Christmas Tree Brownies!

Christmas Tree BrowniesWith just over a week left until the big day, I found myself wondering what other awesome Christmas bakes I could try – then I came up with these little beauties. Christmas tree brownies! Not only are they delightfully gooey & rich, they’re really fun to decorate AND vegetarian & gluten free. It’s also a great recipe to get the kids involved in. What more could you want?!

One thing to note – these brownies work best if made the night before and allowed to cool completely before attempting to slice & decorate. Also – they are the most awesome, rich & gooey brownies you will ever make. (And that’s a KitchenMason promise!)

Here is what you will need to make 14.

For the Brownie

For the Decoration

  • 100g White Chocolate **
  • Pack of Candy Canes **
  • Red/Green Sugar Balls **

Essential Equipment

  • 30 x 20cm Rectangular Cake/Swiss Roll Tin

*Regular self raising flour works fine if you don’t need it to be gluten free.

** Most are vegetarian/gluten free but check the label just in case.

 

Right, let’s get cracking!

Grease and line the cake tin and set to one side until needed.

Preheat your oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C.

Break the dark & milk chocolate into a large bowl and add the butter & salt. Gently melt either in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in the microwave.

Stir until smooth & shiny then leave to one side to cool.

Christmas Tree BrowniesEither in an electric stand mixer with the balloon whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric hand whisk – whisk the eggs for at least 3-4 minutes until really light and pale.

It should leave a slight trail when you remove the balloon whisk/beaters.

Christmas Tree BrowniesAdd in the muscovado sugar & vanilla extract and whisk again until evenly blended but still fairly light in texture.

Christmas Tree BrowniesIn thirds, pour in the cooled chocolate & gently fold through using a rubber spatula.

Sift over the flour and carefully fold this in – just until you can’t see any more lumps of flour and the mixture is smooth & still quite light.

Christmas Tree BrowniesPour the mixture into the prepared cake tin – be careful not to overfill as it will rise slightly.

Then bake in the preheated oven for approx 25-30 minutes.

Christmas Tree Brownies

Christmas Tree BrowniesAs mentioned before, it is best to make these brownies the night before and allow to cool completely before attempting to remove from the tin & slice.

So, when completely cooled  -run a spatula down the sides of the brownie to release from the tin then gently lift out and place on a chopping board/mat.

Now, I’m a bit of a perfectionist so yeah – I got a ruler out at this point! But basically, cut the brownie into 14 triangles. You will have 4 spare bits for you to taste test too! (Clearly I couldn’t wait to take a photo…)

Christmas Tree BrowniesTake each candy cane out the wrapper and snap into pieces approx 3cm long.

Place the brownies on a wire rack over a piece of newspaper & carefully insert a piece of candy cane into the base of each one.

Christmas Tree BrowniesMelt the white chocolate in either a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in the microwave and pour into a piping bag.

Snip the end and pipe ‘tinsel’ across each tree then place sugar balls down the edges in the chocolate for the baubles.

I found it best to decorate in half batches – just to ensure the chocolate doesn’t set before you have stuck the ‘baubles’ in.

Christmas Tree BrowniesAllow the chocolate to set for about 30-40 minutes or so before either devouring straight away or placing in nice presentation boxes to give as gifts to your loved ones.

I find it best to store these in an air tight container in the fridge – due to their extreme ‘gooeyness’ they can become a little delicate if stored at room temperature.

Christmas Tree BrowniesGo on, admit it – they’re SO cute aren’t they?! I think these make great little home made gifts for people and, with the decoration element – you can let the kids go nuts adding edible glitters, hundreds and thousands or whatever else they can think of!

Don’t forget to enter my awesome competition to win a fabulous Scanpan Roasting Tray! You can enter via the Website, Facebook or Twitter.

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies – until next time!

