There are few things as satisfiying as homemade cookies- particularly the good ones: Saucer sized, thick and chewy and crammed with as many chocolate chips as possible. And over the years I have tried a ton of different cookie recipes- and for a basic chocolate chip cookie, these are my current favourite! They have a delightful craggy appearance and are delicious either fresh from the oven, or a few days later and retain their texture and chew even after a few days- if they last that long.
This recipe was originally from America’s Test Kitchen – to be precise “The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook (15th Anniversary Addition)” an excellent (gigantic) cookbook- even if my version is now several years out of date! However I have made a couple of changes, and give the weights in grams rather than the original cups and ounces.
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (Makes 18 Cookies)
- 300g Plain Flour
- ½ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- ½ tsp Salt
- 170g Butter, Melted and Cooled
- 200g Light Brown Sugar
- 100g Granulated Sugar
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 Large Egg Yolk
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Coffee Extract (Optional but super good- if you don’t have it replace with more Vanilla)
- 250g Chocolate Chips (I use a mix of white, dark and milk chunks)
To begin with preheat your oven to 170 C (I have a fan oven and therefore dropped it to 160 C) and line two large baking trays with baking paper.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
Using a stand mixer beat together the butter and sugars at a medium speed until smooth. Add the whole egg, egg yolk and the extracts and mix until fully combined, scraping down the bowl and beater as necessary. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. Finally stir in the chocolate chips (I usually do this by hand.)
At this point I chill the dough for around an hour, although if you are in a rush you can skip this step. I find it helps the cookies to keep their shape in the oven, and not spread too thin so recommend when you have the time!
Divide the dough into 18 pieces and roll them into balls. One at a time, pull the dough balls in half, and stick the two smooth sides together- so that the 2 ripped uneven sides form the top of the cookie- be careful not to smooth out that fantastic craggy surface (You can see why you want it in the picture below!)
Place the cookies on the prepared trays, ensuring to space them around 2 ½ inches apart. Bake the cookies until they are a light golden brown, and the edges are starting to harden- whilst still retaining that soft, puffy texture. This will take between 15-18 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking trays (if you can’t resist them, feel free to pinch one once they are firm enough to move!).
It’s my partner’s birthday this week, and I was looking for a good cake to make him. A couple of factors made me decide on this one- number one that I wanted to make a Bundt, as I had only used my Bundt tin once- making it a pretty expensive purchase that I hadn’t yet justified! Number two that British Raspberries were half price in my local supermarket, and I wanted a cake that would take advantage of that- Particularly after we scanned too many, and ended up with five punnets of raspberries!
I would personally usually choose a cake that contained chocolate, caramel, peanut butter or coffee- or some amazing combination of them all, but the BF isn’t as keen. He’ll happily eat them when I make them- who would refuse homemade cake – but I wanted to make something more to his taste for his Birthday! As he was a fan of the last white chocolate and raspberry cake I made, I figured something similar would be good- but I wanted something a bit more special…
I spent quite a while looking for a base recipe to use for the Bundt cake- I had a bit of a struggle, as I could only find American recipes using cups (which really isn’t my favourite method of measuring, although I’ll cope for an otherwise good recipe) and using cake mix as the base (as I already have a cupboard overflowing with baking ingredients, I couldn’t justify this.)
Eventually I stumbled upon a recipe from hugoandelsa.com which had what I was looking for- a simple recipe with lots of raspberries (almost 2 punnets!), creme fraiche to keep it moist (although I used sour cream as I’m more familiar with baking with it) and ground almonds- which I am always a fan of in baking.
It worked perfectly for what I wanted, and I had a great stress free baking experience- and a happy family who got to devour delicious cake.
To finish it off, and really gild the lily I added a lightly whipped white chocolate ganache and freeze dried raspberries, resulting in what, to me, is a super pretty cake.
See the recipe below if you fancy giving it a go!
White Chocolate and Raspberry Bundt Cake
For the Cake:
- 225g softened butter
- 200g caster sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g plain flour
- 60g ground almonds
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 240g sour cream
- 85 g white chocolate chips
- 250g raspberries
For the optional (but highly recommended) Ganache/Decoration:
- 100g white chocolate, chopped
- 125ml double cream
- freeze dried raspberries, to sprinkle over the top (optional but oh so pretty!)
To begin with preheat your oven to 180 C – (I have a fan oven, and therefore dropped it to 170 C) and grease/flour a 9 cup bundt tin well, You really don’t want it to stick! (I have the Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt Tin and love the way it looks).
Using a stand mixer, cream together butter (I’d recommend cutting it into smaller pieces to make it quicker), vanilla and sugar on a high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Whilst it is mixing (unless you are using a hand mixer and therefore more involved!) sift your dry ingredients into a bowl and stir to combine. Set aside for now!
Add the eggs one at a time to the butter / sugar mixture, beating for 20 seconds after each egg to ensure they combine.
Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the sour cream – I add the dry ingredients and then mix slightly by hand to ensure flour doesn’t fly everywhere – and then mix on high for 20 seconds, ensuring to scrape down the sides and bottom to make sure that the batter is thoroughly mixed.
Finally fold in the white chocolate chips and raspberries by hand- trying to make sure to not overly squash the raspberries!
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top and then bake for 55 – 65 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the centre (Mine took 55 mins).
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
If you don’t want to frost the cake, you are done! Yay – Enjoy!
However if you would like to decorate the cake, proceed with the below white chocolate ganache, it’s super simple, and super tasty.
In a bowl set above lightly simmering water, combine your white chocolate and 50ml of the double cream. Stir, until the chocolate has melted into the cream and you have a smooth and glossy ganache. Leave the ganache to cool to room temperature, and then add the rest (75ml) of cream. Put in the fridge to chill until cold.
