Peanut Brownies for my Dad

20160814_Peanut_Brownies_0700Today is my dad’s 60th birthday. Happy Birthday Dad!

Over the weekend I was messaging my two sisters who live at home in New Zealand as they were buying presents and getting ready to bake dad’s birthday cake. It’s always these times I find the hardest about living so far from home; the times when families and friends gather and celebrate. These are the times when I feel most homesick. Also when Whittakers releases new chocolate flavours and my Marmite supply runs out, but mostly on big occasions for the people I love and 60? Well that’s a big occasion!

So rather than wallow in my homesickness  I got up on Saturday morning and made my dad’s favourite biscuit, and of course it’s an Edmonds Cookbook recipe, Peanut Brownies. I haven’t made this recipe since I lived at home but luckily they turned out alright, a little less chocolatey than I remember them. But still sweet and nutty and good.

I don’t remember when I first learned to bake, but my sisters and I were always baking something in our house growing up. There can’t have been many weekends where someone didn’t make something and that would often be Peanut Brownies at dad’s request. Dad is a huge fan of peanuts so there would always be bags of them in the house ready for snacking on or baking with.

20160814_Peanut_Brownies_0733The quality must have been hit or miss though, revisiting this recipe made me realise how far I had come with my baking. I’m sure I used to melt the butter for this recipe, although it calls for the butter and sugar to be creamed. I even remember accidentally cooking the egg in the mixture by adding it to the hot butter and sugar too early. The egg white whitened in the mixture and you could see flecks if it throughout like you do in egg friend rice. Mmmm.. eggy… I have always been weary of doing that since.

When baking these on Saturday all I could find were roasted salted nuts in the supermarket, I thought the salt would be too much so rather than being defeated, I bought them anyway and took them home to wash them. All I did was rinse all the salt off through a sieve then places the sieve in the pre-heating oven to dry off while I made the mixture. It worked a treat. I think at home we would quite often make this with peanuts with the husks on too, it gives them a bit more texture and the skin would go crunchy in the oven.

20160814_Peanut_Brownies_0736Peanut Brownies

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 11/2 cups standard plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 1 cup peanuts, roasted and husked

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa together. Mix into creamed mixture. Add cold peanuts and mix well. Roll tablespoonsful of mixture into balls. Place on greased oven trays. Flatten with a fork. Bake at 180 degree Celsius for 15 minutes or until cooked. Makes 20.

20160814_Peanut_Brownies_0708Dad I wish I could just pop over there and share these with you and give you a big 60th birthday hug. But know that I’ll be thinking of you as you celebrate this huge milestone.

See you in four months, and if you’re lucky I’ll make you another batch then.

Love you xx

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Banoffee Cake

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I can’t believe it has taken me this long to share this with you guys. I wrote this post after first making this cake back in November for Thanksgiving. I didn’t get any pictures at the time though so I held the post. I have since made this three times and the latest creation, which is the one I got pictures of, was for our friend’s 1st year wedding anniversary celebration.

Here are my post-Thanksgiving ramblings:_MG_0006

Guys, I think this is an amazing idea! I’m not claiming it’s very original, but I haven’t seen it done before and man it is so good you have to try it.

I was invited to my first Thanksgiving dinner this year and told simply to bring dessert. Our hosts were going full American with a huge turkey and all the trimmings. So I got thinking about American desserts.

When I think of American dessert I always think of pie. Pecan pie, pumpkin pie, key lime pie and of course banoffee pie. To me these are quintessentially American desserts and are a must for the Thanksgiving table. My problem with this was though, I have never made any of them before. In fact, until Thanksgiving I had only ever tried a banoffee pie so although I am very keen to try them all, to make something for a big group of people without even being able to be sure if it was vaguely right was too much of a challenge.

As Thanksgiving got closer and closer and I was still toying with the pie idea I hit on a compromise I thought might work and save me the pressure of feeding pie to Americans. Feed them cake!

So, I pimped out a banana cake, American style. Banana and caramel always go awesome together so why not in a cake? And guys – it totally worked and tasted pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

I make banana loaf all the time. I’m obsessed, I wrote about my love affair with the loaf in one of my first blog posts. I make banana cake very rarely so it was a nice change for me. My banana cake recipe is an Edmonds Classic too and it is a nice change for the loaf as it’s a much lighter and sweeter texture. Mmm sweeter is always good.

Here is the recipe for those following at home:

NZ Banana Cake

  • 125g softened butter
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons hot milk
  • 2 cups standard plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add mashed banana and mix thoroughly. Stir soda into hot milk and add to creamed mixture. Sift flour and baking powder. Fold into mixture. Turn into greased and lined 20cm round cake tin. Bake at 180°⊂ for 50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Leave in tin for 10 minutes before turning on to wire rack.

