Treat Yourself – Leftover Easter Chocolate Brownies

I make the best brownies, if I do say so myself..

Its not just me, I’ve been told by a lot of people ūüėČ

And after last weekend, I’m sure I can’t be the only person still swimming in chocolate, so I thought I’d share my brownie recipe, adapted to use up some of your Easter chocolate! What’s great about this is that you can use any chocolate: milk, dark, white, Lindt, Cadburys etc, and any mix of them to make unique brownies every time.

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1. Put 115g of your chocolate into a bowl with 115g butter and melt it down, either in a microwave or over hot water. At this point, try to use only ‘plain chocolate’; ones without biscuity bits or caramel or fillings etc – you can use them later! While this is melting, line an 8 inch square baking tin with greaseproof paper and heat your oven to 180C

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2. Pour your melted mix into a bowl with 300g caster sugar and mix together

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3. Beat in two eggs, followed by 2 tbsp cocoa powder and 115g plain flour. This is your basic brownie mix

4. Ok, all that other chocolate? Break/chop/mash it all up and add it to the mix. If you’ve got Creme Eggs, save them for the next step! Pour the chocolatey mix into your tray, and bake for 30 minutes, or 25 if you’ve got Creme Eggs.

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5. Creme Egg step: while the mix is baking, carefully chop your eggs in half. If you don’t have the patience for this, just smash them up a little bit! When the oven beeps, take the brownie out, arrange your eggs on the top and press them into the brownie before popping it back into the oven for another 5-6 minutes.

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6. Let the brownies cool on a cooling rack, then chop them up and devour!

You can thank me later..

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Baking Magic – Butterfinger Cupcakes

I’m just gonna prefix this post by saying that this is definitely more of a lazy person’s guide to the butterfinger cupcake due to the fact that my kitchen currently has a giant hole in the ceiling, so I’ve had to make do with the ingredients and space that I had!

Disney park cupcakes are the best, right? Apart from the fact that they’re often too big to finish in one go, YES. Today I’m taking on a Disney World classic, the Butterfinger cupcake.

Now Butterfingers are an American candy bar, and although you can get them in some UK retailers, I’ve made these as totally butterfinger-free butterfinger cupcakes. I feel like I’m totally cheating today, but I’m gonna pretend that I’m just making this recipe accessible for novice bakers.. BUT LOOK AT THEM YUM

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Right, here we go!

1. Start off with a batch of your favourite chocolate cupcake recipe, and to get a proper WDW experience, fill the cases a little more than you normally would! If you don’t have one, cream 125g butter and 125g caster sugar, add a dash of vanilla extract and 2 eggs, then mix in 20g cocoa powder and 105g self-raising flour and bake at 190C for 15-17 minutes. Ta-dah!

2. Once cooled, take a sharp knife and cut a hole into the centre of the cake, like a classic butterfly cake, and pop this to one side for the time being. It doesn’t matter if they get mixed up and you can’t remember which centre belongs to which cake.

3. (Cheat 1, coming your way). Well now you’ve got a hole in the middle of your cupcake that needs filling, so find either your favourite chocolate and peanut butter spread, or just a regular chocolate spread or frosting, and fill that hole all the way up. I recommend spread or frosting for this because its a little gooier than buttercream!

4. Those little cake centres, sit those back onto the cakes on top of the pool of chocolatey goodness to make a little peak.

5. Now grab some vanilla buttercream, or make some using a 2:1 icing sugar to butter ratio and a splash of vanilla extract. To replicate WDW buttercream, thicken it up with a bit more icing sugar – this will help it hold better when we load it onto the cake in a minute. Pop it into the fridge for a minute while we get a few more things ready.

6. Has anyone else noticed that basically every recipe I share involves crushing something at some point? Yep, we’re doing it again.. If you’re one of my American readers, grab yourself a butterfinger and crush it up nicely. UK friends, find yourself a peanut butter KitKat and a few cookies and stick them in a food processor to crumb them down nicely.

7. Grab your buttercream from the fridge, and using a knife or metal spatula, pile it onto your cupcake, then smooth it around the little peak you created earlier. Now grab your cupcake by its case and roll the buttercream mountain around in those crumbs until you get a nice covering.

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Is anyone else drooling?

Headed to the parks? You can get the original Butterfinger Cupcake from Starring Roles Cafe in Hollywood Studios!

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Baking Magic – Mickey Cake Balls

I was gonna start off this post by saying its a great way to use up leftover cake, but seriously, who ever has leftover cake? Like, is that even a thing?

So you might need to bake a cake in preparation for this; I think its a pretty good excuse. Personally, whenever I make a cake and I need to cut it down so its level, my offcuts are always destined for cake pop mix, saves waste! As well as pop mix, all you need is candy melts in black and red, and you’re good to go!

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Now you will find making these cute little Mickeys SO much easier to make if you use traditional cake pop mix, rather than just baking cakes using a ‘cake pop’ mould. Never made it before? Its the easiest thing: crumble up cake into a fine crumb, then mix with buttercream until it combines into a semi-sticky, mouldable dough of deliciousness.

