Gingernut Biscuits

A traditional British ginger spiced biscuit. No chilling or mixer is required to make these wonderfully crunchy biscuits! 

gingernuts-recipe

Whilst my favourite cookie of all time is the classic chocolate chip cookie, that doesn’t stop me baking and trying out lots of new recipes and discovering more that I love.

It’s gingerbread season after all so I couldn’t let the Xmas season go by and not post another ginger spiced recipe with you. These gingernut biscuits are the taste of Christmas with their festive flavour, they’re more of a grown up version of my gingerbread men which are typically chewy and soft, unlike these gingernuts which are crunchy on the outside with a slightly chewy texture on the inside.

This recipe makes sixteen small biscuits, but it’s very likely you’ll want to bake a double batch like I did the last time I made them because the first will be gone in no time. Fresh from the oven enjoy the cookies with a mug of hot chocolate, a tall glass of milk or a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea.

gingernut-biscuit-recipe

Finding a recipe I was entirely happy with proved to be a difficult task. I’ve tested several different ginger biscuit/cookie recipes over the past few weeks. I’ve lost count of how many baking fails I had along the way, but I didn’t give up until I found the best recipe.

The perfect ginger biscuit recipe was a Delia classic. I always pick Delia’s cookbooks when I need a trusty recipe that I know will work, not a recipe that would mess me around and waste valuable ingredients and my time. For those of you who might not know, gingernuts are one of the UK’s favourite biscuits to have with tea. The biscuit is lightly spiced with ground ginger and sometimes other spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. They have various different names in other countries like gingersnaps in the US, lebkuchen in Germany and speculaas in Belgium and the Netherlands.

The baked biscuits have a distinctive crackle appearance on top, once you take a bite you will discover how gorgeously crisp and delightfully chewy they with the added deliciousness of a warming ginger aftertaste.

You can get as decorative as you want with these biscuits, maybe dip each biscuit half in melted chocolate and decorate with sprinkles or candied ginger. The recipe is a breeze to make because you don’t need to use a mixer and the dough doesn’t need to be chilled either! If you’re a fan of gingernuts, why not give this homemade version a go, the biscuits are super easy to make and they taste spectacular for something so simple.

biscuits

(Makes 16)

Ingredients:

110g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger

40g caster sugar

50g butter, softened

50g (2 tablespoons) golden syrup

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190ºC / 170 Fan / 375ºF / Gas Mark 5. Line 1-2 large baking trays with non-stick paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside for later. In a large mixing bowl sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger. Stir through the sugar. Add the butter and using your fingertips, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs and is a crumbly texture.
  2. Mix through the golden syrup until a soft dough has formed.
  3. Evenly divide the dough into 16 small pieces – roughly a tablespoon each. I weigh my dough to be precise, but you don’t have to do that. Roll the dough into small balls and evenly spread out onto the lined baking tray allowing them enough room as they will spread whilst baking. Flatten each ball of dough a little with the palm of your hand and then bake for 10-15 minutes until they’ve spread, are golden in colour and have a cracked appearance. I turn the baking tray around about halfway through to ensure the biscuits all bake evenly.
  4. Once the biscuits are baked leave them to cool on the baking tray for 10 minutes, as they cool they’ll harden. Once cool transport the biscuits to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  5. Biscuits will store in an airtight container or biscuit tin for up to 1 week.

gingernuts

Enjoy!

jess

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Shortbread Biscuits

Buttery and crisp shortbread biscuits. Delicious dunked into caramel and melted chocolate or crumbled over ice cream. Made with only three ingredients, these scrumptious biscuits will just melt-in-your-mouth! 

shortbread-biscuits

Homemade shortbread is a Christmas necessity. I look forward to Christmastime all year round, it’s my favourite time of the year because you can go overboard decorating the Christmas tree and entire house, spend quality time catching up with family and importantly, eat as many biscuits, chocolate, cheese, crackers, canapés and sweets as you want. Just thinking about all that food is making me quite hungry…

The best part of Christmas is definitely the several boxes of shortbread and chocolate-coated biscuits we get to eat our way through and enjoy. I’ll admit it, I have no self-control when it comes to shortbread biscuits or any kind of biscuit for that matter. My maternal grandma is half Scottish and her dad’s side of the family came from Dunblane, I’m sure my love of making (and eating!) shortbread is highly influenced by my Scottish roots.

