Amaretto and Dark Chocolate Baked Cheesecake

I love cheesecake, baked or no bake, all flavours, whether it’s fruity or sweet and spicy!Amaretto cheesecake above

I reckoned an Amaretto flavour  (a sweet, almond-flavoured, Italian liqueur) would work well, so decided to pair it with dark chocolate too. With amaretti biscuits in the base and a sticky toffee sauce this was lush! The filling was so light and delicious, rather like a mousse in texture. Definitely on my all time fav’s list.

Amaretto and dark choc1

Print recipe Amaretto and Dark Chocolate Baked Cheesecake 

Amaretto and Dark Chocolate Baked Cheesecake

Ingredients

Base

275g crushed biscuits, I used a mix of amaretti and digestives

140g melted butter

 

Filling

300g cream cheese (full fat)

250g mascarpone (full fat)

100g dark chocolate, melted but slightly cooled

100g soft brown sugar

2 tbsp Amaretto

3 eggs, beaten

25g plain flour

 

AmarettoToffee Sauce

50g soft brown sugar

50g butter

3 tbsp double cream

3 tbsp Amaretto

 

18cm/7″ round, deep (mine is 8cm deep) loose bottom pan lightly greased

Preheat oven 150°C (Fan 130°C) GM 3

Amaretto cheesecake biscuits

Base

  1. Place the crushed biscuits in a mixing bowl, add the melted butter and mix well. Tip the mix into the prepared tin, press down and even out using the back of a metal spoon, take the mixture carefully up the sides of the pan as well as across the base.
  1. Place this in the fridge to firm up for at least 30 minutes.

Amaretto cheesecake base

Filling

 

  1. In the bowl of your mixer or a mixing bowl, place the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, sieved flour, & Amaretto. Mix until everything has combined well. Add the eggs in 3 additions, mixing between each. The mixture can look a bit lumpy at this stage, don’t worry just keep beating and it will go lovely and smooth and creamy.
    Amaretto cheesecake filling
  2.  Fold in the melted dark chocolate with a large metal spoon. It will have a speckly appearance. Spoon this mixture on top of the biscuit base and spread it out evenly, it almost completely filled my cake tin. Place the tin onto a baking tray and bake for 1 hour -1 hour 20 minutes. It’s cooked when the top is firm but there’s still a slight “wobble” in the middle.

 

  1. Remove from the oven when it’s cooked and allow it to cool completely in the tin. Place the cheesecake (still in the tin) in the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours. It will shrink away slightly from the sides, this makes it easier to remove from the tin.

Amaretto and dark choc

Sauce

 

  1. While the cheesecake is chilling you can make the sauce. In a small saucepan place the butter and sugar, heat it gently. Stir it constantly until it’s all melted and the sugar is no longer grainy, a small balloon whisk is very handy for this. Turn up the heat to bring the sauce to a gentle boil for about 2 minutes, it will start to thicken slightly.

 

  1. Remove it from the heat and keep stirring, add the cream and Amaretto then stir it through. Set the sauce aside to cool, it will thicken as it cools and can be used warm or cold with the cheesecake.

 

Decoration

 

  1. When you are ready to serve, carefully remove the cheesecake from the tin. Drizzle with some of the sauce and put the rest of the sauce in a jug to be added later if you want more. Add grated chocolate or amaretti biscuits to decorate. ♥

Amaretto & Dark Choc

 

The sauce is also fabulous with ice cream and waffles and over cake, so making double the quantity is always a good idea! It will keep for a week or so in the fridge.

Amaretto cheesecake sauce jug

Categories: Cakes, Christmas, I ♥ Italy, Pudding, Sweet | Leave a comment

Lamington Biscuits

I’ve made lamingtons in the past, I’m a big fan, I really love coconut and with the chocolate it’s a win win!

I thought a biscuit version would be nice, incorporating vanilla, coconut and chocolate flavours. The biscuit is buttery and light, Viennese style. I used coconut, toasted coconut and crushed amaretti biscuits for toppings, we had a few of each. Great if you have a non-coconut fan as I have here.

Lamington coconut and cup

Download printable recipe here Lamington style biscuits

Lamington style biscuits

Biscuit bit

125g soft butter

25g icing sugar

½ tsp baking powder

115g plain flour

½ tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate coating bit

125g icing sugar

15g cocoa

Small knob of butter (about a tsp)

35 ml milkLamington biscuits toasted

To decorate

25g dessicated coconut (or crushed amaretti biscuits)
I like the coconut toasted, I just spread some on a baking tray and bake for a few minutes on a moderate heat. Keep a check on it and give it a shake mid cooking so it gets an even golden brown colour.