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Ok, so get rolling the dough into little balls, place onto greaseproof paper and get them into the fridge to chill nicely while you start melting down your Candy Melts, starting with black. I recommend melting the buttons down with a splash of oil (I use a lump of Trex) to give it a better consistency and shine.

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Once you’re¬†happy with the consistency, take the balls out of the fridge, and dip the top of the balls into the candy so it covers about¬†half. Place the¬†half dipped balls, dipped side up, back onto your greaseproof paper, then use two more candy buttons to create Mickey ears – do this one at a time, otherwise the candy could¬†harden before you get the ears in!

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Back into the fridge with the balls, and onto melting the red candy. I always melt my candy on a double boiler rather than a microwave so that I can keep the mix warm while I’m working with it, but its probably 5x quicker to microwave them – just preference I guess! Once melted, grab onto those nicely¬†hardened Mickey ears and dip the remaining¬†half of the cake ball into the red to create Mickey’s trousers. At this point, you could pop the balls onto sticks and let them cool standing up, but I like to smush them back onto the greaseproof paper to make little feet!

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You could even go the extra mile and use a bit of white or yellow to add buttons or shoe details if you were really trying to impress!

Who’s the leader of the pack who’s made for you and me? M-I-C-K-E-Y-M-O-U-S-E

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Baking Magic – Marshmallow Pop Treats

Don’t you just¬†hate it when you’ve spent so much time in the parks eating your favourite treats, only to come¬†home and live without them? Yep, me too ūüė¶

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BUT this series is about bringing some of your park favourites to life in your everyday kitchen, and today is a combination of two of my favourite things: marshmallows and caramel!¬†Marshmallow pops are available in so many designs and flavours in a bunch of locations in the parks, and today I’m gonna share¬†how easy they are to create!

Ingredients wise, you’ll need: regular sized marshmallows, classic toffee sweets, condensed milk, chocolate/candy melts and whatever kind of sprinkles and sweetie decorations you like.

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1. First up, you need to melt down your toffees. I seriously recommend you do this in a metal bowl over boiling water – it’ll take a while, but will save you a burnt disaster! It’ll basically become one¬†huge toffee lump, which while delicious, would be a nightmare to work with, so I add condensed milk to smooth it down; about 3tbsp for every 20 toffee sweets.

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2. While your toffee is melting into a caramel goop, get sticking your marshmallows onto whatever you fancy: lollipop sticks, straws, etc.. Squeeze them nice and close together into a column of squishy goodness.

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3. Once you’re¬†happy with the consistency of your caramel, using a rubber spatula, scoop and smooth it all over the marshmallows. You can try and dip them, but may find they get stuck.. Give each stick a twirl to cool it off a little – it’ll dry quite quickly – then place onto greaseproof paper or tin foil, and get them into the fridge for¬†half an¬†hour or so.

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4. While the pops cool down, you can start to prepare your decorations. If you want colourful pops, I recommend Wilton Candy Melts as they’re really easy to work with – just melt down and mix with a little bit of vegetable oil to give it a shine – and you can also get different flavours (peanut butter!!!). Now you can let your imagination go wild; recreating your favourite designs from the parks or imagineering your own spectacular creations – just be sure to¬†have fun with it!

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5. Once you’re done decorating, get the pops back into the fridge to fully cool and set, and voila!

What’s your favourite Disney park treat?

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Treat Yourself – No Bake Smores Cheesecake!

Another new food series for 2016, yay! Treat Yourself is all about rewarding yourself with amazing food, and I’ll be posting something new and delicious on the first Saturday of each month, woo!

Cheesecake is something that I’m slowly coming around to; I used to be completely repulsed by the idea of it, but in the last few years I’m starting to change my mind.. What I do love forever and always though is smores. To me, its the epitome of dessert goodness.¬†Hello combination idea..

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You will need: a 9 inch springform pan, 200g Oreo cookies, 50g butter, 550g cream cheese (full fat is much easier to work with!),¬†70g icing sugar, vanilla extract, 100g milk chocolate and 2 cups of mini marshmallows. I work in cups for marshmallows because its the volume that’s more important than the weight! You’re also gonna want an electric¬†hand mixer!

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1. Break up your Oreos by whatever method floats your boat – food processor, chopper, beating with a rolling pin.. – so long as they’re in crumbs, its cool. Melt down the butter and mix with the cookie crumb, then press the mix into the bottom of your pan and put into the fridge to start setting.

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2. Get your cream cheese and icing sugar in a bowl together and get your¬†hand mixer ready to go. Pop your marshmallows into a microwave safe bowl and blitz in 15-20 second intervals until they’re soft and they melt into a fluffy paste when you stir them.

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3. Working quickly, get that marshmallowy mix into the bowl with the cheese and sugar and get mixing – leave it too long and those marshmallows are gonna start to get super sticky and lumpy! Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and after a minute or two of good whipping, you’ll¬†have a lovely creamy consistency.

