Chocolate peanut butter cookies (1 of 14)

Chocolate peanut butter cookies and Winter recipes

I’ve hit a bit of a wall recently. All I want to do in my spare time is hide under the covers, binge on Netflix series and eat delicious things.

Generally I would have no issue being the person who makes said delicious things, but these past few weeks I haven’t been getting very far. I played around with a delicious earl grey and orange blossom water layer cake (recipe still in the works) and I’ve made litres and litres of soup. I’ve also been really into breakfast smoothies.

The soup and smoothies are testament to how much of a hermit I am recently. I don’t need to expend much energy making them, and all I need to do is blend up assorted food lying around the house.

But no baked goods!

ANZAC day scones (14 of 16)

ANZAC day scones and food memories

I have written before about how ANZAC Day is tied up with food in my household. I cannot imagine an ANZAC Day where my dad didn’t make biccies and I didn’t eat the raw dough. So it was with some trepidation this year that I bustled into the kitchen myself and made a different kind of ANZAC Day treat.

 

ANZAC day scones (15 of 16)

 

Dear readers, please be aware that I have gone against a long-standing tradition…
Hot cross bun bread (15 of 18)

Home made raisin toast and Easter hangovers

Anyone else feeling the effects of Easter still? I know I am! All of that chocolate and merriment! Easter at my house is jam packed with so many people, so much food, and lots of laughs with the kiddy Easter egg hunt that Easter Monday has a hard act to follow. To counter the blues that set in when you realise that Easter is over, and you no longer have an excuse to eat your body weight in chocolate, I recommend straight up denial.

Denial in the form of chocolate spiked raisin bread!

Hot cross bun bread (13 of 18)

It’s basically a giant hot cross bun that you can eat warm out of the oven, cold with a smattering of jam, or piping hot, straight from the toaster and smothered in butter.

Not only is this bread the perfect way to relive Easter at any time of the year, it’s also a great way to use up the Easter eggs that you may have hanging around the house. I don’t know about you, but after Sunday I seem to have about three tonnes of them in various bowls around the house!

How was your Easter? Do you have a tradition of Easter egg hunting like my family does?

 

Home made raisin toast / hot cross bun bread

  • 2 teaspoons instant dried yeast
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 3 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 150g milk chocolate easter eggs
  • 1/3 cup sultanas
  • 1 tbsp milk

Vanilla bean butter

  • 160g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

Pour your warm water and yeast into a cup and set to one side for the yeast to do it’s thing for ten minutes.

While the yeast is set aside, sift your sugar into a bowl. Mix in the white sugar, followed by the allspice and cinnamon.

Hot cross bun bread (1 of 18)

Make a well in the centre and mix in your yeast. Pour in your water, about ¼ cup at a time until you’ve used it all and have a cohesive ball of dough.

Hot cross bun bread (2 of 18)

If you’re using a stand mixer, mix on a medium speed for 3-4 minutes. If you’re hand-kneading, do it for about 10 minutes.

Lightly oil your bowl and set the dough back in it, cover the bowl in cling wrap and set to in a warm spot to rise for one hour. For those of you who don’t know, sausage dogs prosper in the heat just as much as rising bread does. Try to keep sausages and dough separate.

Hot cross bun bread (3 of 18)

When your dough has more than doubled in size, lightly flour a surface and scoop your dough out onto it. Put half of your chocolate and sultanas into the middle of the dough and fold the dough in on itself a few times. Put the rest of the chocolate and sultanas in the dough and knead until the chocolate and sultanas are evenly distributed throughout.

Hot cross bun bread (4 of 18)

Pop into your bread tin and set in a warm place to rise again for 15 minutes.

Hot cross bun bread (7 of 18)

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Brush your bread with the milk, then pop your bread in the oven for 10 minutes.

Hot cross bun bread (8 of 18)

Reduce the temperature to 170°C and continue baking for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven when the top of the loaf is nicely browned and it makes a hollow sound when you knock the top of it.

Hot cross bun bread (9 of 18)

 

This bread is great served with regular butter, but I recommend whipping up some vanilla bean butter for an extra tasty slice. Allow your butter to come to room temperature and quickly mix in the sugar and vanilla. I use regular, salted butter as it adds a nice little edge to the otherwise sweet spread. Enjoy fresh from the oven, cooled, or toasted – whichever way you serve it, this bread is scrumptious!

Hot cross bun bread (18 of 18)

Hot cross bun bread (5 of 18)

Hot cross bun bread (16 of 18)

Hot cross bun bread (12 of 18)

Hot cross bun bread (15 of 18)

Planning on making this recipe? Tag me on Instagram and use #bakingwithgab so I can see your wonderful creations!