Preheat oven 170°C 150°C Fan GM3 Line/grease 2 baking trays

Biscuit bit

  1. Beat the butter until very soft. Add the icing sugar and vanilla and beat again until light and fluffy. Sieve in the flour and baking powder. Beat again to bring everything together.
  2. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of your choice. I used a star one. Pipe 2 lines of mixture to form a rough square, I wanted a square shape to make it a likeness to the classic Lamington shape in my mind. Make sure you leave space around for them to expand in the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes until starting to turn golden. Allow to cool on the trays.

Lamington piped

Lamington Cooling

Chocolate coating bit

  1. Place all the coating ingredients in a small saucepan over a low/medium heat. Use a whisk to stir through and make sure the mix is smooth and combined. Heat for a few minutes until warmed through but not to boiling. Remove from the heat.

Lamington sprinkledLamington choc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. As the mixture starts to cool it will harden, so working fairly quickly drizzle over the top of the cooled biscuits and sprinkle with your choice of topping. Allow to set. For extra indulgence you could sandwich 2 together with jam and cream or buttercream. ♥

Lamington amaretti Lamington above

 

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Vanilla, chocolate and Peanut Butter Marble Cake

Marble close board

I love marble cake, so easy to make and even easier to eat! I haven’t made it for ages though and thought I’d have a go making one with an extra flavour element to it.

Vanilla, chocolate and peanut butter go so well together, not one flavour over powers the other and this is the perfect accompaniment to a large cuppa for an afternoon perk up, enjoy ♥

Marble cake above

 

 

 

Marble plate slices

Printable recipe here Marble cake

Vanilla, chocolate and Peanut Butter Marble Cake

Ingredients

150g soft butter/spread

175g caster sugar

175g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

3 eggs, lightly beaten

½ tsp vanilla extract

50g peanut butter

50g melted dark chocolate, slightly cooled

 

Preheat oven 180°C 160°C fan GM4

I used a loaf tin measuring 20 cm x 11 cm x 6.5 cm high. Lined the bottom and greased the sides

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, sieve in the flour and baking powder, add the eggs and beat until well combined and smooth.

Split the cake batter equally into 3 separate bowls. In one add the vanilla extract and stir through. In another stir through the melted chocolate, in the last bowl beat in the peanut butter.

Marble batter

Drop large spoonfuls of each flavoured cake batter into the prepared loaf tin. Making sure you make them slightly random throughout. Then give a swirl with a knife or skewer, or as I did, with the handle of a fork!

Marble swirl

Bake for 40-45 minutes until just firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clear. Allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes then turn out and cool completely on a cooling rack.

Marble slice large

Marble cake cooling

Categories: Cakes, Sweet | 2 Comments

Lemon Meringue Flapjacks

Lemon Meringue Flapjack 2I love lemony things and thought a lemon flapjack would be something worth trying out, I decided to add some meringue and also a drizzle of icing, these went down a treat!

My family are not over keen on lemon flavour but Gav is always a willing volunteer and actually really liked them, I didn’t make the flavour too over powering, of course if you’re a total lemon nut you could add more curd and some lemon zest too!

I had some homemade lemon curd amazingly, as I eat the stuff straight from the jar, I’m hardcore! I also made some meringues too but I’m sure shop brought would be grand :)

Print  Lemon Meringue Flapjacks

Lemon Meringue Flapjacks

Flapjack bit

85g butter

45g granulated sugar

1 ½ tbsp. golden syrup

 175g porridge oats

3 tbsp. lemon curd

1-2 meringue nests or homemade meringues broken up into pieces

Drizzle bit

50g icing sugar

1/2 -1 tbsp lemon juice


Lemon curdLemon Meringue Flapjack close


Preheat oven to 190°C 170°C fan GM5

Grease a round 7”/18cm cake/sponge tin a loose bottomed one is handy.

Place the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan. Heat gently until melted, stirring to mix as it melts.

Remove from the heat and add in oats and lemon curd and mix well. Gently stir through some of the broken up meringue, as much as you wish,  I saved some to pop on top to decorate too.

Pour/spoon into the prepared tin and smooth over until fairly even. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Lemon Meringue Flapjack 3

Leave in the tin but make sure you cut through with a knife to mark the pieces while still warm. Then allow to cool completely in the tin.

