Friday, 21 October 2011

Hazelnut and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi again.

I did the stupidest thing last night - accidentally deleted the whole contents of my computer. It's amazing how sad you feel when technically all you've lost is a couple of intangible gigabytes, but I guess that justs shows our complete and utter reliance on cyberspace and the Inter-web. All my photos of precious memories, all my music and documents - gone! My mum says to call the computer doctor, but I doubt he has wizardly powers that will allow him to conjure up my data from the abyss of billions of empty recycle bins. Or wherever all that rejected data goes.

 I felt awful, so today I just had to make some cookies to cheer myself up.

These are no ordinary cookies! These are enhanced by the wondrous addition of hazelnuts, which, I think, gives them a lovely crunch and is also kind of like deconstructed Nutella! And who wouldn't love Nutella in biscuit form?

This recipe was pinched from the lovely blog 'Always with Butter'. It's probably my favourite food blog as it is just so sweet! And Julie's photographs are quite simply, stunning. 

Hazelnut and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 20

125g unsalted butter, cut into tiny cubes
1/2 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 and 2/3 cups plain flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup chocolate chips (milk or dark or both)
2/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped.

Note: to toast the hazelnuts, place the nuts in a pan (no oil) over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until fragrant, and they start to colour. Nuts burn easily, so please be careful!


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Line 2-3 baking trays with baking paper.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and both sugars with electric beaters until fluffy. Add egg and mix again.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cornstarch and salt into the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Then fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Roll tablespoon sized balls of the mixture with your hands and place on the baking trays, evenly spaced.

Bake for 20 min, until golden. Cool on the trays for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Hope this recipe adds some cheer to your day! This just goes to show that if ever you do something stupid, just bake and it will be all better.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Mulberry Butter Cake

Hello once again. Have you had a good week? I hope so. Mine's been good. Beautiful weather makes all the difference, doesn't it?

I'm sorry, I'm making small talk again.

I guess this week was a bit overwhelming for me. I started Year 12! As soon as we got back to school, it was go, go go. Quite frankly, all the important talk gave me the heebie-jeebies. But I guess it's kind of exciting at the same time too. Hopefully I'll be able to keep this blog up throughout the year! It's relaxing and fun for me :)

Mulberries, to me, are the ultimate symbol of my childhood. We have a mulberry tree in the backyard, and as a kid, my sister and I used to wait for months until the berries began to appear, and when they did, we would pick bucketfuls, the purply-red juices staining our hands (and our mouths) in the process. So this cake is special, and extra delicious to boot!

It's taken from Bill (once again). He uses blueberries, so if mulberries are lacking to you, you could use them, or even blackberries would do the trick. I just love the juiciness and dark flavour of the humble mulberry, so I substituted those into the recipe. The crumble topping gives a little bit of crunch too, which is highly desirable for any cake, I think.

*You need a springform pan to make this cake.

Mulberry Butter Cake

Makes one big, glorious cake. (Serves 12)

- For the topping:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
75g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes.
- For the cake:
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
125g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
2 cups mulberries, washed and de-stemmed


To make the topping, combine brown sugar and flour in a bowl. Add the butter cubes and rub with your fingertips, mixing with the sugar/flour until the mixture is crumbly and coarse. (This may take a while, but perservere!)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Place the butter and caster sugar in a bowl and cream using electric beaters. Add the eggs and mix again. Add the dry ingredients and sour cream little by little, alternating. Mix yet again until the batter is smooth.

Pour batter into a greased 23cm springform pan. sprinkle with mulberries and the crumble topping.

Bake for 50 minutes - 1 hour, until a skewer comes out clean. Leave in the pan for 10 minutes, then spring the pan out and transfer the cake to a wire rack.

Serve the cake warm, or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream. (See delicious picture below!)

Monday, 10 October 2011



Wow! Look! A savoury recipe! The first of its kind to appear in this humble blogspace. How exciting. And what a beauty, too. There is nothing more satisfying than whipping up some of your very own flatbread (although I wouldn't exactly call this fluffy bread entirely flat).

