Almond Madeleines Dipped in Chocolate

As it turns out, my interest in this whole ‘blogification of baking‘ thing is pretty dependant on having nice photos. Thus, summer came and went bloglessly. I baked many things — even took some photos with blogging intent — but the Culinary Klepto spark had gone the moment I moved away from my (ex)flatmate’s fancy camera. And tripod. Ye gads, I loved that tripod.

But now it would seem I’m back. I’ve got access to another lovely camera (albeit, not >as< lovely) and am ready to get blogging again! To celebrate, I’m posting one of my summer bakes: almond madeleines dipped in chocolate. These tiny French delights were worth every bit of effort it took to make them.

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Ingredients:
4 eggs
180 g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
130 g flour
50 g almonds, ground
112.5 g butter, melted and cooled (approximately, har har)

Extra butter, soft and nearly melted, to grease the pan.

Use a pastry brush to coat your madeleine pan with butter, then dust it with flour (over a sink). Shake and tap it to spread the flour evenly, then invert and tap to get rid of any extra.

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Sift your flour (130 g) into a bowl and stir in your ground almonds. Set aside. (left photo below)

In a large bowl, mix together your eggs (4), sugar (180 g), and salt (1/2 tsp) on a medium speed until light and thick, somewhat like mousse, approximately 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract (1 tsp).

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Gradually sprinkle the flour/ground almonds on top of the wet mixture and stir. (photos below) You don’t want to just dump it on or it sinks to the bottom and clumps. Think snowshoes rather than stilettos. *hahaha…Canadian humour…*

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Gently fold in the melted butter (112.5 g) then chill for one hour.

Heat the oven to 170 C fan (190 non fan)

Put a tablespoon of batter in each mould (see below) and bake for 8-9 minutes. Makes 24 madeleines.

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Make sure to completely cool and grease your pan before cooking the second batch. I just turned my pan upside down, ran cold water over it, then wiped out the moulds with paper towel before re-greasing/flouring.

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Once all your madeleines are cooked, melt some chocolate, dip them in, then lay them to cool on a sheet of parchment paper. I made a double batch and did half of mine in dark chocolate and half in milk chocolate.

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Madeleines are best enjoyed within a day or two, so it’s your duty to eat them up quickly!

Better late than never!
TCK

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Oatmeal Muffins with Raspberry and White Chocolate

I found this recipe for fabulously fluffy oatmeal muffins about a year ago while perusing the internet. I’m a sucker for nostalgia so I instantly fell for the ‘from a 1940s home economics class in Louisiana’ description. And I am SO GLAD I DID. If you want a muffin that makes you feel like grandma’s baking, cosy pjs, and a nice wood fire, all at once, THIS is it. Basically, to me this muffin is like …. a symbol of the quintessential country-style home-cooked life.

Then I added raspberries and white chocolate, cuz sometimes life needs a little funk.

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Ingredients:
100 g oats
240 ml buttermilk
1 egg, beaten lightly
120 g brown sugar
114 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled down
125 g plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Raspberries
White chocolate

In a large bowl, combine the oats and buttermilk, then let them sit for 1 hour. This will make the oats nice and soft.

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Pre-heat your oven to 180 C fan (200 C non-fan).

Add the egg, brown sugar (120 g), and cooled, melted butter (114 g) to the, now soaked, oat and buttermilk combo. Stir until just combined.

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In another bowl, sift together the flour (125 g), salt (1/2 tsp), baking powder (1 tsp), and baking soda (1/2 tsp). Mix it together then add it to your oat mixture and stir until just combined.

It is really important not to over stir muffins as they get tougher the more they are mixed.

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Now for the raspberries and white chocolate photo because I think it is pretty 😛

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I used about 90 g of white chocolate, which I think would have been fine for dark chocolate… but white chocolate has a high cocoa butter content (making it more oily) so in the future I wouldn’t put in quite as much. (Or I might experiment by cutting down the butter to offset the white chocolate). I used about 150 g of raspberries and I cut them in half because they were huge.

Fold in your chocolate and raspberries gently, until just mixed.

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Grease a muffin tin (or line it with paper cups) and fill the cups to around 3/4 full –they don’t rise terribly high — then cook for 20 minutes.

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Garnish with some extra raspberries if you’re feeling fancy 😀

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They also make tasty mini muffins 🙂

Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

Ever decided to bake from your own blog? I sure have. Result? Frustration! Why, oh why, did I not list the amount of each ingredient in the step-by-step instructions, as well as in the list at the beginning. WHY?! Because I wanted people to spend all their time scrolling up and down???? *ahem* Apologies all round. I am going to fix all previous posts as soon as this one is published! Klepto’s honour 😀

Rant done. Onto the matter at hand: OMG DE-FREAKING-LICIOUS CUPCAKES

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What was that a photo of? Oh, only THE BEST caramel frosting I have had in my life, lovingly settled in a swirly fashion atop those indescribably delightful chocolate cupcakes I wrote about in my VERY FIRST BLOG POST.

As such, I won’t be reposting the chocolate cupcake process. Refer back to my previous chocolate cupcake recipe, but cut the cook time to 16 minutes if you are making mini cupcakes like I decided to do. I also put a secret treat in the centre of these mini ones. So, once you’ve mixed up your batter, jump back here before you start spooning them into your muffin tray!

MMmmm. I’m having flavour flashbacks. They were just so light and so fluffy and definitely delectable enough to lure Hansel and Gretel right into my oven.

