Chocolate Orange, Cranberry & Pecan Christmas Cookies

Cookies

Thick chocolate chunk cookies packed with the flavours of Christmas

How often have you sat at your computer, wishing you could reach in and take even the tiniest taste of whatever baked treats lie in front of you? Of course the recipe is right there – you could most likely make them yourself – but there’s something about an original recipe baked by its creator and given with love that’s just that little bit more special.

If anyone could invent a way of instantly shipping blogged treats on demand, I’m sure it would make them millions. Continue reading

Chocolate Christmas Wreaths

Chocolate biscuit cake

‘C’ is for Christmas – the perfect festive chocolate treat

Saturday marked the official start of Christmas in the little loaf household.

We went in search of an oversized tree, cranked up the cheesy tunes, cracked open some bubbles and spent the afternoon stringing up lights and debating between different baubles. I baked a batch of gingerbread (which was delicious, but not quite perfect enough to make an appearance on the blog just yet) and the flat was filled with warmth, laughter and the scent of spices. Continue reading

Orange & Pistachio Magdalenas

magdalenas

Magdalenas have a unique fluffy texture setting them apart from muffins or cupcakes

Breakfast.

The most important meal of the day.

The secret to better brain functionality, staying healthy, lowering blood sugar levels and preventing obesity, diabetes and high cholesterol.

The perfect excuse to indulge in the pleasure of eating when you are truly hungry.

There’s nothing more satisfying than a good breakfast. In the working week I tend to rotate between different combinations of fruit, nuts, seeds and cereal, adding in yoghurt or milk for protein or substituting in homemade toast with smashed avocado or a scrape of salty butter if I fancy something savoury.

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Orange, Pistachio & Polenta Cake

polenta_cake

Fresh, bright & full of flavour – the perfect spring dessert

When was the last time someone responded badly to something you’d made?

In the kitchen, I tend to be my own worst critic. Although I enjoy cooking all sorts of savoury dishes, I definitely get the most joy out of baking and making desserts. And one major bonus that comes with being a baker is that your creations are almost always met with a rapturous response. While I’ll worry that something hasn’t turned out quite perfect, that the top is too brown or the middle less moist than I’d hoped, most of the time people have nothing but praise to impart when handed something sweet.

Maybe it’s an inherent insecurity which means I thrive on this praise, or perhaps conversely it’s some sort of overblown ego which makes me enjoy the eager eyes, nods of appreciation, squeals of pleasure and silent smiles of satisfaction, but the reaction of my friends and family to the treats I make brings me at least as much happiness as the actual processes of both baking and eating. Continue reading

Spiced Chocolate Orange Mousse Cake

chocolate_mousse_cake

Dense, dark chocolate orange mousse cake topped with a spiced white chocolate layer

Chocolate is one of my favourite ingredients to bake with. Whether it’s chunked and studded through cookies, stirred into the smoothest mousse, melted over ice cream or baked into a dense, fudgy cake, chocolate is an ingredient reliable enough to be called on for comfort, yet versatile enough to always be exciting.

While chocolate and cocoa regularly make an appearance in my shopping basket, it’s rare that I’ll buy a bar to simply eat on its own. It’s not that I don’t like it, but I really enjoy experimenting in the kitchen and combining chocolate with other ingredients, making it into more of a meal or occasion than a snack straight from the packet. However there are two major exceptions to this rule when I (and a pretty a large percentage of the UK population) can’t seem to help but over indulge: Christmas and Easter. Continue reading