Miss KitchenMason

 

Oreo Truffles

Oreo TrufflesI don’t know about you but I always like to make edible gifts for Christmas. I think they’re much more personal & really show that you care. The trouble is, I always seem to spend much longer in the kitchen than I anticipated and most recipes I’ve tried are faffy, fiddly and far too much effort. NOT what you need in the run up to Christmas! As if there’s not enough to do already right?

These gorgeous Oreo Truffles are an absolute godsend! Not only are they really simple, they only take about an hour to make. It’s exactly what you’ve been looking for!

Here is what you will need to make approx 20 – 30 truffles. (Dependent on how large you make them.)

  • 1 x 154g Pack of Oreos
  • 225g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 300g White Chocolate
  • Any decoration of your choice (I used sprinkles)

In a food processor, blitz the whole pack of Oreo biscuits (cream filling too) until you’re left with fine crumbs.

Oreo TrufflesThen, preferably in an electric stand mixer, (but you can also just do it by hand in a large bowl) mix together the cream cheese & oreo biscuit crumbs until just combined.

Oreo TrufflesLine a baking sheet with cling film or foil and set to one side.

Roll teaspoon sized chunks of the mixture into balls and place onto the prepared tray. Yes it’s messy but for 10 minutes of dirty hands – it’s totally worth it!

Place the tray into the freezer for 30 minutes for the truffles to harden. This will make it much easier to cover later.

Oreo TrufflesWhen the truffles are chilled, break the white chocolate into a large bowl. Melt gently either in a microwave or set over a pan of barely simmering water.

Now you’re ready for the fun bit!

Get your decorations ready. I used some red and green sprinkles – you could use hundreds and thousands or whatever takes your fancy. Whatever you use, get it ready before you start coating the truffles with chocolate. Because they are so cold having come out the freezer – the chocolate will set pretty quickly so you need to decorate straight away.

Line a baking tray with non stick paper or a silicone baking mat.

Dump a truffle into the melted chocolate and, using a fork, cover in white chocolate before lifting (don’t stab it) & allowing any excess to drain away.

Oreo TrufflesPlace onto the baking tray, then straight away – sprinkle on your decoration. Repeat the process for each truffle until everything is used up.

Oreo TrufflesPop into the fridge to set for 20-30 minutes (it won’t take long) and that is it!

Place into cellophane bags tied with a pretty ribbon or into mini cupcake cases in a Christmas box and (reluctantly) give away to your loved ones.

Store in the fridge & eat within 5 days.

Oreo TrufflesYou could really mix these up if you wanted to. You could use milk chocolate instead of white or you could use golden Oreos instead of original chocolate. You could even melt milk chocolate and decorate over the white chocolate with zig zags instead of using sprinkles. You really can personalise these to whoever you’re planning on giving them to.

They’re delightfully delicious, sensationally moreish, insanely easy to make and you’re totally gona’ make them right? Of course you are!!

Hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason

White Chocolate & Cranberry Tiffin

White Chocolate & Cranberry TiffinIt’s the 1st of December tomorrow. Yeah, that came around quick didn’t it?! I’m kicking off the start of advent with this incredibly delightful and suitably festive White Chocolate & Cranberry Tiffin. It’s a little different to the rich, chocolate version I remember begging my Gran to make as a child, but my word – it’s just as heavenly!

Here is what you will need to make this gorgeous Christmassy treat. Makes up to 24 pieces dependent on how large you cut them.

(Recipe adapted from Jo Wheatley)

  • 300g Digestive Biscuits
  • 140g Unsalted Butter
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 3 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 1 tbsp Caster Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Malted Milk Powder *
  • 140g Dried Cranberries
  • 500g White Chocolate
  • Red Food Colouring (Optional)

Essential Equipment

  • 30 x 20 Rectangular Cake/Swiss Roll Tin

* I used Horlicks but you don’t need to buy a whole tub, just get one of the little ‘1 cup’ sachets that are about 30p – there’s plenty enough in one of those.

Lightly grease & line your cake tin and set to one side until needed.

