Thursday, May 29, 2014

Oreo Stuffed Choc Chip Biscuits

Whats thick and chewy, speckled with chocolate chips and has an oreo hidden inside?
These big beauties. Just wait until everyone sinks their teeth into these super man sized biscuits and exclaims in surprise at the dark, rich and chocolatey oreo hidden beneath the golden outer layer of choc chip biscuit. You might imagine all this biscuit plus an oreo in the centre would be going overboard, and perhaps too sweet to truly relish. But in reality, this biscuit stuffed in a biscuit is perfectly balanced. The chocolate chip biscuit is simple and plain, and the oreo-well we all know the oreo-it has a reputation for being dark, rich and handsome-something most people can't deny there's a strong attraction about.
Then again, I am a huge sweet tooth, and some people might find this biscuit overbearing. Do not let it put you off creating it! I have seen mini oreos for sale, and these would make for a great substitute for the regular sized ones, as there wouldn't be so much biscuit in one serve.
However if you're more full on like me, you will relish the rare opportunity to wolf down this giant cookie with your next mug of coffee. Be warned--you may just have to skip lunch!


1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. pure vanilla
3 1/2 plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda (or bicarb soda)
1 1/2 cups choc chips (small ones)
2 boxes of oreos (or approximately 24 biscuits in total)

Preheat the oven to 175C.
Beat the butter with the sugars in a large bowl until well combined. Then add the eggs and the vanilla and mix until well incorporated. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda into a separate bowl and combine. Add the chocolate chips. Gradually add this dry mixture to the wet mixture until just combined.
Take approximately one heaped tablespoon of the dough and place on the top of an oreo biscuit. Take another similar sized scoop of the mixture and place it one the bottom of the oreo. Merge the sides so that the dough completely covers the oreo, and your oreo is roughly in the centre of the dough. You can remove excess cookie dough from the top and bottom if it's looking too massive.
Place on a lined cookie tray and bake for approximately 10 minutes or until they begin to turn slightly golden at the corners. Cool on the tray for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Makes about 24 massive biscuits

Monday, May 12, 2014

Triple Layer Lemon, Strawberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake

As I was down on my hands and knees scraping squished sultanas from the floor boards, my mind drifted to other pleasant things, after the thought that I should never have introduced my 9 month old to that detestable fruit. My mind took me to that tub of Philadelphia cream cheese chocolate frosting that I had purchased to top cupcakes (I promise!) and I found myself making a bee line for the cutlery draw for a tea spoon.
Honestly, that little tub of heaven never even made it close to a cupcake. Unless that cupcake was already in my stomach.
So with that delicious chocolatey goodness in my mind, I was pretty stoked when Philadelphia released a new flavoured cream cheese block in Strawberry flavour as well as lemon. I instantly knew I had to test these babies out in my kitchen. I borrowed from my favourite triple layered chocolate no bake cheesecake recipe and got to work-not using dark, milk and white chocolate as in this recipe, but just white as a base.

There was a heavenly layer of white chocolate paired with the original cream cheese, one of white chocolate and strawberry, and one of white chocolate and lemon-encrusted with a buttery, crumbly biscuit base that extended up the sides. This was topped with an ornate white chocolate crown and chocolate dipped, crumbed strawberries piled high in the centre.

Once it was set I removed a piece for testing purposes. The layering was so pretty, and the scent of strawberry and lemon arose from that cutting. It was at that moment that I was sure that Philadelphia had done it again, inspired by the divine. So if you're wondering how to use Philadelphia's Lemon or Strawberry cream cheese blocks, look no further. Here's a recipe to tickle your fancy!


 350g plain sweet biscuits (I used Marie biscuits)
125g butter
1/4 cup boiling water
3 tsp unflavoured gelatine
1x 250g packet original cream cheese, at room temperature
1x 250g packet lemon cream cheese, at room temperature
1x 250g packet strawberry cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar, divided into three parts
300ml thickened cream, divided into three parts
600g white cooking chocolate, divided into three parts
250g strawberries, washed and dried
100g extra chocolate to garnish strawberries if desired

