Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Valentine's Day Baking

Hello! Did you all have a nice Valentine's Day yesterday? We don't really do much to celebrate it, but as you probably all know, I do love an excuse to make lots of food!!

The food started before I woke up - I'd left out bread, Nutella and a "love" toast stamp (that Mum found lurking in her gift cupboard) for Liam to make himself breakfast. We never normally have Nutella as I can't be trusted around it so this was a treat for him!

We just used note cards that we already had rather than spending money on Valentine's cards...I'm sure Liam liked the pink really! ;-)

Liam Instagrammed a photo of his toast for me to see when I woke up, haha, he's learning!!


I made the children Nutella "Love" toast as well, but I fancied a different breakfast. Still Valentine themed of course - raspberry and coconut porridge topped with hm chocolate peanut butter (peanut flour, cocoa powder, agave, milk)...


This was delicious. I'm loving making lots of different sauces from peanut flour...they might stop me placing a Justin's/PB&Co order on iHerb for a little while longer!!

After breakfast it was time to get baking. I'd seen these slutty brownies (or cookie Oreo brownies as I like to call them in front of the children!) on quite a few blogs, and decided to make them as a surprise for Liam. I used my usual cookie recipe, and my brownie recipe for the different layers and, based on a suggestion in the Goodness Direct newsletter, decided to make them into a huge heart shape!



I made a double batch of cookie dough and split it between a square and circular tin (mine weren't quite the same size so I had to do a bit of trimming at the end - the square tin was 9.5 x 9.5 inches and the circle was 10 inch diameter). Izzy then helped me place the Oreos...


I then topped them with a double batch of brownie mix. I was very glad of my new huge mixing bowl!


There was a little bit of extra brownie mix left so I baked it in two mini silicone loaf pans for 15 minutes (the main cakes took 35 minutes) for the children and I to enjoy as a mid-morning snack. I may have eaten the 4th brownie before plating these up...! ;-)


Once the big cakes were completely cool and shaped into a heart, Izzy and I decorated them with a big piped line of Nutella (to draw the eye away from the join lines!) and these jelly hearts...


I officially buy these for the children (Waitrose sell these for, I think, £1.79 but I only buy them when Lidl stock them - they're not consistently available but when they are they're only 99p) but really I love them for me. They use pectin instead of gelatin and have a lovely soft set and nice strawberry flavour. Plus they're in little bags for good portion control!

We decorated these quite late so the photos are poorly lit - I will show you the photos I took this morning instead, by which time a good chunk of the cake had been eaten of course!!


Love is...

Coffee and cake, mmm!

The cake turned out really well, although the cookie is a little drier than I would have liked - the downside of cooking for so much longer than usual cookie cooking time I guess. The brownie layer is a little over-cooked at the edges, but super gooey and fudgy in the centre. Next time I would perhaps cook it for a few minutes less, but I was still really pleased with how it turned out. I gave Liam a tub of Cookies & Cream ice cream as well (and pear ciders = perfect evening!) to complete his gift, which hides any slight faults!

We didn't just eat cake yesterday evening of course - I made butternut squash and goats cheese enchiladas. This is one of our absolute favourite meals, but unfortunately it never seems to photograph well...


Still tasted amazing! :-)

There is no way we would (or should) get through all of the brownies before they go stale, so this afternoon I chopped up the square brownie and put it in the freezer. 16 individually wrapped brownies for Liam to take to work with him!


We're already half way through the circular brownies so I'm sure we'll have no problem finishing them off soon!

Liam gave me a couple of small gifts yesterday too - a notebook (which he suggested I use to write recipes in...weirdly I'd actually been thinking about getting one for myself for the very same reason - save my iPhone constantly getting covered in flour, oil etc when looking up recipes I make regularly!) and a box of chocolates...


I haven't had these chocolates since Liam gave me them for Valentine's Day 2 years ago...they are so good! Chocolate covered cherries, but these are proper fresh cherries - stalk and stone included!


I've only eaten one so far as I want to make them last as long as possible, but they are just as delicious as I remembered! :-)

Did you do anything special for Valentine's Day? What is your favourite type of chocolate? I like normal chocolate cherries, but I wouldn't say I love them - these ones are so great because of the fresh cherries. Other favourite chocolates that spring to mind are Ferrero Rocher (and the white coconut version) and fruit cream type chocolates (but not orange creams - when we used to get boxes of Roses etc as a child, I would eat all the strawberry creams and my Dad would eat all the orange ones!). These days I hardly ever buy boxes of chocolates though - I treat myself with bars of dark chocolate instead!

2 comments:

  1. That is such a clever idea to make it into a heart shaped- saves on cupboard space (eg you don't need a heart shaped pan)- love it.
    We don't do valentines (although I do think all the heart shaped things are pretty)- I love the look of those heart shaped strawberry things too :)Andy did get me flowers on Monday but he specified they were not for valentines but because I am still unwell- he went to the football Tuesday evening anyway.
    Hmm, fave chocolate- at the moment I am loving mint and dark chocolate combo, and I love nutty/praline ones too. I love the idea of the fresh cherries though- very unique.

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