Party treats – Red velvet cakes, brownies and ginger cookies, with recipes

I’m feeling somewhat delicate today because Ricky and I had our engagement party last night. Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with us, and the team at the Square Pig in Holborn for all their help 🙂

I took the day off work and spent most of it baking, which was such a luxury. Here are the results (including some rogue invading muffins from my friend Aurora). Apologies for the crappy photos – I left it a bit late to take the pics, and the lighting wasn’t great. And I’m rubbish at photography.

Ginger cookies and brownies, as well as Aurora's muffins

Red velvet cakes and ginger cookies

To start with, I made a batch of brownies based on the Katharine Hepburn brownies from Dorrie Greenspan’s book (it’s down to about £20 on Amazon at the moment and worth every penny).

Here’s the recipe as I make it – I bought US measuring cups just to make this recipe, and I assure you that it was 100% worth it. I’ve done rough UK conversions for those who think baking by cup measures is witchcraft, but it’s a bizarre mix of metric and imperial – sorry.

OMG the most amazing brownies in the world

  • Put the oven on – about 170C should do. Get an 8inx8in tin and grease and line with baking paper – I use a re-usable baking liner.
  • Melt 4oz butter gently in a saucepan, stir in 1/2 cup (about 50g) of cocoa powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons of espresso coffee powder. Leave it to cool down a bit (about 5 mins) until it’s only just warm (or you’ll scramble the eggs in the next step) – use this time to chop up a 100g bar of dark chocolate into chocolate-chip-sized bits. I use either Lindt or Green & Black’s 70% cocoa stuff – yummy!
  • Stir in 2 eggs, one at a time. It goes a bit lumpy but don’t panic. Then stir in 1 cup (200g) of caster sugar, and 1/4 cup (40g) of plain flour.  Then stir in the chopped chocolate.
  • Scrape it into the tin, bung it in the oven for about 25 mins. The top should have a papery crust, but don’t over-cook or they won’t be squidgy. Leave to cool in the tin (you can bung it in the fridge for a bit if pressed for time), then cut into 16 or 25 bits and scoff the lot.

I also made some red velvet cupcakes from Cookie Girl Xanthe Milton’s book Eat Me – I haven’t posted the recipe here because I didn’t adapt it at all. You’ll have to buy the book to get it!

I didn’t actually get to taste one but apparently they were delicious. I had to have two goes at making the cream cheese frosting though – when the recipe says to “mix cream cheese and butter at room temperature”, it means room temperature, not “get it out of the fridge a few minutes before and hope for the best”. Trust me on this one.

And as a final shot I made some crystallised ginger cookies, which were awesome. I adapted the recipe from the chocolate chip cookies in Dorrie Greenspan’s book. It’s another cup recipe, but I weighed stuff as I went along, and also changed the ratio of brown to caster sugar.  Only in imperial measurements this time!

Crystallised ginger cookies

  • Get the oven on – about 180C. Grease some baking trays, or use baking liners.
  • Cream together 8oz butter with 5 1/2 oz light brown sugar and 3 1/2 oz caster sugar. This takes a while – give it at least 3-5 mins. Or just bung it in your lovely Kenwood Chef and wander off for a bit.
  • Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time.
  • Mix together 10 oz flour, 2 tsp ground ginger (maybe a bit more even…), a couple of pinches of ground cloves, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Stir this to the butter/sugar/egg mixture.
  • Stir in about 6oz of crystallised ginger, chopped into small pieces – I used a whole 200g jar that I got in Waitrose (ooooh posh!)  minus a few bits that I ate along the way… Chopping up the ginger was a royal pain in the arse as it’s so sticky.
  • Dollop heaped teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheets, spaced out well, and bake for about 10 mins until starting to brown at the edges. I got about 8 cookies on each sheet, as they spread as they bake. Leave to cool for a minute or so on the tray, then pop them on a wire rack to cool. I got about 32 cookies out of this recipe, which was a lot. You could probably halve it.

3 responses to “Party treats – Red velvet cakes, brownies and ginger cookies, with recipes

  1. Pingback: Best. Brownies. Ever. « You do too much

  2. of course I will have to try all your recipes. Also borrowed a chocolate cooking book from library. I tend to stick to the ones that use less flour as usually make with gluten free flour. Nigel slater has a nice recipe that I usually use and Hugh Fearnly W has one with beetroot – actually I find them a bit sweet

    • A friend recommended a recipe book that uses beetroot in cakes/brownies – maybe it’s the same one. I can’t quite face it myself, but I really loathe beetroot anyway as the smell alone makes me want to heave. Good luck with your baking experiments!

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