Rosewater and cardamom brownies

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I do love brownies. I may not be the biggest super fan of chocolate, but I will probably always say ‘yes’ to a good brownie. Especially the gooey-inside // flaky-outside variety. How could you say no to that?

Then there’s the addition of rosewater chocolate frosting (optional, but tasty) based on a recipe from the Kitchn, and chopped pistachios and rose petals for decoration (again, optional, but also tasty) which essentially makes these brownies into a rather fancy dessert .

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This brownie recipe comes from an adaptation of Iambaker’s recipe that mimics that of a boxed brownie mix (you can find the recipe here). It uses cocoa powder, rather than chocolate, but that doesn’t mean dry brownies. In fact, this is probably where oven temperatures and how long you bake the brownies have more impact on making dry brownies than the cocoa powder. Therefore, in this instance, it’s probably better (and tastier!) to be on the side of under-baking your brownies than over-baking brownies, because dry brownies are also sad brownies. Not even frosting can totally make up for sad brownies.

Makes 9 brownies.  Read More

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Blueberry brownies

So I’m not just on a baking spree, but also a brownie/chocolate-themed baking spree, which is exciting for me — not really because of the chocolate part, (I’m not one of those people who’d go crazy for a piece of chocolate — I could probably forget its existence if I had the chance…!) but because my history of baking chocolate-y things is not so great. Or at least the results weren’t. Unless it came from a boxed brownie mix, the results were never much to shout about.

This is sort of-maybe-just kind of cheating, since this is at once both a brownie, but also very close to a Swedish favourite of mine; kladdkaka, which, if done correctly to my judgement, is like a giant cake version of the most gooey, wonderfully unbaked brownie, usually dusted with icing sugar and served with whipped cream. I just mentioned that I’m not a chocolate person, and I stand by that, but even childhood me (who was a lot less tolerant of chocolate than I am now, in fact) would sell a piece of her soul for kladdkaka, especially the fresh-out-the-oven, homemade version. So this, combined with the fresh bursts of blueberry flavour, is like a dream.

Note; to make sure the blueberries don’t sink to the bottom of the batter whilst baking, I coat the blueberries in 1tsp of flour and 1tsp of icing sugar (see the recipe for more details). Don’t worry about the flour, because after baking, you couldn’t tell that there was any flour (or icing sugar, for that matter!) around them in the first place!

Makes about 12 large brownies.  Read More

Salted butter mint brownies

So, we need to talk about salted butter for a moment. I’m sure most of us know that the large majority of recipes call for unsalted butter,so that you can then control the salt in your baked goods, but in this case, the saltiness is a perfect addition to the richness of an otherwise classic brownie recipe, and adding the mint as last minute idea totally worked out in my favour, since it too works well with the chocolatey-fudgey taste.

On top of all that, this is such a simple brownie recipe without the need for a boxed mix. Overall it takes very little effort, and if you’re not feeling the idea of mint, it’s fine to just skip it (or change it for another essence, perhaps — like almond, maybe?)

Makes roughly 12 brownies
Adapted from here.
Read More

Pistachio and chocolate dipped rosewater and cardamom cookies

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I suppose these are technically biscuits in the UK sense, so I’m sort of going with both! Cookies, biscuits, whatever — they’re good. And don’t let the variety of flavours here put you off, since the rosewater and cardamom add a soft fragrant taste that works well beneath the nuttiness of the pistachio and dark chocolate dip. The shortbread-biscuit base is a great canvas for all these flavours.

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I’ve mentioned previously that I’m not the biggest chocolate fan ever, but I *do* like it combined with over ingredients, such as tart berries, or pistachios, or combining it with some white chocolate to add that sweetness that I think I miss with milk/dark chocolate. I’m just clearly not a fan of cocoa!

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On top of everything of course, I think they’re pretty. And I love pretty things that taste nice too. So it’s obviously just an all-rounder!

Makes about 12-15 cookies/biscuits/edible-circles. When stored in a sealed container, mine lasted for about two weeks without going soft! Read More

Matcha white chocolate macadamia nut brownies

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Let me talk about these brownies. No recipe, unfortunately, because I stuck to the recipe from Jamie Oliver’s magazine (the issue 54, if I don’t have that wildly incorrect), and I did follow that recipe pretty much to the T, bar nearly tripling the cooking time (umm, weird).