St Patrick's day mint chocolate slice (1 of 9)

Mint Chocolate St Patrick’s Day Slice and greenery

I can’t overstate the love that I have for Ireland. The people, the dramatic landscapes, the green, green greenness of every single plant. To say that I love Ireland would simply not do it justice. I visited Ireland in 2010 because I had a cousin there (and because I had always wanted an excuse to go) and it was indescribably lush.

St Patrick's day mint chocolate slice (5 of 9)

And those gorgeous Irish accents, don’t even get me started!

I totally understand why green is associated with St Patrick’s Day, because I had never seen so many shades of green in my life! Which is why I went full cliche with this choc-mint slice and made it a vibrant shade of green. It pained me slightly because I’m so fond of pastel hues, but I’m super happy with the result, so I’m glad I powered through!

Do you celebrate St Patrick’s Day? Maybe you like things a little less hulk-coloured? If that’s the case, check out my Guinness Cake, Baileys Bundt or Baileys Buttercream Biscuits.

St Patrick's day mint chocolate slice (3 of 9)

Base

  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 200g butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut

Mint filling

  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 160g butter
  • 3 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 4-5 tsp peppermint essence
  • 1/2 tsp green food colouring

Chocolate topping

  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 275g dark chocolate
Start with your filling. Put the milk and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat until melted. Remove from the heat and sift in the icing sugar. Return to the heat for 3-4 minutes, allowing it to simmer slightly. Make sure you’re mixing continuously so that the mixture doesn’t catch on the bottom. Pour this mixture into a bowl and pop into the fridge to cool for 30 minutes. While the filling cools, make a start on your base.

 

Preheat oven to 180°C fan and grease a 20cm fluted tart tin with a removable bottom.

 

Sift together your flour, cocoa and icing sugar into a large bowl. Mix in your melted butter and your coconut until it’s well combined. The mixture should be in large clumps, rather than a giant ball – don’t worry, you’ll flatten them out later. Scoop your mixture into your greased pan and press down with your fists (or a spatula) until you have a smooth, even base. Pop into the oven for 15-18 minutes.

 

Remove from the oven when the top of the base looks dry – don’t leave it any longer than the 18 minutes, you don’t want it drying out. Plus, it’s actually better when it’s a little underdone. Set it to one side until it is cool enough that you can touch it comfortably.

 

Remove your green filling from the fridge, pour it out onto the base and smooth it out with a spatula. You shouldn’t need to help it fill out the sides too much, it will spread by itself. Return to the the fridge for another half hour.

 

While the slice is chilling in the fridge, melt your chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and scoop the coconut oil into it – the heat in the chocolate should melt the coconut oil. Mix until you’ve got a lovely, glossy mixture. Set to one side to cool for 15 minutes.

 

Remove your base from the fridge and pour the chocolate mixture over the top. If you’ve got any chocolate left over, reserve for drizzling over the edges before serving. Return to the fridge for at least 2.5 hours.

 

(If you choose to drizzle the extra chocolate over the edges, remove it from the fridge 30 minutes before serving, put the chocolate mixture in a snap lock bag and snip off a small section of the corner and pipe onto each flute indentation, making little wave movements around the circumference of the slice and then return to the fridge.)

 

St Patrick's day mint chocolate slice (2 of 9)

 

 

Allow the slice to rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.

 

Want to know the trick to stopping your chocolate from cracking when you cut it?

 

Take an extra sharp, thin knife and point the tip into the centre of the slice, then place your hand on the top of the blade and push down gently.  Repeat with each slice to get perfectly straight slices without cracking the chocolate.

 

St Patrick's day mint chocolate slice (7 of 9)

 

St Patrick's day mint chocolate slice (6 of 9)

 

St Patrick's day mint chocolate slice (4 of 9)

 

St Patrick's day mint chocolate slice (9 of 9)
Are you making this dish of a dessert? Tag me on Instagram and use #bakingwithgab so I can see your bright green creations!
mini egg doughnuts (12 of 14)

Mini egg Easter doughnuts and a healthy Easter

mini egg doughnuts (14 of 14)
I told people who lingered over the plate of these delights that they were healthy doughnuts – there’s yoghurt in them and they’re baked! Most people laughed at me, so I explained that they’re healthy-ish…healthier than a regular fried doughnut, anyway.

They’re kind of like a little cake doughnut, which you’ll know I’m a fan of if you’ve seen my earl grey or Nutella doughnuts.
I like the idea that you can eat seconds because they’re a tiny bit better for you. I stress teeny tiny. Did I mention that I’ve started a little health kick?

