Virginia doesn't bake often, but when she does, she creates perfection. Yesterday she made her friend Lorenza's gooey chocolate chip cookies and after trying them I simply had to share the recipe with all of you.
Makes 10 cookies
177g plain, all purpose flour
¾ of a teaspoon baking powder
½ a teaspoon baking soda
2 pinches of salt
125g butter, cut into cubes and at room temp
80g granulated (white) sugar
60g brown sugar
1 egg, at room temp
½ a tablespoon vanilla extract
200g dark chocolate, chopped roughly
1. In a bowl, mix together manually the flour, baking powder, baking soda and pinch of salt. Place to one side as you work on the rest.
2. Place the butter and both sugars in a bowl and beat them together with an electric hand-held beater until they become light and fluffy.
3. Add the egg and combine it well to the butter and sugar mix. Add vanilla bean extract and do the same.
4. Slow down the mixer speed and pour in half of the dry ingredients, combine well and then add the remaining half. Add the roughly chopped chocolate and mix.
5. Cover the bowl with cling film and place it to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
6. In the meantime preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and place baking parchment on two oven trays (you want the cookies to be as separate as possible so they don't merge whilst cooking).
7. Once 30 mins have past, remove the dough from the fridge and scoop it out using an ice cream scoop (or a heaped tablespoon if you don't have one). Place the scoops onto the baking trays with a distance of at least a hand (more if you can) between them.
8. Sprinkle a few grains of rock salt onto of each scoop and place in the oven.
9. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. After 8 minutes pull out the cookies and tap them once against a surface in order to deflate them, then place them back in the oven for 30 seconds and repeat. Do this for a total of 3 times.
10. Once the cookies are golden, crisp around the edges and just set in the middle, remove from the oven and let them cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Original recipe by Butter and Brioche
Also known as torta caprese, it originates from the island of Capri, just off the coast from Naples. It only requires 5 ingredients and is super straightforward.
175g almond flour
125g butter, room temperature
140g refined sugar
140g dark chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius. Break the chocolate into small pieces and place it in a dish, add a knob of butter, place in the microwave and let it melt. Be careful not to burn it! Check it as it melts, mixing the chocolate to check its progress. Once it has melted, remove from the microwave and let it cool.
2. Place the sugar and butter in a large bowl, and mix the two together using your hands (the heat from your hands will soften the butter, combining the two ingredients).
3. Once the sugar and butter are combined, add the eggs one at the time and mix with a whisk. Add each egg only after the previous one has been incorporated well.
4. Once the eggs are all in, pour in the melted chocolate and mix well for a couple of minutes. And don't forget to lick the melted chocolate bowl thoroughly.
5. Sprinkle in the almond flour and combine.
6. Rub some butter onto a baking tin (20cm diameter), place a tablespoon of flour into the tin and shake it so that the flour covers the whole surface. Shake away any excess flour.
7. Pour the cake mix into the tin, level it with a spatula.
8. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked - you can test this by inserting a knife into the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean it means the cake is properly baked.
As part of the #iomifermo recipe collection, and because today is a rainy Saturday. This delicious cake is super easy to make and will 100% impress your fellow lockdown buddies. Serve with whipped crème fraîche for extra points. NOTE: keep in mind that the dough needs to rest in the fridge for 2 hours.
for the dough:
1 tablespoon sugar
a pinch of salt
1 cup plain 00 flour
1 egg, beaten
for the filling:
5 apples, peeled and cut into thin, ½ cm slices
1 vanilla bean
1 egg, beaten
1. To make the dough: place the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix well. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mix, until the flour looks like a thicker flour and there are no big lumps. Pour the beaten egg over the mix and mix it in with a fork, then quickly transfer it to a wooden surface you've dusted with flour and knead it into a smooth paste (should take max 2 mins). Roll it out into a square, roughly ½ a cm thick, cover it in cling film and place it on a tray, in the fridge for 2 hours.
2. Whilst you wait, prepare the apples by peeling and cutting them, and preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
3. Place the butter for the filling in a small pot over medium heat, split the vanilla bean in half, extract the seeds and place them in the pot with the butter. Place the bean in the pot too. Once the butter has started bubbling and turning brown, remove from heat.