Break up 300g of biscuits into a food processor. (Reserve the remaining 50g to garnish the top of the cheesecake at a later point.)
Process the biscuits until they resemble fine crumbs. Melt the butter in a large microwave proof bowl, then add the biscuit crumbs and stir until well combined. Tip the contents of the bowl into a 23cm round springform tin. Using a straight sided glass, press this mixture into the base and up the sides of the tin until even and compact. Place in the refrigerator to harden.
In a small bowl, place the hot water and shower the gelatine evenly over the surface. Stir with a fork until the gelatine has dissolved completely. Set aside.
Melt the 600g of white chocolate gently in the microwave. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place the original cream cheese in a medium bowl. Add one third of the sugar (this is approximately 2 heaped tablespoons of sugar). Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth and well incorporated. Add a third of the cream (100ml) and beat until smooth. Add a third of the gelatine mixture and stir until well combined. Add a third of the melted chocolate (200g) and stir until well combined.
Pour this mixture into the base, cover and freezer to set.
Meanwhile, repeat this process with the strawberry cream cheese for the next layer. Remove the cheesecake from freezer and add this strawberry cream cheese mixture on top of the plain white chocolate layer. Smooth the top and freezer to set.
While these two layers firm, repeat this process with the lemon cream cheese for the final layer.  Remove the pan from the freezer and spread with the final cheesecake layer. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours until firm.
To add the garnishes, process the remaining 50g of biscuit in the food processor. Dip the strawberries in extra melted chocolate if desired, dip them in biscuit crumbs and dry. Pile in the centre of the cake.
If you are interested in making the chocolate crown, melt another 100g white chocolate. Blow up a balloon and paint with the white chocolate. Allow to dry, then prick the balloon with a pun close to the mouth to slowly release the air. Voila!

Serves 10-12

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit Themed Baby Shower

Seriously, who are those women? You know, the ones who have a baby shower that looks perfect beyond words and everything matches like nothing you've seen. Who ever knew there was so much pastel in the world? I am in awe of these people! Despite the fact I know I'll never hold one of those adorable parties we all see pasted all over Pinterest (and realistically, they're probably put together by party planners who charge hundreds for the display) I can but use these gorgeous photos as inspiration. And I did so in creating this Peter Rabbit themed Baby Shower for my friend Danielle.

One of the easiest themes I could have come across for my friend's baby shower was Beatrix Potter's character Peter Rabbit. It's such a cute baby shower theme, and quite neutral or genderless too. My friend didn't know the sex of the baby so this was a good one to go with. It was very economical to set up too, using Mr McGregor's veggie patch as the main table layout theme. I made sure I went grocery shopping up at the fresh veggie market the day before, so all my usual veggies were used in the display--cabbages, carrots, pumpkins bunches of herbs and yellow squashes. I arranged a plate of strawberries piled on a cake stand, and spread the table with other delicious edibles such as choc oreo mint truffles decorated as cabbages (white chocolate coloured green), fondant bunny and veggie topped cupcakes, individual dips in a cup with matchsticks of carrot, celery and cucumber, and a magnificent bassinet and baby carved out watermelon and surrounded by fruit salad...

The Peter Rabbit cake was of course, according to theme, a delightfully moist carrot cake. Peter Rabbit himself was made of fondant, or white icing as some call it. You can also model him from gum paste or the likes. I firstly looked for a tutorial on how to make a Peter Rabbit figuring and I couldn't find anything to my surprise. So I basically worked with two pear shapes of fondant-a large one for the body, and a smaller one for the head which I turned on a horizontal angle and sat upon the larger pear shape. I cut out from blue fondant a rectangle and draped it over the rabbit's back and added smaller rectangles onto the sides to act as sleeves to the jacket. I couldn't get a nice dark tone for his fur by adding brown food dye to the fondant, so I opted to paint him with the brown after he had dried, and it worked very well, giving him a nice multi-tonal look to the fur.
The vegetables that he sat amongst were likewise created from fondant. For the cabbage leaves that surrounded the cake and encased the fondant baby, I selected a nice veined leaf from the garden (geranium) and gave it a wipe over and left it to dry. Then as I rolled the green fondant, I lay this leaf over the fondant to give it this delicate imprint.

Mummy to be Danielle surprised us all with this show stopping carved watermelon baby in a bassinet. The head is made from cantaloupe, the nose a green grape and the eyes are black grapes. It was surrounded by kiwi fruit, yellow watermelon, red watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes and honeydew melon. Yum!

On this cake stand we have carrot cake cupcakes turned into McGreggor's veggie patch! The veggies are made from fondant, and the soil made from crushed oreos. The icing is cream cheese frosting with a bit of green food colouring.