Chocolate chip biscuits and requests

sceneI was recently asked by a regular reader if I had a good chocolate chip biscuit recipe. A chunky, chewy, good old-fashioned type of biscuit.

And I didn’t! What kind of blogger doesn’t have a basic choc chip biscuit recipe?!

I have several types of biscuit recipes (there’s dark chocolate caramel popcorn, perfect chocolate, boyfriend, Anzac,  gluten free choc chip, speculoos and salted caramel just to name a few), but no basic choc chip ones.

So I’m setting out to amend this.

These biccies are soft and chewy, with sweet, caramel undertones as a result of the brown sugar. A word of warning – these biscuits puff up beautifully, creating a smooth, even top of the biscuit, so if you want chocolate chunks poking out of the top of your biscuit, maybe place them into the rolled balls just before you put them in the oven.

Traditional choc chip biscuits

  • 200g buttermilk
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ¼ cup choc chips
  • 100g milk chocolate, roughly chopped

mixCream the room temperature butter together with both types of sugar. Add in the egg and beat well before mixing in the vanilla and cornflour.

Add in the flour one cup at a time and mix at a medium speed. The mixture will become quite dry. Once all of the flour is mixed in, shape the mixture into a ball, wrap it in cling film and pop into the fridge for 20 minutes.

coldI never used to refrigerate my biscuit dough, but it really makes a difference to the end result. It also makes rolling the balls less greasy because the butter firms up whilst in the fridge.

Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper (I used my silicone baking mat from House, which I’m slightly in love with.)

rolledOnce your dough is chilled, scoop a tablespoon off the mixture and roll it into a ball. Repeat until you’ve finished the mixture, then pop into the oven for 13-15 minutes. Rotate half way through the baking process if they over-brown.

stackThe biscuits that were part of the photo shoot were eaten so quickly by The Boy and my brothers that I didn’t get a shot of how jam-packed with chocolate these little biccies are. You can see the chocolatey goodness in my breakfast biscuit Instagram post though!

Vanilla fig tart and a grown up Easter

figI’ve only realised how delightful figs are in the past 18 months or so.

I never used to trust figs because they’re so squidgy and unusually coloured and lacking a core. It’s kind of funny, because those things now make them perfect fodder for my baking. They’re downright beautiful – I searched Pinterest for recipe inspiration and ended up “oohing” and “aahing” at how photogenic such an unassuming fruit could be.

They’re adorable little sacks of beauty.

Figs can be pretty expensive in Sydney, but I found a pack on special (yay!) I wanted to keep the figs as close to natural as possible and pick other flavours that would highlight their sweetness. Vanilla and blueberry make perfect partners in crime for fig.

The great thing about these tarts is that they are a perfect “grown up” option for Easter. If you’re not a big fan of chocolate eggs (I don’t understand you, but I do know you exist), a humble tart like this is a great alternative for an Easter treat. These little tarts are completely customisable – top them with whatever you want! I

Fig and blueberry tart

closeMakes 24

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 135g butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp water

Vanilla crème patissiere

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp corn flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)

Toppings:

  • 2 figs
  • 100g blueberries

yolksRub together your plain flour and butter until they resemble bread crumbs. Add in the sugar and mix, then mix in the egg yolks. Make sure you mix thoroughly so that you don’t have mottled pastry. Add in the water, one tablespoon at a time – it may take slightly more or less than three tablespoons to achieve a cohesive dough.

pastryPress your dough together in a ball, cover in cling wrap and refrigerate for 15 mins.

Preheat your oven to 200°C and grab your dough from the fridge. Grease a 12 hole cupcake tin. Roll out your chilled dough to 4-5mm thickness and use a scone cutter to cute circles big enough to fit in the cupcake tin and create a small edge.

prickPrick each tart with a fork and pop them into the oven for 15 minutes.

While the tarts are in the oven, make a start on the crème patissiere.  Bring the milk, butter and vanilla to a boil in a medium saucepan. Make sure you stir the mixture constantly to avoid burning the milk. Once it’s come to a boil, turn off the heat and set the mixture to one side.

Mix the egg yolks with the sugar and cornflour in a large bowl until you have a thick paste. This mixture does the same job that store-bought custard powder does. Grab your hot milk and pour it into the egg mixture in small increments (this tempers the mixture and ensures that it won’t separate later, if you pour all the hot milk in at once, you risk burning or cooking the egg mixture), mixing well after each addition.

Once all of the milk is mixed in, you should have a warm, silky mixture. Pour it back into the milk pan and whisk it over a very low heat. Timing is crucial at this point, because you want to thicken the mixture. Whisking constantly to encourage air into the mixture, make sure you pay attention to the texture of the mixture – once the mixture reaches the consistency of soft serve ice cream, take it off the heat and keep whisking. If you leave it on the heat any longer, it will over-cook and start to look like scrambled eggs!* The residual heat in the mixture will cook the crème patissiere further, so whisk for a good five minutes before spooning it into the tart cases.

alternativesSet in the fridge for ten minutes to cool, then top with whatever Easter-appropriate toppings you like, get creative. If you prefer Easter eggs or chocolate and blueberries on your tarts, try that instead – they’ll still look great and taste delicious!

*If you do happen to over-cook the mixture, add a generous dash cold milk and whisk into the mixture until you achieve a smooth crème patissiere.

normanCompletely unrelated to figs or tarts, here is a gratuitous photo of Norman napping. He got so impatient of waiting for the crumbs as I baked the pastry shells that he snuck up onto the lounge and had a sneak sleep.

Lime curd tarts and tart sweets

saucerI wrote yesterday about my body’s desire for things that weren’t sweet. I’ve got a zucchini galette in the oven as I type, and I promise that I’m capable of doing things that aren’t tooth-achingly sweet. But I do love my desserts.

