>Gooey Biscoff Butter Cake Bars

biscoff cake bars by butter
Hello blogging world!

As some of you may remember, I announced at the end of last year that I will soon be moving to self-hosting Butter on my own site.

Well.

Buying a domain name and paying for hosting was one thing.

Setting up an actual site is a whole other ball game.

biscoff cake bars by butter
Life’s pretty easy over here at WordPress.com. You don’t have to think about much, you just blog and publish.

But in self-hosting world, my entire vocabulary has been expanded. Plugins. Caching. SEO. Jetpack. RSS.  CDN. Meta. CSS. Atom feed. PHP.

Ummm… A week ago, I didn’t actually know what any of those things were.

biscoff cake bars by butter
Secretly, I still don’t understand what most of those things actually are. Like, CSS. Um? What?

I’m just hoping to fake it till I make it.

biscoff cake bars by butter
Thank god for an IT-literate friend who has swooped in to save the day, design all the gorgeous details and answer my ten million annoying questions.

So point of the story is that I know nothing about web design. But something I do know a whole lot about?

Baking. And bars. And cake. And all things gooey. And Biscoff related.

biscoff cake bars by butter
When I saw these gooey Biscoff cake bars on Confessions of a Cookbook Queen I died and went to heaven, just a little bit.

Then I went straight into the kitchen and baked them. And It was gooey, Biscoff, cream cheese, butter cake love at first bite.

biscoff cake bars by butter
So today I give you bars.

Hopefully by the end of the week, I will give you my new site.

Deal? Okay.

butter cake bars by butter
GOOEY BISCOFF BUTTER CAKE BARS
Adapted from Bake Your Day.

For the butter cake layer

2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
110g unsalted butter, melted (1/2 cup)
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

For the gooey Biscoff layer

220g cream cheese, softened (8 oz)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup Biscoff spread (140g, 5 oz)
450g icing sugar, sifted (16 oz)

Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and line a 9 x 13 inch pan with baking paper.

To make the butter cake layer, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.

Add the egg, melted butter and vanilla and stir until just combined. Press into the prepared pan.

To make the gooey Biscoff layer, beat the cream cheese until smooth using an electric mixer. Add the eggs, Biscoff and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.

Add the powdered sugar in small batches, beating on low speed until each batch is combined.

Pour the gooey Biscoff layer over the cake layer and spread our evenly.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until the edges are golden and the top is shiny. The center will still be slightly underdone but will set when it cools.

Allow to cool completely before cutting. Makes 20 – 24 bars.

17 Comments

Filed under Bars and Brownies, Cake

>Nutella Stuffed Easy Nutella Cookies

nutella stuffed cookies by butter
Hey everyone! We’re starting a new year over here at Butter today!

As my first post for 2013, I wanted to share a really amazing recipe with you, to begin this year of blogging with a bang.

nutella stuffed cookies by butter
I’m hoping for great things this year, in my life and on my blog. I’m excited about it, and I want to start off on the right foot – with some ridiculously good cookies (I mean, what else could I possibly start with?!).

nutella stuffed cookies by butter
These easy Nutella cookies, with all of three (yes, THREE) ingredients, are one of the most popular recipes on the blog (they’re awesome, so no surprises there).

But today, I made them better. Yes, better.

nutella stuffed cookies by butter
How, you ask, could I possibly make ridiculously easy, chewy, delicious Nutella cookies that have only three ingredients any better?

nutella stuffed cookies by butter
By stuffing Nutella INSIDE THEM.

Oh yes I did.

nutella stuffed cookies by butter
And oh my gosh. I don’t even have words. My mouth is too full of gooey, chewy, chocolate cookies.

Bonus? The cookies still only have three (yes, THREE!!) ingredients.

Make these, okay? Good.

Here’s to 2013!

nutella stuffed cookies by butter
NUTELLA STUFFED EASY NUTELLA COOKIES
Cookies inspired by A Busy Nest.

1 cup Nutella (280g, 10 oz)
1 cup plain flour
1 egg
Jar of Nutella, refrigerated, for stuffing

Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and line 2 trays with baking paper.

