Monday, 13 June 2011

:: It’s got to be (gluten) free ::

Flourless Chocolate & Hazelnut Cake (GF)
:: Megann’s Kitchen ::

:: flourless chocolate & hazelnut cake (gf) w/max brenner crunchy chocolate marbles ::

I first decided to make this recipe for my friend, Linda, who is a coeliac & cannot have a number of ingredients that are in my pantry, namely gluten. I was going through my recipe index in my head one day when she was over for a coffee & I decided that I needed to start afresh. When I made this successfully first go, I called her excitedly, “can you have a flourless chocolate & hazelnut cake?” I asked. “I think so,” she said “I will come over tonight!”.

Well, needless to say the cake was a hit, she loved it & it is now a favourite in our house, flourless or not. It is so easy that I recently made it for Mick’s birthday along with an Orange & Poppyseed Cake for his work, & then again a few days later for a fundraising tea party for the Jane McGrath Breast Cancer Foundation. You could not get an easier more decadent cake to make. You don’t need icing, just a dusting of cocoa powder & double cream to serve. It cools in the pan so you can travel with it in the tin, taking it out when you are ready to display it. I have been asked for this recipe a countless number of times & it is my number one chocolate cake at the moment, so thank you Linda for the inspiration!

240g dark cooking chocolate, broken into pieces
150g unsalted butter, cubed
270g brown sugar
125g hazelnut meal (finely ground hazelnuts)
6 large eggs, separated
to dust
1 tbs cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Pre-prepare lined 22cm (9 inch) springform cake tin. Put the butter & broken chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan on low heat with simmering water, & stir constantly until mixture is completely melted & smooth. Sit on the bench to cool slightly whilst you prepare your other ingredients.
Add the sugar & hazelnut meal to the chocolate mixture & combine until there are no lumps. Add the egg yolks one at a time, stirring well between each one. In a separate bowl, whisk your egg whites until firm peaks form, then gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Make sure that the mixture is just combined but there are no large white foamy lumps in the mixture as they will rise to the surface of your cake making bubbles.
Spoon the mixture into prepared tin. Bake for 60mins; until just firm. Keep in mind that this cake is meant to be soft & fudgy in the middle, so don’t panic if it looks underdone. Leave to cool completely in the cake tin before removing (this is essential!)

:: a freshly made flourless chocolate & hazelnut cake (gf) ::

:: pouring the mixture into the preprepared cake tin ::

Style: Dust with cocoa powder & I sometimes like to add whole hazelnuts on top of the cake to make it look extra special. This particular time I had been to Max Brenner & purchased some praline chocolate wafer marbles & knew they would go perfectly with my cake.
:: Serve with double cream &/or baby mint leaves if you have them available.

:: measured hazelnut meal ::

:: melting butter & chocolate ::

Kitchen Notes: If you, by chance, ever find a chocolate recipe too sweet, try using some 70% cocoa dark chocolate in the mixture. You will get full chocolate flavour but the sweetness isn’t there.
:: This recipe is origionally from Bill Granger’s Holiday, adapted for my larger tin & very sweet tooth.
:: I find my Anolon 22cm cake tin a more accommodating slice for the density and sweetness of this chocolate cake.

:: cracking to a cake like this adds character ::

:: bill's holiday ::

Source: Bill Granger’s Holiday - You can purchase this book online with free postage by using the links provided 
Anolon Springform Cake Tin - You can purchase this product in DJ's & all good retailers or by following the links provided
Max Brenner - You can purchase his chocolate marbles in his Max Brenner Stores or by following the links provided

:: Providore Review: Victor Churchill Butchers ::

Victor Churchill Butchers
:: Megann’s Kitchen ::

:: victor churchill store interior ::

When class, quality & butchery unite you will only find Victor Churchill Butchers, Woollahra, Sydney. There is something to be said for any retailer who is smart enough to make visiting their store an experience whilst providing the highest quality of produce. This is what this store is, it’s pure genius.

:: victor churchill butcher storefront ::

One gorgeous day Mick & I parked in front of it to finally go to the new Bill’s. “What’s that?” I asked, peering through the window with a door handle made of sausages. Could it be, no... a butcher? It had marble floors, they were carving meat behind glass like a theatre production, and there were staff wearing crisp, clean aprons. “Whoa... that looks... amazing!” I said to my husband. We were pressed for time, so I could only poke my head into the store but, by goodness. Wow! 
<><><><><><><><><> <><><><><><><><><>
:: fresh meat to cut order ::

:: amazing take home meals ::

So it was one Sydney trip that I decided to make an effort to go back and finally buy my first piece of VCB meat, a scotch fillet, as requested by my husband. I opened the massive sausage door and was instantly greeted with a smile by helpful staff. The smell is gorgeous with the combination of fresh & cooked meat, as they have a rotisserie in the back. The store was abuzz with customers while two artisan butchers worked behind their glass wall preparing meat to order for customers. Not only do they have a gorgeous array of meats on display, they have some pre-prepared meals to take home just in case you have no time to cook. Perfect! I left that day with two amazing looking pieces of scotch fillet beef for my esky to cook the next night at home.