Using either a food processor or a rolling pin and a plastic bag, blitz/bash the digestive biscuits until almost fine crumbs – but you want some chunky bits left in for added texture.

White Chocolate & Cranberry  TiffinIn a medium saucepan, gently heat the butter, salt, golden syrup, caster sugar & milk powder until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.

White Chocolate & Cranberry  TiffinPour the liquid over the breadcrumbs in a large bowl and mix until completely coated.

White Chocolate & Cranberry  TiffinThrow in the cranberries and give it a good mix. (You may wish to chop them a little first if they are large cranberries as this will help the mixture bond together better with fewer ‘gaps’)

White Chocolate & Cranberry  TiffinPress the mixture into the prepared tin then place into the fridge to harden/set for about 45mins to an hour.

White Chocolate & Cranberry  TiffinWhen the mixture has firmed up, we need to smother it in chocolate!

Break the white chocolate into a large bowl. Either in the microwave or set over barely simmering water, gently melt the chocolate until smooth and shiny.

White Chocolate & Cranberry  TiffinPour about 3 quarters of it over the tiffin. (Or all of it if you don’t want to do the following decorative step.)

White Chocolate & Cranberry  TiffinWith the remaining quarter, add in some red food colouring & mix. Then pour into a piping bag and snip the end.

Work quickly as the chocolate will set and the ‘feathering’ technique won’t work unless it is still melted.

Pipe stripes diagonally across the tiffin.

White Chocolate & Cranberry  TiffinThen take a cocktail stick and draw lines through the chocolate. First stoke down, then the next – upwards. Repeat until you have ‘feathered’ the whole thing.

(Yours will likely work better than mine – as I was taking photos, the chocolate was busy setting!)

White Chocolate & Cranberry  TiffinAllow to chill in the fridge for about 45mins to an hour before slicing.

If you want evenly sized pieces, run a sharp knife under hot water before slicing each piece. This will melt through the chocolate preventing it from snapping into random shapes.

White Chocolate & Cranberry  TiffinStore in an airtight container in the fridge and eat within 4 – 5 days.

And that’s about it! I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised with how this turned out. I’ve always fondly remembered tiffin the way that my Gran used to make it – very rich, sickly and packed with chocolate! (Just the way I like it.) This version however, is the same texture but a completely different flavour. You get the gorgeous, smooth white chocolate with the crunchy/chewy biscuit – and these wonderful bursts of cranberry sweetness in-between to bring it all together. It’s absolutely exquisite!

I hope you all enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies. Happy St.Andrews day & see you all next time!

Miss KitchenMason

 

Chocolate Celebration Cake!

 

Chocolate Celebration CakeThis weekend I celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time in my life. It’s not a typical British thing to do, but for my friend Shanni (who comes from across the pond) it’s a calendar must!

And what a fantastic evening it turned out to be. Shanni & her partner cooked literally the biggest turkey I have ever seen in my whole life and everyone else each brought something to add to the table. From mouth watering dauphinoise potatoes to sensational vegetarian bakes, literally everything I tried induced a combination of yummy noises, smiles & a happy tummy!

And what was my contribution? Pudding! I was under orders to make something chocolatey. But I didn’t want to make just any old chocolate cake, oh no. I wanted it to fit the theme! So using a recipe that I have made hundreds of times, I simply changed up the decoration & piping technique to turn a simple chocolate cake into a Thanksgiving showstopper. It’s amazing what gold shimmer spray can do! You should totally give this a try. I promise, it’s nowhere near as difficult as it looks.

Here is what you will need to make a 3  layer 20cm diameter cake.

