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Tag: chocolate

Afghans

Afghans

Afghans are SUCH an understated biscuit. I think the reason for this is probably because the spectrum of afghans is pretty wide, that is, the store-bought ones can taste very different to the ones your grandma makes at home. Homemade afghans are seriously the best, although I do have to admit I am a pretty big fan of the Cookie Time afghans too (a little bit biased perhaps?!). But anything else I can always resist. This recipe is super easy: it also has minimal ingredients so is usually quite easy to whip up at the last minute.

Collect

  • 200 g butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1.25 c flour
  • 1/4 c cocoa
  • 2 c cornflakes
  • 1.5 c icing sugar
  • 1 T cocoa
  • 50 g butter, softened
  • 2 T hot water
  • 16 walnuts

Create

  1. 180°C bake. Grease or line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Sift the flour and cocoa into the creamed mixture. Add the cornflakes, half a cup at a time.
  3. Spoon balls of mixture onto the tray, flatten slightly.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes or until set (if you take them out too early they may not hold together).
  5. Let the afghans cool for 20 minutes.
  6. Once cool, make the chocolate icing. Combine the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Add softened butter and pour some of the hot water over. Mix together, adding more water as necessary to achieve a smooth consistency (don’t add too much water at once because a little water goes a very long way).
  7. Spread over the afghans and top with a walnut.
Banana chocolate chip pancakes

Banana chocolate chip pancakes

Lazy Sunday mornings always call for pancakes, and what a better way to mix them up than by adding some good ol’ mashed banana and some delicious chocolate chips. Always a hit with the boyfriend, they are a pretty easy dish to whip up without much notice, so long as you have the classic baking ingredients on hand. Serve with some fresh banana and crispy bacon to make this into a hearty meal.


Collect

  • 1.5 c flour
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 t baking poweder
  • 0.5 t cinnamon
  • 1.25 c milk
  • 3 small – medium bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips

Create

  1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix.
  2. Stir in milk, banana, egg and vanilla.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Heat some oil in a pan. Pour spoonfuls into the pan once it’s hot.
  5. Cook for a few minutes (turning earlier if the pancakes start to bubble). Flip pancake and cook for another minute or two until golden.
  6. Repeat until all the batter is used.
  7. Serve with bacon, banana and maple syrup.
Poached Pears in Chocolate Brownie

Poached Pears in Chocolate Brownie

What a delectable dessert. It’s a rich, fudgey brownie, but the freshly poached pears lighten it somewhat, making it not so sweet and extremely more-ish. Poaching the pears is definitely what takes the longest, but that is really a matter of chucking everything into a pot and leaving it to simmer for almost an hour. I didn’t have a great dish for cooking – it would be ideal to have separate ramekins for each pear, but I just used half of a casserole dish. While this didn’t present quite so well, because there was more to cook it meant that the brownie was perhaps more gooey than it may have been otherwise.

Collect

  • 4 brown pears, peeled and cored (but leave the stalk so that you have something to grab them by)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 vanilla pod or 1 T vanilla essence
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 3 star anise
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c caster sugar
  • 200 g dark chocolate
  • 120 g butter
  • 1/2 c caster sugar
  • 1/4 c plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • icing sugar, to dust
  • vanilla ice-cream, to serve

Create

  1. In a pot, add the pears, water, vanilla, cinnamon, star anise, brown sugar and first measure of caster sugar. Bring to a boil and cover with a lid. Leave to simmer for about 45 minutes (you don’t want the pears to be too soft).
  2. Preheat oven to 200°C bake.
  3. In one bowl, melt the chocolate and the butter.
  4. Separately, mix the second measure of caster sugar, flour and eggs. Stir through the melted chocolate.
  5. In a dish (casserole or ramekin) sit each of the pears. Pour the chocolate brownie mixture into the dish, so that hopefully the mixture reaches about 2/3 of the way up the pear. You may need to turn or rotate the pears to ensure better coverage.
  6. Bake the pears in the brownie for about 20 minutes. The less you cook it the more gooey the brownie will be, but I suppose there is a limit to where you might just find yourself eating batter!
  7. Serve with ice-cream or yoghurt and a light dusting of icing sugar.
The Bach