Once cold, I lightly whipped my ganache by hand, to give it a stiffer texture- like very lightly whipped cream (just about able to hold its shape when dropped off a spoon). This was to allow it to be piped on the cake without it all running off. Once whipped, put the ganache in a piping bag and cut off the tip of the bag to allow you to pipe a thick line.
The cake should be completely cool before beginning decorating. To pipe the cake, I simply followed the lines of the Bundt cake, and then used a palette knife to neatly spread the ganache.
To finish off the cake, I sprinkled freeze dried raspberries over the ganache- which I picked up randomly when I visited Copenhagen, and have been looking for a good place to use!
Then put the cake in the fridge until ready to serve- I personally best like cake and frosting cold from the fridge.
I really felt like baking the other day, but was at a bit of a loss as to what I wanted to bake. After flicking through a few of my cookbooks I turned to one of my most recent purchases- John Whaite Bakes- picked up for the bargain price of £2.50 from HMV. I remembered that there was one particular cake that really caught my eye when I initially flicked through it, which was the White Chocolate and Raspberry Melting Cake. I am pretty sure that there isn’t a better time of year to bake it than when British raspberries are both in store, and cheap enough to not feel guilty about baking them into a cake rather than devouring them fresh.
The cake was everything I hoped for; a light sponge with sweet pockets of tart raspberry and a creamy chocolate ganache sandwiching it all together. It has been a hit with the people who have tried it! If you are wondering why there is a couple of slices missing, by the time I had made it it was too dark to take photos and we still wanted to try it! So I took these the next day…
It is a well written book with beautiful pictures that has been a pleasure to flick through, and the cake worked brilliantly- expect for a couple of minor mistakes that were more user error than any fault of the recipe (as I will explain below.)
- 200g Butter, at room temperature and cut into chunks
- 100g White Chocolate, broken into pieces (I used Milkybar!)
- 4 Eggs
- 200g Caster Sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
- 200g SR Flour
- 175g Fresh Raspberries
- Icing Sugar for dusting if desired
- 200g White Chocolate, Broken into pieces
- 250ml Double Cream
The first area where I deviated from the recipe was in terms of tin size- you are supposed to use two 8 inch tins which have been greased and lined with baking paper, but I own two 8 ½ inch tins (not sure why!) so I used these instead. They worked fine, but would be a little thinner than the original recipe. So if you have the correct size use it, if your tins are slightly larger or smaller use them- and just keep a closer eye when checking whether or not they are baked.
Preheat oven to 180°C
Put butter and 100g white chocolate in a heatproof mixing bowl above a pan of barely simmering water. Stirring occasionally, let melt together. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
Once they have cooled add the eggs and sugar and beat with an electric hand mixer (Or if like me you own a freestanding mixer, but not a hand mixer transfer to mixing bowl and do it with that) Beat it until you have a smooth batter. This may take a couple of minutes. Sift over the flour and fold it in, along with the raspberries.
Pour into the prepared tins, ensuring not to squash the raspberries. Divide the mixture evenly.
Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean and the cakes are golden brown. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.
To make the ganache put the 200g of chocolate and 100ml of the cream into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted into the cream and the resulting mixture is smooth and glossy. Leave until it has cooled to room temperature. Once at room temperature beat in the remaining 150ml of cream.
Allow the ganache to cool and thicken- it will take a while even if using the fridge. Don’t do what I did and use it when it looks like it should be ready. Slightly more set is better than underset. Else it will squish out when you use it (and then you will have to tidy it up when it sets more!) Lesson learned- be more patient.
Sandwich the cooled cakes together with the ganache, lower one base side down, upper one base side up so that you have a smooth top and bottom. If desired dust with icing sugar (I didn’t feel it needed it.)
Mince Pies are amazing! They are one of my favourite Christmas treats, particularly as you only get to eat them once a year. Even better than mince pies are homemade mince pies, eaten hot out the oven- dusted with icing sugar..
I tried out a new recipe this year- from Mary Berry’s Christmas collection (You may be able to tell I am really loving this cookbook this year.) I made a couple of variations, one that I didn’t use the zest of one orange in the pastry, and the other being that I used milk instead of a beaten egg to glaze it. As I was using my homemade mincemeat, I figured that I didn’t need the orange zest because it already had plenty of flavour.
It is a super simple pastry recipe and I love it! It is very quick to make, and uses a food processor.
You will need one or two bun tins. Depending on how thinly you roll your pastry you can make between 12-18 mince pies.
- 175g plain flour
- 75g butter, cut into cubes
- 25g icing sugar
- 1 egg beaten
- Jar of mincemeat (there will probably be leftover)
- Milk to glaze
- Icing sugar or caster sugar for glazing
To make the pastry, measure the flour, butter and icing sugar into the food processor bowl. Process until it resembles breadcrumbs. Pour in the egg and pulse until the dough begins to form a ball. Knead lightly on a floured surface.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan
Roll the pastry out thinly and cut out 12-18 rounds. Use to line the bun tins. Spoon a generously heaped teaspoon of mincemeat into each pastry case.
Re-roll the leftover pastry and cut out stars using a star cutter. Put a star on top of each mince pie and brush with milk.
Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 mins until golden and crisp. Allow to cool slightly, and dust with icing sugar or caster sugar before serving.
These mince pies can be frozen for up to a month (and defrosted at room temperature before reheating) or stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. They can be reheated in an oven at 160°C/140°C Fan for 8-10 mins. If so don’t dust with icing sugar until ready to serve.
I’d love to hear peoples favourite Christmas treats!