For the Sponge

  • 160g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 560g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 400g Plain Flour
  • 100g Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 480ml Whole Milk, Room Temp
  • 4 Eggs, Room Temp
  • 2 tsp Chocolate Extract (Optional)

For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 540g Icing Sugar
  • 100g Cocoa Powder
  • 300g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 1 tsp Chocolate Extract (Optional)
  • Splash of Milk

For the Sugar Decorations (To be Made 24 hrs in Advance)

Essential Equipment

  • 3 x 20cm Round Loose Bottomed Cake Tins

I cannot stress enough how important it is to have all your ingredients at the same temperature before starting to mix. It really helps them to blend together & dramatically improves the texture of the final cake. So if you have the time – take all those chilled items out the fridge and leave on the side for an hour or two before starting. 

Ok! Lightly grease the 3 baking tins & line the bottoms with baking paper.

Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 170°C.

In either a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk, beat together the butter, sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder & salt until it forms a light sandy mixture.

Chocolate Celebration CakeBeat the milk, eggs & chocolate extract together in a jug using a fork. Then with the speed on low, gradually add two thirds of the liquid into the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and mix until it’s smooth, thick & shiny.

Chocolate Celebration CakeWith the speed on low again, add the remaining third of the liquid – then increase to medium and mix until smooth and shiny.

Chocolate Celebration CakeDivide the mixture evenly between the 3 prepared tins and bake in the lower section of the oven for 30-40 mins. To check if they’re cooked – insert a skewer into the middle. If it comes out clean, it’s cooked. If it has cake batter on it – it needs a little longer.

When cooked, allow to cool in the tins for about 30 minutes. Then take out the tins, peel off the baking paper & transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

Chocolate Celebration CakeOnto the buttercream.

Either in a stand mixer or a large glass bowl using an electric hand whisk, beat together the icing sugar, cocoa powder & butter until sandy in consistency.

Chocolate Celebration CakeWith the speed on low, add in the chocolate extract & small amounts of milk (a little at a time) to loosen the mixture. Remember, you can always add more in but you can’t take it out!

Once you see it turning darker in colour and smoother in texture – increase the speed to medium/high and beat until light and smooth. Leave to one side, or, if you want – you can make this up to a week in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Simply allow to come to room temperature & give it a good mix before using.

Chocolate Celebration CakeOnto the decoration.

There are several ways to tackle this. Either you can buy pre-coloured fondant icing OR you can buy plain white icing and colour it yourself using gel food colours. DO NOT use liquid food colouring as it will make the fondant way to soft to work with. Also remember to add a little colour at a time – again, you can always add more in but you can’t take it out.

Either way, all you need to do is roll out each colour (one at a time) on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar and cut out an assortment of leaf shapes & sizes.

Want to make them curvy shaped like mine? You don’t need to go out and buy loads of fancy, expensive moulds! All you need is a couple of sheets of cardboard, a rolling pin & some blu-tack.

Chocolate Celebration CakeOnce you’ve cut out your shapes, simply lay them however you like on your make shift moulds and allow to dry at room temperature for a minimum of 24 hours to ensure they keep their shape.

And that’s it!

Now for assembly.

If your cakes haven’t baked perfectly even (like mine never do!) carefully slice of the tops off to make each layer flat and the same size.

On a cake board or large serving plate, centrally place the bottom layer. I use this one cut side up to make sure you get a flat foundation.

Load a piping bag with a large round nozzle and fill with some buttercream frosting. Start by piping blobs around the edge.

Chocolate Celebration CakeContinue by piping a spiral within the ‘blobbed’ edge – from the outside in. (Thanks to John Whaite for this Tip!)

Chocolate Celebration CakePop the next layer on top, cut side down – see how pretty it looks? No one will ever know it doesn’t look the same in the middle as they’re only going to shovel it in their mouth anyway! Repeat the piping process on this layer.

Chocolate Celebration CakeThen add on your final layer. (Again, cut side down.) This time, we’re going to pipe blobs all over. So, starting from the outside and working your way to the middle, start blobbing!

Chocolate Celebration CakeNow all that remains is to lay on your leaf decorations however you like and spray all over with some gold shimmer spray. If your board looks a bit empty like mine did, simply pipe a border of blobs around the bottom of the cake.

