Sunday, March 16, 2014

Paddy's After Eight Brownies

Storm Darwin prevented me posting delicious Valentine's Day recipes, so I'm doubly excited for St. Patrick's Day! Last year's After Eight Cupcakes were such a hit, I decided to incorporate the mints into another classic dessert- the brownie.

These brownies are no-mixer, one-bowl, easy peasy so you've no excuse not to make them! You could probably melt down the After Eights but I decided to just layer them in between the brownie batter and they melted during the baking process anyway!

The brownie recipe was featured here and is a Picky Palate original! This has become my go-to brownie recipe as I have yet to find a more delicious one, but feel free to use your favourite recipe instead!

You will need:
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cream flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup chocolate chips
1 small box After Eight mints
  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees Celcius.
  2. Line 9x9 baking tray with baking parchment.
  3. Partially melt butter in microwaveable mixing bowl (40 seconds on high).
  4. Mix oil and sugar into the melted butter.
  5. Add eggs and vanilla, mix until incorporated.
  6. Sieve in the dry ingredients and mix well.
  7. Add chocolate chips and mix until the batter becomes thick.
  8. Pour two thirds of mixture into baking tray, and smooth out.
  9. Layer the After Eight Mints over the entire surface.
  10. Cover with the remaining batter, ensuring all of the mints are covered.
  11. Bake for 35-40 mins until baked through. To check this, lift the bottom of the brownies from the baking parchment, if they remove cleanly you're good to go! Be careful doing this, test only a corner so your brownies don't fall apart!
  12. Allow to cool before cutting.
  13. Enjoy!

Whatever you get up to have a fantastic St. Patrick's weekend!

Stay sweet! x

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

They're not Terry's, they're mine!

Every Christmas, we find a Terry's Chocolate Orange in the end of our Christmas Stockings. Selection boxes and other goodies might not make an appearance, but a Chocolate Orange is guaranteed! Whenever I taste orange flavoured chocolate I think of Christmas.

I made these cupcakes earlier in the year, using Terry's Chocolate Orange Bars- but I think the actual Orange segments would work just as well, if not better.

The recipe is an amalgamation of two recipes from Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery book. Although the book has a recipe for chocolate orange cupcakes, I thought that a chocolate sponge mixture would be far too heavy, and I wouldn't recommend it. These cupcakes are rich enough without adding cocoa into the sponge. Instead, I mixed some chocolate chips into the orange zest and orange juice infused sponge, which was delicious!

I slathered on icing and immediately added a Chocolate Orange segment on top.The chocolate buttercream is incredible! One of the most chocolatey icings I have ever tasted. It was so thick and creamy and easy to pour over the cupcakes, like you would a ganache. As in almost all cases, the recipe makes a lot of buttercream, so you can half the quantities... Or whip up another batch of cupcakes! ;) 

These treats were easy to make- albeit with some preparation (zesting the orange, dividing the segments), but were so impressive! If you're a fan of Terry's Chocolate Orange, you will not be disappointed!

Orange Chocolate Chip Cupcakes [adapted from Cupcakes From the Primrose Bakery]
You will need:
110g butter, at room temp
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs
175g self-raising flour, sifted
90ml milk 
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
Zest of 1 orange
100g chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 160degrees Celcius, and line two muffin trays with cupcake liners.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar until smooth.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition/
  4. Add the flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour, beat well after each addition.
  5. Beat in the orange juice and orange zest.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Transfer batter into cupcake cases.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  9. Allow to cool before icing.
Chocolate Buttercream Icing [produces a large yield]
You will need:
175g 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate

225g butter, at room temp
1 tblspn milk
1 tspn vanilla extract
250g icing sugar, sifted

  1. Melt chocolate until smooth (microwave or hob). Leave to cool slightly.
  2. Beat the butter, milk, vanilla and icing sugar until smooth.
  3. Add the melted chocolate and beat until thick and creamy.
  4. Spread/pour depending on the consistency you prefer, over the cupcakes and finish with a segment of Terry's Chocolate Orange.

Enjoy these decadent treats! The perfect gift for Chocolate- Orange lovers on Valentine's Day! 

Stay sweet! x

Monday, January 20, 2014

Christmas Gifts 2013

I'm a little late with this post but still so excited to use all of the fab gifts I received this Christmas!

My mum brought home the Martha Stewart Silpat that bloggers rave about from her trip to Boston! As well as my favourite chocolate chips- Ghiardelli! I was overjoyed when I saw the Bittersweet variety because, as every Irish baker knows, you can't buy these here!

