Gingerbread cupcakes with lemon icing

It rained last weekend.  A lot.  Apart from Mr Baking-Joy insisting I join him on a (very wet) walk, I planted my feet firmly inside the house.  This meant I had a great excuse (as if I need one!) for baking lots.  I mentioned in my last blog post that I love Christmas and one of the most evocative Christmas smells to me is gingerbread.  I love the stuff 🙂  I have a lovely recipe for black beer gingerbread which I’ll be making soon and I also want a bundt tin to try a great looking gingerbread bundt cake.  The subject of today’s recipe though is cupcakes.  This recipe produces a very wet batter, which in turn makes the finished cupcakes fantastically moist.  They would be lovely without any adornments, but the addition of lemon icing here takes them up another level!  Gingerbread and lemon is one of those slightly unusual combinations, but definitely works 🙂

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The moistness of the cupcakes makes them last really well…but they probably won’t be around for long 🙂

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Ingredients:

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg + one large egg yolk
  • 125ml treacle
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1/4 salt
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125ml hot milk
  • Juice of 1 lemon (icing)
  • 200g icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to Gas 4/180C.  Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl.  Add the treacle, egg and egg yolk and beat together.
  3. In another bowl, sift the flour and add the spices, cocoa powder and salt.  Mix the dry ingredients together.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the creamed sugar/treacle mixture.  Don’t overmix as this will make the finished cakes heavy.
  5. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda into the hot milk and pour the milk into the cake batter.  Mix this in until fully incorporated.
  6. Fill the cupcake cases 3/4 full with mixture and bake for 20 minutes, until springy to the touch.
  7. Cool on a wire rack until ready for the icing.  Sift icing sugar into a bowl and add the lemon juice.  Mix until smooth, the icing should be spreadable but not too runny.
  8. Dollop icing onto cupcakes neatly (if you can, I have never managed this skill!)
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After Eight mint chocolate chip cookies

I love Christmas.  I know it’s still only November, but I’m right in the holiday mood 🙂  I especially love the myriad of Christmas based chocolate goodness that’s in all the shops right now.  Like a yard of jaffa cakes that Mr Baking-Joy gleefully brought home the other night (I still firmly believe it was the sheer amount of jaffas in one pack that enticed him, not the jaffas themselves.  We have agreed to disagree on that one :-)).  Mint chocolate was on my list yesterday, which meant after eight mints (dark chocolate covered thin mints).  I had the idea that they might be quite nice in the middle of a double chocolate chip cookie…I am pleased to say that I was correct 🙂

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The recipe I used for the cookies has a high proportion of dark brown sugar, which makes the cookies lovely and chewy.  When they are baked, don’t be afraid to take them out of the oven when they look slightly underdone, they will firm up slightly as they cool.  I added a couple of drops of peppermint extract to the mix, you could always leave this out if you like less of a minty kick!

Gooey yumminess.  Happy days.

Ingredients (makes around 12 large cookies):

  • 110g soft unsalted butter
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 165g plain flour
  • 2 drops peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 100g milk chocolate chips
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
  • Pinch of salt
  • 12 After Eight mints

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to Gas 5/200C and line 2 baking trays.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and peppermint extract.
  3. Mix in the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, salt and baking powder.  The mixture will appear very thick (like traditional cookie dough)
  4. Mix in the chocolate chips.  Place a spoonful of mixture onto the baking tray.  Press an After Eight mint gently on top, then add more cookie dough mixture.  Repeat until all the cookie dough has been used.  Make sure to leave gaps between the cookies, as the mixture does spread.
  5. Bake in the oven for around 10-12 minutes.  Take out of the oven when the edges are set, but the middle looks underdone.
  6. Leave to cool on the baking trays for at least 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack.

Recipe adapted from ‘Baking Made Easy’ by Lorraine Pascale.

