Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Last year I baked these extremely chocolatey and utterly delicious Easter bird nest inspired cupcakes, with the Easter holidays not far away I wanted to share them with you again (just in case you missed them!). The cupcakes bases are a moist chocolate sponge, topped with chocolate buttercream and a layer of flaked chocolate to resemble a nest then finally finished off with Cadbury’s Mini Eggs. Chocolate and more chocolate, what’s not to like about these Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes?

Don’t be put off by the length of this recipe, it is actually relatively quick as the sponge cupcakes are made using the all in one method.

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: 1hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsExtremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Chocolate sponge cupcakes

160g unsalted butter (very soft)
160g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs
130g self raising flour
30g cocoa powder
2 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Chocolate Buttercream

100g dark chocolate (54% cocoa solids)
100g unsalted butter (very soft)
200g icing sugar (sifted)
1 tablespoon milk

Decoration

1 bag of Cadbury’s Mini Eggs
8 small or 4 regular size Cadbury’s Flakes
Creme Eggs and little furry chicks not compulsory but totally cute

Method

1. Pre heat your oven to 160c Fan (180c)

2. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases.

3. Put all the cupcake ingredients in the mixing bowl and beat well until the all the mixture is fully combined.

4. Using two dessert spoons, spoon the cake mixture into the cases and bake for 25 minutes until springy to touch.

5. Leave the cakes in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. To make the buttercream begin by melting the chocolate over a bain-marie or in the microwave until fully melted, then allow to cool.

7. In a mixing bowl beat the butter and icing sugar together, then add the melted chocolate and beat again, then finally beat in the milk.

8. In a bowl crumble the flakes.

9. Using a palette knife spread each cake one at a time with the chocolate buttercream and then dip the cakes in the chocolate flakes (to create the bird nest effect).

10. Then top with 2 or 3 mini eggs. Enjoy!

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Extremely Chocolatey Easter Cupcakes

Until next time, happy Easter baking.

Julie
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It’s that time of year again when bloggers go a bit crazy asking for nominations in the Brilliance in Blogging (BiB) awards. Last year Julie’s Family Kitchen was short listed but unfortunately didn’t make the final. So, if you have enjoyed reading my foodie blog I would really really appreciate it if you could take 2 minutes to nominate for me in the Brilliance in Blogging awards (food category) 2015. Thank you so much and a virtual slice of cake is on its way to you. xxx

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Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Oh my, these luscious lemony cookies filled with apricot chunks and white chocolate chips are absolutely dreamy. Soft and very slightly chewy, they’re crammed full of delicious and tantalising flavours that make these cookies a real joy to eat. I definitely recommend serving the Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies with a pot of your favourite tea for a delightful afternoon tea treat.

If you’re thinking of baking something for mum this coming Mother’s day then these delightful cookies would make a wonderful edible gift.

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

  • Servings: 16
  • Time: 1hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

IngredientsApricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

175g unsalted butter (softened)
100g caster sugar
100g white chocolate chips
50g dried apricots (chopped in 5mm pieces)
zest of 2 small lemons
225g plain flour

Method

1. Cream together the butter and sugar together until thoroughly combined.

2. Mix in the white chocolate chips, dried apricot pieces and lemon zest.

3. Add the flour and mix until the mixture becomes a dough.

4. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

5. Divide the cookie dough into 16 pieces, roll each piece into a ball. Then, place the balls of cookie dough on the lined baking sheet and flatten until about 1cm thick. Smooth the edges of the cookies with your hands if they are cracked.

6. Place both the baking sheets in the fridge to allow the uncooked cookies to firm up, chill for at least 1 hour.

7. Pre heat the oven to Fan 160c.

8. Oven bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, the cookies will be pale gold when cooked. Don’t over bake as they will lose their soft texture.

9. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Apricot, Lemon and White Chocolate Cookies

Happy baking.

