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Hello hello!

This last week has been one of madness, as we are leading up to the WEDDING!

I am getting married. In three days. Yes, three days.
And here I am writing a blog post.

I just really wanted to share this amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe by Alison Roman, which has been a fast favourite in my household.

When you need a quick, easy, make-ahead cookie recipe, and you don’t have time for wild things like softening butter, it’s a really good go-to.

We have had this last week off work, but it has been full of friends flying in from overseas, last minute wedding details and cake preparations – because yes, I am making my own cake!

I had a few occasions where I really wanted to have some cookies handy, so I whipped up a big batch of this shortbread and have been slicing and baking as required, which has made life so easy.

I just need to let you know a few things about this recipe. Firstly, this is a shortbread cookie, not a normal chocolate chip cookie. It has more of a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread flavour, more like these Chocolate Chip Espresso Bars than a regular chocolate chip cookie. What this does mean though, is that these cookies keep better – they stay crisp and buttery on the bench for a few days.

Secondly, the original version of this recipe requires you to brush the chilled cookie dough log with egg and roll it in sugar before slicing and baking. You are welcome to do so, but I chose against (and I did try both versions). I don’t do it because, well, let’s face it, I don’t really need the extra sugar. But also because it’s a messy extra step that I don’t have time for. I just want the cookies baked, like, now!

Without further ado, here is my lazy girl version of these insta-famous chocolate chip cookies.


CHOCOLATE CHIP SHORTBREAD COOKIES
 
Ingredients
  • 250g unsalted butter, lightly softened only if you have time (1 cup + 2 tbsp)
  • 110g caster (superfine) sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 55g brown sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 330g plain flour (2¼ cups)
  • 170g dark chocolate, chopped (1 cup approx.)
Method
  1. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter, both sugar, vanilla and sea salt until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides if necessary.
  2. Add the flour and mix on a low speed until combined.
  3. Pour in the chocolate chips and mix until evenly incorporated.
  4. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a log. Place onto a piece of cling wrap and roll up to seal. Chill for 2 hours minimum, but it will be fine in the fridge for 5 days or so.
  5. Once ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F, 160 C fan forced) and line 2 trays with baking paper.
  6. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice 1cm (1/3 inch) slices off the logs and place them on the baking trays, leaving a little room for spreading. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with sea salt (optional).
  7. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes, until the edges start to brown. Allow to cool if you can resist!
  8. Makes around 24 cookies.
  9. Happy baking!
3.5.3229

Recipe adapted from Alison Roman.
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It’s almost Christmas! Are you as excited as I am??

I honestly hope that you’re enjoying the season, that your gifts are wrapped, your tree is up, you’ve watched at least a couple of Christmas movies and you’re getting ready for a long weekend of relaxing, eating and drinking. And baking, of course!

Here’s hoping that I’ve managed to give you some Christmas baking inspo, or that maybe you’ve even made one of my recipes for your own celebrations. If not, then you better make this cake!


This cake is definitely a special one! It’s my updated version of this Christmas cake from last year, which is one of my absolute favourites that I just HAD to make again this year.

Inside the cake there are three layers of lightly chocolatey, fudgy, fruit cake, that are filled and coated with a light mascarpone cream. A chocolate ganache drizzle makes it oh-so-shiny, and I topped it with everything red I could find – pomegranate, raspberries and rose petals. Feel free to use whatever you have in season here! Poached pear would be amazing, as would be blood plums and cherries.


I worked on this gorgeous cake shoot with my talented friend Grace Petrou. We had a lot of fun setting this Christmas scene and transforming the cake from it’s naked form to this elaborate, festive dessert, perfect for a wintery, white (I’m dreaming here) Christmas.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas! May you all have a wonderful couple of days, filled with family, friends, laughter and of course, plenty of dessert. X

