January 15th, 2010

Coco&Me Baked Cheesecake Recipe

(with step-by-step with pictures)

.

www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Baked Cheese cake biscuit base recipe with making process pictures/ images - with embossed pattern of unicorn & squirrel(…with unicorn pattern embossed)

.

www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Baked Cheese cake biscuit base recipe with making process pictures/ images - with embossed pattern of unicorn & squirrel(It is ultra c r e a m y & the texture is melt-in-your mouth like a soufflé!)

.

x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x .

.

This must be one of the most easiest of cake recipes!

  • It doesn’t involve separating eggs.
  • Nor whisking any time-delicate meringues, so you can take as much time leisurely making it.
  • There’s minimal washing-up to do too, as all the mixing happens in one bowl.
  • As for the biscuit base, you can further avoid washing-up by simply massaging the store-bought biscuits & butter in a food bag! Of course you can do it the usual way by using bare hands, but do it my way, you’d also avoid getting unpleasant biscuit-mash in your nails & your fingers buttery.^^ On that same note, I also suggest cling-filming the 3 middle fingers when pressing down the biscuit to the base.
  • There is no adventurous water-bath method to contend! (Some cheesecake recipes use the water-bath method to cook it gently so that it doesn’t crack, but I for one have a long hate-relationship with the method ever since the water seeped in to my cakes via the removable bottom in many occasions in the past…)

.

The texture of the cheesecake is creeeeeamy! I managed this by tweaking the balance of the ingredients so that it uses tons of double cream/ sour cream/ cream cheese, but as little as possible of flour (… flour creates the ‘structural pillar’ that holds the cake in the inflated spongier shape – please read my blog-entry on flour for explanation of this).
.

I sell my cheesecakes down at the market. And I’m happy to say that it’s been a hit no problem. It’ll always definitely be in my line-up because it has acquired a bit of a following ^^

- Like the lady who said: “I used to buy your flour-less chocolate cake all the time, but now I converted to always buying the cheesecake!” And the spectacled-man who’d get disappointed if it’s sold-out. There’s also my favorite tomato-seller girl who’ve been buying the whole cake for 4 weeks in a row, but says she never gets to eat as much as she’d like to because her boyfriend & her family loves it too!

.

The pattern:

When I first started selling the cheesecake, it had no pattern on top. Although I was perfectly confident with the taste, I felt the presentation needed ‘Something’. Y’know, that ‘Something special’ for the wow factor & for the customer to justify their purchase. For a long while I was thinking of a solution to this; & I was enquiring around to see if I could get an iron stamp that I could heat & emboss/ burn a pattern with. But, one, it is difficult to get hold of, & secondly it’s never in a pretty pattern!

- So next I thought what about stenciling with cocoa powder? But maybe not. It’ll be too smudgy…

- Then it occurred to me while I was embossing my chocolate bird tart. Ah! Just invert it! Cocoa powder & cookie cutter! Simply dab cocoa powder on the blunt end of the cookie cutter, then tap off the excess & stamp the cake!
.

www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Baked Cheese cake biscuit base recipe with making process pictures/ images - with embossed pattern of unicorn & squirrel(I get asked A LOT at the market on how I do it!)

www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Baked Cheese cake biscuit base recipe with making process pictures/ images - with embossed pattern of unicorn & squirrel(My favorite stamp! – I love unicorns…)
.
Note:

  • I mixed together oat biscuits to the plain digestives to add interest in flavour. It also gives you a different sort of crunch compared to the pap the digestives can become.
  • Resting the pressed biscuit base in the refrigerator while you make the filling firms the butter within.
  • Sour cream tenderizes the cake, as well as enhancing the tang of the cream cheese.
  • Excessively tapping away the air bubbles is the key to avoiding cracks on the surface that is the oh-so-common pitfall of baking a cheesecake.
  • Lining the sides of the pan with baking paper also helps to avoid cracked surface. The common problem with the cheesecake is that it tends to stick to the side of the pan, but as it cools it tries to pull away from the wall. This tension ends up with a cracked surface. Whereas if you line it with baking paper, the paper will agreeably pull away with the cake too…
  • The only down-side about this cake (if there is one) is that you have to keep your mitts off & leave it to mature over-night!