In a large bowl, mix together the Nutella and the egg. Add the flour and stir until incorporated. The mixture will be quite thick.

Roll a small teaspoon of dough into a ball and flatten in your palm. Place on the lined baking tray. Put a teaspoon of cold Nutella in the center of the cookie. Roll a second small teaspoon of dough into a ball and flatten in your palm. Place it over the Nutella and press the edges of the two cookies together, sealing them like ravioli.

Repeat the process until all the cookie dough has been used.

Bake for 6 – 8 minutes, I always err on the side of under baking for a chewier cookie. Makes about 18 cookies.

34 Comments

Filed under Chocolate, Cookies, Nutella

>Creme Brûlée

creme brulee by butter
So, about a year ago, I sat down and wrote a list of goals for 2012.

It was a spur of the moment thing, I’m not even sure what motivated me to do it, and the list was just quickly tapped into my iPhone notes.

creme brulee by butter
I then proceeded to immediately forget all about it.

Completely. I didn’t think about it again. Not once. Until a month or so ago that is, when I was looking through my old notes for the name of a prop shop I wanted to visit… And I found the list.

creme brulee by butter
I was with a girlfriend and we had a bit of a laugh about it.

But surprisingly, even though I had completely forgotten about writing the list, I realised I’d actually achieved most of the things that were on there. And the goals I hadn’t fulfilled were ones that has changed or no longer applied.

creme brulee by butter
My list had about ten things on it, ranging from aims for this blog, my job and travelling, to academic achievements I wanted to reach, and a few personal goals. Most importantly was the one that reminded me to always be loving, kind and happy.

It was amazing to look back on it. To see how far I had come. To see what I had achieved over the past year.

creme brulee by butter
And although I’m not big on concrete new year’s resolutions as such, I now love the idea of jotting down  list of goals and things you hope to achieve. Even if you don’t reach them all, they allow you to look back on your year, to see how far you have come, and how much your life has changed.

Some of my goals for 2013?
To self host Butter (which I’m now in the process of! Yay!).
To work in a pastry kitchen.
To love, laugh and be happy.
To travel.
To make more creme brûlée, because it is truly amazing. With its creamy vanilla custard and its hard caramel top, it’s hard to beat.

What are some of your goals for 2013? I’d love to hear them.

creme brulee by butter
I hope you all have a very happy and safe new year. One filled with family and friends, love and laughter, lots of champagne and rich, creamy, creme brûlée.

I will see you all in 2013! With lots of delicious new recipes, I promise :-)

creme brulee by butter
CREME BRULEE
Adapted from Cook in France.

500ml double cream (18 fl oz, 2 cups)
1 large vanilla pod
100g caster (superfine) sugar (4 oz)
5 egg yolks
2 eggs
White (granulated) sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 115 C (250 F).

Pour the cream into a small saucepan. Add the sugar. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds into the cream. Throw in the pod, too.

Bring the cream t a boil, turn off the heat and put the lid on. Allow this to infuse for 10 minutes.

Crack the eggs into a large heatproof bowl and beat well.

Bring the cream back to the boil. Turn off the heat and pour the cream over the eggs in a slow and steady stream, while continuously whisking the eggs vigorously.

Strain the mixture into a jug.

Place 6 ramekins in a roasting tray. Fill each one about three quarters full of custard mixture.

Pout hot water into the roasting tray around the ramekins until it comes halfway up their sides.

Place the brûlées in the oven and bake for 40 minutes to an hour, until they are just set but still slightly wobbly in the center.

Take the ramekins out of the water bath and allow them to cool to room temperature.

Just before serving, sprinkle a thin layer of white sugar, about one teaspoon, evenly over the top of each custard. Caramelise with a blowtorch or under a grill – but be sure to watch them like a hawk so they don’t burn.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before cracking into them. Serves 6.

10 Comments

Filed under Dessert, Gluten Free, Puddings

>Christmas Spiced Brown Sugar Shortbread

butter: christmas shortbread
Hey everyone?

It’s Christmas!

Seriously, how did that happen so fast?!

butter: christmas shortbread
It’s Christmas Eve here today.

