Millionaire’s shortbread is something of staple in my baking repertoire, second only to brownies, perhaps cookies, in the list of simple treats I’ll bake when called on to bring something sweet to a special occasion. Like brownies, I’ve got a favourite recipe (ok three, on rotation) but I’m not averse to a little tinkering here and there. These lovely little morsels were my contribution to a baby shower this weekend just gone, and although it’s hard to beat the classic, I may have to throw a handful of salty peanuts into every batch of millionaire’s shortbread I make from now on, they’re so damn delicious. Continue reading
There’s something immensely satisfying about making your own dulce de leche. Unlike a cake where everything happens in the oven, this is a recipe where the transformation takes place in front of your eyes and under your spatula.
Over the weekend I had some fun experimenting with tea: tea infused butter, tea leaves ground into dough and this, tea-infused dulce de leche. As someone who doesn’t really drink tea, but loves the taste, this is a wonderful way to experience its flavours. Continue reading
Dulce de leche ice cream sandwiched between soft chocolate cookies
Visiting a new bakery is one of my favourite things in the world. There’s the smell, seeping out of the doors and into the surrounding street; yeast and warmth, toasty sweetness, the scent of burnt sugar. Then there’s the sound: busy bakers chatting with customers; slicing crusty loaves; sliding purchases into crinkled paper bags. The soft sound of teeth meeting flaky pastry.
Eyes definitely bigger than my stomach and thinking, perhaps, I could try a little taste of everything, I’ll then drink in the feast in front of me: lines of loaves stacked against a bare brick wall, tiers of incredible cakes, trays of pastries issuing forth from the oven and, further forward, a cabinet of sweets and treats, biscuits on offer in every imaginable shape and size.
Dark chocolate & peanut sponges layered with caramel
Back in 2006, Anthony Worrall Thompson‘s ‘Snickers Pie‘ was labelled ‘one of the unhealthiest recipes ever published’ by the Food Commission. At a whopping 1,250 calories per serving and with no less than five super sweet chocolate bars chopped into it, this puff pastry crusted creation was cited as an example of chefs’ irresponsibility with regards to calorie control and our increasingly unhealthy attitude to what constitutes home baking.
Fellow food blogger Jamie Schler recently wrote this interesting piece for the Huffington Post bemoaning the wave of boxed brownie mix, chopped up chocolate bars and cans of frosting masquerading on blogs around the world as home baked treats. While I’m not averse to the odd Oreo crumbled into a blondie or topping a cupcake with fizzy cola bottles, I absolutely agree with her that baking should be about creating things from scratch. It may not make them calorie-free, but using real butter, free range eggs, seasonal fresh fruit and natural colourings in all my recipes is important to me and feels a world away from the oleaginous Worrall-Thompson’s sickly sweet idea of dessert. Continue reading
Spicy biscuit base & unctuous caramel topped with sweet banana & coconut cream
‘I am the woman who believes most anything can be solved with butter and sugar’.
So begins an article in the latest edition of Made with Butter magazine written by Joy Wilson, a baker – aka Joy the Baker – who has taken the US by storm with her irreverent attitude, quirky charm, scrumptious recipes and ability to create sheer magic using such simple ingredients as flour, butter and sugar.
Quite apart from a string of amazing accolades, her own catering company and a cookbook coming out next month, the proof that Joy knows what she’s talking about when it comes to baking is really in the pudding. Her puddings to be more precise. If you’re not already familiar with her blog, I suggest you head over there now. We’re talking brown butter banana bread, double-dipped doughnuts, chewy molasses chocolate chip cookies and more incredible cakes and bakes than most people could make or eat in a lifetime. Although I’d be willing to take up the challenge on that one . . . Continue reading
Salty chocolate & caramel macarons
There’s no denying it, the Americans know how to do dessert. The rise of mouthwatering confection meccas like The Hummingbird Bakery means we’ve come to think nothing of putting away giant slabs of brownie, cupcakes smothered in inches of icing and whoopie pies the size of cricket balls. Dessert has become super-sweet, super-sized, and certainly not subtle.
If you’ve read many of my previous posts on this blog, you’ll know that I love chocolate and I love baking. It’s been a while since I last made brownies, and a pre-Easter dinner party at a friend’s flat this week seemed like the perfect excuse to try a new recipe. I’ve been reading David Lebowitz‘s gorgeous blog for a while now, and amongst a number of delicious looking recipes, I’d bookmarked these amazing looking Dulce de Leche brownies.
If you’ve not tried Dulce de Leche before, now is your moment. Literally ‘milk sweetness’ or ‘milk candy’, it’s an unctuously thick caramel-like sauce made from sweetened condensed milk, and one of the most delicious things you’re ever likely to put in your mouth. Continue reading