Spelt Vanilla Coffee Cookies with Pistachios & White Choc Chips

CoffeeVanillaCookies1So I had this random dream not too long ago. In the dream, my friend and I were going to see a movie. We took our seats in the cinema, and I told her to wait right there while I bought some snacks. I went down to the snack bar and had a look at my choices.

There was a small packet of popcorn (I don’t know why it came in a packet) that cost $11. This made me angrier than it should have – I was absolutely infuriated with the injustice! Eleven freaking dollars for a tiny packet of popcorn that’s not even hot or buttered! There was also a packet of some generic-brand lollies that was the same size as the popcorn packet, but this was only $3. Even though they looked really gross and unappetizing I bought that one because it was cheaper. And then a whole bunch of other really random and nonsensical things took place because, well, you know how dreams are.

But anyway, the point I’m trying to make is, movie food is expensive! Even in my dreams I cannot escape from the totally outrageous prices. I think it’s because for some reason, most people can’t watch a movie without eating. For me it’s also commonly a case of, “If we eat dinner beforehand we’ll be late for the movie, therefore we will eat popcorn for dinner.” And then you see almost-full buckets of popcorn just left behind in the cinema. What a waste – of both money and popcorn!

Sure, you could just buy snacks at the grocery store beforehand (assuming you have time, you’re not lazy, and it’s still open) but here’s another option that lets you get creative and ensures that your house will smell delicious upon your return – bake a bunch of cookies at home and smuggle them into the cinema!

And that’s the story behind how these cookies came to be. It was one of those winter afternoons where I was longing to fill my house with the scent of freshly-baked cookies. Of course, I wanted to share them rather than have them sitting in my pantry and tempting me all weekend, so I toted them off to the cinema and saved approximately ten thousand dollars on movie snacks.

So now let’s talk about the cookies themselves! I wanted to use up a few little odds and ends in my pantry and make these cookies a bit “different” (in a good way, hopefully). The cookies themselves are flavoured with vanilla essence as well as some vanilla-infused instant coffee for a double hit of vanilla goodness. The sweetness of the vanilla balanced out the strong coffee flavor which was quite nice. Then it was time to think about mix-ins! I threw in a packet of white choc chips because normal choc-chip cookies are too mainstream (also because I didn’t have any milk/dark choc chips) and half a container of pistachios. Might as well get creative and put them to good use instead of letting them sit around and go to waste!

Also, because I’ve been really into Spelt flour lately, I used that in place of regular flour. I like to think that this made them a little bit healthier, and would justify the fact that a couple of those cookies, along with a handful of popcorn, was essentially my dinner that night. Not that I’d promote cookies as a healthy alternative to dinner on a regular basis. You’ve got to eat your vegetables, people!

Here’s the recipe. If you don’t have vanilla-flavoured instant coffee (I used Moccona brand) then just regular coffee will work just fine.

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Spelt Vanilla Coffee Cookies with Pistachios & White Choc Chips

90g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vanilla-infused instant coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ cup self-raising flour
½ cup spelt flour
½ tsp of salt
¾ cup white choc chips
¼ cup pistachios

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line two baking trays.

Beat the butter, vanilla extract, dissolved coffee and sugars with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Sift in the flours and salt and stir in the choc-chips and pistachios.

Drop heaped teaspoons of the dough onto the prepared baking trays, leaving ample space between each cookie (about 2-3cm) so they can spread.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly browned. Leave to set on the trays for 5-10 minutes or until firm, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Macadamia & Blueberry Slice

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It’s November at last! We’re rapidly approaching summertime – long, hot days… the beach… swimming… sunshine…

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not excited for summer or anything. I’m most definitely an Autumn and Winter kind of gal. I like the weather bitter and cold, just like my heart. Insert evil laugh here.

We actually did have a few days of lovely, rainy, cold weather over the past few weeks, during which I was super stoked because it meant I got to wear coats and stockings and sip hot tea all I wanted.

