Salted Caramel Brownie Sandwich Cookies

‘Sharing is caring!’, I love this saying especially when it involves a great recipe that someone thoughtfully brings to my attention.
Zagorgeous Aunty Gail is the beautiful soul who surprised me with a copy of this amazing Donna Hay recipe in my Christmas card. Earlier last year Zaauntygail visited our family and brought a batch of these delicious morsels along with her to share. When I Sampled my cookie all I could say was ‘Mmmmmmmm I want this recipe’. Some of you may already be familiar with Donna’s ‘Salted Caramel Brownie Sandwich Cookies’ for those of you who are not you need to become familiarised, they are devine. If you are like me and love chocolate and salted caramel you need to bake a batch of these cookies or find someone who can bake a batch for you.
I made a batch up this week and took them along to an afternoon tea I had been invited to. They got great feedback.

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You will need:

350g dark chocolate chopped (I used a 200g block Coles dark chocolate and used dark chocolate chips for the remaining 150g)
40g unsalted butter (I prefer standard butter I like the fuller flavour it gives)
2 eggs
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
1/4 cup plain flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon baking powder, sifted

For the frosting:
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup pouring cream
150g unsalted butter, chopped (again I used standard butter)
sea salt flakes for sprinkling

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Preheat oven to 180C (I did 170C for fan forced).
Place 200g of the chocolate (use the block chocolate for this part) and the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and cook stirring frequently, until melted and smooth (when melting chocolate I like to do it over a pan of simmering water, it’s a much gentler heat). Set aside.

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Place eggs, sugar and vanilla in an electic mixer and whisk for 15 minutes or until pale and creamy.

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This is how my mixture looked after 15 minutes of whisking.

Stir through the flour, baking powder, chocolate mixture and remaining chocolate (this is where I used the chocolate chips) and allow to stand for 10 minutes.

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Chocolate mixture.

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Drop tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper, allowing room for spreading. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until puffed and cracked.

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Allow to cool completely on trays.

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To make the salted caramel icing, place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over low heat and stir with a metal spoon until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium and bring to the boil. Cook for 8-9 minutes or until golden (I set the timer and sat with the caramel while it was boiling away, as soon as you see it start to get that golden tinge remove it from the heat straight away so it doesn’t burn). Once caramel is away from the heat carefully add the cream and butter (I stress carefully).

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When I added the cream and butter I ended up with a big hard clump of toffee in the saucepan but I just followed the recipe directions of returning the saucepan to the heat and stirring until the mixture was smooth again (this process took me a good 10 minutes or more).

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Remove saucepan from heat again. I allowed my mixture to cool to room temperature I then placed it in fridge and left it to cool completely (for me this was overnight) as I was getting tired and it was past my bedtime. The picture above show the caramel ready for the fridge and post overnight refrigeration.

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Place mixture in a mixing bowl and using an electric mixer whisk the mixture until soft peaks form.
Spread half the cookies with the frosting, sprinkle with salt and sandwich with remaining cookies.
Recipe says you should get 12 (I got 11.5).

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Voila!!!
I will just say enjoy, enjoy, enjoy and as Zasister would say YOLO!!!!

Coming up on the Blog next week is a little bit of Zamama sewing action (scary I know, as in no way am I an experienced sewer, year 9 and 10 textiles & design is the extent of my training!). I also Plan to share a delicious savoury appetizer with you all.

Until then
Zamamabakes

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Easy Chocolate Balls

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I thought I would continue on with the Christmas theme, after all we are only 1 day out from it being December.
There are always plenty of social events we get invited to at this time of year. If you are like me you never like to arrive empty-handed when you are a guest. This recipe is one that can provide a solution to the question ‘what should I take?’. The beauty of ‘Easy Chocolate Balls’ is that they’ll keep in the fridge for a good month, so if your token gesture of kindness doesn’t get consumed straight away it doesn’t matter.
I made my first batch of ‘Easy Chocolate Balls’ last weekend (Zakidlets had their School Tableau Cake stall) and I’m quite sure they won’t be my last for the season.

