These remind me of the view from 35,000 feet high, flying from Auckland to Christchurch for work. It was in the middle of winter and the Southern Alps was thickly covered by a blanket of snow – it was such a serene and beautiful scene.
J requested these cookies after sampling a version of them at a birthday party many years ago: “the icing sugar dusted chocolate cookies” was mentioned every now and then. Last weekend I finally got around to it.
They are brownie-like: soft and tender inside, but have a cookie-like crisp exterior. I have been blessed with a delivery of olive oils from Te Wheke Olives and they worked so well in this recipe. As the batter is very soft, it requires a minimum of 4 hours fridge time. You can speed that up by placing it in the freezer for 2 hours. Before you bring the batter out, have a few cookie sheets lined and the oven preheated, so that once you have two trays of 12 cookies each rolled in icing sugar, you can bake the first two trays straight away. This ensures they don’t loose too much height. I managed to complete rolling out dough for two more trays while the first batch is baking (I do have 6 identical cookie sheets – they were imperative for the large batches of macarons I make!)
The other option is to skip the icing sugar step, this creates brownie cookies with beautifully random cracks.
If you would like to make these gluten free, as I did for colleagues, just substitute the plain wheat flour with gluten free flour. The Countdown branded gluten free flour packs had corn and maize as the main ingredients. Be sure to check that your baking powder and icing sugar are free of gluten as well. They turn out a tad softer than the ones made with wheat flour, and my tasters actually prefer these!
Ingredients (50-60 cookies)
- 125ml olive oil
- 400g caster sugar
- 95g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 eggs (size 7, about 60g each)
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 250g plain flour (or gluten free flour, with corn and maize)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 80g icing sugar, for rolling
- Place olive oil, caster sugar and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl. Paddle on a slow speed until homogenous. Add in eggs one at a time, making sure each has been incorporated before adding the next. Add in the vanilla paste.
- In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt then add into the cocoa mixture. This will look just like a brownie batter, thick and runny. Chill batter for at least 5 hours, best over night.
- Preheat oven to 180C. Line baking trays with baking paper. Using two teaspoons, drop small scoops of thick mousse-like batter into a bowl of icing sugar. Roll the balls until they are covered with powdered/icing sugar.
- Place on lined baking trays.
- Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
I adore raspberries. I find myself sneaking them into most sweet dishes: from cereals to cakes and desserts.
I love the tang of the fruit and the burst of flavour added to the dish.
It was therefore the first flavour that I reached for when sampling the new range of Spreadable Fruit by Barkers of Geraldine.
These are 99% fruit with no refined sugar added. Sweetened only with pear juice concentrate, it’s a great alternative to fruit purees. In fact, that’s even better than making my own!
I decided to make an easy baked cheesecake brownie, to keep things simple. The brownie batter was done in one bowl while the cheesecake batter was mixed with my trusty Kitchenaid stand mixer.
Just be careful when swirling the fruit – you don’t want to over do it, so that you can keep the pretty red/ white colours.
Who wants a slice?
- 170g unsalted butter, melted (I used Westgold)
- 300g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
- 120g (2) eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla paste (I used Equagold)
- 3g (1/2 tsp) salt
- 70g (3/4 cup) dutch cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
- 70g (1/2 cup) plain flour
- 5-6 tbsp Barker’s Raspberry Spreadable Fruit
- 250g cream cheese, softened
- 40g mascarpone cheese (I used Tatua)
- 60g (1) egg
- 60g (1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp) caster sugar
- 2g (1/4 tsp) salt
- Preheat oven to 170°C.
- Line a 20cm square baking tin with 2 strips of baking paper. (This makes it easier to lift the brownie out of the tin).
- In a large ceramic bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.
- Mix in sugar, eggs, vanilla paste and salt.
- Once fully combined, fold in cocoa powder and flour. Mix till all combined.
- Pour the brownie batter into the baking tin, spreading evenly, careful to push batter all the way to the edges.
- Combine all cheesecake ingredients in a stand mixer.
- Whisk for 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed.
- Pour cheesecake batter over brownie batter, spreading evenly.
- Drop spoonfuls of the raspberry spreadable fruit on top of the cheesecake in rows of 3s and 2s and swirl using a palette knife.
- Bake for 1 hour, check in the last 10 minutes (so it doesn’t go past the golden point). Test brownie with palette knife – it should be almost clean.
- Leave to cool in tin before placing in fridge to cool and firm up for 1-2 hours.
- Cut into 16 squares, wiping down the knife after each cut for a cleaner look.
- Serve with a nice cup of tea!
*I received a jar of the Spreadable Fruit when I attended the NZ Foodwriters annual May Market. Post not sponsored.
After years of trial and error, I’ve finally got a fail proof chocolate brownie that appears to satisfy the fussiest and hardest-to-please of all critics (aka Miss 8). These brownies are fudgey and chewy, just how we like it. Best served warm with cold milk or ice cream!
- 125g unsalted butter, chopped
- 150g good quality 70% dark chocolate, chopped
- 3 eggs, whisked
- 290g caster sugar
- 115g plain flour, sifted
- 35g Valrhona cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste (not essence)
- Pinch of salt
- Cocoa nibs, hazelnut praline, extra chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 180C fan forced. Grease a 20cm square cake pan and line with baking paper.
- Place butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
- Stir with a heatproof spatula until melted.
- Remove from heat and quickly stir in all your ingredients, except the toppings, until just combined. Pour into the lined pan.
- Sprinkle in your choice of cocoa nibs, hazelnut praline or extra chocolate chips.
- Bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until the toothpick test comes out with moist crumbs on the stick.
- Set aside to cool completely before removing from pan.
The secret here is the combined use of dark chocolate and cocoa powder, and with less sugar than normal brownies. This makes it distinctively brownie, not cake.
I hope you will love this as much as we do. These are perfect for school bake sales or bases of entremets. You can easily make more and freeze whole slices in two layers of foil and an air-sealed bag.