There is something about going on a diet that makes me think about food. Fattening, sugar loaded, deep fried, saucy, cheesy food. Read: delicious, lip-smacking, comforting meals and desserts. And while eating a chocolate fudge cake while on a diet would be too ironic, you can always eat a cookie or two. And so I started my diet plan today and I baked some cookies. Yes, I am crazy like that.
I skipped my breakfast, thinking I can do better without it, ended up having a mug full of milky-sugary tea with some jam sandwich biscuits. And my thoughts drifted towards cookies and their recipes and there are these almond cookies that I had not baked in a while, so I gave it a go today. These cookies are so easy to make. Takes just about 5minutes to make. And 15 to bake. So within 20minutes, you have some really crunchy on the top, soft in the middle, earthy, nutty almond cookies, that I can eat a whole batch of.
It takes just a couple of ingredients too. And chances are if you are into baking, you will already have them in your pantry.
- Unsalted butter at room temperature – 250grams
- Caster sugar – 140grams
- Plain flour – 270grams
- Almond flour (or ground almonds) – 30grams
- Egg – 1large
- Almonds – a handful
- Vanilla extract – 1teaspoon
- Mix butter and sugar with a wooden spoon. You dont want to beat the butter and make it runny and oily, but just enough to incorporate the sugar. A wooden spoon is best for it as it will fold in the sugar instead of beating or whisking the butter. See how it holds texture here, despite the fact that the butter has been out of fridge since yesterday.
- Add in the egg and vanilla essence and fold. Again, go soft and slow. It will be a bit mushy, but not runny. Here it is after I added the egg and vanilla extract.
- Sift the flour and add in the mixture along with the almond powder. Now its time to get messy. Use your hands to work the mix and incorporate it well. Do not knead the flour, keep it nice gentle pats and folds to make it come together evenly. Over-kneading will work the gluten and make the cookies hard. Sorry I couldnt take the picture of how the dough looks like. I had got a call, and I was, well…single handedly mixing it all together. The dough looks greasy and sticky but that’s fine. That’s how we want it.
- Chop up those almonds and mix in the dough. As much or as little, as chunky or as fine as you like.
- Make small balls of the batter, a little bigger than your average Ferrero Rocher balls and lay on the baking tray. Its important to make the ball shape as it expands on baking. And keep them well apart as they expand a lot. Just a handful on a singlr tray. Top with crushed almonds, and just slightly press in for almonds to stick. Sorry, no pictures again as I was still on phone.
- Put them in a preheated oven at 180C, or 160C for fan assisted oven, or gas mark 4 for 15minutes. The recipe says 15 but honestly, I baked them for 17minutes. And done.
- Do not touch or move them fresh out of the oven for a few minutes. Let them cool down on their own. They’ll crisp up and get a soft, textury middle. And the taste is so earthy and comforting. Ummm…divine!
Keep them in an air tight container if you manage to have any leftover cookies. I hardly had any and ate most of them. Did I mention I started dieting today!? Well, looks like I will start it tomorrow.
Tasty, juicy and easy! I love marinated recipes that you can make ahead and just pop in the oven when its dinner time.. And this one is so mouth-watering, you’ll be saving a piece or two for yourself in the end!
This chicken sits quite happily in the fridge for 24 hours to deepen the marinade flavour and darken the outside of the meat. I cook in a preheated oven or it is excellent cooked on the BBQ.
I like to buy a whole chicken and then cut it into 8-10 pieces, that way, everyone gets a bit that they like and everyone gets some crispy skin which is part of the pleasure of this chicken.
1 x 2kg chicken, jointed into 8-10 pieces
60mls olive oil
2 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl, cover and leave to marinade for at least 12 hours if you can.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment…
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My husband has an excellent choice.. (Duhh… he chose me!), except that he doesn’t like chocolate and that works really well for me, because that means there is more for me whenever I buy a chocolate cake, or bake one. I usually try not to bake anything with chocolate in it, because even though I am a big time foodie and would love to dig my teeth in my sweet fruits or cakes of labour, it is my man I usually bake for. But I happen to have another, much smaller and much cuter man in my life…and he thankfully shares the love of all things chocolate with his mum. So it was for my son’s first birthday that I decided to bake a full blown chocolate fudge cake.
We had a big birthday party for our baby’s very first but that happened to be on the day following the actual birthday, because Saturday was more convenient for all our guests coming from far and wide. But I couldn’t let my baby’s actual birthday happen without a cake, and I baked his and my favourite fudge cake.