You will need:
250g Arrowroot or Marie biscuits crushed
1 teaspoon of vanilla (If you want them to be Rum balls add 2 dessert spoons of rum instead)
395g tin sweetened condensed milk
3 dessert spoons cocoa sifted
1 cup desiccated coconut (reserve 1/2 cup for rolling chocolate balls in)

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Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined (you will need your muscles at this point). Alternatively if you have a food processor that will fit all ingredients just pulse and blend until all ingredients are combined.
Roll mixture into balls to a size you like, I usually use a teaspoon of mixture as a guide for my Chocolate balls.
Roll in reserved coconut and place onto a foil or baking paper lined baking tray. Once all mixture is rolled place tray of chocolate balls into fridge to firm up. I usually leave them like this for at least 4 hours and then transfer them to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 1 month if they last that long at your place!!

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For a gift idea why not make a batch of my ‘Rocky Road’ as well as the ‘Easy Chocolate balls’ and combine them in some little gift boxes. Great for teachers, kids friend’s, work colleagues, everyone loves a bit of something homemade from the heart.

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Zamama’s Rocky Road

Rocky Road making in the Zamamabakes kitchen is a good sign it's getting close to Christmas. I love Christmas and everything it represents including celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ, spending quality time with loved one's, and baking delicious treats!!!

Making Rocky Road at Christmas has become one of my traditions I think this year will be my 20th year for making it!
Zakidlets have their School Tableau this weekend so I thought I would put together some of the treats I love making at Christmas to donate to the famous cake stall.

Rocky Road (RR) is something you can adapt to your own tastes. The Zamama family are not big fans of glace cherries and other dried fruit varieties so I use mix in's that I know everyone in my family will enjoy including jelly snakes or green & red frogs (I sometimes find green frogs hard to find that's when I usually opt for the snakes as a back up), mixed nuts, crunchie bars, the all important marshmallow's and shredded coconut.
You also need to decide whether you want to use Dark, Milk or White chocolate, they will all work perfectly. I usually make a batch of Dark chocolate RR (that's Zadada's favourite) and a batch of Milk chocolate RR (that's Zakidlet's favourite).
It keeps in the fridge for a good 6 weeks if it lasts that long!

You will need:
450g Milk, Dark or White chocolate broken into individual pieces (I use Cadbury Chocolate).
120g mixed roasted nuts chopped
300g diced Allen's Snake's or red and green frogs.
2 x 250g pkts Pascall marshmallows
100g Cadbury Crunchies Chopped
1 Cup shredded coconut

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Line a pan 24cm x 30cm with baking paper.
Place Chocolate in a glass or stainless bowl over a saucepan of not quite simmering water. Stir occasionally with a metal spoon until chocolate has melted completely. Add nuts, snakes, marshmallows and crunchies to melted chocolate and gently fold through.

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Tip chocolate mixture onto prepared tray and gently press into place so tray is filled evenly.

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Sprinkle with shredded coconut, cover with foil and refrigerate 2-3 hours or until set.

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Cut up with a nice sharp knife (this will give you a good work out) into bite size portions. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Yummy, Yummy, Yummy.
Hope you all enjoy!!!!!

PS- A useful tip, when melting the chocolate don’t let the water in the saucepan underneath touch the bottom of the bowl containing the chocolate, this helps to keep chocolate silky and smooth while its melting.

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Jennifer’s Crackle Cookie Discovery

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ZaGorgeous Jennifer has been baking and sharing with me again, she is such a gem!!
Jennifer’s husband Glenn actually picked out this recipe from her 50c (fete find) ‘sweet food’ recipe book.
Jennifer said she was a little sceptical of the recipe at first but reports after baking these ‘tasty little morsels’ they were a fantastic success, husband Glenn thoroughly enjoyed one with a serve of ice cream and their 3 kidlets loved them too!!! Yum!!! My mouth is watering already!!!
So without further adieu here is the recipe!