Shortbread for me is something truly magical. It requires only three ingredients and those few ingredients are quite easily assessable, meaning that if you suddenly remembered you’ve forgotten to get a present for someone (we’ve all been there) or plans change at the last-minute and you have unexpected guests, don’t panic as you can whip up a batch of these shortbread biscuits in no time at all with little notice and you won’t need to make a mad rush to the supermarket either!

shortbread-stars

These shortbread biscuits can be packaged up in bags or biscuit tins and given away to your family members and friends as an edible gift. Saying that, you probably won’t want to give any of these away, you’re likely to want to hide these somewhere only you know about!

Shortbread biscuits are a great way of getting kids involved with baking. They can prepare the dough by hand, then roll out it and stamp out different shaped biscuits with cutters. I picked a star-shaped cutter for this batch of shortbread biscuits because I love the way they look and you can always buy shortbread rounds, I like that these star-shaped ones are just a little bit different and they have an extra special festive touch.

Bake these shortbread biscuits and as you wait for them to cool, pop the kettle on and grab a cuppa. Decorate each biscuit with a light dusting of icing sugar. Your ticket to buttery, crumbly shortbread heaven is right here with this recipe.

(Makes 20-30)

Ingredients:

250g unsalted butter, softened

120g icing sugar

450g plain flour

Method:

  1. Cream the softened butter for a minute or two until smooth. Sift over the icing sugar and flour. Using your fingertips, combine the ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Press the mixture together until a soft, yet slightly crumbly dough forms.
  2. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, wrap each piece of dough in clingfilm. Allow the dough to rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or up to 2 days). See recipe notes below for instructions on chilling longer than 2 hours.
  3. Roll each piece of dough out in between two pieces of parchment paper until it’s approx. 5mm/0.5cm thick. Using your favourite biscuit/cookie cutters, cut out shapes from the dough and transfer to lined baking trays.
  4. Spread biscuits out onto lined baking trays, bake at 160°C / 140 Fan for 30 minutes or until dry and still pale in colour. Once baked, leave to cool on the baking trays for 5 minutes, then carefully transport to a wire rack and allow the biscuits to cool completely to room temperature.
  5. Prior to serving dust each biscuit with caster or icing sugar. Shortbread will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Recipe Notes:

  • You don’t need to cream the butter and sugar together – doing this will incorporate too much air into the biscuits.
  • You can make the shortbread dough up to 2 days prior to baking. Before you want to bake the biscuits, take the dough out of the fridge and allow it to come back up to room temperature before attempting to roll it out. I leave dough that has been chilling overnight out on the kitchen counter for about an hour to allow it to soften.
  • This recipe yields about 20-30 biscuits and I made just over 30. How many biscuits you get from the dough depends on how big your cutter is and the thickness that you roll your dough out to.
  • Shortbread is traditionally baked at a very low oven temperature. Don’t be alarmed when you read the instructions and see how low I’ve stated the oven temperature to be set to. The shortbread biscuits are baked for half an hour to ensure they’re cooked all the way through, but when they are ready they’ll be very pale in colour and only slightly golden around the edges.
  • This is a great recipe to bake a few weeks before Christmas as the baked shortbread will keep stored in an airtight container for a month.

shortbread-recipe

Love shortbread? Try my homemade jammie dodgers next!

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Or try something more festive by baking these Gingerbread Men!

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Enjoy!

jess

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Easy Chocolate Fudge

Homemade chocolate fudge made without a sugar thermometer or a double boiler in sight! It’s rich, silky smooth and a decadent treat perfect for the holidays and Christmas presents!

easy-chocolate-fudge

The Christmas baking starts now and we all know that Christmas = fudge season. Fudge or any kind of homemade chocolate confectionery is definitely something I would love to receive during the festive season as a present. This fudge would make a brilliant gift wrapped up in cellophane bags and tied with cute ribbon, but it would also be fantastic to make and serve on a platter at parties. Guests can help themselves or even take a few pieces home and share if they want to!

