Autumnal Speculaas Brownies

I really love brownies. And I really love experimenting with brownies. You can do so much with them! For example, I made these lemon and ginger brownies last year and they were delicious. So a few weeks back, when I was feeling all autumnal and stuff and the idea for these brownies popped into my head I was excited immediately. And boy, was I right to be.

THEY ARE SO GOOD.

I’ve used speculaas in quite a few of my recipes on this blog already, and I always feel a bit conflicted, since it’s a typically Dutch biscuit and I’ve got no clue if you can get them elsewhere (except for Belgium or Germany). I really really love speculaas, though, so I’m going to put up this recipe anyway, and provide a few alternatives in the list of ingredients! For example, if you’re in the UK, you could try using Ginger Nuts instead – it would be slightly different, but really tasty still, I think.

As for the rest of the recipe; it’s just like all of my other brownie recipes – very simple, just throw in the extra ingredients along the way, and you’ve got yourself a delicious brownie with a little twist.

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Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Muffins

I’m not gonna lie – I’d completely forgotten about this recipe. I was planning on posting something different when I came across the pictures of these muffins, which had me all confused. The time stamp on them tells me I made these mid-August, but it took me a while before I remembered. Ah, well, we’re all getting a little older, I guess. After racking my brain for a little bit, and finding the piece of paper which I’d hurriedly written the ingredients on, I vaguely recall making these.

I mostly remember tasting them and going “yummmm”, though. These were really good! I love me some coconut, and it goes really well with the banana. And everything goes well with chocolate, so this couldn’t not be a success. All those great ingredients do make for a bit of a long name, though; it’s quite a mouthful. Have I made that pun before? I must have.

Shenanigans aside – these muffins are delicious, and done in a jiffy. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Brownie and Orange Tart (with hazelnuts)

Back in 2015 I baked an absolutely delicious chocolate brownie and raspberry tart for my birthday. It was a huge success, and not that difficult – despite it having quite a few steps. This tart right here is a variation on that one – I used orange instead of raspberry and added some more hazelnuts to the equation.

It looks a tiny bit less appealing than the raspberry one because the orange coulis almost looks a little green (it isn’t; that’s just the brownie shining through), but it tastes just as delicious – or perhaps even a little better! I adore the combination of orange and chocolate, and the hazelnuts lift it up even more. I roasted these in the oven for a few minutes – that makes them taste even yummier. If you’re not a fan of nuts, however, you can easily leave them out.

I’m still having some trouble getting back into blogging and reading, which bums me out a little. I’m going to keep trying, though! I really love this blog and this community, and I definitely want to keep it all going.

Also, an exciting life update: I found a job! At a book store! It’s only a part time gig as an on call employee person thingy (and not yet enough to live off of) but it’s perfect for me. I had my first couple of days last week and it’s even more fun than I imagined it would be. Perhaps I’ll do a life update post soon to tell you all a bit more about what’s been going on with me post university. But first, let’s get to the recipe!

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Bonbons and Meringues

… or “that time when I jumped around the kitchen with glee”. But that’s a bit too long for a title, isn’t it?

Basically, this post is me bragging about making pretty things, because man, did I feel on top of the world when these didn’t fail but were in fact a pretty big success!

I mean, I tempered chocolate for the first time and didn’t screw it up. That’s big, you guys. That’s really something. Which is not to say that the whole process went completely smoothly… My mother can attest to the fact that it was a hectic mess. But it worked! The only thing I’m a little bummed about is that the pictures didn’t turn out great – it was a cloudy day and it was already starting to get a little dark… And I’m not great with the photo-editing. But oh well, you win some, you lose some, eh?

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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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