This recipe makes the most delicious, moist (and light as suffle) decadent chocolate cake.

Ingredients:
200g butter (7/8 cup)
200g very good quality dark chocolate, chopped (2 cups)
250g granulated sugar (1 1/8 cups)
5 eggs
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dark rum

1 jar of dulce de leche for the topping

Directions: 
1. Preheat oven to 350 F/177′C. Line an 8-inch round cake tin with baking parchment and butter the parchment.
2. In double boiler (or microwave), melt butter and chocolate. Let cool for a few minutes. Scrape the butter and chocolate into a larger bowl and stir in the sugar.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Add 1/2 cup of sugar to the yolks, whisking well until the mixture turns thick and pale yellow. Add the rum and gradually add the cooled chocolate mixture to the yolks mixture, whisking until combined. Stir in the flour.
4. Whisk the egg whites together with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar and beat the egg whites till they hold their shape but are not dry.
5. Fold the egg whites in three batches into the yolk mixture only until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake just until the top is dry and cracking, but the centre of the cake still wobbles slightly, about 25 minutes. Keep a close eye after 20 minutes and be careful not to overbake.
6. Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin. Gently transfer the cake to a plate and add the topping.


Last night I was in the mood for experimenting. Chocolate-experimenting to be more specific. I had this basic dark chocolate truffle recipe at home but after a, lets say, bittersweet week that wasn’t quite enough. I bought some dark chocolate, some milk chocolate, some cocoa powder, heavy cream, oreo cookies, coconut milk, a mini bottle of rum, vanila extract and cinamon powder.
What came out from all of this?
Super rich full of flavour truffles! (:

I began following the original recipe by melting the cream, adding to the chocolate (I replaced 1/4 of the dark chocolate bar for 1/4  of milk chocolate)  mixing it all. Then I separated the mixture into 3 different little bowls where in one of them I added a tea spoon of coconut milk, on the other one I added a tea spoon of rum and finally on the last one I added a little drop of vanila extract. After stirring them I placed the 3 bowls in the fridge and left it for around an hour. Meanwhile I put 4 oreo cookies on a little plate, took the filling out and crushed them into crumbs (I used my hands but If you have a food processor, even better) leaving some tiny pieces as well. Can you see where I am getting?

To roll them I separated the cocoa powder into two plates in which one of them I added a pinch of cinamon. I rolled a few of them in the oreo crumbs, the others in cocoa powder and then I rolled the ones left in the cocoa-cinamon powder.

They came out lovely (:  my favourite one was the coconut-oreo ones. Next time I’m thinking about trying peanut butter or dulce de leche!

Here follows the classic dark chocolate truffles recipe so you can create your own ones:

Ingredients:
5 oz (140 grams) of good quality dark chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt

Cocoa powder or chopped nuts for rolling

Directions:

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place into a small bowl. Heat cream, salt, and liqueur (if using) over medium heat until bubbles began to form along the edges. Pour cream over chocolate and let sit for a couple of minutes. Stir chocolate until smooth. If there are still unmelted pieces, microwave in 10-15 second bursts, stirring in between until all pieces have melted.
Scrap down the sides of the bowl and place in the fridge for 45 minutes to an hour. Once completely cooled, use a buttered melon baller, spoon, or small dough scoop to portion the chocolate in ~1 Tablespoon balls. (I cleaned up the shape by placing the ball of chocolate into my buttered palm and lightly rolling with the spoon.) If you have problems with the chocolate becoming too soft while you work, place the bowl in the freezer for ~10 minutes and then continue.
Place the truffle into cocoa powder (or chopped nuts, oreo crumbs) and roll to coat. Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

For the burgers:
500g ground beef (I use half chuck and half sirloin)
1/2 onion grated or finely chopped
1 garlic clove
1 large egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

2 burger rolls

The Topping: 
Red onion
Gherkin
Tomato
Lettuce
Cheese

Place the ingredients in a bowl and bring them all together mixing until just combined, being careful to not overwork the meat (It’s better if you use your hands). Make sure the mixture is cool. Divide mixture into 2 equal balls and mold into patties.
Cook on medium heat under the grill, on the barbecue or in a pan untill the patty is cooked to your preferred degree of doneness (in my case, around 4 minutes per side).

Split the rolls and toast the cut surfaces lightly (under grill, on barbecue or in a pan) just before the patties are done. Place the patty on the bottom halfs of the rolls, add a slife of cheese, some lettuce (i always add one leaf of rocket), a slice of tomato, a thin slice of onion, and a little sliced gherkin. Top it off with a dollop of burger sauce.

The burger Sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
4 slices kosher dill pickle
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
pinch cayenne pepper

Stir all ingredients in a bowl ot combine all ingredients in blender if you prefer a smooth version
This recipe makes 2 burgers. Enjoy (:

my 'brazilian' version of s'mores bars

I’m living in Brazil at the moment and I have been finding it difficult to procure certain ingredients for some of my recipes. You can’t really find graham crackers around here, nor double cream, peanut butter, buttermilk, golden syrup, rasberries, root beer, jalapenos, monteray jack cheese or PROPER cheddar  amongst a lot of other things. You can find replacements but sometimes they don’t work very well (marshmallow cream/fluff for example). Yesterday I found myself craving s’mores so I decided to go to the local supermarket to see what I could find that would work with the recipe I had at home.  It went pretty well and I only  had to change two things on the recipe. Instead of the graham crackers I used crushed oreo cookies and I also left the marshmallow layer out because marshmallow cream in Brazil is not really like the Fluff we have back in the UK. The real marshmallow Fluff stays put through the whole baking process while the brazilian version cooks through and disappears into the batter. Once the bars were ready I topped with marshmallow just before serving and they turned out to be just as delicious as the traditional ones.