I’ve been working on this fudge recipe for sometime trying to get it perfected ready to share with you. The first time I made this fudge it was divine, however the following time I made it, I used half dark chocolate and half milk chocolate and the flavour was spot on. I also changed the originial recipe by adding some icing sugar to the mix, as the previous time I had made it the texture was silky smooth, but wouldn’t cut into perfect, neat pieces like I wanted it to.

chocolate-fudge

This isn’t actually how traditional fudge is made as you won’t need any specialist equipment like a sugar thermometer and you don’t need to test for soft or hard ball stage. Not all food needs to be overly complicated to prepare and this recipe proves how easy fudge can be to make. In a large non-stick saucepan, gently heat chopped chocolate, a can of sweetened condensed milk and a little bit of butter until it’s melted and smooth, then stir though sifted icing sugar.

The hardest part, as with most no-bake recipes is the time waiting for the end result to be revealed. This fudge needs at least a few hours in the fridge to set – it will still be a little squidgy, so I would definitely recommend leaving it overnight to ensure it’s really nicely set and will cut easily, but of course, that’s only if you can resist trying a piece beforehand!

(Makes 36 pieces)

Ingredients:

400g (14 ounces) dark or milk chocolate, broken or chopped into small pieces – you can use a mix of the two

397g (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

25g (2 tablespoons) butter

100g (2/3 cup) icing/confectioners’ sugar

Method:

  1. Line a 20cm / 8-inch square tin with parchment paper or cling film. Set aside.
  2. Place the chocolate, condensed milk and butter in a large non-stick saucepan. Melt the ingredients gently on a low heat – take your time with this otherwise the chocolate will burn and go grainy. Stir occasionally until the mixture is smooth and all the chocolate is melted completely.
  3. Take off the heat and sift in the icing sugar and mix until thoroughly combined. The fudge will start to get really thick at this point and will begin setting.
  4. Evenly spread the fudge mixture out into the lined tin. Smooth over the top with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Leave fudge in the fridge for at 3-4 hours until set or overnight for the best results.
  5. Once the fudge is set, remove it from the tin. Using a large sharp knife, carefully cut the fudge into 36 pieces or more if you want you make smaller pieces of fudge. Fudge will keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. It’s a great recipe to make ahead of time ready for Christmas or any other special occasion! See the recipe notes below for tips on freezing.

Recipe Notes:

  • Use real chocolate not chocolate chips. Chocolate chips have stabilisers added so they hold they’re shape and don’t melt completely, therefore if you use chocolate chips your fudge will not be as smooth as it should be.
  • For this fudge you can use dark/milk chocolate or a mix of both. I used chocolate flavoured with orange oil, however you can use any flavoured chocolate you’d like.
  • Be patient. Melt the chocolate, condensed milk and butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. If it’s too hot, you may risk splitting the mixture and the chocolate will go grainy. Unfortunately once you’ve overcooked chocolate there’s is no way of getting it back.
  • I tend to use unsalted butter is most of my baking, however as this fudge is quite sweet, I would recommend using salted butter instead of unsalted butter.
  • This fudge can be frozen for up to 3 months. Just make sure you wrap it up well and store in an airtight container. Don’t forget to pop a label on it so you know how long it has been in the freezer for! When you’re ready to thaw it, take the fudge out of the freezer and leave it to defrost in the fridge overnight.

Enjoy!

jess

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Apple Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream

Spiced apple cupcakes with caramel buttercream. A quintessential autumn treat in cupcake form! 

cupcakes-with-caramel-and-apple

I swear this year has been a complete blur and I just haven’t been able to keep up. I feel like it was only yesterday I was finishing my culinary diploma and straight after that I went on summer holiday. It’s Halloween today, later this week it’s Bonfire Night and very soon after that we will be celebrating Christmas. I’ve already had my taste testers reviewing some recipes I am hoping to share on the blog in time for Christmas. I can’t help myself as Christmas is my favourite time of year with all the sparkly lights and festive food, it’s just a fun and magical time spent with the closest people in my life.

