Chocolate Crunch

revisiting childhood banner

So here it is our inaugural childhood recipes post. I hope you’re all ready and raring to go and intrigued about the recipe that’s coming your way!?

The very first recipe in the Gnome Gnotebook is something called Chocolate Crunch, which I confess I have no recollection of ever having made in my life, which means sadly I can’t share any wondrous stories of baking this as a child. A slight fail on the first recipe we have to make in this new blog series, but I’m not one to cheat and ignore this recipe. Instead we got stuck into the recipe on Saturday and gave it a whirl.

The result? Um totally delicious and I’m devastated that I have never tasted this wonderful chocolate crunch before. It really is delicious (in both its raw and baked forms) and I will most certainly be making in the future! It’s a simple tray bake recipe and tastes like chocolate biscuits. Always a winning combination.
If you fancy giving it a whirl yourself you will need:

  • 1lb plain flour
  • 2oz cocoa
  • ¾lb margarine
  • ¾lb caster sugar
  • A dash of Vanilla essence

cc_ingredients

And it couldn’t be easier to create this scrumptious baked item…

  1. Melt the butter and vanilla essence in the microwave until it’s of an oil consistency
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in another bowl and then stir in the melted ingredients.
  3. The mixture should form a biscuit type mixture.
  4. Press the mixture into a greased tin so it’s about half an inch thick
  5. Bake on 160°C for 15 minutes until the top is no longer wobbly!
  6. When the tray bake has cooled, remove from the tin and cut into squares and eat.

cc_ready to eat

This truly was delicious and so simple to make, so I can see I’ll be making this an awful lot in the future!

– Fi xx

Lemon, Lime and Poppyseed Cake

Let me start this post by apologising about the lack of posts around here lately – you may not have noticed it, which is great, but Fi and I actually had a rough blog plan to post something every 3/4 days this month. Quite a tall challenge under normal circumstances, but then throw in a couple of busy bank holiday weekends, a trip to Amsterdam, a ridiculously busy week at work which saw one of us working all hours (Fi) and then getting hit by a stomach bug for the best part of a week (Fi) and you’ll understand how the best laid plans fell apart magnificently! {Please let’s ignore the fact that I had no real excuse for not getting posts written}. Anyways after only two posts in May so far we are hopefully back on track now.

So let’s get down to business and talk cake. Lovely, lovely cake! So way back when it was Mother’s Day here in the UK – 30th March – we made a cake for our Mum, well you kind of have to don’t you? It’s a Lorraine Pascale recipe and it’s actually one that we’ve featured on here before. But it’s so good, you’re getting it again! Plus this time there are more pictures and even some all about the icing!

Recipe – So I’m not going to repeat the recipe again as you can find it right here.

Instead let’s just look at some pictures and try not to drool over the memory of this perfect cake!

cake ready to eat gooey cake

I have to admit that when Mum saw this she wasn’t too excited. I think she was expecting peanut butter brownies – awkward! But then she had a slice (and maybe another) and was a bit of a fan. Phew, thank god for that!

Lau xx

Coffee and Walnut Cake

It’s time for another cake recipe. Yep, it’s been all about the sweet stuff recently! I’ve been talking about making a coffee and walnut cake for ages and ages, mainly because it’s my youngest sister’s favourite cake ever.  Plus I now like coffee which means it’s a cake that I want to actually make (and then eat now), whereas previously I just wasn’t bothered! So with Easter upon us, and knowing that Becca would be home with us for the celebrations, the four day weekend seemed like the perfect time to get baking. Trust me guys this is a good recipe that you can make with your basic store cupboard ingredients. It’s super easy with as it’s just a slightly amended Victoria sponge cake, but it looks gorgeous and tastes so good.

