Although there have been bits and pieces of baking going on, it feels like a very long time indeed since the last baking day. In the end it turned into rather a mammoth day, with me making not one, but three things! Clearly I had been feeling deprived.
I've been craving brownies all week for some reason. I'm not sure why because they are rarely something I think about eating of baking. Perhaps I just felt the need for a pure chocolate hit. So whatever was going to happen brownies would be made. However, I also wanted to make some biscuits. Ages ago I bought a moose-shaped cookie cutter and still hadn't gotten around to using it. N kept reminding me of it, and this week my new hoodie arrived in the post, complete with moose design and "mooses like peanut butter too..." slogan. So I knew I had to get the cutter out and give it ago, moose shaped peanut butter biscuits it had to be!
But, then I was faced with a real dilemma. I already had to things I wanted to make, but three new cookbooks on my reading pile. It felt rude not to try something from them, particularly as the Ottolenghi has such an impressive and extensive baking section. Also, N had commented in a cafe recently that their chocolate cake looked really good, and that he reckoned the only reason he thought so was because it was decorated with bits of Cadbury's Flake! I of course, replied with a sarcastic comment about now having to top anything I baked for him with Flake to make it appetising. Another challenge for my baking day, I had to make something I could stick a bit of flake on to continue the joke.
It occurred to me that I also hadn't indulged my cupcake love for a while too, and what would be more perfect than cute little cakes topped with flake. Fortunately Ottolenghi not only includes two cupcake recipes in his book, but I had all the ingredients for one of them.
Thus began the baking day adventures. My mission, to make low-fat brownies, peanut butter cut-out biscuits and hazelnut cupcakes topped with flake!
The brownie recipe came from Baking Bites, a blog I not only read twice a day (because she manages to update so often) but rate really highly. It not only talks about recipes, but reviews products and give tips and advice. It really is everything you'd want from a food blog. There had been a post on their previously about double chocolate brownies, that looked great, but then a few days later she posted about low-fat brownies. Now what with needing as low fat a diet as possible because of my back this immediately caught my eye, especially as her comments said that it didn't lack anything taste and texture wise die to being low fat. I eagerly copied down the recipe and decided to give it a go. The batter was really thick, and hard to spread in a parchment lined baking tray (I had to get N to hold the paper in place while I struggled with the spatula) but it did settle out whilst baking. I wasn't sure what the result would be like, especially as I managed to overcook it slightly and so it didn't come out as gooey as I had hoped. However, the taste was great. Rich and cakey (due to overbaking, next time I'd baked for less time to get it fudgey) and with a nice chocolate flavour that wasn't too sweet. Plus you definitely wouldn't know it was low fat.
Low-fat chocolate brownies (makes 8)
preheat the oven to 180C and grease/line a 10" by 6" baking tin
3/4 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2oz dark chocolate
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp fromage frais of low-fat yoghurt
1 egg white
1tsp vanilla essence
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl melt together the butter and chocolate. Whisk this mixture with the sugars and yoghurt and when combined whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Gently mix in the flour. The batter will be really thick. Bake for about 20mins until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Allow to cool then cut into eight.
The peanut butter biscuits posed slightly more of a problem. I couldn't find a recipe anywhere for a peanut butter cookie recipe that you could roll out and cut shapes with. In the end I decided to just experiment. It could go horridly wrong, but that was a risk that would be worth taking! I used a basic recipe for cut-out biscuits and used peanut butter rather than butter. I also only used an egg yolk, since I had one left from the brownies. This meant the dough didn't really come together, so I had to add a bit of water, but in the end it rolled out fine and made some nice biscuits, not too sweet with a subtle peanut flavour. I glazed them with some of the icing I was going to use on the cupcakes.
Moosey peanut butter biscuits. (Makes 8-10 large biscuits)
Preheat oven to 190C and line/grease a baking sheet
125g plain flour
63g peanut butter
63g brown sugar
1 egg yolk (or 1/2 beaten egg)
water to make up to a dough
Beat the butter and the sugar and add the egg. Sieve the flour into the mixture and mix into a dough, gradually adding enough water to make it roll-able. Roll out and cut into shapes. Bake on a high shelf for aprox. 15 mins.
Finally I made the hazelnut cupcakes. I halved the recipe to make only six since there was already a rather large amount of baked goods in the house. Instead of using the cream cheese icing suggested in the book I used a whipped chocolate ganache, and plonked a hunk of flake on top.
Now you have all these delicious goodies, settle down in front of the cricket with a cup of tea and enjoy!