4. After the required time has passed, remove the dough from the fridge and place the apples in the middle, so that they overlap slightly, leaving a 2cm gap on all edges.
5. Remove the vanilla bean and brush all the apples with the butter repeatedly, then sprinkle them with the brown sugar.
6. Fold the edges of dough onto the apples, they will overlap and that's fine!!
7. Brush a beaten egg on the edges of dough and sprinkle granulated sugar on it.
8. Bake for 30 minutes (or more depending on the strength of your oven).
I'm a huge fan of apples in a cake, so I love any variation that exists! What makes this recipe great is that you don't need to weigh each ingredient (there are very few to begin with)!
5 apples (might be more or less depending on the size of your baking pan)
3 tablespoons of sugar (white sugar cubes work best, I use a special Japanese sugar)
1 sheet of round puff pastry
crème fraîche (optional, to serve)
1. Peel and halve the apples and preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Place the butter and sugar in a non-stick pan, let the butter melt and begin to slowly melt the sugar (the caramel doesn't form instantly so don't panic).
3. Once the caramel has formed, place the apples in the pan and let them simmer for a few minutes. Turn them around and repeat. Make sure all sides are properly caramelised (takes about 10 mins in total), you can also spoon some caramel over them as they cook.
4. Place them one by one onto a round and deep baking pan, making sure the centre (the cut edge) is facing up.
5. Place the puff pastry over the apples, tucking in the sides so the apples fit snugly.
6. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, the pastry should be golden.
7. Remove from the oven and place a plate over the baking tray. Making sure not to burn yourself, flip the pan so that it is sitting on the plate. Gently tap so that the tatin falls onto the plate and serve hot.
My mum has been making this amazing dessert for as long as I can remember, and I recently rediscovered my love for it. Super easy to make, it does not require many skills or ingredients.
Makes 1 loaf
1 ¼ cup of flour
1 cup of sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of soda (or 1 sachet of baking powder)
3 very ripe bananas (the darker they are the better)
1 less ripe banana
½ cup of butter
dark chocolate drops (optional)
1. In a bowl, mash up the bananas with a fork, they have to remain lumpy.
2. In another bowl combine the butter, flour, sugar, salt, soda (or baking powder) and mix well.
3. Beat the eggs and fold them into the mashed bananas. Add the flour mix and combine to form a lump mass. Do NOT over mix.
4. Butter the loaf mould, add the chocolate drops to the mix, and pour it all into the mould.
5. Slice the remaining less ripe banana into slices length wise and place them on top of the loaf.
6. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 180 degrees. Poke the cake with a knife and if it comes out clean the cake is ready.
Pavlova is the perfect dessert for any meringue lover, especially because its so easy to make (whereas most meringue desserts and long and complex). It is very versatile, because you can top it with nearly everything. From mixed berries to chocolate flakes to tropical fruits.
200g fresh berries, washed
150ml whipping cream
2 dark chocolate cubes
1. Place the egg whites in a bowl and whisk at medium high until they form stiff peaks.
2. Gradually add the sugar and turn the whisk to maximum speed and mix till the meringue is glossy, white and smooth.
3. Cover a baking tray with baking paper and turn the oven onto 150 degrees. Now its up to you to decide whether you want to make one big cake (like the photography) or small "single portion" ones, which are easier to serve.
4. Place the meringue onto the paper in whichever size you prefer, making sure that if you make small ones there are far away from each other, otherwise they will end up fusing together.
5. Place in the oven and bake for 50 mins/ 1 hour, until they are golden and fluffy in the middle.
6. When they are ready, remove them from the oven and place them on a cooling rack to cool down completely.
7. In the meantime whisk the cream will it is properly whipped, add it on top of the meringue and top everything with the fresh berries and chocolate flakes. Don't wait too long to serve otherwise the meringue will go soggy.
Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver
The origin of Baklava is highly disputed, with the Greeks stating that it originates in Greek, and the Turks that it is from Turkey. The only certain thing is that it is a deliciously sweet dessert, and highly addictive too.
My housemate made Baklava for all of us a while back and it changed my life. Although I would not eat it very often, due to the fact that it is so sweet, it was very, very good.
