Nutella Cheesecake!

Nutella CheesecakeOk, this recipe is an absolute no brainer. It’s SO freakin’ tasty, ridiculously easy to make and a perfect, make ahead, dinner party recipe. There are literally no bad words to be said about this sensationally simple & delicious dessert. So! Here is what you will need to make 8 generous portions. (Or 4 if you are seriously greedy & pregnant like me hahaha!)

(Adapted from Rasa Malaysia a fabulous blog with loads of great recipes!)

  • 285g Digestive Biscuits
  • 60g Unsalted Butter
  • 1 x 400g Jar of Nutella
  • 90g Chopped Hazelnuts
  • 450g Philadelphia Cheese (Original) Room Temp
  • 65g Icing Sugar

Essential Equipment

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

Note – Do NOT use a low fat or cheap version of the cream cheese. Only Philadelphia Original full fat will set properly. Trust me, I’ve tried!

First and foremost, lightly grease and line the base of the springform pan.

Then gently melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat.

In a food processor, add the digestive biscuits, the melted butter & 1 tbsp of Nutella. Blitz until it forms a fine, sandy texture.

Nutella CheesecakeAdd in 25g of the chopped hazelnuts & blitz again until it just starts to clump together.

Nutella CheesecakePress the biscuit into the base of the lined tin. Press firmly & smooth out with the back of a metal spoon then place into the fridge whilst we get on with the filling.

Nutella CheesecakeEither in a large bowl with an electric hand whisk or a freestanding mixer with the beater attachment – beat the cream cheese & icing sugar until smooth.

Nutella CheesecakeThen add in the remainder of the the Nutella and mix until you can’t see any more white & it’s nice and smooth.

Nutella CheesecakePour the filling on top of the biscuit base and smooth out as best as you can with a spatula.

Nutella CheesecakeSprinkle over the remaining chopped hazelnuts then pop into the fridge to set for a minimum of 4 hours. Overnight is better if you can though.

Nutella CheesecakeAnd that is pretty much it, I told you it was easy!

Nutella CheesecakeIt really is the perfect dinner party dessert. It only takes about 15 minutes to make then the rest of the hard work is down to the fridge. Allowing you to spend more valuable time with your guests, who by the way – will be BEGGING you for the recipe! I mean seriously, who doesn’t like Nutella??

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

Miss KitchenMason

Salted Caramel Choux Buns

Salted Caramel Choux BunsOh yeeeeah! This one got me really excited! I’ve always loved salted caramel but for some, incredibly bizarre reason, I have never actually made anything salted caramel in my life. I know, it’s like a crime against baking!

As soon as I realised, I decided to act immediately and make the most salted caramel thing I could think of. These sensational salted caramel choux buns! Now if you’ve never made choux pastry before, don’t be alarmed. It really isn’t as difficult as everyone says it is. It’s actually very easy once you know the basics. So just follow my step by step guide and I promise you good results.

Right, here is what you will need to make 14 of the most incredible pastries in the whole world – EVER:

The Salted Caramel

  • 75g Unsalted Butter
  • 50g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 50g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 100g Golden Syrup
  • 125ml Double Cream
  • approx 2 tsp Sea Salt

For The Choux Pastry

  • 220ml Water
  • 80g Unsalted Butter
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Generous Pinch of Sugar
  • 125g Plain Flour
  • 220g Beaten Egg (approx 4 Eggs) Room Temp *

For the Filling

  • 750ml Double Cream
  • 1 Portion of Salted Caramel (Ingredients above)

The Caramel Icing

  • 60g Unsalted Butter
  • 110g Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 120g Icing Sugar

The Chocolate Drizzle (Optional)

  • 75g Dark Chocolate
  • 1-2 tbsp Milk

*I do recommend that you weigh the beaten egg rather than just using 4 whole eggs. Obviously eggs come in various sizes but weight is absolute and will guarantee a good outcome.

Ok, yes there’s a lot of components and it’s a bit of a labour of love. I can assure you though, it is 100% worth it!

Let’s get started.

