Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies

Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies | Butter Baking

One of the joys of having a pastry chef or keen home-baker in your life is that every occasion seems to get baked for.

Chocolate ice cream for Easter, passionfruit tart for a birthday, dulce de leche brownies for Valentine’s Day, peppermint chocolate truffles for Christmas and cookies to say thank you.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies | Butter Baking

One of the downsides of being a pastry chef is that no one bakes for you ever. Except your Mum that is, and only because she baked for you all your life anyway.

But everyone else claims to be terrified that their baked goods won’t be up to scratch, that you’ll judge them, that you won’t like them, etcetera, etcetera.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies | Butter Baking

But sweets are much more fun to eat when someone else has done all the hard work and made them for you!

Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies | Butter Baking

True to form, it was Mr Man’s birthday last week and I baked for him.

Along with making him a cake so he could blow out candles and all the usual jazz, I combined his favourite dessert elements to create these brownies.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies | Butter Baking

They have a salty-sweet pretzel base, then there’s a layer of my favourite ever brownie, and that’s topped with a thick and chewy salted caramel.

They’re rich and decadent, and definitely for sugar and chocolate lovers. You’ll only need a small square to get your sugar hit, and they’re best served accompanied with a tall glass of milk or a coffee. X

Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies | Butter Baking

SALTED CARAMEL PRETZEL BROWNIES
 
Ingredients
  • FOR THE PRETZEL BASE:
  • 1½ cups crumbled pretzels
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted (2 oz)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • FOR THE BROWNIE:
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (170g, 6 oz)
  • 455g dark chocolate, roughly chopped (1 pound)
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed (395g, 14 oz)
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup + 2 tbsp plain flour (130g, 4.5 oz)
  • FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL:
  • 125g water (1/2 cup)
  • 330g caster (superfine) sugar (1½ cups)
  • 90g unsalted butter, cubed (3 oz)
  • 180g cream (3/4 cup)
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling
Method
  1. To make the pretzel crust, preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F) and grease and line the base and sides of a 9 x 13 inch tin with baking paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the pretzels, melted butter, brown sugar and maple syrup until the sugar breaks down and everything is combined.
  3. Press the mixture into the base of the prepared pan, spreading into a very thin and even layer. Bake for 6 - 8 minutes, until set. Set aside to cool.
  4. To make the brownie, reduce the oven temperature to 180 C (350 F).
  5. Put the butter it in a heatproof bowl together with the chocolate. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir occasionally until the butter and chocolate are melted, smooth and combined. Set aside.
  6. Using a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk the eggs, sugar salt and vanilla on a high speed until the mixture reaches the ribbon stage – when it is thick, pale, and falls from the whisk in a ribbon that folds onto itself.
  7. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until incorporated. Gently fold in the flour, until just combined.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.
  9. Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes, until the top is lightly cracked and soft to the touch. Set aside to cool.
  10. To make the caramel, place the sugar and water in a large saucepan and place over a high heat. Cook until the mixture has reached 175 C (350 F) on a candy thermometer, or until it is a dark amber colour.
  11. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the butter and cream over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and the mixture is combined.
  12. When the caramel has reached the desired temperature, remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the cream mixture.
  13. Return to the heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly.
  14. Pour the caramel over the brownie and spread out to make an even layer.
  15. Refrigerate for 4-5 hours, until set, then sprinkle with sea salt.
  16. Keep refrigerated, but allow to soften a little at room temperature before serving. Makes 24 brownies.
  17. Happy baking!

Pretzel layer adapted from this recipe.
Brownie recipe adapted from Tartine via this recipe.
Salted caramel recipe adapted from Donna Hay.

Chocolate Ice Cream

Chocolate Ice Cream | Butter Baking

I can still remember how amazed I was when I made vanilla ice cream, from scratch, at home, for the very first time.

Sure, I had made it at culinary school before, and I’d eaten “home made” versions of ice cream, but this was just another level of awesomeness. I actually had an “oh my god I just made ice cream and it tastes real!” moment.

Chocolate Ice Cream | Butter Baking

It was rich and creamy, smooth and luscious, flecked with vanilla beans and really tasted like delicious custard. 

And as soon as I made it and it was all eaten and licked from the bowl, the response was, “Well, now you have to make chocolate ice cream”.

