order specified.
3.Select Pastry P1 Time 1 min.
4. Pause the program after 30 sec and scrape down the bowl and blade. Resume program.
5. When the program is complete, add the frozen blueberries to the bowl.
6. Select Speed 4 Time 15 sec and start. Repeat in 5 second increments if the blueberries aren't fully incorporated - but don't do it for too long or your blueberries will become mushy and stain the batter. (You can choose to remove the kneading blade and use a spoon or spatula to fold the blueberries in if you wish)
7. Place the batter in the muffin tray filling each cup nearly to the top. A standard icecream scoop is exactly the right size.
8. Top each muffin with the streusel topping (recipe below) and then place in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean or with crumbs clinging to it.

Streusel Topping
60g of diced, fridge cold butter
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Place all ingredients in the bowl with the kneading blade.
2. Pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, about 30 seconds.



Friday, September 30, 2016

COOK THE CAKE COMPETITION - VICTORIA SPONGE

Hello CC Lovers.  It's great to see you here.  Welcome to our first ever "Cook the Cake" competition.  The idea of this competiton, apart from the opportunity to win prizes, is to help you build your CC baking skills.  A competition will be run every two weeks and each time you will have the opprotunity to try something new.  For those who don't have a lot of baking experience or those who think they are "terrible bakers", this is a chance for you to see that with the CC, anybody can be a successful baker.
For each competition I will provide a basic recipe and all you need to do is bake it.  Some recipes will need to be made exactly as per the instructions, whilst others will leave room for a bit of personal creativity.  There will be two winners each fortnight.  One winner will be judged on the appearance of their entry and the other will be a random draw. So everybody has a chance to win.

So without further ado...this week's first competition.

VICTORIA SPONGE




I have chosen Victoria Sponge (also known as Victoria Sandwich) because this is truly a baking classic.  This is a very simple, very basic cake but it has loads of potential for being personalised to suit your needs or taste. It is a cake that was named after Queen Victoria who is said to have enjoyed eating it for afternoon tea.  Traditionally the cake is made with a filling of raspberry jam and cream and topped with a dusting of icing sugar.  I must say that I enjoy the cake that way but I also enoy it many other ways.  So, when you make this cake, whilst you must follow the basic recipe, feel free to let your imagination run wild with ways to decorate or top and fill this cake. Perhaps a lovely lemon curd filling?  Turn it into a Boston Creme Pie with creme patisserie in the centre and a chocolate ganache on top.  Maybe you could smother the whole thing in a lovely thick caramel.  Oh and don't forget strawberries and cream in the middle with a cloud of icing sugar on top.  The sky really is the limit with this cake! I have kept mine simple in the picture.  It is not filled yet and merely has a dusting of icing sugar.

Recipe 
250g unsalted butter, diced and very very soft
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 cups self raising flour (or 2 cups plain flour and 4 tsp baking powder)
1/3 cup of milk

1. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees. Grease and line the bases of two 20cm sandwich tins.
2. Place all ingredients in the order specified, into the bowl with the kneading blade.
3. Select Pastry P1 for 1min.
4. After 30sec stop the machine and scrape down the bowl and blade.
5. Recommence program.
6. When the program is complete, using the pulse button, pulse the mixture for 10 seconds.
7. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and place in the oven.
8. Bake for 25-30 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto a sheet of baking paper on a wire rack to cool completely.

Tips:

1. Your butter must be very very soft. Not melted but soft enough to poke your finger through.
2. If you use larger tins (ie 22cm) you will need around 5cm less cooking time.
3. To ensure your mixture is evenly divided between the tins, place the tin on your scales and zero them then place the batter into the tin. Ensure each tin weights the same.
4. Place baking paper on the wire rack prevents markings on your cake.
5. You can change the flavour of this cake by adding zest of a lemon or orange for a citrus cake. If you want chocolate, replace two tablespoons of the flour with two tablespoons of cocoa powder.
6. If you have a sociopath oven like I do, that has hot spots and you notice the tops of your cakes browning too quickly, just place a sheet of alfoil lightly over the top.
7. This cake is best eaten within 24 hours of baking.