On my last blog post, I spoke about how much I crave summer and warm weather, however I do still enjoy autumn. With cooler and shorter days, the crisp and chilly weather is a great excuse to have a cosy day in front of the TV watching way too many episodes of your favourite box set, sitting back and relaxing with a film and a giant bowl of popcorn or dedicating an entire afternoon to do some baking.

Recently I’ve been enjoying embracing autumn with bakes that combine cosy, warm spices. So today I’ve turned a quintessential autumnal treat into cupcake form. It’s no lie that I like baking cupcakes. I say like, but it’s more like love.

apple-cupcakes

These apple cupcakes are not only fun to bake, but also delicious to make when you’re feeling in need of an indulgent treat. Best of all this recipe includes fruit, so technically these cupcakes are kind of healthy?

The cake itself isn’t too overly sweet, so the caramel buttercream enhances it perfectly. These cupcakes aren’t like the usual cupcakes I tend to make as they have more of a denser muffin-like texture opposed to a buttery, fluffy cupcake. However, they are still delicious and successfully incorporate the taste of apple and subtly warming spice flavour from cinnamon and ginger in each bite. The flavour and texture of the cupcakes is best on the day of baking, but they will keep at room temperature for a few days – we all agreed that the cupcakes were just as tasty, if not tastier after a couple of days.

To decorate the cupcakes I wanted to pick a buttercream flavour that complimented the apple. When considering ideas, caramel buttercream sprung straight to mind, so I stuck with that idea.

This caramel buttercream is made with a smaller quantity of butter, but as caramel/dulce de leche changes the consistency of buttercream, I like to add just a touch extra icing sugar to make sure it was thick enough and would hold peaks when piped. The buttercream requires only three ingredients, plus one extra if you decide to add a pinch of salt like I did. For me, just the smallish pinch of salt evens out the sweetness.

You know what they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well I’m thinking more along the lines of a cupcake a day keeps the doctor away! I’m not sure about you, but I like that logic!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Apple Cupcakes:

175g (1 and 1/4 cups) plain/all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

60g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

200g (1 cup) caster or granulated sugar

1 large free-range egg, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

90ml (6 tablespoons) buttermilk, at room temperature

2 medium apples (approx. 1 and 1/2 cups), peeled, cored and grated

Caramel Buttercream:

150g (2/3 cup) unsalted butter, softened

375g (2 and 1/3 cups) icing/confectioners’ sugar, sifted

100g (3.5 ounces) caramel or dulce de leche

Pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160 Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole cupcake tin with paper cases.
  2. To make the cupcakes: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and spices until thoroughly combined.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth for about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to mix for a further minute until incorporated.
  4. Add the buttermilk along with half the flour ingredients and mix until a few lumps of flour remain. Add the remaining flour and fold to combine. Finally, fold through the grated apple.
  5. Evenly divide the cupcake batter between the paper cases, fill each cupcake case about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cupcakes are risen and are starting to take on a golden shade. Check the cupcakes are baked all the way through by inserting a cake tester into the centre, if it comes out clean without any uncooked batter remaining then the cupcakes are ready.
  6. Leave the cupcakes to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then carefully transport to a wire rack. Leave the cupcakes to cool completely to room temperature.
  7. To make the buttercream: Place the softened butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter for 2 minutes until smooth and pale. Add the sifted icing sugar in two batches and beat until combined. Cream on medium speed for 5 minutes, stopping the mixer halfway though and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure everything gets combined. Finally, add the caramel and a generous pinch of salt and continue to mixing for another minute.
  8. Fill a large disposable piping bag fitted with a large star tip with the buttercream. Pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes and finish by decorating with a drizzle of caramel and some fudge chunks if desired.

