Sprinkled Coconut Ice

I know a sweet recipe is good when my little sister, who is usually collected, healthy and wholesome about her diet, loses her control and eats two or three pieces in one fell swoop. When I was thinking about an Easter gift for Jess I knew that chocolate eggs wouldn’t be her style, and then I remembered her delight over the presence of coconut ice at a wedding we attended recently – I knew what I needed to make immediately.

Sprinkle Coconut Ice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Gluten Free

Coconut Ice has been a tradition in our family for a long time. Every Christmas as part of our huge Christmas dessert spread there is a crystal plate filled with little pastel squares. The same at Easter, and most other family gatherings. I must admit that we usually purchase our coconut ice, but after making this batch for Jessica’s Easter present I don’t think we will be buying it any more. Coconut ice is easy to make, no pots, pans or oven required. Perfect for making with little kids, especially since they can get their hands dirty while kneading the mixture together (this appeals to big kids too). This colourful offering is an old-fashioned sort of treat, but whenever you bring a dish people can’t help but smile.

Sprinkle Coconut Ice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Gluten Free

The hardest part about making coconut ice is waiting for it to set, and I am not ashamed to admit that I did nibble at a few stray crumbs after I had pressed the majority into the baking tin. (I did go for a run beforehand, balance people). The addition of sprinkles here is entirely extraneous to the flavour, but it certainly adds a festive element. You can leave them out, but when given the opportunity to use sprinkles I think one should always seize upon it. Also, I just happen to be in a sprinkle mood: Exhibit A, my cookies from last week. Jess’s eyes lit up with delight and the jar was soon opened and shared. The sprinkles weren’t extraneous at all, not when I saw Jess’s smile.

Sprinkle Coconut Ice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Gluten Free

 

Sprinkled Coconut Ice

Gluten Free – Check that your icing sugar and sprinkles are gluten free. I use Dollar Sweets Bright Sprinkles because they are certified gluten free. 

Makes about 64 pieces (2.5cm square)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups dessicated coconut
  • 1 x 390 gram can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut essence
  • 2 tablespoons milk (may be required)
  • 1/3 cup multicoloured sprinkles (see head note)
  • Pink food colouring

Method

  1. Line an 8-inch square cake tin or baking dish with baking paper.
  2. Sift icing sugar into a large bowl. Gently whisk in dessicated coconut.
  3. Add condensed milk, vanilla and coconut essence. Mix well until all dry ingredients are included. If your mixture is too dry and you can’t get everything to incorporate you may need milk. You may need to wet your hands and knead the coconut ice by hand.
  4. Divide coconut mixture in half. Knead sprinkles into one half. Colour the other half with pink food colouring to desired tint.
  5. Press sprinkled half into prepared tin/dish. I roll a flat sided glass across the top to banish my finger dents. Then press pink portion on top and roll glass across to flatten.
  6. Cover dish with cling wrap and place in refrigerator for three hours, or until set.
  7. When set remove from fridge and cut into small slices to serve. I cut mine into 2.5cm x 2.5cm.
  8. Coconut Ice will keep in fridge for up to three weeks.

This would make a lovely gift for Mother’s Day! Simply place in a jar and wrap with a big pink ribbon. This would definitely be welcomed by my Mum and Mormor.

Sprinkle Coconut Ice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Gluten Free

Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies

I made these cookies before I went to a wedding. Because naturally, when one is going to an event where there is going to be amazing food, amazing wine, and then amazing cake, one really needs to eat cookies before one goes. Possibly not. However, Jessica did point out that they are small, therefore they could be considered a snack food, and everyone knows that you should have a small snack before you head out to an event so that you aren’t hungry and therefore angry, and don’t overeat the appetisers and/or bread basket.

Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I know that you should really snack on something healthy like an apple and some nut butter, or some low-fat Greek yoghurt. That’s what sensible Amy does on normal days, but there are some days, like a Saturday where your awesome and unintended sleep in gets interrupted by your alarm for an appointment, and then you show up at said appointment to find out that they meant to call you and cancel. Three weeks ago.

Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Still, no big fuss. Just go home via the supermarket, pick up some buckwheat flour and chocolate chips, remember that you have some egg dregs leftover from your sensible Friday night dinner of egg white omelette and make yourself some cookies. Three cookies disappeared while I was getting dressed and glammed for said wedding. Mental health snack: sensible. Then you really should proceed to eat the bread roll (because for goodness sake they actually found you a gluten free one) with butter (of course); lick the plate clean when they bring you an amazingly tasty dinner; and then dance with your significant other like a crazy person (Pulp Fiction has nothing on us). Then, definitely remember to have a cookie before breakfast on Sunday while you are trying to make bacon for your slightly hungover significant other in a mildly hungover state yourself. Couch time for most of the day: sensible. Note: I did also go for a cookie-fuelled run in the afternoon. Perhaps not sensible, but definitely required.

Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

These cookies are chocolate in the best way. The dough isn’t overly sweet so the cocoa shines through. The milk chocolate chips are little bursts of sweetness among the darker dough. The reason these are called pebble cookies is because they are soft and slightly crumbly and fit in the palm of your hand, smooth and full of chocolaty promise before you gobble them down. I dare you to stop at just one.

 Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies

Note: If you do not require these to be gluten free, simply replace the buckwheat flour and rice flour with the equivalent weight of plain flour.

Gluten Free. Makes 18 cookies.

Ingredients

  • 100 grams butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • 75 grams buckwheat flour
  • 75 grams brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C (320F) and line two cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl use a wooden spoon to cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg, yolks, and vanilla essence and beat until smooth.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, buckwheat flour and rice flour.
  5. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until combined.
  6. Mix in chocolate chips until well distributed.
  7. Roll heaped tablespoons of mixture into balls and place on baking trays, allow room for a small amount of spreading.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until edges are firm. The middle may still be soft. This is good otherwise your cookies will be overly hard.
  9. Remove and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Chocolate Chip Pebble Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Melt and Mix Chocolate Brownies

What would you say if I told you these brownies are so easy you could put them together while dinner was cooking and they would be ready for you when dessert time came around?

You might call me all sorts of names for leading you astray on a Monday morning.

What would you say if I told you that you only need a saucepan, a spoon, and a baking tin to make this fudgy chocolate treat?

You might tell me that I am an enabler, and that I am making it far too easy for you to break the promises that you made to yourself about eating well this week.

Melt and Mix Chocolate Brownies

What would you say if I told you that a balanced diet is all about balancing your indulgences with healthy eating and exercise?

You wouldn’t say anything, you would realise my wisdom (or..er…rationalising), and race into the kitchen to make some brownies!

Melt and Mix Chocolate Brownies

Melt and Mix Chocolate Brownies

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies. Makes 16 2×2 inch brownies.

Ingredients

  • 120 grams dark (60-70%) chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 100 grams butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips, divided

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160C (320F) and line an 8-inch square baking tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large saucepan melt butter and chocolate together over a low heat. Stir until smooth.
  3. Remove pan from heat and stir in all remaining ingredients.
  4. Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over the top.
  5. Bake until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. This should take about 30-35 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool completely before slicing into pieces. Brownies can be kept in an airtight container for up to four days – if they last that long!

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Tell me, dear reader, what are your biggest temptations on a Monday? 

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

Whether you are celebrating with your someone special, with your friends, or treating yourself to a night in on the couch I hope you enjoy this day and really feel the love that is all around you.

Chris and Amy bokeh

 

If you’re looking for some sweet treats for your sweetheart, why not try:

Happy Valentines Everyone.

Come back tomorrow for a new sweet treat to make over the weekend.

Honey Caramels

Let’s talk about hidden talents and honey caramels today. These are the things that make life interesting, they keep us from a truly linear progression and they are the spice in the curiousity cabinet of life. Firstly, hidden talents. I love when you think you know someone and then they turn around and completely surprise you. My little sister does an excellent Beyonce/Sasha Fierce impersonation – she unleashes her inner Amazon with amazing power for such a small person. Her Z-snap is almost as impressive as Chris’s (sorry for outing you honey…). My darling Casey can sing the American national anthem in cat (basically her ‘meowing’ to the tune of Star Spangled Banner) – it’s a sight to behold for sure. Then comes my friend Ricky – who knew that this man was a budding apiarist? (That’s a person who tends for bees by the way.) Ricky’s honey has become a huge hit in our house, and we are putting it on/into everything! Now that’s a hidden talent to admire.

