Tag Archives: sugar

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

28 Feb

Martha Stewart eh? America’s original domestic goddess. Like a sunnier, less boozy version of our very own Delia Smith. Oh she’s had her struggles alright – that stint in prison after lying about a stock sale for example – but she’s since bounced back better than ever, with new TV shows, books, a cameo appearance on Ugly Betty, and (if Wikipedia is to be believed) a range of prefab houses bearing her name.

But the best thing about Martha Stewart? The broad’s got banging hair. Now this will definitely out me as terminally uncool, but I really covert M-Stew’s ‘do. So shiny, so flippy. Love. It.

Maybe she's born with it?

The second best thing about The Marthster? These chocolate crackle cookies [click the link for the recipe]. They look so cute and contain lottsa chocolate. This is known as a Win Win situation.

First things first: Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.

Sweaty Room temperature butter. Good grief, did I really use this much?

Of course I did! Can’t get enough of this wonderful stuff!

Butter and sugar ready to be beaten. But woe, the butter seems to be too hard.

The electric mixer is less than useless, so I resort to ye olde fashioned method (aka using a fork). I am surprisingly proficient.

Add melted chocolate. (Here’s the chocolate I melted earlier.)

Blend until delicious. Try to refrain from licking the beaters.

The mixture should be smooth and velvety. The chocolate equivalent of this rabbit:

N.B. This rabbit is velveteen, which is basically a cheap version of velvet. Like pleather, or suedette. Therefore you should actually aim for your chocolate mixture to be an upmarket version of this rabbit.


Separate the mixture into four parts and wrap each one in clingfilm.

“That’s not clingfilm!” rants Pete.

Apparently it’s a generic clingfilm substitute that doesn’t cling properly. However, it’s fine for this purpose.

Yes, I’m well aware of what it looks like. But it smells delish.

Chocolate parcels. Ready for the fridge. Chill for two hours.

And after two hours, it has chilled to a hard mass. Remove “clingfilm”.

Cut the mass into smaller bite-sized pieces and roll them into balls. Like so. Looks good enough to eat already. But here comes the fun part.

Roll it in granulated sugar.

Then roll it in icing sugar.

Stickios digitos.

So remember: That’s granulated sugar…

…Then icing sugar.

You may want to prepare a saucepan of water finger bowl to keep things civilised.

Grease (-proof paper) is the word.

Lay out the balls with plenty of space between – they need room to spread.

Think of hay bales in the summertime

(c) freefoto.com

After a short time in the oven, the balls will flatten out, hopefully leaving you with something like this…

In the interests of full-disclosure, I have to admit that not all of them quite worked out:

I have no idea why. Perhaps they were in a hotter part of the oven, or had too much/not enough sugar on them. They look gross, but still taste great!

VERDICT:

Taste:

Crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle – like a brownie. It’s impossible to eat just one.

Recipe cons:

It’s a bit annoying having to wait for them to chill for two hours. It also gets very messy.

Recipe pros:

It gets very messy. Trust Martha – filthy little minx. And on that note, let’s have Big-M play us out:

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Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins

18 Jan

So, doughnuts. Or in the words of Willy Wonka’s Veruca Salt:

Cream buns and doughnuts and fruitcake with no nuts – so good you could go nuts.

Exactly.

Thus, imagine my joy when I found this doughnut recipe online. Doughnuts – made in a muffin pan! I was all over it it like white on rice (like krispy on kreme?)

This recipe is taken from Noble Pig.

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups flour

1 1/2 tsps baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg, lightly beaten

3/4 cup milk

Jam

For the topping:

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method:

1. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon; whisk to combine.

2. In another bowl, combine sugar, oil, egg, and milk.

3. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until moistened.

4. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups half-full; place one teaspoon jam on top.  Cover jam with enough batter to fill muffin cups three-fourths full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

5. Place melted butter in a small bowl; combine sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.  Immediately after removing muffins from the oven, dip tops in butter, then in cinnamon-sugar.

Adjustments:

I didn’t have any nutmeg, so I didn’t use any.

Greasing the muffin tray. There has to be a better way of doing this. Perhaps I should have use my paintbrush pastry-brush. At least my fingers are nice and soft. (And yes, I did wash my hands.)

Greasy.

Kitchen whimsy – it’s a salt shaker. Every time I use it, he reminds me of this little guy…

Image (c) heroofswitzerland.blogspot.com

Food for thought.

Ground cinnamon.

This recipe is so easy, there isn’t much to photograph.

Ploughing the land (aka, whisking the flour)

Vegetable oil doesn’t get much of an outing these days. Trust the Americans to bung a recipe full of it.

So. Oily.

Mixing the wet and dry ingredients together. (My favourite bit.)

It has the consistency of porridge and the smell of wet linden trees.

This is the first time I’ve used the muffin pan without cases. I hope it’s okay…

(SPOILER: This decision is to prove disastrous.)

Ah, the Verloon Hoop.

Sainsbury’s Basics jam. No shame. No shame, I tell you.

Remind you of anything?

Oh yeah. Now who says this blog lacks class?

“I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.”

– Mae West

Ooh snap Mae, SNAP.

Anyway, here is our tray of severed lips. Now you see them…

… And now you don’t. Because they’ve been covered over with another layer of batter. Those holes look fit to burst.

Gloop gloops, into the oven they go.

My! how they’ve risen.

Are they done? The muffin gives nothing away, but the toothpick… the toothpick never lies. It’s time to pop these bad boys out. Just one small quibble…

…They seem to be a little stuck together. Not to worry, I’m sure they’ll be fine once we get them out of the pan.

It appears someone didn’t grease the pan very well. They won’t come out. Here’s one I maimed earlier.

The next step is supposed to be dipping the still-warm cakes into hot butter and sugar. I’ve tried to cut corners again by using demerara sugar instead of something finer. When will I learn? The crystals are just too massive!

This is one of the least-savaged muffins. Shame about the sugar – you could propose to someone* with one of those rocks.

It’s pretty neat how the jam-centre turned out. I ate one straight from the oven and the jam was still hot.

VERDICT:

Taste:

They taste good. Obviously they’re not quite the same as deep-fried doughnuts, but they are less greasy, and have a more wholesome bite. The flavour is a more like a churro, which is no bad thing in my book. The jam is good too.

Recipe pros:

It’s healthier and more filling than a regular doughnut, and the recipe was simple to put together.

Recipe cons:

It’s a pity they stuck to the pan. I think I overfilled it, but then again,  I was only following the recipe. Next time, I’d also use a different sugar for the top.

* But not to me, and certainly not to Mae West.