Category Archives: Sweet Treats

Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Glaze Icing

Pumpkin and Pecan Muffins
Pumpkin and Pecan Muffins
Delicious Moist Pumpkin and Pecan Muffins
Delicious Moist Pumpkin and Pecan Muffins
Beautiful Pumpkin and Pecan Muffins
Beautiful Pumpkin and Pecan Muffins
The Things Pumpkin Dreams Are Made Of
The Things Pumpkin Dreams Are Made Of

Seeing pumpkins everywhere and seeing Halloween outfits in shop windows have gotten me in the festive mood! I decided to bake something festive this week and popped in to Fallon & Byrne for pumpkin purée  I had in mind that I wanted to make moist pumpkin muffins and stumbled upon this recipe from Lily Higgins blog, you’re always guaranteed to find the best cake recipes on her blog! Apparently the recipe comes from the Primrose Bakery. These muffins are really moist and light, and the maple syrup icing and pecan nuts adds to that festive Halloween feel without having to go OTT on decorating your cakes so literally! Just to note these muffins feel much softer than buns do when they come out of the oven, don’t feel compelled to keep them baking longer as you’ll lose that lovely moistness. Once a knife comes out clean from the muffin, they’re done

These are easy to make and really yum, I was so pleased with them. I had to make two batches to please both my housemates, colleagues and friends but it was well worth it. They are actually one of my favourite bakes, I might buy a few more cans of pumpkin purée for my cupboard for later in the year!

Pumpkin and Pecan Icing Muffins
Pumpkin and Pecan Icing Muffins

Ingredients:

110g butter (room-temperature… unless your house is freezing like mine)

240g Soft Light Brown Sugar

2 large eggs

½ tsp vanilla extract (much better than vanilla essence)

100g pureed pumpkin

125g self-raising flour

120g plain/cream flour

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

125ml buttermilk

12 whole pecans

Maple Icing:

8tbsp icing sugar

2tbsp Maple Syrup (I used local Apple Syrup)

1-2 tbsp hot water

  1. Cream together butter and sugar until pale and smooth using electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla.
  2. Add pumpkin until just combined.
  3. Mix flours, cinnamon and ginger together. Add a third of the flour mix to the wet mixture, beat together and then beat in half of butter milk. Keep doing this until all flours and buttermilk are mixed in.
  4. Smooth mixture into muffin cases until 2/3 full. Put in an oven pre-heated to 160C for 25 mins.
  5. Let cool for 10mins and then decorate with Maple Glaze Icing and Pecans.
Beautiful Bright Orange Pumkin Muffin Batter
Beautiful Bright Orange Pumpkin Muffin Batter
Pop These Pumpkin Beauties Into The Oven for 25 Minutes
Pop These Pumpkin Beauties Into The Oven for 25 Minutes
Delicious Pumpkin Muffins Hot From The Oven
Delicious Pumpkin Muffins Hot From The Oven
Mix Together Your Icing
Mix Together Your Icing
Mix Your Chopped Pecans Into Your Icing
Mix Your Chopped Pecans Into Your Icing
Pumpkin Muffins- Waiting For You To Bake and Eat Immediately
Pumpkin Muffins- Waiting For You To Bake and Eat Immediately

Double Chocolate Caramel Brownies

Stuffed Olive Brownie
Stuffed Olive Brownie
Barleycove West Cork
Barleycove West Cork
My Still Slightly Melty Double-Chocolate and Caramel Brownies!
My Still Slightly Melty Double-Chocolate and Caramel Brownies!

 

Last night was the final of the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) and I was going to be damned if I didn’t have my cake and eat it! Every week I watch with tummy rumbles and I never have anything sweet to eat as  I watch the contestants whip up tart after tart. My mind has been wandering back to a recent trip to West Cork when I indulged in a delicious brownie from The Stuffed Olive (an amazing place!). I decided it had been a while since I made brownies, but wanted to give them a twist! So last night I decided to make something chocolatey and gooey. It wasn’t quite the stuff that the French Patisserie tartes from the GBBO are made of, but whatever- my double chocolate caramel brownies were a welcome treat. Like a cross between millionaires shortbread and gooey brownies,  double-chocolate caramel brownies, or “Millionaires Brownies” were born!

 

They are delicious but seriously heart attack inducing so if you’re making a batch, be ready to share! Also good quality chocolate goes a long way. I didn’t bother making my own caramel as I was just after coming home from work and the gym, so bought a can of caramel, but by all means, make your own! Also to note is that my trusty little brownie tin went missing so I had to use a mammoth tin which made the brownie base thinner (and so cut the baking time in half), however I strongly recommend using a smaller tins for higher brownies to enjoy the full goo quality.

