30 January 2013

Choco Brownies

I baked brownies. Delicious gooey brownies. With white chocolate chunks in them. They were the perfect antidote to this January blues everyone is going on and on about. So I got to cheer everyone as I shared my brownies with lots of lovely peeps. Double karma points!

Brownies are so simple to make. BUT you have to respect two golden rules. 1. Use only the best quality chocolate. This is what will make the brownie not too sweet, but rich and sooo chocolatey. Stay away from cocoa powder! And 2. Don't over bake them! I prefer by far an undercook brownie (a couple of hours in the fridge will do them good) to a dry, crumbly, overcooked one.

What you'll need:

190g dark chocolate
190g butter
250g sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
110g flour
pinch of salt
100g white chocolate, in small to medium chunks

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Grease a 9 inch square tin.

Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat. Once melted, take off the heat, add the chopped dark chocolate and leave for 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and sugar until the batter becomes pale yellow. 

Go back to your butter and dark chocolate and stir until the chocolate has all melted and you have a smooth chocolatey mixture. Add to the eggs and sugar and whisk. Add the vanilla, salt and flour and mix until just combined, no need to overmix.

Transfer in the greased tin. Arrange the white choco chunks on top to make sure every brownie gets a piece or two on top (it's only fair!).

Bake in the oven for approx 20 minutes, but I like to check after 15 minutes and sit, cross-legged, in front of the oven door until they are to my liking. They should have become a paler brown on top, with crackly edges, but the inside will be firm yet squidgy and gooey. Remember that they will continue to cook as they cool down!

If you can wait a bit before digging in (not!), they will hold their shape better once you cut into them. But they are sooo much better warm... Don't forget to share (and to lick the bowl!)

28 January 2013

Breakfast Bars

I'm a lazy Sunday kinda girl. On Sundays, I like to read the paper, have a nice coffee, clean the house a bit, wear comfy warm knits (esp in this frosty weather!), cuddle with whoever is around the house, have brunch or a roast and just generally muck about.

On those lazy Sundays, I particularly like to cook and bake stuff that will make my busy week ahead a bit more manageable food wise. This is why this breakfast bars recipe is perfect.  You can eat one while getting ready in the mornings, or just pack it and eat it on your way to work.  I also like them before going for a grueling workout session as they give me a boost of energy.

They are ridiculously easy to make, and will keep in a tin for a week.  Breakfast sorted for a week? Always a winning idea.

You'll need:

200g  old-fashioned oats
25g  unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1 large handful of dried cranberries
1 large handful of dried goji berries
1 large handful of sultanas
1 large handful of nuts (I like to mix pecans and hazelnuts, or almonds and pistachios)
4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
5 to 7 tablespoons honey (depending on how much of a sweet tooth you are!)
25g soft dark brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F. Prepare a square tin and line with parchment paper.

Melt your coconut oil, honey and brown sugar in a little pan on low heat, and stir until sugar is dissolved.

In a big bowl, mix your oat, coconut flakes, flaxseed, dried fruits and nuts. Add your coconut and honey mixture and mix until every little bit is covered in the syrupy yumminess .

Pour everything in your prepared tin and press down the mixture evenly. You really need to press it down quite hard, if not, after baking, it will be all crumbly like granola and won't hold together properly.

Bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown on top.

Cool completely and then cut into 8 chunks.

These make waking up to Monday morning a tad more easier... just a tad.

27 January 2013

Eleanor Roosevelt always makes for the best quotes.
New blog. To start 2013 the right way.