.

So here it is! (Finally!) My baked cheesecake recipe.

.

x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x .

.

The Baked Cheesecake Recipe:

.
Ingredients:

For the biscuit base:

      70g Oat biscuits

(…Obviously it depends on brands, but for me it was 4 ½ biscuits)

      85g Digestive biscuits

(…Obviously it depends on brands, but for me it was 5 ½ biscuits)

      70g unsalted butter


.

For the filling:

      70g unsalted butter

 

      90g castor sugar

 

      330g cream cheese

 

      90 ml sour cream

 

      100g whole eggs (approximately 2 eggs)

 

      100 ml double cream

 

      25g flour

 

    12 ml lemon juice

.

x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x .
.

Method:

  • 1. First begin by greasing a 8″ round spring-form cake pan with butter. Then line both the base & the sides with greaseproof baking paper.
  • 2. Now on to making the biscuit base. First measure your biscuits (70 grams Oat biscuits + 85 grams Digestive) in a food bag.
  • 3. Crush them by hand or bash it with wooden rolling pin. Leave some chunky for interesting texture.
  • 4. Melt 70 grams of butter. Put it in the food bag.
  • 5. Massage the food bag to combine.
  • 6. Empty the mixture in a greased & lined pan.
  • 7. Press the biscuit mixture firmly to the base. I like to do the edges & work to the middle. (Optional: cling-film the three middle fingers for hygiene & to avoid buttery fingers!)
  • 8. Refrigerate the pressed biscuit base while you make the filling.
  • 9. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade.
  • 10. Next, in a mixing bowl whisk the 70 grams of butter until very soft & creamy.
  • 11. Add in the 90 grams of sugar. Whisk & combine.
  • 12. Add 330 grams of cream cheese. Whisk & combine.
  • 13. Add 90ml of sour cream. Whisk & combine.
  • 14. Add 100 grams of whole eggs. Whisk & combine.
  • 15. Add 100ml double cream. Whisk & combine.
  • 16. Add 25 grams of flour. Whisk & combine.
  • 17. Add 12ml Lemon juice. Whisk & combine.
  • 18. TAP the bowl MULTIPLE times on the work surface to let the air bubble out. (take your time doing this as this is the key to avoiding cracked surface!)
  • 19. Slowly pour the mix in to the cake pan. Tap it some more on the work surface.
  • 20. Place the pan on top of a baking tray, & pop it in the oven. (You need the baking tray to collect the small amount of butter that seeps out from the bottom of the cake pan)
  • 21. Bake for 30 minutes first.
  • 22. Have a look. If it looks like it is starting to brown too much on top, cover loosely with foil.
  • 23. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  • 24. Skewer test. I like it when it isn’t thoroughly cooked. (But obviously not raw!) If there’s a tiny bit of curdle on the skewer still, it’s fine, take it out.
  • 25. Leave aside – still in the cake tin – overnight to mature.

www.cocoandme.com - Coco&Me - Baked Cheese cake biscuit base recipe with making process pictures/ images - with embossed pattern of unicorn & squirrel

October 24th, 2009

A little bit about the hot chocolate & hare

Coco&Me - Hot choclate machine at market stall & wooden hare - www.cocoandme.com

.

Last Saturday I finally started to sell my hot chocolate again now that the weather is proper cold! The basic recipe is 1 part cream, 1 part chocolate, 4 parts milk. – I pour it in a simple white paper cup & then sprinkle dark chocolate shavings on top for the lux effect!
.
Coco&Me - Hot choclate machine at market stall & wooden hare - www.cocoandme.com

.

And here is a picture of the wooden hare (not rabbit! The ears are long!) that I have been selling since the beginning of Summer. It is hand-carved, imported from Germany & the arms n’ legs are dangly. I’m glad to say that it’s going down really well & my stock is running out fast…
.
Right now it’s 1:30am on Friday night, & I ought to be in bed, ready for tomorrow’s market! (The weather forecast says it’s 90% rain… oh joy…) I’ll add more to this write-up next week when I get a chance! Good night!!
.

xxx

April 11th, 2009

Lemon Drizzle Cake with Lemon Icing (Recipe with photos)

www.cocoandme.com - lemon drizzle cake with recipe

(For the extra glossy icing, I put the iced cake back in to a pre-heated oven of 230 degrees for just under 1 minute. – By doing this, the moisture evaporates a little & the icing becomes slightly crystalized, & shinier!)

