Salted Browned Butter Cookies

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This week, I’ve been a bit tight for time so I wanted a recipe that was quick yet different. I hadn’t actually tried anything with browned butter before so I was quite excited to try it – it’s very easy to do and so effective! It gives the cookies a really distinctive deep flavour and these are definitely going on my list of favourite easy bakes. The most time-consuming aspect of this recipe is leaving the butter and then the dough to cool. I was a bit apprehensive about putting salt on these when I first saw these – I was scared of ruining them, but I think they give them that extra little lift and make them taste that much better.

This recipe is from the blog Bake or Break and gave me about 20 cookies.

Ingredients

  • 210g unsalted butter
  • 290g plain flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 160g light brown sugar
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • coarse salt

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Method

Preheat oven to 170°C and line two baking sheets with greaseproof paper.

Heat the butter in a  saucepan over a medium heat, making sure to stir frequently so as to prevent the butter from burning.  The butter will melt and begin to foam; heat until you see brown specks forming underneath the foamy layer and you can smell a nutty aroma from the pan. Err on the side of caution the first time you try this – the butter can burn very quickly and you’ll end up with blackened butter cookies and a nightmare of a saucepan to scrape clean. Remove from the heat and leave to the side to cool.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together while you wait for the butter to cool.

Beat the two kinds of sugar into the butter until combined.  Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well.  Add the flour mixture in three parts, mixing until all the ingredients are just incorporated.

Leave the dough to rest in the fridge or a cool place for 30 minutes.

Roll small pieces of dough into balls approximately 3-4cm wide and press gently on the tops to flatten slightly.  Sprinkle coarse salt on the top of each ball.  Again, err on the side of caution when you try this the first time – I used about six to eight grains on each cookie and this was perfect for me.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges begin to brown and the middles are set.  Leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring onto wire racks to cool completely.

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Earl Grey Cupcakes

Sooo…it’s been a while.

However, I have a halfway decent excuse for not posting for half a century this time: I’ve been trying out a new recipe and it just hasn’t been cooperating with me. When I finally master it, I will be sharing it with you on this blog but in the meantime, you’ll just have to make do with this.

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These cupcakes are very subtly flavoured with Earl Grey teabags and the sponge is lovely and light, despite there being no creaming involved. You can use any kind of teabags you want; herbal or fruit teabags can be used if you aren’t a fan of Earl Grey. I have some peppermint and liquorice teabags in the cupboard at the moment so I might have another go at this recipe using those.

I’m starting a new full-time job on Monday so I’m not sure what the frequency of my posts will be like in the next few weeks but I will try my best to keep posting once a week.

Makes 12-16 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the sponge:

3 Earl Grey teabags

3tbsp just-boiled water

80g unsalted butter, softened

280g caster sugar

240g plain flour

1tbsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

200ml whole milk

2 large eggs

For the frosting:

50ml whole milk

500g icing sugar

160g unsalted butter, softened

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Recipe

  1. Place the teabags in a bowl and add the just-boiled water, then leave to brew for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a muffin tin with muffin cases. Use a hand-held electric whisk to mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt on a low speed until the texture of fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Pour the milk into a jug, add the eggs and whisk by hand. Add the brewed tea, squeezing every last drop from the teabags into the milk mixture, then set the teabags aside for the frosting.
  4. Pour three-quarters of the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix on a low speed to combine. Then mix on a medium speed until smooth and thick. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add the remaining milk mixture and beat until all the ingredients have come together and the batter is smooth.
  5. Divide the batter between the paper cases, filling each two-thirds full. If there is batter left over, spoon it into more cases in a separate tin. Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until risen and springy to the touch, then leave to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully.
  6. While the cupcakes are cooking, place the used teabags in a small bowl with the milk for the frosting and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the teabags and give them a good squeeze to extract maximum flavour.
  7. Using the electric whisk or freestanding mixer with paddle attachment, whisk the icing sugar with the butter on a low speed until no large lumps of butter remain and the mixture is still powdery. Pour in the tea-infused milk while mixing slowly, then increase the speed to high and whisk until soft and fluffy.
  8. Divide the frosting between the cold cupcakes, smoothing the tops and swirling with a palette knife.

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Black and White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

 

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Happy New Year!!! Since it’s not New Year without an ill-fated resolution or two, I decided to firstly, improve my post-uploading frequency and secondly, I chose the old favourite of eating healthier and keeping fit. Unfortunately, the post below shows how short-lived that was – I succumbed within twelve hours. We all knew it was going to happen though, right? So better late than never. This recipe was completely worth it though.

It’s a traybake with a chewy, dense chocolate base, almost like a brownie, with a white chocolate cheesecake topping and extra dollops of the chocolate dough spread liberally over the whole thing. It needs a few hours to set, so leave yourself plenty of time to put it together. From past experience, it still tastes really good after a couple of days stored in an airtight container. This serves well as an indulgent teatime snack or as a dinner party dessert.

This recipe yields 12-15 bars. Use a 23x30cm (9x12in) baking tray.

Ingredients

For the base:

  • 250g (90z) unsalted butter
  • 420g (15oz) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 380g (13oz) plain flour
  • 60g (2oz) cocoa powder
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For the topping:

  • 80g (3oz) white chocolate chips
  • 300g (10.5oz) full-fat cream cheese
  • 60g (2oz) icing sugar
  • 1 large egg

 

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Method

Using a hand-held electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure every bit of the mixture is incorporated.

Sift together the remaining ingredients, then add to the batter into two batches, mixing in the freestanding mixer or folding in by hand.

Cut off approximately one-quarter of the dough, cover with cling film and place in the fridge. Line the baking tray with baking parchment, then press the remaining dough into the tray. Create a lip around the sides of the tray to hold the cheesecake mixture once it’s poured in and try to make this base as even as possible. Allow it to set in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170°C (325F), gas mark 3.

Remove the base from the fridge and bake for 20-25 minutes. Don’t worry if it sinks in the middle – you’ll be covering it with cheesecake later anyway so it won’t make a difference. Allow to cool completely in the tin before adding the topping, but keep the oven on for cooking the finished cheesecake.

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Using the electric whisk, mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the egg and mix thoroughly, then stir the melted chocolate into the cheesecake mixture by hand.

Spread the mixture on to the cooled base, then remove the reserved dough from the fridge and crumble in large pieces over the cheesecake.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the cheesecake has set, then allow to cool completely before placing in the fridge for a few hours to set. Once set, cut the cheesecake into squares or rectangles to serve. Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to eat it.

 

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