 

Ingredients (makes 12 to 16 depending on size):

200g dark chocolate (I use 75% cocoa chocolate)

150g butter

225g caster sugar

3 eggs

150g self-raising flour

For the topping:

300g-400g Chocolate (I used a mix of milk and dark)

1 can of caramel

 

1. Melt 200g dark chocolate with butter in a large heavy bottomed pot over a very low heat, mixing continually.

2. When melted, stir in sugar, then eggs (which should be beaten first), then flour.

3. Place in a lined and greased brownie tin, pop into your preheated oven at 180C for 30-40 mins. (If using a large brownie tin like me they will only take 15-20mins… Just keep checking, when knife comes out clean they’re done).

4.When brownies have cooled, layer on caramel evenly.

5. Melt remaining chocolate in heavy bottomed pot on low heat, stirring constantly (I used 200g dark and 200g milk) and layer over the caramel. Don’t worry these will layer easily, the caramel and chocolate won’t mix.

6. Let cool for the chocolate to harden (takes about an hour to harden), or cut up when chocolate is still slightly melty for an extra gooey experience!

Melt Chocolate and Butter
Melt Chocolate and Butter
Silky Melted Chocolate
Silky Melted Chocolate
Add Sugar & Stir
Add Sugar & Stir
Stir in Eggs
Stir in Eggs
Stir in Flour
Stir in Flour

Spread Caramel on Brownie Layer

Spread Caramel on Brownie Layer
Caramel Layer
Caramel Layer
Chocolate Layer
Chocolate Layer
Let To Cool
Let To Cool
Time to Slice
Time to Slice
Ready to Dig In!
Ready to Dig In!

 

Bread & Butter Pudding

Bread & Butter Pudding
Bread & Butter Pudding
Dessert Time
Dessert Time
Hot From the Oven
Hot From the Oven

The are some pluses and minuses to having a food blog. I arrived home on Friday night to a mother who has been keenly reading my blog and made a little list of things I was to make on Saturday. (Those Chorizo burgers are proving quite popular!) You can tell I’m at home from the pictures as the kitchenware is so much nicer than my slap-dash set! This dessert happened by chance off the back of an epic fail when I tried to make custard tarts yesterday. I was left with weird pastries but lots of lovely yummy runny custard infused with vanilla pod, orange zest & cinnamon that seemed a shame to throw out. So with the addition of some white bread, butter, nutmeg & raisins this tasty pudding was born.
I love bread and butter pudding! All pudding type desserts (sticky toffee pudding, hot chocolate pudding etc) are just so comforting and easy.This is crazily easy to make and always tends to be a crowd pleaser. Just two notes: Make sure you use good quality bread (sliced pan doesn’t cut the mustard), secondly I forgot to put brown sugar on top of mine which is why it’s not slightly caramelised, it still tasty yummy though. Give it a go & you won’t regret it!

Ingredients:

1 loaf of fresh white bread cut into nice even slices (not too thick, not too thin)

1 whole nutmeg & grater

butter

Raisins (about a handful or two)

3 tbsp brown sugar

For the custard:

100g caster sugar

2 tbsp cornflour

500ml whole milk

4 egg yolks

zest of an orange

pinch of cinnamon

1 vanilla pod (insides scraped out)

 

1. To make the runny custard milk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and slowly whisk in the milk. Add orange zest, cinnamon and vanilla and set aside

2. Cut the crusts off your bread and butter on one side. Get a nice casserole or lasagne dish and make a bread layer with the buttery side facing down. Then spinkle with grated nutmeg (freshly grated is best) and raisins. Repeat these layers until you reach to the top of the dish but don’t sprinkle raisins or nutmeg on the top layer. Instead pour over your custard slowly and evenly. Sprinkly with a little brown sugar.

3. Pop into an oven preheated at 180C for 30-40 minutes. Serve with cream.

Make Your Custard
Make Your Custard
Add Orange Zest, Vanilla & Cinnamon to Custard
Add Orange Zest, Vanilla & Cinnamon to Custard
Get Helper to Slice & Butter Bread for You
Get Helper to Slice & Butter Bread for You
Start Layering You Pudding
Start Layering You Pudding
Layer Two
Layer Two
Pour Custard Over Pudding
Pour Custard Over Pudding

 

Ready For Oven
Ready For Oven
Ready To Eat
Ready To Eat

 

Eat Me
Eat Me
Enjoy With Cup of Tea
Enjoy With Cup of Tea

 

Pistachio Shortbread & Hot Chocolate

O'Conaill's Chocolate Shop, Cork
O’Conaill’s Chocolate Shop, Cork
O'Conaill's Sweet Treats
O’Conaill’s Sweet Treats

Sometimes you just need a sweet treat and a couch night, and this recipe combo is just the ticket! I stumbled across this recipe in the Sunday Times as a teenager and have been making it every now and then since. My Dad is a bit of shortbread fiend. Shortbread and a cup of tea (Barry’s of course!) and he is happy, so that was why I made it originally but I have loved it ever since. This recipe is much nicer than the shop bought stuff and it lasts about 5-7 days in an airtight container.