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My hidden talents? Well there was a party trick that involved my tongue and musk sticks, but we don’t talk about my early twenties any more…let’s really just not go there. Now that I am a sophisticated (ahem) professional (ahem) lady (AHEM!) my hidden talent has become misreading recipes and rescuing them at the last minute to achieve something different and usually as pleasing as the original. These Honey Caramels were born of that hidden talent. Because messing up, when worded correctly, can be a hidden talent. It’s all in the marketing you see.

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The caramels start off with a smooth nutty flavour and then right at the end the honey shines through. They are welcomed eagerly with a cup of coffee after dinner and just as equally at place wrapped up in some pretty tissue paper and put into a tin as a Christmas present. Just remember to save a few for yourself…(my other hidden talent is hiding things, but you didn’t hear that from me).

Honey Caramels

This recipe was accidentally adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Australia, December 2013. Gluten free. Definitely NOT diabetic friendly.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 395 gram can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons glucose syrup (ensure this is made from corn)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 200 grams white chocolate, chopped
  • Icing sugar, to dust, about 1/2 cup

Method

  1. Line an 8-inch square baking tin with baking paper and make a space in your fridge of the same size.
  2. Put sugar, sweetened condensed milk, honey, and glucose syrup into a heavy based saucepan. Place over a medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to boil. Keep stirring or your caramel will burn on the bottom. That is not good.
  3. When the mixture comes to the boil, lower the heat and continue stirring for about 15 minutes or until the caramel deepens in colour and thickens.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste and the white chocolate. Beat until melted and smooth. The mixture will start to thicken so work quickly!
  5. Spread caramel into the prepared baking tin and smooth the top. Allow to come to room temperature on the bench before placing in your pre-prepared space in the fridge. Cool until set. About 2-3 hours.
  6. Remove caramel slab from the fridge and cut into small squares. Dust with icing sugar so that the pieces don’t stick together too much.
  7. Serve, or store in the fridge until you gift them (or gobble them).

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Don’t mind if I do…

Salted Cashew and White Chocolate Cookies (gluten free)

Today is Saturday. I don’t think you can find a person in the world who doesn’t understand the fragile and fleeting beauty of a Saturday morning. More energetic than a Friday night when you are tired from working all week, and less worrisome than a Sunday afternoon when work looms large on the horizon. Saturday morning are one of my favourite times of the week. Saturday mornings mean the farmers markets with my mum and sister, Saturday mornings mean a long run when I am in training (such as at the moment), and after that run, Saturday mornings mean cookies.

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These cookies are a riff on the Chunky Dunkers that I made a few months ago. (And by made we all know that I mean that they barely made it out of the oven before I was double-fisting them and cursing my mouth for not being big enough to hold more than one bite at a time.)

The Salted Cashew and White Chocolate Cookies are slightly salted, in fact next time I make them I may bump the salt up to a whole teaspoon rather than a half just to get that extra little salty kick. The cashew butter is subtle but more pronounced once the cookies are cooled, and it makes the crumb oh so tender. And when that tender, salty dough meets salted cashews and creamy sweet white chocolate chunks your mouth explodes in a divine explosion of cookie goodness.

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Salted Cashew and White Chocolate Cookies (gluten free)

If you don’t need these to be gluten free you can use 250 grams of plain flour in place of the rice flour and buckwheat flour). 

Makes about 20 cookies.