.

.

I’m the type that take cook books to read in bed. I have piles of them by the bedside.
I read through these books like a bible. And when I find recipes that are worth careful reading, I imagine every step in my mind… – I imagine what it must taste like. – And when it’s a “really” good recipe, I close my eyes & start to add or change the recipe here & there, think of how to serve them, & to whom, at what kind of occasion.

.

Imagining about food, (especially with sugary content ^^) is my all-time stress-buster. Must admit, it HAS been known to have the dis-advantage of me hoping out of bed to raid my food cupboard at times (!), but the best thing about this imagination-game is when, sometimes, my trail of thought affects the contents of the dream I am to have that night.

.

Whilst in my dream world, the said recipe gets wilder and wilder, & the story surrounding it most certainly strange, a bit like Alice in Wonderland actually. So far there was a nice guest appearance from Monsieur Hermè, who was slurping fizzy cola from a paper cup with some faces I knew from 15 years ago (that I thought I had forgotten about), critiquing the recipe in question! At a food court in a mall of all places! Lol…
.

The other night I read a recipe book in bed as usual.

.

And I got very much fixated on carrot cakes. I like ‘em moist. The cream cheese frosting, a must. No raisins, but lots of walnuts. Easy on the spices.

.

By now, I was hoping to dream more about it in my dream, but my dream story must have had a twist, – because when I woke up the next morning, as odd as it may sound, my fixation was not CARROT cake anymore but LEMON cake instead.

.

When I woke up, I was like: – So that’s it. Here I am totally fixated on lemon cakes. Gotta bake it. Like, now. – But what kind of lemon cake? Should it have lemon juice &/or just zest? Which cake tin? Round? Square? How should it be garnished? Lemon Icing? Drizzled? What’s the best lemon/ sugar ratio for lemon syrup? … Hmm! It’s like trying to solve a good puzzle! I Love it.
.

x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x .
.

So here it is, my lemon cake recipe after numerous test-bakes & sacrificial loosened belts for the cause.

It is super moist thanks to the drizzle, & the sponge is flavoursome because some of the plain flour has been replaced with almond powder. It also keeps exceedingly well. Please take note, there’s lemony notes everywhere, what with the zest & the juice in the cake batter, the lemony-sugar syrup drizzle, aswell as more juice in the crunchy icing top. There’s the optional candied lemon strips for the garnish too. – IT’S pretty LEMON-MAD (but not in a OTT way).
.

What does sour cream do to the cake?

As well as contributing a fresh & tangy flavour that’s just a perfect addition for a lemon cake, sour cream, being an acidic ingredient, tenderizes the gluten formed in the cake batter, which in effect, results in a finer, dense & moist sponge.
.

Why clarify the butter in the cake recipe?

When you gently melt the butter, the 15% water content evaporates & you are left with three layers, separated by density. The top layer is fine foam of whey proteins that floated up, the middle is clear highly purified liquid, & the bottom is cloudy white residue of more milk solids.

The middle layer is the “clarified butter”. It’s unique points are:

  • It has a higher smoke point. It can be heated to 200 centigrade before burning (for example this is perfect for pan-frying, & for making pale coloured crepes!). This is because we’ve removed the milk solids which burns easily.
  • The highly purified butter gives the cake a concentrated butter flavour. Also slightly nutty fragrance. Typically financiers, madeleines & genoise sponge uses clarified butter.
  • It won’t get rancid as quickly as un-clarified butter, since the water content & the impurities had been removed.
  • The cake becomes moist & tender because the butter relaxes the gluten in the flour.

To make the clarified butter:

First work out how much to melt. You should melt 130%+ of what the recipe calls for. (My lemon cake requires 100g of clarified butter, so I’ll be melting 130g.)

