Apricot slice

A slice dense with apricot and coconut, delicious.

My admiration of Annabel Crabb is well established so I will not revisit it due to it bordering on embarrassing and inappropriate. But her first cookbook Special Delivery is fabulous. There are myriad recipes I have bookmarked but keep coming back time and time again to this apricot slice recipe. I’ve made it four times. FOUR.

Dense dense dense dried apricot goodness
Dense dense dense dried apricot goodness

Apricot slice
 
A wonderful cakey slice dense with dried apricots
Author:
Ingredients
For the slice
  • 200g dried apricots, finely diced
  • 125 g butter, melted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • ½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup milk
For the icing
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp lemon juice
Instructions
For the cake
  1. Put the apricots in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to seep for 30 minutes and then drain well
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 20x30cm slice tin (I tend to make it in a 20cm square tin because I like the slice quite high)
  3. Mix together the sugar, coconut, flour and almonds
  4. Mix together the apricots and the butter
  5. Mix dry with wet and then add the milk to loosen it all up
  6. Pour into your tin and bake for 30 minutes or so (a bit longer if doing in the smaller tin option)
  7. Leave to cool then ice, although I've been known to ice it hot because I can.not.wait.any.longer
For the icing
  1. Add the lemon juice bit by bit until you get a relatively thin paste, drizzle over the slice.

 

IMG_20160202_153305
Apricot slice with lemon icing

Onward!

Espresso brownies

I have just finished my (paid) work and am bracing for school home time. It’s been a mixed bag of a week which saw me in tears last night at the thought of making dinner AGAIN (#everyfuckingnight, I swear to God people, every.fucking.night). Sure, there may have been some hormones involved but let’s just put that day to bed.

These are on the front cover of Food52’s baking book from which I want to bake every single recipe. Hey, maybe that’s a challenge I can set myself? And are so very good.

You need a big baking pan – 33 x 45cm, 13 x 18 inch – so get onto that. You could of course just split the mixture between two smaller ones but as to what size they’d be don’t ask me because, well, numeral.

It makes a lot – 24 large brownies, 36 smaller ones. It uses eight eggs. EIGHT EGGS! When I started cooking as a kid and then with a fair amount of gusto as a teenager I’d show mum a recipe and without fail there’d be an exclamation about how many eggs were in it. Were eggs expensive back then? Was there some sort of price collusion in the 80s I was unaware of? Anyway, it uses eight eggs.

Now, even though in the recipe’s intro it talks about how this is the 35th version of  these brownies the recipe creator June Jacobs has created, I still didn’t follow it exactly. Just follow it exactly OK?

Espresso brownies.
Espresso brownies.

Espresso brownies
 
Rich, fudgey brownies with icing on top, as if that's even allowed.
Author:
Ingredients
Brownies
  • 3 cups lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 225g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 eggs (EIGHT eggs!)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1½ cups plain flour
  • ⅔ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee powder (use a strong espresso kind)
  • 2 cups toasted nuts (I left these out, totally fine without it)
  • 2 cups choc chips
Icing
  • 1½ cups caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • ¼ cup cognac (I KNOW! Fancy like)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup choc chips
Instructions
For the brownies
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C and butter the sheet pan
  2. In a mixer beat the butter and sugar together but you don't want it all fluffy - these are brownies remember, not a cake, you don't need a heap of air in the mix
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping as you go
  4. Then add the vanilla and salt
  5. Mix the flour with the coffee and cocoa powder and nuts
  6. Add to the butter mixture
  7. Pour the batter into the pan and spread it out THEN sprinkle over the choc chips
  8. Swirl the choc chips in a bit (I ignored this and added them with the flour and all the choc chips sunk to the bottom, so yeah, maybe the recipe is right)
  9. Bake for 23½ minutes (don't you love the precision! I did mine for a bit longer because I didn't have the right sized tin and was winging it)
For the icing
  1. Combine everything except the chocolate in a saucepan and stir fairly constantly until it comes to the boil
  2. Let it boil for a a minute or two.
  3. Take off the heat, add the chocolate and stir until smooth
  4. Pour over the cooled brownies
  5. Drown your troubles.

 

Easy chocolate cake and icing

I LOVE this cake because it’s chocolatey but doesn’t have that whole palaver of having to melt chocolate. I believe this is the perfect kids recipe for a young ‘un having their first go at baking something. It’s a Royal Easter Show Award winning recipe that I got out of Delicious magazine many years ago (as in late90s, early00s). I can’t remember it’s owner, but I do know it was a bloke. It is an absolute snap and actually gets better with age – if it lives that long.

You can make it any which way – cupcakes (it will make 30 cupcakes, 20 or so muffin-size), two 20cm round cakes then wedged together with icing, one 26cm round or square cake or a slab cake.

See, it is a go-to recipe in this house.

 

The easiest one bowl chocolate cake in the world

  • 2 cups SR flour
  • 2/3 cocoa powder
  • 1tsp instant coffee powder
  • 185g butter – v soft but not melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C and grease your chosen tin
  2. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth and pale – about 6 minutes in my kitchen-aid
  3. Bake for 1 hour or until cooked through
  4. Cool for 5 minutes or so in the tin and then turn out to cool before icing.

Ice with chocolate butter icing or lemon icing.

Chocolate icing
(quadruple for the cake if you do two rounds and sandwich them together)

  • 1 1/2 tblsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tblsp milk
  • 75g soft butter
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a mixer and beat until pale, light and fluffy and ice the cake accordingly.

Lemon Icing

  • About 2 cups of icing sugar
  • a knob of butter (a tablespoon would be a good bet), melted
  • juice of a lemon
  1. Mix together and add some more lemon juice or boiling water to get a nice consistency. You know, dollopy – not too runny, not too stiff.