Lemon Bar Tart

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If you are a fan of lemon desserts, you will absolutely adore this tart. Adapted from my favourite one-bowl lemon bar recipe, this tart is so simple to put together. No cooking a custard or rolling out pastry dough – everything happens in one bowl and in less than 10 minutes. A thick buttery crust topped with a silky lemon filling that is perfectly balanced between sweet and tart – I could seriously sit and eat this whole tart myself, that’s how good it is.

Notes:
*This is a small batch recipe that uses a 5 inch tart tin. To double the recipe, use an 8 inch tin.
*This recipe can easily be made into lemon bars. Double the recipe and use an 8×8 tin. Press all the shortcrust at the bottom instead of bringing it up the sides.
*I topped my tart with some Greek yogurt and lemon zest. You could leave it plain or use whipped cream or sour cream.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  1. 85 g whole wheat flour
  2. 2 tablespoons castor sugar
  3. a pinch of salt
  4. 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  5. 1 teaspoon lemon zest

For the lemon filling:

  1. 2 eggs
  2. 4 tablespoons castor sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  4. 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  5. 50 g lemon juice

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. To make the crust, in a large mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Whisk together until combined. Add in the cold, cubed butter and press between your fingers, incorporating the flour. The mixture should look like breadcrumbs with some larger pieces of butter still left. The dough should stick together when pressed between your fingers. If it doesn’t, add a spoon of cold water.
  3. Transfer the dough  into the tart tin and press the dough into the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 20 minutes.
  4. While the crust is baking, make the filling. In the same bowl, add the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, juice and flour. Whisk together until completely combined. Pour on top of baked crust while it is still warm.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes. The filling should be just set. If you shake the tin, the filling should wobble in the centre. Let cool at room temperature and then chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  6. Top with Greek yogurt and lemon zest before slicing.

Brioche Doughnuts Filled with Italian Mocha Buttercream

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I’m not a huge fan of frosting, especially the overly-sweet American buttercream. Italian meringue buttercream, however, is one of those great inventions of pastry – silky, light and luscious. It’s stable, holds its shape well and is forgiving when things go a bit awry (which they usually do when meringue is involved). So, when I ran out of cream, I decided to swap the creme patissiere (which is the traditional filling for brioche doughnuts) with this dreamy mocha buttercream.

These doughnuts are light-as-air, tossed in crystals of sugar and filled with the most luscious mocha buttercream. And although the recipe is long (and takes a few hours of kneading, whisking and frying), it is well worth the wait and work.

Notes:
*This recipe makes 10-13 doughnuts, using a 2-inch round cutter. If you do not have a round cutter, use any round object with sharp edges.
*These doughnuts are best eaten the same day. When stored in the fridge, they lose their light and pillowy texture.
*The brioche dough can be frozen for up to a month. Shape into a ball, place inside a freezer bag,  press all the air out and seal. When you want to bake with it, place in the fridge to thaw overnight. Then turn onto a floured surface and let it rest for 20 minutes.
*Please be careful while pouring the sugar syrup into the egg whites.The syrup is extremely hot and can cause severe burns.
*The sugar syrup should not be poured on to the whisk, otherwise you risk it splashing over you. If using a hand-held whisk, ask a second person to help you pour in the sugar mixture. 

 

For the Mocha buttercream:

Ingredients:

  1. 120 g castor sugar
  2. 1 teaspoon honey
  3. 30 ml water
  4. 2 egg whites
  5. 200 g unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
  6. 40 g dark chocolate, melted and at room temperature
  7. 1/2 shot of espresso, at room temperature

Method:

  1. Add the sugar, honey and water to a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved completely. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring to a boil and boil the mixture for 3 minutes BUT DO NOT STIR! Cook the mixture to the soft ball stage (or 120°C). If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can test the temperature of your sugar using this method.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or using an electric whisk), whip the egg whites to soft peaks. (when you lift the whisk, it should have a soft peak that droops slightly).
  3. Slowly pour a steady stream of the sugar syrup into the egg whites, being careful not to hit the whisk. Continue whisking till stiff peaks form and the meringue has cooled slightly.
  4. Add the softened butter, one cube at a time until fully incorporated. Stir in the chocolate and espresso. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.
  5. When ready to assemble, transfer the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle.