  • 1. Melt butter in a saucepan or microwave.
  • 2. Skim the foam/ froth (whey proteins) that surface with a spoon. The best way to skim efficiently is to use the back of a spoon to gently push the froth to one side of pan & then spoon it out.
  • 3. Leave aside a little to let it settle in the pan.
  • 4. Finally gently spoon out the clarified layer, leaving the milky residue still in the pan.

The star tip here is to have it warmer than body temperature when time comes to use it. The warm liquid will be runnier to mix better with the batter (just like how oil is gloopier when cold, but watery when heated up). Melting & separating the layers is a little extra work to do, but it will make a difference!

.

Another mundane but important tip is that you really will be better off if you weigh out all the ingredients beforehand.

.
x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x .
.

Lemon Drizzle Cake with Lemon Icing Recipe:

(8″ cake = 7 to 8 slices)

.

Ingredients:

(quantities for 8″ round baking tin or something similar)

200g eggs (about 4 eggs)
240g sugar
a pinch of salt (3g)
135ml sour cream
20ml of lemon juice
190g plain flour
40g almond powder
5g baking powder
100g of clarified unsalted butter (have prepared 130g to skim from)
zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

For the lemon syrup to drizzle:

50ml lemon juice
60g castor sugar

For the lemon icing:

35ml lemon juice
200g icing sugar

For the garnish:

skin of 1 unwaxed lemon
50g sugar
roughly chopped “extra green” pistachio

.

Things to prepare beforehand:

  • Line the bottom of the baking tin with baking paper.
  • Butter the baking tin sides. Then move around some flour in it so that it clings to the sides. Tap out excess flour, & store the prepared tin in the refrigerator until needed.
  • Grate 1 large unwaxed lemon & mix it with a teaspoon of sugar & leave aside ( = the sugar enhances the lemony quality/ essence). Remember, don’t grate the white pith under the yellow skin. It’s too bitter.
  • Melt 130g of unsalted butter. Weigh out 100g of the clarified liquid.
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  • .

    x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x . x x .

    .

    Method:

    .

  • 1. In a large steel mixing bowl, loosely whisk 200g of eggs.
  • 2. Put the mixing bowl above a pot with simmering hot water (bain marie).
  • 3. Whisk the eggs with 220g sugar (added in three go’es) until light cream in colour, & thick in textureIt should be so thick that it dollops off the whisk. You’d be whisking for 5 to 10 minutes. The egg mixture would look like it tripled in quantity.
  • 4. Put together 135ml sour cream + 20ml of lemon juice + lemon zest + 3g salt in a seperate bowl, then whisk it in to the egg foam. The lemon juice loosens the gloopy consistency of sour cream, & makes life a little easier to mix it on to the batter!
  • 5. Sift & then fold in the 190g plain flour + 40g almond powder + 5g baking powder.
  • 6. Warm the prepared 100g clarified butter to just above body temperature. Warm clarified butter is much more fluid than cold. It will merge with the cake batter better.
  • 7. Take a little of the cake batter & mix it in to the butter dish. This technique will ensure that the butter mixes in evenly & quickly.
  • 8. Now fold in the butter + batter mixture to the rest of the batter. Make sure it is thoroughly folded in to the batter from the bottom of your bowl, as butter is heavier than the batter, it sinks to the bottom & you’d have a weird hard layer on the bottom of your cake!
  • 9. Pour the batter in to the prepared cake tin.
  • 10. Pop it in the preheated 180 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until it passes the skewer test. Use a metal skewer & pierce the middle of the sponge. If it comes out clean & the tip is hot to the touch, then it is done.
  • 11. While the cake is in the oven, make the lemon drizzle syrup. Simply heat 60g castor sugar with 50g lemon juice in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved & melted completely. (Beware! The liquid easily boils over if you’re not watchful!)
  • 12. When the cake has baked, quickly de-mold from the tin & place upside down on an oven tray. The bottom will be the top of the cake. This way, you’ll get a level top surface perfect for achieving flat icing.
  • 13. Place the cake-tin wall back around the sponge. This trick will keep the hot lemon syrup from spilling everywhere.
  • 14. Skewer the sponge & spoon the hot syrup over it & let it soak in to the hot sponge.
  • 15. (Optional) While the cake is cooling, make the lemon garnish:
    - Peel the lemon skin. Make sure there’s no bitter white piths attached to the underside.
    - Cut it in to thin short strips.
    - Boil it in hot water for 3 minutes. Then drain.
    - Put it back in a pan with 50g sugar & just enough water to cover it.
    - Boil it for 6 minutes.
    - Leave to cool in the sugar liquid until you need it.
  • 16. Now make the lemon icing:
    - Place 200g icing sugar in a small bowl.
    - Pour in 35ml lemon juice & make the paste.
  • 17. Place (upside down) cake on a level surface. Pour the white icing in the middle, all in one go. Let some (but not all) drip to the sides.
  • 18. While the icing is still wet, garnish the top with the lemon strips &/ or chopped green pistachio.
  • 19. For the extra glossy icing, put the cake back in a pre-heated oven (230 degrees) for under 1 minute. The moisture evaporates & the icing becomes slightly crystalized. This step also changes the mouth-feel of the icing from gooey to somewhat sharper.
  • 20. Wait for the icing to harden. Never try to move the cake while the icing is soft as that will crack the icing surface.
  • 21. Slice with a sharp knife. Wipe knife after every slice for the clean cut.
  • Coco&Me : Lemon Drizzle Cake with Lemon Icing Recipe : www.cocoandme.com