Julie
x

I’ve linked up this recipe to #CookBlogShare with Supergolden Bakes.

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My Favourite Christmas Recipes

Oh how time whizzes by, now it’s only a week until Christmas day. I’ve been much more organised this year, so I’m feeling pretty pleased. Although, it’s been tricky with us all fighting off coughs and colds. I’m sure I’ll make last minute batches of cookies and mince pies but I’d love to squeeze in time to make a gingerbread house. Not forgetting that I need to decorate my Christmas cake too, I guess I’m going to be busy.

In case you missed them, here are my easy but very tasty Christmas recipes for 2014.

Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Cookies

There’s something very Christmassy about cranberries and pistachios. I love the flecks of green, red and white in these cookies and they are simply gorgeous.

Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Cookies

Frozen Chocolate Caramel Cream Meringue Cake

A real party dessert tasting like the creamiest ice cream ever. It’s the perfect make ahead dessert.

Chocolate and Caramel Meringue Dessert

Chocolate and Peppermint Christmas Tree Cookies

These yummy chocolate and peppermint cookies will definitely please everyone. They are quite moreish, it’s hard to only eat just one.

Julie's Family Kitchen

Quick Puff Pastry Mince Pies

Incredibly easy and a bit of a cheat I admit, these quick puff pastry mince pies and can be rustled up in no time at all.

Puff Pastry Mince Pies

I hope you all have a very Happy Christmas.

Until next time.

Julie
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Chocolate and Peppermint Christmas Tree Cookies


Julie's Family Kitchen

Are you starting to feel Christmassy yet? Well I certainly did last night. My youngest daughter was singing Christmas carols with the school choir in the local church for their annual Christmas concert. It was a lovely evening and I felt so proud of her performing to a church full of people. There’s nothing like singing and listening to Christmas carols to get you feeling festive.

This is undoubtably mine and my children’s favourite school term, next week there is the school nativity play to see and more carol services. Plus, not forgetting the Christmas class parties to supply with goodies, I’ll probably bake a few batches of these incredibly moreish Chocolate and Peppermint Christmas Tree Cookies for my girls to take in. Super chocolatey with a hint of peppermint, I’m sure the kids will love these cute cookies and you too. If you’re not keen on peppermint just leave it out. Otherwise, my top tip is to only add one or two drops of peppermint extract so the flavour is not too over powering.

Julie's Family Kitchen

Chocolate and Peppermint Christmas Tree Cookies

  • Servings: 20
  • Time: 1hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: moderate
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IngredientsChocolate and Peppermint Christmas Tree Cookies Family Kitchen

50g golden caster sugar
50g light muscovado sugar
75g unsalted butter (softened)
335g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
75g golden syrup
1 large egg
1½ tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
200g icing sugar
green gel food colour
1 or 2 drops of peppermint extract
silver sugar balls

Method

1. Cream together the butter, golden caster sugar and light muscovado sugar until well combined.

2. Add the flour, cocoa powder, golden syrup, egg, milk and vanilla extract and mix until the mixture becomes a dough.

3. Shape into a flatten ball and place in a plastic food bag then refrigerate for about 45 minutes.

4. Pre heat your oven to Fan 160c and line 2 or 3 baking sheets with baking parchment.

5. Roll out the cookie between two sheets of baking parchment to a thickness of 5mm. I usually cut the dough in half and roll out half at a time as it’s much more manageable.

6. Using a Christmas tree shape cutter (mine measures 8cm in length) cut as many shapes as possible and place on the lined baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining half of cookie dough.

7. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes. Once baked remove from the baking sheets and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

8. Once the cookies are cool make the peppermint icing by mixing the icing sugar with just enough water to create a thick spreadable icing. Add a few drops of the green gel food colour to get the desired green colour, then add 1 or 2 drops of peppermint extract and mix well.

9. Using a teaspoon spread a triangle of icing on top of each cookie, then decorate with silver sugar balls. I recommend you decorate 3 cookies at a time, so the sugar balls stick to the icing.