 I felt so... artisanal when I made it, just like a moustachioed Italian apprentice baker. Well... maybe not exactly. But it's still a great feeling making your own bread, ok? Especially when you don't even need one of those fancy-schmancy breadmaking gadgets, yet your bread turns out so soft and fluffy! You will, however, need to own a baking stone or have a "pizza maker" which already has one built in!

So go ahead. Make some focaccia, and make yourself a sandwich. You deserve it.

Oh, and by the by, the object seen in the first photo is not some alien probing device, it's actually just an electric beater! Were you confused? Come on, admit it.
Just kidding, I know you people are smart. And (hopefully) avid bakers!

And aargh again I forgot to mention that the Melting Moments recipe was once again from Bill. My mind is like a sieve. I'm sorry (for the pun and for forgetting to mention the true author of the recipe). This recipe is from Rebecca Baugniet.


Makes a loaf suitable for 2-3 serves.

1 tsp white sugar
7g sachet (1 tsp) active dried yeast
5 tbsp (75ml) warm water
225g plain flour
2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt


Mix the sugar and the yeast in the warm water and allow to dissolve for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl of a standing mixer, combine this yeast mixture with the flour and mix until all the flour is incorporated (you may need to add more water if not all the flour is being collected). Once you have a relatively unsticky, uniform mixture, change to a dough hook attachment and knead for 3 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth.

Place the dough into an oiled bowl and swish around until the ball is fully coated. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a draught-free area for 30 minutes, until the dough has expanded to double its original volume.

Preheat the oven to 240 degrees celsius, and place your baking stone in the oven. Alternatively follow the manufacturer's instructions for your pizza making oven. Place your dough on a floured chopping board and punch it once to expel the trapped air. Knead with your hands briefly, then shape into a flat rectangle (or whatever shape floats your boat), brush it with olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt.

Place the dough on a sheet of baking paper and place on top of the baking stone in the oven/ pizza maker. Bake for 10 minutes, until bread is golden and just beginning to go dark brown on top.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Passionfruit Melting Moments

Hello all! Finally another post - I haven't been able to bake much, what with my busy holiday schedule and all. But it's all better now, don't cry! I'm right here.

Back to business next week! Hopefully more of a routine will allow me to allocate some specific "baking time" to my week. Mmm structure! But for now, I'm quite enjoying the holidays, thank you very much.

These biscuits are very "spring-y". Good thing it's spring! I imagine these biscuits sitting on a cake plate on someone's garden table in the 'days of old' where I'm sure everyone baked for hours instead of sitting on facebook. How civilised! Anyway, they're yummy and use passionfruit, which is one of the fruits of the warm season and a symbol of sunshine in my books.

Make sure you count the number of 'halves' you make. Unfortunately I made 25 halves, which meant one biscuit was lonely and all on its own and I felt sad. Just a reminder so this tragedy does not happen to you or any future lonely biscuit halves!

Passionfruit Melting Moments

Makes 12-15 (depending on size)


For the biscuits -
250g unsalted butter, softened
60g (1/2 cup) icing sugar
225g (1 3/4 cups) plain flour
80g (2/3 cup) cornflour (cornstarch)

For the passionfruit filling -
60g unsalted butter, softened
125g (1 cup) icing sugar, sifted
Passionfuit pulp (the contents of 2 passionfruits)


Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celsius. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

Using electric beaters, mix the soft butter and sugar until the mixture is well combined, fluffy and smooth. Sift the flour and cornflour together, add to butter mixture and beat again until combined.

Heavily flour your hands (and I mean heavily!) and roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls, placing them well-spaced on the baking trays. (Note: you may have to flour your hands again in between rolling - the mixture will be sticky!) Flatten the doughy mounds slightly using a fork that has been dipped in flour.

Bake for 15 mins, or until the biscuits are light golden. Allow to cool on the trays for 5 min, then transfer to a wire rack.

Passionfruit filling:
Again using the electric beaters, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sifted icing sugar little by little, and continue to beat until pale and fluffy. Add the passionfruit pulp and cream further. 

Using a spoon or a butter knife, spread an appropriate amount of filling on half the biscuits, then pop the tops onto each. Consume with enjoyment.