Very Chocolatey Salted Brownies

Very Chocolatey Salted Brownies

Home renovation is depressing. Even when it’s just renovation of the toilets, the whole house gets messed up. One of the worse parts of renovation? I am deprived of my kitchen and my oven. I wish I could start baking with a vengeance once my renovation is over but with the baby due to arrive just a few weeks, that does not seem very likely either.

Anyway, while browsing through my food photos, I realised that I have not shared my favourite brownie recipe on the blog! These recipes are rich and fudgey and the salt on the top gives it extra crunch. I like to add some chocolate chips to the batter to give it a little extra bite but you can omit these if you prefer.

Very Chocolatey Salted Brownies
 
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 170g unsalted butter
  • 60g dark chocolate chips/chunks (I use 70% dark chocolate)
  • 45g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 110g plain flour
  • 220g granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use 55% dark chocolate) - optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 175°C.
  2. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with alumnium foil and coat lightly with non-stick baking spray.
  3. Melt butter and chocolate chips over a water bath or using a microwave, stirring occasionally.
  4. Allow butter and chocolate mixture to cool slightly.
  5. Sift flour and cocoa powder over the chocolate mixture and whisk in till combined.
  6. Whisk in the sugar till combined, followed by the eggs, one at a time.
  7. Lastly, whisk in the vanilla extract and salt.
  8. Fold in the extra chocolate chips if desired.
  9. Pour batter into the baking pan and smooth out the top using a spatula.
  10. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until the centre is just slightly soft.
  11. Allow to cool in the pan for an hour. Refrigerate the brownies for 1 - 1.5 hours to allow them to set completely.
  12. Remove brownies from pan and peel off the aluminium foil.
  13. Cut brownies into squares and sprinkle a little extra sea salt on top.
  14. Serve at room temperature.

Cookie Top Brownies

Cookie Top Brownies

In my humble opinion, there are few desserts that are as charming in their simplicity as brownies. Moist chocolate goodness, in a bar, or a slab, or in a cup, whatever your preference. I used to think that the best brownies were the ones that were oozing chocolate goodness, with bits of nuts in them, the crunch of the nuts contrasting with the soft texture of the brownie. I have since changed my mind about what the best brownies are. The best brownies are the ones I’m about to introduce to you – Brownies topped with Cookie dough, baked to a golden brown perfection. Crisp chocolate chip cookie atop a moist dark chocolate brownie. NOW THAT IS PERFECTION.

Cookie Top Brownies

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Nutella Swirled ChocoNana Muffins

Nutella swirled choco nana muffins

I was mulling over what to bake for breakfast and asked my husband if he preferred oatmeal bread or honey wholewheat bread. “Chocolate Banana bread!” my little one chimes in. Chocolate banana bread? Now where did that come from! She has never tried chocolate banana cake, bread, muffin or anything of that combination. It did sound like a good idea though. After all, I really like chocolate mousse cake with banana slices.

So breakfast was decided. Chocolate banana bread. Only that a loaf of bread sounded a little boring. “How bout chocolate banana muffins instead?” I asked the little one. She nodded in agreement. I never thought that my 2.5 y.o will be deciding the breakfast menu at such a young age!

I set out to bake Chocolate Banana muffins. And then I had a brainwave. My husband loves nutella. How bout topping each muffin with just a little nutella? Brilliant isn’t it? I would think so because the muffins were so good. I love the texture, the flavour, the chunky banana and the bits of chocolate AND the nutella. You would love it too, if you try it!

Nutella Swirled ChocoNana Muffins
 
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed coarsely
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • nutella
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven 175ºC.
  2. Place 8 large standing muffin liners on a baking tray. (You can use a muffin tray as well.)
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  4. In a smaller mixing bowl, add eggs, melted butter, vanilla extract and buttermilk to the mashed bananas. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold gently.
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Fill each muffin cup to ¾ full.
  8. Top with ½ tsp of nutella. Swirl with a toothpick or a small spatula.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

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Passionfruit Marble Cake

passionfruit marble

I love the combination of passionfruit and chocolate. I remember tasting my first passionfruit chocolate macaron some years back. It was love at first sight taste – the tangy sweetness of the passionfruit combined with bittersweet chocolate. Pure bliss.

This passionfruit marble cake is my attempt to recreate the passionfruit chocolate flavour that I love. My first attempt at passionfruit marble cake was a loaf cake. Though it was nice, I felt that the texture could be improved and so I did not post the recipe. This time, I modified the initial recipe and used a bundt pan to bake the cake. Why use a bundt pan? Bundt pans help to conduct heat evenly to all surfaces of the cake while keeping the cake moist. Not to mention the added advantage of a pretty cake!Continue Reading

Red wine chocolate cake with mascarpone cream

redwinecake2 I posted some time earlier about a red wine chocolate bundt cake that received rave reviews from my friends. So when I had half a bottle of unfinished red wine, I thought about baking that cake again. While surfing though, I came across a recipe on smitten kitchen that looked simpler and really good. So I tried that instead and tested it on my colleagues.

The texture of the cake is a cross between a brownie and a cake. It is dense but moist and boy was it rich. Deb from smitten kitchen calls it the real velvet cake and I think she is right. The cake is baked at a fairly low temperature of 160°C and so the alcohol does not boil off much. The red wine flavour comes through really strongly so my advice would be to use a fairly good bottle of red wine. I used a merlot for this cake, but you can use pretty much any kind you like. The mascarpone cream topping is a must. Do not omit that!