Once cool mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together to make a smooth runny icing and drizzle over the top of the flapjack, dot with meringue if you wish. Enjoy ♥

Lemon Meringue Flapjack above2

Categories: Biscuits, Cakes, Sweet | 12 Comments

Neapolitan Sandwich Biscuits

Neapolitan biscuitsNeapolitan ice cream (well any ice cream) always reminds me of summer.

Sometimes I think it’s fun to make something in a slightly different way, so here are some Neapolitan Biscuits!

The flavours of the ice cream chocolate, vanilla and strawberry in a biscuit.

 

 

print here

Neapolitan Sandwich Biscuits

Chocolate biscuit bit

125g soft butter/spread

55g soft brown sugar

155g plain flour

25g cocoa

Vanilla biscuit bit

125g butter

55g caster sugar

180g plain flour

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

Strawberry buttercream

100g soft butter

200g icing sugar

100g strawberries (hulled and chopped)

15g caster sugar

1/2 tsp lemon juice

Makes about 30-35 complete biscuits (I used a rectangle cutter 5cm x 3cm)

Vanilla biscuit bit

Cream the butter and sugar together until light & fluffy. Sieve in the flour and vanilla, mix well, bring together to form a ball of dough. Place in a bag and in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill.

Roll out the dough (allowing it to warm slightly if it’s hard from the fridge rest) on a lightly floured work surface to about ¼ “ ( ½ cm) in thickness. Press out the shapes you would like and place on a greased/lined baking tray.

Place them on greased or lined baking sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked through & starting to turn a golden colour. Remove from the oven allow to cool for a few minutes so they firm, then transfer to a cooling rack

Chocolate biscuit bit

Cream the butter & sugar until light & fluffy, sieve in the flour & cocoa and mix well until you form a ball of dough. Place the dough in a bag in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to shape the biscuits preheat your oven 190°C (fan 170°C) GM 5

Roll out the dough (allowing it to warm slightly if it’s hard from the fridge rest) on a lightly floured work surface to about ¼ “ ( ½ cm) in thickness. Press out the shapes you would like and place on a greased/lined baking tray.

Bake for about 8-10 minutes so they are evenly baked top & bottom, keep a close eye on them as they can burn easily. Remove from the oven allow to cool for a few minutes so they firm up, then transfer to a cooling rack.

biscuits cut out

Strawberry buttercream bit

Mix together the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer for about 5-10 minutes until all soft and mushy and starting to thicken slightly. Remove from heat, mash with a fork or blend to a puree and allow to cool completely.

Beat the softened butter until light and fluffy. Add about half of the sieved icing sugar and beat slowly until combined. Add in the rest of the icing sugar and beat until soft and smooth. Add in 2 tbsp of the cooled strawberry puree and beat really well until mixed. Load into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of your choice. You could spread on with a knife if you prefer.

Neapolitan line

Pipe on to one biscuit and top with the other. If the buttercream is a little soft pop in the fridge to firm up. Enjoy with a cuppa.

I also reckon that adding a dollop of strawberry (or raspberry) ice cream as a filling instead of the buttercream would be delicious too! ♥

Neapolitan stack

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Easy Spicy Chilli Bean Burgers

Bean in bun chips

I am a veggie that lives with carnivores, having said that they don’t have meat every night, actually sometimes not every week. When they have something meaty I will try and adapt the meal for me or vice versa.

Recently they were having some rather fine looking Aberdeen Angus beef burgers so I rummaged in my not particularly well stocked cupboards (shopping was beckoning!) and made these. Delicious, with a lovely chilli kick.

I nearly always have beans in a tin of some description, cheese (a total must as I LOVE cheese so much) and bread, really easy and slightly messy to make.

I am sure you could adapt it to suit what you fancy and have in at home when you make them.

Easy Spicy Chilli Bean Veggie Burgers

Ingredients (yes there’s not many!)

1 tin of Kidney beans in chilli sauce (approx 400g) slightly drained

25g grated cheddar cheese

1 large slice of bread turned into bread crumbs

Makes 4 decent sized burgers

Start by draining some of the sauce from the beans, not all, just so the burgers don’t end up too wet and sticky.

Preheat your oven 200°C, 180°C fan, gas mark 6

Beans

Place the beans in a bowl, mash slightly with a fork or potato masher, I like some texture to them so don’t totally mash them. Add the cheese and breadcrumbs and mix.

