Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

So, here we are in the double-digit months. And I'm glad. September was a tough, low energy month for me.
Back when I was in GP practice, I used to start seeing patients with something I called "September Syndrome"  around this time of year. I thought it was my own invented diagnosis: one I used to try and explain the lethargy and low spirits that would afflict people as the 'ber months hit. It was certainly nothing that I'd been taught about in med-school. But it turns out that it actually is a phenomenon. It's called Frühjahrsmüdigkeit in German. Spring tiredness.
(I wish I'd known that term back then - it would have sounded suitably impressive and serious!)

So, if like me, you've been feeling the seasonal 'müdigkeit, take heart and know that it'll pass as rapidly as the 'ber months do.
And if reassurance doesn't help you feel better, a good dose of coffee and chocolate usually will!

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti
Recipe by Tea, Cake and Create


80g butter
150g light brown sugar
2 XL eggs
220g cake flour
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
100g blanched hazelnuts
120g chocolate chips

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together.
Add the eggs 1 at a time. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl in between additions. Beat well.
Sift in the dry ingredients. Beat briefly on low speed, until just combined.
Mix in the nuts and chocolate chips.

Divide the dough in two. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into two sausages.
(Approx 25cm long).
Place on a baking tray. Cover with cling wrap and place in the fridge for 30min.

Preheat the oven to 170'C
Bake the dough for approx 35-45min, or until firm to touch.
Remove from the oven. Cool for 5 min, then slice on the diagonal (approx 1.5cm thick slices).

Place cut-side down on the baking tray, and return to a warm oven until dried out and crispy.
Cool completely before storing in a sealed container.

Happy baking!


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Rum Butterscotch Sauce

I have a thing for homemade butterscotch sauce. Brown sugar, butter, cream... what's not to like?
So, when my husband requested something to go with ice-cream for a team-build function he was organising, naturally that was my first thought. But he wanted something with a "punch". Yes, it's that kind of an event...
Hence the addition of the rum.

I added a little more rum than the original recipe called for.
Um ... like double.
But it's not rum butterscotch sauce unless you can taste the rum right?!

Rum Butterscotch Sauce 
Recipe adapted from Epicurious 

200g light brown sugar
60g golden syrup
60g butter
125ml cream (35-40% fat content)
1 tsp vanilla extract
40ml rum, or to taste

Combine the sugar, golden syrup and butter together in a small heavy-based saucepan.
Cook on medium-high heat.
Stir continuously until the sugar crystals have dissolved.
Brush any stray crystals down the side of the saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in water.
Allow to boil for 10 minutes undisturbed.
Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, cream and rum. (Be careful: the mixture will bubble vigorously and rise up in the saucepan.)
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

It pairs deliciously with chocolate and vanilla cakes and ice-cream. Imagine it as a secret centre for cupcakes, and a fill for macarons. Or [coming soon to a blog near you] swirled in a cheesecake ...
Have I convinced you to try it yet?!

Happy baking!


Monday, 21 September 2015

Nautical Cupcakes: Fondant Reef Knot

I was neither a Brownie nor a Girl Scout. I can tie two basic knots (and often have to pause as I ponder the next loop...)
But baking and decorating stretches your abilities in many different ways, and I can now proudly claim to have mastered the reef knot!
But only in sugar paste...
Which is good enough for this landlubber!

Nautical Cupcakes

Sugar-paste Reef Knot - made from a fondant / modelling chocolate blend.

Roll out two long strands of paste

Loop them


Feed the ends of the top one down and through the loop of the bottom one
Bring the ends of the bottom one up and through the top one's loop


Trim off the messy ends (if you wait for your fondant/ modelling chocolate to set up a little, the ends won't be as squashed as they are in the pictures - I was rushing for the tutorial!)  

Ta da... Reef kot! 

Happy sailing decorating!