Ingredients – 

For the cake
175g softened butter
175g brown sugar
175g self-raising flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp strong coffee powder (i used espresso granules) mixed with 2 tbsp boiling water and then cooled

For the Icing
100g softened butter
200g icing sugar
9 walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and grease two circular baking tins
2. Cream together the butter and sugar

3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between. Add the vanilla and whisk again

4. Sift in the flour and baking powder and then gently fold into the mixture

5. Add half of the coffee mixture and fold in again
6. Now divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 20-25 mins

Once the cakes are cooled it’s time to make the icing.

cooling cakes

7. Beat together the butter and icing sugar into a smooth icing
8. Add in the remaining coffee and mix well. Have a taste of the icing and add more coffee as needed – we added about half the same again as we like the taste of coffee a lot!

coffee buttercream
9. Use half the icing to sandwich the cakes together and then spread the remaining half on the top. Now top with your walnut halves.

cofefe and walnut cake

Happy Baking. Lau xxx

This recipe originates from The Baking Book by Dorling Kindersley.

Peanut Butter Brownies

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you’re all having a fabulous Sunday morning and that the Easter bunny was super kind to you. I’m rather happy to be tucking into an absurd amount of mini eggs this morning – whilst still in my pajamas of course. Lucky me!

As it’s Easter, and that’s a LOT to do with family and chocolate – at least if you’re not religious and me, I thought I’d share a chocolatey recipe that is one of our family’s favourites – the humble peanut butter brownie. I made these yesterday for a barbecue and surprise surprise we’ve got only a couple left – they’re that good. We’ve mentioned these in the past but never shared our slightly amended version of the Life is Peachy recipe. So we thought it was high time we did – enjoy this Easter gift!

Ingredients

  • 150g Dairy Milk chocolate
  • 100g smooth peanut butter
  • 175g margarine
  • 325 caster sugar
  • 120g self-raising flour
  • 3 eggs

photo 1

Melt the chocolate and margarine and then stir in the peanut butter until the mixture is smooth

photo 2

Add the caster sugar and combine
photo 3

Now add the self-raising flour and mix thoroughly

photo 4

Crack the eggs in and combine until smooth

ready for the oven

Pour into a greased brownie tin and bake on 160 degrees for 40 minutes. Then EAT them all at once (go on you know you want to!)

Baking for Easter

Easter is quite possibly my favourite time of the year as it seems to signal the start of the summer and outside dining. I love the opportunity to get together with all the family and chill out in the garden, plus it brings with it the possibility of a barbecue as well as a fabulous roast dinner on Easter Sunday. Never mind the easter egg fun.

This Easter my sisters and I have decided to cook out amazing pulled pork at some point over the four days for the parental units to enjoy. Plus I’m planning on trying out a coffee and walnut cake as I’ve never made one. But before that point we get to make all the yummy sweet stuff that contains easter treats. You know what I mean, all the creme eggs and mini eggs that appear in the shops as soon as Christmas is over. Well it would be rude not to include those in some sort of baking wouldn’t it. So that’s what this post is all about – Baking with Easter sweets!

Hopefully you are all well aware of the awesome mini egg blondies that we made last year. If not then what are you waiting for? Check them out right here, right now. So these have been made again because they are just totally awesome and Fi has an actual real life obsession with mini eggs.

So yes, we made mini egg blondies, but we also decided to try making creme egg brownies. Now different versions of these have been all over the internet and on twitter, so it really was high time we had a go ourselves. They honestly couldn’t be easier – mostly because I used a packet brownie mix – sometimes you just have to cheat!

Here’s what you do –
1. Create your normal brownie batter – I used the Ghiardelli brownie mix because it’s totally awesome.
2. Throw in 10 mini creme eggs to the mix.
3. Pour the whole lot into the brownie tin.
4. Chop another 8 mini creme eggs in half and lay these gooey side up on the top of your batter.
5. Bake as per normal brownie instructions.

Creme Egg Brownies Creme Egg Brownies

Creme Egg Brownies

See, easy peasy and don’t they look amazing? I promise you guys, these actually taste like heaven. Seriously the gooey levels are epic in this. These beauties ended up at work and they all disappeared in record time. I think that’s a good sign, right?!

Now you give them ago and let me know what you think.

Lau xxx

Chocolate and Banana Cake – it’s practically healthy!