For the doughnuts:

Ingredients:

  1. 4 g instant yeast hydrated with 1/8 cup of warm water
  2. 75 g water
  3. 250 g  flour
  4. 30 g caster sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 eggs
  7. zest of 1/2 lemon
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 65 g softened unsalted butter, cubed

Method:

  1. Mix the yeast with the warm water, and let the foam double in size.
  2.  To make the brioche dough, mix the flour, sugar, water, activated yeast, lemon zest, vanilla, salt and eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until it’s all combined. Then turn up the speed to medium high and let it run for about 5 minutes, or until the dough starts coming away from the sides and forms a ball.
  3. Slowly add the butter to the dough, a spoonful  at a time. Once the butter is incorporated, mix on high speed for 5 minutes until the dough is glossy, smooth and very elastic when pulled.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to proof in the bowl until it has doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. Punch down the dough, cover it and place in the fridge overnight.
  5. The next day, take the dough out of the fridge tip the sough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rough shape with 1 inch thickness. Using a 2 inch round cutter, cut as many doughnuts as you can. Re-roll and cut using the scraps. Place on a floured baking tray, leaving plenty of room for them – so they don’t stick together while they proof. Cover lightly with a towel and leave at room temperature for 20 minutes.

To fry and assemble:

Ingredients:

  1. 300 ml vegetable oil
  2. 70 g castor sugar, for tossing

Method:

  1. Fry the donuts! Place the oil into a large heavy-bottomed pan set over medium-low heat. I didn’t use a thermometer, but the oil should ideally be between 175-180 degrees.
  2. While the oil comes to temperature, add castor sugar to a bowl  and set aside. Line a baking tray with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  3. Once at temperature, fry the doughnuts. Don’t overcrowd the fryer – do two to three per batch, depending on the size of your pan. Place on paper towel and then toss in sugar while doughnuts are still warm.
  4. Once done frying and coating, use a sharp knife to make a small hole into the sides of the doughnuts. Remove the butter from the refrigerator.
  5. Pipe the buttercream into the hole, making sure that a bit of it oozes out the top of the doughnut.

Carrot Cake with Toffee Cinnamon Glaze

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Ingredients:

For the cake:

  1. 200 g whole wheat flour
  2. 50 g all purpose flour
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 40 g walnuts, roughly chopped
  7. 2 eggs
  8. 54 g granulated sugar
  9. 25 g brown sugar
  10. 40 g olive oil
  11. 135 g buttermilk
  12. 100 g Greek yogurt
  13. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  14. 100 g grated carrot (weighted after grating)

For the glaze:

  1. 2 tablespoons butter
  2. 30 g brown sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons milk
  4. 20 g powdered sugar
  5. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Method:

  1. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang (so you can lift out the cake). Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add in the chopped walnuts and mix to coat.
  3. In a separate bowl, add the eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, olive oil and vanilla. Whisk on medium speed until light and fluffy – about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Then, add in the buttermilk and greek yogurt, and whisk until fully incorporated.
  5. Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold together until some traces of flour remain. Add the remaining dry ingredients and fold to combine. Finally, fold in the grated carrot.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 48-56 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan.
  7. To make the glaze, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and brown sugar. Once almost melted add in the milk and cinnamon, and whisk to combine. Let the mixture come to a boil and then remove from heat.
  8. Add in the powdered sugar and whisk to combine.
  9. Let the glaze sit on the counter to cool. It will thickened slightly as it cools. Pour over carrot cake and enjoy!

Spiced Kashmiri Kahwa Crème Caramel

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The only difficult part about making this dessert is the 4 hours you need to wait while it sets in the fridge. Add an exotic touch to the classic crème caramel with Kashmiri Kahwa that’s fragranced with spicy notes of cinnamon, rose and saffron. Silky soft and darkly sweet, this dessert is a showstopper.