    November 12th, 2007

    Gâteau Basque recipe

    Coco&Me - Gâteau Basque(Picture taken at the stall table. – The patterned background?? I recently started to use woven wooden placemats bought from Ikea & baking paper on top to display my cakes, instead of cake cooling racks!)

    Coco&Me - Gâteau Basque

    (Gâteau Basque is a shallow cake with yummy custard cream centre (or sometimes cherry jam filling)! I put dried prunes in there too.)

    Coco&Me - Gâteau Basque

    .

    Here’s another cake recipe from my stall table. It’s called Gâteau Basque, & yup, as you’ve guessed, its origins are from Basque Country, a cultural region in the western Pyrenees mountains that spans the border between France & Spain. .
    .
    Gâteau Basque dates from the 17th century, & its precise origins are found in the small spa town of Cambo-les-Bains, where they hold annual Gâteau Basque festival in September. Upon researching on this, I came across the existence of the Gâteau Basque Museum in the town of Sare (that is officially recognised as ‘most beautiful villages of France’) where I very much want to go to one day! (hint hint, D?)
    .
    There’s two ways of filling the middle layer:
    One is to use the renowned black cherry jam (confiture de cerise noire), from the nearby town of Itxassou (where the cherry festival takes place in June). Or another, which is to thickly slab Crème patissière/ pastry cream (Click here to read my recipe!).
    .
    I fill mine with Crème patissière, & neatly lay dried prunes. Mainly because I love Crème patissière over jam, & I think the intensely condensed flavour of the dried prunes act as a welcome accent when munched with Crème patissière & the buttery biscuit-y cake.
    .
    Like I say, I make this for the market, & the reception I get is always very good. Most of the time, people don’t know of the cake, but on mention of custard cream middle, the British public (who grew up on custard at school & at homes) identify with the flavour involved, & make a nano-second decision to give it a try.

    - There’s these two ladies who buy a slice of Gâteau Basque from me almost every week. If I didn’t have it at the table, because I was feeling slack (!) or wanting to concentrate the time on another product instead, they have been disappointed in the past. I often picture them in my mind when I’m rolling out the dough, wondering whether they be there that week.
    .
    Tips on making this cake:
    It’s not a quick cake to make. The actual dough is a doddle, since it all happens in one mixing bowl, & there’s no sense of urgency as it’s not like there’s meringues deflating away because you’re working slow.

