Archive of ‘Chocolate’ category

Honey Oat Cookies with Coffee Buttercream & Chain Bridge Honey Farm

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Bees are quite amazing, aren’t they?  They’re just buzzing around, collecting pollen and turning it in to honey like it’s nothing, but it’s really something.  Honey is one of my favourite toast accompaniments, my favourite being set honey – I love the slight grainy texture and softer flavour.

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Last weekend I went to visit a friend who has just moved to Berwick-upon-Tweed.  As she’s new to the area we did a little exploring in the beautiful nearby countryside and came across the Chain Bridge Honey Farm, complete with shop, visitors centre and a cafe on a double decker.

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The farm sits on the River Tweed which marks the border between Scotland and England, a short walk away is the Union Chain Bridge, named because it connects the two nations and was built, in 1820, using Welsh steel.  It’s a really pretty spot and you can have some fun being in Scotland with one step and England the next!

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Chocolate & Coconut Macaroons

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I found this cookbook in my grandparents house a couple of years ago when we were tidying it up to sell.  It was published in the early 1970’s by local Inverness newspaper the Highland News and is made up of recipes submitted by readers from the area.  Everyone who has submitted a recipe has there name and address published as a footnote, I can’t imagine that happening nowadays!

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The name ‘Highland Housewives Cookbook’ sums up exactly the style of the traditional, classic recipes.  My Granny’s copy has been well used and my favourite thing about this copy is that she has written the date beside some of the recipes she must have made, the earliest I could find was 1983.

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I’ve flicked through this book many times looking at all of these dates but it was only last week when I was searching for a recipe to post that I spotted this…’Kirsty, Sunday, 1995′ next to the millionaire shortbread recipe.  That’s me, at 10, baking millionaire shortbread with my Granny on a Sunday afternoon, which is really weird as I mentioned this exact thing a few weeks back when making the fudge for this recipe.

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My second favourite thing about this cookbook is this girl, from one of the first pages…

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…she’s so sassy and stylish, even with a pan on her head!

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The idea behind this book so very charming, it seems much more personal having the contributors information beside their submission.  I think it would be really fun to release an updated version of this book back in Inverness.  It would be really interesting to see how the recipes people are using have changed and adapted or if the classics really are still popular.  I’m fairly certain we wouldn’t need recipes titled ‘Cooking by Electriciy’ or ‘Cooking by Gas’ but back then they wouldn’t have needed ‘Meals in Minutes’ or ‘Low Carb/Fat/GI/Insert Other Diet Trend Here’.  I’m happy to coordinate and recipe test the new book (I’m certain a lot more goes in to publishing a cookbook than that) if anyone out there is interested in paying me!

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So, until that day, I shall continue to bake and publish right here.  I was looking for a quick, tasty recipe that included coconut – I had an open bag that needed used up.  This perfectly fits the bill and I adore coconut macaroons, it was win-win.

The quote from the contributor, Mrs M Norris, states ‘…this is a treat for all the family.  My mother handed on to me this simple recipe many years ago.’

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Chocolate Fudge Shortbread with Pistachios and Sea Salt

chocolate fudge shortbread with pistachios and sea salt

The smell of boiling butter, sugar and condensed milk is extremely evocative for me, and I had actually forgotten that until I made the fudge in this recipe.  It’s an overwhelmingly sweet smell with a slight waft of burnt sugar every so often.  It reminds me of being younger and baking millionaire shortbread with my mum and granny on a Sunday afternoon.  Once the caramel is on the shortbread and the leftovers cooled in the pan, finishing the remains off with a teaspoon in such a treat….but I digress, this is not a millionaire shortbread recipe!

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A couple of weeks ago I made cookies with chocolate, fudge and peanuts which proved to be a delicious flavour combination.  This got me thinking…how else could I combine biscuit, fudge, chocolate and nuts.  As you will have noticed from the title of this post, these squares don’t exactly have a catchy title but I simply couldn’t miss anything out as each element is extremely important to the overall flavour.

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The shortbread, buttery and crisp,  gives you a solid base to hold on to for the few seconds it takes to devour and the texture contrasts with the creamy fudge.  The fudge is excellent, takes a little while to make (see below) but is most definitely worth it. Dark chocolate is essential here because we have a whole lot of sweetness below.  I chose pistachios to sprinkle generously on top but peanuts would also have worked really well.  The pistachios just look so pretty though and I love them.  Just as the chocolate mellows out the super sweet fudge the sea salt cuts through any sickly sweetness and intensifies the flavours.

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Chocolate Peanut & Fudge Cookies

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Bonjour!

I have returned from a wonderful four days in Paris which consisted of a lot of rain, crepes, plenty of tennis watching and finally sunshine!  It was really great fun and it’s a beautiful city. I have pictures, and hopefully a Julia Child French recipe, that I’ll share at the weekend but for now….cookies!

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I may or may not have fist pumped when I ate one of these still warm from the oven.  I was curious to see if throwing a bunch of chopped/chipped things into a cookie batter had worked, and it most definitely had.

I made these as a gift for a guy friend, so I was trying to think manly flavours.  Dark chocolate, salted peanuts and fudge….sounds good to me.  I’d planned on just going chocolate chip and roasted peanut cookies, buying plain nuts and roasting them myself with a sweet/salty coating but it got really sunny and I spent too much time outside for making nuts as well as cookies.  So, instead I added fudge.

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The fudge seems to have worked out really well in these cookies, it has melted down into nuggets of sweet chewy goodness, balancing out the dark chocolate.  Both of these flavours are enhanced by the salty peanuts.

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Chocolate Orange Scones

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I think it’s time for me to start baking some classics.  Every baker should have a handful of go-to recipes in their repertoire to pull out of the bag when required.  I’m talking vanilla sponge, chocolate chip cookies, banana loaf, pancakes (I know, not really baking) and….scones!

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Well, that was my intention.  I ended up adding orange zest and dark chocolate chips to these scones.  They taste really good, so I don’t actually feel too bad about it.  All the properties you want in a classic scone are still here, slightly crispy golden tops that are fluffy and moist inside, with the added bonus of chocolate!

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I am no scone expert but I’m getting there and these were a definite success.  So good that the cat I was looking after stole one from under a tea towel in my kitchen and carried a whole scone through to the living room!

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