Sunday, 18 September 2011

Oreo-stuffed brownies and a fairytale.

It all started with a brownie!
If my baking story were a fairytale, this is how it would go...

Once upon a time, in a land far far away (okay so Birmingham is physically only a couple of hours away, but in every other way, it's like a whole other universe!) There lived a young woman who had moved back home with her mama and baba and sister after university. Despite a history of baking with their grandmother occasionally, neither girl baked much.

Until one day, the sister; Christiana decided to bake brownies and found this wonderful looking recipe. The brownies were a bit too oily, very sweet, and so gooey that it was impossible to cut them into squares but as neither sister knew any better, they thought they were amazing!

And so they started to make these brownies all the time; for every event they were invited to and for every pot luck lunch organised at work. Over time, they reduced the amount of butter, and increased the amount of chocolate. They started to bake them in a bigger pan, toned down the sugar content a notch and replaced caster sugar with brown sugar. 
And so, our signature brownie was born! I love these brownies! And I always compare other brownies to this one. After making them oh, about a hundred times, I decided to try my hand at a few other recipes and that, my friends, is how my love of baking was born.

There is so much that can be done with brownies so it's about to get very browni-exciting up on this blog! Ha ha, like what I did there?

First off are these Oreo stuffed brownies. These are nice and simple.


1 portion of this brownie recipe (minus the white and milk chocolate chunks). Also, reduce the flour to 150g.
As many Oreo cookies as you need - I used 24 (almost two packs).

1 - Make brownie batter as per recipe (minus the last step which is folding in the milk and white chocolate chunks) and spread half of the batter on the bottom on your baking tin
2 - Arrange the Oreos over the brownie batter side-by-side and in one layer
3 - Pour the remaining brownie batter over the cookies and spread in an even layer to cover the cookies.
4 - Bake in a pre-heated 170C/ Gas Mark 3 / 325F oven for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Lemon Blueberry Buckle

Hey hey! Sorry I've been AWOL for a bit. Okay, okay, about three weeks *shamefaced*. In my defence, I've been very very busy. But I'll also admit that I could have found some time somewhere to shoot off a quick post. Especially since I made this over a month ago and I've had the pictures ready to go the whole time.

Yup, I could have cleared some 'Cougar Town' from my schedule just long enough to write this. But have you seen 'Cougar Town'???? It's my new TV obsession! It's funny, not too deep and each episode is only 20 minutes long (which is great if you get restless when you sit still for too long. Like me. Not like anyone I know)! Plus it has Josh Hopkins who was in 'Ally McBeal' for a few episodes towards the end; but just long enough for me to fall in love with him *sigh*.

Anyway, I present you with yet more lemon. This time a Lemon Blueberry Buckle. If you're wondering what a Buckle is - because I totally did - it is a cake with a crumble topping. Now, I'm convinced that a crumble topping makes everything taste good - case in point fruit. Crumble makes fruit taste GOOD - so this was bound to be a winner. The cake is so delicately soft and so full of flavour and the crumble topping? Well, it is crumble topping so it rocks.

Anyway, try it! And I promise I won't stay away for so long next time!

(Recipe from The Novice Chef)
Yields - About 20 servings


Crumb Topping
1 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of 2 lemons
113g butter, cubed, at room temperature

170g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
3 cups plus 4 tablespoons flour
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups sugar
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
5 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, divided into two lots
crumb topping, chilled

For Crumb Topping:
1 - In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest.
2 - Add the butter, using a fork or your fingers to cut in the butter until it is reduced to the size of peas. Loosely cover the bowl, and place it in the freezer while you mix the cake batter.
For the Cake:
3 - Heat the oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4 / 180F. Lightly grease a 33 x 23cm baking tin
4 - In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg
5 - In a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until the mixture is light and fluffy; about 3 - 5 minutes.
6 - Add the lemon juice and eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
7 - Stir the flour mixture into the bowl, a third at a time, alternating with the oil, until both the flour mixture and oil are evenly incorporated into the batter.
8 - Gently fold 1 cup of blueberries into the batter
9 - Spread the batter into the prepared pan and distribute the remaining blueberries evenly over the top of the batter. 
Remove the crumb topping from the freezer and sprinkle it over the berries.
10 - Bake the cake until it is lightly golden and firm on top, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 - 50 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through for even baking.
11 - Remove the cake from the oven and cool to room temperature before cutting.
The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, covered in plastic wrap.