 

Notes:
*Makes 5-6 servings
*The Crème Caramel can be made a few days ahead and stored in the fridge in the ramekins, simply de-mould when ready to serve
*The Kashmiri Kahwa can be replaced with any loose-leaf tea you prefer such as Earl Grey or Masala Chai (adjust quantity as per taste)
*It is important to use whole milk in this recipe to ensure that the custard sets (this is a lighter version of traditional Crème Caramel which is usually made with cream or half-and-half)
*To de-mould use a very sharp knife and run it along the edge of the ramekin in one swift motion, it will eventually come out

 

Ingredients
For the caramel:
  1. 130 g granulated sugar
  2. 150 g water
For the custard:
  1. 480 g whole / full-cream milk
  2. 4 tablespoons of loose-leaf Kashmiri Kahwa
  3. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  4. 1 teaspoon orange extract
  5. 1 tablespoon edible rose petals
  6. 100 g granulated 
  7. 2 large eggs
  8. 2 large egg yolks
  9. a pinch of salt
Method:
  1. Lightly grease 6 ramekins using oil and a paper towel.
  2. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until all the sugar dissolves and turns a deep into amber colour.
  3. Carefully pour an equal amounts of the hot caramel into each of the prepared ramekins. If the caramel starts to set while you do this, re-heat over a low flame.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.
  5. Place the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, and bring to a light simmer. Do not boil.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the tea, rose petals and cinnamon.
  7. Set aside and allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes, then strain the mixture.
  8. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, yolks, orange extract and salt together until combined.
  9. Pour the warm milk into the egg mixture, a little at a time, whisking continuously.
  10. Place the ramekins in a large deep baking dish. Pour equal amounts of the custard into each of the prepared ramekins.
  11. Pour boiling water into the larger baking dish until it comes about an inch up the sides of the ramekins.
  12. Carefully place the dish in the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the custards are set around the edges but are still jiggly in the middle.
  13. Leave them on the counter to cool completely and then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  14. When ready to serve, run a thin sharp knife around the edge of each ramekin and place the bottom of the ramekin in a bowl of warm water for a few seconds. Then quickly invert onto a plate.

Tahini Swirled Brownies

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Tahini, typically used in hummus and dressings, is also amazing swirled into brownie batter. Its slight but pleasant bitterness pairs wonderfully with dark chocolate. These brownies are moist and fudgy, with a generous swirl of tahini running through them, which takes them to a whole new level of chocolate heaven!

Notes:
*For that shiny crackly meringue top, make sure you whisk your egg and sugar mixture for exactly 10 minutes. Since brownies don’t have any leavening agent, the air you whisk in now is what will give them that light yet fudgy texture.
*This recipe uses browned butter that adds a lovely toasty flavour. Don’t be afraid to take your brown butter to the edge. I cook it until it is just slightly burnt – you can’t taste the burnt butter, it will just add more flavour!
*Tahini can be substituted with any other flavours you prefer – peanut butter, cookie dough, jam. Don’t be scared to experiment, they’re brownies – whatever you swirl in, they will still be delicious. 
*To cut perfect brownie squares, let the brownies cool completely in the pan and then place the pan in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Then use a large sharp knife and score the brownies where you want to cut them – for example if you want 9 squares, make 3 equally spaced lines horizontally and vertically. Then align the edge of the knife with each line and cut in one swift motion. 

 

Ingredients:

  1. 220 g butter
  2. 113 g dark chocolate, chopped
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 140 g sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon instant coffee
  6. 100 g  brown sugar
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 1 teaspoon salt
  9. 40 g cocoa powder
  10. 60 g flour
  11. 40 g smooth tahini
  12. 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Method:

  1. Grease an 8×8-inch pan and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang (so you can lift out the brownies later). Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. In a heatproof bowl, add in the chopped chocolate, coffee, and 2 tablespoons of the cocoa powder.
  3. Add the butter to a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until brown and toasty. The milk-solids would have settled at the bottom and turned black.
  4. Pour the butter over the chocolate and let it sit for 2 minutes. Whisk until completely smooth. Set aside to cool.
  5. In a separate large bowl, add both the sugars, vanilla, salt and eggs. Using an electric mixer, whisk for exactly 10 minutes (this is very important for that crackly-meringue top).
  6. Then, pour in the cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined.
  7. Finally, add in the flour and remaining cocoa powder and fold together.
  8. In a small bowl, add the tahini and maple syrup. Whisk to combine. Add a spoonful of the brownie batter into the tahini to loosen the mixture. Don’t add too much or else the colour will be too close to the batter and the swirls won’t show.
  9. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Add dots of the tahini mixture on top and use a knife to swirl them around. Bake for 20 minutes and then remove the pan from the oven and bang the pan on your kitchen counter 2-3 times (again, this is essential for the crackly top). Return to the oven and bake for an additional 9-11 minutes.
  10. The brownies will look like they’re not done, but will continue to set as they cool. Allow brownies to cool completely in the pan, then remove from the pan and cut into squares.