Chocolate Celebration CakeI told you it wasn’t as difficult as it looked! I love this cake recipe as it’s pretty much just a case of chuck it all in, mix it, bake it, done. No faffing around for ages – just pile it all in! You could very easily adapt the decorations to suit any occasion too. For example, get some green, white & red fondant – cut out Christmas shapes (trees, presents, snowmen etc) & make exactly the same as above, maybe with some silver shimmer spray to add that extra ‘wow’.

All that remains for me to say is a huge thank you to Shanni & David for hosting such an enjoyable Thanksgiving feast for us all. And to all you lovely lot in the USA – Happy Thanksgiving for Thursday!

Hope you all enjoyed the post, until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

Stained Glass Cookies

Stained Glass Cookies (Resize to fit)-3With all the beautiful colours of Autumn surrounding us at the moment, I wanted a bake that would reflect that for this week’s post. These beautifully eye catching stained glass biscuits do just that! And not only are they delightfully delicious,  they are also stunning to look at too, don’t you agree?

So without further ado, here is what you will need to make approx 24 cookies.

  • 125g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 100g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 1/2 Beaten Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 225g Plain Flour
  • 1 Bag Boiled Sweets (assorted colours)

Essential Equipment

  • 6cm Round Cookie Cutter
  • Any Leaf Shaped Cutter (approx 4cm)

This week, I have also created another step by step video tutorial for you to enjoy.

And here is the usual step by step guide:

To make the dough, cream together the butter & sugar in either a stand mixer or a large glass bowl using an electric hand whisk. Mix until light & fluffy.

Add in the egg & vanilla extract and mix until smooth & light.

In thirds, sift in the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until it comes together to form a crumbly dough.

Flatten into a disc, wrap in cling film & refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, sort the boiled sweets into colours then blitz each colour individually in a food processor until almost powder. (Small ‘crystals’ are fine.) Set to one side until needed.

Remove the dough from the fridge & roll out to approx 3-4mm thick in-between 2 sheets of baking paper. Using the 6cm round cutter, cut out discs and place them onto a baking tray. Refrigerate for a further 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 190°C/Fan 180°C.

Place 12 of the dough discs evenly apart on a lined baking tray. Then, using a leaf shaped cutter of your choosing, cut out the centre of each disc. (Don’t throw these away, either roll them up and reuse the dough or bake them as they are – they’re so cute!)

Carefully fill the centres with the powdered sweets. Use whatever colours you like but try not to get any on the actual dough itself. (Don’t throw any leftovers away! See end of post for why.)

Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them. The biscuit should be just browning on the edges & the centres should have melted and will likely be bubbling.

Allow to cool on the tray for about 5 minutes until the centres have gone hard. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat the process for the remaining discs.

Store in a metal tin. (Metal tin’s ensure they keep their crunch whereas a plastic tub will make them go soft.)

Stained Glass CookiesAnd there you have it! Aren’t they just beautiful? I think they look so effective and you could easily adapt them (using different cutters) to suit any occasion or season. For example, why not swap the leaves for Christmas trees & snowflakes? Then add a hole in the top, thread through a pretty ribbon and BOOM! Gorgeous Christmas tree decorations! Another great thing is that you will likely have quite a bit of powdered boiled sweets left over. Simply transfer these to food bags & store in an airtight container ready for you to use on your next stained glass creation.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies, until next week.

Miss KitchenMason.

Mango & White Chocolate Cheesecake!

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakeMy folks came round for Sunday dinner and I wanted to make a refreshing & light dessert to finish. This stunning cheesecake was just the ticket! It’s beautifully light & the perfect end to, what is usually, quite a heavy meal.

So! Here is what you will need to make about 8 fairly generous portions.

(Recipe adapted from Here.)

