Island Cookies

It’s been a while between posts, hasn’t it? Life’s gotten busy lately. But I have managed to find the time to squeeze in some baking and to have a play with the ice cream maker, at which I have had some success. I suppose it isn’t much of a consolation to know that I’ve got a few recipes here just waiting for me to create the posts, either.

Hopefully this recipe will help. It comes from my favourite cookie cookbook, Best-Loved Cookies, that I found in the North Melbourne newsagent a number of years ago. I recently made these for my mother the last time she visited. Mum loves macadamia nuts and always misses out on my baking because she lives interstate. She loved this variation of the chocolate chip cookie.


1 & 2/3 cups plain flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

190g butter, chopped and softened

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 & 3/4 cups milk chocolate chips

1 cup flaked coconut

3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 190C oven. Line biscuit trays with baking paper.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and sift together into a bowl. Add salt and set aside.

Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, sugars and vanilla extract in a large bowl until creamy. Beat in egg until combined. Gradually beat in flour mixture. With a wooden spoon, stir in choc chips, coconut and macadamia nuts until well combined.

Drop a slightly rounded tablespoon of cookie dough onto the prepared tray.

Bake in preheated oven for 8 – 11 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand for 2 minutes, remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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Peanut Butter & Choc Chip Cupcakes

1 ¼ cups plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
¾ cup milk
⅓ cup smooth peanut butter
1 egg, lightly whisked
2 tablespoons peanut oil
⅔ cup dark choc chips

PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING
½ cup smooth peanut butter
60 g butter, at room temperature
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 200C. Line a 12 hole 1/3 cup muffin pan with patty cases.

Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add brown sugar, milk, peanut butter, egg, and oil. Stir until just combined. Add chocolate chips and stir.

Fill prepared cases 2/3 full and bake 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Remove from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Using an electric mixer, beat peanut butter and butter until smooth. Add icing sugar and milk. Spread icing liberally over cupcakes and serve.

Choc-Rough Muffins

Muffins are something that I used to make all the time back in high school, when I used to bake most weekends.  Muffins were the perfect addition to school and work lunches, so they would always be eaten.  This meant that I could also do a little experimenting with different flavours.

This muffin recipe makes a lovely moist chocolate muffin with coconut and choc chips scatter throughout.

Choc-Rough Muffins

125 g butter, chopped, softened
125 g caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250 g self raising flour
30 g cocoa powder
155 g milk choc chips
45 g shredded coconut
185 ml milk

 

Preheat oven to 180C.  Line a 12 1/3 cup capacity muffin tray with paper cases.

Place butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs one at a time.

Sift over combined self-raising flour and cocoa. Stir batter with a wooden spoon until just combined. Add choc chips, coconut and milk and mix until just combined.

Spoon 2 heaped tablespoons of batter into each of the paper cases.

Bake 35 minutes, or until muffins are cooked when a skewer comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Cherry Slice

This recipe is lifted straight from the December issue Good Food magazine, of which I have a subscription.  It’s basically a soft chocolatey brownie with a summery twist, the twist being the cherries and coconut.  Considering the pretty iffy weather we’ve been having so far this summer, why don’t you console yourself with this delicious treat?

Chocolate Cherry Slice

200 g dark eating chocolate, broken into pieces
150 g unsalted butter, chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup plain flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
⅔ cup dark choc bits
415 g can pitted cherries in syrup, drained

 

 

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 30x20cm slice pan.

Heat chocolate and butter in a saucepan on low heat, stirring for 3-4 minutes, until smooth and combined. Cool for 10 minutes.

Use a balloon whisk to whisk the egg into chocolate mixture, then stir in brown sugar, sifted plain flour and coconut. Fold through half of the choc bits.

Spoon mixture into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Push cherries into batter and scatter over remaining choc bits.

Bake for 30 minutes, until firm. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto to wire rack to cool completely. Cut into pieces to serve.

Raspberry Rocky Road

Here is the other successful recipe from a Christmas gone by, Raspberry Rocky Road.  I love rocky road but just hate glace cherries and I much prefer to use raspberry lollies.  There are plenty of rocky road recipes – and they’re all easily adaptable – but I like this one in particular because it makes a nice big slab of rocky road, which makes for an attractive and decadent gift item.  My brother always requests this and so I sometimes make some just for him.

Raspberry Rocky Road

750 g milk chocolate
350 g marshmallows, halved
50 g white choc chips
100 g turkish dellight, cut into a 1cm dice
50g raspberry lollies, halved
¼ cup slivered almonds
½ cup shredded coconut

 

Line base and sides of 26x16cm lamington pan with baking paper.

 

Melt 300g milk chocolate in microwave, stirring often, until it’s smooth.  Pour into the base of the prepared pan.  Arrange half of the marshmallows over the top.  Next scatter over the white choc chips, turkish delight, raspberry lollies, half the almonds and half the coconut, filling in any gaps.

