Posts Tagged With: brownies

Pinkies (Strawberry Milkshake Blondies)

I’m not really sure how this idea popped into my head. Perhaps it was because I had pink on the brain from helping to organise my gran and stepgrandad’s 10th wedding anniversary celebrations, which featured the colour as a theme (including a pink rosewater cake as a centrepiece, made by yours truly).

I’ve baked with strawberry milkshake powder before and I love the delicate rosy shade it delivers. And, despite being a vaguely gothic looking 28-year-old, I always think of pink as a fun colour that carries the promise of something devilishly sweet and exciting when it’s used in an edible context.

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Why limit yourself to dark and white chocolate brownies and blondies, I thought, when there’s room in the great Bakeosphere for other flavours? I’m happy to say this whimsical idea paid off, despite my initial worries that the finished product would be too synthetic, too soggy, or just downright vile. The strawberry flavour is quite subtle and really complements the white chocolate batter, adding a novel twist on the much-loved blondie.

So, don’t be shy – grab the Nesquik and have some fun with these cheery pinkies! And, if you like these, why not check out my strawberry milkshake biscuits?

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INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 18 squares

  • 200g/7 oz granulated or caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 85g/3 oz self-raising flour
  • 120ml/4 fl oz cooking oil
  • 100g/4 oz white cooking chocolate
  • 5 tbsp strawberry milkshake powder (I used Hello Kitty brand but any will do!)
  • 2 tsp strawberry extract
  • Quarter tsp red gel food colouring
  • 18 sugar butterflies, to decorate (optional)

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a rectangular baking tin with parchment paper.
  • Briefly whisk the sugar, eggs, oil and strawberry extract together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Chop the chocolate into small chunks and melt in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water or place in the microwave and heat in blasts of about 1 minute until smooth, then pour into the mixing bowl.
  • Fold in the flour, milkshake powder and gel food colouring until you have an even, pale pink hue, and then pour the mixture into the prepared tin.

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  • Pop in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until the edges are wrinkled and very slightly brown and a cocktail stick inserted into the cake comes out pretty much clean. Leave to cool.
  • Cut into squares using a sharp knife and gently push a sugar butterfly into the top of each pinkie.

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Categories: Traybakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Low Fat Christmas Pudding Brownies

I’ve recently been compiling a ring binder of print-outs of healthier recipes that I’ve found online so that I can easily look them up when I feel like cooking something that’s not too chock-full of calories, fat and sugar.

One Google result that caught my attention was the original chocolate version of this recipe, which I came across here: http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/1107/i-can-t-believe-they-re-low-fat-brownies.aspx. It included the genius idea of adding mushed prunes in place of butter or margarine to create a gorgeously moist but less fatty cake.
I don’t understand why prunes are so neglected as a fruit. I know they’re infamous for being used as a means of ‘keeping you regular’ and carry metaphorical connotations of wrinkles, shriveling and general lifelessness, but they’re so underrated as a food in their own right. I bought some for the first time in forever recently and had forgotten what a deliciously rich, almost caramelly, flavour they have.

Anyway, I digress (I swear I’m not being paid by some kind of Prune Advisory Board) – I’m in the grip of full-blown Christmas fever at the moment as the end of November rapidly approaches, so I decided to add a festive twist to the original recipe by incorporating some extra fruit and nuts and a dash of warming winter spice. When both my dad and I sampled them, our immediate thoughts were of Christmas pudding, hence the title!

I also reduced the amount of sugar used in the original version as it annoys me when recipes are labelled as ‘healthy’ due to low fat content but include an obscene amount of the sweet stuff. I wouldn’t say these taste identical to regular brownies but they’re utterly delicious – rich, moist and full of flavour – and I really don’t think people would know they were low fat and lower sugar if you didn’t tell them.

I also like the fact that they’re a healthier alternative that don’t require expensive and/or obscure ingredients. I love the new wave of inventive vegan/raw/generally all-round-saintly treats but coconut oil, agave syrup and near-industrial quantities of cashew nuts don’t come cheap.
The final cherry on the proverbial cake is that these brownies are dairy free so they’d be ideal for lactose-intolerant friends.

I’ll definitely be making them again very soon!