PB nana ice cream edit round 2 (1 of 7)

Peanut butter nana ice cream and getting things done

I had some issues with editing these photos. I lost the card that they were stored on, then the files were corrupted, then they didn’t want to save the edits that I made to them. In short, they just weren’t cooperating. So I did what any good adult would do, I put them in the too hard basket.

PB nana ice cream edit round 2 (1 of 7)
Because sometimes we need to just have a good cry and try to forget about things until we muster the strength to actually get things finished. My little tantrum surrounding these photos was prolonged – every time I tried to re-edit them, there would be another issue. So I kept finding other more important things to do (subtext: things that were far, far easier) and these photos kept getting bumped down the list.
And here I am, two months later, mustering the strength to get this post up. The photos are edited and I want to frame them because they’re such an achievement in my books.
PB nana ice cream edit round 2 (5 of 7)
It’s so ironic, because the recipe could not be simpler. You freeze, you blend, then you freeze again.
It’s actually a recipe that I use quite frequently – it’s delicious and quick and much better for you than ice cream. A variation of this is sitting in my fridge right now, actually.
Whatever you’re going through right now, or tasks is sitting in that too hard basket, I hope you’re building up the strength to overcome the mental roadblocks so that you can get things done!
I believe in you.
PB nana ice cream edit round 2 (7 of 7)

Peanut butter nana ice cream

Makes 6
  • 550g banana, chopped (about 5 medium bananas)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 tbsp crunch peanut butter
  • Ice cream moulds (mine are from Sunny Life Australia)
Chop up your bananas into coins and pop them into the freezer in a tupperware container for about 2 hours. I freeze all of my overripe bananas now because they’re perfect for this recipe.
Bananas close up peanut butter nana ice cream

Whip them out of the fridge and blend them up wth the milk and peanut butter for 2-5 minutes until smooth, then pour into your ice cream moulds. Gently insert the stalk/base and make sure they’re all secure.

PB nana icecream (5 of 5)
Place the moulds in the freezer for at least two hours, then serve and devour immediately.
Tip: when filling your icecream mould, don fill it all the way to the top – leave a tiny gap so that when you put the base in, the mixture doesn’t splurt everywhere.
PB nana ice cream edit round 2 (2 of 7)
My friends at Appliance Kitchen gave me the this blender to play around with, and I have to say, it exceeded my expectations! In the past I’ve had issues with blenders where only the bottom 2cm of my food gets blended, but I didn’t have the same issue with this baby! It’s a George Forman blender, and it’s on sale (at the time of writing) here. I also used it for my mango custard in this Summery eton mess. 
Also, I can definitely vouch for the the fact that these babies will bring all the dogs to your yard. It was a very hot, humid day when I did the shoot for these ice-cool treats (side note: the steaminess getting kind of old, Sydney!) and all three dogs were super intrigued. None of them were at their most photogenic unfortunately, I’d blame the heat!
PB nana ice cream edit round 2 (6 of 7)
Valentine's day choc strawberry sandwiches (6 of 6)

Chocolate covered strawberry sandwiches and the anti-Valentine

I know that I’ve said I’m the anti-Valentine in previous posts, but I can’t help but be drawn towards heart-shaped things. I’m a sucker for the twee; floral tea sets, polka dots, pastel coloured foods, I can’t help myself! I spent much of my childhood being a tomboy, slicking my long blonde hair back into a bun, wearing shorts and t-shirts, copying my older brother. It wasn’t until I was about 15 that I realised that I actually liked “girly” things. I refused to wear makeup until about 16 and didnt realise that I loved patterned fabrics until about 17. Looking back, I wonder how I survived without them. I sometimes feel like I’m making up for those drab, boyish years now, cramming in as many tea parties and patterned dresses as I can!

 

Valentine's day choc strawberry sandwiches (3 of 6)

 

Valentine's day chocolates (9 of 7)

Bejewelled hearts and Valentine’s day treats

These jewelled delights make me so happy. They’re delicious, adorable and ridiculously easy to make! I seem to be making a habit of creating easy recipes for Valentine’s Day – I wonder what that says about the amount of effort I put into it!

Valentine's day chocolates (7 of 7)

I’ve never been a big believer in Valentine’s Day, but I am a sucker for heart-shaped things. I’ve got heart-shaped doughnut tins, heart-shaped chocolate molds, heart ice cube trays, cake tins, tart tins, marshmallows… The list goes on!
10 lunchbox half above

Healthy veggie bites and back to school lunch ideas

The Reject Shop asked me to come up with some back to school ideas for them recently. It really got me thinking.

