July 28, 2010

The Addiction Strikes Again : Peanut Butter Blondies

Oh noes, the peanut butter has come back to haunt me!  Not that I'm complaining, of course.  Today I have a delicious peanut butter 'blondie' recipe to share with you.  These blondies can be made with choc chips added, if desired.  They are amazing for a peanut butter craving, they're a little bit crunchy throughout and soft in the middle.  Choc chips add a whole new dimension, and make the middle even softer and more dense.  Sounds good, yes?

Recipe Adapted From: Bake at 350
Ingredients (20 cm (8 inch) square tin)
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cups crunchy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius, and line a 20cm square tin (or equivalent) with baking paper.

2. Cream the butter and peanut butter until smooth.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.  Add the vanilla.
If you're making a double batch, and you use 250mL cups (e.g. in Australia) then add an extra egg.

4. Fold in the flour, baking powder and salt.
As you can see, my mixture has a biscuit texture when I think it should be more runny.  Adding an extra egg in the step above would probably get me the runny texture I want.

5. Stir in the chocolate chips.

6. Spread/press the batter into the prepared pan.
On my Mum's request, I made a plain blondie and a choc chip one.

7. Bake for about 30 minutes in the prepared oven.

Mmmm, they look like giant biscuits.

8. Cool completely before cutting.

And enjoy the crunchy, peanut buttery, melty chocolatey yum.

P.S. The Speeding Turtle has another addition to her blog!  Above, you can see a 'Recipes' tab - there you will find adorable (if I don't say so myself) little recipe cards with pretty pictures that will lead you to any recipe on my blog.  So if you're looking for something to make and don't feel like trawling through the pages of Food for Torte, have a look there!  There's something for everyone; cakes, cookies, cupcakes and slices/brownies/bars.  Have fun!

July 18, 2010


Hello, Internet!
It's the Speeding Turtle here, back from a trip in another country.  I had a lot of fun, and ate heaps of delicious food.

My Grandmother was having a dinner with some friends, and she was in charge of bringing desserts.  The dinner was an 'Operatic' theme, so she asked if I could do some biscuits and a Sachertorte.  I agreed, knowing I had a Sachertorte recipe stashed away in my French Pastry book, and made her some macarons for the biscuits.

Below is the recipe and procedure for Sachertorte.  I made a small Sachertorte for the dinner, and a whole pile of mini Sachers to keep at home for consumption.

Sachertorte is a dense chocolate and apricot cake with a smooth chocolate covering.  It takes its name from Vienna's Sacher Hotel.  Austrian law specifies that a Sachertorte must be made with butter (not margarine or shortening), fresh eggs, apricot jam and real chocolate (not cocoa powder).  I abandoned my margarine for this one.

The recipe actually uses chocolate poured fondant for the icing, but poured fondant and I have a strained relationship after the petit four incidents; so I used a handy, and delicious Glacage au Chocolat instead which still gives a beautiful flat finish.

Recipe Source: The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Pastry Arts
Ingredients - Cake
100g dark chocolate
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
55g icing sugar
6 eggs
110g flour
100g white sugar

Ingredients - Glacage au Chocolat (Chocolate Glaze)
455g dark chocolate
330g unsalted butter, room temperature
30mL (2 tbsp) glucose syrup
Ingredients - Assembly
500g apricot jam
30mL rum (optional)
Extra chocolate (dark) for piping

Method - Cake
1. Gather all your ingredients for the cake (I don't usually do this, but hey, I think it made the whole process a lot easier!)  Separate the eggs into two separate bowls, you need both the yolks and the whites.

2. Preheat oven to 177 degrees C.  Butter and flour two 6 inch/15cm cake tins.

3. Melt the chocolate for the cake, set aside to cool.

4. Place egg whites in a bowl and beat on low to aerate (until bubbles appear).

5. Add the white sugar and whip until soft peaks form.

6. Fit a mixer with the paddle/K attachment and beat the butter on low to soften it.

7. Add the icing sugar and beat on medium for about 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

8. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.

9. Grab the melted chocolate that you prepared earlier.  With the mixer on low, pour in the chocolate all at once to keep it from setting before it's incorporated into the batter.  Keep beating until the chocolate is completely incorporated.

10. Using a spatula, fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture gently.  Don't completely combine the two batters, it will all come together in the next step.

11. Fold the flour into the streaky batter until everything is incorporated.

12. Pour half the mixture into each cake tin and flatten.

I put half my mixture into muffin moulds.  However, if you want mini Sachers, I suggest you make the two large cakes and then cut little circles out of the cakes.  The muffin mould cakes didn't turn out looking pretty.

13. Bake the cakes for about 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Method - Glacage au Chocolat (Chocolate Glaze)
1. Combine chocolate, butter and glucose syrup in a microwave-safe bowl.

2. Microwave until the chocolate is partially melted.

3. Stir until the glaze is perfectly blended, with no lumps or evidence of separation.

4. Set aside to cool to body temperature.

Method - Assembly
1. Invert the cakes onto a wire rack, remove the tin and let cool.

2. Use a serrated knife to trim the top of the cakes.  Your aim is to make every surface as flat as possible so that the smooth chocolate glaze will go on nicely.  After trimming, cut each cake in half crosswise.

My cupcake Sachers turned out a bit deformed, so I trimmed the tops and cut them out into nice circles with a cookie cutter.

Delicious 'wastage'.

3. Warm apricot jam until very hot (but not boiling) either in the microwave or in a saucepan.  If using rum, warm the jam and rum together.  If the jam is lumpy or has bits in it, press through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.  I used a smooth jam, so I skipped this step.

4. Using a pastry brush, brush the two cut sides of each cake with jam and sandwich them together.
You should now have two cakes, each with jam in the middle.

5. Brush the outsides of the cakes with jam.  Set aside to let the jam cool and set.

6. Pour the glacage over one cake at a time.  

Using a flat spatula or knife, smooth the glacage out so it runs over the edges of the cake.  Make sure all surfaces of the cake are covered.  Allow the glacage to set.

7. Once the glacage is set (it will go a matte colour), melt some more chocolate.  Transfer it into a baking paper piping bag (or a Ziploc back with a hole cut in the corner).  Pipe the word Sacher in the middle of the top of each cake.

8. Eat.