Julie's Family Kitchen

Making Christmas tree cookies has become a real family tradition of ours, I hope you enjoy them too.

Until next time, happy festive baking.

Julie
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Frozen Chocolate Caramel Cream Meringue Cake

Frozen Chocolate Caramel Cream Meringue Cake

The festive period is the perfect time for family and friends to get together and enjoy good food. When entertaining for lots of people it can be quite easy to buy too much food and drink. So when Sainsbury’s asked food bloggers to come up with ideas on how to use up leftover chocolate I decided to create a centre piece dessert ideal for New Year’s Eve celebrations. Tasting simply like creamy ice cream this indulgent dessert with chocolate chunks and caramel swirls is absolutely heavenly. This extremely easy to prepare dessert should hopefully wow your guests.

Frozen Chocolate Caramel Cream Meringue Cake

Frozen Chocolate Caramel Cream Meringue Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 30mins plus overnight chilling
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsChocolate and Caramel Meringue Dessert

600ml double cream
200g meringue nests (I used 16 meringue nests)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
75g dark chocolate
75g milk chocolate
397g tin Carnation caramel
silver sugar balls

Method

1. Line a 9inch/23cm cake tin with 2 over hanging layers of cling film, lay one horizontally and the other vertically across the bottom of the tin.

2. In a bowl whip the double cream until you reach the soft peaks stage, then stir in the vanilla extract.

3. Crush the meringue nests and crumble into the whipped cream.

4. Using a sharp knife chop 50g dark chocolate and 50g milk chocolate into small chunks (about 5mm) and add to the mixture, then gently fold in so everything is mixed together.

5. Place half the mixture in the lined cake tin, add 5 tablespoons of the caramel on top and swirl in the mixture using a blunt knife. Add the remaining mixture and repeat with another 5 tablespoons of caramel.

6 Cover the top with the over hanging cling film. Freeze overnight.

7. Transfer the cream meringue cake to a serving plate. Melt the remaining chocolate in a bain marie and then drizzle over the cake. Sprinkle over the silver sugar balls.

8. Allow 15 minutes before cutting the cream meringue cake, then serve with the remaining caramel if you wish. Enjoy!

Frozen Chocolate Caramel Cream Meringue Cake

Until next time.

Julie
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Disclosure: Sainsbury’s sponsored me to write this blog post. All words are my own. All opinions are honest and my own. The recipe is my own.

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Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Cookies


Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Cookies

Now it’s November I’m officially counting down to Christmas. Oh yes, I’ve already down loaded a Christmas countdown app for the kids (they did ask, so I obliged), dug out my Michael Bublé Christmas CD and I’m planning on baking my Christmas cake next week. This year I’m going to be super organised buying presents and writing cards early, no more last minute shopping or fretting for me.

When Sainsbury’s asked food bloggers to come up with ideas for edible gifts for giving, I began thinking of the traditional foods we eat at Christmas, my absolute favourite being Christmas dinner itself. No Christmas dinner is complete without cranberry sauce for the turkey, so with the humble cranberry in mind I’ve created these delightful cookies. The cookies are packed full of tangy sour cranberries, crunchy green pistachios and sweet white chocolate chips. Stored in elegant Kilner jars, then dressed with Christmas ribbon and tags, these cookies make the ideal Christmas gift for children to give to grandparents or teachers. It’s a straight forward recipe so I’m sure older children would have fun baking them by themselves.

These cookies are incredibly moreish, so bake plenty otherwise you might eat them all before the big day.

Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Cookies

Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Cookies

  • Servings: 16
  • Time: 1hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

IngredientsCranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Cookies

175g unsalted butter (softened)
100g golden caster sugar
100g white chocolate chips
100g dried cranberries
50g pistachios (chopped)
225g plain flour

Method

1. Cream together the butter and sugar together until thoroughly combined.

2. Mix in the white chocolate chips, dried cranberries and pistachios.

3. Add the flour and mix until the mixture becomes a dough.

4. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

5. Divide the cookie dough into 16 pieces, roll each piece into a ball. Then, place the balls of cookie dough on the lined baking sheet and flatten until about 1cm thick. Smooth the edges of the cookies with your hands if they are cracked.