 

About how my eating habits have changed since I was at school. And to be honest, they’ve pretty much stayed the same. I still LOVE food, I don’t think I’ve ever been a fussy eater.

 

It helped that my mum always made the best lunches. I was the girl at school with lunches that other people envied – leftover schnitzel wraps, salad sandwiches piled high with delicious fresh vegetables, spag bol… she set such a high precedent that I worry that I’ll disappoint my future children! My own mother set the lunch bar so high that it makes me evaluate my work lunch choices much more harshly than most.

Berry mango Eton mess and Summer fruit

Has this month gotten away from you? It has absolutely flown by for me! And I’ve been a little lax – I’ve got a backlog of recipes to share with you and I just don’t know where to begin!

These awesome little layered desserts seem like the best place to start. They’re a stunning, Summery take on a classic Eton mess, and they’re sure to impress anyone you serve them to.

Raspberry mango mess (1 of 4)

I’m swooning over the berries available at the moment – they’re coming down in price a little bit because they’re so abundant, and they’re absolutely delightful. I’ve been eating berries like they’re going out of fashion.

The mangoes are amazing at the moment as well. This mango custard was a spark of inspiration that came to me as a result of having too many eggs and mangoes in the house. This is obviously not a problem for many people, but in my house it was a real head scratcher.

So, instead of the traditional cream, I thought a light, fruity custard would be a great addition to my eton messes. And so the mango custard was born.

It is legitimately so good that I had to restrain myself from drinking it.

(You’ll have some mango custard left over from this recipe, so I’d recommend drizzling it on icecream or filling doughnuts with it.)

Berry mango Eton mess

Makes 10

Mango custard

Makes 3 cups
  • 600g mango flesh (about three medium-sized  mangoes)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 150g butter
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 1/2 tsp gelatine

Pavlova

  • 80g raspberries
  • 3/4 tbsp sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 3/4 tsp white vinegar
  • 4 cups berries of your choice, I used blueberries and raspberries

Grab your mango flesh and pop it into a blender with the lemon juice and blend for about 30 seconds until you have a nice puree*. Even though it’s glorious, resist the urge to drink it. Put your mango puree, sugar and butter in a pyrex bowl and place over a boiling pan of water. Mix until the butter has melted, then remove the water from the heat.

Take your egg yolks, lightly beat them, then pour some of the mango mixture into the egg yolks so as not to cook the yolks. Now pour all of the egg yolk mixture into the mango mixture and mix well. Turn up the heat to high and stir for 12-15 minutes so that the mango mixture reduces slightly. Remove from the heat and set to one side. Mix together your hot water and gelatine, making sure all the granules are dissolved, then stir into the mango mixture. Pop the mixture into the fridge for at least an hour so that it cools and firms up slightly.

Raspberry mango mess (8 of 1)

While the mango custard is in the fridge, make a start on the pavlova by mashing together your raspberries and sugar until they’re nice and combined – they should be part liquid, part lumps of raspberries. Set them to one side.

In a separate bowl, whip your egg whites on a medium-high speed for 1-2 minutes until the egg whites froth up slightly. Next, with the eggs still whipping, slowly pour in the castor sugar. Once you’ve poured in all of the sugar, turn up to high and whip for 5-10 minutes until your meringue is thick, glossy and holds peaks. If you rub some of the meringue between your fingers, it should be smooth – if it is gritty, mix for a little longer.

Preheat your oven to 120C and line a baking tray with baking paper and set to one side.

Mix the cornflour into the meringue, then the white vinegar until just combined.

Grab a dinner plate and trace its outline on the baking paper with a pencil. Flip it upside down so that the pencil doesn’t come into contact with the meringue. To help your baking paper stay in place while you spread the meringue, dab a small amount of meringue under each of the corners of baking paper. Raspberry mango mess (7 of 1)

Scoop out half of the meringue and spread it in the outline of the plate. Dribble some of the raspberry mixture out over the meringue, then swirl with a fork. Repeat with the remaining meringue, then the remaining raspberry. Pop in the oven for 80-90 minutes, until the top loses its stickiness. Set to one side to cool for at least 15 minutes.

To assemble, break apart your meringue (it should be a lovely mix of crusty outside and fluffy inside) and start layering. I went berries, mango custard, pavlova, repeat, but you can do it in whatever order you fancy.

Raspberry mango mess (6 of 1)

Raspberry mango mess (3 of 4)

Raspberry mango mess (2 of 4)

* I used the George Foreman Mix & Go Pro, which was loaned to me by my new friends at Appliance Kitchen. I actually didn’t know that George Foreman had branched out of grills, so was pleasantly surprised by this little blender!