Here follows the original recipe, if you want to make my version of those just leave out the marshmallow layer (:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs (i.e. crumbs of about 10 Oreos)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 king-sized Hershey’s milk chocolate bars
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff

Some baking sheet or aluminium foil

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 176°C (350°F). In an 8-inch square baking tray, place a big square of baking sheet or aluminum foil covering the bottom of the pan and up to the edge leaving some extra bits overhanging. Grase the foil or baking sheet. The overhanging foil or sheet will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after baking and cooling. (my baking tray sticks, so those steps are crucial to me. if you have a good tray you can trust, you could just grease it without using any paper or foil).

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until fluffy and pale yellow (2-3 minutes). Beat in the egg and vanilla. In a small, separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cookie crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Divide the dough roughly in half, placing half the dough in your prepared pan and the other half in the fridge to chill until you’re ready for it.

Use the back of a spoon sprayed with cooking spray and to press and spread the dough in the pan until it covers the bottom of the pan in an even layer (you might want to be really careful if you are using a baking sheet). Place the chocolate bars side by side over the dough (if they fit; if not, break them and arrange) such that you have a full single layer of chocolate (about 1/4 inch thick). Glop on marshmallow creme and use a greased offset spatula to spread it evenly across the candy bars. Take the remaining dough out of the fridge and place it on top of the marshmallow layer (to do so, take a small handful at a time and flatten it into a “shingle” in greased fingertips. Lay these side by side over the top. They’re a little sticky so it takes some fiddling, but just clean your fingers off if the dough starts sticking to them too much and continue).

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool completely in pan before gently using the overhang of the foil sling to lift the bars out of the pan and place them on a cutting board to slice. When ready to serve, heat each bar in the microwave for about 25-30 seconds. Store extras in an airtight container.

my 'brazilian' verson of s'mores barsEnjoy! x

Hi guys, here follows the recipe of my one favourite cupcakes (:

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

Ingredients:

For the Red Velvet Cupcakes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 1/3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, cold

Directions:
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper cupcake liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Increase the mixer speed, and slowly add the egg, mixing until everything is well incorporated.

In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder, red food coloring, and vanilla extract. Stir until a thick paste-like consistency has been reached. Add this mixture to the butter mixture, and cream together until well mixed, making sure the red coloring is evenly distributed. Reduce the mixer speed, and add the buttermilk and flour in two additions each, beginning with the buttermilk, and ending with the flour. Mix until combined, and a smooth batter is reached. Reduce the mixer speed, and add the salt, baking soda, and vinegar. Beat until the batter is well mixed.

Evenly divide the batter among the 12 prepared cupcake cups. Bake in the preheated oven until the cupcakes have domed slightly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the cupcake pan before transferring to wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting. In the bowl of a standard electric mixer, beat together the powdered sugar and butter until the mixture begins to come together. Add the cold cream cheese all at once, and beat on high speed until the frosting is completely incorporated, light, and fluffy.

Once the cupcakes have cooled completely, frost with cream cheese frosting as desired.

I want to start this post with a statement: You cannot get bagels in Brazil.
There is no way shape or form you can find bagels around here and this is not an exageration to ‘bagels are hard to find in Brazil’, no. It’s worst. It does not exist such thing as bagel here, nothing even close.  So if you are crazy about bagels like me, the only alternative is to make your own.

After I read through a few bagels recipes, I’ll have to say I got a little bit intimidated. They all had so many different steps and even different days to prepaire it that I instantly thought: ‘well, I certainly cannot do this’, I mean, for someone who doesn’t have a bread maker and  who had never made bagels before, those recipes were shouting: ‘Not for you!’ to my face. But it all changed when I found this same day bagel recipe adapted from the book Ultimate Bread.  This bagel recipe is actually pretty straight forward and it makes absolutely delicious, chewy, soft, crusty and everything you expect from NY style bagels.

As a huge bagel fan I’m happy to say these ones came out great ( and let me remind you this was my very first attempt).

Ingredients:
1 ½ tablespoons of active dry yeast
1 ½ tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups of warm water (you may need ± ¼ cup more, I know I did)
3 ½ cups (500g) of bread flour or high gluten flour(will need extra for kneading)
1 ½ teaspoons of salt

1 egg
1 spoon of milk

Optional Toppings:
Caraway seeds, coarse salt, minced fresh garlic, minced fresh onion, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds.

Preparation:
1. In ½ cup of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water.

2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.

3. Pour half of the remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about ¼ cup of water. You want to result in a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.

4. On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough.

5. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.

6. Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a round until a perfect dough ball is formed.

7. Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.

8. After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF / 220ºC / Gas Mark 7.

9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top (a couple seconds). Let them sit there for 1 minute, and them flip them over to boil for another minute. Extend the boiling times to 2 minutes each, if you’d prefer a chewier bagel (results will give you a more New York Style bagel with this option).

10. Once the bagels have boiled, place them on a tray or surface you to the topping. In a bowl, whisk the egg and spoon of milk. Brush the bagels with the egg wash and add your favourite topping (if using).

11. Transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Enjoy your very own NY style bagels (:

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