Chocolate Ice Cream | Butter Baking

So here I am. Making chocolate ice cream.

And it’s just like the vanilla episode all over again, right down to the “oh my god I just make chocolate ice cream and it tastes real and I’ll never eat anything out of a tub ever again” moment.

Chocolate Ice Cream | Butter Baking

Because this is what chocolate ice cream should taste like. It should be rich, thick and creamy. It should have a deep, dark chocolate flavour and taste like an amazing chocolate custard that got all frozen.

You have to try it! At least once. X

Chocolate Ice Cream | Butter Baking

CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM
 
Ingredients
  • 500ml cream (2 cups)
  • 3 tbsp dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 140g good quality dark chocolate (5 oz)
  • 250ml milk (1 cup)
  • 165g caster (superfine) sugar (3/4 cup)
  • Pinch salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
Method
  1. In a medium saucepan, warm 250ml (1 cup) of the cream with the cocoa while whisking. Bring it to the boil and continue to whisk for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.
  2. Stir in the chocolate until melted and combined, then stir in the remaining 250ml (1 cup) cream.
  3. Pour the mixture into a large heatproof bowl and set a strainer over the bowl.
  4. Whisk together the egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl and set aside.
  5. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, sugar and salt until it's just under the boil. Pour the milk mixture into the egg yolks in a slow and steady stream while constantly whisking.
  6. Return the anglaise back to the pot and place over a low heat. Cook, stirring with a rubber spatula constantly, until the mixture reaches 76 C (170 F).
  7. Pour the custard mixture through the strainer into the chocolate mixture. Whisk to combine, then cover with cling film, placing it directly on the surface of the ice cream.
  8. Refrigerate overnight to chill, or for at least 8 hours.
  9. Churn according to your machine's instructions, then transfer to a container and freeze.
  10. Makes 1 litre (1 quart).
  11. Happy baking!

Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop.

Flourless Salted Chocolate Fudge Cake with Pretzels

Flourless Salted Chocolate Fudge Cake with Pretzels | Butter Baking

Today I’m sharing my Easter recipe with you!

This year I’m steering away from chocolate hot cross buns and hot cross bun macarons and focusing in just on chocolate.

Flourless Salted Chocolate Fudge Cake with Pretzels | Butter Baking

Mmm hmm.

Because after the last few days at work, I’m all hot-cross-bunned-out.

And the worst is yet to come. Seriously.

Flourless Salted Chocolate Fudge Cake with Pretzels | Butter Baking

This cake is smooth. This cake is rich. This cake is like fudge. It has no flour, it has barely any sugar.

This cake is pretty much just pure chocolate, with a little butter to soften it and a few eggs to lighten it and hold it all together.

This cake is like an adult version of a chocolate Easter egg. But on steroids.

Flourless Salted Chocolate Fudge Cake with Pretzels | Butter Baking

And it’s what I’ll be eating all Easter.

Because it’s delicious, it’s pure melt-in-your-mouth chocolate and it’s damn easy to make.

Flourless Salted Chocolate Fudge Cake with Pretzels | Butter Baking

I hope you all have a glorious Easter, filled with love, joy, hot cross buns and chocolate!

I’ll be Instagramming plenty of those last two during the Easter period so stay tuned over there. X

Flourless Salted Chocolate Fudge Cake with Pretzels | Butter Baking

FLOURLESS SALTED CHOCOLATE FUDGE AND PRETZEL CAKE
 
Ingredients
  • 450g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 115g unsalted butter, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 55g caster (superfine) sugar (1/4 cup)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 50g mini pretzels (about ½ cup)
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 160 C (325 F) and grease and line the base and sides of a 22cm (8.5 inch) round springform tin with baking paper.
  2. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set this over a pot of simmering water (don't allow the bowl to touch the water). Stir occasionally until the chocolate mixture is melted, combined and smooth. Remove from the heat.
  3. Stir in the egg yolks and the salt. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk on a high speed until soft peaks form. Reduce the speed and rain in the sugar slowly, then increase the speed and whisk until thick and shiny.
  5. Gently fold the meringue into the chocolate mixture in three batches until combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and top with pretzels.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the centre is just set and a skewer inserted in the edge comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool, then refrigerate until completely set, at least 3 hours.
  9. Keep refrigerated. Serves 8 - 10.
  10. Happy baking!