Red wine chocolate cake with mascarpone cream

Website adapted from smitten kitchen

Ingredients

cake

  • 3oz unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 yolk
  • 3/4 cups red wine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Cup + 1 Tablespoon plain flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

mascarpone cream

  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a 9 inch round cake pan and spray the interior with a non-stick spray.
Step 2
Using a standing or a handheld mixer, cream butter until smooth then add the sugars and beat till light and fluffy.
Step 3
Add the egg and yolk, then the red wine and the vanilla and beat after each addition. The batter will look lumpy.
Step 4
In a separate large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Step 5
Sift the ingredients over the wet ingredients and combine on low speed. Fold in the last bits with a rubber spatula. Do not overmix!
Step 6
Bake for 25 minutes on the centre rack of the oven. The tester should come out clean. Do not overbake or the cake will be dry.
Step 7
Cool for 5-10 minutes in the tin then turn it out onto a rack and cool till it comes to room temperature. Dust with icing sugar if you like.
Step 8
Whip together mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract till soft peaks form. (Cream can be refrigerated for a couple of hours)
Step 9
Serve each slice of cake with a large dollop of cream.

Chef Icon Bakery

Chocolate Trovana I stumbled upon this bakery through an advertisement I saw on facebook. Chef Icon Bakery prides itself in being a nature bakery – they use no artificial ingredients or artificial fats. Seems like a perfect place to shop for a birthday cake for my daughter.

I went there in the afternoon with my husband to shop for a birthday cake and was promptly recommended their signature Chocolate Trovana. The signature cake comes in sizes of 500g, 1kg and 2kg and prior ordering is required. Looking at the array of cakes, we decided to stop for tea too.

Chef Francis was very friendly and recommended that we tried one of his cheesecakes if we liked cheesecakes. He promised that his cheesecakes were very different, and different they were. Even the cookies for the oreo cheesecake base were baked in the shop. His reason? Commercial oreo cookies contained preservatives. Such dedication to his nature baking concept indeed!

We finally decided to try the mango cheesecake and we were definitely not disappointed. The cheesecake was very light, unlike other baked cheesecakes that I’ve tried. Despite it’s lightness, the cake definitely did not lose its flavour. The mango fragrance permeated the cake; every bite was a delight. We were so busy eating the cake that we forgot to take a nice photo of it! Alas, there’s always a chance for visit two.

Now, back to the Chocolate Trovana cake we ordered. The verdict is found below.

chef_icon2 The layers of chocolate mousse and chocolate cake together with the rich chocolate ganache formed a heavenly combination. The cake was velvety smooth and very rich in chocolate flavour. Thankful that I only bought the 500g cake as a small slice goes a long way. This cake is highly recommended. Possibly the best chocolate cake I’ve tasted in a long while.

So where can you find Chef Icon?

Chef Icon Bakery
5 Kampong Bahru Rd
Singapore 169341
Phone: +65 9337 3900Mon – Sat: 8am to 8pm

Red wine chocolate bundt cake

Disclaimer: This cake is NOT suitable for children consumption.

I love bundt pans because they are easy to handle, produce moist cakes and the large bundt pans produce cakes that feed a small crowd! That coupled by the fact that they look pretty without elaborate decorations, and that they are easy to divide and slice up (the patterns serve as a guide for servings), I think I should be baking bundts more. I was given a cheaper bundt pan years ago, but didn’t quite fancy it as it tended to stick despite being greased and floured. A year back, I purchased a few Nordicware bundt pans and have been sold ever since.

I baked this last Saturday for my CG mates. Originally, I just wanted to bake a simple chocolate cake but I stumbled upon a recipe that incorporated red wine into the chocolate cake. I thought, why not? The results? A moist and flavourful cake, made more delicious by a double glaze of red wine black berry sauce and milk chocolate ganache. To make the cake slightly more friendly for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in the CG, I boiled the red wine mixture a little longer. You don’t have to, though.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake
Makes 1 large bundt
Adapted from Kiss my Bundt

Ingredients:

For the bundt cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dry red wine

For the blackberry red wine glaze
4 tbsp seedless blackberry jam
1/3 cup dry red wine

For the chocolate ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz milk chocolate or dark chocolate

Method (for bundt cake):

  1. Preheat oven to 175°C
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix in sugar and set aside.
  3. Using a standing mixer, combine eggs, milk and oil. Beat on medium speed for about 1 minute.
  4. Turn the mixer speed to low and add in the dry ingredients, half a cup at a time.
  5. Meanwhile, combine water and wine and bring to a boil
  6. When batter is combined, slowly add in water and wine mixture. The batter will be quite thin.
  7. Pour into 10-C bundt pan that has been greased and floured and bake for about 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  8. Invert onto cooling rack and allow to cool for an hour before frosting.

Method (for blackberry red wine glaze)

  1. Whisk red wine and blackberry jam in a small saucepan over medium heat
  2. Bring mixture to a boil and let it boil for 1 – 2 minutes (the glaze will thicken)
  3. Remove from heat and let it cool for 5 minutes before spooning it over cooled bundt cake

Method (for chocolate ganache)

  1. In a small saucepan, bring cream to a near boil (hot but not boiling)
  2. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a large bowl and whisk till smooth
  3. Spoon over the blackberry red wine glaze on the cooled bundt cake