* Place a large glass bowl into the fridge to chill ready for the choux pastry later *

To make the salted caramel,  place the butter, both sugars and golden syrup in a small saucepan over a medium heat and melt together. Bring it to the boil and allow to simmer for 3 minutes. (Swirl once or twice if you need to.)

Salted Caramel Choux BunsTurn down the heat, add in the cream and give it a good stir. Now, half a tsp at a time – add the salt, stirring well and tasting in-between each addition. (WARNING – be very careful not to burn yourself as it will still be hot!)

When it’s right for you, decant into a bowl, cover with cling film and pop into the fridge to chill until needed later.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsOnto the choux pastry.

Lightly grease two large baking sheets (or line with silicone baking mats) and preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 190°C.

In a medium sized saucepan, add the water, butter, salt & sugar. Heat until the butter has melted and it just comes to the boil.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsWith the pan still over the heat, dump in the flour and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until it comes together to form one lump of dough.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsRemove from the heat and tip the dough into that bowl you chilled in the fridge earlier. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsNow you need the elbow grease!

A little at a time, add the beaten egg to the dough and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon in-between each addition.

At first it will split and seem like it is never going to come together – but it will, trust me. Just keep going.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsYou are after what they call a ‘dropping consistency.’ This basically means that when you lift up a large amount of the dough, it should drop back to the bowl within 5 seconds.

It will look a little something like this…

Salted Caramel Choux BunsPour the pastry into a large piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle.

Evenly spaced out, pipe 14 ‘blobs’ about 5cm in diameter. Try and keep them all the same shape and size if you can but don’t worry too much. I actually find the sporadic irregularity of choux pastry quite charming.

 (or line with silicone baking mats) Gently dampen the tops with a little cold water. (If there are any ‘spikes’ of pastry, carefully pat them down a little.)

Pop them straight into the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

Take them out of the oven. Using either a skewer or a sharp knife, poke an air hole into each one then place straight back into the oven for a further 10 minutes. This will help to dry out the inside and prevent them from collapsing.

When they are crispy & golden – remove from the oven and place onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsMeanwhile, let’s make the filling.

You could use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment but I like to do this by hand as you can very easily over whisk cream and it will begin to churn into butter. Not what you want!

So, ideally using a large bowl and whisk – whip the cream until soft peaks form.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsRemove the salted caramel you made earlier from the fridge and add to the cream in thirds. Carefully fold in using a spatula until it’s all smooth & blended together.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsI used a Piping Tube nozzle which made life a lot easier but if you don’t have one, just use your judgement and pick one you do have. So, prepare your piping bag with your chosen nozzle and add in the filling.

If you need to, expand those air holes you made earlier. Then insert the nozzle and squeeze in the filling. Be careful not to over do it though or they may burst.

When they’re all filled, leave to one side whilst we make the caramel icing.

In a small saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar & milk. Bring it to the boil then simmer for 2 minutes.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsRemove from the heat and add in the icing sugar. Beat until smooth.

Salted Caramel Choux BunsIf it starts to set before you’ve covered all your buns – just pop it back over the heat again to melt a little and stir well.

Spoon the warm icing over each bun then allow to set at room temperature. (This should happen relatively quickly.)

Salted Caramel Choux BunsNow if you want to make them look really tempting, make this quick chocolate drizzle.

Simply break the dark chocolate into a large bowl and add in the milk. Then either in the microwave or over a pan of barely simmering water – gently melt until shiny and smooth.

Pour into a piping bag and snip the end. Pipe zig zags over each bun, stand back, and marvel at your beautiful creations…

Salted Caramel Choux BunsI mean seriously… look at them…

Salted Caramel Choux BunsOk, you’ve waited long enough. Now…. FILL YOUR FACE!! Hahahaha! They’re good right?? I told you they were worth it.

These are honestly one of the nicest things I have ever baked in my kitchen and salted caramel is, hands down, one of my all time favourite flavours.

I really hope you enjoyed the post, so much so – you give it a go yourself!

Until next time lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies!

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint CookiesOn a lazy Sunday, it’s very common for me to get the urge to bake. It almost always ends up being something sweet, and definitely needs to be quick & easy to create. These little beauties are no exception! Whenever I’m searching for a simple, ‘chuck it all in’ recipe, I usually need to look no further than the Hummingbird Bakery book. It always answers my baking prayers. So! Here is what you will need to make about 20-25 cookies. (Recipe adapted to what I had in my cupboards at the time.)