I spent the entire afternoon baking various Christmassy and non-Christmassy baked goods for, well, Christmas.

butter: christmas shortbread
There are homemade Baci chocolates, espresso ice cream, a ridiculously amazing new version of this cake and the best passionfruit tart ever.

All of those recipes will be coming to you in the new year!

butter: christmas shortbread
But today, I have a gorgeously simple (but delicious) Christmas cookie for you.

I’m loving the depth of flavour the brown sugar adds to this buttery, crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread.

And I’ve added some traditional Christmas flavours, which result in an easy, Christmas spiced cookie you can whip up last minute, so more time can be spent drinking eggnog!

butter: christmas shortbread
I hope you have a Merry Christmas everyone. Filled with joy and laughter, good food and drink, great friends and family, and lots of love and cookies.

Enjoy :-)

butter: christmas shortbread
CHRISTMAS SPICED BROWN SUGAR SHORTBREAD
Adapted from the amazing Bakergirl.

225g unsalted butter, softened (1 cup)
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 170 C (325 F) and line 2 trays with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric mixer.

Add the flour, spices and salt and mix on a low speed until just incorporated.

Bring the dough together into a ball. Roll out between two sheets of baking paper until the dough is 1/2 inch thick.

Refrigerate the rolled out dough for about 15  minutes. This allows for easy cutting and prevents spreading in the oven.

Cut the dough into 3 x 1 inch rectangles.

Place on lined baking trays, allowing room for spreading. Prick each a few times with a fork.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until lightly golden. Makes 35 shortbread cookies.

6 Comments

Filed under Cookies, Holiday Baking

>Spiced Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Maple Glaze

maple pumpkin bundt cake by butter
Umm… Am I allowed to bake with pumpkin after Thanksgiving?

I’m new to the pumpkin baking game. So is it like, socially acceptable?

Because I’m totally doing it. Right now.

maple pumpkin bundt cake by butter
I know that it’s not fall anymore in the States. I know that it is no longer pumpkin-baking season. I am well aware that Thanksgiving is over.

But all of that is completely null and void anyway. Because here I am, in Australia, in high summer, baking with freaking pumpkin and cinnamon and fall spices.

maple pumpkin bundt cake by butter
And I don’t care if it doesn’t make sense. I’m doing it anyway. Because this cake is so worth it. This cake is so amazing. This cake tastes like Christmas.

And I don’t even like freaking cake.

maple pumpkin bundt cake by butter
Really. I hate cake. Cupcakes. Sponge cake. Layer cake. Whatever cake. Cake is not my friend. Cake and I do not get along.

But there are exceptions to every rule, and this cake is my exception.

maple pumpkin bundt cake by butter
Man oh man. This cake is moist, for like, days. This cake is soft. This cake is dense. This cake is so, so, SO easy. This cake is deliciously, Christmas-y spiced. This cake is comforting. This cake is just awesome.

Bake this cake.

maple pumpkin bundt cake by butter
And, just because I rediscovered my love for My Big Fat Greek Wedding last week –

There’s a hole in this cake.

maple pumpkin bundt cake by butter
SPICED PUMPKIN BUNDT CAKE WITH MAPLE GLAZE

For the spiced pumpkin bundt cake
Adapted from Bakergirl. Hey Bakergirl? I love you for this cake.

225g unsalted butter, softened (1 cup)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
3/4 cup buttermilk, well shaken
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

For the maple glaze
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 – 2 tsp milk
1 – 2 tsp dutch cinnamon, to taste
Pinch of salt

To make the pumpkin cake, preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and butter and flour a bundt pan.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

In a medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla.

In another medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.

Turn the electric mixer to low, and add a quarter of the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Add a third of the pumpkin mixture, beat on low until combined, and continue adding the dry ingredients and pumpkin mixtures alternately, finishing with the dry ingredients.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out so it’s even.

Bake for 40 – 50 minutes, until fragrant, golden, and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

To make the maple glaze, combine the icing sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt and 1 teaspoon of milk in a small bowl until smooth. Check consistency and add another teaspoon of milk if necessary.

Pour the glaze over the cake and enjoy. Serves 10 – 12.