 


 

Beans bowl

The mixture will be sticky but should come together. If it’s still very sticky and a bit runny and won’t hold it’s shape then add some more breadcrumbs.

Beans shapeBeans shaped 2

To shape I used a large circular cookie cutter (dusted with a little flour), placed on a lined baking sheet. The magic liners that you can wash and reuse are brilliant for this. You could use cooking rings or small cutters as a mould. The one I used was about 9.5 cm diameter. Press the mixture in, I made 4, so a quarter mixture if you’re using the same size ring. Bake for about 10 minutes until the top is hardening and starting to change colour then gently flip over and do the other side.

Beans in bun

Great served in a bun with ketchup and fries! I also had them with salad. I used 2 on the day and then froze the other 2. They cooked for a little longer from a half defrosted state and were just as lovely. ♥

Bean in bun chips

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Scrabble tile letters Valentine toppers

scrabble tiles & ribbonI have a bag of Scrabble tiles that come out occasionally for adding to photo’s, which I really like the look of. Then the other day I saw a beautiful wedding cake that had used them, well a sugarpaste version, which looked amazing and I just had to give it a go.

You can use either sugarpaste or florist paste, the latter hardens quicker and as they need to be firm to write on, it works out a quicker way but either works well in the end.

Love tiles

I discovered that not all tiles are the cheapo plastic style of my childhood some are wooden, wow! So when I coloured the paste I added a little brown and did a lazy mix in to give a slight wood grain look. Next roll out, I used some tiles as spacers so I would get round about the same thickness for the paste.

scrabble tile colour       scrabble tiles rolling

cuttersI have a set of little shape cutters and the small square happens to be exactly the same size as a tile so I used that to cut out the squares, I then gently used a finger to smooth the corners a little so they were more rounded then angular.

 

Then you’ll need to leave them to dry to a fairly hard finish, somewhere they won’t stick to and somewhere flat so they keep their shape. Then, using an edible pen you can add the letters and number score of your choice. To achieve a nice dark black you may need to go over it a few times allowing it to dry in between additions.

Scrabble pen  scrabble tile

They are then ready to adorn your cakes or cookies or brownies or meringues or whatever your lovely creation is! ♥

scrabble love  scrabble sexy cup1

Scrabble cheeky

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Chocolate Chip Swirl Buns

Choc chip buns coolingI had a few egg yolks left over after making loads of macarons recently. I froze them in batches mixed with a little sugar and labels on as my memory is dreadful!

Well, I decided to make buns with some egg yolk enriched dough. Chocolate chips were thrown in so they appealed to my daughter, they were perfect though as I was thinking dried fruit instead.

Chocolate Chip Swirl Buns

Printable recipe here

Ingredients

475g strong white flour

1 tsp salt

6g fast acting dried yeast

25g very soft butter

140ml tepid water

140ml tepid milk

2 egg yolks

35g caster sugar

50g dark chocolate chips

Also a little beaten egg or a little milk for brushing the tops before baking

In a large bowl, or the bowl to your mixer, add all the ingredients apart from the chocolate chips and egg or milk for brushing the tops.

I mixed mine using my mixer with the dough hook, gently to combine and for a couple of minutes. You can do this by hand too, it is a very sticky mixture so be warned! After you’ve achieved a lovely smooth dough add in the chocolate chips.

I mixed in using my hands, very sticky but I enjoyed it! Then cover the bowl with a piece of oiled clingfilm or a damp tea towel and leave to prove. It should be doubled in size. Mine took ages (about 3 hours) as my kitchen was very chilly.

Remove from the bowl and give it a gentle thump or bash on a floured work surface to expel the air. Then divide in to 8 pieces of similar size. I used my brilliant scotch scraper (or my ninja tool as I call it!)

Choc chip doughChoc chip dough above

Roll each in to a long thin sausage shape about 40 cm long, a little flour helps but too much hinders the rolling. Then wind it round to make a swirl shape. Place on a lined or greased baking tray and repeat with the rest of the dough. Loosely cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise until about doubled again, about 30 mins. Somewhere warm will speed this up. I know, the rolled up dough buns don’t look very appetising!!

choc chip longchoc chip dough rolling

Choc chip buns proving

Preheat your oven to 200°C (fan 180°C). Once doubled in size gently brush the tops with beaten egg or milk and bake until deep golden. Between 15-20 minutes usually. Keep an eye on them though as ovens vary and they burn easily.

choc chip drizzle

Remove from the oven and either enjoy while still slightly warm or cool on a rack for later. I dusted some with a mix of cocoa and icing sugar, some got a drizzle of melted chocolate and some were naked! They will keep for a few days but at their best on the day baked. ♥

I think the large batch of egg yolks are destined for vanilla ice cream……………

choc chip buns

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Christmas Muffins

Christmas muffins closeI decided to make some muffins with a Christmas inspired taste. The smell of spices will fill your kitchen and then you get to scoff the labours of your hard work, perfect!

