Mocha Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

I’ve been trying to be healthy, but the inevitable chocolate / cake craving rears its head from time to time.  My usual go-to recipe when this happens is my Chocolate Fudge cake.. But I decided I’d make a healthier version of chocolate cake, in the form of chocolate muffins.  The addition of coffee was an afterthought, but they turned out tasting really nice.  They’re mocha-ish and the tang of the cream cheese frosting works well with the flavours.

Ingredients

  • 280g self raising flour
  • 110g granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 8 fl oz. milk
  • 3 fl. oz. vegetable oil
  • 1 egg

Recipe

  1. Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Dissolve the coffee granules in 2 tablespoonfuls of boiling water, and leave to cool.
  3. Measure out the milk, vegetable oil and egg into a jug and whisk lightly to combine.  Add the coffee to this.
  4. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Spoon into muffin cases and bake at 180’C for 20 – 25 minutes.

Frosting

To make the frosting (optional), you will need:

  • 1 tsp soft (cream) cheese
  • water (optional – I used this to make the icing more runny.  Use as much as you want)
  • icing sugar – use as much as you want to get the consistency right.

Mix the cream cheese, icing sugar and water together until you get the consistency of icing you prefer, and then drizzle 1 tsp over each muffin whilst they’re still hot.  Leave the muffins to cool, and the icing will set.

Enjoy!

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Cheat’s Chocolate Brownies

When my oven broke  a couple weeks ago, it took a while to get it fixed (it turned out that it was only the fuse, but I kept forgetting to buy a new one!).  Anyway, due to it not working, and having no cakes in the house, I turned to a recipe that a lovely work colleague gave me, which makes no-bake cakes… and they’re super yummy!

I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit, as I wanted it a bit more chocolately, so used dark chocolate for the topping, and added some oreos into the biscuit base…

There’s no measuring scales required, so it’s a useful recipe to have to hand (plus the ease of no baking!)

 

Ingredients

  • 20 digestive biscuits
  • 10 oreo biscuits
  • ¾ block of butter
  • 2 teaspoons of hot chocolate powder
  • 1tbsp of golden syrup
  • 300g of dark chocolate (Tesco value or whatever does the trick)

Recipe

  1. Crush the biscuits in a bag / bowl.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the chocolate powder and golden syrup. Stir. Add the biscuit crumbs and mix.
  3. Pour the content into a baking tray and put to set in the fridge for 30 m – 1 hr until firm.
  4. Melt the dark chocolate over boiling water and pour over the base once it’s set.
  5. Return to the fridge to set for 1 – 2 h. (* tip – it’s better to cut the cake at room temperature rather than straight out of the fridge as it will crack! – I made this mistake because I was too impatient to taste it).

Enjoy and try not the think about the calories!!

Ham and Cheese Savoury Muffins

These are really simple savoury muffins, which make for a great and different lunchtime snack.  They go well with a light salad, but are just as fantastic on their own as a snack.

These didn’t bake without mishap for me however… Just as I was finishing putting the muffin batter into the cases, BAM. My oven broke. It didn’t go up in a puff of smoke or anything (now that perhaps would’ve been a better story…), it simply made a small clicking sound, and then powered down, light, heat and all.  So I had to quickly run down to the flat below mine, and beg the owner to use his oven (luckily we get on well, so he agreed, on condition he have one muffin – I gave him two!)

They turned out really well, and had a fantastic flavour to them, so I’ll definitely be cooking them regularly, and encourage everyone to give them a go!*

* They work just as well as Cheese and Onion savoury muffins, simply omit the ham…

Ham and Cheese Savoury Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 280g self raising flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder (yes, you read right!)
  • 1 tsp mustard (this brings out the cheese flavour, so don’t leave this out, even if you’re not keen on mustard, you can’t taste it at all by the end!)
  • seasoning (I used 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper)
  • 7 fl oz. milk
  • 3 fl. oz. vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 50g cheddar cheese
  • 50g soft goats cheese / brie
  • 50g ham
  • 1 onion

  1. Preheat the oven to 200’C.
  2. Dice the onion finely.
  3. Cube the goats cheese (or brie), and finely grate the cheddar.
  4. Measure flour, seasoning and baking powder into a bowl and mix.
  5. Measure milk, oil and mustard into a jug, and add the egg, then beat the mixture.
  6. Add the liquid to the flour mix, and stir a couple of times.  Add the diced onion, goats cheese / brie, and all but 1 tbsp of the grated cheddar (leave this little bit for sprinkling on the top!).  Add the chopped ham.
  7. Mix together carefully, making sure not to over-mix.  It’s easy to do this with muffins, but they only need a couple of stirs (even though they look all floury and messy).
  8. Divide up into muffin cases, sprinkle the leftover cheese on top, and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. When taking out of the oven, leave to rest for 5 minutes in the muffin tin before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool.

These were really yummy hot as well – I had a couple for tea with a small rice salad and a large helping of lettuce and tomatoes!

These will keep for 2 – 3 days out of the fridge, but make sure you keep them in a cool place.