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4. Pour this mixture onto your biscuit base, then pop back into the fridge while you melt your chocolate. You can do this however you like, microwave or double boiler are best, then pour the melted goodness onto the top of your cheesecake. This is where you can get fancy with squiggles or shapes; I like to dump it all on top, then use a skewer to swirl it into a sort of controlled chaos! Now get it back into the fridge for at least another 4 hours before serving.

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YUM YUM YUM

Baking Magic – Lost Princess Loaf Cake

I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS SERIES!

Something I don’t talk about on my blog very much is that while I’m not busy blogging away, I¬†have my own cake business, and there’s nothing I love more than baking and developing new recipes. Something I talk about almost every day on the blog is¬†how much I love Disney, so this series is sharing my two great loves in order to create some food magic by recreating some Disney park favourites, and also sharing some fun Disney-inspired baking creations! Are you as excited as I am for this?!

Today I’m making one of my favourite basic-but-impressive cakes – the¬†hidden centre loaf cake! You might¬†have seen my Mickey Mouse one a while back, but today I’m taking inspiration from my favourite girl Punz as it seems so fitting!

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You’re gonna need: 250g butter (today I’m using dairy free!), 250g sugar, 5 eggs, 250g self-raising flour and vanilla extract, as well as some food colouring (I used yellow, its totally your choice though), a Swiss roll tin, a standard loaf tin, a crown cookie cutter and any icing or decoration of your choosing!

You’re also gonna want to preheat your oven to 180¬įC

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1. First up, mix together 150g of the butter and sugar, beat in 3 of the eggs and a splash of vanilla, then stir in the flour. Once you’re happy with it, add your food colouring – I would always recommend a professional gel or paste colouring, either Wilton or Sugarflair, because you get much better colours with minimal colourant added! Line your swiss roll tin with greaseproof paper, and spread this mix out across it – its gonna look pretty thin, but its gonna rise up nicely in the oven. Pop it in for 10 minutes, then let it cool on a cooling rack.

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2. Once cooled, take your cookie cutter and go to town, but be sure to get as many crowns out as you can.

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3. Mix together your remaining ingredients in the same way as Step 1, just no more food colouring this time! Its up to you whether you want to grease or line your loaf tin, or even use loaf liners, but do that now, then pour about half of this new cake mix into the bottom and spread it out evenly.

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4. Now take those pretty little crowns and line them up in the tin; squish them together nicely, but don’t overpack – if you’ve got some crowns leftover then lucky you!

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5. Pour your remaining mix over the top of the crown-sausage and spread it out – again, don’t worry if it looks thin or your crowns are poking up a little, it’ll be fine! Back in the oven with the cake, for about 20-25 minutes, then let it cool in the tin a little before turning it out onto a cooling rack.

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6. Now its time to get creative! Decorate your cake however you wish (you can use this as an opportunity to cover up any crowns that are peaking out), and then watch your friends faces as you slice to reveal the secret within..

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Who’s your favourite Disney princess?

Lottie Does Europe: It’s My Birthday!

So if you didn’t already know from the millions of times I’ve mentioned it, today is my 21st birthday, and I am spending it in a magical place: Disneyland Paris!

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Today has been totally filled with magic, from finally getting to open the beautiful birthday present that I picked out in Tokyo back in July (a Samantha Thavasa purse), to breakfast with Mickey and all the extra magic that has happened today.

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We¬†had reservations for breakfast at Cafe Mickey this morning, where the family surprised me with a birthday cake which was brought out by Dale and Mickey, who sang to me(!!!), before we¬†headed into the parks for our extra magic¬†hours. After skipping down Main Street, we¬†hit a few of the rides that were open, although many weren’t that early on in the day. Top of my list after 10am was Indiana Jones, which was closed for refurb until today – bonus! After a few more rides we decided to¬†head over to Walt Disney Studios Park, stopping at City Hall to make dining reservations: Bistrot Chez Remy for lunch, Blue Lagoon for dinner, and Walt’s for lunch tomorrow.

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We¬†headed straight to lunch once we were in, and¬†had an incredible meal in Chez Remy; I couldn’t believe¬†how perfectly themed it was! As we were there, we decided to get in the queue for Ratatouille, as it¬†had just reopened after some technical difficulties. There were,¬†however, several more ‘technical difficulties’ (including a protein spill!) during our wait, but we¬†held out and eventually after about an¬†hour and¬†half we were in!

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By that time, it was getting close to our dinner reservation, so we caught the last Moteurs, Camera, Action! show, before going back into the Disneyland park for Blue Lagoon dinner. For me, there is nothing better than a restaurant set within a ride! Again, we had amazing food, and thoroughly stuffed, we decided to hit the shops and Disney village, before going back to the hotel room for a little while. This decision was also made because when we had checked in the day before, the lovely CM at the front desk gave me and my sister one of their special vouchers for a free pin each, as a treat for my birthday.

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After 5 minutes peace and quiet, it was time to get back into the Disneyland Park to do a few of the more popular rides that had had longer queues earlier in the day: Phantom Manor, Star Tours etc, before scoring ourselves a perfect spot to watch Disney Dreams; all the way through this time, as yesterday our dinner booking meant we left early.

Its safe to say its been magical! Happy birthday me!

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