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay Magazine’s 80th issue.

Lemon Berry No-Bake Cheesecake

Lemon Berry No-Bake Cheesecake | Butter Baking

Growing up, I remember my parents having lots of dinner parties with their couple friends. There was always lots of wine, delicious food and cake!

Lemon Berry No-Bake Cheesecake | Butter Baking

One of my Mum’s loveliest friends, Margaret, would always, without fail, bring dessert when she came over for dinner. And as you can probably imagine, I totally loved her for it.

Her baking was always beautiful, and if I remember correctly, a big, berry-topped pavlova (the only version of that dessert that I’ll eat!) and this cold-set cheesecake were her go-to specialities.

Lemon Berry No-Bake Cheesecake | Butter Baking

I would always have a second slice of this cheesecake, and as a child, my absolutely favourite part was the biscuity, buttery base (and not much has changed!).

Lemon Berry No-Bake Cheesecake | Butter Baking

One day, I sat the lovely Margaret down and asked her to tell me all her cheesecake secrets as I hand-wrote the recipe into my little cookbook.

I haven’t made this cheesecake for years and years, but I’m beginning to wonder why, because it’s so damn delicious. And so easy.

Lemon Berry No-Bake Cheesecake | Butter Baking

After making a few baked cheesecakes for you on the blog (click here and here!), I’ve decided that no-bake cheesecakes are my absolute favourites (ohmygod this recipe!). They just have a beautiful lightness and fluffiness to them that can’t be beat.

Lemon Berry No-Bake Cheesecake | Butter Baking

This one is smooth, creamy and refreshing with the zesty lemon and tangy fresh berries. It’s so easy too! A definite must-try. X

Lemon Berry No-Bake Cheesecake | Butter Baking

LEMON BERRY NO-BAKE CHEESECAKE
 
Ingredients
  • FOR THE BASE:
  • 11 digestive biscuits (or a buttery biscuit alternative)
  • 2 tbsp coconut
  • 100g butter, melted (1/2 cup)
  • FOR THE CHEESECAKE:
  • 300ml whipping cream (11 fl. oz)
  • 1 X 250g packet cream cheese, softened (9 oz)
  • ¼ cup caster sugar (55g)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 gold strength gelatine leaves (or 1 sachet/3 tsp powdered gelatin)
  • ¼ cup warm water (63g)
  • FOR THE TOPPING:
  • 1 - 1½ cups berries of choice
  • Honey, for drizzling (optional)
Method
  1. Grease and line the base and sides of a 22cm (8½ inch) springform tin with baking paper.
  2. To make the biscuit base, blitz the digestive biscuits and coconut in a food processor until fine (alternatively, crush up in a zip lock bag with a rolling pin). Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in the melted butter.
  3. Press evenly into the base of the prepared tin and refrigerate.
  4. To make the cheesecake filling, use a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment (or hand beaters) to whip the cream to medium peaks. Transfer to a clean bowl and refrigerate.
  5. Place the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and zest in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat with a paddle until smooth and creamy (you can also use hand beaters).
  6. Meanwhile, place the gelatin leaves in a bowl of cold water until soft. Squeeze out the excess water and then place into the ¼ cup warm water. Stir to dissolve (if using powdered gelatin, simply stir gelatin into warm water till dissolved).
  7. Add the gelatin mixture to the cream cheese and beat for 1 minute.
  8. Fold in the whipped cream by hand.
  9. Spread the cheesecake mixture evenly over the base and refrigerate for 8 hours, or preferably overnight.
  10. To serve, remove the cheesecake from the tin and scatter the berries over the cheesecake. Optionally, drizzle with a little honey.
  11. Keep refrigerated. Serves 8.
  12. Happy baking!

Recipe adapted from the lovely Margaret! X

Peach, Blueberry and Apple Crumble

Peach, Blueberry and Apple Crumble | Butter Baking

I’m blogging this recipe in real-time today!

As I type I have a bowl of this lovely crumble sitting next to me, waiting for me to stick my spoon right in.

IMG_4072

Making crumble is such a great way to use up extra fruit you have around the house, or any fruit you have that you think is going to turn.