Recipe Notes:

  • I used cox apples to make these, however you can use braeban, bramley, gala or granny smith. You want to go for a relatively juicy apple, but not too juicy as this will affect the texture of the cupcakes and they may not bake correctly.
  • If you want you can dice the apple instead of grating/shredding it. Just be sure to cut the apple up into a small dice.
  • Buttermilk needs to be at room temperature. Leave the buttermilk out for at least an hour prior to baking the cupcakes.
  • If you don’t want to get too fancy you can decorate the cupcakes by spreading the buttercream on rather than piping it if you’re not confident enough.
  • Omit the spices if you’re not a fan.
  • Decorating is optional, we loved the extra caramel drizzle on each cupcake and the fudge chunks. You could definitely be decorate these in many different ways, so have some fun and get creative!
  • Recipe can easily be doubled to make 24 cupcakes if you’re wanting to make a bigger batch.
  • Cupcakes will store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Cupcake recipe from Chowhound

apple-cupcakes-with-caramel-buttercream

Enjoy!

jess

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Tropical Fruit Smoothie

 Brighten your day with this smoothie juice drink made with tropical fruits, creamy natural yoghurt and packed with vitamin C. It tastes like you’re sipping on sunshine! 

tropical-smoothie-recipe

I know what you might be thinking. A tropical fruit smoothie, what about pumpkin and other seasonal recipes? Yes, I know, but I’m a summery person at heart. I like autumn for many reasons, just not the chilly, grey days. So from time to time when I need a sweet reminder of what are now distant summer days, I will make this gorgeous, fruity smoothie.

I love all different fruits, but it’s the tropical fruits that are my particular favourite. There’s something about the taste of mango, pineapple and orange that just transports my taste buds to a tropical corner of the world away from cold and rainy UK.

Smoothies remain one of my favoured foods to make because they don’t require much effort and take just a few minutes to prepare. As with most smoothies all you’ll need to do to make this tropical version is place the ingredients in a blender or smoothie maker, whizz it all up, pass through a fine mesh sieve (this step is optional), blend again with the yoghurt and finally pour your homemade smoothie into a glass. So simple and you’re just minutes away from tropical heaven!

Like I mentioned above, for this smoothie I like to pass the blended fruit through a fine mesh sieve before blending with the yoghurt. This catches all the pulp and it will make a smoother textured smoothie. A lot of recipes I’ve seen don’t go to the bother of passing the pulp through a sieve, but I’m not too keen on bits/pulp in my smoothies or OJ, however it’s all down to your own personal preference.

tropical-fruit-smoothie-recipe

This deliciously easy recipe is also optionally vegan. Swap the natural yoghurt for dairy-free yoghurt or just leave it entirely and enjoy a homemade tropical juice! If you want an even healthier smoothie, try adding a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach.

Now grab yourself one these smoothies and start dreaming of somewhere tropical you’d like to escape to!

(Makes 2)

Ingredients:

225g (1 cup) fresh or frozen pineapple chunks

1 medium ripe mango, cut into small chunks

2 large oranges, peeled, segmented and cut into small chunks

125g (1/2 cup) natural yoghurt (you can use mango or pineapple flavoured yoghurt)

Method:

  1. Place the fruit in a blender. Blend until smooth and well combined. Pass the fruit purée through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the pulp.
  2. Add the sieved fruit purée back to your blender and add the yoghurt. Blend again until smooth.
  3. Pour smoothie into glasses and serve.

Recipe Notes:

  • Natural yoghurt can be substituted with Greek yoghurt, another flavoured yoghurt such as mango, pineapple or dairy-free coconut yoghurt if you want to make this smoothie suitable for vegans.
  • If you prefer your smoothie on the slightly thicker side, try using frozen mango and pineapple chunks. Just remember to thaw the frozen fruit for a while before making your smoothie. Alternatively you can add a couple of ice cubes if your blender is powerful enough.
  • This smoothie is at its best eaten straight away, but it will keep covered in the fridge for a few hours.
  • Fruit should be sweet enough, however if you think your smoothie needs a bit extra sweetness add a drizzle of agave nectar, honey or another sweetener of your choice.
  • Recipe makes two small smoothies or one larger serving, but it can can easily be doubled to make more.

smoothie-tropical

More smoothie recipes! Try my Strawberry Oat Smoothie next!

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Or try this Green Detox Smoothie!