Competition Rules

1. All entries must be your own work.
2. Entries open 1/10/2016 and close at midnight 16/10/2016.
3. Enter by commenting on the competition post on www.lovebakingwiththecuisinecompanion.blogspot.com with your Facebook user name and by posting a picture of your cake in the competition thread in the Loving the Tefal Cuisine Companion group.
4. Victoria Sponges must be made using the recipe provided in the competition details but may be decorated in anyway you choose. One exception is that changes to the recipe may be made to cater for dietary restrictions such as gluten free or dairy free.
5. There are two prizes each is a $50 pre-paid Visa or Mastercard.
6. One prize will be awarded based on presentation and the other will be randomly drawn from all entries.
7. Winners will be announced in the Facebook Loving the Tefal Cuisine Companion group on Tuesday 18/10/16.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE OAT BISCUITS

 What a delicious and filling biscuit these are.  With both cocoa and choc chips, you get a lovely hit of chocolate and the rolled oats give great texture.  They are almost like a chocolate chip Anzac biscuit. Such an easy thing to make in the CC.


DOUBLE CHOCOLATE OAT BISCUITS


1 cup butter, diced and very soft
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 cups of rolled oats
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup of choc chips plus extra to decorate

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Place all ingredients in the bowl with the kneading blade.
3. Select Pastry P1 Time 1 minute.
4. Roll balls slightly bigger than a walnut.  Place on tray and press gently to flatten.
5. Use extra choc chips to decorate each biscuit.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. 10 minutes for a softer chewier result. 12 minutes for a firmer, crisper biscuit.
7. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before placing on a cooling rack kto finish cooling.

NOTE - For a vegan version change the butter to Nuttelex and replace the eggs with 1/2 cup of bought or homemade apple sauce.

FUDGY MARSHMALLOW BROWNIE PIE

I'm always on the look out for a good brownie recipe.  I like my brownies to be dark, moist and rich.  This brownie pie ticks all three boxes. As an added bonus it is also full of wonderful toasted pecans and it has a sneaky layer of marshmallow hiding under the lush chocolate icing.  I am so in love with this brownie pie.  I have made it three times in the CC now and when I am not making it, I can't stop thinking about it. It really is sensational.  I hope you make it and love it as much as I do.




FUDGY BROWNIE MARSHMALLOW PIE


Brownie Pie
125g butter diced
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup toasted pecans chopped.
1 cup of mini marshmallows or 1 cup of regular marshmallows each cut into 3-4 pieces

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Grease a 20cm spring form pan.
2. Place butter in the bowl with the kneading blade.
3. Select Speed 3 Temp 80 degrees Time 2m 30sec.
4. Add caster sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, vanilla, eggs.
5. Select Pastry P1 for 1 min 30 sec.
6. Stop program after 30 seconds and scrape down bowl and blade. Resume program.
7. Stop program with 15 seconds to go.  Add pecans.
8. When program is complete, tip batter into the prepared pan.
9. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
10. Remove pie from oven. Cover the top with the marshmallows.  Return the pie to the oven and leave until marshmallows are melted - about 3-4 minutes. Do not let the marshmallows brown or they will be tough and chewy under the icing.
11. Remove pie from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Icing

60g butter diced
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup evaporated milk
250g icing sugar

1. Place butter in the bowl with the kneading blade. Select Speed 3 Temp 80 degrees Time 2m 30sec.
2. Change blade to whisk.
3. Place all other ingredients in the bowl.
4. Select Speed 3 Time 20 seconds.
5. Scrape down bowl.
6. Select Speed 6 Time 5min.
7. Pause program after 3 min and scrape down sides.
8. Pour icing over the marshmallows, spreading the icing very carefully so as not to disturb the marshmallows to much,

NOTE - the last time I made this I used white marshmallows only because I can't stand the taste of the pink ones.

Pecans can be substituted with walnuts if you like.

To toast your nuts, place them on a baking tray, nicely spread out.  Place them in the preheated oven for 5 -7 minutes or until fragrant.