Crackle Cookies

125g butter

2 cups brown sugar

1 teas vanilla

2 eggs

60g dark chocolate, melted

1/3 cup milk

2 3/4 cups plain flour

2 tbls cocoa

2 teas baking powder

1/4 teas allspice

2/3 cup chopped pecans

icing sugar to coat

Method:

1. Grease and line 2 baking trays. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until creamy.

2. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

3. Stir the chocolate and milk into the butter mixture.

4. Add sifted flour, cocoa, baking powder and allspice, and a pinch of salt into the butter mix. Stir and add pecans .

5. Refrigerate the mixture for AT LEAST 3 HOURS or overnight.

6. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls, then roll to coat in icing sugar.

7. Place well apart on trays. Bake for 20 mins. Leave for 3-4 mins then cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!!!!

A birthday cake for ZaBrother

Zabrother Brad celebrated his birthday this week and Zagorgeous Aimee baked a delicious chocolate cake for him. It just so happened that she used a double mixture of Nanna Mac’s moist chocolate cake recipe. I must say this sentimental recipe delivers the goods everytime. It’s a really easy and delicious cake to make.
Aimee did an awesome job and we all thoroughly enjoyed eating our serves of birthday cake as well as getting to take some leftover slices home yummmmmy!!!!

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Hope you had a fantastic pre-birthday celebration Brad!!! And Aimee I love that I have found another beautiful friend that shares the same passion for baking that I do, thanks for sharing your pictures.
Love you both

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Chocolate Hedgehog slice

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This is an all time favourite recipe of the whole family including my extended family.
It is quick and easy to make which is what I love about it and if I take it to a morning tea I always get asked for the recipe.
So without further ado here are the instructions to create this little number!!

INGREDIENTS
175g butter (I use 150g and add extra if mixture looks to dry at the end)
2/3 cup caster sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
2 Tablespoons desiccated coconut
1 egg, lightly beaten
250g packet plain biscuits (I use whatever I have in cupboard ie Scotch fingers, Marie or Milk Arrowroot) broken into pieces.

I start with the biscuits in a snap lock bag. Pierce bag a few times with a fork just to let air escape.
I then fold a tea towel around bag and hit firmly with something like a meat mallet or rolling pin.

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Biscuits should end up looking as pictured above

1. In a saucepan melt butter, sugar and cocoa overa medium heat for 3 minutes. stirring to ensure sugar dissolves.
2. Remove from heat add coconut, egg, and biscuits. Press mixture into a baking paper lined
28cm x 18 cm slab pan. Chill for 1 hour.

CHOCOLATE TOPPING
250g dark chocolate, chopped coarsley
50g butter
Melt chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water, spread over slice. Allow to set in fridge for about 1/2-1 hour. Slice with a hot knife into pieces.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy my lovelies!!!!!

Double Chocolate Mud Cupcakes with Cookies and Cream Icing

I have to confess I was shopping with the kids at our local Coles supermarket the other day and my little boy Blake pointed out some cupcakes that took his eye in the bakery section, and that my friend’s is where my inspiration came from to create a similar cupcake like these ones, made from scratch at home.

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DOUBLE CHOCOLATE MUD CUPCAKES

60g dark eating chocolate, coarsely chopped.
2/3 cup (160ml) water
90g butter, softened
1cup (220g) firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup (100g) self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/3 cup (40g) almond meal

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C/150 degrees C fan- forced. Line a 12 hole standard muffin pan with paper cases.
2. Combine chocolate and the water in small saucepan, stir over low heat until smooth (I used a bowl over simmering water method, as I never trust chocolate).
3. Beat butter, sugar and eggs in bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
4. Stir in sifted flour and cocoa, almond meal and warm chocolate mixture. divide mixture among cases. (I found mixture to be very thin, I added some extra self-raising flour but I really think you would be fine without it and should end up with an even moister cake then I did).
5. Bake cakes for about 25 minutes. Turn cakes onto wire rack to cool.