This recipe makes a very large quantity so I suggest making it for a dinner party or birthdays. The leftovers are still delicious for a couple of days after.
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
½ tablespoon ground cloves
200g melted butter
12 sheets of filo pastry
100ml Greek honey
1 cinnamon stick
2 strips of orange zest
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Place all the syrup ingredients (sugar, honey, cinnamon stick and orange zest) in a medium saucepan with 300ml of water and bring to a gentle simmer. Let it bubble, stirring occasionally, for 15 mins (till the liquid has reduced by a third). Leave it to cool.
2. Blend the nuts in a food processor until coarse, then tip into a bowl and stir in the cinnamon and cloves.
3. Grease a 40x25cm shallow tin with some of the melted butter. Gently unfold the filo pastry and cover it with a wet towel to stop it from cracking.
4. Layer sheets of filo in the tin, brushing each layer with melted butter. After having done 4 layers, scatter over half of the nut mixture. Repeat with another 4 layers of filo, then the rest of the nuts.
5. Top with the last 4 layers of pastry and butter well the top. Cut into diamonds (or into isosceles triangles) using a sharp knife, ensuring that the knife goes all the way through.
6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Reduce the temperature to 170 if the baklava is browning too quickly.
7. Remove from the oven and spoon half the cooled syrup over the top. After 5 minutes spoon over the remaining syrup. Let it cool completely before serving.
Original recipe from Jamie Oliver
This delicious and simple apple cake is loved by my boyfriend so much that everyone now refers to it as "Fede's Apple Cake". What is great about it is that it only requires a handful of ingredients, and is perfect as breakfast cake or dessert after a meal, just warm it up and add a dollop of vanilla ice-cream.
Makes 1 medium-sized cake
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
¼ cup butter (room temperature)
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. In a large bowl crack the egg and add the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix with a spoon.
2. Add the butter and combine with your hands, breaking it down. Add the milk to make a smooth consistency. Set aside.
3. Peel and cut the apples into 4. Cut each quarter into thin slices. Place 4 of the 5 sliced apples into the cake mix and combine well.
4. Butter a medium-sized baking tray and sprinkle flour over it, coating it on all sides. Pour in the cake mix and spread evenly.
5. Use the 5th apple to decorate the top of the cake, placing the slices one next to the other following the baking tray border.
6. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Serve warm.
The idea behind cooking this recipe stemmed from a tiny skillet I received as a Christmas gift. Since being gifted it I racked my brain for ideas on how to use it and finally stumbled upon this recipe by Martha Stewart. Simple and quick to make, it's the perfect guilty pleasure dessert (or Sunday breakfast).
Makes two cookies in a small skillet
Things you'll need
A cast iron skillet
3 tablespoons butter room temperature
2 tablespoons of cane sugar (brown)
¼ cup of granulated sugar (white)
a drop of vanilla extract
½ cup plain flour
¼ of a teaspoon of baking soda
pinch of salt
½ cup of chocolate chip/ roughly chopped chocolate
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2.In a bowl, combine the butter and two sugars and mix well using a spoon.
3. Add the egg and vanilla extract and combine.
4. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips. Mix well.
5. Place the dough in the skillet, add some remaining chocolate chips on top.
6. Bake for 20 minutes to achieve a cooked buy gooey biscuit and 24 minutes for a slightly crunchier one.
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's "skillet chocolate chip cookie"
What better Christmassy chocolate treat than delicious, soft and creamy truffles? Nothing.
IMPORTANT: make them the day before!
Makes 20 truffles
200g dark chocolate
100g white sugar
2 tablespoons milk
a pinch of crushed rock salt
1. Break the chocolate and place in a heat-proof bowl over a pot with simmering water. Add the sugar, milk and butter and let melt. Stir towards the end so that it all mixes together.
2. Remove from the heat. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Place the yolks in the chocolate mixture and mix quickly. Add the crushed salt and combine.
3. Leave them in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 4 hours.
4. Remove from fridge and using a teaspoon place some mixture in your hand and create little balls. Pour cocoa powder in a dish and roll the truffles in it.
In collaboration with Cécile Berbezy