I have a new piece of Froothie equipment to play with. It’s an Optimum HealthyFry – a rapid air fryer that can bake cakes too. Who’d have thought it? I have used it for frying of course, but I couldn’t wait to try baking a cake in it. With my promise to bring you all things vegan this month, I have created this rich and fudgy chocolate banana cashew cake. Ladies and Gentleman, forget the banoffee, I give you banashew.
It’s the second week in December and I’ve only just made my first Christmas recipe. Biscuits and cookies make great gifts at Christmas and when I’m organised, I like to make a few of them. I’ve started with these gluten free chocolate pistachio biscotti as I want to get a few sent off in the post and biscotti are great for keeping well.
Way back in 2011, I made these double chocolate buns and they proved to be quite popular amongst my readers. I’ve been promising myself to make them again ever since and I’ve finally got around to it. This time around, however, I upped the ante and turned them into triple chocolate buns. It seems only fitting as it’s the last day of National Chocolate Week.
Just in case you hadn’t noticed, Great British Bake Off is back. The whole country is watching, it seems. Last week, the bakers were given Viennese whirls as their technical challenge. Piping is the name of the game for these bakes and I hate piping. It was time for me to move outside of my comfort zone, however. Of course I had to do something a bit different, so I give you my Chocolate Viennese Whirls.
Back in August last year I posted a review of some classic British biscuit cutters and promised you the recipe for the bourbon biscuits I made using them. Well never let it be said that I don’t fulfil my promises – if somewhat dreckly. If you don’t know what dreckly means, you clearly haven’t been to Cornwall. They may be a bit late, but here follows the afore mentioned recipe.
When I chose butter as this month’s We Should Cocoa ingredient, I didn’t have anything specific in mind. But when I woke up yesterday, I wanted to bake and I wanted to bake something decadent. It’s been a long time since I made a full on layer cake and this triple chocolate cake is perfect for Valentine’s Day or any other occasion when you want to show how much you care for the ones you love (if not perhaps their waistlines).
Christmas is traditionally a time for baking biscuits and I usually make the most of it. I tend to make an old favourite or two, but also use the occasion to try out a some new recipes. One of them, this time, was to be Christmas Butter Biscuits.
These sumptuous raw chocolate truffles do not have the name bliss balls for nothing. Try one of these and you’ll wonder why you’ve ever bothered with conventional truffles. Well maybe I exaggerate a little, but only just.
When I was asked to bake a cake for a rather sad occasion last week, I thought I’d try out one of Will Torrent’s recipes, or two of them in fact. I adapted his Nans’ chocolate fudge cake recipe to make it into a three layered cake, then topped it with a chocolate glaze from his recipe for salted caramel & rum top hat cake.
The Fairy Hobmother from Appliances Online is back on the scene, distributing gifts as she flitts by. This time I was granted a £25 Amazon voucher. There were so many things I could have used the voucher for, but in the end I decided I needed to up my biscuit making skills and so I splashed out on cookie cutters and a stamp. I fell in love with the “home made” stamp when I first saw the result over at Extra Relish.
Now I’ve got the stamp, but what to make with it? Never having used one before, I wasn’t really sure how to use it or what sort of biscuits it would be suitable for. I’ve already made plenty of shortbread and wanted to try something different. Having heard so much about using black pepper with chocolate, which helps to bring out the flavour apparently, that’s where I wanted to start. I found this recipe from Martha Stewart which not only sounded good but used US cup measures – deep breath, time to finally try out the lovely cup measures very kindly gifted to me by Jac of Tinned Tomatoes.
This is what I did:
- Creamed 3/4 stick (3oz) unsalted butter with 1/2 cup vanilla sugar (granulated) until fluffy.
- Beat in 1 small egg.
- Sifted in 1/2 cup wholemeal flour, 1/4 cup white flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, 1/8 tsp Cornish sea salt, 1/8 tsp ground black pepper and 1/4 tsp cinnamon.
- Mixed together to form a rather sticky ball.
- Put in a covered bowl in the fridge for an hour or so.
- Rolled ping pong size balls between my hands and spaced them well apart on a baking tray – lined with a silicone mat! Yes that’s right, a silicone mat. Following on from my first and last use of a said item, I was advised that a thinner one was better for biscuits; when I saw a thin one in Truro last week, I rather foolhardily went ahead and bought it. Lots of crossed fingers!
- Dipped the stamp in flour and pushed the ball down until it filled the stamp area, repeated this process with all 10 balls.
- Ground some black pepper over the tops.
- Baked at 190C for 10 mins.
- Amazingly, removed from the mat onto a wire rack with NO TROUBLE at all!
Trouble came, when as I’d feared, the mixture was too soft and the biscuits spread. This meant these weren’t at all what I’d hoped for and it was hard to make out the “home made” letters. But this was my first attempt and I have a much better idea of what to do next time. There will be a next time as I’d very much like to get this perfected before Christmas. The biscuits held together well, had a good snap and were lovely and crunchy. They tasted good too, with a satisfying depth of flavour, quite rich, but with only a hint of spice and only very faintly peppery.
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