CHOCOLATE CHRISTMAS FRUIT CAKE
 
Ingredients
  • CHRISTMAS CAKE
  • 330g prunes
  • 250g sultanas
  • 250g raisins
  • 180g butter
  • 180g dark brown sugar
  • 180g honey
  • 80g Bailey's (or similar)
  • 40g strong coffee
  • 2 oranges, zest and juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 3 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 150g plain flour
  • 80g almond meal
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • MASCARPONE FROSTING
  • 250g cream
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 55g caster (superfine) sugar
  • CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE
  • 50g thickened cream
  • 50g dark chocolate
Method
  1. CHRISTMAS CAKE
  2. Place the prunes, sultanas, raisins, butter, sugar, honey, baileys, coffee, orange zest and juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa in a medium pot on the stove.
  3. Bring to a boil over a high heat, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, grease and line the base and sides of three 7' cake tins with baking paper.
  5. Preheat the oven to 150 C (300 F).
  6. Once the fruit mixture has cooled, mix in the eggs, followed by all the remaining dry ingredients.
  7. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins, and bake for 35 - 40 minutes. The top will be firm but still shiny.
  8. Allow to cool completely before removing from the tins.
  9. MASCARPONE CREAM
  10. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  11. To assemble the cake, place one round on a serving plate top with a quarter of the mascarpone cream, spreading it out to the edges.
  12. Top with another layer of fruit cake and repeat.
  13. Place the last fruit cake layer on top and use the remaining cream to coat the sides and top of the cake.
  14. Place in the fridge to allow to set.
  15. CHOCOLATE GANACHE
  16. To make the ganache, place the chocolate and cream in a small saucepan over a low heat, and stir until the ganache is smooth, melted and combined.
  17. Pour over the cake and allow to drizzle down the sides.
  18. Decorate with seasonal fruit or as you wish!
  19. Keep refrigerated. Serves 10.
  20. Happy baking!
3.5.3228

Christmas cake recipe adapted from Nigella via this recipe.

 

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I made S’mores!

As a child growing up in the 90’s in Australia, everything American seemed so foreign yet so desirable to me. Oreos, New York City, twinkies (what ARE they?!), peanut butter cups, s’mores, pumpkin pie and eggs over easy. I didn’t know what any of those things were, yet I wanted them all.


Times have changed. Oreos have been in Australia for years now, I’ve been to New York many times and eaten countless peanut butter cups on Halloween. I’ve made pumpkin pie and have figured out that eggs over easy are fried eggs, that get flipped, yet maintain a runny yolk. I still have no clue what a twinkie is, and am yet to sit in front of a campfire with a pile of graham crackers, Hershey’s chocolate and marshmallows and make proper s’mores.

I have, however, made a version of s’mores, in the form of this chilled raspberry s’mores gateau.

I love the flavours, and the contrast of textures offered by the crispy base, gooey chocolate and pillowy soft, toasted marshmallow, so I just had to make another version!

This time, they’re bars. And I’ve made you a step by step baking video! Check it out on YouTube here if you’re viewing this in email.
Music by Josh Woodward.

S'mores Bars - YouTube

My s’mores bars are decadent and rich, with a buttery base and a melt-in-your-mouth, drool-worthy, baked chocolate filling. They’re piled up with a thick layer of soft marshmallow, that’s nicely torched to evoke that campfire, toasted flavour.

They’re so good, you could even bake them for the holidays!


I’ll keep dreaming of my campfire s’mores. Maybe I’ll get to try the real thing one day. X

P.S. But seriously, can someone tell me what twinkies are?

S'MORES BARS
 
Ingredients
  • FOR THE BASE
  • 400g digestive biscuits or graham crackers (14 oz)
  • 125g melted butter (4.5 oz)
  • Pinch sea salt
  • FOR THE CHOCOLATE FILLING
  • 200g dark chocolate (7 oz)
  • 175g butter (6 oz)
  • 4 eggs
  • 175g brown sugar (6 oz)
  • 200ml cream (7 fl oz)
  • FOR THE MARSHMALLOW TOPPING
  • 140g egg whites (5 oz)
  • 210 caster (superfine) sugar (7.5 oz)
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Seeds of ½ vanilla pod
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and grease and line a 9 x 13 inch tin. Make sure the tin has high sides, at least 1½ inches.
  2. To make the base, blitz the digestives or graham crackers in a food processor to make a fine crumb. Mix in the melted butter and sea salt.
  3. Press the cookie crumb evenly into the sides and base of the prepared tart tin. Refrigerate.
  4. To make the filling, melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is smooth and combined.
  5. Meanwhile, whip the eggs and brown sugar together using a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment for about 5 minutes, until light and creamy.
  6. Gently fold the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture. Then fold in the cream.
  7. Pour this mixture over the base. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, until puffed and just set.
  8. Allow to cool completely then refrigerate.
  9. To make the marshmallow topping, put the egg whites, sugar, salt and vanilla bean in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water. While constantly whisking slowly, heat to 60 C (140 F).
  10. Put the bowl on the stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment and whip until the mixture is cool.
  11. Spread the meringue over the chocolate filling, encouraging peaks and troughs.
  12. Using a blowtorch, toast the meringue until a nice brown colour.
  13. Cut into squares and serve. Serves 24.
  14. Happy baking!
3.5.3228