  • 60g Dark Chocolate
  • 110g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 40g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Peppermint Essence
  • 125g Plain Flour
  • 30g Cocoa Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt

For the Filling

  • 80g White Chocolate
  • 3-4 tbsp Double Cream
  • 1 tsp Peppermint Essence
  • Green Food Colouring Gel (Optional)

Either in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in a microwave – gently melt the dark chocolate, mix until smooth and leave to one side to cool.

In a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using an electric hand whisk) cream together the butter, the golden caster sugar & brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint CookiesThen add in the egg yolk, vanilla extract & peppermint essence. Mix well until it’s all nice and smooth.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint CookiesPour in the cooled, melted chocolate and mix until it’s all blended in.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint CookiesLastly, sift in the flour, cocoa powder & salt. Mix it all together one last time until a smooth cookie dough forms and you can’t see any more flour.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint CookiesWrap the dough up in a piece of cling film, flatten into a disc and chill in the fridge for about 40 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 170°C/Fan 160°C and line a large baking tray with baking paper/silicone baking mat.

When the dough has chilled, roll tablespoon sized amounts into little balls.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint CookiesPlace as many as will fit on the baking tray and pop the rest in the fridge for the meantime. (They won’t spread a lot but allow a little room in-between just in case.)

Using your thumb (surprise surprise) press a reasonably deep dent into the middle of each cookie.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies-6Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for approx 15 mins or until they are slightly firm and just starting to crack a little on the edges.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies-6Allow to sit on the tray for a minute or two then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat the process for the remaining cookie balls.

Whilst they are cooling, make the filling.

Chop the white chocolate as finely as you can and place into a bowl. (This will help it to melt quickly.)

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies-6Either in the microwave or in a small saucepan over a low heat, bring the cream just up to boiling point then pour straight over the white chocolate.

Don’t mix it, just allow to stand for a minute until the chocolate has melted.

Then give it a good stir until smooth and shiny.

At this point, add in the peppermint essence and, if you like – a little green food colouring gel.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies-6Pour the filling into a piping bag and pipe blobs into the middle of each cookie. Place into the fridge for approx half an hour to let the filling set and there you have it! Mint chocolate thumbprint cookies.

Mint Chocolate Thumbprint CookiesProvided you don’t scoff them all straight away (which is a very high risk!) store the cookies at room temperature in a metal tin lined with baking/greaseproof paper.

I love my biscuits. But me being British, I guess you wouldn’t expect anything less! Whether it’s a rich tea, a choc chip cookie or a thumbprint cookie, there’s nothing better than a good cuppa and a biccy. FACT!

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

Miss KitchenMason

Crushed Baby Potatoes

Crushed Baby PotatoesI always seem to run out of ideas for sides to have with meals.  But I definitely get bored with the usual pasta, rice & salads. This side dish is quick, easy and something a little bit different to the regular mashed, boiled, roast or baked. A really tasty and satisfying dish that appears to be creeping into my meals more & more often!

Here is what you will need to serve 2 as a side dish. (Easily doubled)

  • 450g Baby Potatoes
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • Salt & Pepper

Bring a large pan of generously salted water to the boil.

Add in the potatoes – being careful not to splash yourself. Bring back up to the boil then cook for 15mins until starting to soften.

Crushed Baby PotatoesDrain the potatoes well then gently crush with a fork. You want a good mix of large & small chunks.

Crushed Baby PotatoesSwap that fork for a spoon so you don’t crush the potatoes any further. Drizzle in the olive oil,  dot in the butter and add a fairly generous helping of salt & pepper to season. Give it a mix and that’s it!

Crushed Baby PotatoesAnd there you have it, a simple yet temptingly inviting side dish that’s ready in less than 30mins! Perfect for midweek meals or easy entertaining. You can even play about with the flavours. Got some fresh herbs to use up? Chop ‘em up and mix ‘em in. Mustard in the fridge? Add a teaspoon or 2 for an extra kick. You could just about chuck anything in to give it a flavourful boost or simply enjoy it as it is.

