Thursday, 3 January 2013

The 5 minute chocolate mug cake

Ever had one of those urges for chocolate? The type of urge where it comes out of no where and you MUST have it and if you don't have the kind of chocolate to fulfill those cravings, the next best thing is the block of cooking chocolate that you have found right at the back of your pantry that could possibly have had a used by date that needed to be used at least a month or so ago? Yes? Me too.

This particular night Betty and my Miss 11 were testing out the messaging between their iPods. Now I am not sure if Betty had the urge but she certainly planted the  "I want chocolate cake" seed with my Miss 11 and her timing couldn't have been worse, thanks B! Miss 11 has come to me with only 10 minutes until all three of my little darlings were to depart for their bedrooms for bed and pipes up with a much enthusiastic voice "Mum, Aunty B said to ask you (this is where the alarm bells started ringing) to let me make a chocolate cake in a mug". Now normally I would say YES as we all know my obsession for chocolate outweighs almost everything but I had already washed all the dinner dishes and had just sat down after a busy day. Miss 11 was not happy and of course the "enthusiastic" voice turned into the "whinging whiney" voice I love so much and things seemed to go down hill very quickly. I put my foot down and the answer was NO we will make it tomorrow. Well of course "little people" never forget and the first thing I hear when I open my eyes is "can we make the chocolate cake in a mug?".
I had not previously heard about this cake in a mug phenomenon (I know, where have I been right?!), so I surfed the net in search of this "chocolate cake in a mug" and found a simply delicious sounding recipe that ticked all my boxes and all of a sudden my "urges" for chocolate were taking over my mind and I now HAD to have it. Of course it was breakfast time and we don't do this all the time of course but I relented and gave in. Yes we had chocolate cake in a mug for breakfast. Yes we also may have had a scoop of ice-cream for breakfast and yes it was DELICIOUS!!!!
This recipe was from the fabulous Not Quite Nigella, whose blog we follow religiously and are in total awe of. We love reading about her food journeys and recipes, so thank you Lorraine for this one!

5-Minute Chocolate Cake in a Mug
Recipe from: Not Quite Nigella

 You will need:

 4 tablespoons plain flour
5 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder (You don't need to add this but if you do you will need to cover the mug with glad wrap/cling wrap so it doesn't explode over the edges.)
half a teaspoon coffee powder (this is optional but it makes it taste like a truly gooey mudcake)
pinch of salt
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons of chocolate chips or flakes plus 2 tablespoons extra
A small splash of vanilla extract
2 microwave safe coffee mugs

The above will make 2 mug cakes and I did add the baking powder the first time and like Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella says it will be messy and explode over the of course we had to have a go! But you can cover the mug with glad wrap if your adding the baking powder to avoid the mess!

This was the attempt with the baking powder!!!

You can mix up the ingredients in the actual mugs or you can add the ingredients to a bowl and just divide them equally in the two. I added my ingredients to one bowl.

Add dry ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine

Pour the milk, oil, chocolate chips, or flakes and vanilla extract and mix well

Whisk the egg lightly in a bowl and add to the mix

Divide the batter between the two coffee mugs and add the extra chocolate to the top of the batter

At this point cover with glad wrap if using the baking powder.

Do one mug at a time, put your mug in the microwave and microwave for one minute on medium. This is where you need to know if your microwave is pretty powerful or if you are like me I usually do everything on high. I actually did these on high and with my second attempt I experimented with stopping the microwave mid-cooking time as the mix grew higher and higher as it heated up, but stopping it for just a second the mix went down and I was able to continue with the cooking time and stop the mix from coming over the edges of the mug.

If you are doing it on medium after the first minute, microwave for another 30 seconds on medium heat. Check the consistency, it should be cooked but still moist and gooey. If its still not cooked microwave for another 30 seconds on medium but it will continue to cook on standing.
Doing mine on High only took 1 minute and it was cooked and delightfully gooey at the bottom with those extra choc chips.

Allow to cool and for that extra delicious kick add a scoop of ice-cream on top!!!

A truly QUICK fix for my Chocolate URGE! I can feel that urge coming on again......M x

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer cookies - M & B Christmas recap

I love Christmas time. In fact sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm an adult now and I don't need to wake up before the birds are singing on Christmas morning. Just can't help myself, even though the focus is on our children now. I love hearing them sneak down the hall way at some ungodly hour, only to run back down and tell each other "Santa has been!".

I also love baking some little treats that are a little different and that are just for the kids (well big kids also) and seeing their little faces light up as they take bites of my creations. I wanted to make these reindeer cookies for a school break up party but never had time to actually do them so I ended up making some marshmallow snowmen on sticks as shown below.

They were a hit and so easy to make and no baking required. However, back to the biscuits at hand, they were also very easy and I found the dough worked better rested in the freezer instead of the fridge as it was a little harder and easier at holding its shape when transferring from the baking paper to the baking trays. I know some of you are most probably saying "too hard" but you don't have to add the ice-cream sticks or use the decorations I have used as the biscuits themselves are very tasty, they have that hint of spice that will have your taste buds singing Christmas carols all year round!

You will need:
90g butter
1 egg
1/2 cup (110g) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (25g) desiccated coconut
1/3 cup (35g) wheat germ
2/3 cup (100g) wholemeal plain (all-purpose) flour
1/3 cup (50g) white self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
20 small pretzels
1/4 cup (45g) dark choc-bits
10 choc orange balls (I used Jaffas)

Have butter and egg at room temperature. Beat butter, egg and sugar in a small bowl with electric mixer until combined.

Stir in coconut, wheat germ and sifted flours and spice.

Enclose dough in plastic wrap, refrigerate 30 minutes.

Roll dough between sheets of baking paper until 5mm (1/4-inch) thick. Place on tray, refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees / 350 F, line baking trays with baking paper.
Using a 9cm (Mine was 8cm) round cutter, cut rounds from dough, re-rolling scraps as necessary. Place rounds about 3-inches apart on trays.

Slide an ice-block stick under each cookie, press down firmly. (You don't have to use ice-cream sticks if you don't want as they biscuits look cute enough without them).

Position two pretzels on each cookie for antlers, press down firmly.

Decorate cookies with choc bits for eyes and mouths, bake about 12 minutes until lightly browned.

Adding your choc orange balls after they have been baked, pressing firmly on the hot biscuit and then leaving to cool completely.

Merry Christmas! M x