Mocha Pfeffernüsse bread

Chocolate – check

Pfeffernüsse spice – check

Coffee – check

Bread – check

With all the good things in life checked off here, it’s of little wonder that this bread is sooooo good! It makes for an awesomely decadent treat (breakfast?) with a latte, and makes the whole house smell like heaven
before you even pop it in the oven. I’ve missed baking so much (stupid busy lifestyle!), and this was the perfect way to get back into the swing of it. It was inspired by the Spiced Choc Coffee Loaf in the Woolworths Fresh magazine, and the fact that while I’d run out of mixed spice, I’ve got a whole stash of pfeffernüsse spice in my kitchen. I haven’t made the original, but my spice mix brings so much to the party that I won’t be omitting it.

The caveat is that it’s, um, nearly 500 calories a slice. But it’s legitimately bread, not cake, and although decadent, it is also filling. And it’s certainly a special occasion kind of recipe, so it’s not like you’d be adding it to your regular diet. And if you are, I kind of envy you!

Ingredients

Dough

3/4 cup milk

7g sachet yeast

1/3 cup caster sugar

3 1/3 cups plain flour

3 eggs, beaten

125g butter (I use salted – if yours is unsalted, add 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes), cubed

Filling

250g dark chocolate

50g butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1tbs pfeffernüsse spice

Icing

30 mls espresso (I used Nespresso Vanilio)

1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Method

  1. Combine milk, yeast and sugar, and rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Place yeast mixture, flour and eggs into a bowl. Knead for 3 minutes until smooth (or 3 minutes in a stand mixer).
  3. While continuing to knead, add butter one piece at a time, incorporating each into the dough before adding another. Knead for 10 minutes after the final piece, until smooth, glossy and elastic.
  4. Place dough in a clean bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise for 1 hour, or up to 24 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 200°C and line a loaf pan with greased baking paper.  
  6. Melt chocolate and butter, and add sugar and spice mix. Stir to combine.
  7. Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a 35x40cm rectangle. Spread with chocolate mixture and roll into logs from the short edges.
  8. Cut each log lengthways (use a very sharp knife for this or it will tear the dough). Twist two halves into one log, and then repeat with the remaining two logs.
  9. Plait the two twisted logs into one large log and fold the edges underneath. Fit into the loaf pan, squishing the edges in if necessary, but aiming not to lose the twisted appearance.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes. Stand for 15 minutes then remove from pan.
  11. Combine the icing ingredients and drizzle over the loaf.

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Toblerone Brownies

Let’s just get this out of the way – these are NOT for calorie counting days. At over 300 calories a pop, these delicious morsels are the embodiment of a ‘sometimes treat’.

With that being said, there are three different types of chocolate in here, and one of them is Toblerone. They’re rich, dense, and sweet – a small square is really all you need. On the other hand, there are three different types of chocolate in here, and one of them is Toblerone. They’re amazing. And they have the perfect crumb: they’re not especially fudgey, nor are they merely a chocolate cake with a superiority complex. They’re the perfect brownie, and my go-to recipe whenever the occasion calls for something sweet.


I adapted this recipe from the Taste.com, and after much experimenting, settled on this incarnation. The original recipe has a butterscotch-esque icing, but I found that with such a rich brownie, while the icing was delicious, it was seriously overkill. Conversely, without the icing, using all dark chocolate made them too intense (and I say that as a girl who loves her chocolate dark and bitter). But by using an even mix of dark and milk chocolate, we’re left with a well balanced slab of heaven. Words of advice:

a) splurge on good quality chocolate, you truly can taste the difference.

b) Freeze the Toblerone – it makes it SO MUCH EASIER to work with

Ingredients

250g butter, chopped

100g dark chocolate, broken into largeish pieces

100g milk chocolate, broken into largeish pieces

3/4 cup caster sugar

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups plain flour

2 tablespoons self-raising flour

200g Toblerone chocolate, frozen

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line base and sides of an 18cm x 28cm slice pan with baking paper, extending paper 2cm above edges of pan. Spray with oil, or grease using butter (I always do the former).
  2. Place butter, dark chocolate, milk chocolate and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and rest for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
  3. Crack eggs, 1 at a time, into chocolate, whisking until combined. Sift in both flours, and fold to combine.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Tumble in the Toblerone pieces and very slightly press into the mixture.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes . Cool for 1 hour before lifting from pan (lest it fall apart).

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Mocha Macarons (Mocharons?)

I’ve long had a love-hate relationship with macarons since the Zumbo craze a few years back- they’re delicious, of course, but they’re also expensive and just a tad pretentious for what they are. And I was convinced that they’d be hard to make, even though I do know my way around meringue and baking in general. I wrote them off as something I’d never bother to make years ago.

For my later, I received a gift certificate from my mother in law to the Paris International Cooking School (sadly, in Sydney, not Paris, but it was still an awesome gift!), and walked out of there a few weeks later with a bunch of recipes, a full belly, and, inexplicably, a bottle of gourmet coffee flavoured syrup I’d purchased on a whim. Predictably, that syrup sat in the dark recesses of my baking cupboard for a month or so, until today, when another impulse purchase took me by surprise – a 2kg bag of almond meal.

You can see where this is going.

With all these ridiculous ingredients, guests on their way, and a healthy fear of what was to come, I had to work out the most fool-proof option for making these macarons. Thank goodness for Elaine and her recipe at The Spruce Eats,

as not only did she provide a really simple and effective base recipe that I could change up a bit, but she also talks the reader off the ledge every step of the way.

All I did differently here was add a teaspoon of cocoa to the macaron mixture, and a dash of coffee syrup to the filling. And it was perfect. Chewy, light, barely sweet, and a breeze to cook for only 110 calories a pop (if you make 12). I did, however, find that I had to keep them in the oven longer, but ovens are notoriously fickle, so I took that with a big old grain of salt.

Ingredients

3/4 cup icing sugar

3/4 cup almond meal

2  egg whites

Small pinch maldon salt flakes

1/4 cup caster sugar

1tsp cocoa

Filling:

2/3 cup butter, softened

2/3 cup icing sugar

2tsp coffee syrup

Method

Preheat the oven to 140 C. Line two baking trays with baking paper, and draw 12 circles on each of them, using a shot glass as a stencil.

Sieve the icing sugar and ground almonds into a large mixing bowl, ensuring there are no lumps – I like to whisk the end result, just to be sure.

In a separate clean bowl (I used my stand mixer here), whisk the egg whites and salt until they form soft peaks. Add the caster sugar little by little, whisking until the whites are glossy and stiff peaks form.

Gently fold in the almond mixture. Don’t worry that the meringue loses air, this is normal.

Fill a piping bag with the mixture. Don’t use the star nozzle like I did at first – you want a round, flat base here. Pipe the mixture onto the rounds, filling in the circle.

Gently bang the baking trays on the bench to release any air pockets. Leave on bench to dry out for 20 minutes.

Bake the macarons for 15 minutes, opening the door halfway through to allow any steam (and hence moisture) to escape. Remove from the oven, and allow to sit in their trays until cool. They might seem a little underdone, but will firm upon cooling.

To make the filling, cream the butter and gradually beat in the icing sugar. Add flavouring and beat a little more. Spread 1/2 tsp of filling onto the flat side of one macaron, sandwich with another, and gently twist to cement them together. Repeat with remaining cookies.

 

 

 

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