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INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 12

  • 55g/2 oz plain flour
  • 110g/4 oz pitted prunes
  • 130g/4.5 oz brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp cocoa
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 55g/2 oz raisins
  • 55g/2 oz chopped mixed nuts (e.g. pecans, almonds, walnuts)
  • 1.5 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0.5 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 12 walnut or pecan halves, to decorate (optional)
  • Silver shimmer spray, to decorate (optional)

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a rectangular baking tin with parchment paper.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, mixed spice and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Roughly snip the prunes into pieces with scissors and place them in a separate heatproof bowl with the water, then microwave on a medium setting in two blasts of 1 minute until soft and mushy.
  4. Squish the prunes with a potato masher to form a paste and add to the dry ingredients.
  5. Stir in the cooking oil, eggs, raisins, chopped nuts and vanilla extract. Mix until well blended.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and pop in the oven for around 12-15 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the mix comes out mostly clean – err on the side of caution and make sure you don’t over bake them as the brownies will be dry and crumbly!
  7. When baked, leave to cool on a wire rack before cutting into 12 squares with a sharp knife.
  8. Push a walnut or pecan half into the top of each square and finish with a festive spritz of edible silver shimmer spray, if you fancy.

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Categories: Chocolate, Festive, Healthier, Traybakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Best Ever Blondies

Originally posted 06/05/2014

My first attempt at blondies were a sickly, sticky mess but these are ridiculously good! I was reluctant to reveal my secret ingredient to my eager samplers but I shall share it here for the benefit of the baking community at large (ahem). And that secret ingredient is…*drum roll*…custard powder.

This idea came about when I was simply too lazy to look up a blondie recipe and decided just to go by my failsafe brownie recipe and substitute the milk chocolate for the white variety. It then dawned on me that I had no idea what to add in place of the cocoa powder. There’s no such thing as white cocoa powder (to my knowledge?!) and I was worried that making up the cocoa quantity with more flour would affect the flavour and make them too plain so, in the absence of butterscotch Angel Delight, I reached for the vanilla scented custard powder. And hey presto! The rest is scrumptious cakey history.

The lovely golden blondies pictured with their darker chocolate bretherin, pre-cutting… 

INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 15

  • 200g/7 oz granulated or caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 85g/3 oz self-raising flour
  • 120ml/4 fl oz cooking oil
  • 130g/4.5 oz white cooking chocolate
  • 4.5 tbsp custard powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Few drops of Lakeland buttery caramel flavouring (optional but really makes the butterscotchy flavour pop!)

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a rectangular baking tin with parchment paper.
  • Briefly whisk the sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla extract and caramel flavouring together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Chop the chocolate into small chunks and melt in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water or place in the microwave and heat in blasts of about 1 minute until smooth, then pour into the mixing bowl.
  • Fold the flour and custard powder into the mixture then pour into the prepared tin.
  • Pop in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the cake comes out pretty much clean, then leave to cool.
  • Cut the blondies into squares using a sharp knife and marvel at their deliciousness as you dive in.
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Failsafe Brownies with Jack Daniel’s

Originally posted 01/09/2013

Oh em gee. Seriously…there are no words to describe how utterly delicious these decadent chewy chunks of chocolate heaven are! Just writing about them is making me crave one…

My previous attempts at brownies were pleasant enough but always seemed more like a moist chocolate cake and never turned out anything like bakery bought ones with their glorious gooey centres and thin top crusts. Then a friend from work sent me her recipe that used oil rather than butter and this, without a doubt, made all the difference in creating the perfect texture. Adding the Jack Daniel’s whiskey was my little twist and the end result is simply sublime and devastatingly addictive, although if you don’t want to add alcohol the brownies will still be delicious without it. Milk cooking chocolate gives a lovely fudgy flavour but dark chocolate also works well if you prefer.

Please don’t let the wrinkly, sunken appearance of the brownies when they come out of the oven put you off – I promise you the taste will be amazing!!

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INGREDIENTS – makes approx. 15

  • 200g/7 oz granulated/caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 85g/3 oz self-raising flour
  • 120ml/4 fl oz cooking oil
  • 150g/5 oz milk cooking chocolate
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp Jack Daniel’s whiskey (optional)
  • 3/4 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Handful of white chocolate chips, to decorate (optional)

METHOD

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C (or 160 fan) and line a rectangular baking tin with parchment paper.
  • Briefly whisk the sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla extract together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Chop the chocolate into small chunks and melt in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of hot water or place in the microwave and heat in blasts of about 1 minute until smooth, then pour into the mixing bowl.
  • Fold the flour, cocoa and Jack Daniel’s into the mixture and pour into the prepared tin.
  • Pop in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until a cocktail stick inserted into the brownies comes out pretty much clean then leave to cool.
  • When cool, scatter over some white chocolate chips if you fancy, then cut the brownies into squares using a sharp knife and devour while moaning pleasurably. Easy peasy!
Categories: Chocolate, Traybakes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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