Pomegranate, Salted Caramel and White Chocolate Pan Cookie

Delicious. Is just what this delightful pan cookie was. I have been wanting to make one of these for a while now, and it certainly did not disappoint. Crispy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside, plus the addition of creamy salted caramel = YUM!

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 The combination of the sweet white chocolate, salty caramel, and the fresh little pops of the pomegranate seeds were a really great mix together. However, I also made smaller cookies on their own, which were delicious, but very, very soft, due to the amount of salted caramel I added! This combination is perfect for a pan cookie, topped with more pomegranate and some ice cream. Plus, these are so easy to make, and are a great dessert to share, or not to share 😉

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 Pomegranate, Salted Caramel and White Chocolate Pan Cookie: 

Makes 1 pan cookie, and approximately 12 smaller cookies. You could halve this recipe for the pan cookie only.

  • 125g butter, chopped and softened, not melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1/2 cup castor (white) sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste/natural extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4  cup self-raising flour
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 250g good quality white choc chips
  • 2 tbs salted caramel (I used a homemade one, but you could also use Dulce de Leche, Nestle Top ‘N’ Fill Caramel)
  • Seeds of ½ a pomegranate

Preheat the oven to 160c. Grease a small non-stick pan (I used a 17cm pan) with butter, and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy, approximately 3-4 minutes. Add the vanilla, and the eggs, one at a time until well combined. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, until completely mixed. Add the chocolate, salted caramel and pomegranate seeds, and mix well. Spoon mixture into prepared pan, filling it to the top, and smooth over mixture with a spoon. Place in pre-heated oven, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Let cool for 5 minutes, and top with more pomegranate seeds and ice cream. Enjoy!

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FYI – you could easily use a bigger or smaller pan for this recipe, you would just need to adjust the cooking time, and keep an eye out for when the cookie is golden, or to your liking 🙂 Also, sorry for the crappy photos. I had to quickly snap away before the sun went down!

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Halloween Spooky Spider Chocolate Oreos

Can you believe it’s Halloween already?! I’m a little bit excited about this, as it means it’s getting nice and close to the best time of year – Christmas! Halloween is not really a huge deal in Australia, although it seems to have become more popular in recent years. This is only the second post I’ve ever done on Halloween, and I’m definitely looking forward to doing more. There are some pretty cool baking ideas I found on Pinterest for Halloween. People are so creative. These Oreos, however, are probably not the most creative. They are, in fact, very easy to make and insanely delicious.

 

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I am a little bit obsessed with chocolate covered Oreos at the moment. I see stacks of them on Instagram, and some people make them look  like the most amazing little morsels of sparkly treasure, and you would never know that a humble Oreo biscuit was nestled inside. I have officially been inspired. Yum.

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So, why not cover an Oreo with a totally justifiable amount of chocolate, and then whack another Oreo on top? Just as well I could turn them into spiders, and that it’s coincidentally the week of Halloween!

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My chocolate piping skills are very obviously flawed! I can’t say I have really ever piped melted chocolate before, and it’s really not the easiest thing to do. The designs on these Oreos definitely could have been cleaner, but I don’t mind too much as the taste totally makes up for it! There is no recipe for these Oreos, it’s pretty self explanatory. A little bit of chocolate in the mould, the Oreo, and more chocolate. You just have to have the right moulds (I got mine from Baking Pleasures).

These Oreos are awesome. They are quick and easy to make, a great idea for cooking with kids and super versatiile – you can make them any colour and design them however you wish, and best of all, they are super delicious.

Happy Halloweeeeeeeeeeen!

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Vanilla Bean and Raspberry Melting Moments

Melting moments are one of my favourite biscuits to make, and one of my favourite doughs to eat! (Let’s face it, there aren’t many doughs that I wouldn’t eat!) They are so yummy, and this version takes the usual melting moments up a notch, with delicious homemade raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream.

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This recipe was featured on Masterchef Australia 2 years ago (I think?!), and won contestant Julia a challenge. I have been wanting to make these for a long time, like many others things, but I am very glad I finally did. They really are delicious and were certainly worth the wait! Yum! I will most definitely be making these little gems again.

