17 February 2017

CHOCOLATE COCONUT SANDWICH COOKIES

These were my favourite cookies when I was a child. I don't remember their name, but I remember the bright blue box they were packaged in. For years I tried to replicate them, or at least the filling, because the filling was my favourite part of the cookie, and this is it. The soft and light cookie base that melts in your mouth and the rich chocolate coconut filling compliment each other perfectly. This is a rather small batch, and it yields only 15 of them, so if you want, you can double the amount of ingredients.

Chocolate coconut sandwich cookies recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients:
For the dough
50 grams butter, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
180 grams plain flour
2 tablespoons cornflour (corn starch)
½ teaspoon coconut extract
For the filling
150 grams butter, softened
100 grams icing sugar, sifted
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preparation:
You need to make the dough by hand, using a sturdy spatula or a wooden spoon. You don’t want to add too much air while making it, because it will cause the cookies to rise too much. Place the softened butter in a large bowl and add sprinkle in the sugar. Mix it with a spatula until combined, then add the egg, coconut extract, and a few tablespoons of flour. Mix until the batter is combined and creamy, then add in the flour sifted with the cornflour and baking powder and mix, until a very soft dough forms.
Place the dough in the fridge for 5 minutes, then roll it out very thinly (2-3 millimetres) on a lightly floured surface. Using a 5 cm cookie cutter, cut out 30 dough circles by pressing the cutter straight down and up. If you twist it, the cookies will not rise as much. Place the circles on a large cookie sheet lined with baking paper and bake them, in a preheated oven, at 180˚C (350˚F) for 5-8 minutes. Do not let them brown, you need them to stay light in colour.
While the cookies are cooling on a wire rack, make the filling. Place the softened butter in a large bowl and beat it with an electric mixer on high, for about 2 minutes. Add in the sifted cocoa powder and coconut extract and continue mixing on high for 2 more minutes. Finally, add in the sifted icing sugar and beat until the batter becomes smooth and thick. Add the heavy cream and beat it in. Place the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a large nozzle (Wilton 1M) and pipe generous swirls on half of the cookies. Place the other half of the cookies on top and serve. Yields 15 sandwich cookies.

13 February 2017

VEGAN CRÊPES

When I was young, my favourite part of making crêpes was the actual stealing of crêpes while my Grandmother was not looking. I ate them just as they were, with no filling. I still like them like that, but I have to admit, there is a lot more flavour in this gorgeous chunky strawberry sauce. You can serve them topped with some granulated sugar, which is how my Grandmother used to serve them; or you can top them with vegan chocolate sauce, or even some more fresh berries. Bon appétit!


Ingredients
For the crêpes
250 grams plain flour
500 ml oat milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the filling
500 grams strawberries
3 tablespoons sugar
50 ml cold water
3 tablespoons vegan chocolate syrup (optional)

Preparation
Sift the flour twice, and place it in a large bowl. Pour the oat milk on top of it, add in the sugar, and the vanilla, and whisk until blended. If there are a few lumps here and there, just leave them as they are, the more you whisk the batter, the tougher the crêpes will be. Let the batter sit in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes, and make the strawberry jam filling while you wait. Chop up the strawberries, and place them in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, along with the sugar, and the cold water, and place the pan over medium heat.
Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the strawberries start breaking down. You are not going for a thick jam texture, more of a chunky sauce. By that time, the batter will be ready. Oil the crêpe pan (with vegetable oil), or use a non-stick one, and pour in the batter using a small ladle (75 ml, 1/3 cup). Cook on medium heat until the surface looks set, about a minute, then flip them over, and cook for 15-20 seconds more. Repeat this with the rest of the batter. Once all the crêpes are ready, fill them with the strawberry filling, and serve with some additional chocolate sauce, if you wish. Yields 10 medium crêpe.

03 February 2017

TUNA HUMMUS BURGERS

Tuna burgers are a very delicious alternative to a classic beef or turkey burgers, with lots of flavour from the hummus. You can use store-bought or homemade hummus, whichever you prefer or have available. We like these burgers with lots of freshly ground pepper, and a few hot pepper flakes. These are also tremendously delicious with yogurt dressings.


