Chocolate Orange Pinwheel Biscuits

This stunningly beautiful yet simple biscuit recipe can be easily whipped up using ingredients kept in your larder, and the end result is impressive and yummy Makes between 25-30 Required: 2 greased baking trays, food processor or large mixing bowl and … Continue reading

Indulgent Chocolate Puddings

These luxurious puddings served fresh from the oven must ooooze with chocolate when served, with a deliciously crusty top

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Ingredients

125g/40oz dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
125g/4oz unsalted butter, cubed (plus a bit extra for greasing)
150g/5oz caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
50g/2oz plain flour, sifted

Equipment – 4x200ml or 6x150ml ramekins, greased with the extra butter
Preheat the oven to 190° Electric/170°Fan/375°/Gas Mark 5

Break down the chocolate into a small bowl and place over a pan of nearly simmering water. It’s important the bowl does not touch the water, and that the water does not boil.
Add the cubed butter and let the ingredients slowly melt together, stirring to combine.
When melted and fully mixed, remove the bowl from the water and set aside for 10 minutes or so to cool slightly.
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In a larger bowl, add the eggs, egg yolks and sugar and whisk thoroughly until the mixture is thick and pale. See the before and after here:

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Adjust the setting on your hand mixer to beat and add the melted chocolate.
Adjust once again to whisk and add in the sifted flour till fully combined.

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Place your greased ramekins on a baking tray and divide the mixture evenly between them.
Place in the oven for……no longer than 20 minutes if you are serving 6 puddings and 25 minutes if you are serving 4 puddings.
My oven is very quick and therefore I had a lot of trial and error on the baking times on this.
When baking you are always looking for lightly risen puddings and cracked tops which are spongy to the touch.
However, the most important thing is to perfect the melt in the middle chocolate, and this you will never know until you cut into them! So, for my oven, 16 minutes was sufficient for 6 puddings.
These are quick and easy to make the batter up, so it may be worth having a trial run with these first and testing your puddings at minute intervals when baking until they are perfect.
Also, you can make the batter in advance, which makes them a perfect dinner party pudding, as they are baked and served warm, with either cream, crème fraiche, ice cream or just a dusting of icing sugar.

Enjoy!
Suzy xx

Easy Peasy Cupcakes

The basic cupcake recipe is an easy sponge mixture of butter, sugar, eggs and flour using the best ingredients you can afford.

Finished cupcakes

Makes 12 standard cupcakes/24 mini cupcakes
Required 12 standard cupcake cases/24 mini cupcake cases
Bun tin or baking tray
Electric whisk
Large bowls

Cupcake ingredients

125g/4oz unsalted butter, softened
125g/4oz caster sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
125g/4oz self raising flour, sifted
2 tbsp milk (whole milk tastes best)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Buttercream Icing ingredients

75g/3oz unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g/8oz icing sugar, sifted into 2 bowls, half in each
Food colouring is optional
Fresh raspberries – for decoration

To make the cupcakes

In a large bowl, whisk the softened butter and caster sugar together until they reach a light and fluffy texture.
Add the beaten eggs in bit by bit, in small quantities, along with a spoonful of the measured flour. This will stop any curdling of the mixture after adding the eggs.
Add the remaining flour, milk and vanilla extract into the mixture and fold together using a large metal spoon.
Cupcake batterBatter mixture
It may be helpful to weigh your bowl before hand so you know how much cupcake mixture you have made so you can measure it equally into each cupcake case. Use two spoons to place the mixture into the cupcake cases. Have these prepared and ready to go in your cake tin or on your baking sheet. As you can see from my first attempt – my equally measured cupcakes didn’t give me 12!
The oven must be preheated to 190°C/170°C FAN/375°F/gas mark 5.
Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 minutes until well risen and golden. Resist the temptation to open your oven before the minimum time as the cupcakes may collapse! If you’re unsure if they are done, poke them with a skewer and if the skewer comes out clean, it’s baked.
Remove and cool for 5 minutes on the baking tray and then transfer to a wire tray to cool completely.
If you are using silicone cupcake cases, you may wish to transfer them to paper cases after the initial 5 minutes of cooling so they are removed easily.
 Cupcakes from oven

To make the icing

You can make this while the cupcakes are baking.  In a large bowl, whisk the butter until completely softened, then add the milk and vanilla extract.
 Whisked butter
Whisk briefly, then add the first half of the sifted icing sugar. Whisk for several minutes until well combined. Then add the second half of the sifted icing sugar and continue to whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy. The longer you whisk the mixture, the smoother the results – you should be aiming for a light and delicate finish.
At this point, add any food colouring drop by drop until you get the desired colour.
Icing mixture

Icing the cupcakes

Pick the piping nozzle with the design you want, most cupcakes are done with a star nozzle, and insert into the piping bag with the narrow end first. Spoon the icing into the piping bag, folding the top of the bag over to catch any spilt icing.

I use plastic piping bags and do not snip the end of the bag until all the icing mixture is in and pushed down to the bottom, with the top of the bag twisted. This stops any icing coming out before you are absolutely ready and the bag doesn’t have any air pockets in the mixture.

Decorate your cupcakes in a circular motion, starting from the outside of the cake to the middle and finish the last pipe with a flourish for decoration. Apply any decorative raspberries now before the icing sets, and these can cover any small mistakes you make with the piping.

 Icing techniqueFinished cupcakesPink colouring used
Enjoy!
Suzy xx
This recipe has been adapted from my subscription to Baked & Delicious magazine.