19 Comments

Filed under Cake, Frostings & Sauces, Holiday Baking

>Gingerbread Macarons with Eggnog Buttercream

gingerbread macarons by butter
Christmas is only a week away now!

How crazy.

Where did this year go?!

gingerbread macarons by butter
It was winter all of about five minutes ago. It was cold and rainy and wet and miserable.

Then before I knew it, it started getting warm. And the sun started rising earlier. And summer came along with a bang.

The stores put up their Christmas decorations. And trees. And Santa popped up in all the malls.

gingerbread macarons by butter
And now, Christmas carols are playing everywhere.

I’ll let you in on a little secret?

I love them. I am a Christmas sop.

gingerbread macarons by butter
Miracle on 34th Street
and all the Home Alone movies and songs like It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

All I need now is to be on the opposite hemisphere and for there to be a little snow outside and I’d be in heaven at Christmas.

gingerbread macarons by butter
This past Sunday it was a little chilly, it rained a bit, the sky was grey and I had the day off. So I turned on carols and spent the morning baking in my pyjamas. Christmas baking. The best kind of baking.

gingerbread macarons by butter
Last year I made you some absolutely delicious Gingerbread Men for Christmas.

This year I went one better. I made you gingerbread spiced macarons. With spiked eggnog buttercream. The best of both worlds.

gingerbread macarons by butter
Don’t you just love me right now?

Yeah, I thought so.

Happy Christmas baking! What’s happening in your kitchen these holidays?

gingerbread macarons by butter
GINGERBREAD MACARONS WITH EGGNOG BUTTERCREAM

For the gingerbread macaron shells
300g almond meal
300g icing sugar
110g egg whites
30ml strong coffee
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
300g caster sugar
75ml water
110g egg whites
1 tsp dutch cinnamon
pinch ground ginger, extra
pinch sea salt

Line 4 – 6 trays with baking paper.

Sift the almond meal and icing sugar into a large bowl and mix well with the ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

Pour 110g egg whites, the coffee and vanilla over the dry ingredients. Do not mix. Set aside.

Make an Italian meringue. Put the remaining 110g egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Do not turn on.

Put the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir. Place over a medium heat and fit with a candy thermometer.

Watch the sugar as it boils. When the mixture reaches about 110 C, turn the egg whites onto a high speed. Whip these until they form very soft peaks. The sugar should be 115 C at this stage.

When the sugar reaches 115 C, turn off the heat. While the egg whites are still beating on high, pour the sugar syrup, very slowly, into the eggs. Aim for a point in between the side of the bowl and the moving whisk. Continue to beat until the mixture cools (feel it through the bowl).

Fold the Italian meringue into the almond meal mixture in three batches, until well incorporated and smooth.

Spoon into a piping bag fitted with medium round nozzle and pipe small 1 inch rounds of mixture onto the lined trays, allowing a little room for spreading. Tap each tray onto the bench a few times to remove air bubbles. Repeat until all the mixture is used.

Set the trays of macarons aside for about 30 minutes so they can develop a skin. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F).

Combine the dutch cinnamon, extra ground ginger and sea salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle a little over each macaron right before baking.

Bake the macarons for 11 – 12 minutes, opening the door at the 8 minute mark and the 10 minute mark, in order to let out any steam. If they grow and develop little “feet”, they have worked. They are ready when you can gently lift one off the tray without leaving its foot behind.

Set the macarons aside to cool completely while you make the buttercream.

For the eggnog buttercream
150ml milk
Seeds from 1/2 a vanilla pod
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch salt
200g unsalted butter, softened
50g icing sugar, sifted
1/4 cup brandy or rum

First, make a pastry cream. Pour the milk and vanilla into a small saucepan. Heat over a medium heat until just beginning to boil.

While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl.

Combine the caster sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Whisk this into the egg yolks a little at a time.

Once the milk is beginning to boil, slowly pour it into the egg mixture, while constantly whisking.

Pour the custard back into the saucepan and return to a medium to low heat. Whisk constantly to avoid lumps, until the pastry cream is thick.