Ingredients
For the burgers
120 grams tuna chunks
50 grams hummus
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium egg
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
100 grams stale bread
To serve
4 burger buns
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes (optional)
1 large tomato
1 small head of lettuce

Preparation
Take a large bowl, add in the tuna chunks (well-drained), and break them up slightly with a fork. Add in the hummus, and the stale bread, and blend well with a spatula or a fork. Add in the oil, eggs, and the spices, and blend one final time. Keep in mind that these burgers are very lightly salted, so you can slightly increase the amount of salt, if you wish. Place the batter in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes, so it can set up slightly.
Once chilled, divide it into four parts, shape the patties, and fry them in a lightly oiled pan (you can use cooking spray, too, if it is available to you). Cook them on medium heat, until cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. They should be relatively firm to the touch once ready. Let them rest for a few minutes, and toast the burger buns in the meantime. Serve them with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and mayonnaise. You can add hot pepper flakes to your liking. Serve hot. Yields 4 servings.

27 January 2017

FUDGY CHOCOLATE CAPPUCCINO BROWNIES

These might just be my new best friends. Two types of chocolate, and lots of coffee, just the way brownies should be. Their texture is just a bonus, really. Dense, fudge-like, and tall. Of course, you could bake them in a larger pan for a thinner brownie, just keep in mind a slightly shorter baking time. They are rich, so serve them in small pieces. With a flat white or espresso macchiato.


Ingredients
150 grams dark chocolate
100 grams milk chocolate
200 grams butter
200 grams sugar
3 medium eggs
1 medium egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 tablespoons plain flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant cappuccino powder
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preparation
Chop up both types of chocolate finely, dice the butter, and add everything to a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and slowly melt, until the mixture becomes smooth, and quite glossy. Remove it from the heat, add in the granulated sugar, and let it rest and cool down slightly. Crack the eggs in a separate bowl, along with the egg yolk, and pour them in the chocolate batter all at once. Whisk vigorously until well-combined, add in vanilla, cinnamon, and cappuccino powder, and blend well.


Finally, sift in the flour and the cocoa powder, and fold them through gently. Be careful not to overmix the batter. Take a 23x23 cm baking pan (9x9"), lightly grease it, then line it with baking paper. Pour in the batter, smooth it as much as possible, then bake them in a preheated oven, at 180°C (350°F), for about 20-25 minutes. Since every oven is slightly different, check them with a toothpick even around the 15-minute mark, to make sure they do not overbake. They need to stay fudgy and moist. Once baked, remove them from the oven, let them cool completely on a wire rack, slice them up and serve. Yields 25 brownie squares.

20 January 2017

CINNAMON COFFEE CAKE MUFFINS

I love coffee cakes. Basically, I love coffee, so anything that pairs well with coffee will naturally be my favourite. But, I don't like the crumbly texture coffee cakes usually tend to have. So I made these lovely soft muffins to pair with my morning decaf. I love how cinnamon and cocoa enhance the coffee flavour and the crunchiness in the topping is just a bonus.
It does melt into the muffins just a little as they bake, but it mainly stays on top and crunchy as they cool. They are so delicious and fragrant, perfect for a quick snack with coffee. Now, because of the buttery topping, the bottoms of the paper cups will be a tad bit greasy. You can solve this in two ways.
You can put a teaspoon or two of uncooked rice (any kind) on the bottom of each of the holes of the muffin tin, before placing in the paper liners. By doing that, the rice absorbs the grease during the baking, and the liners are left (somewhat) grease-free once the muffins are baked and ready. Or you can just transfer the cooled muffins to new liners and discard the ones they were baked in.

Coffee cake cupcakes recipe tinascookings.blogspot.com

Ingredients
For the muffins
120 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
60 grams butter, softened
100 grams sugar
1 large egg
120 grams sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
For the topping
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cocoa powder

Preparation:
To make the muffins, place the softened butter in a large bowl, add the sugar and beat with an electric mixer on high for about a minute or two, until light in colour and completely creamy. Sift the flour into another bowl along with the baking powder. Add the egg to the butter, along with one tablespoon of the flour mix and the almond extract. The flour will just help emulsify the batter. Beat the egg and butter until creamy and smooth. Add the rest of the flour and the sour cream, then beat the batter with an electric mixer on low until just combined. Divide the batter evenly between six standard size muffin cups and set it aside for the time being.
For the topping, place the butter in a medium bowl, add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and cocoa powder and blend it all together using a fork or a pastry cutter. Do not use an electric mixer because it will make it smooth and batter-like, and you need it to be crumbly. Continue pressing and mashing with a fork until the topping resembles coarse sand. Sprinkle it evenly on tops of the muffin batter and bake in a preheated oven, at 180˚C (350˚F) for about 12-15 minutes. Check them with a toothpick to make sure they do not overbake. Let them cool completely, then serve with coffee. Yields 6 standard muffins. ©Tina Vesić 2017