“Chocolate chip cookie dough pots” from “Simply Nigella”

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This was one of the first recipes I tried from Nigella’s book, back last year. Chocolate chip cookie dough, but all melty in a pot…what could wrong? Well it turns out NOTHING. This recipe is perfect in every way and I’ve made it countless times this year. Super easy, you can prepare it in the fridge hours before your guests arrive (I use the clingfilm covering to push down the dough in the pots) and it’s always a winner. ALWAYS. Which is pretty much what Maureen said last year too! . So if you’re looking for an easy, crowd pleaser of a dessert then try this one. And enjoy!

“Chocolate chip cookie dough pots” from “Simply Nigella”

“Sticky Toffee Pudding” from “Bread Street Kitchen”

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Kirstin: I made this for Guy Fawkes Night, England’s annual celebration of the Houses of Parliament not being blown up. I’ve never made sticky toffee pudding, but I knew that it would have some fans as Ella always orders it off a menu. This version has added dates which add a particularly lovely sticky and deep texture. And even though I vowed I wouldn’t try any after seeing the quantity of sugar that went into the sauce, it smelled so lovely I couldn’t resist trying a piece. It was divine. Would I make it again? Heck yes! My family have already requested it!

“Sticky Toffee Pudding” from “Bread Street Kitchen”

“An Insanely Good Blondie” from “Stirring Slowly”

DSC03886BLONDIES!

Sorry, but I can’t even think– let alone write– about this food item without getting excited. We love them over here. In fact, we love them so much that in the spring, when I went on a Blondie kick (and kept making this recipe from Mark Bittman), I finally had to say, “I’m sorry but I need to stop making these Blondies. They are as addictive as crack cocaine.”

But after having made a fair few salads from “Happy Salads”– many of which were big hits– the boys were hankering for some good baked goods. So in a break from binge-watching “Stranger Things” (Have you seen it yet? It’s EXCELLENT, if nothing else for the memories it evoked for me of the 1980s), I made these Blondies.

To give credit where credit is due, the photo above was taking by the lovely Kirstin, because she, too, was hankering for some Blondies. What’s not to love? They’re basically dense chocolate chip cookies in cube form. Yum.

This recipe is very similar to the Mark Bittman recipe that we love so much over here. However, she recommends you use coconut oil or butter or a mixture of both, rather than the all-butter approach that Bittman uses. As it was an adventurous day– watching an 80s throwback series with your teenagers will do that to you– I decided to go with using all coconut oil.

This proved to be a controversial decision, as the Blondie traditionalists who aren’t coconut fans (the teenagers and I) did not like the overwhelming taste of coconut that this created. Tim, on the other hand, liked it, but as he’s a coconut fan that makes sense.

Would I make this again? I already have. Twice. However, I went with the all-butter option. Consequently, these blondies lived up to their name.

“An Insanely Good Blondie” from “Stirring Slowly”

“Dark Chocolate, Cardamom and Espresso Mousse Cake” from “Sirocco”

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Kirstin: It’s always a wonderful feeling to find a recipe that you know you will treasure and pass on to others. These recipes, for me, must be easy and delicious. I set the bar even higher when it comes to desserts and baking as our family is not a fan of sweet food. But this recipe might just make into our Hall of Desserts Fame. Fabulously easy and tasting rather special, this chiffon cake is a winner. I was a tad worried about the cardamom, but I shouldn’t have been as it set off the chocolate and coffee perfectly. I am already looking forward to making this again, and smile at the thought of the book page becoming more splattered as the years go by.

“Dark Chocolate, Cardamom and Espresso Mousse Cake” from “Sirocco”

“Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake” from “A Year of Good Eating”

IMG_8147As soon as I read the title of this recipe, I knew I would be eating this in January.

What better way to cheer up a drab month with atrocious weather, grey skies and no holidays to celebrate? For what it’s worth, I’ve dubbed this month my Not Dry January. Unlike the legions of others who’ve decided that this will be the month they give their liver a rest and try to eat more healthy, I’m doing the opposite.

An American by birth– though not by location at the moment– I absolutely love the ambrosia that is the chocolate-peanut butter combination. After all, I was raised thinking that when it came to candy, there was nothing better than a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. In fact, I still think that.

I made this for a dinner party where we would be joined by fellow expat Americans (and a few random Brits). I made it the afternoon before, as per the instructions, as it needs an overnighter in the refrigerator to set.

It did not disappoint. In fact, the only disappointing thing about the experience was because I wanted to be a polite and thoughtful guest, I left behind the remaining 1/4 of the cheesecake to my hosts. But I certainly missed not being able to have seconds the next day.

Yum.

If you’d like to make this yourself, click through this sentence to find the original recipe in The Guardian.

“Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake” from “A Year of Good Eating”

“Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pots” from “Simply Nigella”

IMG_7936I’ve always been a sucker for a warm chocolate chip cookie, though I know I am not alone in this weakness. When I was at university in the U.S., a popular restaurant that students went to for celebrations offered up its own version of a warm chocolate chip cookie called “Killer Cookie for Two.” [Quick pause to check on Google Maps to see if it is still there. It is! The Killer Cookie lives!]

The Killer Cookie for Two (or one, if you have a broken heart) has: “Large homemade chocolate chip cookie baked to order, homemade ice cream, Guinness infused hot fudge whipped cream, maraschino cherries.” Yum. And can I just say, “God Bless America.”

In any case, this recipe reminds me so much of the Killer Cookie. This recipe is pure genius. Basically, you make half the quantity of a regular chocolate chip cookie recipe, put it in ramekins, bake, and eat warm. What’s not to love?

It was a monumental hit when I made it as a surprise after-school snack.

For what it’s worth, Nigella says to distribute the dough among six ramekins, but I distribute it among four. I think that was a popular decision.

Will I be making it again? You better believe it. Though I might have to rename it Killer Cookie Courtesy of Nigella.

Make this! Make this! Make this! The recipe is on Nigella’s website, which you can find by clicking through this paragraph.

“Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pots” from “Simply Nigella”

“Nutella Brownies” from “Simply Nigella”

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Kirstin: I”m not a big fan of baking. Cooking, sure. But I just don’t have the time to spend whisking eggs and butter to make cakes, and all the more so as I don’t have a particularly good track record with baking in general. So I was intrigued when I saw this recipe. It has just three ingredients; salt, nutella and eggs. How could that even possibly make a brownie? I had to give it a go. I whisked up the eggs to their full fluffiness and then started to feel this might be another disaster as I slowly added the nutella and watched them lose all their air. I have to admit at this point I was desperately thinking what I could serve as an alternative dessert, but stuck them in the oven nevertheless. And wow, was it worth it! They were divine and quickly disappeared!

I know that this recipe will be made over and over. It is perfect for those short of time, ideal for students who want something quick and yummy, perfect for those who come home from work and want something home baked and easy after dinner and most importantly will ensure that this book stays in heavy rotation on the shelf in the kitchen. Give them a go yourself! You will not be disappointed.

Genius, Nigella. You are a bloody genius!

“Nutella Brownies” from “Simply Nigella”