The last time I made it, I decided to be very indulgent and make a hot chocolate from O’Conaill Chocolates in Cork to go with it. O’Conaill Chocolates is amazing, I started going there in school with a friend before our French grinds and it quickly became a weekly ritual! Not only is their handmade chocolate melted down with fresh creamy milk to make their famous hot chocolate, you can also add praline, orange oil, white chocolate… the list is endless and it really is like nothing you’ve ever tried before! You can also buy beautiful chocolate fudge, tiffin, brownies, cakes and more recently chocolate cake pops! It is soooo worth a visit if you are in Cork. My sister gifted me with a hot chocolate set from there, but if you aren’t from Cork you can do the same with any good quality chocolate.

It’s a delicious but heavy combo, so not recommended after a big meal!

Plate of Amazing Shortbread
Plate of Amazing Shortbread
O'Conaill Hot Chocolate
O’Conaill Hot Chocolate

 

Pistachio Shortbread Ingredients:

90g caster sugar

240g butter softened

360g plain flour

¼ tsp sea salt

75g pistachios chopped (you can use a hand blender for a few seconds to chop- this will make some nuts powdery but some chunky which gives a nice texture & taste throughout)

  1. Preheat oven to 165C.
  2. Cream up sugar & butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in flour and salt
  4. Add in nuts until just combined.
  5. Remove dough from from bowl and shape in to two rectangular logs.
  6. Chill for 30mins.
  7. Brush cold logs with a few drops of water, sprinkle with caster sugar and then slice the logs in to 1cm biscuits & place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
  8. Leave space between biscuits to bake evenly.
  9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (they should remain pale in colour)
  10. Let cool on wire rack.

 

Hot Chocolate Ingredients:

One glass of milk

One heaped teaspoon cocoa (I used from O’Conaill’s kit)

Two tablespoons of O’Conaill’s chocolate drops (mine were a mix of white, milk & dark chocolate- any good quality chocolate chopped up would work well though)

  1. Mix cocoa with 2 tbsp milk in a saucepan until it forms a paste. Stir in rest of milk, and turn on the hob to a medium heat. Add in chocolate until melted. Enjoy!
Cream Butter and Sugar
Cream Butter and Sugar
Add Pistachios
Add Pistachios
Start Shaping your Dough
Start Shaping your Dough
Chill the Dough
Chill the Dough
Slice up Biscuits
Slice up Biscuits
Happy with my Shortbread
Happy with my Shortbread
Add Chocolate Drops to Cocoa Milk
Add Chocolate Drops to Cocoa Milk

 

Munchie Time
Munchie Time

Carrot Cake

Divas Cafe Ballinspittle
Divas Cafe Ballinspittle
Divas Carrot Cake
Divas Carrot Cake
Eyeing My Prey
Eyeing My Prey
Diva's Deli & Bakery
Diva’s Deli & Bakery
Divas Bakery Cakes
Divas Bakery Cakes

One of my favourite spots in Cork is Diva’s cafe in Ballinspittle. My sister introduced me to this spot a few years ago on a trip down to Garretstown beach. It’s the perfect place to go after a walk or swim to reward yourself for your endeavours, or just to go for the sake of going. It’s a great alternative cafe and you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a real secret gem when you go there. The first time I went there I got the lavender and almond cake covered in Swiss buttercream, I think it was the best cake I have ever had! The last time I went there I was on the way to a wedding afters in the area and couldn’t resist a quick pit stop! It was late in the day so the cafe was shutting up shop, but thank god they spared us a slice of carrot cake! Yum! They also have a bakery/deli across the road that is amazing too- go to Ballinspittle willing to eat lots of good stuff and stock up your kitchen with goodies!

In the weeks following I had been dreaming of this carrot cake and decided to make one myself. As Divas don’t have a cookbook yet (I live in hope they will release one), I tried the Lily Higgins recipe which I think is perfection and super easy to make. Its so light yet moist and definitely a recipe to add to your scrap book! This makes two loaf tins but I made a giant one (using a spring form tin) for when a friend came over to dinner, and brought the rest in to work the next day. It made me quite popular that week!