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Vanilla Bean and Raspberry Melting Moments: (recipe by Julia Taylor on Masterchef Australia)

I doubled the original recipe, as it said it would only make 5 sandwiched biscuits. I ended up with about 25 with a double batch, although I did try and make them small.

Biscuits:

  • 360g unsalted butter, chopped and softened
  • 120g icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 120g custard powder
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 360g plain (all-purpose) flour

Preheat a fan forced oven to 180c. Line 2 oven trays with non-stick baking paper. Beat the butter until pale and creamy, about 2-4 minutes. Add the sugar and custard powder, and stir with wooden spoon until well combined. Add the flour and the baking powder to the dough, and stir with a wooden spoon until mixed well. Roll small ball of dough, and place them on the pre-lined oven trays. Press fork lightly onto dough, to leave an indent. Bake for approximately 12 minutes or until very slightly golden. Let biscuits cool on trays, then transfer to wire racks.

Raspberry Jam:

  • 200g fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 150g caster (white) sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Tbs cold water
  • 1/2 tsp powdered gelatin

Place raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan, and cook on low-medium heat for about 20-30 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat. Place water and gelatin together in a small bowl, and mix until combined. Stir into jam, and place in heatproof bowl, in the fridge, to cool.

Vanilla Bean Buttercream:

  • 250g butter, chopped and softened
  • 1 cup icing (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste/natural extract

Beat butter until pale and creamy, 2-4 minutes. Beat in vanilla bean paste. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until all well combined. Spoon buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle.

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To assemble:

Place likely pairs of biscuits, facing upwards, next to each other. On one biscuit spoon a small amount of the raspberry jam, and on the other biscuit, pipe a swirl of buttercream. Gently sandwich together. Be sure not to use too much jam as it will just drip out when you press the biscuits together. Biscuits are stored best in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place. FYI – they are also best made the day before, as both the jam and buttercream will set, and the flavour will develop also.

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Happy Baking! 🙂

Hazelnut Jaffa Melting Moments

I made these little gems for the Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea which was held at work to raise money for the Cancer Council (for those who are not aware!). I just didn’t have the time, or the energy to make macarons this week, but I must admit I was pretty happy with how these melting moments, aka Yoyo’s, turned out. Melting moments were one of my favourite biscuits as a child, only second to the humble Monte Carlo. I thought I would put a bit of a spin on the traditional version, and they went down quite well with my colleagues 🙂 Well enough for one of them to order some for the weekend! Also, my apologies for the crap photos, I had no choice but to take them at night.

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I found a great recipe for hazelnut melting moments that used nutella in the ganache, and I thought orange would go perfectly with that. The great thing about melting moments is that they are super easy, just beat the butter and add all the dry ingredients and you’re done. Plus, they kind of look pretty, too, a bit rustic, but pretty. And they melt in your mouth…..mmmmm 🙂
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Hazelnut Jaffa Melting Moments: (adapted from Taste.com – I doubled the original recipe)
For the biscuits:
  • 250g butter, chopped and softened – not melted
  • 230g plain flour
  • 90g icing sugar mixture
  • 4 tbs cornflour
  • 4 tbs cocoa powder
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Cocoa powder, extra to dust
For the ganache:
  • 100g dark chocolate, chopped, or choc bit
  • 50g butter, chopped and softened – not melted
  • 5 tbs Nutella (or similar hazelnut spread)
  • Zest of 1/2 an orange
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 160c. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper, and set aside. Using a stand mixer or electic beater, beat butter until pale and creamy. Add the flour, icing sugar mixture, cornflour, cocoa powder, orange zest and a pinch of salt, and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined. Using clean hands, roll small teaspoons of the dough into balls, and place on the prepared trays (leave about 2cm in between each biscuit). With a fork dusted in cocoa powder, gently flatten the biscuit. Sprinkle each biscuit with a small amount of salt, and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes or until biscuits have hardened.
Biscuits
To make ganache, place chocolate in a microwavable bowl and microwave for 20-30 second increments. Each time the chocolate comes out of the microwave, stir as much as possible with a metal spoon to distribute the heat evenly – sometimes the chocolate looks as though it is not melted but will begin to melt when stirred. Doing this will prevent the chocolate burning and becoming gluggy. When chocolate is completely melted, set aside for 3 minutes. Add the 50g softened butter, nutella, orange zest and salt and mix until well combined.
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Assembly:
Pair up similar sized melting moment biscuits. To fill biscuits, you can use either a piping bag or a knife. To use a piping bag, spoon ganache into a piping bag fitted with a wide round nozzle. Sandwich together with remaining biscuit. Melting moments are best stored in an airtight container at room temperature, and are best consumed within 1-3 days. Yum!
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Roast Pumpkin and Brown Sugar Blondies