This recipe is not a sweet one. It’s got sugar in it, but the limes cancel out that sweetness instantly. These tarts are face-puckering, jaw-clenching, lime-laden delights. Continue reading “Lime curd tarts and tart sweets”

Copycat creme eggs and ambition

singleThis project was a little ambitious. There wasn’t any baking involved, but I was so inspired by all the creativity and enthusiasm floating around at the Cake Bake and Sweets Show that I thought I’d re-create one of my favourite foods ever.

Cadbury creme eggs.

If these babies were available all year round, I would probably have already eaten myself to an early grave.

Thankfully for my health, they’re only available seasonally. Now that I’ve cracked a recipe to make them, however, I may be able to eat them whenever I want! Continue reading “Copycat creme eggs and ambition”

Caramel and high tea

aboveI’m a big fan of caramel. Actually, that’s kind of a redundant statement, because I don’t know anybody who isn’t a fan of caramel. If you happen to know someone who doesn’t like it, please send them my way, I’ll remedy their ailment.

I’ve made caramel sauces and icings for the blog, but I realised today that I hadn’t posted a chewy caramel recipe. For that, I apologise. Caramel is pretty simple to make – it has a reputation for being difficult, but as long as you’re careful you should be fine.

So I’m fixing this right now. With these delicious, chewy delights. They’re just the right amount of chewy – not teeth-shatteringly hard, but not too soft either. (Insider tip: the longer your boil the mixture, the harder they’ll set; I boiled mine for ten and they were in the middle. Boil them for more than that and they’ll be harder, boil them for less and they’ll be gooier.)

These gorgeous little mouthfuls were the top tier of my high tea set up, (the high tea that I threw to celebrate having Cristina Re tea cups on loan!) I’ll post the other two recipes from the high tea in the coming days, so keep your eyes peeled!

Chewy caramels

shatterMakes 24 pieces

  • 395g can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ cup cup caster sugar
  • 125g butter, chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup

Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.

ingredientsToss the condensed milk, sugar, butter and golden syrup into a medium sized pan. Turn the heat up to medium so that the butter melts, the sugar dissolves and the mixture combines, mixing regularly. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to boil for 10 minutes, making sure you stir consistently to avoid burning the mixture.

pourTake the mixture off the heat and set aside to let the bubbles subside.

Pour into your prepared pan and allow to cool briefly before putting in the freezer for at least an hour. Be careful, because your tin will heat up because the caramel is so hot. If you want salted caramel, take a pinch or two of salt flakes and sprinkle liberally.

saltRemove from the freezer about ten minutes before cutting. When it comes to cutting, lightly oil a knife so that it glides through the caramel more easily when you’re cutting. Personally, I like to allow the caramel to shatter slightly – when cutting, put pressure on the tip of the knife while it’s in the caramel without pressing the rest of the blade down, this should cause little fractures in the caramel.

tier

 

Almond poppyseed shortbread and home baking

chocolateI love a slice of thick, crumbly shortbread. They are one of the best additions to a cup of tea that I can think of. Humble old shortbread is often forgotten about, only ever bought from the supermarket for snacking. I want a shortbread revival! Home baked shortbread is far superior to most versions you can buy at the supermarket, and it doesn’t have to be boring! Continue reading “Almond poppyseed shortbread and home baking”

Chocolate tart with raspberry poached pear

sneakIt just so happened that I came into a large amount of pears over the weekend. It was like my inheritance came in the form of pears. It was delightful.

The only problem is, pears do not last forever. And there are only so many pears one can eat before they start turn brown and mushy.

So I started brainstorming pear-based recipes. I’ve already blogged about my ridiculous love of pears and the many recipes I include them in, so I needed to think up some more plans. This post was a French-inspired one. I love everything about France. I love the people, I love the accents, I love their gardens, their buildings, their art, their FOOD. Continue reading “Chocolate tart with raspberry poached pear”

Cream buns with mock cream and indulgence

bunsIt’s Valentine’s day today and I thought cream buns would be a cute things to post. I’m not really one for pet names, but I think that “my little cream bun” would be a rather adorable term of endearment.

Just me?

Anywho, I recently made these buns for a dear friend of mine (at his request!) and they were such a lovely treat to be able to share. They’re old school indulgence, the kind of thing I can picture my grandparents serving to friends at social events. They’re not showy, but they’re delicious and pretty enough to impress. Continue reading “Cream buns with mock cream and indulgence”

Raspberry meringues and simple joys

bowlNot too long ago I posted a recipe for chocolate swirl meringues as an accompaniment to your Valentine’s Day – there is something about meringues that I equate with romance. Maybe it’s the intense amounts of sweetness, or their crisp lightness? Whatever the reason, you should definitely treat your loved ones to some meringue bites, because they’ll love you dearly for it!

People of all ages go a little weak at the knees for meringues, because they’re such a simple pleasure – egg white, sugar and joy. Continue reading “Raspberry meringues and simple joys”

Vanilla slice and Australian icons

cornerVanilla slice is an Australian icon. I associate vanilla slices with Australianness so much that I’m currently trying to imagine how structurally stable a vanilla slice version of the Opera House would be.

My brothers and I were transfixed by the sweets section at the bakery when we accompanied mother to the bakery. Cream buns, doughnuts, lamingtons, meringues, and the vanilla slice was the king of them all. Whether the vanilla slice had vanilla icing or passionfruit, it was always the filling that was the best – that tall, cold, unusually firm layer of custard sandwiched between two teeny bits of pastry… bliss. Continue reading “Vanilla slice and Australian icons”