Lemon and Ginger Chocolate Brownies

This weekend, I had one of those days where I was just completely exhausted and done with everything. I was wound up about a couple of different things, and as a result I kind of just broke down. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has days like that! In my experience, you just have to let it happen and try to be kind to yourself and do things that make you happy.

To me, that’s baking brownies.

I had the idea for these lemon and ginger brownies for a while now, ever since I first tasted what’s become a new favourite chocolate bar, which (unsurprisingly) featured … lemon and ginger. After tasting (and loving) that flavour combination I thought: “I’m sure that’d work amazing in a brownie.”

And I was right! These brownies may look like regular ol’ brownies (which are pretty freaking good as well), but they do indeed feature ground ginger and the zest of a lemon – it adds a great kick to an already delicious brownie!

Oh, and I’m feeling fine again, by the way. It must have been all that chocolate…

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Recipe: Rocky Horror Road

This week was Books Baking and Blogging’s third blogoversary! I didn’t pay any special attention to it on here on the day itself (the 28th) because even though I knew it was coming up, I still kind of forgot about it so I didn’t have anything planned. Plus, I didn’t have time to really come up with anything special anyway. However! I do want to thank you all so much for making this blogging thing so much fun! Three years is a long time and I’m really proud for sticking to something for this long (and still have fun with it!), but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without this fun community. So thanks, you guys!

Now, onto what you’re all here for! Last week, one of my friends hosted a film  night because he’d never seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show (and neither had I, by the way – loved it). Of course, I decided to bake something – because I always do for those film nights. Or in general, really. I came up with the perfect treat for this particular occasion: Rocky Road!

It was extra perfect because it’s quick and easy – and I unfortunately haven’t had a lot of time to bake recently. This rocky road only required some melting action and a bit of chopping and stirring and then it was all up to the fridge to do its thing. And the result was absolutely delicious!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

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Decadent Three-Layer Brownies

These brownies are more commonly known as “slutty brownies” but I don’t like that name, so I went for “decadent three-layer brownies” instead. It’s still the same type of brownie, though: a layer of cookie dough covered by a layer of Oreos covered by a layer of brownie.

I know.

They’re as good as they sound. Interestingly, though, they taste far more delicious when they’re completely cooled down than when they’re still warm, which is counter-intuitive to me, but hey. You live, you learn.

Although there are quite a few steps, these brownies are definitely easy to make. I simply combined two of my other recipes and threw in some Oreos in between. They’re very dense and heavy, though, so I cut these into rather small pieces. But I’m not here to judge: you do you.

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Chocolate Caramel Cake with Sea Salt

It was one of my friends’ birthday yesterday and, as I do with most birthday parties these days, I decided to bake something for him. When I asked him what kind of stuff he liked in baked goodies, he said “uhm, something with caramel?” And it went without saying that chocolate would be a hit as well.

Now, I’m not a huge caramel fan (although I’m starting to like it a bit more), so I’ve never baked with it, but this gave me an opportunity to try. However, I didn’t have a whole lot of time, so there was no room for mistakes – and watching a lot of Masterchef and Great British Bake Off has taught me that making caramel from scratch can easily go wrong.

In other words: I needed a short cut. And I found one! It’s a recipe from one of my favourite Dutch baking blogs – Laura’s Bakery (for all you Dutchies – go check it out, it’s cool!). All you need is some butter, dark sugar and condensed milk and you’re good to go. I explain in this recipe how you can make it, but I would definitely recommend checking out her recipe for step by step pictures, even if your Dutch is a bit rusty.

Anyway, this chocolate and caramel cake with sea salt was a big success (I even liked it!) and I’m pretty proud of how it turned out! I baked it in two 16 cm tins (so pretty small) but you can definetely use 18 cm tins as well – it’ll just come out a bit less high.

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Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

A little over a week ago I got an email from my thesis supervisor saying I passed my dissertation, and with a very good grade as well! To celebrate this, I decided to bake some cookies (yes, that is celebrating for me), and guys – they might be the best cookies I have ever baked.

They’re based on the M&M cookies I did last year, but instead of M&M’s I used dark chocolate chips and pecans and they turned out delicious. I prepared the dough in the evening so that it cool chill over night, and then I baked the cookies the next morning. When they were done, me and one of my friends tried one pretty much straight away, having let them cool just enough so that we wouldn’t burn our mouths.

I couldn’t just eat one – I needed more of them straightaway. And that rarely happens with me and baked goodies. Needless to say, the cookies were gone within a day – but let’s make something clear here: I didn’t eat them all by myself (although that would’ve been fine too). I had some more friends over for dinner and they seemed to like them just as much as I did. This recipe is definitely a winner, and I suspect I will make these chocolate chip and pecan cookies quite a lot in the future!

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Rolo Sea Salt Brownies

I don’t often bake on a whim. Usually, I figure out what I want to bake a few days in advance, put together a recipe, and then bake it. But this week, on Thursday, to be more specific, I decided I wanted to bake brownies. Not just any brownies, though, I wanted to add something to them, to make them even more awesome than usual (I bake pretty awesome brownies, to be honest).

So, I came up with the idea to add a bunch of Rolos to the batter. For those of you who don’t know what Rolos are (under which rock have you been living?): they’re small pieces of candy made of milk chocolate filled with caramel. Good stuff.

