Cheesecake Brownies

We’re moving house! While this is really exciting, it also means that I am going to put my baking on pause while we get ourselves moved and settled in. The good news though is that the new house has an amazing kitchen and I love it. Hopefully this means that I’ll be taking my baking to all new levels of amazing-ness. in the meantime, I made these Cheesecake Brownies, which as you can see didn’t turn out beautiful, but they are yummy. Recipe from the food network.

Ingredients

Cheesecake topping

  • 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (I went to my local supermarket who had nothing called cream cheese, so I used marscapone. That’s why it turned out the way it did. I’ve researched online, and next time I’ll use Philadelphia)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg

Brownie Layer

  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method

Position the rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line an 8 by 8-inch baking pan with foil so it hangs over the edges by about 1-inch. Spray with cooking spray.

Cheesecake topping

In a medium bowl and using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the sugar and the vanilla until very smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until well blended. Set aside.

Brownie layer

Put the chocolate, butter, and oil in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat at 75 percent power for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave again until melted and smooth, about 30 seconds longer. (Alternatively, put the chocolate, butter, and oil in a small heatproof bowl. Bring a small saucepan filled with 1 inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, not touching, the water, and stir occasionally, until melted and smooth.)

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl.

Combine the brown sugar and granulated sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in the buttermilk, egg whites, and vanilla. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk vigorously until fully incorporated and the batter is thick and glossy. Gradually add the flour mixture and stir just until it disappears.

Reserve 1/2 cup brownie batter and set aside. Scrape the remaining brownie batter into the prepared pan. Pour the cheesecake mixture evenly. Drop the reserved brownie batter in large dollops over the topping. Draw the handle of a wooden spoon through the two batters to create a swirled effect. The next time I make this I’m going to swirl more.

Bake until the top is just set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Lift brownies out of the pan by the foil and peel off the foil. Spray a knife with cooking spray and cut into 2-inch squares. I don’t know what happened, but after baking my cheesecake has all but baked into the brownie mixture, I’m not really sure what happened. I may try baking this at a much cooler oven, or for a shorter time.

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Roast Leg of Lamb

I love a good roast, but I’m never sure what the definitive way to roast meat is. Hence this recipe being here.I made a roast lamb over the easter weekend, and it was divine. The recipe is based on one from BBC Good Food, but it of course has my minor adjustments.

Ingredients

  • 5 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 small onion, cut into chunks
  • 4 bay leaves
  • small bunch rosemary
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • large leg of lamb , about 3kg/6lb 8oz

Method

Heat oven to 160ºC/140ºC fan/gas 3.

Scatter the vegetables, bay leaves and a few rosemary sprigs into a large roasting tin and drizzle with the olive oil.

Use a sharp knife to make little slits all over the lamb.

Poke a small sprig of rosemary into each one.

Sit the lamb on top of the veg in the roasting tin, add a splash of wine, then cook for 2 hrs if you like it pink, or 2 hrs 15 mins for cooked through.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a board and cover with foil, then rest for 45 mins-1 hr.

The general rule for slow roasting lamb is 35 minutes per 450g/1lb plus an extra 35 minutes. When using a covered tin or wrapping in foil, increase the cooking time by 20-30 minutes. (source)

This is the most amazing and satisfying way to use leftover roast lamb (see the huge roast in my roast lamb recipe), and it’s too easy to mess up. This is also the first time I’ve reblogged anything, and I have no idea what I am doing. So if this comes out all wrong, I apologise. The recipe is still great though. 

Purely food

So life got in the way again and this recipe is later than planned. It’s worth the wait though, as it is a delicious use for left over roast lamb. I’ve made shepherd’s pie a number of times before but always with minced lamb. This recipe uses left over roast lamb (in my case it was slow roast shoulder of lamb but roast leg would work equally well) and was a delicious alternative.

Shepherd’s pie
Serves 2

1 tbsp oil
1 onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped into discs around 1cm thick,
Leftover roast lamb, chopped in to bite size pieces
1 tbsp plain flour
Handful of frozen peas
200ml lamb stock
1 tsp tomato puree
Good splash of Worcestershire sauce
Mashed potato to top (For two I use two good-sized baking potatoes and prepared in the usual way)
Salt and pepper

  • Pre heat the oven to 200C (180 fan).

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Chocolate Almond Biscotti

I’ve been meaning to add this recipe to my blog since its inception, however I just haven’t because it almost seems too simple. But It is delicious. It takes a little prep time, but nowhere near as much as baking bread does, and it is almost impossible to mess up. I also don’t really understand why people don’t make biscotti more often, it is delicious and super simple. The most complicated part is dealing with the doughy mixture and getting it onto the baking tray. Yes, this is another super sticky batter (see last week’s Challah Bread entry), but it is soooo worth it. 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 Cup (110 grams) whole almonds
  • 2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups (225 grams)  flour
  • 4 ounces (110 grams) chocolate (I use 1/2 chopped cooking chocolate and 1/2 chocolate chips)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 ºC

Preparing the almonds

Toast the almonds for 8-10 minutes or until brown and fragrant. While these are in the oven, coarsely chop the cooking chocolate. Remove from the oven let cool and chop coarsely, then line a baking sheet with parchment.

Making the dough

Beat the sugar, vanilla extract and eggs together for about 5 minutes. The mixture needs to be light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, sieve the flour, salt and baking powder together.

Add the eggs to the flour mixture and beat until combined. I found that this works best if you add the flour a little at a time to the egg mixture and beat with an electric mixer. Then when the mixer threatens to longer work, mix the final bit of flour and mix by hand.

Once all of the flour has been incorporated, carefully fold in the almonds and chocolate, a small amount at a time. It is important to not just dump all the almonds and chocolate in add once because you want to make sure that they are evenly distributed through the Biscotti.

Baking the Biscotti

Transfer the dough to the parchment sheet on your baking tray. You need form a long log as long about 30 cm long and 9 cm wide. This of course can vary based on the size of the biscotti you want. I sometimes like to make 2 long thin logs which make the perfect biscuits to serve with a dainty cup of tea.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until firm (like cake). Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. See how this works for you, I sometimes find I need to cool it for a little longer to be able to handle it.

Reduce the oven’s heat to 165 ºC.

Once cooled, transfer the biscotti log to a cutting board, replace the parchment on the baking tray and cut the biscotti at 2 cm slices diagonally.

Place the biscotti cut side down in the oven for 20 minutes (at the lower 165 ºC heat) turning half way.

Allow the biscotti to cool completely before serving and store in a cool airtight container, like a biscuit tin.

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