These bars are loosely adapted from Good Housekeeping via this recipe.
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Christmas is coming, and so is my obsession with my Instagram feed.

It’s honestly my favourite at this time of year, with all the moody tones, twinkling lights, icing sugar dusting, Christmas cookies and beautifully wrapped gifts.


Unfortunately the weather in Australia is more scorching than snowy, so I won’t be joining in with the cosy jumpers, log fires and mugs of hot cocoa. I can however join in on the moody photos and beautiful holiday dessert.

This chocolate Oreo tart is one of my favourites of all time.  Along with the Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Tart I posted last week, it’s one of the desserts I bake all the time in my real life.

The base is crisp and buttery, the filling is like a soufflé and completely melts in your mouth, and the poaches pears pair so beautifully with chocolate for a cool, refreshing bite.


This particular version is shot by Grace Petrou on an Anna Vasily cake stand.

Hope you’re all enjoying the lead up to Christmas, the carols, the baking, and the Instagram feeds as much as I am. X

BAKED CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE & PEAR TART
 
Ingredients
  • FOR THE OREO BASE
  • 400g Oreos (14 oz)
  • 125g melted butter (4.5 oz)
  • FOR THE CHOCOLATE FILLING
  • 200g dark chocolate (7 oz)
  • 175g butter (6 oz)
  • 4 eggs
  • 175g brown sugar (6 oz)
  • 200ml cream (7 fl oz)
  • FOR THE POACHED PEARS
  • 2 pears, peeled
  • 2 kg white sugar (4 pounds)
  • 4 kg water (8 pounds)
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste, or the seeds scraped from a vanilla pod
  • 1 cinnamon quill
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and grease a 9 or 10 inch tart with removable base. Make sure the tart tin has high sides, at least 1½ inches.
  2. To make the base, blitz the Oreos in a food processor to make a fine crumb. Mix in the melted butter.
  3. Press the cookie crumb evenly into the sides and base of the prepared tart tin. Refrigerate.
  4. To make the filling, melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir occasionally until the mixture is smooth and combined.
  5. Meanwhile, whip the eggs and brown sugar together using a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment for about 5 minutes, until light and creamy.
  6. Gently fold the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture. Then fold in the cream.
  7. Pour this mixture into the Oreo crust, stopping short about 1cm from the top of the crust.
  8. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, until puffed and just set.
  9. Allow to cool completely, then dust with cocoa. Refrigerate.
  10. To poach the pears, bring the sugar, water, vanilla and cinnamon to the boil in a medium pot. Place the pears into the boiling syrup, and cover the surface of the syrup with a disc of baking paper. This will keep the pears submerged so they cook evenly.
  11. Poach the pears in the syrup for 20 minutes, or until a paring knife inserted in the base inserts easily.
  12. Remove the pot from the heat, discard the baking paper disc, and allow the pears to cool in the syrup. Refrigerate.
  13. Once fully cool, cut the pears into halves or quarters, and arrange on top of the tart. Some edible flowers or wired and taped roses can add beautiful colours.
  14. Keep refrigerated. Serves 10 - 12.
  15. Happy baking!
3.5.3228

If you need help converting this recipe into cups, visit my Baking Conversions page.

Tart adapted from Good Housekeeping magazine via this recipe.

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Hey hey! Can you believe it’s like, December in two days?