Friday, September 2, 2016

CRANBERRY, ORANGE, POPPYSEED BISCUITS

Well this is a great combination of flavours that work well together.  So simple to make in the CC.  Loads of flavour, a wonderful texture and they look pretty too. They are a very short biscuit - very much like a shortbread.  These biscuits are a great way to use up that giant bag of dried cranberries that you thought it would be a good idea to buy from Costco!  I am normally a big fan of the lazy "chuck it all in and press Pastry P1" method of making biscuits and cakes - however theses biscuits are a little bit special and need an extra step.  They are well worth it though!

NOTE - this dough needs to be chilled in the fridge for at least 3 hours (overnight is better) prior to baking.

Cranberry, Orange, Poppyseed Biscuits 



250g butter, diced and soft
2/3 cup icing sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
pinch of salt
2 tsp finely grated orange rind
1 tbsp poppy seeds
3/4 cup dried cranberries

1. Gather all ingredients before starting.
2. Place butter and icing sugar in the bowl with the kneading blade.
3. Select Speed 6 Time 1 minute. Start.
4. Pause machine after 30 seconds, scrape down sides. Resume program.
5. Add remain ingredients to the bowl in the order stated.
6. Select Speed 5 Time 1 minute.
7. Pause machine after 30 seconds and scrape down the sides. Resume program. Continue until dough comes together.
8. Tip dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Bring dough together in a ball. Divide dough in half.
9. Roll each dough half into logs, about 4cm diametre. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least three hours but overnight is best.
10. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 160 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.
11. Cut dough into slices 1/2cm thick. Bake for 12 - 15 minute or until golden around the edges.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

FRESH STRAWBERRY CRUMBLE SLICE

I know it is the wrong time of the year to be buying strawberries.  I know that there is a big push to buy seasonal produce to save on food miles etc However I just can't pass up the specials that supermarkets and green grocers have on strawberries at the moment.  Yesterday I picked up 4 punnets for $5.  Whilst we are always told how flavourless and crunchy winter strawberries are, I must say that I haven't found that to be the case in recent weeks.  The strawberries I have been buying have had a delicious strawberry aroma and have been sweet and flavoursome.  So as long as I keep finding strawberries that pass muster in the taste and aroma stake, I am going to keep buying them, winter or not!
This is a lovely slice with a cake like base. The strawberries become jammy during baking. It is really delicious. Great served with a cup of tea or coffee or eaten as dessert with either ice cream, cream or custard.

FRESH STRAWBERRY CRUMBLE SLICE 


Base and Crumble
1 cup caster sugar
3 cups plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
250g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
2 tbsp cream or milk

Filling
3 punnets of strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped
1/2 cup caster sugar
6 tsps cornflour

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Line a 24 x 33cm (approx) baking tin with baking paper, leaving an overhang of a few centimetres on each side, to allow you to lift the slice out for cutting.

2. Place all ingredients for the base/crumble (apart from the cream or milk) in the bowl with the kneading blade.  Pulse for 20 seconds or until there are only very small pieces of butter visible. 

3. Select Speed 5 40 seconds and with machine running add the cream.  You should end up with a crumbly dough that will stick together if squeezed.

4. Divide mixture in half and place half into the prepared tin, pressing down firmly with the bottom of a glass to form a firm base.

5. Place base in the oven for 10 minutes. Then allow to cool.

6. Gently mix all filling ingredients together in a bowl.  Cover the base with the mixture evenly.

7. Gently crumble the remaining base/crumble mixture over the top.  Do not press down on the topping, you want it to be loose and crumbly.

8. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the crumble is golden brown.

9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.  When cool, lift out of the tin and cut into squares.