 

Caramelised Banana and Peanut Ice-cream / Egg Free

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This creamy, dreamy banana ice-cream isn’t just good. It’s I-want-to-disappear-into-my-bedroom-with-the-whole-tub-and-not-share-with-anyone good. The thick, creamy nature of pureed bananas creates a smooth ice-cream that scoops like a dream. The key to that intense banana flavour is to start with spotty, black over-ripe bananas. Basically the worse they look, the better. The roasted peanuts and chocolate fudge sauce are optional but I highly recommend you swirl them in. They take this ice-cream to a whole new level!

Notes:
*Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop
*Makes about 3 cups
*The chocolate fudge sauce and peanuts are suggested toppings, but feel free to experiment and use whatever toppings you like. Peanut butter, caramel, cinnamon..the possibilities are endless.
* If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a freezer proof container with a lid and place in the freezer. When the ice cream is partially frozen (after 1-2 of hours), take it out and process in a blender to break up any ice crystals. Repeat several times during the freezing process. Freeze until firm enough to scoop. The ice cream might have some ice crystals but will still have excellent flavour. 

Ingredients:

For the ice-cream base:

  1. 5 over-ripe bananas, cut into 1 inch slices
  2. 65 g brown sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  4. 150 ml whole milk
  5. 150 ml heavy cream

For the toppings:

  1. 65 roasted peanuts, crushed
  2. 45 g granulated sugar
  3. 65 ml heavy cream or whole milk
  4. 55 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  5. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  6. a pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C. In a baking tray, add the bananas, brown sugar and butter. Toss together to coat the bananas. Bake for 50 minutes or until bananas and caramelised, bubbling and have a deep golden-brown colour.
  2. Immediately transfer to a food processor and add in the milk and heavy cream. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  3. Meanwhile, make the fudge sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer the cream, sugar and salt. Do not boil. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and add in the chocolate and butter. Whisk to combine and set aside to cool.
  4. Take the cooled ice-cream mixture out of the fridge and churn in ice-cream machine according to manufacture’s instructions. When almost frozen, add in the peanuts, reserving some to sprinkle on top.
  5. Pour 1/3 of the mixture into an air-tight freezer-safe container. Add some of the fudge sauce and swirl using a knife. Keep layering the ice-cream and fudge sauce. Finally sprinkle the top with the reserved peanuts.
  6. Chill in the fridge for 3 hours or until firm. Scoop and serve!

Brioche Doughnuts Filled with Lemon Curd

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The very first brioche doughnut I ever ate was in London. Soon after I moved there, I knew I had to get my hands on the internet-famous doughnuts from Bread Ahead Bakery at Borough Market. And they are, to this day, the best doughnuts I have ever eaten.

These doughnuts are not as perfect, but are pretty fabulous in their own way. Pillowy and light, with a soft, airy inside and filled with the most delicious lemon curd.

 

*This recipe makes 10-13 doughnuts (using a 2 inch cutter)

For the lemon curd:

Ingredients:

  1. 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
  2. 90 g castor sugar
  3. juice of 1 lemon
  4. zest of 1/4 lemon
  5. 60 g butter, cold and cut into cubes

Method:

  1. The lemon curd should ideally be made the day before you want to assemble your doughnuts so it can firm up to a pipe-able consistency .
  2. In a heat-proof bowl, add the egg yolks and sugar and whisk for 2 minutes until pale. Add in the lemon juice and zest and whisk to combine.
  3. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. The water should be at a light simmer, and not at a heavy boil.
  4. Whisk every 2 minutes, until the curd thickens up to the consistency of whipped cream. It will take about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and add in the butter, a cube at a time. Mix after every addition.
  6. Cover the surface of the lemon curd with plastic wrap (making sure the wrap touches the surface of the curd) and place in the refrigerator to chill completely, for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  7. When you want to assemble the doughnuts, transfer the lemon curd into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Place the piping bag in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For the doughnuts:

Ingredients:

  1. 4 g instant yeast hydrated with 1/8 cup of warm water
  2. 75 g water
  3. 250 g  flour
  4. 30 g caster sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 eggs
  7. zest of 1/2 lemon
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 65 g softened unsalted butter, cubed

Method:

  1. Mix the yeast with the warm water, and let the foam double in size.
  2.  To make the brioche dough, mix the flour, sugar, water, activated yeast, lemon zest, vanilla, salt and eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until it’s all combined. Then turn up the speed to medium high and let it run for about 5 minutes, or until the dough starts coming away from the sides and forms a ball.
  3. Slowly add the butter to the dough, a spoonful  at a time. Once the butter is incorporated, mix on high speed for 5 minutes until the dough is glossy, smooth and very elastic when pulled.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to proof in the bowl until it has doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. Punch down the dough, cover it and place in the fridge overnight.
  5. The next day, take the dough out of the fridge tip the sough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rough shape with 1 inch thickness. Using a 2 inch round cutter, cut as many doughnuts as you can. Re-roll and cut using the scraps. Place on a floured baking tray, leaving plenty of room for them – so they don’t stick together while they proof. Cover lightly with a towel and leave at room temperature for 20 minutes.

To fry and assemble:

Ingredients:

  1. 300 ml vegetable oil
  2. 70 g castor sugar, for tossing
  3. zest of 1/2 lemon

Method:

  1. Fry the donuts! Place the oil into a large heavy-bottomed pan set over medium-low heat. I didn’t use a thermometer, but the oil should ideally be between 175-180 degrees.
  2. While the oil comes to temperature, add castor sugar and lemon zest to a bowl and run the zest into the sugar until it smells lemony. Set aside. Line a baking tray with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  3. Once at temperature, fry the doughnuts. Don’t overcrowd the fryer – do two to three per batch, depending on the size of your pan. Place on paper towel and then toss in sugar while doughnuts are still warm.
  4. Once done frying and coating, use a sharp knife to make a small hole into the sides of the doughnuts. Remove the lemon curd from the refrigerator.
  5. Pipe the curd into the hole, making sure that a bit of it oozes out the top of the doughnut.

Flour-less Brownie Cookies / Gluten Free

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With rich dark chocolate, impossibly gooey centres and perfect crispy edges, these Flour-less Brownie Cookies are irresistibly delicious. A quick, small-batch batch recipe that can easily be doubled or tripled.
Notes:
*This is a small batch recipe that makes about 7 cookies. Simply double or triple for a larger batch. 
*The dough can be frozen for up to one month. Shape into balls and place in a freezer bag, push out all the air and place in the freezer. They can be baked straight out of the freezer, no need for thawing. They might need an additional minute or two of baking time. 
*Many readers have mentioned that their cookies didn’t look as dark as mine. The recipe uses dutch-processed cocoa AND 60% dark chocolate which lends to a darker, earthier cookie. If you do not have dutch-processed cocoa, you can use regular cocoa powder.
*The almond meal can be substituted with cornflour or regular flour. 
*This recipe will NOT work with milk chocolate and milk chocolate will not be able to provide the same structural integrity to the cookie.

Ingredients:

  1. 110 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (at least 60% cocoa)
  2. 15 g unsalted butter, cubed
  3. 1 egg
  4. 65 g castor sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon dutch-processed cocoa powder
  6. 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  7. 15 g almond meal / ground almonds
  8. Flaky sea salt, to sprinkle on top

Method:

  1. In a small heatproof bowl, add the butter and chopped chocolate. Microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring between each session. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, add in the egg and whisk for about 1-2 minutes until light and frothy. Add in the sugar and whisk well for about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the cooled chocolate until smooth and glossy.
  4. Next, add in the almond meal, baking powder and cocoa powder. Fold together to combine. The mixture will be quite runny. Place the bowl in the fridge for 1.5 hours. When the mixture has solidified a bit, take it out and using a tablespoon, drop the batter onto a tray lined with parchment paper, leaving 2-3 inches between each cookie as they will spread. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
  6. Bake cookies straight out of the freezer for 8-10 minutes. Open the oven at the 6 minute mark and sprinkle some flaky sea salt on top of each cookie. Once the time is up, take the tray out of the oven and let cookies cool completely on the tray. They will still be soft in the middle but will continue to set as they cool.
  7. The dough can also be frozen after it has been shaped into balls.

Bourbon Biscuits

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These iconic chocolate sandwich biscuits have been a favourite of mine right since childhood. Sparkling sugar dusted, dark chocolate biscuits filled with lusciously creamy chocolate buttercream, these Bourbon Biscuits are to die for.