Chocolate peanut butter banana muffins

I went to the dentist yesterday.  So naturally to cheer myself up, I decided to bake something 🙂  I’d been hoarding bananas in a brown paper bag impatiently for a week, waiting for them to become squishy (squishy.  That’s a great word.  It reminds me of Dory from ‘Finding Nemo’.  By the way baking fans, I am a massive Disney freak :-))

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This recipe occurred to me the other day when I had my spoon in the peanut butter jar.  I love peanut butter frosting (it’s about the only type of frosting I do like to be honest :-)), but sometimes I just want proper peanut butter.  No extras, just yumminess.  Therefore I thought it may be a good idea to put a spoonful of peanut butter in the middle of my banana muffin recipe.  Yum.

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The muffins turned out really well 🙂  I was slightly apprehensive about putting the peanut butter in the middle with the muffin batter uncooked, but I needn’t have worried.  Mr Baking-Joy was very approving of this recipe.  In fact, I barely got to taste test them for you 🙂

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Ingredients (makes 9 muffins):

  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 30g crunchy peanut butter

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas 6/200C.  Line a muffin tin with muffin cases.
  2. Pour the oil into a jug and beat in the eggs.
  3. Put the flour, sugar, bicarbonate of soda & baking powder into a bowl and mix in the beaten egg and oil mixture.  Mix in the mashed banana.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.  Half fill the muffin case with batter.  Place a teaspoon of peanut butter in the middle of the mixture and then completely fill the muffin case with batter.
  5. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

Cinnamon butter apple cake

I’m taking a break from the holy grail that is peanut butter + chocolate to bake with the other holy grail (yes there are two :-)) that is cinnamon.  I’ve been having major cinnamon cravings recently, which I think is the winter weather setting in.  I love the stuff.  Cinnamon on porridge, cinnamon toast (the subject of my breakfast this morning!) and most of all, cinnamon in baking.  It makes the whole house smell amazing and I’m going to try and get it into as many recipes as possible over the coming weeks 🙂

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Today’s recipe is a fairly simple apple loaf cake, with the addition of a cinnamon butter topping.  Yuuuum.  I’m writing this blog post in advance to be published later, just to get my mind off the cake that is sitting cooling in the tin.  If I wasn’t typing, I’d be eating the cake.  In fact, I may have to go and defend said cake from Mr Baking-Joy, who has just wandered into the kitchen shouting ‘cake!  cake!’  in a manner much like the Cookie Monster  🙂  Cinnamon loves apples (and butter and sugar for that matter), so it made perfect sense to me combining them like this.  Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 175g soft, unsalted butter
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eating apples, grated
  • 4 rounded tablespoons natural yoghurt
  • 60g sultanas
  • 20g butter (topping)
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar (topping)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (topping)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to Gas 3/160C.  Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking paper (or use a loaf tin liner)
  2. Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour to stop the mixture from curdling.
  3. Sift in the flour and cinnamon and add the yoghurt.  Tip in the grated apple and sultanas and fold everything together until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Put mixture into the loaf tin and bake for around 1hr 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  5. Make the topping by melting the butter gently and stirring in the cinnamon and sugar.  Spoon over the cooling cake and leave to completely cool in the tin.

Patience, Joy, patience 🙂

 

Peanut butter chocolate fudge

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Anyone getting bored yet with all my peanut butter/chocolate recipes?  No, me neither 🙂

My dad used to make lots of sweets when he was younger and has told me tales of sugar thermometers, special pans and lots of other stuff that he needed to make yummy sweets.  I am here to tell you today that you don’t need any complicated equipment to make fudge (yay!)  This recipe is really easy and delicious 🙂  I’ve topped it with a mix of chocolate and peanut butter in this case, but I have a feeling that some chopped salted peanuts may have been a good idea as well…

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Ingredients:

  • 65g unsalted butter
  • 250g dark brown sugar
  • 60ml milk
  • 125g crunchy peanut butter
  • 150g icing sugar. sifted
  • 30g smooth peanut butter (topping)
  • 30g dark chocolate (topping)