If you are unsure what a blondie is, you are definitely not alone. I showed these to my Dad and got “what on earth is that?!” For those of you wondering, blondies are fairly self explanatory. A blondie is a brownie, made with white chocolate instead of milk or dark. Genius, hey? I think so, because I can assure you these delicious slices definitely taste a lotttttt better than they look.

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There are lots of great flavours you could put in a blondie. I decided to branch a little out of the ordinary, and I’m pretty happy that I did. I think pumpkin in desserts is great when done well – the humble pumpkin pie is an all time American classic. With a hint of cinnamon, salt and olive oil, the pumpkin in these blondies was quite the delicious bite. It was really subtle, but you could definitely taste it. If I were making it only for myself and other pumpkin lovers, I would have gladly put in a bit hell of a lot more.
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Pumpkin Mash:
  • 3/4 cup diced pumpkin (if you really love pumpkin you could definitely use more)
  • Olive oil, to drizzle on top
  • Cinnamon, to sprinkle
  • Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 190c (180c fan forced). Prepare oven tray with baking paper. Spread pumpkin out on baking paper, drizzle generously with olive oil and mix with hands to coat. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of pepper, salt and a generous amount of cinnamon. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until soft. Remove from oven and let cool slightly for 5 minutes. Place pumpkin pieces in mortar and mash with pestle until it reaches a mash-y consistency, but still a little bit chunky. Set aside.
Pumpkin
Roast Pumpkin and Brown Sugar Blondies: (adapted from Katy’s Lazy Blondies on Nigella Lawson’s forum)
  • 100g white chocolate, chopped
  • 100g butter
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 110g plain flour
  • 100g additional white chocolate chips
  •  roast pumpkin mash

Blondies

Prepare a slice tin (approx. 20cm long) by spraying with olive oil spray or butter and lining with non-stick baking paper. In a microwavable bowl, heat 100g chocolate and butter until melted. For me, this took about a minute and I still had a few lumps, and being a bit silly I heated it for an extra 10 seconds and it curdled a little, but it didn’t make a difference at all to the final product 🙂 Set aside. In a separate large bowl, beat brown sugar and eggs until well combined. Slowly add the chocolate and butter mixture. Stir in the flour gently until fully incorporated. Mix in the additional chocolate chips and the pumpkin mash, and ensure they are evenly distributed. Pour mixture into prepared tin, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. If you like your brownies/blondies gooey, you can probably take them out a little earlier. Just keep testing with a skewer until you are happy 🙂 Set tin aside to cool, then slice into 15 pieces. Store and serve at room temperature, but they are also delicious warmed up!
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If you have never tried, or have never heard of blondies, I stongly urge that you familiarise yourself 🙂 You won’t regret it!

Aussie Beach Bum Cookies

Happy (belated) Australia Day! I hope all you Aussies had a great long weekend and celebrated with some snags on the barbie, a meat pie and a pav! If you are not an Aussie, you should definitely still celebrate with some snags on the barbie, a meat pie and a pav – or make some of these super cute and cheeky beach bum cookies to embrance your inner Australian! I saw these cookies on Pinterest a while ago, and just had to make them – they are too cute! They are really easy to make and decorate too.
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This recipe is once again from the fantastic Sweetapolita – they are basically the vanilla version of the Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies with Gingerbread Buttercream that I made for Christmas. I halved the recipe, and I still had close to 50 cookies, so if you do not want that many, you could simply halve it again. You can put any flavour you like in the cookies as well. I was loyal to the recipe and kept the vanilla bean with a touch of lemon, but you could use any type of extract or oil really, such as Strawberry, Orange, or even Musk.
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Vanilla Sugar Cookies: (adapted from Sweetapolita – this post has a great tutorial on making sugar cookies, too!)
  • 1 cup butter – softened, not melted
  • 1 cup caster (white) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups (approx.) icing sugar mixture
  • Water
  • Cachous and sprinkles, to decorate
  • Colouring gels