COOKIES AND CREAM ICING

INGREDIENTS
125g (4oz) butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar (I use Coles brand soft icing mixture)
2 tablespoons milk
150g packet orio biscuits (I used about 10 biscuits from the packet)

METHOD
Have butter and milk at room temperature, place butter in small bowl of electric mixer, beat until butter is as white as possible, gradually add about half the sifted icing sugar, beating constantly,add milk gradually, then gradually beat in remaining icing sugar, mixture should be smooth and easy to spread with a spatula.

To make icing cookies and cream flavour I used 10 original Orio biscuits and processed them to a fine crumb in food processor. I then mixed them thru the Vienna cream evenly. Garnish with a little bit of Orio biscuit crumb.
I chose to pipe the icing on the cupcakes but that is completely your choice, they will taste the same regardless!!!

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The end result was Happy customers. What more could a Mama ask for???

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Caramel chocolate slice

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Zakidlets and I baked this caramel chocolate slice on Tuesday afternoon. This slice is a great classic Women’s Weekly Recipe, I don’t think I have ever come across a women’s weekly recipe that has disappointed me.
It’s my little boy Blake’s favourite slice and he was the one who requested we make it.
I got lots of assistance from 3 sets of little hands.

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Blake loves the recipe so much he has even started to write the recipe out himself.

Ingredients

BASE
1 cup self-raising four
1 cup coconut (as an alternative I sometimes use rolled oats or do 1/2 cup of each)
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
125g butter melted

FILLING
400g can condensed milk
30g butter
2 Tablespoons golden syrup

TOPPING
125g dark chocolate chopped
30g butter

Method
BASE
1. Lightly grease 20cm x 30cm lamington pan.
2. Combine sifted flour, coconut and sugar in bowl, add butter, stir until combined, add butter (sometimes I need a little extra), stir until combined.
3. Press mixture over base of prepared pan. Bake in moderate oven 15 minutes.
4. While base is baking combine condensed milk, butter and golden syrup in pan, stir over LOW heat, without boiling, about 15 minutes or until mixture is golden brown.
5. Pour hot filling over hot cooked base, return to oven 10 minutes, then cool.
6. Combine chocolate and butter in pan, stir over low heat until smooth (I melt all my chocolate pan over heated water style see here for further instruction). I usually use a stainless steel bowl over the pan the other tip is not to let the water in the saucepan below be touching the base of pan your chocolate is in.
7. Spread warm topping over filling, stand at room temperature until set (I put slice in fridge for about 1 hour to set then I slice it up, pop slices in an airtight container and store in fridge especially in summer!!!) keeps in fridge for a good week.
Have a go at this slice its worth the effort.
Enjoy we did. It is now all gone!!!

Gluten free chocolate loaf

I have made this cake several times now and it never fails. We are not a gluten free household but I do have a few friends who are gluten free which was what originally led me to discovering this recipe, however now I bake it because we enjoy it so much. It is beautifully moist and chocolatey!!! I did discover it at taste.com they are my online cooking bible love their site!!!!
I don’t always use Lindt chocolate, I usually just buy the dark chocolate on sale with the highest cocoa content.
Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does. Click here for a fantastic recipe!!!

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Lamington Layer Cake

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So here it is, my attempt at New idea’s lamington layer cake. I must say it is a cake you need to dedicate a good morning to, which I was prepared for. I would definitely make it again as all cake samplers were extremely satisfied including myself. It made for a very rewarding Sunday afternoon tea to share with Zagrandma , Zaaunty as well as Zakidlets and Zadada.
Here is the link to this delicious cake.
I plan to take some to Zaworkbuddies today!!!!
For the record I should mention I made the dark chocolate version of this cake – we love dark chocolate!!!! I actually love any chocolate!!!