Red Velvet Brownies

It’s holiday time, which means you have presents to buy, halls to deck, and parties to attend. For the Christmas party goer that doesn’t have much time between gift wrapping and hall decking, I have the perfect recipe to dazzle your friends with.
Red Velvet Brownies.
The deep red colour is perfectly festive and the rich, dense flavour will have all your friends saying, “let it snow.”

Red Velvet Brownies

Here’s what you’ll need

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted, room temperature butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 oz red food colouring
4 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350F/ 176C degrees
2. Spray a non-stick spray over your 9×13 glass baking dish
3. Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time and mix until combined.
4. Time to put the red in the red velvet. Add food colouring until you have a deep red colour. Don’t overdo this or you’ll end up with bright red brownies. Add vanilla extract and mix until the colour is fully incorporated.
5. In a separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa and salt until fully combined. Slowly add dry ingredients into wet ingredients until you have a gooey, red batter.
6. Pour batter into your prepared pan and pop into the oven for 35 minutes. This will ensure a thin crust and gooey goodness underneath.
Now you have time to lick the spoon and get back to wrapping those last few gifts.

Red Velvet Brownies Red Velvet Brownies Red Velvet Brownies Red Velvet Brownies Red Velvet Brownies Red Velvet Brownies Red Velvet Brownies Red Velvet Brownies Red Velvet Brownies Do you have any favourite Christmas baking recipes you’d like to share?

Pumpkin Spice Bars

Do you want to know the best thing about October: all things pumpkin.
As the leaves begin to change, the scarves are pulled out form their hiding places, and the frantic Halloween costume search begins, there’s only one thing I can think about: Pumpkins.

I absolutely love pumpkin flavoured anything. 
How could you not?

Every year I indulge in Pumpkin Spice Lattes, light Pumpkin Spice candles, and make my favourite Pumpkin Spice Bars.

To make your Pumpkin Spice treats, you’ll need:
Ingredients:
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin – if in London, try Whole Foods Market
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). Cover the sides and bottom of a 10×15 pan with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin. Beat this together until your ingredients are combined and your mixture is smooth. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves.
Spread batter into your prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.
Whilst your cake is in the oven, you can make your cream cheese frosting. After removing your pumpkin cake from the oven, allow it to cool completely. No picking!

To make a luscious Cream Cheese Frosting, you’ll need:
16 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until combined and smooth. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in confectioners’ sugar. Beat until light and creamy.
Spread evenly onto your pumpkin cake, cut into bars and serve up your little taste of October!

Naughties

Put down the carrot stick, it’s time to be naughty.

Sometimes we all need to be a bit naughty. You don’t need to tell me your reasons, I’m sure you deserve it.
Naughtiness is only truly enjoyed when it’s easily accessible, and let me tell you, these Naughties are easy.
However, easy isn’t the only requirement for naughtiness… it needs to be worth it. So worth it, that the waves of guilt that arrive after finishing the entire batch are overcome with, “whatever, they were damn good!

Now that I’ve convinced you to abandon that diet* that you weren’t really sticking to anyways, I’m sure you’re wondering what naughty, self-control destroying treat could possibly be worth “after batch” guilt.
(*the only diet you should be on is eating balanced meals with occasional naughtiness and exercising…step away from the laptop)

Naughties are a magical combination of chocolate chip cookies and brownies sandwiching any candy of your choice.
Imagine your favourite candy bar: Snickers, Kit-Kat, Milky Way, Twix etc, sandwiched between chewy cookie and gooey brownie.
Naughty, right?

For this post, I decided to share with you two of my favourites: Naughty Reese’s and Naughty Nibbles

Ingredients:
1 box brownie mix
1 box chocolate chip cookie mix
1 egg
4 tblsp vegetable oil
Candy bar of your choice (I used Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and Cadbury Caramel Nibbles)

If you want to go all Martha Stewart on your Naughties, go ahead and make any cookie dough and brownie batter from scratch. Or… you can be naughty and make it from the box, because life’s short and it’s just one of those days.

To Create Your Naughties:
1) Preheat oven to 350F/175C
2) Prepare your muffin tray by lightly coating with butter or spraying with PAM (a magical non-stick spray that ensures baked goods pop out easily, I’m sure there are Brit alternatives…I just prefer smuggling PAM back from the US as it’s the best)
3) Follow instructions on the box to create your cookie dough
Or get out the apron for your from scratch batch, you little Martha Stewart you
4) Squish about a tablespoon of dough to cover the bottom of each hole
5) Place candy bar of your choice in the centre of your dough
6) Follow instructions on the box to create your brownie batter
7) Spoon about a tablespoon of brownie batter to cover the candy, leaving the hole three quarters of the way full
Bake for about 15 minutes – 18 minutes

Serve warm and squishy from the oven with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream for a full blown Naughty.

