Fruit Tarts

…Some pride themselves with a crispy crust that doesn’t let the filling take away from it’s flavor and texture, while others prize their tarts for the balance of sweet custard topped with tart fruits, in which the crust is just a vessel…

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Decadent Chocolate Muffins

It’s always a good thing to have some quick recipes up your sleeve for last minute meals and desserts, and it’s even easier with the amazing mixes and ready to make products available at grocery stores. My favourite item to stock up on is cake and brownie mixes. Sure, baking something from scratch is almost always better, but this recipe, or quick idea, is just what you need for a last minute dessert craving, or a crowd pleasing dessert for when you’ve used up all your energy on cooking the main course.

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Here’s what you need:

1 box brownie mix plus the ingredients listed on the back

1 cup chopped walnut

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter chips

Prepare the brownie mix according to the box instructions, then fold in the walnuts, chocolate chips and the peanut butter chips. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners and fill the cupcake tins 2/3 up. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until the cupcakes are just set. Don’t over bake them or they’ll become dry.

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That’s it! Just a little mixing and you have these deliciously gooey cupcakes loaded with chocolate, peanut butter and walnuts!

Scones

Want something fancy to replace your typical morning toast? Try these scones, and you won’t mind that the prep time is 5 minutes as opposed to just popping some bread into a toaster. Traditionally they’re eaten with fresh cream and strawberry jam, but Nutella can do the job just fine.

scones

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup + 2 Tblspn butter, cubed

4 Tblspn sugar

3/4 cup buttermilk OR 3/4 cup milk +1/2 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

Preheat your oven to 180C.

In a medium bowl add the flour, baking powder and sugar and mix well. Then add in the butter cubes and crumble them into the flour mixture with your fingers until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and knead into a dough, then roll out onto a flour surface, making sure the dough is an inch high. You can roll out a perfect circle and cut the scones like a pie, or take a 3 inch circle cookie cutter and cut out little circles, re-roll the remaining dough and continue the process till the dough is finished. Place the circles on a baking sheet about an inch or two apart. beat the egg and brush it over the tops of the scones. If you want them to be sweeter, you can add a teaspoon of sugar to the egg.

Just pop them in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until they puff up and the tops are golden brown. Take them out and eat them warm with some cream and jam!

Chewy Cookie Bars

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On one my pinning adventures I found  this amazing cookie bar recipe from Pinterest that I had to pass on! I tried it right away and it was divine! Yes, past tense. That’s how quickly it goes! It’s a small recipe for a 9×9 or 8×8, it’s chewy, it’s sweet chocolatey, peanut buttery, and it’s irresistible! The recipe was for a basic chocolate chip, but I added peanut butter chips, oats and hazelnuts! I’m not gonna keep going on about how amazing it is because that would just be wasting your time. You need to make this asap!

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

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You will need:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar(not packed)

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup dark or semi sweet choc chips

1/4 cup peanut butter chips (instead you can add 1 tablespoon of peanut butter to the batter)

1/4 cup oats

1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts

Place the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds, or till the butter melts. Let it cool and add the sugar, vanilla and egg. Mix well. Add the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix till everything’s incorporated. Mix in the choc chips, peanut butter chips, oats, and hazelnuts. Pour the cookie dough into a greased 9×9 or 8×8 dish. Flatten the cookie dough out so it bakes evenly. The cookie dough will rise a bit. Bake it for 20 minutes. The recipe said 25, but the cookie was turning dark brown on top, so I baked it for 20 minutes, then turned the oven off and left it in so it could continue to cook through with less heat (about 10 minutes). The center will still be a little soft. Let it cool completely before cutting it into tiny squares of heaven.

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Chocolate Silk Pie

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Yes, it seems to be chocolate week here, but in my defense, I didn’t make the Nutella pie or this pie, i’m just hoping one of you will. It’s one of those cream based pies I was talking about in my last post, and it doesn’t require any baking or cooking, just a fridge. Since the base flavor of this pie is chocolate, make sure you use good quality chocolate, not just any baking chocolate. You can even use hershey’s or galaxy chocolate bars, but I insist that you use nestle semi sweet chocolate chips if they’re available wherever you live! I know for a fact that they’re available in Lahore and obviously USA, but I haven’t found them yet here in Germany. Dr. Oetker chocolate is great though.

I have step by step pictures for this one! And before you start getting the ingredients together, here are a few tips that will make your pie turn out the same every time you make it.

Make sure that the chocolate you use is at room temperature.

The cream has to be chilled through.

Use an electric hand mixer. I didn’t when I made this, and it added 10 minutes to the prep time.

Always use semi sweet or dark chocolate.

Don’t over whip the cream. Stop when stiff peaks start to form. If you over whip the cream it won’t mix well with the chocolate and end up looking like scrambled chocolate eggs.

 

Here’s what you’ll need

12 graham crackers or digestive biscuits, crushed

2 tablespoon of softened butter

2 cups whipping cream

1 can of condensed milk,

1 heaping cup of dark chocolate chips (or a bar cut into chunks)+ 1 tablespoon butter

Start off by mixing the cookie crumbs and 2 tablespoons of softened butter. In a 9×9 or 8×8 inch pie plate press in the buttered crumbs evenly and up the sides. I used a ready made one and drizzled some chocolate fudge I had left over just to add some more chocolate. You can add caramel as well, but it’s not necessary, because the filling is rich enough.

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Then in a bowl whip the cream and condensed milk. Add the condensed milk gradually and start off at medium speed. Then once the cream starts to thicken increase the speed of the electric mixer. Whip the cream and condensed milk till stiff peaks form.

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Set the cream aside and place the chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of butter in a microwave proof bowl. Microwave for about one minute, stir, then again for 30 seconds. If the chocolate has melted after the first minute don’t heat it again. The chocolate has to be smooth and creamy, no lumps! If you think it’s easier you can melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan.

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Once the chocolate has melted add in 1/4 cup of the whipped cream and mix well so the melted chocolate loosens up a bit.

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Then add in all the chocolate to the cream mixture and fold together till well mixed.

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Now all you have to do is pour the fluffy and smooth chocolate filling into the pie crust. You can decorate it with more chocolate, whipped cream, or just leave it. But i suggest using some whipped cream to make it look pretty.

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Enjoy! Just remember, chill the pie in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but the more it’s chilled through, the better it cuts into slices.