Healthy Eton Mess

So one of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to be more healthy.  I’m pretty good at eating the 5-a-day of fruit and veg (I sometimes eat up to 7-a-day without noticing, as I use fruit as a snack through the day).  However, I’m fond of nice desserts and cakes… I don’t have them often… But they call my name in supermarkets (and I ignore them to the best of my ability).  I recently craved an unhealthy dessert – Eton Mess – so instead of giving in to it, I decided to make my own healthy version, which would take the edge off the craving.

Healthy Eton Mess (makes 1 serving)

1 digestive biscuit

1 small meringue nest

handful of raspberries / summer berries

125g natural yoghurt

Recipe

  1. Crush the digestive biscuit, and place in the bottom of the bowl (I used a wine glass because it looked prettier!).
  2. Crush the meringue, enough to create small chunks, but not too small, as they will dissolve in the yoghurt otherwise.
  3. Mix the berries with the yoghurt, and at the last minute, add the meringue pieces.
  4. Spoon carefully on top of the biscuit base, and serve immediately, with a garnish of berries on top.

This was super easy and quick to make, and I felt much better afterwards for not eating quite so much fat and calories as a normal Eton Mess would’ve served me, through all that thick cream.

The yoghurt goes well with the meringue, and the sweetness of the berries and meringue will hopefully curb any cream craving you have!

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Orange Cupcakes

Now that Christmas is over, there’s lots and lots of festive food still to be eaten… All that turkey, and Christmas cake… and mince pies… and what did I go and do??… I made more food!

I made this recipe for a family lunch on Boxing Day this year; the whole family gets together on Boxing Day – aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins – in my grandparents house, and we all bring some food to the table to contribute.  I made these cinnamon orange cupcakes as a break from all the heavy rich food.

Ingredients:

6 oz self raising flour

6 oz granulated sugar

6 oz butter (I use hard vegetable margarine)

3 eggs

2 tbsps milk

rind of 1 orange

juice of 1 orange

Recipe:

1) Preheat the oven to 180’C.

2) Measure out the basic ingredients (flour, sugar, butter, milk) into a bowl and beat together until blended.

3) Add the juice and rind of the orange, and mix in.

4) Spoon into cupcake cases and put in the oven for 15 – 20 minus until golden brown on top and spongy to the touch.  Once out of the oven, let the cakes sit in the tin for 5 minutes to cool before placing them on a cooling rack.

Icing:

4 oz hard margarine

8 oz icing sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Beat together the icing sugar, butter and cinnamon until the mixture turns creamy and smooth.  Use a palette knife or icing bag to ice the cakes, and decorate with edible glitter or sprinkles.

The 10 Posts of Christmas

“On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to meeeeee…. a beautifully decorated flat and a pretty Christmas tree!”

And so the Christmas preparations come to a close.  I’ve been putting my decorations up, and am pleased with the results!  My flat looks nice and homely and ready for the winter holiday.

And here’s a reminder of all the projects that I did over the last couple of weeks:

Post 1:  Candles and Cones

Post 2:  Cute Christmas Trees

Post 3:  Christmas Tree and Heart Garland

Post 4:  Glitter Baubles

Post 5:  Christmas Wreath

Post 6:  Mum’s Mince Pies

Post 7:  Failproof Christmas Cake

Post 8:  Icing the Christmas Cake

Post 9:   Non-Alcoholic Mulled Wine

Post 10:  Christmas Chocolates

So there you have it, my homemade Christmas!  Hope you’ve had a go doing some cooking and decorating yourselves 🙂

Happy Christmas everyone, hope you enjoy the food, family and festivities!

xx

Christmas Part 10: Quick and Easy Homemade Chocolate Truffles

I’m off home to the family today, which meant a mad dash packing up presents and trying to work out what to take for a week’s break last night.  As I’d been so busy the last couple of weeks with work, I still needed to make the annual Christmas chocolates that I always make for my aunts, uncles and grandparents.

Note: Family members look away NOW else your present is spoiled… BUT if you’re interested (and like them when I give them to you, keep reading, and you can find out how I made them!)

Chocolate Oreo Truffles

2 packets of oreo cookies (the normal 154g cookie packets)

4 oz butter (I use marg)

300g plain chocolate

two tbsps icing sugar

chocolate sprinkles and icing sugar to decorate

Recipe

1) Crush the oreo cookies into fine crumbs (I used a food processor for this, so it only took 5 minutes).

2) melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan until liquid and mixed together.

3) mix the 2 tbsps icing sugar with the cookie crumbs, and then pour the liquid chocolate over.  Mix well and leave to sit for 10 minutes to firm.

4) Take small teaspoonful amount of the mixture, roll lightly in your hands to create truffle ball shapes, and then roll in the sprinkles (or icing sugar if you prefer).  Place on a plate to harden for 30 minutes.  Then serve.  These should keep for about 2 weeks out of the fridge.  The mixture should make around 60 – 70 truffles.

All in all, they took me about 30 minutes to make, and they were super easy, no hassle, and look really really good.  I made a mix of icing sugar-covered and sprinkle-covered ones, and they compliment each other well.

I took time to package them carefully, in little cardboard Christmas cups I bought from IKEA, and then wrapped them in a clear cellophane bag, tied with a  red ribbon and a little name tag.