What candy bar will you make even more naughty?

Coconut & Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

This may sound odd, but I love things that are squishy.
I like play-doh, I like bean bag chairs, I like overweight animals, and I even like the word squishy. Say it out loud: squishy.
I bet you’re smiling.
Anyways, let’s get down to business. As you can tell, I am a tad sugar high and quite pleased with myself.

Since waking up to find London immersed in fog and rain, again, today was definitely an indoor day, and what better place to be indoors than the kitchen.

One of my favorite desserts in the world is an Italian Panna Cotta. Panna meaning cream and cotta meaning cooked, the dessert essentially consists of cooked cream. I’ve been craving this dessert for weeks and decided I would make myself some as a kickoff to my Birthday Week. Yes, I get a week. 

The good thing about this recipe is that it is so incredibly easy to make. The bad thing, it’s so incredibly naughty.

Ingredients:
400ml canned Coconut Milk
200ml Full-Fat Milk
50g Caster Sugar
1 Vanilla Pod
12g Powdered Gelatin (or leaves)
Serves: about 3
1. Pour the coconut milk and milk into a saucepan, then add the sugar. Split the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Add seeds and empty pod into the pan, and give everything a good stir. Bring the mixture to a boil, and be ready to have the most glorious smelling kitchen in the entire world. Once the mixture is fully boiling (not just a few little bubbles), remove from heat and leave to infuse for 5 minutes. Seriously, walk away.

2. After 5 minutes, return to glorious smelling brew. Spoon 200ml of the hot mixture into a bowl. Shake in your powdered gelatin whilst whisking until it has dissolved into the mixture. If it’s not dissolving completely, return the mixture to a gentle heat for 1-2 minutes and stir. Stir back into the coconut mixture and discard the vanilla pod.

3. Pour the mixture into little ramekins or moulds, preferably with a cool shape. Imagine how it will look upside-down. This recipe is enough for 3 good sized desserts, but you could always make lots of little Panna Cottas or a couple larger ones.

4. Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours, until they are firm with a slight wobble. Squishy.

As my little desserts sat to harden safely in the fridge, I saw my massive bowl of pineapple and decided to experiment.
I heard the Dessert Gods in my head warning me to never experiment with baking. But, this isn’t really baking, is it? I’m using a stove and things are boiling, surely that counts as cooking.
I am so glad I ignored the Dessert Gods because my experiment could not have turned out better!

If you’re willing to defy the Dessert Gods and want to add some serious flavour to your Panna Cotta, I give you: Caramelised Pineapple & Coconut Sauce with Mint Sugar. This was an in the moment experiment so hopefully my instructions are accurate enough to get you the same yummy sauce.

Ingredients:
Sauce
1 cup Ripe Pineapple
1/2 cup Caster Sugar
1 tblsp Water
1 tblsp Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup Coconut Milk
1/3 cup Double Cream

Mint Sugar
Handful of Fresh Mint
1 tblsp Sugar

1. Pour sugar and water into a saucepan and place on medium heat. Stir until sugar has almost completely dissolved.

2. Chop pineapple into small chunks and add to your saucepan. Add vanilla extract. Stir pineapple with vanilla and sugar water and let simmer for about 8 minutes until the pineapple begins to break down and brown.

3. I wanted the sauce to be slightly creamy, but still maintain the juiciness of the pineapple, so I decided to make my sauce a full fat situation. If you want, you can stop here and have a perfectly yummy sauce. But, I don’t think you want to. Stir in coconut milk and double cream and remove from heat.

4. Finely chop fresh mint leaves and mash together with sugar with a mortar and pestle. A spoon and bowl works just fine if you can’t find your mortar and pestle, like me.

And Voilá! Experimental Caramelised Pineapple and Coconut Sauce with Mint Sugar!

3+ hours later: They’re DONE!
To Serve:
Boil some water and dip the mould for about 10 seconds to loosen the Panna Cotta. Don’t leave it in the water too long as it will instantly begin to melt. Turn onto a serving plate and wait for it to plop out. There it is! Your squishy, flawless masterpiece.
Top with warm Caramelised Pineapple and Coconut Sauce and garnish with a sprinkling of Mint Sugar.


Perfect way to kickoff my week of celebrating! Happy Birthday to meee!