Ingredients

  • 50 grams butter, softened
  • 60 grams cashew butter
  • 50 grams caster sugar
  • 125 grams brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 100 grams white rice flour
  • 150 grams buckwheat flour
  • 150 grams white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup salted cashews, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line two large cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl beat butter, cashew butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. I used a wooden spoon, but you can use a hand-held mixer instead.
  3. Add egg and milk and beat well.
  4. Sift in salt, baking powder, and flours. Stir until well combined.
  5. Mix in chocolate and nuts until evenly distributed.
  6. Scoop out mounds of dough with a soup spoon (or an ice cream scoop if you want extra-large cookies). Leave about 6 cm between cookies to allow for spreading.
  7. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Rotate halfway through cooking time.
  8. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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Sometimes the bribe of a cookie keeps my feet turning over in the last mile or two. Sometimes the craving hits after I get home, but the cookie can never be ignored. So go on, treat yourself. It’s the best way to start the weekend.

Tell me dear reader, how do you like to start your Saturday mornings? Anything special that you look forward to all week?

Violet Crumble Brownies

You might hate me after I show you these brownies. In fact, maybe you shouldn’t scroll down too far, just in case.

Reasons you might hate me? Let’s make a list:

  1. Brownies, on a Friday (and I’ve been so good all week Amy – why did you show me these now??);
  2. You have the insatiable urge to push yourself away from your computer and run to the nearest providore of Violet Crumble and then rush back to your kitchen and make them – but you can’t because you are most likely at work (or in school, or taking care of little ones, or maybe in outer space, I don’t know, maybe); or
  3. You didn’t get one when I brought them into work today…

Oh, what the heck, scroll down and we’ll take our chances shall we?

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Any haters? Whew, that’s a good feeling.

These brownies came to mind when I was thinking about my favourite chocolate bars while simultaneously doing some extremely boring paperwork (you know, as you do). My favourite childhood chocolate bar has always been the Violet Crumble (followed closely by Picnic Bars – please, please make a gluten free version someday soon!). Some of you may contradict me – why Amy, what about Peanut m&ms? Surely they are your favourite chocolate bar? My reasoning: they are my favourite chocolate and candy coated vegetable. Hear me out – peanuts are not nuts, they are legumes, legumes are a type of vegetable – see, sound scientific reasoning!

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Violet Crumbles will always hold a special place in my heart (even though they aren’t currently Amy friendly) because they are not only delicious, musical to eat, and can devoured slowly while reading a good book, but also because they helped me survive my final year of high school. High school Amy study food: Violet Crumbles and strawberries…

It’s all about balance, right?

So, instead of hating on me, love on these brownies. Remember, it’s the way it shatters that matters.

Violet Crumble Brownies

Makes 30 decadent brownies. Of course, you can cut this into larger or smaller squares at your own discretion. They will keep for 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge , or about 30 minutes on an office kitchen table.

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams dark chocolate, chopped
  • 175 grams butter, cubed
  • 125 grams plain flour
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • 230 grams brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 250 grams Violet Crumble (5 x 50 gram bars), or other chocolate-covered honeycomb

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (356F) and line a 8 x 11 x 1-inch baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Place butter and chocolate in a small heavy-based saucepan and melt together over a low, low heat. Stir frequently with a metal spoon until just melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Sift together plain flour and cocoa powder and set aside.
  4. In a medium-size mixing bowl beat together brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla essence with a hand-held mixer until light and creamy. This will take about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Fold melted chocolate into egg mixture. Then fold in flour and cocoa.
  6. Roughly chop Violet Crumble and fold 200 grams into brownie batter.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared baking tin and smooth top with a spatula. Sprinkle reserved Violet Crumble over the top.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
  9. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing up and serving.
  10. Enjoy.

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Okay readers, tell me, what is your favourite chocolate bar? Any interesting discoveries?

 

Coffee-Vanilla Sandwich Cookies (gluten free)

My childhood is told in a recollection of biscuits, cookies, and shortbread. Kingston biscuits dipped in china cups of sweet black tea. Almost damp Monte Carlo’s carefully wiggled apart so that the filling would stick to one side and you could nibble around the sweet jam and coconut until you had a perfect section of biscuit and filling to savour for as long as your patience lasted. Chocolate Marie biscuits that Mum would pack into my school lunch box. Shortbread fingers that Dad would break out on the weekend; we would sit outside with him during one of his breaks from tinkering about in the shed and enjoy them while sitting in the sunshine with cold paving stones pressing against the backs of our summer-tanned legs. The custard creams and orange creams that would linger a little longer in the biscuit barrel, but by the end of the week would surely have disappeared into hungry after-school bellies and Dad’s lunchbox. The store bought gluten free versions of these look similar, but are never as satisfactory. So, in need of a saucer-side cookie I ventured into the Thoroughly Nourished kitchen to create my own.