Cake, cakey cake. This is one of my all time favourite subjects. I honestly could talk about cake for hours on end. It’s just the best. I love all sorts of cake – I’m not a fussy cake person. Whether it’s caked in marzipan and royal icing, or just a plain slice of Victoria sponge (minus the cream, yuck) I’m in heaven. It’s the perfect antidote to a bad week and even better when it’s being shared (not a single piece but a whole cake) with friends. One of my favourite types of cake is banana cake as it’s easy to make and it contains fruit so I can try and kid myself that I’m being healthy and consuming one of my five a day. Yes I am really that delusional at times. I need help clearly.

I have one fail-safe banana cake recipe that I always use and it comes from the Australian Women’s Weekly Kids Cookbook and the recipe creates a marvelously sticky and moist banana cake and includes a delicious cream cheese frosting. There’s nothing not to love about this cake I promise you. However, when I had four blackened bananas the other week I decided I wanted to branch out from my banana cake recipe and try a new one. Shock horror, what a traitor I am to my Women’s Weekly recipe book. I do hope it one day forgives me.

I just really wanted to try a cake I’d heard whispers about – a chocolate and banana cake. I mean that’s surely the dream combination, no? After a little bit of Googling I came upon this recipe and made it one night after work and OH. EM. GEE. the resulting cake was delicious. It was all sorts of moist and lovely and delicious and just awesome and then every now and again you’d get a lump of unmelted chocolate that would just melt in your month. It’s literally the best thing ever. It was so good that I may have eaten two slices whilst the cake was still warm – oops! 

Do you think I can still say it’s one of my five a day if the cake also included chocolate?

– Fi xxx

Delicious biscuits and a small baking accident

For some inexplicable reason I’ve realised that we haven’t discussed biscuits that often on this blog. How absurd is that. I mean I love biscuits and cookies, whether they’re chocolate or raisin, plain or covered in chocolate they’re a staple in my diet and life is always that little bit better when you have a full tin of them. Hooray for the fact that we replenished our rich tea stocks today – anyone else partial to a hot chocolate and rich teas of an evening? Tell me that’s not just me?!

Anyway I plan to rectify the lack of biscuit chatter today by sharing some biscuits we’ve made recently. They were discovered over on Amanda’s blog Rhyme and Ribbons a while back and we finally found an occasion to make them about a month ago when we headed off to meet gorgeous baby Isabella. We didn’t in fact take them in the end, but more on that after the recipe! When I first discovered them I knew I’d need to make them soon, mainly due to the name – soft monster cookies. Awesome name right? Thankfully they’re just as tasty as the name suggests and I think everyone will be had pressed not to eat three per sitting – go on I dare you not too!

Photo 12-02-2014 20 56 50

As ever you can of course follow the recipe that Amanda shared, or you can follow our slightly amended one – I imagine either recipe will result in scrumptious biccies!

So first up you will need:

  • 1/2 cup butter/margarine
  • 1/2 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup M&Ms
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (a mix of white and milk chocolate)

Now get combining and baking like so for delicious cookies.

  1. Mix together the butter/marg and both sugars
  2. Next add the peanut butter (make sure you have a sneaky snack of PB at this time, you know in case it’s gone off…), egg and vanilla and mix everything up
  3. Now add the flour and baking soda until all combined and it’s looking delicious!
  4. Finally fold in the chocolate chips and M&M’s (next time I might add raisins to get a bit of a fruity mix in there – just a thought for you all)
  5. Line your baking tray and plop the balls of dough onto the tray, pressing them down gently
  6. Bake for 10 minutes or so on 180⁰C before removing them, letting them cool (just a little) and eating three whilst they’re warm. Yummy!

One very key piece of advice, from someone in the know… don’t drop the floppy silicone baking sheet you’re using on the floor as you take them out the oven too soon. As the biscuits will land on the floor and you’ll only end up with eight biscuits and not the planned 16. And if you only have eight and two days before you go to your friend’s house you know you’re going minus the biscuits as they’ll be in your tummy in less than 24 hours! Or so I learned anyway!

Consider it a lesson that I learned that you now don’t need to experience, you can can just learn from my pain – aren’t you lucky! Anyway hands up if you’ll be baking biscuits soon – come on you know you want to! Happy baking!

– Fi xxx