 

Ingredients:

8oz self raising flour

6oz wholemeal flour

2 tsp bread soda

Pinch salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

13 fl oz sunflower oil

9oz caster sugar

4 free range eggs

3 grated carrots

Chopped walnuts

1 tub of cream cheese

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line your two loaf tins.
  2. Mix oil, sugar, egss, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in large bowl.
  3. Fold in flour, bread soda and walnuts.
  4. Add grated carrots.
  5. Bake for an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Mix cream cheese with some vanilla extract and icing sugar and spread on top of cake, decorate with a few walnuts on top.
Quick Batter
Quick Batter
Slicing up my Cake
Slicing up my Cake
Finished Product
Finished Product
Now Enjoy!
Now Enjoy!

Homemade Blackberry Jam

Blackberry Bush
Blackberry Bush
Me Picking Blackberries
Me Picking Blackberries
Blackberry Picking
Blackberry Picking

Last weekend I went home to Cork for the Taste of West Cork Festival, which meant that I ended up spending lots of money on cheese, cured meat, chocolate etc! After a day of serious eating I went home to find ripe juicy blackberries growing everywhere in our area! With romantic memories of the days when my brother, sister and I used to pick them for our mum when we were younger so she could make her winter supply of jam, I decided it would be a shame to not pick some and give it a go.

Jam is ridiculously easy to make, and you can vary the flavours whichever way you like. It’s literally a case of just using equal quantities of berries and sugar. Blackberries are really ripe at the moment, and you can find them all over the country, so why not give it a go? I think its a nice little Irish autumn tradition! If you don’t have any blackberry bushes nearby, why not buy a carton of frozen berries and give it a try? Warning- you may experience blue fingers for a few days afterwards, but it’s worth it!

 

Ingredients:

1.5kg fresh blackberries (or you can buy frozen berries in any supermarket and let them defrost)

1.5kg sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1tsp nutmeg

 

  1. Carefully wash all berries to ensure there are no creepy crawlies still hanging on, throw into a pot and mash.
  2. Add sugar, spices and bring to a boil for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Pour into jars. Tada! You’re jam is made!
Pot of Blackberries
Pot of Blackberries
Mashed Blackberry, Sugar & Spice Mix
Mashed Blackberry, Sugar & Spice Mix

This makes lovely runny jam, it actually freezes quite well. I made about 8-10 jars and gave away a few to friends and family to keep me in the good books, and I froze about 5 which I can defrost throughout winter for when I am in urgent need of blackberry jam!

I enjoyed mine on some French toast, but as it is runny jam a spoon on top of vanilla ice-cream makes a nice dessert too!

Enjoy!
Enjoy!
Jars of Jam
Jars of Jam

 

Blueberry, Almond & Orange Zest Scones

The Stuffed Olive, Bantry, Co.Cork

The Stuffed Olive, Bantry, Co.Cork
The Stuffed Olive, Bantry, Co.Cork

This recipe is taken from The Stuffed Olive cookbook and ever so slightly adapted. If you haven’t been to The Stuffed Olive in Bantry, Co.Cork, you should go. It is the most amazing deli that makes all kinds of savoury and sweet things. The best being the goats cheese tarts, the salads, and of course the cakes… and they make a lot of great cakes. We love stopping there to stock up on food when we head down to Schull!

These scones are really easy to make and take about 12 minutes to bake, but are really yum and impressive looking. You can vary the ingredients to whatever your taste substituting whatever berries you want and leaving out the cinnamon if it isn’t to your taste. They’re great at tea time, but we ate ours for breakfast!

Ingredients (to make 10-12 scones):

 350g self-raising flour

75g butter (room temperature)

50g caster sugar

Pinch of salt

1 egg

200ml buttermilk

small pinch cinnamon

flaked almonds

  1. Preheat oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7
  2. Grease baking tray with butter
  3. Sieve flour into big bowl with salt
  4. Add in sugar and rub the butter into the flour/sugar mix with your fingers
  5. Whisk the egg and buttermilk together. Make a well/hole in the centre of the bowl of the flour mix and pour in the buttermilk/egg mixture.
  6. Hold the bowl steady and mix with circular movements from the centre to outside of bowl- this should only take a minute.
  7. Add in blueberries, orange zest and small pinch of cinnamon. Don’t go overboard on the cinnamon as this is only to enhance the taste- not overpower it. Mix together and don’t worry if some of the blueberries get squished- they burst as they cook anyway.
  8. Put the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it into a slab about 2.5cm thick.
  9. Stamp out scone shapes with an upside-down glass (or scone cutter if you have one)
  10. Gather trimmings and repeat until you have used it all.
  11. Brush the top of these scones with some beaten egg and sprinkle with some caster sugar and the flaked almonds.
  12.  Bake for around 12- 15 minute or until golden brown on top.

These are great straight from the oven with some butter, jam and whipped cream if you have it!