The Bach

The Bach (108 Maunganui Road)

A super beachy looking place in the hub of the Mount township; I’ve always been attracted to it purely by its interior decor. It’s spacious, with large tables, menus on the wall and a cabinet + low counter across from which you order. The coffee is tasty, the brownie is divine and the french fries with aioli and ketchup are to die for. The brunch options all sound great; I have heard good things about the eggs. When we were there we logged into the wifi on my computer – it was a slightly annoying process whereby you needed an access code and were limited to a certain amount of data per voucher – but it ended up sounding more annoying that it actually was because it was all very easy. The staff are lovely; the cafe closed at three, but because we were doing admin with our laptops, they told us they were happy for us to keep working if we didn’t mind them cleaning up around us. Very accommodating, I will surely be back!

 

Triple Chocolate Brownie

Triple Chocolate Brownie

This recipe is an absolute winner. I kid you  not, every time it goes down a treat. It is super important to not overcook it; in fact, if you were planning on serving it as a dessert with icecream, I would actually under cook it slightly so that it stays gooey and runny on the inside. Definitely let it cool before you slice it, otherwise it will ooze everywhere and be hard to pick up later on.

Collect

  • 100 g butter
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa
  • 100 g white chocolate
  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • icing sugar to dust (optional)

Create

  1. 180°C fan bake, grease a baking tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  3. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the sugar.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine.
  5. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa into the mixture, add the white and dark chocolate.
  6. Mix until combined – but be gentle.
  7. Pour into tin.
  8. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes; there should be a tiny amount of mixture still left on the skewer.

 

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

One  of the things I love most is waking up to the smell of freshly cooked muffins; now that I no longer live at home, if I want that smell I have to bake them myself. Which I don’t have a problem with, because it means I get to choose the flavour! Banana and chocolate chip is a firm favourite of mine; it’s an excuse to buy too many bananas at the farmers market each week. Sometimes when I’m feeling healthier I will opt for walnuts instead of chocolate, but most of the time, the chocolate ones are exactly what I’m after!

Collect

  • 3 bananas, ripe and mashed
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 100 g melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T milk
  • 1.5 c flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1.5 c chocolate chunks

Create

  1. 180°C bake, grease the muffin tin (12 should be perfect).
  2. In a bowl, add the banana, sugar, butter, egg and milk – stir.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda – just, to combine.
  4. Add chocolate.
  5. Cook for about twenty minutes, or until golden on top.

Devonport, Auckland

Devonport, Auckland

Only a short 20 minute ferry ride away from Auckland’s CBD, visiting the seaside village of Devonport can sometimes feel like a whole world away from Auckland.

You can catch a ferry from Queen’s Wharf and it costs $12 for a return trip (although you can get a concession if you plan on making the trip more frequently). They leave regularly – every half hour on the hour for most hours of the day. Devonport is actually a great place to stay when you’re visiting Auckland. It’s a base away from the craziness of Auckland’s CBD, but is still oh-so-convenient. Accommodation prices tend to be lower; although it depends what you are after because the boutiquey stuff can get expensive quickly. There are direct ferries to Waiheke Island (see the Fuller’s timetable here) and there is plenty to do nearby. It takes quite a bit longer to get to by car, as you have to go right over the bridge – so I would avoid doing that if possible.

There are a number of things to do within Devonport itself, but being so small a lot if it may be weather dependent. In saying that though, it rained most of the time I was there but it is still small enough that in the rain breaks we were able to still cover most of the outdoorsy stuff.

When you arrive in Devonport, the main street, Victoria Road, is essentially straight ahead in front of you. The main street is jam-packed with restaurants, cafes (Manuka, Corelli’s and Portofino to name a few), boutique shops and the most well stocked second-hand bookshop (Bookmark) you ever will see. There’s definitely enough in and around Victoria Road to keep one’s self entertained for at least a few hours.

