Monday 25 February 2013

Ginger Chocolate Chewy Cookies

Also known as third time lucky! And also phew-just-in-time! When Choclette published a recipe for chewy apricot cookies back in December I immediately decided I needed to bake them. They looked delicious and pretty much my idea of a perfect cookie. And then I pretty much went off the idea of baking altogether. (Yep, it's been a bit like that round here recently).

But when I decided that I needed cookies I remembered Choclette's recipe and how good it had looked and decided to make some. Please don't ask what happened to the first batch, and then whilst making the second batch I completely forgot to add the baking powder. So although they turned out ok, they were rather more chewy than I was expecting and I decided that third time's the charm and had another go. I halved the recipe and these went perfectly well.

I'm going to give the recipe here as this is how I made them after adapting the recipe slightly. You can find Choclette's original recipe here.

Ginger Chocolate Chewy Cookies
50g butter, softened
50g light muscovado sugar
15g honey (I used a floral New Zealand honey.... airmiles *cough*)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
75g plain flour
scant 1/2 tsp baking powder
30g crystallised stem ginger, chopped
30g 70% cocoa solids chocolate, chopped

- Preheat the oven to 175C/Gas4 (ish). Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Cream the butter, sugar and honey together until well combined.
- Add the vanilla extract, flour and baking powder and continue to mix. The mixture will seem very dry.
- Add the chopped ginger and chocolate and work the mixture together. I used the back of a spatula for this and then ended up squashing it together with my hands.
- Divide into approximately equal balls, I got twelve from my mixture.
- Squash the balls slightly, place well apart (although I only used one tray here and they didn't merge) and bake for 10-15 minutes. I found mine took 16 minutes.

I can see these becoming a favourite around here - they were really quick to put together and to bake and are deliciously soft and chewy. The ginger and chocolate work really well together and the honey is delicious too although the fairly mild honey I used doesn't come through strongly. As they don't have an egg in them it's really easy to halve the recipe too - always a bonus.

I am entering these into this month's We Should Cocoa challenge, hosted by Jen of Blue Kitchen Bakes and co-hosted by Choclette of Choc Log Blog and Chele of Chocolate Teapot. The theme this month is ginger and I absolutely adore chocolate, ginger and the combination of the two!

I'm also entering them into Jac's bookmarked recipes challenge as I had noted the recipe on Choclette's blog ages ago and have finally got round to making them.

Sunday 3 February 2013

Simple and In Season

Well, I hadn't really expected that break to be quite so long! I'm glad to have reached the weekend after a pretty stressful week last week and it's happily now February, which hopefully means less snow and more of these.... (I'm living in hope!)

And to start the month off well, I'm pleased to announce that I'm hosting Simple and In Season, as Ren has kindly let me look after her seasonal cooking challenge for the month of February. 

There are some guidelines to help you along:
1. Come up with a dish using any seasonal produce you like (savoury or sweet) and post it on your blog. You need to link to my blog: Cake, Crumbs and Cooking and also to Ren's blog: Fabulicious Food. It would be great if you want to use the badge - then we can spread the word about using fabulous seasonal produce.
2. This challenge will be open from now (i.e. the beginning of the month) until the 28th and I'll post a round up at the beginning of March.
3. You can take your inspiration from anywhere - the market/supermarket, cookbooks, magazines, blogs, create something from scratch or use a family favourite. Please ensure that you do not breach copyright if you are using someone else's recipe - a link to a recipe is great if it is available online though!
4. You can add as many recipes as you like and it's fine for them to be part of other blog challenges too.

As I can't seem to add a linky (you'd think after four and a half years I'd have figured out some of the technical aspects of blogging by now - apparently not so much!) please leave a link to your post in the comments and I'll be able to find all of your lovely creations.

Marmalade anyone?

If you aren't in the UK feel free to enter making use of produce that is seasonal in your part of the world, the more the merrier. You can find lots of resources for showing what is in season on Ren's Simple and In Season page. For the UK, BBC GoodFood has a good seasonal ideas on their seasonal tab. BBC Food also has some great seasonal ideas and recipes.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what you all come up with!

Saturday 2 February 2013

Simple Double Chocolate Vanilla Marble Cake

Well, that break wasn't really expected - life sometimes gets in the way of blogging and I think a combination of post-Christmas readjusting to work and general busy-ness meant that January sped past before I knew what had happened. I'm sorry to have missed out on participating in all of the blog challenges I usually enter, but hopefully I'll be a bit more active this month.

To ease myself back into baking mode I decided to make something quick and easy, requiring no decoration but that also looked reasonably impressive. Marble cake fulfils all of these requirements and because I'm a chocolate fiend I decided to double up the chocolate goodness of the cake by adding chocolate chunks to the chocolate portion of the batter.

Double Chocolate Vanilla Marble Cake
175g butter, softened
175g white caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g full fat greek yogurt
3 eggs
175g self raising flour
100g chopped chocolate (I used 60% cocoa solids)
15g cocoa powder (approx...)

- Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180C. Grease and line an 8"/20cm square cake tin with baking parchment.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla, greek yogurt, eggs and flour and beat well to combine.
- Blob about half of the mixture into the tin in separated blobs.
- Add the cocoa powder and chocolate chunks to the remaining mixture in the mixing bowl. Beat to combine.
- Blob the chocolate batter into the spaces between the vanilla batter until the batter is all used up.
- Swirl the handle of a knife/fork/spoon through the mixture until it appears marbled (don't forget the corners!)
- Bake for about 40 minutes until risen, golden and springy and a cake tester comes out clean.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack before enjoying!

I do enjoy making marble cakes, they have the advantage of not really needing frosting/icing and this was a good one - the marbling went well and having the added chocolate chunks in the mixture made a nice contrast of texture and certainly enhanced the chocolate appeal of the cake! I use the handle of one of my soup spoons because it is wide enough to marble effectively - feel free to use your implement of choice. Not too taxing for a quick after-work midweek bake.  


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