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These coffee and vanilla biscuits are perfect for afternoon tea, or for packing into lunch boxes. They would sit elegantly on a tiered cake stand for the most formal of occasions, and are just as at home in a container in the refrigerator that is the source of midnight snacks and little illicit nibbles. They are also particularly delicious alongside a cup of tea and a dusty old novel on a  cloudy spring afternoon. And, because they are gluten free, everyone can enjoy them.

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Coffee-Vanilla Sandwich Cookies (gluten free)

These biscuits are gluten-free so be sure to check the ingredients in items such as icing sugar and cornflour are free of gluten-containing substances too. Some companies use wheat in their cornflour or icing sugar to help with thickening and stabilisation. You will need a 4.5cm fluted (or other shape) cookie cutter for this recipe, and a rolling pin.

Ingredients

  • 120 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 100 grams icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 100 grams buckwheat flour, and extra for dusting the bench
  • 50 grams hazelnut meal
  • 25 grams cornflour
  • 35 grams brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Method

  1. Preheat fan-forced oven to 160C (320F)  (this would be about 170C/340F in a conventional oven) and line two cookie sheets with baking paper. Mix milk with coffee granules and set aside to dissolve fully.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl beat together butter, icing sugar, and vanilla essence with electric beaters until fluffy and light in colour.
  3. Weigh out the buckwheat flour, hazelnut meal, cornflour, and brown rice flour. Add to butter along with the milk. Mix in gently with a wooden spoon until fully combined.
  4. Dust the bench and rolling pin with a light shower of buckwheat flour. Gather dough into a ball and place on the bench. This is a very soft dough, so if it appears to be too delicate to handle just wrap in two layers of plastic and place in the fridge for half an hour.
  5. Roll dough out to 0.5mm-0.8mm thickness. Using a 4.5cm round or fluted cookie cutter cut out cookies and place on lined cookie sheets. Leave about 4cm between cookies.
  6. Place cookie sheets in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. Rotate the sheets halfway through cooking time. Be careful as they may burn on the edges if left in too long.
  7. Remove cookies and place on a cooling rack until completely cooled. Fit a piping back with a star tip and pipe approximately half a tablespoon of frosting onto half the biscuits. Top with remaining biscuits and press down lightly to ensure they stick together well.
  8. Serve and enjoy. These cookies will keep in the fridge for about 3 days.

For the vanilla frosting:

In a medium-size mixing bowl beat together 1.5 cups icing sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, 50 grams softened unsalted butter, and 1 tablespoon of milk until light and creamy. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up, and once cookies are cooled use to sandwich them together.

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Peanut Butter Lindt-Ball-Filled Chocolate Cakes

Today was National Bookshop Day in Australia, and as I am a complete and utter bibliophile I had to celebrate the occasion with a visit to my favourite independent book store: aptly named ‘The Really Good Bookshop’ – you can’t get more obvious (and truthful) than that. I have written before of my love for this place: towering shelves of books crammed inside a small store front, stacks upon stacks of books crowd the floor and beckon you to kneel upon the floor and discover the treasures at your feet, still more books filed two-deep on the bookshelves themselves, and if – after all that – you still can’t find a book that tempts you to open the covers and discover the world within, then the owners will gladly order you anything your reader’s heart desires. Wendy and Peter (I know, I know – I was so happy when I discovered they had novel-worthy names) are fonts of information in themselves, and know the whereabouts of every one of their precious printed cargo. They are also one of my favourite reasons to visit ‘The Really Good Bookshop’, and so I decided that on National Bookshop Day, the best bookshop owners that I know deserved something special to nibble on when they finally get to relax with their own favourite reads.