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Enjoy!

jess

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Double Chocolate Cupcakes

Dark chocolate cupcakes with creamy, luscious white chocolate buttercream. These are for chocolate lovers only! 

white-chocolate-buttercream

It is National Chocolate Week. This is one of the UK’s biggest chocolate events and I don’t know about you, but I’ll take pretty much any excuse to eat chocolate. To celebrate I baked cupcakes, not just any cupcakes, divine dark chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate buttercream.

If you’re a chocoholic just like me, then these scrumptious cupcakes will definitely be right up your street!

The recipe starts with Cook’s Illustrated ultimate chocolate cupcakes, a recipe I cannot stop raving about it. With rich chocolate flavour, each cake is gloriously fluffy and will just melt in your mouth. There’s no denying that this is my favourite chocolate cupcake and I’m sure it will soon become yours too. The cupcakes also have the perfect flat top and that means you can decorate each cupcake with a nice, generous swirl of buttercream. I have tried many chocolate cupcake recipes, all of which had claimed to the best, but it was Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe that ticked all the boxes for my taste testers and myself.

It wouldn’t be a cupcake without the buttercream after all. A creamy, luscious white chocolate buttercream sits atop a seriously fudgy and moist chocolate cupcake.

To make the buttercream, start by creaming your butter for a few minutes. You’ll want to have left your butter out overnight to ensure it’s really soft. Bear in mind the softer your butter is, the airer and lighter your buttercream will be. Once you’ve whipped your butter add the sifted icing sugar (in two batches) and slowly combine into the butter to avoid a sugar cloud and icing sugar going flying everywhere! Add the vanilla and continue to whip the butter and icing sugar together for an additional five minutes until the buttercream is really fluffy and light. Finally add the melted white chocolate and the cream or milk and try your very hardest to resist eating spoonful after spoonful…

chocolate-cupcakes-with-white-chocolate-frosting

I wasn’t successful resisting eating the buttercream before icing the cupcakes. Yes, maybe I did eat a couple of spoonfuls, but who can blame me because homemade buttercream is addictive!

And the finished cupcakes? It was love at first bite. I did however refrain myself from eating cupcake after cupcake by giving the majority of the cupcakes away to my good friends and a few family members. Anyhow, I know another batch will definitely be happening in the near future!

I’ve listed some tips in my recipe notes, those can be found just below the ingredients and method. Hopefully you’ll find them helpful and enjoy the cupcakes!

(Makes 12)

Ingredients:

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes:

85g (3 ounces) dark chocolate, finely chopped

40g (1/3 cup) cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee granules or powder (optional)

180ml (3/4 cup) boiling water

105g (3/4 cup) bread flour (can be substituted with plain/all-purpose flour)

150g (3/4 cup) caster or granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

White Chocolate Buttercream: 

230g (1 cup) salted butter, softened

250g (2 and 1/2 cups) icing/confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

175g (6 ounces) white chocolate

60ml (4 tablespoons) double cream or milk

Method:

  1. To make the cupcakes: Place the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee granules/powder (if using) in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the boiling water over and whisk until smooth and all the chocolate has melted. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C / 160 Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda until thoroughly combined. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla into the now cooled chocolate mixture. Finally, add the dry ingredients and whisk until you have a smooth batter.
  3. Divide the batter between the paper cases – I find using an ice cream scoop best for doing this as it makes less mess. Bake for 17-19 minutes or until the cupcakes are well risen and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes then transport to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  4. To make the frosting: Melt the white over a bain-marie or in a microwave in 20 second intervals. Leave to cool. As the chocolate cools, cream the butter for about a minute or two to soften. Now add the sifted icing sugar in two batches along with the vanilla and beat for another 5 minutes until the frosting is fluffy and light. Mix in the melted chocolate followed by the cream/milk.
  5. Decorate the cupcakes as desired. They’ll keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, I guarantee you these cupcakes won’t last that long!

