Thursday, 27 February 2014

Gluten-free Chocolate and Almond Muffins

I borrowed this book "Primrose Bakery Celebrations" from our local library and this is the first recipe I have tried from it.  If the rest are as delicious I will be buying this book!  I have slightly tweaked the instructions, but the ingredients are the same.
In the book the muffins are decorated with butter icing, but we have enjoyed them without it.

Makes 12 muffins

125g unsalted butter
125g dark chocolate (I used Dr O, as it claims to be gluten-free)
4 large eggs, separated
125g golden caster sugar (I used ordinary caster sugar)
125g ground almonds

1.  Preheat oven to 160'C fan.  Line a muffin tray with 12 paper cases.
2.  Melt together chocolate and butter.  I did this in my microwave on the medium setting, at 30 second bursts, stirring each time.  Set aside to cool slightly.
3.  In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.  I used my hand held electric whisk.
4.  Fold in ground almonds with a metal spoon.
5.  In a separate bowl (or processor) whisk egg whites until at soft peak stage.
6.  Fold cooled chocolate mixture into almond mixture.
7.  Gently fold in whisked egg whites, again with a metal spoon.
8.  Divide evenly between paper cases and bake for approximately 20-22 minutes.  Test with a skewer.
9.  Allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack.  Can be decorated once completely cool.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Squares

I originally found this recipe here via Pinterest.  Although I do have US measuring cups I felt it would be easier for myself if I could weigh the ingredients in good old ounces!

For the base:
1cup/7oz unsalted butter, melted
2cups/8+1/8oz (16 biscuits) McVitie's Digestive Biscuits, finely crumbed
2cups/10oz icing sugar
1+1/2cup/12oz peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

For the topping:
1/4cup/2oz peanut butter
2cups/12oz dark chocolate chips.

 1.  In a large bowl, combine all of the base ingredients until smooth.
2.  Spread evenly in a 9"x13" lined baking tray.
3.  Melt together topping ingredients.  I microwaved mine on a medium setting for 1 minute and then removed it and stirred until smooth.  Don't overcook - chocolate can hold its shape even when soft.  Stirring will remove any lumps.
4.  Spread topping onto base and place in refrigerator until set.
5.  Once set, remove from refrigerator and leave for 5 minutes before cutting.  This prevents the chocolate from cracking.
 I used crunchy peanut butter and therefore had little lumps in my chocolate, smooth peanut butter in the topping would prevent this, but I like the crunch.
 I started cutting my squares slightly too soon and you can see a couple of fine cracks in the chocolate.  Trimming off the edges will make the squares look more presentable.  The trimmings aren't wasted! ;)
 These are a hit with my family!

Dad's Boozy Ice Cream

 I have called this my Dad's recipe, because my Mum says it is so easy that he can make it ... and he does!  Originally my Mum clipped this recipe from a magazine, but I don't know which one.

2oz caster sugar
2tbsps rum or whiskey
finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
0.5pint double cream
2oz raisins
6 glace cherries, quartered
2oz meringue, broken into small pieces.

1.  Place sugar, alcohol, lemon juice and cream in a large bowl and whisk until thick.
2.  Fold in lemon rind, raisins, cherries and meringue.
3.  Turn mixture into a pudding basin and freeze.  I lined my basin with cling film, but you can skip this and when ready to serve dip bowl in hot water.
 To serve, unmould and slice like a cake. Serves 6.

 I also tweaked the recipe for a second pudding and instead of using the raisins and cherries, I substituted some homemade mincemeat and replaced the rum/whiskey with brandy to match the alcohol in the mincemeat.