Friday, August 26, 2016

CORNISH PASTY

One thing I crave during winter is a Cornish Pasty.  Not just any Cornish Pasty though...an authentic Cornish Pasty.  When it comes to food there is not much that I am snobby about but when it comes to Cornish Pasties, I am a definite snob!  Those so called Cornish Pasties that you get in bakeries and cafes are a travesty.  They usually have things like peas, carrots, corn, puff pastry and heaven forfend....chicken!!  None of those things belong in an authentic Cornish Pasty.  Very simply a Cornish Pasty is a shortcrust pastry wrapped around finely chopped beef, swede, potato, onion, butter and plenty of salt and white pepper.  That's it.  It's so simple.  And don't make the mistake of cutting slits in your pasty to let steam escape - you want the steam to stay in because that is how the filling cooks - the pasty is a mini oven.  Don't skimp on the salt and pepper when you are assembling them either - as potato, swede and beef are fairly bland, they rely on the salt and pepper to bring out their flavours. Finally, the pastry is made with lard.  Yes, you could make it with butter but the texture of the pastry will be vastly different.  The lard gives the pastry a softer, melt in the mouth texture.  Do yourself a favour - if you object to the use of lard for whatever reason, don't make this recipe.  Lard is king here :-)  These won't appeal to everyone but if you like the honest to goodness taste of meat and veg without a whole pile of other flavours, then this will be a treat for you.

CORNISH PASTIES 


Pastry
500g plain flour
150g lard (you will find it in the chilled section near the butter and margarine)
3 tsp salt
1 cup of water

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Flour a large baking tray.
2. Place the flour, lard and salt in the bowl with the kneading blade.
3. Pulse for 20 seconds.
4. Select Pastry P1 Speed 5 Time 1min 30sec.
5. Commence program and immediately add water.
6. Continue program until complete or the pastry has come together.
7. Divide dough into five equal (I weighed mine) pieces.
8. Roll out each piece and use a plate or bowl to cut circles out of about 20cm diameter.
Filling 
500g of good quality beef (rump, topside) don't use cheaper cuts as they need longer cooking than this
200g peeled potato
200g peeled swede
1 small onion
White pepper
Salt
Butter
Beaten egg to glaze

1. Dice potato and swede into very small dice - smaller than 1/2cm.
2. Dice onion very finely.
3. Dice beef into very small dice - smaller than 1/2cm. Divide meat into 5 parts.
4. Mix vegetables together well in a bowl.
To assemble 
1. Place four dessertspoons of vegetable mix in a log in the centre of the pastry circle. Leave 1cm clear at each end.
2. Sprinkle white pepper and salt on the vegetables, liberally. Don't be shy with these seasonings.
3. Take a section of beef and place it along the top of the vegetables.
4. Place two generous knobs of butter on top of the beef sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
5. Dip your finger in water and wet the edge of the pastry about 1cm in right round.
6. Pull the sides up to form a seam at the top, using your fingers to crimp the seam.
7. Place pasties on the prepared tray and brush with egg wash.
8. Bake for 45 minutes.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

LEMON BUTTER

What's that I hear you say?  Lemon butter isn't baking?  Well, no technically it is not.  However, lemon butter can be a wonderful part of many baked things. It actually has many many uses including a topping for ice cream, a filling for cupcakes, a topping for a pavolova, a spread for pancakes...this list goes on and on.  I don't know about you but I have often struggled with what the correct name of this delicious stuff is.  Is it lemon butter or lemon curd?  Well, after doing a bit of research today, I have discovered that they are actually two distinct things and each has a different purpose.  Lemon curd is made with either cream or milk or both.  However, lemon butter is simply made with lemons, sugar butter and eggs.  Lemon curd is usually served as a dessert (a recipe for which appears in the recipe section of the CC website) whilst, as I have previously mentioned, lemon butter has many uses.  Anyway, this is definitely a recipe for lemon butter and it is delicious.  There is optional lemon zest that can be included which will give an extra tang to the butter. But, if like me, you prefer your lemon butter to have a smooth texture, don't add the zest.  This recipe makes two cups of lemon butter.

02 September 2016 - I have revised the originally recipe.  I have changed the cooking time and decreased the butter.  This gives a thicker lemon butter.