I hope you enjoyed the post lovelies!

Until next time.

Miss KitchenMason

 

 

Tomato Soup with a Hint of Basil

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilNow, it may seem a little early for a soup recipe but in actual fact, it’s the perfect time of year to get started! With all the beautiful late summer veg in the gardens, it’s exactly the right time to start stocking your freezer ready for Autumn & Winter.

My lovely Gran is a very keen gardener. Every year she surprises me with how much she gets out of her garden! Recently, she’s had a lot of tomatoes ripening very quickly that she needs to get eaten. I thought I would help her out and turn all those beauties into a delicious soup for the both of us to enjoy.

Here is what you will need to make approx 6 portions.

  • 1kg – 1.25kg Ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Celery Stick
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Tomato Purée
  • Generous pinch of Sugar
  • 2 Bay Leaves, each torn in half
  • 3 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1.2 litres Vegetable Stock *
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Basil

*I used 4 x Knorr Vegetable Stock Pots dissolved in 1.2 litres of boiling water.

Essential Equipment

  • Large pot with a Lid
  • Stick Blender or Food Processor

First thing’s first, you need to prepare your veg.

I removed the skins from my tomatoes. It’s totally optional but actually quite simple to do.

Simply fill a jug or bowl with boiling water and submerge your tomatoes for 30 secs or so. You should actually start to see some of the skins splitting.

Then, using a spoon – remove the tomatoes from the water and simply peel the skins straight off.

Tomato Soup

Tomato SoupBeing very careful, as they will be a little slippy, quarter the tomatoes and remove any hard bits of core.

Tomato SoupNow, peel & chop the onion, carrot & celery stick so they are all approx the same size.

Place the large pot over a low heat & add in the olive oil.

When you can feel the pan getting hot, add in the onion, carrot & celery. Give it a mix then cook over the low heat for about 10 mins until just starting to colour and soften.

Tomato Soup

Tomato SoupAdd in the tomato purée, the sugar, bay leaves & the dried basil. Give it all a good mix to ensure it’s all blended well.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilTip in the tomatoes and mix it all together.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilPop the lid on the pan and allow to simmer for 10 mins. Once or twice, give the pan a little shake to keep it all well mixed.

 

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilNext up, add in the vegetable stock and give it a really good stir.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilThen pop that lid back on and simmer over the low heat for 25 mins. Give the pan a good shake a couple of times during cooking.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilGive it a nice mix then find and remove the bay leaves.

Pull all the leaves from the bunch of basil and add them into the pot.

Then, whether it’s using a stick blender or a food processor, get blitzing until it’s all nice and smooth.

WARNING do take care if the soup is still very hot and never over fill your food processor as it has a tendency to explode!

I’ve recently obtained the new Stellar Cookware Stick Blender and  it’s absolutely fabulous!

Stellar Stick Blender

It breaks down into 2 parts for easy washing and storage and has a very comfortable & ergonomic grip. It’s also incredibly versatile with it’s settings – having a dial at the top to adjust the power and a turbo button when you need a little extra oomph.

Stellar Stick Blender

And it made mincemeat of this soup! Definitely a lot easier than making a huge mess trying to pour it all into a food processor. My days of that are now well and truly over!

Tomato Soup with a Hint of Basil - Stellar Stick Blender

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilLast thing to do is give the soup another stir and have a taste. Add more salt & pepper if you think it needs it.

Then either, eat it now or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Alternatively you could allow to cool completely then pour into ‘pour and store’ bags and place in the freezer ready for those colder nights.

Tomato Soup with a Hint of BasilThere’s just something about tomato soup. It’s always been my favourite, ever since I was a little girl. I have tried to be more adventurous and try different soup flavours but I always come back to tomato! A definite winner in my book.

What would be lovely is if you served this with a little cream swirled through to add a bit of richness. And a good chunk of crusty bread with lashings of butter smeared all over it! Aaaahh, I can foresee nights by the fire with a bowl of this deliciousness in the near future. Autumn is coming… get your freezer prepared!