:: the steak that came home with me ::

:: just look at the marbling! oh my! ::

You may look at the prices of the pieces of meat and think how on earth can they be worth that amount, but I assure you, they are. I honestly haven’t seen marbling in meat available to the general public like at the Victor Churchill Butchers & it is a beautiful thing to see. They had 300 or 600 day old grain fed beef which looks like a vintage French marble benchtop. When you hear the list of celebrity chefs that frequent this store (I was informed a host of A list chefs were there on Monday, including Neil Perry, to launch a new product) you understand why when you taste the quality in every single home cooked mouthful.
:: a gorgeous rotisserie ::
:: perfect pork ::

Victor Churchill Butchers have turned meat production into an art form, so please visit them & enjoy them just as much as I have & will continue to.

:: wagyu rump & 300 day old grain fed sirloin steaks ::
Needless to say Mick managed to cook our scotch fillet perfectly to our liking, which was just on medium. I am not sure if it was the whole experience of purchasing the meat that day, but it was one of the most incredible pieces of meat I’ve ever had!

:: cooking the steak ::

:: a lovely peice of scotch fillet ::

Location: 132 Queen Street, Woollahra, NSW, 2025, Australia
Contact: Tel: (02) 9328 0402 Fax: (02) 9328 0408

Good Things: COURSES: Victor ChurchillButchers run gourmet butchery & cooking classes for big & little chefs alike. There is Lamb, Beef & Pork Butchery + Sausage Making Classes, as well as Poultry & Rabbit. This would defintately have to be on my to do list as my meat carving is, well, lacking in that department & what better way to learn.
For more information on the Victor Churchill Cooking School, follow the links

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

:: In search of the Chocolate Chip Cookie ::

Chocolate Chip Cookies
:: Megann’s Kitchen ::

:: my chocolate chip cookies ::

I once had the joy of living down the road from the Arnott’s factory in Camperdown, Sydney. When there was a gentle south westerly at certain times of the day, the smell of freshly baked cookies would waft through the breeze & into our living room. This was heaven. I would often wake up from an afternoon nap on the couch dreaming of cookies & instantly call my mother, as hers were the best in town.
I then set myself to baking for my soon to be husband. I had very few cookbooks, but I was determined to master at least one recipe & it was going to be a cookie. Attempt #1, fail. Attempt #2, fail. Attempt #3, fail. The worst thing was I had no idea what I was doing wrong! At last Donna Hay’s new book was released, so I thought that I would give her chocolate chip cookies a trial run, and to my surprise, success!
These are now my most requested cookies by far. They are the perfect comfort cookie, snack cookie, mother’s group cookie, toddler cookie, get well cookie & afternoon tea cookie. I think the secret is the coconut in the mixture, making the final result a lighter, less dense cookie yet entirely fulfilling. I often make a double batch (quantities also included) as these cookies are so good that they disappear fast. So thank you Mr Arnott, Ms Donna Hay & last, but not least, my mother, for all the cookie inspiration that was needed for a young wife to be.
Over recent years I have adapted the recipe as I found the original mixture too dry & not chocolatey enough, so please enjoy my version of cookie perfection!

140 grams butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla bean paste
1 cup of brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
¾ cups of desiccated coconut
230g chocolate chips (I like to use 130g dark chocolate chips, then 100g milk chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F). Line two large cookie trays with baking paper. Place the butter, sugar & vanilla paste into a bowl then beat with an electric mixer until light & creamy. Add eggs, one by one. Mix flour, baking powder, & coconut in a separate medium bowl, stir, then add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add chocolate chips & combine.
Spoon dough out with large tablespoons onto the trays, leaving gaps between each one. Bake until the edges turn brown, around 12-14 minutes. Leave to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack using a spatula.

Makes 20+ large cookies.

Kitchen Notes: Make sure that your butter is at true room temperature, otherwise you will end up with a stiff mixture. Either leave your butter on the bench top for half an hour or quickly place it in the microwave for 10 sec, or until soft. If you get to the final step & you find that your mixture is extremely stiff for a cookie dough, add a little milk & combine.
:: I use Nestle or Cadbury (whichever is on special) chocolate chip packages for my cookies. You could also use a block of chocolate, broken into chunks.

:: dark & milk chocolate chips + dough ::
:: combining the chocolate into the dough ::

Style: I don’t know how I came across this method, I think it was out of desperation when I was making ANZAC cookies to send to my husband when he was deployed in Iraq. It was the first time I made them and they were round mound masses of oatey goodness. I whipped out a glass to squish them down & voila! Perfect ANZAC cookies!

:: flattening cookies into a traditional cookie shape ::
:: When the cookies turn slightly golden yellow (a few minutes from being cooked through), take them out of the oven and use a flat bottomed glass to “flatten” the cookies to give them a true uniform cookie shape, rather than a lump. Work fast, as this can only happen when the cookies are molten hot & malleable. Also have a wet paper towel on standby to wipe the bottom of your glass as all that melted chocolate can get messy! Put your cookies back in the oven for a further 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
:: Megann’s Kitchen ::

:: my chocolate chip cookies ::

Recipe Doubled
280 grams butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 cups of brown sugar
4 large eggs
4 cups plain flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
1½ cups of desiccated coconut
460g chocolate chips (I like to use 1 packet of dark chocolate chips, then remainder of milk chocolate chips)

Makes 40+ large cookies.
:: Follow the above instructions to make cookies.

:: cookie dough balls of chocoalte chip ::

I would also love to see your Megann's Kitchen Creations/photos of recipes that you have made on Megann’s Kitchen Facebook!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...