Lemon Butter

80g unsalted butter, diced and very soft
3/4 cup of caster sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice ( I used 4 1/2 lemons - I microwaved them for 40 seconds to   get maxmimum juice).  
1/4 tsp salt                         
rind of one lemon, finely zested (optional)

1. Place butter, sugar and eggs into the bowl with the whisk. Stopper out.
2. Select Speed 6 Time 30 seconds.
3. Pour lemon juice into bowl.
4. Select Dessert P1 Speed 3 Temp 90 Time 11 minutes.
5. Lemon butter is ready when it is the consistency of runny honey.
6. Pour into the containers you will be storing it in.
7. Allow to cool and then store in the fridge.
8. Lemon butter will thicken further once cooled.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

CREAM CHEESE "BROOKIES"

What on earth is a Brookie, I hear you ask?  Well, it is one of the latest creations in a trend of hybrid baking.  You've heard of the Cronut (croissant x donut) and the cruffin (croissant x muffin) well there is also the Brookie which is a brownie x cookie.  These are a very chocolaty and soft cookie.  The addition of the cream cheese makes them lovely and soft.  You have to be careful not to overcook them - all ovens vary so make sure you keep an eye on the first batch to work out the time. Also, you need to chill down the cookies after you have formed them and before they go in the oven.  If you don't chill them first, the cream cheese will melt and the cookies will spread too much. This recipe makes around 20 cookies depending on how big you make them. These are a little bit of a fiddle with the chilling but the rest is easy and they are worth it!


CREAM CHEESE BROOKIES


125g of diced, very soft butter
1/4 of 250g block of cream cheese diced and softened (don't use spreadable because it won't work)
3/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp cold coffee
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of cocoa powder (I used the Drost brand from Aldi which is lovely and dark)
1 3/4 cups of plain flour
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups of choc chip (I used dark but you can use milk if you prefer)
1/4 cup extra choc chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
2. Place the butter, cream cheese, sugars, egg, coffee and vanilla in the bowl with the kneading blade.
3. Select Speed 8 Time 40 seconds. Stop machine after 20 seconds and scrape down sides. Resume program.
4. Place all of the remaining ingredients, except the choc chips, in the bowl.
5. Select Speed 5 for 1 minute. Stop the machine after 30 seconds and scrape down the bowl. Resume program.
6. Add choc chips to the bowl. Select Speed 4 for 30 seconds.
7. Using either a cookie scoop (like an icecream scoop but smaller) or a 1/4 measuring cup, scoop out balls of cookie dough an place on plates or trays. Flatten slightly with your fingers.  If desired press two or three of the extra choc chips into the top of each cookie.
8. Chill cookies for 30-40 minutes in the fridge or 10-15 minutes in the freezer.
9. Place a tray of cookies, spaced around 4cm apart, in the oven. Bake for 10 - I2 minutes or until they are set on the side and top.  Do not over bake.
10. Allow cookies to cool for 10 minutes on the tray before transferring to a cooling rack.
11. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

SUGAR FREE BANANA BREAD

Eating a sugar free diet seems to be very popular with a lot of people these days.  I know that Sarah Wilson and her "I Quit Sugar" books and website has certainly been one of the driving forces behind the sugar free movement.  Well, as for me, I must confess....I am not sugar free at all. In fact, sugar and I are in a committed long term relationship and I can't see us breaking up any time soon!  Anyway, I have produced this sugar free banana bread with my dear CC Loving friend Constance in mind.  Constance is the Queen of Sugar Free Baking over in our Facebook group Loving the Tefal Cuisine Companion.  I hope it gets the royal seal of approval.  Oh and whilst I haven't yet tried it, I think this would work well made as muffins.  This cake is sugar free but thanks to the bananas and dates it is sweet enough for all but the most desperate sugar lover.

Sugar Free Banana Bread 

A

4 very ripe bananas
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp mixed spice
60g diced and very soft butter
1/2 cup very finely chopped dates

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees.  Grease a loaf tin. (I used a 27cm x 12cm tin. If you use a smaller tin you will need to increased the cooking time)
2. Place the bananas in the bowl with the kneading blade. Pulse for 5 seconds or until bananas are mashed.
3. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the dates, in the order specified.
4. Select Speed 5 Time 30 seconds. Stop the machine after 15 seconds and scrape down the sides. Restart the machine.
5. Add finely chopped dates. Select Speed 5 for 20 seconds.
6. Place batter in the prepared tin and smooth over the top.
7. Bake in your preheated oven for 30-35 minutes (35-45 minutes for a smaller tin).  Bread is done when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
8. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack to cool.