And then, while I was innocently typing away on my thesis, I had another brainwave: add sea salt. Which was a brilliant idea, because salted caramel seems to be all the rave these days. Should work pretty well with these brownies too, right? And it did! These are some next level brownies and they are delicious. Like, really delicious.

Although, to quote one of my friends after she tasted these bad boys: “The power of chocolate, caramel and sea salt is not to be underestimated.” So, I had some pretty good collaborators there.

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Speculaas Tiramisu

Tiramisu is rapidly becoming my go-to dessert when I need something easy but delicious for a group of people. There’s the classic tiramisu, but this strawberry and raspberry tiramisu is a great alternative if you don’t want to add cocoa or booze. Last week, however, I wanted something a little different than both of those.

I met up with a couple of my high school friends last weekend, and we’d agreed to all bring something to eat so the host wouldn’t have to slave away in the kitchen for hours. I was in charge of dessert (which I usually am) and decided to go for a tiramisu. I also felt like making something with speculaas, though, so I put the two together and made a speculaas tiramisu instead!

It still has one classic ladyfinger layer, but also sports a layer of speculaas biscuits, which turned out to be a great combination. I also used speculaas liqueur instead of coffee liqueur to soak the biscuits in, but did go for the usual espresso to mix it with. So, it’s still very similar to a regular tiramisu – I just upgraded it a little!

The speculaas really adds something to the flavours of the tiramisu, and it works together wonderfully. If you can’t get your hands on speculaas or speculaas liqueur where you live, I’ve listed an alternative that I suspect will work great as well (no guarantees, though)!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

We all have that one friend who seems to have a black hole for a stomach. You know, that person who can just keep eating forever. Oh, and the most frustrating thing: they always stay super thin! That’s my friend Wesley. For the last couple of years I’ve always baked something for his birthday party. When I asked him what he wanted this year, he said “something with peanut butter”.

And something with peanut butter he got. I’d been wanting to bake peanut butter cupcakes for a while now, so this was a good excuse! I put together a recipe, which went pretty well, but the actual baking went a bit less smoothly. I dropped the bowl with the batter, sending spatters of peanut butter-y goodness flying through my kitchen. (Disclaimer: I did not put those back in the bowl. Most of the batter simply stayed put.) Then my batter turned out to be much too dough-like, and I didn’t have any milk, so I threw in some yogurt, hoping for the best.

In the end, they came out perfectly! I decorated them with the frosting, and transported them to my friend’s house in my cake carry thingy while riding my bike. I almost hit about five different people because I found out my left brake wasn’t working very well, but it was fine. And then we went from my friend’s house to the party. Just before the entrance, someone (hint: it wasn’t me) dropped the cake carry thing upside down, smooshing the frosting and breaking the thing. I was a bit bummed, but they were still a hit, and I’d taken pictures before I left anyway, so all was well (seriously Esmé, it’s all good)! They kind of looked like turds anyway (it had to be said).

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Chocolate Oreo M&M Cookie Bars

I’ve got a good one for you today, guys. I wasn’t planning on baking anything this weekend and then I had a huge craving for chocolate, and that could only mean one thing. Time to bake something extremely delicious with way too much sugar. Which is how I ended up with these Chocolate Oreo M&M Cookie Bars.

That’s right.

These bad boys pack a chocolate punch. I’ve thrown in Oreos, M&Ms and chocolate chips. As if those first two weren’t enough to get you on a sugar high. The more chocolate, the better, right? My initial plan was to bake Oreo and M&M cookies, but then I figured I had to let the dough cool in the fridge for at least an hour and that was way too much hassle for me on a lazy Saturday. Then I remembered these cookie bars by Averie Cooks, and all was saved.

I modified her recipe a little bit and threw in some extra chocolate, with these super easy, super yummy cookie bars as a result!

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Chocolate Brownie and Raspberry Tart

As I mentioned in my Monthly Recap, I celebrated my 22nd birthday this past week, which is more or less the reason why I haven’t posted anything since said recap… That, and the two deadlines I had this week. Those didn’t help either.

Anyway, I’m here now, which is what’s most important! My birthday was a lot of fun, with lovely presents (the complete series of Gilmore Girls being the highlight!) and even lovelier people to celebrate it with. On the 7th of October itself I had dinner at my parents’ together with my grandparents, my aunt and my cousin, and the day after I cooked dinner at my own place for four of my best friends. We ate, we drank, we played Cards Against Humanity – it was great!

That dinner leads me to today’s recipe… I made a chocolate brownie and raspberry tart as the dessert for the dinner with my friends, and it was a huge success! It was absolutely delicious, with the raspberry coulis providing a fresh, tangy flavour to accompany the fudgy, chocolate-y brownie.

This tart was inspired by Tamal’s creation in The Great British Bake-Off during chocolate week, when he made a chocolate tart with raspberry coulis as well. Most recipes for chocolate tarts use a lot of cream or milk, though, and I couldn’t do that for this one, because one of my friends is allergic to milk. So I came up with the brownie idea and it worked splendidly!

I also added some chopped hazelnuts on top, since my parents had a lot of hazelnuts lying around (there’s a hazel tree in the garden) and hazelnuts are great, so why not? I roasted them in the oven and blitzed them up in my tiny food processor. They’re a great addition to this already amazing tart.

One last thing: I took the pictures the next day (when it wasn’t dark outside and I had natural lighting) so that’s why there’s only one piece in the pictures – most of the tart was gone already!

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