Now, even though I really like to cook and bake and impress people with how skilled I am (and most of the time, when doing it on a daily basis leaves me short of sleep and in excess of dark circles with a load of fatigue, I end up thinking is it really worth it? A good old bowl of boiled rice and daal (South Asian lentil curry) is just as good to fill up their tummies and keep them going, and I swear never to fancy some exotic named roast with a zillion ingredient salad again, and repeat the same very routine, thought and resolution after every dinner party), what was I saying? Yeah, so even though I am not bad at cooking, I still like to find out the easiest way to do things around. And thanks to internet, I found the easiest ever recipe of Chocolate Fudge Cake.
This recipe has a secret ingredient that makes the cake so moist, dense and fudgy, while at the same time keeping it light and fluffy for that out of this world texture and flavour. And the whole cake takes around just 5 minutes to put together, plus extra for frosting and decor, and trust me it is hard resisting it fresh out of the oven. But once you are done with the frosting, a slice of this marvellous fudgy cake with a big dollop of whipped cream and some vanilla icecream is pure bliss. I am not boasting, try it for yourself, but I stopped ordering fudge cake with cream & icecream at restaurants after making this at home because for one, those restaurant ones are usually dry at that hour of the night, and two, I can get a whole 9 inch cake for less than the price of a single slice… Yaayyy, more cake for me to eat.
See, doesn’t it look awesome?
|For the Cake:|
|Self Raising Flour||260 grams|
|Cocoa Powder||4 tablespoons|
|Bicarbonate of Soda||2 teaspoons|
|Caster Sugar||225 grams|
|Vegetable oil||225 mls|
|Vanilla extract||2 teaspoons|
|And now, the magic ingredient:|
|Nestle Carnation Caramel||4 tablespoons|
|For the Frosting:|
|Nestle Carnation Caramel||400 grams or more as required, (or one can of 397 grams of the tin, you will need two cans to cover for the cake recipe as well.)|
|70% Dark chocolate||300 grams|
|Icing Sugar||2-3 tablespoons|
|Vanilla extract||1 teaspoon|
The recipe is dead simple:
Preheat oven, mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients, mix them both and bake!
Yes, it is that simple actually. But I would just write it all spread out for you here.
- Preheat the oven to 180C (for fan assisted oven, 160C).
- Take a large bowl and sieve the flour with cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix with caster sugar. It’s a good thing to sieve your fine dry ingredients, it’s good for the flour to sieve, specially from a bit of height. It helps avoid any lumps and adds in air, and makes the cake lighter.
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with caramel. If you cannot find caramel in your local supermarket, you can make your own by boiling an unopened can on condensed milk in a pot full of water for 3 hours on medium high heat. Keep adding hot water as it evaporates and carefully drain the can after 3 hours, but do not touch and do not put cold water on it or less it will burst. Let it cool down slowly on its own, and there, you have a can of caramel.
- Mix in the oil, milk and vanilla essence and whisk a little.
- Fold this mixture into the dry mixture. When we say fold, it means soft slow motions circling the bowl from top to down, not like you would beat an egg with a folk. The lesser strokes you use to fold in the flour mix, the better it is. Harder or whisking for longer means the flour develops gluten and makes the cake more chewy and harder. So less is more here.
- Put your batter into a 9 inch cake tin and bake. Please this recipe is for 9 inch cake. If you are using an 8 inch or a 7 inch cake tin, reduce the recipe by 1.5 times, means divide each quantity provided by 1.5 and then use the resultant measurements otherwise the cake will overflow.
- Bake for around 35 minutes until springy to touch, and a dry toothpick comes out clean. I would add a couple of tips here as well. Never open your oven in the first half of the baking time. It makes the cake sink in the middle when it cools down after baking. Secondly, never overbake your cake. Do the toothpick test after suggested time, if it comes out very wet, check after every 5 minutes, or lesser and take it out of oven as soon as it comes dry. Let your cake sit in the tin for 10 minutes and then let it cool down on a wire rack.
- For the frosting, melt the chocolate on the double boiler. Add in the caramel and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add in the icing sugar and whisk again until it gets all shiny and glossy.
- Cut your cake in half and spread big spoonfuls of your frosting on it. No need to be neat in this step. Sandwich the cake on top. Put dollops of warm frosting on the cake top and put it on corners as well, allowing it to run down a bit. Its nicer this way and you don’t need to be exact in your cake decor. See, easier, nicer and just as delicious. I decorated it with some fresh strawberries but I would suggest glazed cherries as the strawberries become a bit soggy with time.
- Eat the cake. Be happy.