NOTE- This is lovely served warm and spread with butter.


VANILLA GLAZED STRAWBERRY LOAF

I know it is the wrong time of the year to be baking with strawberries but they are so cheap at the supermarket right now that I couldn't resist.  The strawberries I bought were actually nice with a pretty strong flavour, so they are great in this loaf.  For those that know that my favourite cake making method in CC is "Chuck it all in and select Pastry P1", things are a bit different here.  This cake is a bit like a muffin in that if you overwork the batter it will give you a tough cake.  So, here we mix the wet ingredients first, then pop in the dry ingredients and lastly fold the strawberry pieces in by hand.  Also, the strawberry pieces are lightly coated in flour - this helps to stop them sinking to the bottom of the loaf and it works.


VANILLA GLAZED STRAWBERRY LOAF


Loaf
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup of vegetable or canola oil
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups hulled and diced strawberries
1 tbsp plain flour extra

1. Preheat your oven to 160 degrees.  Grease and line a 20 x 12cm loaf tin (if you use larger or smaller adjust the cooking time accordingly. Larger is shorter and smaller is longer).
2. Place the first six ingredients in the bowl with the kneading blade in the order specified.
3. Select Speed 6 Time 10 seconds.
4. Add in baking powder, salt, cinnamon and flour.
5. Select Speed 5 Time 30 seconds. Stop after 15 seconds and scrape down sides. Resume program.
6. Place diced strawberries in a freezer or zip lock bag with the extra flour and shake gently to coat.
7. Fold strawberry pieces gently through the batter. (I find a silicone spatula is best for this).
8. Place batter in the prepared tin and smooth out the top.
9. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60min.  Start checking with a skewer from 50min.
10. Placing a sheet of foil over the top of the loaf at the 40min mark helps to stop it over browning.
11. When a skewer inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean it is ready.
12. Leave the loaf to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

Glaze
1 cup of icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp thickened cream (or 2 1/2 tbsp milk)

1. Mix all ingredients in a jug or bowl until smooth.
2. Drizzle and spread over the loaf.

NOTE - this loaf tastes lovely when made but improves in flavour on the second day.




Friday, August 19, 2016

MEGA CHOC CHIP OATMEAL BISCUITS

These biscuits are wonderful.  They taste fantastic and they are a little bit chewy and a little bit crunchy.  The also have rolled oats in them so they are practically a health food (*wink*).  This recipe makes around 26-28 biscuits but if you don't need that many, just halve the recipe.  If you prefer a crisper biscuit (rather than chewy in the middle) just cook them a few minutes longer until they are a bit more brown all over.


Mega Choc Chip Oatmeal Biscuits


250g butter, diced and very soft
2 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups rolled oats (don't use the instant or quick cook variety)
1 1/2 cup of choc chips (dark or milk depending on your preference)
1 cup of roughly chopped pecans toasted (or you can use walnuts)

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
2. Place all the ingredients apart from the choc chips and nuts, in the bowl with the kneading blade in the order specified.
3. Set Speed 5, Time 20 seconds. When complete scrape down the bowl.
4. Add choc chips and nuts. Set Speed 5, Time 20 seconds. The dough should have come together. if not continue at Speed 5 in 5 second increments until it does.
5. Roll dough into golf ball sized balls. Place on the prepared baking tray an squash down into a disk with your fingers.
6. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned all over.
7. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking tray for 5 minutes before transfering to a wire cooling rack to cool.

NOTE: - to toast the pecans, place on a baking tray in the preheated oven for 7 minutes or until fragrant.




Thursday, August 18, 2016

NANAIMO BARS

I went through a phase of making these wonderful bars about once a week, a few years ago.  They are super delicious, keep well and are so simple when made in the CC.  They are named after the city Nanaimo, in British Columbia, Canada.  They are apparently very popular in Canada and across North America.  So popular are they that in the 80s there was a push to have them named Canada's national dessert.  I can see why - they are delightful.