IMG_4073

I had a bunch of gorgeous apples from Mr Man’s grandmother’s garden that were starting to go a little soft.

I couldn’t bear to throw them away so I cooked them up! I added a few peaches that I had in the fridge and threw in a handful of frozen blueberries from when I went berry picking. Easy!

Peach, Blueberry and Apple Crumble | Butter Baking

Then the whole thing got topped with a lovely, golden, melt-in-your-mouth crumble.

This particular crumble recipe comes from my boss, and is my current favourite! It’s perfectly buttery, crispy, crumbly and not too sweet. And it easily pinches together to form those little chunks of crumble that we all love.

Peach, Blueberry and Apple Crumble | Butter Baking

I love eating this warm, straight out of the oven, maybe with some cream. I also love eating this cold, for breakfast, with a huge dollop of greek yogurt.

Whichever way you like it, and with whatever fruit you have on hand, I hope you love this crumble too! X

Peach, Blueberry and Apple Crumble | Butter Baking

PEACH, BLUEBERRY AND APPLE CRUMBLE
 
Ingredients
  • FOR THE FILLING:
  • 5 medium apples
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Knob of butter
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 peaches
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 tsp cornflour or tapioca
  • FOR THE CRUMBLE:
  • 200g flour (1⅓ cups)
  • 100g unsalted butter (approx. ½ cup), cold and cubed
  • 50g brown sugar (approx. ¼ cup)
  • Pinch salt
Method
  1. To make the filling, peel, core and dice the apples.
  2. Place them in a saucepan with the cinnamon, butter and sugar and cook, covered, over a low heat for about 20 minutes, until tender. Allow to cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F).
  4. Dice the peaches, and add them to the cooled apples along with the blueberries and cornflour. Transfer into a medium baking dish and set aside.
  5. To make the crumble, place the flour, butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on a low speed with the paddle until a chunky crumble forms.
  6. Scatter this over the filling and bake for 35 - 45 minutes until the crumble is golden brown and bubbling around the edges.
  7. Best enjoyed warm, but leftovers are great for breakfast! Serves 6 - 8.
  8. Happy baking!

 

French Chocolate Cake

French Chocolate Cake | Butter Baking

I’m sure I’ve told you all before that I’m not really into eating cake.

So on the odd occurrence that I’m going to go all out and eat a piece of cake, that cake is going to look like this.

Rich, fudgy, and (brace yourselves for the ick word guys!) moist.

French Chocolate Cake | Butter Baking

Flourless cakes tend to be my favourite, because they’re so much denser and moister than aerated cakes and sponges.

And this chocolatey, dense, almost-flourless cake is what my cake-dreams are made of. It’s almost like a brownie, a little like a soufflé, and it totally melts in your mouth.

French Chocolate Cake | Butter Baking

See what I mean? Look at all that moist-cake-goodness right up there.

It’s heavy on the chocolate too, so use the best you can afford, because the flavour will really come through.

French Chocolate Cake | Butter Baking

And I don’t often serve cream as an accompaniment to desserts, but in this case, the rich, decadent chocolate cake goes beautifully with a quenelle of double cream and some fresh, tart berries.

French Chocolate Cake | Butter Baking

But really, this cake is so damn good you can eat it any which way you like. X

French Chocolate Cake | Butter Baking

FRENCH CHOCOLATE CAKE
 
Ingredients
  • 250g dark chocolate, chopped (9 oz)
  • 120g unsalted butter (8 tbsp)
  • 65g sugar (1/3 cup)
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • Pinch salt
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and grease and line a 9 inch loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl, and place this over a pot of simmering water.
  3. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is melted, smooth and combined.
  4. Take the bowl off the heat. Whisk in half the sugar, followed by the egg yolks. Then fold in the flour.
  5. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites with the salt until they turn white and form soft peaks. Still whisking, rain in the other half of the sugar and keep whisking on high speed until the whites form firm peaks.
  6. Fold a third of the meringue into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Then gently fold in the remaining whites until smooth and combined.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and spread out evenly.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes, until the cake feels just slightly firm in the middle. Be careful not to over bake.
  9. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Serves 8.
  10. Happy baking!
  11. NOTE: The original recipe calls for a 35 min baking time, but mine was ready at 25. Be sure to check your cake and adjust the time accordingly.

Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Sweet Life in Paris.

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