Here's a mixed lot... A cake pop baking pan with recipes&sticks (I know, not the original cake pop method coined by Angie of Bakerella, but definitely looking forward to trying it!) 
Beneath that is a desk calendar that features a different cupcake recipe every day (I'm not sure how advisable this is for anyone looking to diet... Ha!)
The last Boston present is a set of icing tips which will undoubtedly come in handy during 2014! 
For my birthday my oldest bestie, Ali, gave me this amazing cake stand which has me all a flutter!

Here are the books Santa and co. brought!
I love the Australian Women's Weekly Decorating Cakes book- full of pastel fondant creations, it's drool-inducing! 
Santa also brought Nevin Maguire's latest publication- the savoury pages look just as good as the sweet! 
While Sarah gave me every chocolate lover's dream book from Next.

Although my boyfriend got me dozens of edible goodies (thanks James!), my aunt gave me these unusual gifts! On the right is a set with white, milk and dark hot chocolate mixes- perfect to ward off January blues!
While on the left is a chocolate block flavoured with a cinnamon crunch... I'm thinking of using the latter to enhance some baked goods but still haven't decided what to do with it! Any suggestions are welcome!

Did you get any baking products for Christmas? Let me know in the comments box below!

Stay sweet! x

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Cookies

I've wanted to make Christmas Cookies for years, and today I finally got around to it!

Packaged in cellophane and ribbon, these festive cookies make a great gift! 

The cookies take about half an hour from scratch to baked and about ten minutes of decorating. This Christmas Eve it was time well spent! I used a wine glass and a Santa cookie cutter I received last Christmas, plus some royal icing, chocolate chips and leftover Snowman decorations.

There's not much more I can say about these, except I'm sure Santa will love them!

You will need:
1 cup Butter (softened)
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
2tbsp Light Brown Sugar
2 cups Cream Flour
  1. Line two baking trays and preheat oven to 175 degrees Celcius.
  2. Mix all ingredients until sand-like in consistency.
  3. Keep beating until they form a dough (if you're not getting the desired result, add an egg to the mix!)
  4. Roll out on a floured worktop to 1/4 inch thick.
  5. Cut out desired shapes.
  6. Bake for 12-15mins, until slightly darker than raw colour.
  7. Allow to cool on baking tray.
  8. Once cooled, decorate using royal icing and any available extras.
  9. Enjoy!

Stay sweet and Happy Christmas! x

Amazing Double Chocolate Cookies

I always think my own cookies are too sugary... They crumble upon touch and sometimes taste too much like the raw ingredient. What these cookies lack in sugar they make up for in sweetness, and consistency thanks to condensed milk! Don't think about calories, just make them, and enjoy them!

These beauties are from Mary Berry's Baking Bible- a truly excellent book which any baking enthusiast would appreciate this Christmas!!

They look quite like my Three Ingredient Nutella Cookies  but they are so much more superior... In every way! Perfect for a gift, these will please any sweet tooth! What are you waiting for?? Go bake! :)


Makes 2-3 dozen cookies

You will need: 
200g Plain Chocolate (I used 70% cocoa solids but she suggests 39%)
50g Butter
1 can CondensedMilk
225g Self-Raising Flour
1 Packet White Chocolate Buttons

  1. Line 3 baking trays. Break chocolate and melt with butter in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Stir in condensed milk and allow to cool.
  3. Mix in flour and chocolate buttons.
  4. Chill until firm to handle.
  5. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
  6. Place large spoons of mixture, spaced well apart on the trays.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes. As always, cookies will look soft, but take them out!!
  8. Place to cool on a wire rack.
  9. Enjoy with a glass of milk or steaming hot tea!
By leaving these out for Santa, I guarantee you'll get a heap of presents under the Christmas tree!

Stay sweet! x

Christmas Cupcakes

My sister's fiancée had a Bake-Off in work last week, where he got landed with the awkward category of Muffins. He added an extra teaspoon of baking soda to my Nutella cupcake recipe and lo and behold we had muffins!

Since these are sweet enough he dusted icing sugar ontop using a stencil I had, and I made some quick Christmas goodies out of different coloured fondant! The end result was fab!

You might guess where he works! 

Stay sweet! x

Christmas Treats

Christmas Eve is my favourite day of the year! I love the anticipation of Christmas, and if I'm honest, the day itself can be anticlimactic so for me  Christmas Eve trumps it every time!

It's the perfect day for baking, since you can give your goodies as gifts, or just have something scrumptious on hand in case of visitors.

I'm going to share with you some of my favourite recipes that I've made this year, and previous years: Christmas Cupcakes, Amazing Double Chocolate Cookies and Christmas Cookies.

To get you in the mood here are some Christmas figures I made under the tutelage of my neighbour and sugarcraft expert! Meet Pierre the Snowman, the Christmas tree and the Beatles-Wannabe Choir Boy!

Happy Christmas everyone!! Thank you for a wonderful year here on the blogosphere, where I passed the 100th post mark! 

Stay sweet! x