I honestly don’t know where this year went. I shot a few videos for you in March, and each week was like “yeah I’ll get that video up next week”… and now it’s almost December.

But yes, today, we have a recipe VIDEO!!


One of my all time fave recipes from the blog is this one, for Nigella’s Nutella Cheesecake. In real life it’s a recipe that I make and re-make, and my mum makes it and I steal the leftovers to take it home, where Mr Man and I fight over the last slice, and I recommend it to friends to make and then I get jealous someone else is eating it so I make it again, and you get the idea.

IT. IS. SO. GOOD.


You blitz and mix the base. Then combine everything for the filling. And the whole thing gets thrown in the fridge to cold set itself. And that’s it! Seriously.


So I decided to re jig the recipe, to play with it to make it EVEN better (if that’s even possible). It’s in tart form this time, for easy dinner party transport and prettier looks. There’s a bigger base-to-filling ratio, because yo, everyone loves the base best. And there’s a Nutella ganache (yes yes yes) on top, because yum. Hazelnuts add crunch. So do Ferreros if you’re feeling them. And it still cold sets itself in the fridge.

Check out the video below for step by step! Or link straight to the video here if you’re reading in email.
Music credit to Josh Woodward.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Tart - YouTube

How delicious and easy does that look?! I promise you’ll fight over it. And maybe it’s not a bad thing that it took me ten months to post it, because it’s kind of perfect to make for a holiday party. Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT CHEESECAKE TART
 
Ingredients
  • FOR THE BASE:
  • 250g digestive biscuits or graham crackers (9 oz)
  • 1 tbsp Nutella
  • 25g hazelnuts, toasted (1 oz)
  • pinch salt
  • 75g unsalted butter, melted (3 oz)
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 250g cream cheese, softened (9 oz)
  • 250g Nutella (9 oz)
  • 30g icing sugar, sifted (1 oz)
  • pinch salt
  • FOR THE TOPPING:
  • 60g dark chocolate (2 oz)
  • 60g cream (2 oz)
  • 60g Nutella (2 oz)
  • Roasted hazelnuts, chopped, and Ferreros (optional)
Method
  1. To make the base, blitz the biscuits, Nutella, hazelnuts and salt until you have a fine powder. Pour into a bowl and mix in the melted butter until you have a damp, sandy mixture.
  2. Pour into a greased, fluted 9 inch tart tin with removable base, and press into the base and sides evenly, using your hands. Refrigerate.
  3. To make the filling, put the cream cheese and icing sugar in a stand mixer and beat until smooth.
  4. Add three quarters of the Nutella and the salt and continue to beat until combined. Gently fold in the remaining Nutella by hand in order to "swirl" it in, so it isn't entirely incorporated.
  5. Take the base out of the fridge and pour the Nutella mixture over it, carefully smoothing out the top. Refrigerate.
  6. To make the topping, put the chocolate, cream and Nutella in a small saucepan. Place over a very low heat and stir with a rubber spatula until the ganache is melted, smooth and combined.
  7. Take the cheesecake out of the fridge and pour the ganache over it, smoothing out the top.
  8. Optionally, scatter with hazelnuts and ferreros for crunch. Edible flowers and berries also work for some colour.
  9. Refrigerate for at least 4 hour or overnight before cutting.
  10. Serves 8.
  11. Happy baking!
3.5.3228

To convert this recipe into cups, try using my Baking Conversions page. Click here.

Loosely adapted from Nigella via this recipe.

Thank you to my gorgeous friend Louise Mullins for working with me on these videos.

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If you’ve been following along you would know that a few summers ago, I made a white chocolate coconut Raffaello tart. It was amazing. Creamy, brightened with raspberries and evocative of the original Ferrero truffles.

Soon after, I made a white chocolate Raffaello layer cake. A raspberry and vanilla cake, layered with white chocolate and coconut mascarpone cream, and coated entirely in coconut. It quickly became one of my most popular recipes that readers baked and shared on Instagram, and one of my most ordered custom layer cakes.

So I decided it’s high time I recreate the original white chocolate coconut Raffaello truffle.

Did you know there’s not actually any white chocolate in a Raffaello? It’s called a coconut almond confection. When I found that out, I was so surprised – because to me they really do taste like white chocolate! As much as I love the truffles (and I really do), it had me worried about what is inside there.