6. Place both the baking sheets in the fridge to allow the uncooked cookies to firm up, chill for at least 1 hour.

7. Pre heat the oven to Fan 160c.

8. Oven bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, the cookies will be pale gold when cooked. Don’t over bake as they will lose their soft texture.

9. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Cookies

Giving a homemade gift shows real sentiment, I think the lucky recipient of a jar crammed full of homemade cranberry, pistachio and white chocolate cookies would be very happy indeed.

Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Cookies

Until next time, happy baking.

Julie
x

Disclosure: Sainsbury’s sponsored me to write this blog post. All words are my own. All opinions are honest and my own. The recipe is my own.

I’ve added this recipe to the #CookBlogShare linky at Supergolden Bakes.

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Trio of Chocolate Recipes

Did you know it is Chocolate Week? Well, it certainly is and to celebrate there is a Chocolate Show being held at London’s Olypmia this coming weekend (17th to 19th October). Sadly, I can’t go but to get into the spirit of all things chocolate (like I need much encouragement), I’ve compiled a trio of my favourite chocolate recipes for you.

Double Chocolate Banana Cake

Double chocolate banana cake

This is an utterly delicious and moist chocolate cake, that your family and friends will love. So, if you have any bananas that have seen better days I recommend you make it.

Milk Chocolate and Walnut Biscuits

Milk Chocolate and Walnut Biscuits 22012014

These biscuits are totally scrummy and worth making a pot of tea or coffee for. If you take a batch into the office I promise you’ll be the most popular member of staff.

Rocky Road Bars

Rocky road bars

I’m sure Rocky Roads are every child’s favourite. I’ve made these a little special with a couple of magic ingredients, Turkish Delight and dried mango.

I hope you enjoy this trio of chocolate recipes.

Until next time.

Julie
x

Rocky Road Bars

Rocky road bars

To my mind my rocky road bars are not a thing of beauty, well not to to look at anyway. Thankfully they taste good, extremely good. These rocky road bars are full of all the yummy treats I could find, cherries, Turkish delight, marshmallows, dried mango and crunchy amaretti biscuits. All smothered in a mix of milk and dark chocolate, honestly what is there not to like about these.

My daughter helped me make these and had great fun bashing the amaretti biscuits into chunks. Making and of course eating the rocky road bars was a great way to mark the end of the summer holidays. I’ve decided September is going to be a month of home cooking, I’m planning on making warming soups, casseroles, cottage pies and fruit crumbles. Ultimately my aim is to get my youngest to eat more fruit and veg, I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Rocky Road Bars

  • Servings: 16-20
  • Time: 15mins plus time to chill
  • Difficulty: easy
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IngredientsRocky road bars

200g dark chocolate
200g milk chocolate
150g unsalted butter
3 tablespoons golden syrup
200g glacé cherries
175g crunchy amaretti biscuits (crumbled)
100g mini pink and white marshmallows
75g assorted Turkish delight (chopped into 1cm chunks)
50g dried mango pieces

Method

1. Grease and line a 30cm x 23cm (12″ x 9″) traybake tin with baking parchment.

2. Melt the butter, golden syrup and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.

3. Once melted and cooled, stir in the glacé cherries, amaretti biscuits, Turkish delight and mango pieces.

4. Transfer the mixture to the tin and then refrigerate until set.

5. Using a large sharp knife cut into 16 or 20 bars depending on how big you want them. Enjoy!

Rocky road bars

Until next time.