The day I baked this Macadamia and Blueberry Slice was not one of those cold days I cherish so much. But the next day and the day after was. Perhaps my baking triggered a change in the weather! Or the more likely scenario is that it did not, and that Mother Nature is just having huge moodswings.

So, let’s talk about this Macadamia and Blueberry Slice! It’s made with sweet, creamy white chocolate, the macadamias give it a crunch and go oh so well with the aforementioned white chocolate, and the dried blueberries add a nice tangy contrast. They’re quite rich and sweet, making a nice dessert, especially when served chilled as they’re rather moist and almost like fudge. Enjoy, my dear readers! 

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Macadamia & Blueberry Slice

150g unsalted butter, chopped
150g white chocolate, chopped
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
¾ cup plain flour
¾ cup self-raising flour
a pinch of salt
½ a teaspoon cinnamon
110g macadamia nuts, chopped in half
75g dried blueberries

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a slice/brownie pan.

Melt the butter and white chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Leave to cool for five minutes before stirring in the sugar and vanilla essence.

Stir in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift in the flours, salt and cinnamon, and stir in the dried blueberries and macadamia nuts.

Pour into the prepared slice pan and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan before slicing and serving.

Salted Mocha and White Choc Chip Cookies

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I can’t believe it’s July! We’re already halfway through the year. It always seems like the first couple of months go slowly – the warm summer days drag on and I long for the cold, frosty bliss of winter. Then it’s winter, which I typically spend shivering in the cold dreaming of the warm sunny days that I was wishing away earlier in the year.

The year has flown by so quickly, and I’m currently in an ever-increasing state of excitement (and slight panic) because pretty soon I too will be doing some flying. Yes, next Thursday I shall be prancing off to South America to take part in World Youth Day! It’s my first time overseas, and I’m looking forward to it immensely!

I don’t know whether or not this will be my last post before I head off (although knowing my laziness, it probably will be) so I’d like to share these delicious Salted Mocha and White Choc Chip cookies with you all. I baked these the other night (and managed to beat the temptation to consume an entire tray while they were still warm from the oven! Go me!) – they’re based on a recipe from the Cadbury Kitchen website. Ever since the success of the cake I made for my Mum’s birthday, I’ve come to like that site and many of those recipes have made their way onto my to-bake list.

Originally, I was going to do Salted Caramel Mocha cookies (inspired by the Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks which was available for a limited time last year) using caramel chips instead of choc chips, but the caramel chips were past their best-before date by a few months, so I opted for white choc chips instead; they’re still pretty sweet, balancing out the sea salt and the strong cocoa/coffee flavor of the cookies. Enjoy!

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Salted Mocha and White Choc Chip Cookies
Adapted from Cadbury Kitchen

125g unsalted butter
½ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules, dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
1½ cups of self raising flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup of white choc chips
Sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Lightly grease two large baking trays.

Whist the butter and sugars together until pale and creamy. Add egg, vanilla essence and coffee, and whisk until smooth. Sift in flour, cocoa powder and cinnamon, and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined, then stir in the white choc chips.

Drop tablespoons of the dough onto the baking trays, spaced well apart, and flatten slightly. Sprinkle a little
sea salt on the top of each cookie. Bake each tray for 15 minutes or until the biscuits appear cooked. Cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Or, you know, you could just eat them all while they’re still warm, ’cause that’s way more awesome than sharing them. Mmmmm.

White Chocolate & Mixed Berry Brownies

Hi, everyone! So, I’ve been majorly neglecting this blog lately. I literally haven’t posted anything for the past 14 weeks or so, as I’ve been so busy with college. But although I haven’t been blogging, doesn’t mean I haven’t been baking! I did find a few opportunities to get back in the kitchen, take out my mixing bowls and fire up the oven. And now that it’s the holidays, you can hopefully expect a whole lot more!

The recipe I’m posting today is one that I made for my brother’s birthday way back in March. We were having some guests over for dinner and this called for dessert as well, and since I look for any opportunity to bake, I gladly appointed myself as the dessert chef for that particular event.