I made 2 layers by splitting the mixture evenly between two 20cm round tins. Bake at 180°⊂ but reduce baking time to 25 minutes.

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How to pimp it: The Banoffee Makeover

Now for the fun part!

As I had two layers I started by layering salted caramel on the base layer. I used store bought but I’m sure homemade caramel would be next level awesome. Then dollop whipped cream on top. Don’t be tempted to add any sugar to the cream as this cake seriously doesn’t need any more sugar. Add the next layer on top and then drizzle over chocolate icing.

I have also done this with one layer of cake by topping with whipped cream, drizzling caramel sauce over the top then sprinkling with dark chocolate shavings.

Delicious.. I’m taking birthday cake orders…

 

 

 

Coconut Dream Slice

coconut dream sliceThis bake was born out of a very rainy bank holiday Monday. We got back from a trip to Wales yesterday nursing hangovers and tired from all the driving. So when I woke up this morning to pouring rain and bleak skies, I quickly decided that I wasn’t leaving the house. I changed into my track pants, caught up with the world – there is little to no reception where we stay in Wales – and settled in for a day of my favourite things at the moment: reading, baking and watching back to back episodes of New Girl.

I mentioned to Ben that I was going to bake and he said how about a slice? He was thinking one of those fridge slices with condensed milk or real chocolate, but we had none of that. Looking through my Edmonds cookbook, my eyes skimmed over the Brownie and Ginger Crunch and landed on the Coconut Dream slice recipe, luckily we had a lot of coconut.

coconut dream sliceI have never made this one before, and as far as I know have never had it. I had no idea what it was supposed to look like, or taste like for that matter. But with lots of coconut and more than a fair share of brown sugar, I knew I couldn’t go too far wrong with it. coconut dream slice This recipe has a simple base of butter, brown sugar, flour and baking powder which is quickly baked before an eggy topping is poured on. The topping consist of eggs, more brown sugar, vanilla essence, chopped nuts and a whole lot of coconut.  coconut dream sliceI’m not sure if it’s supposed to look like this, I may have slightly over baked it. It tastes delicious though, you can really taste the caramelisation from the brown sugar and I love the chewy coconut and nut topping. It’s good as it is, but I think warmed with cream or ice cream would take this traditional slice to the next level.

I’m not going to reproduce the whole recipe as the Edmonds company might have something to say about too many of their recipes turning up on my blog. But you can buy a copy of the book here.

So Kiwis, has anyone had the Coconut Dream slice? Is this how it is supposed to look?

13. Make salted caramels as gifts

201412 From my phone 521

I made these yummy and easy caramels as Christmas gifts for the lovely ladies in my netball team. We had brunch last Sunday and I gave them out with my favourite gingerbread cookies.

I made this recipe twice. The first time I didn’t boil them for long enough and forgot the salt. They still tasted good but were more like a fudgey caramel sauce and very messy to eat.

I knew I could do better, so the next day I got my ingredients out again and gave it another go. I followed the recipe really closely (not my usual style) and was less cautious about the boiling process (I was really stressed about burning the sugar in my first attempt) and the results were better. I still would have liked them a bit firmer, and if I attempt these again I think it will have to be with a candy thermometer, but for my first foray into boiled sweets I’m happy with the results and my friends loved them.

First task completed, yay!

The Edmonds Challenge

This blog is all about expanding my horizons and pushing myself just that little bit further to get where I want to be. But it’s not just on this big things. I want to challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone and do just a little bit more.

_MG_0099So I’m starting with baking. This is my number one hobby and go to for everything in life from comfort and stress relief to creativity and expression. Not a weekend goes by where I’m not whipping something up for some reason or another. But what I have realised recently is that the ‘something’ I’m making is usually one of two things, banana loaf or Afghans. It is time to branch out and that’s what my Edmonds Challenge is about. I want to bake at least two new things from the Edmonds cook book  per month. Sort of like Julia and Julia with a lot less time pressure.

_MG_0094I’ve chosen the Edmonds book as it is a bit of a New Zealand institution. I learned to cook through my copy of The Edmonds Junior Cook Book, which had step by step pictures and warnings on every page ‘Careful, the pan is hot’. It is a New Zealand tradition to receive a copy of The Edmonds Cookery Book from your Mum when you first leave home, the copy I am using was my boyfriends departing gift when he moved to Wellington to study. It’s a book that has been around for ever, first published in 1907 and the biggest selling book ever published in New Zealand. It’s a staple in every NZ home so it’s not a fad to pass like cronuts and cake pops. It’s simple, plain and hopefully delicious cooking. Also, if my two signature bakes come from it, surely there are more to be discovered.

So, what’s your favourite Edmonds recipe? What should I try out first?