Julie
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Chocolate and Ginger Cookies

Chocolate and Ginger Cookies

These Chocolate and Ginger Cookies are seriously good, I kid you not. In fact, my husband has broken his healthy eating regime for these, he absolutely loves them. The cookies are soft, ever so slightly chewy filled with dark chocolate chips and crystallised stem ginger chunks. Bitter dark chocolate is always delicious in cookies but combined with the subtle heat from the stem ginger takes these cookies to the next level. I hope you love them too.

Chocolate and Ginger Cookies

Chocolate and Ginger Cookies

Here’s the recipe for Chocolate and Ginger Cookies.

Ingredients (Makes 14)

175g unsalted butter (softened)
100g golden caster sugar
100g dark chocolate chips
100g crystallised stem ginger (chopped into small chunks) *
50g whole rolled oats
225g plain flour

*I used Neal’s Yard crystallised ginger sold in Holland & Barratt, I chopped the ginger into small chunks the same size as the chocolate chips.

Method

1. Cream together the butter and sugar together until thoroughly combined.

2. Mix in the chocolate chips, chopped ginger and oats.

3. Add the flour and mix until the mixture becomes a dough.

4. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

5. Divide the cookie dough into 14 pieces, roll each piece into a ball. Then, place the balls of cookie dough on the lined baking sheet and flatten until about 1cm thick. Smooth the edges of the cookies with your hands if they are cracked.

6. Place both the baking sheets in the fridge to allow the uncooked cookies to firm up, chill for at least 1 hour.

7. Pre heat the oven to Fan 160c.

8. Oven bake the cookies for about 20 to 25 minutes, the cookies will be pale gold when cooked. I recommend you take a look at the cookies after 20 minutes and if you think they need longer pop them back in the oven. Don’t over bake as they will lose their soft texture. I baked mine for 23 minutes.

9. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Chocolate and Ginger Cookies

Chocolate and Ginger Cookies

With all this talk of baking cookies has got me thinking about the next series of the Great British Bake Off which starts on 6th August. Yay! I can’t wait to see what technical challenges Mary and Paul have for the new bakers, I bet it’s going to be brilliant.

Happy baking.

Julie
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 photo 9af5d0df-b279-4c3c-92ad-fc98f562a39a_zpsaca21226.jpg

Triple Chocolate Cookies

Triple Chocolate Cookies

Intensely chocolatey and super soft these cookies are a chocolate dream. If they don’t satisfy a chocolate craving then I don’t know what will. Packed full of dark and white chocolate chips in a rich cocoa cookie dough these triple chocolate cookies are not for the faint hearted.

I thought my little tasters might find them too rich but to my surprise they didn’t. If fact, they gave my triple chocolate cookies a massive thumbs up.

Triple Chocolate Cookies

Ingredients (Makes 14)

175g unsalted butter (softened)
100g golden caster sugar
185g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
75g dark chocolate chips
75g white chocolate chips

Method

1. Cream together the butter and sugar together until thoroughly combined.

2. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder together, then stir using a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes a dough. It may seem too dry at first but keep mixing and it will then come together.

3. Add 120g of chocolate chips, reserving the remaining 30g for later. Stir the mixture until chocolate chips are fully distributed throughout the dough.

4. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

5. Divide the cookie dough into 14 pieces, roll each piece into a ball. Then, place the balls of cookie dough on the lined baking sheet and flatten until about 1cm thick. Place the remaining chocolate chips on top of the cookies.

6. Place both the baking sheets in the fridge to allow the uncooked cookies to firm up, chill for at least 1 hour.

7. Pre heat the oven to Fan 160c.

8. Oven bake the cookies for about 20 minutes for soft cookies, if you want slightly firmer cookies then bake for a little longer.

9. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Triple Chocolate Cookies

Triple Chocolate Cookies

I’m not going to pretend these are healthy because they’re definitely not but a once in a while treat is ok. So if you’re in dire need of an extreme chocolate fix these cookies are for you. I hope you enjoy them.

Happy baking.

Julie
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