The white chocolate in these brownies is sweet and creamy, and contrasts nicely with the tanginess of the berries. I just used a packet of frozen berries, but you could probably use fresh if you wanted too. They taste amazing when served slightly warm with some vanilla ice cream, but are also great the next day after they’ve been refridgerated too.

White Chocolate & Mixed Berry Brownies
(adapted from recipes+ magazine)

125g butter, chopped
200g white cooking chocolate
100g white chocolate chips
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
3/4 firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (approx.) mixed berries
1/4 cup chopped macadamias (optional)

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a slice/brownie tin.
In a small saucepan, combine the butter and the white cooking chocolate and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until melted. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl, leaving to cool for a few minutes. Stir in the sugar and egg until well combined, then sift the flour, salt and cinnamon over it. Stir until combined. Gently fold in the choc chips, mixed berries, and macadamias if using.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and back for about 45 minutes. Cool in the pan before removing and slicing.

Strawberry & White Choc Mini Cupcakes

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Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day everybody! I hope you all got to spend some time with those you love – your friends, your family, your special someone, or even your multitudes of cats. Everyone deserves love! :3 I had a pretty great day – a romantic picnic and a surprise serenade!

I haven’t updated Sneaky Pudding in a while as I’ve been a little too busy to bake, and soon I’ll be going back to college, which takes up even more of my time. But I’ll try to post up a new recipe and/or baking adventure once a week or so.

So, as I mentioned before, I prepared a picnic for my boyfriend – and what Valentine’s Day picnic is complete without adorable, tiny, delicious, pink cupcakes? I know Valentine’s Day won’t be here again for another year, but don’t let that stop you from making these cupcakes – they’re a great gift for someone you love at any time of the year!

I wanted to make strawberry-flavoured cupcakes – something about strawberries just says “romantic”! Since the strawberries I had weren’t as sweet as I like them, I decided to stir in a tablespoon of caster sugar after chopping them up to enhance their flavour a bit. I left them in the fridge while I was at work, so they abosrbed the sugar and became sweeter, and the mixture became nice and soft. When the cupcakes were baked, the sweet strawberry flavour really stood out, but the texture was still quite smooth – there weren’t really any big, annoying chunks of strawberry in the cupcake.

The best bit was decorating! The icing is white chocolate and cream, and once it’s cooled it should work pretty well in a piping bag. I didn’t use a piping bag though, I just spread it on with a knife, although I do think a piping bag would create a prettier result. Once the icing is on, get creative with your decorations! Small heart-shaped chocolates, heart-shaped sprinkles… clearly, I’m a fan of heart-shaped things. Whatever floats your boat! Maybe you could bake several batches and write an elaborate romantic poem with one letter per cupcake. Actually, don’t do that, it’s kind of weird.

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Strawberry and White Choc Mini Cupcakes
(adapted from The Complete Series – Cupcakes)

CUPCAKES
80g butter
½ cup caster sugar + extra tablespoon
1 egg
1 cup self-raising flour, sifted
¼ cup milk
½ tsp. vanilla essence
½ cup chopped strawberries
pink food colouring (optional)

ICING
1 cup white chocolate, chopped
½ cup cream

Chop the strawberries up very finely, place them in a bowl and stir in an extra tablespoon of caster sugar. Place in the fridge until you’re ready to add to the batter.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line a 24-capacity mini cupcake tin with cupcake cases.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, then stir in the egg until well combined.

Sift in the flour. Add the milk, vanilla essence, strawberries, and pink food colouring (if using). Stir until all combined.

Spoon the mixture into the mini cupcake cases and bake for about 10-15 minutes, until risen and springing back lightly when touched. Allow to cool completely before icing.

To make the icing, melt the white chocolate and cream in a small saucepan until smooth. Set aside to cool completely (otherwise it’ll be really runny). Spread onto the cupcakes with a knife, or use a small piping bag. Decorate with sprinkles. Place in the fridge until ready to serve to ensure icing is firm.

Makes about 36 mini cupcakes.