You can vary the spices and fruit to your taste or what you have available.

 

Conversion chart via Delia here http://www.deliaonline.com/home/conversion-tables.html

Click here to download the recipe

Muffins bit

300g plain flour

180g soft brown sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp mixed spice (or pumpkin spice or your favourite blend of spices)

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp salt

3 large eggs

190g vegetable or sunflower oil (I like to weigh this for a more accurate measurement)

200g dried fruit, your choice (I used sultanas and cranberries)

Grated zest of one orange

Christmas muffins fruit

Glaze bit

100g sieved icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract/bean paste

1-2 tbsp milk

To decorate I used some sliced almonds and glacé cherries

Preheat oven to 200°C (fan 180°C) 400°F Gas mark 6

Makes 12 muffins

Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin cases

muffin cases

The muffin bit

In a large mixing bowl sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the sugar and stir to combine. I like to use a balloon whisk to do this. Add in the dried fruit and orange zest, mix with a wooden spoon.

Sugar

Christmas muffins bowl mix

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a small bowl crack the eggs and briefly beat then add the oil and beat until mixed and creamy.

Add the wet to the dry and mix firmly and quickly until just combined. The mixture will be fairly stiff. Do not over mix as this makes the muffins heavy. Spoon in to the muffin cases and bake until just firm and skewer entered will come out clean, about 23-28 minutes.

Allow to cool completely.

Christmas muffins no glaze

The Icing glaze bit

Place the sieved icing sugar in a small bowl add the vanilla and 1 tbsp milk, mix well, a small whisk is helpful for this. You may need to add a little more milk to get a smooth, drizzling consistency but not too much that it’s really runny.

Drizzle with a teaspoon over the muffins and then, if you wish, add some sliced almonds and a glacé half. Enjoy ♥

Christmas muffins open

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Pecan and Maple Shortbread Hearts

Pecan and maple shortbread above

 

I just love pecan nuts and maple syrup together. Always reminds me of Autumn for some reason……

I decided to add the flavours to shortbread, perfect with my cuppa!

 

 

Conversion chart if you’re not metric via Delia http://www.deliaonline.com/home/conversion-tables.html

Printable recipe

Pecan and Maple Shortbread Hearts

Shortbread bit

125g soft butter

50g caster sugar (or soft brown)

180g plain flour

25g pecan nuts finely chopped, I used my mini processor

1 tbsp maple syrup

Pecan halves (20) to decorate the top, optional

Pecans

Glaze bit

35g icing sugar, sieved

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp milk

I made 20 using a heart cutter that was 5 cm across at the widest point

Making the shortbread bit

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the rest of the shortbread ingredients and mix until combined. Wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190°C (fan 170°) gas mark 5

Line/grease some baking trays.

The dough will be firm so give it a quick knead to soften slightly, it’s a fairly sticky dough so I used 2 large sheets of baking paper and rolled the dough out between them. This way it was less messy and I didn’t have to add loads of flour.

Rolling pin

Cookie cutting

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roll out to a thickness of 4-5 mm, then use your cutter (dip in flour to help stop it sticking) carefully lift the biscuits on to a baking tray. Allow room for expansion so leave a space around each one. If using the pecan halves to decorate then gently place on top, giving a little pressure but not squashing down hard.

 

Bake until starting to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool on the tray for about 5 minutes (otherwise they are very fragile when first out the oven) then transfer to a cooling rack.

The glaze bit

Maple glaze

 

Mix the 3 ingredients together, I used a fork to help get a smooth icing. Then drizzle over the top of the cooled shortbread hearts. Placing kitchen towel underneath helps catch the drips and means less clearing up afterwards. The icing will harden and then you can store the shortbread in a tin. ♥

 

Pecan and maple shortbread glaze above

Maple & pecan shortbread glaze on rack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pecan and maple shortbread  hearts

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