Preheat the oven to 160c fan forced, 170c non fan forced. Line 4 oven trays with baking paper, and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg until well combined. Sift flour and salt in a separate bowl, and gradually stir, with a wooden spoon, into the butter and sugar mixture. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth – keep adding flour in very small amounts if dough is still sticky. Divide dough into two batches, wrap tightly in cling wrap, and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Once dough is chilled, roll it out with a rolling pin, between two sheets of baking paper, until the dough is just under 1cm thick. With a heart shaped cookie cutter, carefully cut the shapes from the dough and place on the baking paper. When you have a full tray, gently and quickly cut the bottoms of the hearts off with a sharp, non-cerated knife. You don’t want to use a cerated bread and butter knife because it’s not sharp enough, and will cut a rough edge, rather than a clean edge. The only thing I would do differently when I make these again, would be to get a larger cookie cutter and cut off more from the bottom of the heart, so that they look like bigger, rounder bums!! Bake cookies in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes – make sure you check at 10 minutes! TIP – Don’t wait until the cookies begin to go brown – once the edges a even a tiny bit brown, the biscuits will be that overcooked you could nearly break your teeth on them! Make sure all the cookies are still completely ‘blonde.’ Let the cookies cool completely on the trays or wire racks until completely cool – you don’t want the icing to melt off!

 Cookies

To make the icing, combine icing sugar mixture with a tiny amount of water to make a paste. You can make as many or as little colours as you like – three was enough for me. Add a little of the colouring gel and a small amount of vanilla and stir until combined. Place icing in a piping bag fitted with a realllllllly small round nozzle. If you don’t have one, never fear! You can use a snap lock bag and cut the corner off. Decorate the cookies by piping different shapes and colours of underwear! G-Strings are the easiest to do 😛 The icing dries really quickly, so decorate the cookies as you go.

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I can’t believe it is the end of January already, it seemed like only yesterday it was Christmas! Happy belated Australia Day, and I’ll see you in February 🙂 Also, check out my music player on the side of the page, I will putting up some of my favourite songs for you to listen to when you come and visit!

Best of 2012!

Here is a collection of photos that sums up the best foodie moments of 2012. I have loved every minute of delving into the blogging world, and cannot wait to continue next year 🙂 HNY!

Macarons:

Macarons

Macarons1

Macarons2

Macarons3

Cakes:

 

Cakes1

Cakes2

Cakes3

Cakes4

 

Bits and Pieces:

 

Pizza making class, High Tea with Zumbo, myself with Gary Mehigan

Pizza making class, High Tea with Zumbo, myself with Gary Mehigan

 

Homemade Ravioli and Gnocchi, Curries cooking class on a boat, Sipping cocktails at Sea Links Resort in Mui Ne, Vietnam.

Homemade Ravioli and Gnocchi, Curries cooking class on a boat, Sipping cocktails at Sea Links Resort in Mui Ne, Vietnam.

 

Treats from Little Cupcakes and La Belle Miette, Pasta and Black Risotto at Grossi Florentino, Homemade dumplings

Treats from Little Cupcakes and La Belle Miette, Pasta and Black Risotto at Grossi Florentino, Homemade dumplings

 

Homemade Caramel Ice Cream, Homemade Apple Pie, Sipping sparking in the Yarra Valley, making Neil Perry's Mac and Cheese.

Homemade Caramel Ice Cream, Homemade Apple Pie, Sipping sparking in the Yarra Valley, making Neil Perry’s Mac and Cheese.

 

Chocolate Dumplings and Custard Buns at Yum Cha @ David's, Prahran.

Chocolate Dumplings and Custard Buns at Yum Cha @ David’s, Prahran.

 

Melted Snowmen Shortbread, Candy Cane Macarons, Dessert @ Malvern Hotel, Salted Caramel Profiteroles.

Melted Snowmen Shortbread, Candy Cane Macarons, Dessert @ Malvern Hotel, Salted Caramel Profiteroles.

 

Happy New Year! 🙂 Xo