 

 

Scatter over the remaining marshmallows.

 

Melt remaining milk chocolate in the microwave, stirring often, until it’s smooth.  Pour over two thirds of the melted chocolate, covering the marshmallows evenly.  Use a small spatula to gently mix and allow chocolate through the layers.

 

Scatter with the remaining almonds and coconut, pressing down gently to stick to chocolate.  Chill for at least 2 hours to set.

 

Cut into bars or squares to serve.

Raspberry Muffins

Here’s a muffin recipe that’s healthy, at least as far as muffins can be healthy, and which make a great lunch box/work lunch type snack.

The nutrition content is as follows: (approx) 130 calories, 5g fat (1g sat), 18g carbs, 1g fibre.

The recipe makes about 15 muffins.

Raspberry Muffins

 

1 ½ cups self raising flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
⅓ cup traditional rolled oats
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons milk choc chips
2 tablespoons white choc chips
1 egg
½ cup reduced fat milk
¼ cup light olive oil
1 cup frozen raspberries

 

Preheat oven to 200C. Line 1/3 cup capacity muffin muffin pan with paper cases.

Sift flour and baking powder together into a large bowl. Add oats, sugar and choc chips and stir to combine.

Whisk egg, milk and oil in a medium bowl. Pour into flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Fold through raspberries. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin pan.

Bake for 16 – 18 minutes or until a skewer inserted at centre comes out clean. Stand muffins in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are classic.

This is a simple and straight forward recipe that makes a good looking cookie.  It only makes around 25 cookies or so depending on how big you make them, but sometimes you just don’t need a batch of forty or sixty cookies.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

125 g unsalted butter, chopped and softened
⅓ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
⅓ cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups self raising flour
1 cup dark choc bits

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place butter, brown sugar and caster sugar in a small bowl.  Using an electric mixer, beat until light and creamy.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until well combined.

Transfer cookie mixture to a large bowl. Sift over flour and using a wooden spoon mix until combined. Add choc chip and mix until combined.

Place dessertspoonsful of the mixture, 4cm apart, on the prepared tray.

Bake in oven for 12 minutes or until golden. Set aside on the trays for 5 minutes to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Choc Chip Pecan Slice

This is the other slice I made, to go along with the Raspberry Coconut Slice in the last post.  A very sticky, nutty, yummy slice.

Make sure you grease and line the pan even if you use a non-stick pan, as the top layer will leak around the edges of the baking pan and stick in a few spots which will make it difficult to loosen the slice from the pan.

Choc Chip Pecan Slice

1 ½ cups self raising flour
½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
125 g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup milk choc chips

Topping
3 eggs, at room temp, lightly beaten
⅔ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
50 g butter, melted
½ cup golden syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pecans

Preheat oven to 180C.  Lightly grease a 16x26cm baking tin and line base and sides with baking paper.

Sift flour into a large bowl. Add sugar and stir combine.  Add butter, mix well then fold in the chocolate chips.  Press into the prepared pan and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

To make the topping:

Combine eggs, brown sugar, melted butter, golden syrup and vanilla in a medium bowl, mixing well.  Roughly chop half of the pecans and stir into mixture.

Pour the topping over the cooled base and gently place remaining pecan halves on the top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the topping has set.  Cover with foil if the nuts are browning too quickly.  Allow to cool in the tin before slicing into pieces to serve.

Banana Bars

Here I go, starting another blog.  This time it’s going to be all about food which is so absolutely my passion.  I have always been into food, particularly baking, but it’s been an on again off again thing due to my various living arrangements.  A few years ago I read Elizabeth Wurtzel’s The Secret of Life: Commonsense Advice for the Uncommon Woman and one piece of advice that jumped out at me went something along the lines of: that to have an obsession is a beneficial healthy thing, something that occupies your time and makes you happy.  When I read this, I realised that my obsession, the something that makes me happiest, is obviously cooking.  After that I started cooking and baking again at any opportunity – birthdays, Christmas, housewarmings – and now I often bake “just because” and take the resulting slices, cookies, cakes and cupcakes to work or my best friend’s house just so I don’t have to eat the whole lot myself.

For my first post I feel as though it should have been of something much more impressive looking, but, these Banana Bars were just so soft and more-ish that I have to blog about them! I bought a $1 bag bananas at the Prahran Market the other week thinking to make banana bread, but instead I came across this recipe in one of my go to cookbooks for slices and cookies: Nestle Toll House: Best-Loved Cookies and I had to give it a go.

Banana Bars

2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
190 g butter, chopped and at room temperature
⅔ cup caster sugar
⅔ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed banana
1 egg
2 cups dark choc chips

Prepare by preheating the oven to 180C and grease then line a 30x15cm slice tin.

Sift flour and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Add salt.

With an electric mixer, cream butter, caster sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat in bananas and egg until just combined. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir through choc chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake in preheated oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the pan. Cut into squares to serve.