I hope you enjoyed the post my lovelies.

Miss KitchenMason

Thyme Baked Eggs

Thyme Baked EggsAs I promised on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, I finally got round to writing up the recipe for this tasty little creature. It’s honestly one of the nicest breakfasts I’ve had in a long time. (and I go out of my way to eat a lot of nice weekend breakfasts!) The best bit is you can use whatever herb you like. Whether it’s fresh or dry, thyme, basil or chives – it’s bound to be an incredibly simple yet fantastically delicious breakfast!

Here is what you will need to make 1 portion. Obviously you can make as many as you like.

  • 2 tsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme *
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Eggs

Essential Equipment

  • Ramekin

* If you use a dried herb, use 1 tsp. If you are using fresh herbs, use 2 tsp.

Preheat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.

Add the butter to the ramekin and, whilst the oven is preheating, pop it in and allow the butter to melt.

Thyme Baked EggsWhen it’s completely melted, remove from the oven and add in the herbs along with some salt & pepper. Mix it together.

Thyme Baked EggsCrack in both eggs, then top with a little more salt & pepper if you like.

Thyme Baked EggsPlace the ramekin onto a baking tray and place into the preheated oven for approx 12 – 15 mins until the white is cooked but the yolks are still a little runny.

If you like, you can serve with buttered ‘soldiers’ (toast cut into slices) or simply have on it’s own for a gluten free option.

Thyme Baked Eggs

Thyme Baked EggsIt really is that easy! There are so many reasons to make this breakfast. It’s no fuss, it’s cheap and uses whatever you have in your cupboards, the butter stops the ramekin from becoming a cleaning nightmare (as we all know egg can be) and it’s down right bloomin’ delicious! Do I honestly need to give you anymore excuses to try it?

Give it a go next weekend, go on, you know you want to :P

And on that note, I hope you all enjoyed the post my lovelies! Until next week.

Miss KitchenMason

Spicy Rosemary Thins

Spicy Rosemary ThinsOk, I’ve been hammering the sweet tooth a little hard recently. Figured I’d change it up a little bit this week with these scrummy, savoury sensations! For me, rosemary always tastes so homely. Ok, that may sound a little strange but I feel it’s almost like the herb equivalent of that winter ‘sitting in front of the fire with a mug of soup’ feeling. I don’t know what it is but I just love it. Like a herby hug!

Anyway, they’re blooming amazing and obviously you’re gonna have a go at making them because they’re super duper easy & quick!

Here is what you will need to make approx 25 – 30.

(Recipe from the lovely I Bake He Shoots.)

  • 1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp Chilli Flakes
  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 100g Unsalted Butter, Room Temp
  • 100g Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese, Finely Grated
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

Finely chop together the rosemary and chilli flakes.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsIn a food processor, add in the flour, butter, cheese, baking powder, salt & herbs.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsPulse until it just comes together to form a dough.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsTip the dough out onto a sheet of grease proof or baking paper and knead gently into a log shape.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsUsing the paper as an aid – roll it up into a round log then press the ends in to fill any gaps.

Place this in the freezer for 25 minutes to chill.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsMeanwhile, preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C & line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicone baking sheet.

When the 25 mins are up – remove the dough from the freezer and slice discs approx 3-4mm thick.

Spicy Rosemary ThinsPlace the chilled discs onto the baking tray, slightly spaced apart to allow for spreading.

Put into the centre of the preheated oven and bake for 10 – 12 mins or until just turning golden on the edges.

Spicy Rosemary Thins

Spicy Rosemary ThinsLeave on the tray for a minute or two to harden then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (That should only take about 15 mins.)

Spicy Rosemary Thins

Spicy Rosemary ThinsThese would make great nibbles if you’re having friends over for a few drinks, or the perfect accompaniment to any cheese board! Far better than most crackers you can buy in the shops that’s for sure.

And if you’re worried about the heat of the chilli flakes, it’s not hot I promise. It’s more like a pleasant, gentle warmth in the back of the throat as an after taste. They’re just… well, blinkin’ gorgeous!

I hope you all enjoyed this weeks post my lovelies, until next week.

Miss KitchenMason