Recipe Notes:

  • I highly recommend using caster/superfine sugar when making these cupcakes. If you only have granulated sugar on hand, you can blitz it in a food processor for a few seconds to make it superfine.
  • Adding a teaspoon of instant coffee granules or powder adds to the intense chocolate taste. If you’re not a fan of mocha flavour, then just leave the coffee out of the recipe as it will work fine without.
  • For this buttercream I prefer to use salted butter rather than unsalted. This is because the white chocolate is very sweet, if you want you can use unsalted butter, but you might want to add a pinch or two of salt to the buttercream as you mix it.
  • You’ll need to use pure white chocolate and the best quality you can afford. Don’t substitute with white chocolate chips as they have stabilisers added and that will affect the texture of your buttercream.
  • I prefer to use double/heavy cream in my buttercream rather than milk. Cream will make a creamier, fluffier and richer textured buttercream.
  • Decoration is totally up to you, I decorated my cupcakes with triple chocolate curls which I purchased at my local supermarket. I also think decorating with milk or white chocolate buttons, chocolate shavings or sprinkles would look lovely.
  • To decorate these cupcakes I used a large closed star tip. It’s my favourite piping nozzle and makes the buttercream look like a Mr Whippy (soft serve) ice cream.
  • This recipe makes enough buttercream to generously ice 12 standard sized cupcakes. I did have a little buttercream left over, so you’re not a fan of too much buttercream then I would half the recipe.

chocolate-cupcakes-white-chocolate-buttercream-recipe

Are you a fan of white chocolate and want more cupcake recipes?

Make my Biscoff Cookie Butter Cupcakes next!

cupcake biscoff

Enjoy!

jess

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Thai Butternut Squash Soup

Make the most of autumn’s harvest with this hearty and warming Thai butternut squash soup.

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Now it’s officially autumn that means soup season is upon us. I’ve definitely been noticing the recent cooler weather and when it’s cold out all I crave is comforting food like soups and stews. Recently I’ve been feeling a tad rundown and decided on making soup so I would feel back to my best.

Around this time of year you’ll be seeing lots of delicious savoury and sweet pumpkin recipes. I adore butternut squash soup and every year when autumn rolls around and pumpkin is in season I like to make a batch of homemade soup. However, whilst I love butternut squash soup as it is, this time I wanted to try something a little more aromatic and spicy.

My love of Thai cuisine is the main inspiration behind this recipe. Many classic Thai recipes are packed full of different flavours and spices. I frequently cook my family Thai green curry and other traditional dishes from Thailand.

For the soup, I thought about chopping up chilli, garlic and ginger, however I was feeling lazy so instead I decided to cheat this time and use a couple of tablespoons of Thai red curry paste we had leftover in the fridge after my sister made a Thai red curry over the weekend.

To make this soup, it’s really quite simple. Take your butternut squash, peel and chop it up in 1cm sized cubes. Add the chopped squash to a large saucepan along with the red curry paste and sauté for a few minutes. Next add the coconut cream and stock, bring up to the boil, cover and leave to simmer for about 25 minutes or until the squash is soft. Finally, blend the soup until smooth. I like my soup a little on the thicker side, but if you prefer your soup thinner in consistency just add a touch more stock.

With Bonfire Night next month, this soup would be brilliant to pack up or come home to if you’re feeling cold after watching fireworks. You’ve got to give this soup recipe a try this autumn, it’s amazingly tasty and comforting with the fragrance from the red curry paste and creamy coconut flavour and texture from the coconut cream.

(Serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

1kg butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1cm cubes

2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste

250ml coconut cream

500ml vegetable stock

Method:

  1. Add the chopped butternut squash to a large saucepan along with the red curry paste. Gently sauté over a medium heat and cook for about 2-3 minutes until all the squash is thoroughly coated in the curry paste.
  2. Add the coconut cream and vegetable stock, cover the pan and leave to simmer for about 25 minutes or until the squash is soft.
  3. Blend the soup in a food processor or with a handheld blender until smooth. Add a couple of generous pinches of salt, stir and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes:

  • Add more or less curry paste depending on how spicy you want your soup.
  • Adjust consistency of the soup to your liking by adding more stock if it is too thick.
  • Soup will store in an airtight container in the fridge for up a 2-3 days, it’s best eaten on the day of making.
  • This soup is delicious served with bread, rolls or croutons. We made our own croutons and baked them in the oven until they were crispy and golden.

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My mum’s White Bread Rolls are perfect for dunking into soup!

white-bread-rolls

Enjoy!

jess

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