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Now, I am a little particular when it comes to ‘things I will eat while reading’, there must be some thought put into the food because one doesn’t want: a) to get crumbs or oil stains on the book, or b) to eat something merely mediocre and (as my darling friend Casey says) waste calories on something not completely delicious. These little cakes can be eaten with a fork while your plate sits on a little table beside your favourite reading chair.

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When celebrating I can think of nothing better than cake (well, really at any time of day I struggle to think of anything better than cake…), but for my favourite guardians of books something really special was in order. Something with a little surprise….

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Peanut Butter Lindt-Ball-Filled Chocolate Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 180 grams butter, softened
  • 180 grams brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 300 grams plain flour
  • 30 grams cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 150 grams dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 12 peanut butter Lindt balls

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Butter a 12-cup friand tin (or two 6-cup tins, or a 12-cup large muffin tin) very well – you don’t want these little cakes to stick when you go to turn them out at the end.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar until creamy. This should take about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition, and scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. I use a whisk for this because a sifter usually ends in a lot of mess!
  5. Add the flour mixture to the batter in three parts, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.
  6. Remove the bowl from the stand and mix in the cooled melted chocolate with a wooden spoon.
  7. Fill friand cups half-way with the batter. Place a Lindt ball in each and divide remaining mixture between the cups to cover the Lindt balls.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The tops should bounce back when touched lightly.
  9. Allow the cakes to cool for five minutes in the tins, then gently remove.

These cakes are best enjoyed warm, but they were certainly gobbled down just as quickly at room temperature. Mum and Dad have highly recommended microwaving them for 15 seconds and enjoying them with some whipping cream! You can see that moderation doesn’t really run in my genetics!

Tell me, dear reader, what are you reading at the moment?

I am currently enjoying reading some books for my Master’s thesis. On my list currently: White Jacket Required by Jenna Weber (author of fabulous blog Eat Live Run); Poor Man’s Feast by Elissa Altman (author of the blog of the same name); and Not Quite Nigella by Lorraine Elliott (author of the blog of the same name).

Mandarin Cream Cheese Sandwich Cookies

There are many codes I live by. Don’t wear pink and red together. Always put salt and pepper on avocado. Butter is best. Keep a bar of dark chocolate in the bottom drawer of the kitchen just in case you encounter a day ending in ‘y’. More books is always better than less books (the same goes for sneakers). Tell those closest to your heart just how much you love them everyday. Always pack that extra pair of unmentionables when you are travelling.

And then there is one from one of the cooking goddesses herself, Julia Child: ‘A party without cake is just a meeting.’

Yes Julia, yes. Make these cookies my friend and take them to work. Watch your team meeting transform into a tea party. See the sugar-induced smile on your boss’s face. If you don’t have an office (like me at the moment) send them to work with your loved one – trust me.

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Mandarin Cream Cheese Sandwich Cookies

This recipe makes about 27 cookie sandwiches.

Ingredients:

  • 335g butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence

 Method:

  1. Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla essence in a large bowl until fluffy.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together plain flour and rice flour.
  3. Add flour mixture to butter and sugar and mix until it forms a shaggy dough. Tip this mixture out onto a lightly floured bench and knead until it comes together and forms a soft dough.
  4. Divide this dough into two portions and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for half an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line two large cookie sheets with baking paper.
  6. Roll dough out to 5mm-7mm thickness (0.2-0.3 inches) with a floured rolling pin.
  7. Cut the dough into round shapes with a 4cm fluted cookie cutter – or your shape of choice (love hearts would work well here too).
  8. Place each cut out onto a lined cookie sheet. Leave about 2cm between each cookie to allow for spreading.
  9. Repeat using all the dough. You may need to line a few more cookie sheets.
  10. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on a wire rack.
  11. Once cookies are completely cool make the mandarin cream cheese.

 Mandarin Cream Cheese Frosting

 Ingredients:

  • 125g full fat cream cheese at room temperature
  • Finely grated rind of two mandarins
  • Juice of two mandarins
  • 3 cups icing sugar

Method

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add some more icing sugar if the frosting is not keeping its shape.
  2. Spoon frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe approximately one tablespoon of frosting onto half the cookies. Sandwich the plain cookies on top twisting them a little to secure them.

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