Transfer to a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap right on the surface. Place in the freezer to cool.

Meanwhile, beat the butter and icing sugar using an electric mixer until very light and fluffy. Add the alcohol, about a tablespoon at a time, beating well between each addition.

Once the pastry cream is cool, beat it into the butter.

Match the macaron shells up so they have partners of similar size. Upturn one shell of each pair of macarons.

Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a medium round nozzle.

Pipe a little buttercream onto the center of each upturned macaron. Sandwich it together with its partner.

Keep refrigerated. Makes 50 – 60 macarons.

18 Comments

Filed under Frostings & Sauces, Holiday Baking, Macarons

>Banana, Pecan and Nutella Swirled Snack Cake

IMG_4859
So this cake started with a few brown bananas I had in the fruit bowl that were staring me down all of last week.

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Because, just FYI, I am a little bit weird, and I have this thing with textures.

Like, I will only eat bananas if they’re green.
Once they’ve got a few brown spots on them, it’s over. There’s no way I’m going near them. They’re just way too mushy (but I’m cool with a green banana that’s been mashed. See how this is weird?).

IMG_4810
Anyway, there was no way I was going to eat the brown bananas. They had to baked. And I was yet to post a banana cake recipe on the blog –  it seemed kind of a perfect fit.

So I made banana cake. And poured it into a bar pan.

Partly because I simply liked the idea of calling it a snack cake (Americans, what does that even mean?). And partly because I hate baking cakes in loaf pans for what feels like hours and hours on end while the base and sides burn and the center remains liquid. Fun! Not fun.

IMG_4822
Then I realised I had like three jars of open, half-eaten Nutella in the pantry (because you can never have too much Nutella. Right? Right).

So I slapped some on the cake batter and swirled it around with a knife. Amazing.

banana nutella pecan cake by butter
And pecans. I found a bag of pecans in the pantry too, but going back to my weird textures thing, I don’t like nuts in my cake. I don’t like chunks of things that don’t belong, interrupting the texture of good things. Does that make sense?

For example, I’m totally not into things like nuts or chocolate chips in ice cream. They just don’t belong there. Because the ice cream melts in your mouth, and then you’re left with these rock hard frozen chocolate chips or nuts.

Yuck. (I’m sorry if you are a chunk lover. I don’t mean to offend. They’re just not for me. And, like I said, I’m a bit weird, so don’t mind me.)

IMG_4850
Anyway, there was no way I was mixing the nuts into the actual cake. So, instead, I sort of like… threw them on top. And pushed some of them in, in certain places.

So it’s like a pecan-studded, Nutella-swirled cake (and I can pull out the pecans if necessary because they’re large and easily visible. Texture crisis averted).

IMG_4873
Aaaaand this cake came out amazingly good. Moist, from all the bananas, and the fact that it’s baked in a bar pan. Then it has thick, chocolatey, Nutella swirls and random crunchy, buttery roasted pecans… It’s great. And if that’s not enough for you, then drizzle it with some more Nutella.

So go and stock up on Nutella and pecans and bananas.
Let your bananas tease you for a week from your breakfast bar as they brown.
Then get baking. Yum.

IMG_4785
BANANA, PECAN
AND NUTELLA SWIRLED SNACK CAKE

150g unsalted butter, softened (5 1/2 oz)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup plain flour
1 cup wholewheat plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup buttermilk
3 large, ripe bananas, roughly mashed
1/2 cup Nutella (8 tbsp)
1/2 cup pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F) and line a 9 x 13 inch pan with baking paper.

Beat the butter and sugar using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, beating well between each addition.

In a separate bowl, combine the cinnamon, both flours, the baking powder, soda and salt.

Alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the butter mixture in three lots, stirring until just combined between each addition.

Mix in the bananas.

Pour into the prepared pan and level out.

Drop tablespoons of Nutella around the cake randomly and swirl in roughly with a knife, so there is a bit of Nutella everywhere. Scatter the pecans over the cake, pressing some in and leaving some on top.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until a deep golden brown and when a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Allow to cool slightly before cutting. Makes 20 squares.

15 Comments

Filed under Cake, Fruit, Nutella