    But it does need to rest for 2 hours minimum. (I make mine Thursday night, & roll it out on Friday.) You’d then need to make the crème pat, assemble, & finally into the oven for a whole hour! Not to forget the time it takes to cool the cake down before demolding it out of the tin!
    .
    x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
    .
    Gâteau Basque recipe:
    (to make a 10 inch cake. You’d be able to get 8 – 10 substantial slices out of it)
    .
    Ingredients for the dough:
    200g butter
    200g sugar
    65g whole eggs
    30g egg yolks
    20ml rum
    1g baking powder
    335g plain flour (sifted)
    approximately 100g of dried prunes
    .
    Ingredients for the Crème patissière (to make 325g):
    250ml fresh milk (full fat)
    vanilla pod
    3 egg yolks (free-range or organic)
    75g sugar (castor or granulated)
    25g plain flour (sifted)
    .
    Ingredients for the Coffee Dorure (egg wash):
    1 whole egg
    1 egg yolk
    half teaspoon of coffee granule
    .
    x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
    .
    The method:

    • 1. Place the room temperature butter in a deep mixing bowl (so that it doesn’t spit everywhere when you’re whisking).
    • 2. Cream the butter using a whisk or an electric mixer, beat it till it is ‘creamy’ soft, smooth & light from incorporating the air.
    • 3. Mix in the sugar. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved in the mixture.
    • 4. Add the eggs & egg yolks in stages (so that the mixture doesn’t ‘seperate’).
    • 5. Pour the rum in & mix it all up.
    • 6. Sift in the baking powder & the plain flour.
    • 7. Use your spatula & mix it all in.
    • 8. When mixed, make one big ball of it & cling-film it air-tight.
    • 9. Refrigerate the dough for at-least two hours minimum, so that the dough has it’s ‘rest’ to let the gluten relax, it would become easier to roll it out later.

    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

    • 11. Assembly time!! Get the dough out of the fridge, take roughly 2/3 of it & roll it in to a rough circular shape. You’re going to line the bottom & the sides with it. So make sure your circle is bigger than the tin base, plus not forgetting to include the width for the sides all around too.
    • 12. Butter & flour the mold.
    • 13. Lift the sheet of dough from step (11) using your rolling pin, & lower it in to the mold. Make sure you thumb it in to the corners.
    • 14. Neatly spatula in the Crème patissière layer inside. (Some pastry chefs would use piping bags for this procedure to be super neat!) Make sure the top is level.
    • 15. Flatten the prunes using the side of your knife & cut them in half.
    • 16. Neatly space them out on top of the Crème.
    • 17. Take the rest of the dough you have left over. You are now going to make the ‘lid’. Roll a circular disc that is just bigger than your mold. Using the rolling pin, lift the circular sheet of dough, & carefully lay it on top of the Crème.
    • 18. Using your thumb, push the edges of the ‘lid’ all around to seal it to the sides.
    • 19. Use knife & cut away the ‘overhang’, so that the top surface is flat.

    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

    • 20. Make the coffee dorure (egg wash). Put all coffee dorure ingredients in a small bowl & mix until the coffee granules have melted, & has given lovely dark colour to the liquid.

    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

    • 21. PRE-HEAT THE OVEN TO 180 DEGREES.

    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

    • 22. Apply a thin layer of coffee dorure to the gâteau surface. Use a brush or your hand.
    • 23. Using the other end of the spoon (or any other instrument of your choice), draw any pattern you like.My tip here is to keep the design fairly simple. I like my pattern to be symmetrical, so that each slice you cut look pretty much the same.
    • 24. Poke a small hole in the middle as a air vent, to avoid the Gâteau Basque from forming cracks on the surface.
    • 25. Pop it in the oven for 1 hour. Do check how it is browning on top now & again. If you think it is browning too much, make a loose lid with aluminium foil to deflect direct heat to the top surface.
    • 26. When time is up, take off the foil if you were using one, & leave it aside in the mold until cool.
    • 27. De-mold by carefully inverting.
    • 28. Eat within the next 2 days. Bon Appétit!

    .

    x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

    (ps: I plan to photograph each step & put it up on this blog in the near future… promise!!!)

    March 4th, 2007

    Luxury Brownies (with secret recipe)

    Luxury Brownies - homemade by Coco&Me.

    Dearest readers, this week I’d like to share with you my secret recipe for BROWNIES that I sell on my stall.

    .