  • 150g Digestive Biscuits
  • 50g Unsalted Butter
  • 425g Tin Mango Slices
  • Zest & Juice of 1 Lime
  • 300g White Chocolate
  • 280g Philadelphia Original *
  • 150ml Double Cream

Essential Equipment

  • 22cm (8 1/2″) Springform Pan
  • Food Processor

* Do NOT substitute the full fat original cheese for a lighter version or it will not set.

Lightly grease and line the base of your tin, set to one side until needed.

Roughly break the biscuits into a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low/medium heat.

Pour the butter into the biscuit crumbs and mix well, then press firmly into the base of the prepared tin. Place into the fridge whilst we make the filling.

Mango & White Chocolate Cheesecake

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakeDrain the mangoes and place the slices into a food processor along with the zest & juice of the lime.

Blitz until you get a nice smooth purée.

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakeGently melt the chocolate either in the microwave or in a glass bowl over a pan of barely simmering water.

In another bowl, lightly whip the double cream until soft peaks form.

Now to bring it all together!

In a large bowl, whisk the Philadelphia cream cheese until soft & smooth.

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakeCarefully beat in the melted white chocolate and the whipped cream until it’s all blended together.

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakePour in half the mango purée and stir together. Then pour the mixture over the biscuit base.

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakeDot the remaining mango purée on the surface and, using a skewer, swirl it around to create a hap-hazard pattern.

Mango & White Chocolate Cheesecake

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakePlace in the fridge to set for a minimum of 3 hours, preferably overnight before removing from the tin & serving.

Mango & White Chocolate Cheesecake

Mango & White Chocolate CheesecakeThis was a HUGE hit with both me and the parents! Logic says that with all that white chocolate, it’s going to be really sweet but the mango & lime purée cuts through it beautifully. It’s so refreshing and gorgeously light, definitely a recipe I will be making again in the future! Also helps that it’s a really easy, make ahead recipe. So perfect for dinner parties too.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post my lovelies, until next time!

Miss KitchenMason

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Cinder Toffee

Chocolate Cinder ToffeeSo Halloween is over. Up next? Bonfire Night!

I know what you’re thinking… you want a super quick, super easy, naturally vegetarian AND gluten free recipe right? Give this chocolate cinder toffee a go and I promise, you won’t regret it! Alternatively referred to as hokey pokey or honeycomb, it’s like making your very own, home made Crunchie bars. Awesome right?

In other news this week, I’ve also tried something a little different for you lovely lot. It’s the first ever KitchenMason step by step video! I hope you like it.

Alternatively, here’s the usual guide you’ve come to know and love.

What you need:

  • 2 tbsp Honey
  • 2 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 150 – 200g Milk Chocolate*

* for Gluten Free, check the wrapper as some are/some aren’t.

Line a 25cm square tin with baking paper and grease lightly with oil. Or, like me, just use a silicone tin as it won’t stick.

In a large pan, add the honey, golden syrup and sugar. Mix it all together now as it’s not wise to do so when over the heat.

Chocolate Cinder ToffeePlace the pan over a high heat and bring to the boil.

Bring the mixture to 145°C (it will take approx 2-3 minutes from boiling point – if you don’t have a thermometer, watch the video to see what it should look like.)

Now for the magic. Immediately turn off the heat, chuck in the bicarbonate of soda and give it a good whisk until you can’t see any more bicarb.

Quickly pour it into your prepared tin and leave to cool & set for 30 minutes.

When it’s hard, cut into large chunks.

Chocolate Cinder ToffeeEither in a microwave or a glass bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, gradually melt the chocolate until smooth.

Place a sheet of greaseproof paper onto a baking sheet. Then dip each piece of cinder toffee into the chocolate, and allow to set on the sheet.

Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Cinder ToffeeSee, I told you it was quick and easy!

It’s gorgeous stuff, I absolutely love it. Like glistening gold dust smothered in a smooth, silky chocolate coat… drool. Yeah, they ain’t gonna last long that’s for sure!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post, until next time my lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason