Enjoy Winter Nights the Italian Way

Mmmmmmm…!!!

I just had a cup of the BEST hot chocolate this planet has to offer.

I’m still drooling. Forgive me.

*shakes head to get out of dreamworld* This is the bestest hot chocolate I’ve come across in my whole life! Steaming hot, almost as thick as pudding, great with or without marshmallows/whipped cream: I’ve finally discovered the true taste of Love. One sip –> Addiction!

Sadly, I drunk it as soon as I poured it into the cup, and so, I’m left with a burnt tongue and no pictures. But, this is just proof of how fantastic this Italian delight is! I must say, Italians are geniuses ^_^

Without boring you guys any further, here goes this MARVELLOUS recipe:

Ingredients (for one cup):

4 tablespoons roughly chopped chocolate (I used Hershey’s milk chocolate chips but a bittersweet chocolate like Cadbury Bournville would definitely be much better)

3/4 cup milk

1 tsp cornflour

1/2 tbsp sugar (if using milk chocolate chips but use 1 if using bittersweet chocolate)

a pinch of salt

Method:

Heat the chocolate along with a tablespoon of the milk in a saucepan, until the chocolate has just melted. Keep stirring with a silicon/rubber/wooden spoon/spatula throughout the cooking process. Slowly, pour in the remaining milk. Add the sugar. After the sugar has dissolved, quickly add the cornflour and keep stirring so no lumps form. Now keep cooking (and stirring) over low heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and pour into a cup. You may drink it immediately, and get your tongue burnt 😉 Or, you may wait a minute or so, but then, a thick coating forms on the surface, so you have to stir it before drinking. Needless to say, you’ll enjoy it! 😀

I’d love to hear about your first experience with this so please…comment below! 🙂

Chocolate Biscuit Cake

Sinful. Delicious. –> The two words that come to my mind when I think of this beauty…

Chocolate Biscuit Cake was what Prince William had on his special day. Yup, he has goooood choice!!! It is what I had never tasted until a few minutes before now. It is what I took to a family dinner yesterday (but never got a chance to taste it :/ ). It is what intrigued me so much that I made it again.

I dunno why but this tastes so much like a magnified Twix bar, and Twix is my all-time favourite chocolate, so I loved this. I guess it was kind of caramel-ish because of the condensed milk.

I first came across this cake on wikihow and then kept googling for recipes until I found a suitable one on edible ireland. I did change the recipe a little according to our taste and here’s the result:

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Although many recipes call for golden syrup to be used, but I chose the condensed milk version because I had condensed milk but not golden syrup at home, and also, because on Edible Ireland, it says that using condensed milk makes it easier to cut the cake. So here goes this MARVELLOUS recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 150 g roughly chopped Milk Chocolate (I used 1 1/2 100g bars of Dairy Milk)
  • 150 g roughly chopped Dark Chocolate (I used Cadbury Bournville. The second time, however, I didn’t have enough Bournville so I added Hershey’s milk chocolate chips because they’re still too dark for me to eat normally)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) diced butter/margarine (Blue Band, of course)
  • 1 tin (400 g) condensed milk (Comelle, my favourite)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp espresso powder* (Nescafe)
  • as many Digestive Biscuits and/or Tea Biscuits (I used Marie biscuits) as you want

*The espresso powder is purely optional, but doesn’t everyone love the taste of coffee+chocolate???!!!

Method:

Melt the chocolates and butter/margarine in a heatproof bowl, either in the microwave, or in a double boiler (the  better option).
Remove from heat and stir in the salt and espresso powder with the help of a rubber/silicon spatula.
Pour in the condensed milk and stir well.
Add the digestive and tea biscuits, broken into 3-5 pieces each. Stir until each and every piece is covered in the chocolate mixture.
Pour this concoction in a lined loaf or springform cake pan. The loaf pan should be lined with plastic wrap (clingfilm). I lined the base of the springform with aluminium foil and plastic wrap on top of that, and lightly oiled the sides.
Refrigerate for at least 3-5 hours (preferably overnight). If you reside in Pakistan, do place it in the freezer overnight.
If you want, you can spread some chocolate, or white/vanilla buttercream frosting on it, but it’s very rich as it is.

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ENJOY!

Experimenting with Cupcakes

So…I was looking up many different videos on Youtube, as well as blog posts on decorating cupcakes, and I found a million ways to do so. I was specially inspired by the “Easy Little Pandas” on Bakerella’s website.

However, when I finally sat down to make them, I found it to be one of the most difficult tasks in the world!

The icing was melting before I could get over the average human reaction time of 0.4 seconds! I overfilled the first batch in ignorance, and the fifth batch in frustration. (Oh God! When will this batter finish?) Really, I am a novice baker!

Still, I managed to make them into something…

Betty Crocker's Super Moist Cupcakes Chocolate Crunch (3 in 1) mix

So I started off with one of my favourite cake mixes…

…Added the required ingredients and gave it a good beating.

 

Greased and lined a mini cupcake tray and poured in the batter (yes, I overfilled it).

 

Then I baked each batch for 8-9 minutes, until I had gotten myself 51 cupcakes.

Here are my ideas on decorating:

 

I spread the Vanilla Frosting that came with the mix on a few, and Betty Crocker’s Rich and Creamy Chocolate Frosting on the remaining. I also left some as it is, because I am one of those very few people who enjoy cake without the frosting.

 

Chocolate Sprinkles on some and Chocolate Crunch (again, with the mix) on others…

Pink and white sprinkles with the chocolate frosting on most of them..
LOL at the two miserable, would-be pandas in the corner 😛

 

And my favourites: Chocolate icing piped with a star-shaped tip, with a red cherry ball in the center ❤

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Monday morning blues or last night of vacations: Chocolate soothes you. It makes everything perfect and blissful. Toss in some brown sugar, some table sugar, a few sticks of butter, fold in the flour and the soda, add an egg or two, pop it in the oven, and there you have ’em: CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES, made from scratch. No need to visit Hobnob anymore to get that outrageously expensive but mouth-wateringly delicious cookie. No need to bear the whines of the ‘Cookie Monster’-inspired kids. You can bake them right at home, in almost no time!

So here goes:

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Measure out 3/4 cups of granulated (i.e. normal) sugar and 3/4 cups of packed brown sugar.

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Add in 1 cup of  softened butter or margarine and cream them together. Add 1 beaten egg and mix well.

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Fold in sifted 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour. Also, add 1 tsp of baking soda and 1/2 tsp of salt.  The dough gets really really stiff at this point. It is a pretty good exercise for your arms 😛 .
Now for the best part! Gently fold in the chocolate chips. The recipe calls for 2 cups but I add as many as I want. Toss in the nuts, be it walnuts, or almonds, or pistachios. Be CREATIVE. That’s what cooking is about!

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something is really wrong with the pic uploading :/

Drop small balls of the dough on UNGREASED cookie sheets, approximately 2 inches apart. I like to press down to flatten them a little.
Bake them at 180 degrees celsius in a preheated oven, until they are golden brown, have soft centers and slightly brown edges.

ENJOY!

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Ingredients:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
2 cups (approx.) semisweet chocolate chips OR dark cooking chocolate, chopped into small pieces

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (around 190 degrees Celsius). Beat the egg in a large bowl. Add the sugars, and butter and beat well. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt (dough will be very stiff). Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet, and shape them into circles. These cookies should be placed approx. 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are light brown (the centers will remain soft). Cool slightly. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack.

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