Nanaimo Bars


Base 
125g butter, diced
250g Arrowroot or similar biscuits
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Line a 33 x 23cm baking pan with baking paper so that it over hangs the sides. (This is to enable you to remove the bars from the pan)
2. Place butter in the bowl with the kneading blade. Set Sp 3, Temp 85, Time 2 minutes.
3. When program is complete, break biscuits in half and place in the bowl with the melted butter.
4. Pulse biscuits and butter for 4 seconds. Scrape down sides and pulse again for 4 seconds.
5. Add all other ingredients, adding egg last.
6. Set Sp 5, Time 20 seconds. When complete scrape down the bowl. Set Sp 5, 10 seconds.
7. Pour mixture into the prepared tin press down very firmly to create a smooth even base.
8. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until firm to the touch.
9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. You can place the base in the fridge or freezer if you wish to speed up the process.

Creamy Filling 
120g butter, diced and very soft
120mls thickened cream
600g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract.

1. Place all ingredients in the bowl with the kneading blade
2. Set Sp 5, Time 30 seconds
3. Scrape down sides.
4. Set Sp 10, Time 20 seconds.
5. Place filling on the cooled base and spread out evenly.
6. Place tin in the freezer for 10-15 minutes or in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Chocolate Topping 
300g of dark chocolate (70% cocoa is best) chopped or broken into squares
80g unsalted butter, diced

1. Place butter and chocolate in the bowl with the kneading blade.
2. Set Sp 3, Temp 85, Time 4 minutes. Continue in 30 second increments if ingredients are not completely melted.
3. Pour chocolate mixture over the chilled base. Work quickly to spread it out evenly and smooth it or make a pattern if desired.
4. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour.  When chilled use the overhanging baking paper to lift the bar from the tin and cut in to bars.




Friday, August 12, 2016

CHOCOLATE MELTING MOMENTS

 I am very fond of melting moments.  I have always loved the delicious shortbread taste and texture of them with that nice little pop of sweet filling in between.  These chocolate biscuits are a lovely take on the traditional vanilla ones.

CHOCOLATE MELTING MOMENTS

Biscuits
250g unsalted butter, diced and very soft
125g icing sugar mixture
2 tsp vanilla extract
250g plain flour
45g rice flour
30g cocoa powder

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
2. Place all ingredients in the bowl with the kneading blade.
3. Set Speed 8 for 40 seconds. Stop program after 20 seconds and scrape down sides. Resume program.
4. Shape dough into walnut sized balls and place on backing trays at least 2cm apart.
5. Flatten balls with the back of a fork.
6. Bake for 15 minutes.
7. Allow to cool on the tray for five minutes before cooling on a cooling rack.

Filling 
100g butter, diced and soft
60g icing sugar mixture
100g dark chocolate

1. Place chocolate, broken into squares, into the bowl with the kneading blade.
2. Select Sp3, 80 degrees for 4 minutes and start.
3. Allow chocolate to cool for 15 minutes.
4. Add butter and icing sugar mixture.
5. Select Speed 7 for 30 seconds.
6. Stop machine after 15 seconds and scrape down sides.
To assemble: either pipe the filling mixture onto the flat side of one biscuit and sandwich with another biscuit or use a spatula to spread the filling on the flat side of one biscuit before sandwiching with another biscuit.




Saturday, August 6, 2016

MEGA CHOC FUDGE BISCUITS

These biscuits are fantastic. Very very rich and very chocolaty. This recipe makes about 20 biscuits.  The important thing is to not overcook them or they will lose their fudginess.  They will still be nice but the fudgy texture is best.