Caramel Frosting Ingredients:
114 g salted butter
220 g dark brown sugar
80 ml milk
360 g confectioner’s sugar
an extra few tablespoons of milk

With one batch of frosting, I had enough to decorate 80 mini cupcakes!

Melt the butter (114 g) in a small saucepan over low heat. Add brown sugar (220 g) and milk (80 ml). Stir continuously over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved then allow to bubble for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

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Pour your caramel into a large bowl and allow to cool. Using an electrical mixer, beat in the confectioners sugar (360 g total) in three equal parts. Before turning the hand mixer on, I stirred in the icing sugar a bit, then covered both the bowl and the mixer with a towel for beating. This, combined with turning on my extractor fan, helped me avoid the light coating of icing sugar that so often covers my kitchen and my lungs.

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Once your confectioner’s sugar is all beat in, tightly cover the frosting with cling film until you are ready to decorate, as contact with air quickly dries it out.

Just before you are ready to use it, beat in some milk, one tablespoon at a time, until it is soft enough to pipe but still firm enough to hold its shape. (I used 3 tbsp, but this will vary.)

Now back to CUPCAKES!

You’ve just finished mixing up your cupcake batter and are ready to spoon it into adorable mini muffin trays. But first, these little scrumpties (I tried to make scrumptious into a noun… Def: scrumptious and adorable baked goods) were filled with a tiny secret: Cadbury Nibbles hidden in the centre!

One batch of batter makes 40 mini cupcakes, so cut 40 Nibbles in half.

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The first method I tried just led to sunken Nibbles at the bottom of my cupcakes, but as I found out in my second batch (I was making 80 cupcakes and one batch is only 40, hence the second. Sadly, by then, I wasn’t being as vigilant with my photo-documentation) the best thing to do is to put two teaspoons of batter into each cup, then press the two half Nibbles together, side by side, and push them gently into the top of the batter. You want to be able to see the tops of the Nibbles.

The following picture doesn’t showcase the peeking out Nibbles, but it does show how much room the cupcakes need to expand. These little babies rise, so give them a good 1/3 of growing room!

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Pop them in the oven (160 C fan) for 16 minutes and the Nibbles-ified cupcakes will look like:

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Transfer the cupcakes to a rack and leave them until they are completely cool.

Now, as mentioned before, make your icing soft enough to pipe, transfer it to a piping bag, select your preferred nib, and get piping!

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Chocolate Tia Maria Cheesecake

Okay UK citizens, let’s talk Oreo Baking Crumbs. Or more precisely, let’s talk about how they don’t seem to exist here. I could complain about the annoyance that is scraping the vanilla frosting off of 20+ Oreos, but instead I’ll take solace in the knowledge that anyone who gives this (fan-freaking-tastic) recipe a go will face the same tribulations.

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I felt a strong urge to photograph the ingredients this time. Needless to say, this meant that after photographing them I changed one: there is no Carolans in this recipe  (although, I’ve made it using Irish Cream before and it is still delicious), instead I used Tia Maria.

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Oh ya, I also bought waaaay too many oreos — only used a pack and a half. Darn 😛

Pre-heat the oven to 156 C fan (176 C non-fan)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Oreo Baking Crumbs (or 230g of Oreos with filling removed — the weight is before the filling removal)
56 g butter, melted
240 ml toffee or caramel sauce
750 g cream cheese (aka soft cheese — I used 300g reduced fat and the rest full fat)
170 g sugar
3 eggs
60 ml Tia Maria Liqueur (or Kahlua or Baileys)
170 g dark chocolate (approx 60% cocoa solids)

9-inch spring form pan (I only had an 8-inch, it worked fine)

If you weren’t lucky enough to track down Oreo Baking Crumbs, start by removing the filling.

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Afterward, crush them into a fine crumble. I found my handheld blender with a cloth wrapped around (for mess prevention) worked much better than bashing at them mortar and pestle style.

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Pour your melted butter (56 g) into the Oreo crumbs and mix them thoroughly. Press the buttery crumbs evenly along the bottom of your cake pan and about 1 inch up the side. Cover crumb crust in the toffee sauce (I used about 3/4 of the called for amount because my pan was smaller) and set aside.

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In a bowl, beat the cream cheese (750 g) with the sugar (170 g) until smooth.

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While continuing to beat on a low setting, add the eggs (3) one at a time.

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Mix until just blended and set aside.

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In a glass bowl sitting over boiling water, melt your chocolate (170 g). (Here follows a number of unnecessary pictures just because I think melting chocolate looks delicious.)

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Stir your melted chocolate and the liqueur (60 ml) into your creamy cheesy base.

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As pretty as the swirling (above) looks, continue stirring until it is well combined.

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Pour your cheesecake filling into the pan with your Oreo crust.

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Bake at 156 C fan (176 C non-fan) for 45-50 minutes. If, like me, you have used a smaller pan, either leave some filling out or cook for longer. (I ended up cooking mine for 60 minutes — really not ideal, as with a bigger pan I’ve been able to cook it for the requisite time and take it out before it starts to crack. Ah well, let’s pretend the cracks add character….) When it is done, the centre will be almost completely set and a knife inserted into it should come out clean. (I’ve never tried the thermometer method, but apparently if you check it that way the internal temperature should be 70-72 C)

Finally, cool the cheesecake and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. It also freezes incredibly well. I’ve been known to keep a whole cheesecake in my freezer for a month and just cut myself a slice every few days. *sheepish look* No defrosting necessary! (Although the crust can be a struggle to cut through…)

(Fun fact that you may not care about: my calculations tell me that if you divide your cake into 12 equal slices, each slice will contain approximately 350 calories.)

ENJOY!

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