If the day happens to be a wet one, then continue up Victoria Road for a few hundred metres until you reach The Vic: Devonport’s own boutique cinema which also serves some of the best gelato in town. Once doubling as a music vennue, the main cinema sits with the screen at the back of a stage, and the surroundings were painted by someone who clearly used a palette of cutesie pastel colours. Another great indoor activity is visiting Devonport Chocolates. Not far from the main street, this boutique chocolatier is expensive but extremely charming. Luring you in with the offer of free samples, obviously it’s hard to say no – and it doesn’t take long to become mesmorised by the delicious smells and mouth-watering chocolates lining the walls. If you do purchase, I’m sure it will be well worth it – but be prepared to walk away with your pockets slightly lighter (although there’s no denying that you pay for what you get).

Hopefully the weather allows for some outside time, in which case I would head out east along King Edward Parade to North Head. You begin by walking alongside the waterfront, past the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum (another rainy day activity!) and right around the point, which brings you out at Cheltenham Beach. It is a stunning wee spot, rather fancied by kite-surfers, swimmers and the like. There are also some epic caves for exploring. You can also climb Mt Victoria (which was ironic, given we had come from Wellington) which isn’t too far at all and has an absolutely stunning church at its base.

A gorgeous wee spot that I would definitely recommend visiting if you get the chance.

 

 

Ferrero Rochers

Ferrero Rochers

Okay, so these aren’t the real deal – but they are the next best thing! It took me a while to get this recipe right, as Ferrero Rochers have such a creamy, indulgent texture (and flavour) that it was important to do it justice. I don’t think anyone will be confusing the two anytime soon, but these have the super added bonus of being made from entirely whole food ingredients, therefore they are much better for you!

Collect

  • 1 & 1/4 c raw hazelnuts (soaked overnight)
  • 1 & 1/4 c sesame seeds
  • 8 dates
  • 4 T cocoa
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • salt

Create

  1. 175°C fan-bake.
  2. Drain nuts and bake for 10 minutes. Stir them.
  3. Remove from oven – try remove the skins as much as you can – at least 80%. (I found this really painful & time consuming!)
  4. Blend 1/4 c hazelnuts.
  5. Add to the bowl with a teaspoon of cocoa.
  6. Take out 16 whole nuts for the middle of each ball.
  7. Add the remaining nuts and sesame seeds into blender.
  8. Add dates one by one – this will take about 8 minutes.
  9. Add the remaining ingredients and blend. If it is too crumbly add some water/coconut oil and if it is too oily freeze for ten minutes.
  10. Roll into balls and flatten with a spoon.
  11. Put the hazelnut in the middle and then roll the ball up around it.
  12. Roll in chopped hazelnut / cocoa mixture and then freeze.
Snickers Bliss Balls

Snickers Bliss Balls

I loved the bliss ball craze when it started. There were so many variations of these tasty little ‘healthy’ balls – so much better for you than the ‘butter and rum balls’ (albeit delicious) that my mum used to make for us. Peanut and chocolate is a winning combination, which is why I’ve opted to post this particular recipe. Another treat I like to eat from frozen, but the more you let them thaw out, the creamier they become (don’t go too far though!).

Collect

  • 1 c cashews
  • 1/2 c peanuts
  • 6 T peanut butter
  • 1 T honey
  • 3 T maple syrup
  • 3 T cocoa
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • salt

Create

  1. Blend cashews and peanuts, set aside.
  2. Blend peanut butter, honey, maple syrup, cocoa, vanilla and salt.
  3. Add the nuts.
  4. Squeeze into little round balls and freeze.
Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Who doesn’t love themselves a gooey, chocolate cookie? This recipe is just so great, I have made them so many times that I think I really have perfected them. The original recipe that I adapted them from used just plain milk chocolate chips, but I like to use broken up blocks of chocolate so that you get actual chunks of chocolate, and I also like to include a mixture of dark, milk and white chocolate. I think my key tip is to not over-beat the butter and sugar mixture, and also to make sure that the butter really is room temperature – don’t pull it out of the fridge moments before use and expect that sticking it in the microwave for a few minutes will do the trick!

Collect

  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 125 butter (room temperature)
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 t vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c chocolate

Create

  1. 200°C bake.
  2. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt.
  3. Separately, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla (but not too much!).
  4. Add the egg.
  5. Add the flour mixture.
  6. Stir in the chocolate.
  7. Spoon balls onto a greased tray (or baking paper) and flatten slightly.
  8. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes, or until appropriately gooey!
A happy camper!