I can tell you what’s inside my version of Raffaello truffles!!! White chocolate, coconut, cream, and an optional almond in the center for crunch. Oh! And if you are salty-sweet inclined like me, you can add some sea salt.

That’s it! And they taste like the real thing! And they’re so easy to make!

If you’re white chocolate coconut inclined, you’re going to love these, promise.

WHITE CHOCOLATE COCONUT TRUFFLES
 
Ingredients
  • 100g thickened cream
  • 200g white chocolate, chopped
  • 100g desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Desiccated and/or shredded coconut, extra, for coating (unsweetened)
  • Roasted almonds (optional) for the centers of the truffles
Method
  1. Place the cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat until it just comes to the boil.
  2. Remove from the heat and add in the chocolate. Allow to stand for a minute then stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is combined.
  3. Stir in the 100g coconut and the sea salt.
  4. Place in a heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down onto the surface of the ganache. Refrigerate overnight or until firm.
  5. Remove the ganache from the fridge to soften slightly. Place your extra coconut in a bowl and line a tray with baking paper.
  6. Roll teaspoons of the ganache into balls. Optionally, for some crunch, place a whole roasted almond in the center of each truffle. Toss the truffles through the coconut to coat. Place on the lined tray.
  7. Refrigerate the tray of truffles till set.
  8. Makes 20 - 25. Keep refrigerated.
  9. Happy baking!
3.5.3226

 
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So, it’s like, the end of May. I’m honestly not sure where the year has gone! Wasn’t it just March?


It has been a year that has honestly just zipped by, what with a new job, increased custom cake focus, renewed video filming, wedding planning, renovation contemplation, and just, well, life.

I know I’ve neglected the recipe-sharing, but I have been baking, and filming, and have some exciting things stored up ready to share.


It’s my birthday tomorrow, so I thought the most appropriate recipe to start with is one for cake!

I even made a little video showing you how to assemble it! If you’re reading this in your email or can’t see the video below, click here to watch it.

Banana, Nutella & Cream Layer Cake - YouTube

This is a super easy layer cake – no buttercream or coating or smooth edges required. Just pile the Nutella ganache swirled cream onto the layers of moist banana cake and dust the whole thing in cocoa. Easiest cake, ever.

Enjoy! X

BANANA, NUTELLA & CREAM LAYER CAKE
 
Ingredients
  • BANANA CAKE
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup caster (superfine) sugar (220g)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil(100g)
  • 1⅓ cups ripe, mashed bananas (340g, or 3½ bananas)
  • 2 tbsp greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups plain (all purpose) flour (210g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp dutch cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • NUTELLA SWIRLED CREAM
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese (250ml)
  • 1 cup thickened cream (250ml)
  • 2 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar (30g)
  • ⅓ cup Nutella (100g)
  • Dutch cocoa, for dusting
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C (325 F). Grease and line the base of 2 x 8" cake tins with baking paper.
  2. FOR THE BANANA CAKE
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs and both sugars together until pale and thick, for about 5 minutes.
  4. Turn the mixer down to a medium speed and slowly drizzle in the oil until it is all incorporated.
  5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the bananas, yogurt and vanilla.
  6. Sift in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and fold in gently.
  7. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and bake for 30 - 35 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool before inverting out of the pan onto a tray. Transfer the cakes to the fridge to make them easier to handle.
  9. FOR THE NUTELLA CREAM
  10. In a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip the mascarpone, cream and sugar together until thick and almost stiff peaks.
  11. Divide the cream equally into two bowls. Fold the Nutella into one bowl of cream, gently, so you still have swirls through the cream. Leave the other bowl of cream plain.
  12. TO ASSEMBLE
  13. Place one layer of cake on a serving plate. Top with the Nutella cream and spread out almost to the edges.
  14. Place the other layer of cake on top, pressing down just slightly. Top with the plain cream, spreading it out to the edges.
  15. To finish, dust with cocoa. Keep refrigerated. Serves 10 - 12.
  16. Happy baking!
3.5.3226

Banana cake recipe adapted from Flour.
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