I’ve just realised this recipe isn’t actually baking.  Oh well 🙂

Method:

  1. Melt butter gently in a pan over a low heat.  Stir in the brown sugar and milk, then leave to boil for 2-3 minutes (without stirring).
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the crunchy peanut butter.
  3. Pour icing sugar into a bowl and add the mixture from the pan.  Beat mixture until all the sugar is incorporated.
  4. Put fudge into a small foil tray and even out the top.  Melt the chocolate and smooth peanut butter in the microwave and spread over the top of the fudge.  Leave fudge to cool slightly and then place in fridge to cool completely.

Peanut butter layer brownies

This recipe is my version based on a fantastic recipe I found on the fabulous Sally’s Baking Addiction.  They are sometimes known as ‘better than crack brownies’ and I can understand why.  Chocolate and peanut butter combine in the most amazing way here.  I seriously cannot stop eating these, so will be bringing some into work tomorrow to prevent me turning into one of these to die for brownies.  To my slight surprise, Mr Baking-Joy was not as enamoured with this recipe as I was (*huff*), but I promise, they are fantastic.  Next time I make these (soon), I’m going to use Mr Baking-Joy’s suggestion of not putting cereal in the top layer, just salted peanuts.  Nothing wrong with that!

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Ingredients:

For the brownie layer:

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 30g cocoa

For the peanut butter layer:

  • 250g smooth peanut butter
  • 9 Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped

For the top chocolate layer:

  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 60g cornflakes
  • 50g salted peanuts

Method:

  1. First make the brownie layer.  Preheat oven to 180C/Gas 4.  Line a 9 inch square brownie tin with baking paper.  Melt the butter and chocolate together carefully in the microwave and leave to cool to room temperature.  In the meantime, whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  2. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, then sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa.  Fold in until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.  Pour into the brownie tin.
  3. Bake for around 25 minutes, but check at 20.  The top should be set, but there should be a hint of wobble underneath.  Brownies need to be slightly underdone to keep their ‘fudginess’ (is that a word?!)  Leave brownies to cool in tin.
  4. Next, make the middle layer.  Melt the peanut butter in a pan, pour and spread over the brownie layer.  Sprinkle the peanut butter cups over the peanut butter.  Put in the fridge for around 30 minutes to set.
  5. Lastly, make the top layer.  Melt the chocolate and butter in a pan.  Stir in the cornflakes and peanuts and spread this layer over the top.  Leave to chill in the fridge for around 2 hours (if you can stand it).  When chilled, cut into squares.

Peanut butter lovers, you’re welcome 🙂

Peanut chocolate chip cookies

So the peanut butter theme continues! 🙂  Chocolate + peanut butter = heaven.  The first time I made these cookies they had no brown sugar, only caster sugar.  Since I started my blog a few short weeks ago, I’ve been reading recipes and blogs even more obsessively than normal 🙂  Most cookie recipes I’ve looked at contain some brown sugar, which helps keep the cookie chewy, the white sugar will add crispness. On another note, I don’t know if you’ll be able to tell from my pictures, but I’ve been experimenting with a Photoshop Elements trial, which I’ve really been enjoying, so along with my much wanted 50mm prime lens, Elements is next on my wish list!

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Ingredients (makes around 12):

  • 125g unsalted soft butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 150g plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 125g smooth peanut butter
  • 50g salted peanuts
  • 100g milk chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5.  Grease two baking trays.  Beat together all the ingredients, apart from the peanuts and chocolate, until smooth.
  2. Stir in the peanuts and chocolate chips.  Place large spoonfuls of mixture onto baking sheets, leaving gaps in between for cookies to spread.  Bake for around 12 minutes, or until brown around the edges.
  3. Leave to cool for 5 minutes on the baking trays, then transfer to cool on a wire rack.