MEGA CHOC FUDGE BISCUITS 


180g butter diced
150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa is best) chopped
225g plain flour
80g cocoa
285g brown sugar
3 eggs
150g dark chocolate (extra)
75g white chocolate chopped (I used Milky Bar)

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees.  Line baking trays with baking paper.
2. Place butter and 150g of dark chocolate in the bowl with the kneading blade. Select Sp3 Temp 80 4.30min.
3. After 2 minutes, pause program and scrape down the sides. Resume program.
4. When program is complete add all ingredients apart from dark and white chocolate.
5. Select Pastry P1.
6. With 1 minute remaining on the program, pause and add dark and white chopped chocolate. Resume program.
7. At the end of the program roll the dough into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball and place on baking trays, leaving room for spreading.  Press down lightly with your fingers to flatten.
8. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes.  If you are using more than one tray, swap trays around halfway through cooking to ensure even cooking.
9. When cooked, allow the biscuits to cool on trays for 5 minutes before either gobbling them down or transferring to a wire rack to continue cooling.

NOTE - if after making your dough, you find it a bit to soft to work with, allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes to firm up.

Friday, August 5, 2016

JAM DONUT MUFFINS

You have a craving for a jam donut but you also have a craving for a muffin....what to do?  Have both!  With these lovely Jam Donut Muffins, you can have the best of both worlds. Jammy, sugary, cinnamony....yummo.  So easy to make with the Cuisine Companion. Eat them warm from the oven or let them cool and later whack them in the microwave for 15 seconds to warm up. Enjoy!


JAM DONUT MUFFINS 


Muffins 
80mls of oil (canola, rice bran or vegetable)
1 egg
175mls of buttermilk 
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups self raising flour
2/3 cup of caster sugar 
strawberry jam - as much as you need for the muffin centres

1. Grease a 12 hole normal sized muffin tin with cooking spray or butter. Preheat oven to 160 degrees.
2. Place all ingredients (except jam) in the bowl, in the order specified, with the kneading blade.
3. Select Pastry P1 for 1 minute.  Pause program after 30 seconds and scrape down sides. Resume program.
4. When program is complete, divide 2/3 of the mixture between the 12 muffin cups.
5. Using a teaspoon, make a wide but shallow indentation in the batter and put a generous dollop of jam in the indentation - around a level teaspoon full.
6. Divide the remain third of the batter between the muffin cups to cover the jam.
7. Place tray in preheated oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the centre of the muffins springs back under a light touch.
8. Allow to cool in the tin for 2-3 minutes then remove to a wire rack.
9. When the muffins are cool enough to touch, coat with butter and sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Coating
100g butter chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1.5 tsps cinnamon ground

1. Melt butter.  Either Sp 4, 70 degrees, 3 minutes or do it in your microwave.
2. Using a pastry brush, paint the muffins with melted butter one at a time and roll in cinnamon and sugar combined.




GINGERNUT BISCUITS

Dunking biscuits is one of life's guilty little pleasures.  There are many people that think that dunking a biscuit in a drink is bad manners....oh, what sad little lives they must lead!  Whether you dunk in a glass of milk, a cup of tea or a mug of hot chocolate, a biscuit seems to take on a completely different taste and texture.  These gingernut biscuits are just perfect for dunking.  They have a wonderful flavour and the additional of a little orange rind gives them a little extra something. You can cook them at the lower end of the cooking time for a biscuit that is crisp around the outside and chewy in the middle or cook for the longer time and have an all over harder and darker biscuit which is closer to the commercial variety.

GINGERNUT BISCUITS  


350g self raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
200g caster sugar
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarb soda
125g butter chopped
70g golden syrup
1 egg
1 tsp orange rind

1. Line baking trays with baking paper. Preheat oven to 160 degrees.
2. Place butter and golden syrup in the bowl with the knead blade.
3. Select Sp 4, 80 degrees,, 3 min.
4. When program is finished place all other ingredients in the bowl.
5. Select Pastry P1 for 1 min.  After 30 seconds, stop program and scrape down sides. Resume program.
6. When program is finished, roll dough into balls slightly larger than walnuts. Place on trays, 3cm apart to allow for spreading and flatten the balls slightly with your fingers.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 - 20 minutes.
8. When cooked, allow to cool on trays for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

HINT - when measuring golden syrup, spray the utensil you are measuring it with, with cooking spray.  When you tip it out, it will slide out easily without leaving residue.