    The Brownies War:

    As you can imagine, brownies being so popular, there are many stalls selling them at my market (I counted ten stalls/ shops). It’s big headed of me to say this I know, but, I’m proud to say that mine always sell-out no problem. I make tonnes of it too – about 30 chunky slices per week – & on a week when I know the business will be good (ie: sunny weekends, & Christmas weekend), I make 40 – 50 slices, & they still go.
    Because of this, I briefly debated wether to share this recipe online like this, but…, what the heck, I’ve got enough ‘regulars’ devoted to mine, & it’s competitively priced. Even if someone do a copycat, I’m confident that it won’t affect my sales!
    .

    The history of Brownies:

    Obviously, the name comes from the colour of this cookie/ cake. The origins, on the otherhand, is uncertain – but folklore has it that it was created by accident by a careless cook who’d forgotten to add baking powder to the chocolate cake. (Many origins of cakes are invented by careless cooks! Tarte Tatin was also created similarly.)

    The first brownie recipe was published by Fannie Merrit Farmer in 1896, which calls for a nut tobe embedded in the centre. All early brownies contained chopped nuts too.

    .

    x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x

    .
    LUXURY BROWNIES RECIPE

    .

    These brownies are ‘seriously’ the BEST. I can assure you. Wanna know why? Because it’s got plenty of delicious nuts (pistachio, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans) in them, & it is double chocolatey, as it uses both cocoa & solid chocolates in the recipe – which is unusual, when most recipes call for just ‘either or’.

    .
    Texture: moist, dense & fudgy.
    Difficulty: easy as pie.

    .
    Ingredients:
    230g Butter, roughly cubed
    310g Sugar
    (Granulated or Castor)
    200g Whole eggs (approximately four) whisked up
    230g DARK Chocolate
    - in small pellet form or chopped finely so it melts quickly (very important)
    140g Flour
    40g Cocoa Powder

    200g of nuts of your choice (pistachio, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans – You can use just one type or use all four types like I do. They add different crunchy textures to every fudgy bite, which makes the brownie interesting til the last bite)

    20cm square baking tin
    .

    Prepare:

    a. Butter the baking tin. Then line the bottom & the sides with baking paper.

    b. Sift together the flour & the cocoa powder.

    c. Have the chocolates ready in a large mixing bowl.

    d. Leave aside some nuts to decorate the surface of the brownies with (in my opinion, walnuts look best).

    e. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

    .

    Method:

    1. Melt the butter completely in a large pot.
    2. Add the sugar. Dissolve.
    3. In a separate mixing bowl mix the solid chocolates & eggs (make sure to mix well).

    4. Pour the piping hot mixture (from 2) over the chocolates/eggs in a bowl. Mix quickly & thoroughly – make sure all the chocolates have dissolved (if you still have lumps of chocolates left, zap it at 10 second intervals in the microwave until it melts).

    5. Spatula in the flour & the cocoa powder. Mix until no traces of flour can be seen.
    6. Mix in the nuts. (Make sure you leave some aside for decorating the top with).
    7. Pour the mixture in to the prepared tin.
    8. Evenly decorate some more nuts on the top surface.
    (Make sure each slice would have a decorative nut)
    9. Bake in the oven (that has been pre-heated to 180 degrees) for 18 to 22 minutes. It’s cooked when the edges have gone slightly dry, the top is shiny & has cracked. The centre of the brownie shoudn’t be wobbly when shook. Remember: the toothpick method won’t work on this fudgy brownie!
    10. Leave aside to cool. Don’t cut until they’ve reached room temperature, or even better leave it untouched for a WHOLE DAY to rest – I can promise you, it’ll taste better tenfold.

    .

    Brownies recipe explained in image sequence.

    Note:

    This recipe is versatile – instead of nuts, you can put pretty much anything in there – like dried fruit such as dried cherries, or fresh fruits like raspberry. Baking is meant to be fun & so don’t go out-of-your-way to buy the nuts if you haven’t got it (as nuts can be expensive). Use whatever that is in your store cupboard & experiment! like, be creative with sliced almonds & spell a letter on the surface!

    .

    x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x . x