Monday, 27 May 2013

Vegan Salted Pistachio & Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

I love cookies, I'm more likely to eat cookies than I am to eat cake. They are so good when they're still warm and really fudgy in the middle. How can you improve on that? You could make a cookie PIE, and even better, a dairy free one. I really enjoy vegan baking and cooking. It's nice to know you can make really hearty meals and comforting bakes that are free from any animal by-products, and I love how surpised people are when you tell them that! It's like they expected it to be tastless?!


This recipe is adapted from Chloe's Vegan Desserts by Chloe Coscarelli. It will make an 8 inch pie.


For the pie crust
160g Plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
90g Trex
5 tablespoons iced water

For the cookie filling
100g plain flour
60g caster sugar
110g light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
90g vegan margarine, melted and slightly cooled
60ml soy milk (or whichever dairy free milk you prefer)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g roasted salted pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
150g dairy free dark chocolate chips


Method

1. To make the pie crust place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until mixed. Add the Trex and pulse until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Add the iced water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition and until the dough holds together. Wrap the crust in cling film and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease an 8 inch pie dish and set aside. Lightly flour a clean surface and roll out the crust until it's about 1/8 inch thick. Lift the crust and gently press into the pie dish, removing any overhanging dough. Chill the crust in the fridge until ready to bake. I used the left over dough for my heart decoration.

3. To make the cookie filling place the flour, caster sugar, brown sugar and baking powder in a bowl and mix. In a jug mix together the milk, melted margarine and vanilla extract. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix until combined. Add the pistachios and chocolate chips and fold in.

4. Remove the pie dish from the fridge and pour in the cookie filling. If you made any decoration from the left over pasty, place it on top of the filling. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, until the cookie filling is set. You may need to cover with tin foil to prevent the pastry from catching.


This pie is best served warm, so leave to cool for 15 - 20 minutes and serve. The saltiness of the pistachios is delicious against the sweetness of the cookie dough, the pastry is light and crispy and the cookie filling is fudgy. Serving a scoop of dairy free ice cream with a slice of this pie would be perfect.

Are you enjoying the bank holiday weekend? I spent saturday catching up with friends and eating pizza, then Sunday I went for a pub lunch with my family. I am feeling really happy as I've booked somewhere to stay for the weekend that I'm helping out at Food Blogger Connect. I booked it through Air BnB, and it's a beautiful flat just round the corner from the venue which is handy! I can't believe it's only 6 weeks away!

For the rest of this lovely long weekend I am working on Food Blogger Connect stuff and hoping I will have some time to catch up on reading blogs. I will also be eating a lot of my cookie pie!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

I apologise that I am posting this a day late, but yesterday was World Baking Day! Did you take part? What did you make? The idea was to bake something outside of your comfort zone that you've never done before. But due to a limited amount of time (and a determination to take this particular bake in for my work colleagues) I made Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies. These have got to be one of my favourite things to bake - I love brownies, I love cheesecake so what's better than mixing them together?!


This recipe is adapted from Baked in America by David Muniz and David Lesniak. It will make one 12x9 inch brownie which can be cut into large or small squares.

For the brownie
115g unsalted butter
340g dark chocolare
160g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 large organic free range eggs
340g caster sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
250g fresh raspberries

For the cheesecake
115g unsalted butter, room temperature
225g full fat cream cheese, chilled
175g caster sugar
3 large organic free range eggs
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract




Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and line a 12x9 inch pan and set aside.

2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

3. In a bowl, mix the butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add the sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla and mix until creamy. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs, vanilla extract and sugar until they thicken. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the melted butter and chocolate.

5. Carefully smooth three quarters of the brownie batter into the greased and lined pan. Scatter the raspberries on top and press them in lightly, then pour the cheesecake mixture over the top. Dollop the last quarter of the brownie batter onto the cheesecake mixture and then swirl it with a knife.

6. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. The cheesecake will begin to brown and puff up. When a skewer is inserted it should come out clean. Let the brownie cool completely, and then leave in the fridge overnight.


This weekend was another good one involving food! My sister Lauren and I spent all day Saturday preparing and cooking Japanese food. This included sushi, gyoza dumplings, veggie noodles, spicy rice and tempura vegetables. We were in the kitchen from 12 noon until 6pm but it was so worth it. I never imagined everything would look and taste as good as it did. We made a lot of food (does anyone else ALWAYS over-estimate how much food to make?!) so needless to say, we had leftovers for lunch on Sunday! Do you ever have themed food nights? Usually ours will be Mexican or burgers, but Japanese night was in honour of Lauren and Pete going to Japan a couple of months ago.