Notes:
*Recipe adapted from Made In London cookbook.
*Makes about 15 sandwich biscuits. 
*Biscuits can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Ingredients:

For the biscuits

  1. 100 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 37 g caster sugar
  3. 7 g light brown sugar
  4. 1 egg, at room temperature
  5. 150 g flour
  6. 50 g cocoa powder
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 3 tablespoons milk
  10. 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the filling

  1. 25 g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  2. 50 g butter, at room temperature
  3. 90g icing sugar
  4. 1/2 vanilla extract
  5. 10g cocoa powder

Method:

  1. For the biscuits, sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Add the salt and whisk to combine.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together with a electrix mixer until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and mix until fully incorporated, about 5 minutes.
  3. Fold in the dry ingredients. Use your hands to bring the dough together, don’t knead as this will make the biscuits tough. Make a ball of the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, until you have a rectangular shape with 1/4 inch thickness. Trim away the rough edges, to create a perfect rectangle. Then use a ruler to mark out 7×3 cm rectangles (alternatively you can eyeball it). Then use a sharp knife to cut the dough into rectangles (use the ruler again for clean, straight edges).
  6. Transfer the biscuits onto the lined tray, leaving a small gap between each one (they won’t spread too much). Using a cocktail stick or toothpick, make holes along the length of the biscuits, to recreate the classic Bourbon pattern. Place the tray in the fridge for about 15 minutes so the dough can firm up again (this prevents the biscuits from spreading too much).
  7. Put the tray in the oven and cook for 8 minutes. Take out the tray and brush the top of each biscuit with some milk and quickly sprinkle some granulated sugar before the milk dries up. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the biscuits are just firm but not soft to touch.
  8. To make the filling, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl in a microwave at 20 second intervals. Leave aside to cool.
  9. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until pale and soft. Add in the icing sugar and cream together until very light and creamy. Add in the cocoa powder, vanilla and melted chocolate, mix to combine. Use a piping bag or a spoon to add filling to each half of the biscuit. Sandwich together and enjoy.

Bourbon Mocha Cake with Espresso Frosting and Candied Walnuts

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This cake is a coffee lover’s dream. With Bourbon, espresso and cocoa, it has an undeniable earthiness and richness that is almost impossible to resist. And if that wasn’t enough, the candied walnuts on top are absolutely to die for – crunchy, bitter and golden.

Notes:
* The Bourbon can be substituted with any other dark liquor such as rum, whiskey or coffee liqueur. 
*If you want to leave out the alcohol altogether, simple substitute with the same amount of water or espresso. 
*This is a small batch recipe that makes one small cake, serving 4 people. Simply double or triple for a larger serving.
*The candied nuts can be made with any nuts of your choice – almonds, pecans, hazelnuts work great too!
 

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  1. 112 g unsalted butter
  2. 2 shots of espresso
  3. 50 g cocoa powder
  4. 70 g caster sugar
  5. 90 g light brown sugar
  6. 1 egg
  7. 2 tablespoons Bourbon
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 140 g flour
  10. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  11. 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the frosting:

  1. 20 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 60 g icing sugar
  3. 8 g cocoa powder
  4. 1 teaspoon Bourbon
  5. 1 teaspoon espresso

For the candied walnuts:

  1. 50 g walnuts, roughly chopped
  2. 20 g granulated sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  4. 1/4 tsp sea salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 6 inch cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Put the butter in a large saucepan and melt over low heat, making sure it doesn’t burn. Once melted, add in the espresso and cocoa powder and whisk well to combine.
  3. Then add in the egg, sugars, vanilla and Bourbon and whisk for a couple of minutes until smooth.
  4. In a separate large bowl, add the flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk until combined. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold to combine.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-32 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out with almost no crumbs attached. Leave to cool.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Add the room temperature butter to a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth and creamy. Sift in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and whisk for about 5-7 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Finally add in the Bourbon and espresso, and whisk to combine. Spread on top of cooled cake.
  7. To make the candied walnuts, add the sugar to a saucepan over low heat and cook until sugar has melted and has started to turn brown. Add in the maple syrup and salt and whisk to combine.
  8. Finally, add in the walnuts, making sure to coat all of them in the sugar. The sugar might crystallise at this stage. Increase the flame to medium and cook until the caramel turns a deep amber colour, and the walnuts look crispy and smell toasty. Spoon walnuts onto a piece of parchment paper and allow to cool completely. They light stick together, so break them up into chunks before placing on top of the cake.