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27 April 2008 @ 03:08 pm
Brownies, Chewy Anzac Biscuits, Anzac Slice, Sponge Cake  
Well, it's been a while. And now it's time for a multitude of recipes because I have been baking up a storm. The people I work with have been benefiting from it, since I don't like having all that stuff around the house. Just a wee piece for me. Maybe two...

First of all, the best brownies I have ever tasted. Now, brownies are like chilli (for which I also have a recipe and will be posting later) - everyone has their own version and everyone thinks their version is the best. Let me tell you, mine is the best (it's not mine, really - I got it from some magazine). When I took them to work, everyone went insane over them.


The recipe says that it makes 16, but I usually cut them into teeny pieces of 24, since they are so rich. I guess it's just a slab, you could cut as many or as few as you like.

200g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
200g butter, chopped
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup plain flour, sifted
180g good quality white chocolate, chopped (I use good quality choc bits - I can't be arsed cutting up two lots of chocolate, it wrecks my knives)
1 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a 3cm deep, 16.5cm x 26cm slab pan with baking paper, allowing a 2cm overhang at both long ends.

2. Combine dark chocolate and butter in a heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered on HIGH for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every minute with a metal spoon until almost melted. Stir until smooth (you might need a whisk at this point).

3. Add cocoa and sugar to warm chocolate mixture. Stir until cocoa dissolves. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4. Add flours, stir until just combined. Fold in white chocolate and walnuts. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes* or until a skewer inserted into the centre has moist crumbs clinging. Cool completely in pan before cutting into pieces.

*My oven sucks and it usually takes about 45-50 mins. Keep an eye on it - you don't want it all over-cooked and hard.


It was Anzac Day last week. I told Ben that I was making Anzac biscuits and he replied, "That's unusually patriotic of you." It is true that I don't generally give a rat's about "Days", but it's a good excuse to do some baking so what the hell. Lots of people like crunchy Anzac bikkies, but I prefer mine chewy.


Biscuits

Makes about 24

1 cup (150g) plain flour
1 cup (90g) rolled oats
1 cup (85g) desiccated coconut
3/4 cup (155g) brown sugar
125g butter
2 tbs golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the oats, coconut and brown sugar.

Put the butter, golden syrup and 2 tbs water in a small saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until melted. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda.

Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.

Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Place on the trays, about 5cm apart. Press with a fork to flatten slightly. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Set aside on the trays for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack so it cools completely.

Slice

Makes 20-ish

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup dessicated coconut
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
125g butter
2 tbs golden syrup

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Lightly grease an 18cm x 28cm slice pan. In a large bowl, combine oats, sugar, coconut and sifted flours.

Heat butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan on low for 1-2 minutes, until butter is melted and mixture is well-combined.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Add butter mixture and combine well. Press firmly into prepared pan using base of a glass. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.


Despite the fact that I cook a lot, and I'm pretty brave about trying new recipes, I had never made a sponge before, and I was well scared of them, I can tell you. But Lily wanted one for her birthday, so I bit the bullet and gave it a go. The first step was to find the right recipe, because I find a lot of sponges to be too "eggy". Also, I don't have two round cake tins the same size, so this making-two-and-sandwiching-them-together palaver was out the window. Finally I found just what I was looking for in that Australian cook's bible The Cook's Companion. Since I have not yet managed to convince Ben that spending $700 on a KitchenAid Mixer is a great idea, it was pretty time-consuming standing there doing the egg whites with a little handheld Sunbeam electric beater (probably took me close to 15 minutes), but it was worth it. This cake was lovely. Lil said it was better than her Grandma's (she may have been lying to spare my feelings), and Ben was impressed as well. It's very light and airy, and perfect for when you feel like something sweet but not heavy, or when you're out to impress visitors. The recipe here uses passionfruit filling or something, but I just filled it with jam and whipped cream and topped it with a dusting of sifted icing sugar. Simple but perfect.

(I am posting it verbatim in case I muck up and miss some vital thing.)



The recipe for this exquisitely airy cake was given to me by a friend who knew I was desperate to find the secret of the feather-light passionfruit sponge cake I could buy at seaside towns. She was sure she had the secret, and after making this recipe I think she might be right. It is absolutely essential to use a tin of the correct size. Do not be a disbeliever when you see the small amount of mixture that goes into the tin. I was, and had cake mix all over my oven. As it rises in such a spectacular manner I have given quantities for 1 cake only. So that there is a perfect balance between filling and cake I prefer to split and fill 1 cake rather than make 2. However, the recipe can easily be doubled if you prefer.

60g cornflour
2 teaspoons custard powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup castor sugar
firmly whipped cream

Preheat oven to 170C. Butter a 20cm x 5cm deep round cake tin and line it with baking paper. Sift dry ingredients, except sugar, twice. Beat egg whites and sugar in an electric mixer until thick and meringue-like.

Beat in egg yolks one at a time. Fold in dry ingredients gently but thoroughly.

Spoon mixture into tine and place in middle of oven. Bake for 18-20 mintues or until cake feels springy when touched lightly in centre. Remove and cool for a minute on a wire rack, away from draughts, then slip cake out of tin and peel off paper. Invert cake on a clean tea towel and cool completely, then split and sandwich with cream.

Passionfruit Icing

pulp of passionfruit
firmly whipped cream
pure icing sugar, sifted

To make the 'icing', mix passionfruit pulp with a small amount of cream. Sweeten to taste with icing sugar and spread over top of sponge.