No, seriously, it said like twenty-thirty minutes. I was a little dubious because some brownies can take far longer when they’re not the packet-mix version, but my dish was pretty big too so the batter wasn’t all that thick or anything…and they just did not cook. They really refused to. I was going back and forth every five, and eventually every ten minutes, until they finally decided to rest in that wonderfully gooey-sticky but firm stage. I’m so glad I persevered.

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Yup, this one’s a keeper.

Pistachio, white chocolate & dark chocolate chunk cookies

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I know I’ve discussed before how I’m not the best of bakers. That’s not meant to scare you off anything, but it does make me super excited when something goes well for me in the baking department! It’s been a while since I baked anything actually. I know the holidays have just been and the internet was awash with Christmas recipes for baked goods and sweet treats, but I was not one of those people because…I didn’t actually bake anything.

Ooops. I blame too much holidaying by the beach, not quite the scenery for festive baking 😉

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This came about because of the recipe this was adapted from. I was just browsing the internet for one of my articles for a student website, writing up about festive cookie recipes (…does that count instead of baking any?) and though this one didn’t make the cut because it wasn’t quite like the ones looking like mini Santas or anything, it still stuck with me. Because white chocolate and pistachios? Hello.

And on top of that? They’re made with browned butter. If you haven’t made anything with browned butter, I totally suggest you rectify that immediately. It’s a miracle ingredient that smells amazingly nutty and rich, and adds such a wonderful flavour to baked cakes, loaves, and even these cookies. Seriously, go pick a recipe with browned butter, even if it’s not this one. You need to.

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(Above, brunch on New Year’s Eve. Bacon, waffles, maple syrup, quail’s eggs & blue cheese. SO GOOD)

So I ended up making these are the first baked goods for the new year. If this is the start, 2015 should be pretty good, really.

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I’m not even all that much of a chocolate fan (caramel/toffee creations all the way man, but don’t talk to me about banoffee), but I upped the choco-ante and made mine with half dark chocolate and half white chocolate. Delicious.

You should be able to find unshelled pistachios in health food stores, or in larger bakery supply aisles in the supermarket. If not, the 20 minutes or so it takes to shell them is totally worth it.

Makes about 15 cookies, depending on your cutter.  Read More

Blackberry & Dark Chocolate Crumble Pots

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I absolutely love apple crumble, but recently, on at least 3 occasions I’ve last had it, it’s been a disappointment. One was soggy, one had barely any apple to be found and the other had a strange after-taste as well as the charming texture of baby food. Lovely.

Thoughts about making some sort of cobbler/crumble dish had been floating around in my head for some time now, but I didn’t want to make a massive pie dish for a minimum eight people when there’s only 3 of us in the household. Sure, you can divide, but I always think there’s a reason for the quantities used, so that flavours develop properly.

But! Then, we had these little desserts from our fancier supermarket around, which left us with these one-portion ceramic pots that the packaging encourage you to re-use or recycle. They were adorable, and came in multiple colours depending on the dessert in them. Thus, armed with some money, I went back to the store and bought one colour of each, shared the desserts with my parents, and then washed them for my new collection of adorable pastel pots! Dessert and a free dessert dish? I think more supermarket products should be like that! 🙂

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Blackberries are my father’s favourite fruit, after the number one; cloudberries, which are pretty hard to get a hold of around here when we’re not in Sweden, so I made this as a sweet substitute. I’d forgotten how much I loved blackberries, and a local farm shop had some beautiful punnets of them for sale, picked that day.

At that point, I got googling, and found out the wonderful combination of blackberries and chocolate, which I thought sounded lovely (even as a person who really doesn’t get all that fussed about chocolate *sins*). I changed it up by adding lime juice and dark chocolate, which makes the dessert a little more rich, rather than sweet.

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Our berries were a wonderful mix of sweet and tart; just how we like them, but depending on your measure for how tart/sweet you like your berries, adjust the sugar in this recipe accordingly.

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They came out a little messy, unfortunately, since the recipe bubbled over, and the fruit juice hardened into a delicious, slightly sticky sauce that, despite my scrubbing for the photos, didn’t come out (but no fear, with some soap and a soak in hot water, it went away!) but I couldn’t not share this with you all. A little lactose-free cream topped over, and it was a deliciously naughty little treat for a warm summer evening.

Makes 8 small pots Read More