If you haven't entered my giveaway yet, you have until the end of the month and could win a years subscription to Cake Decorating Magazine!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Rate My Cake App and Cake Decorating Magazine Giveaway

I love Instagram and if you follow me, you will know it mostly includes pictures of cakes and food (and my cat, Luna). I was really excited when I got an email from the creators of Cake Decorating Magazine about their new app Rate My Cake. I downloaded the app right away and was happy to find it is like Instagram but solely for CAKE. Can you imagine anything better?!

I love looking at other peoples cakes for inspiration and there are so many talented people using the app. It's free to download and use, you can customise your pictures with different filters and even share your recipes. There are already lots of people using it and I can easily loose 45 minutes looking at the incredible creations people have been sharing.




Giveaway
De Agostini have very kindly given me a brilliant prize to give away to one reader: a year's subscription to Cake Decorating Magazine. It is a weekly magazine with recipes, tutorials, walkthroughs and tips for cake decorating projects. The issues often come with tools helping you to build your collection.

How to enter

- Follow the Rafflecopter instructions in the widget below
- Answer the mandatory question and leave a comment in order to move on to the additional chances to enter
- Entries will be checked and verified before a winner is annouced
- You can tweet daily to increase your chances of winning
- Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random
- The competition will run from Sunday 12th May 2013 until 31st May 2013
- See the Terms and Conditions on the Rafflecopter widget for the rules and more information.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 6 May 2013

Mocha Bundt Cake with Speculoos Frosting

I am so pleased this weekend was a bank holiday! The weather has been perfect and I've had nice plans with my favourite people. I had a lovely day Saturday with my sister and our friend Kate. Kate came over and we baked cupcakes and bread, painted our nails, watched Pitch Perfect (my new absolute favourite film!) and then made Mexican food for dinner. Luna spent the entire time entertaining us - she has decided her new favourite place to sit is in the dish drainer! On Sunday I went to a village fete with my Mum, sister and her other half. The best part of the fete besides having tea and cake, was the dog show. It was hilarious and the dogs just did whatever they wanted! Sunday night Mark and I went to a friends house for takeout food. And I have spent today working for Food Blogger Connect.

Bundt cakes make me nervous. I have fallen out with them in the past as they've crumbled apart when I've taken them out of the pan. I decided the bank holiday weekend was the best time to face my fear, and I'm glad I did! Coffee and chocolate is one of my favourite combinations, and can only be improved upon with Speculoos. I have always loved Lotus Biscuits/Speculoos, but I can't get enough of the biscuits at the moment. My boss and I ate an entire pack between us in 45 minute meeting a couple of weeks ago!



This recipe is adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Malouf and will make a 25cm bundt cake.

For the cake
2 tablespoons coffee granules
170ml cold water
450g unsalted butter, room temperature
450g caster sugar
8 large free range organic eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
450g plain flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons cococa powder

For the frosting
300g icing sugar
50g unsalted butter, room temperature
100g Speculoos spread
50ml milk

2 squares milk chocolate to decorate, grated


Method

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Grease the bundt pan generously and set aside.

2. Make a coffee essence by boiling the water and coffee granules until reduced by half. Set aside until completely cooled.

3. Beat the butter, sugar and coffee essence until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each is added. Mix in the vanilla extract. Beat in the flour, baking powder and cococa powder, mixing until combined and the mixture is fluffy.

4. Pour the mixture into the greased pan, ensuring the top is smooth and bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes. Cover with tin foil if the cake starts to catch.

5. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Turn out onto a cooling rack.

6. Once the bundt is cool, the frosting can be made. Beat the icing sugar and butter until they come together. Add the Speculoos, milk and vanilla extract. Beat on a high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy, for around 7 minutes. The frosting can then be smoothed on top of the cake. For decoration grate 2 squares of milk chocolate over the frosting.

When I come to make this bundt again I would make one adjustment, and use 2 tablespoons of instant espresso powder rather than coffee granules. You can taste the coffee, but I'd like it to have a bit more of a punch!


I am now going to sit down with a big chunk of cake and a cup of tea, and watch The Big Bang Theory. Perfect way to spend a bank holiday! And I am already looking forward to this weekend as I am going to Blog Summit in Birmingham! I'm really excited as I am attending with Sophie and Laura. So it will be a day full of friends, workshops, talks and food.
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