showing my inner anglophile – chocolate chip traybake

chocolate chip traybake with peanut butter and chocolate fudge icing

Chocolate chip traybake cake
Chocolate chip traybake cake

like most people who have netflix, i am obsessed with great british bake off. i was actually obsessed with it before it was on netflix, and we also had the box set of the mighty boosh which i used to watch regularly with my brother. holla if you are familiar with this show… most people know of old greg, but have never really watched it past that. super weird, super british, absolutely hilarious, and definitely noel fielding’s best role. if you are into weird stuff or have a weird sense of humor defnitely check it out. i also have uk television shows on our cable, and will regularly relax with my glass of wine and watch antiques roadtrip, and obsessed with victorian farm. kind of on a tangent here, but you see where i’m going?

i’ve been working on my semi-homemade chocolate chip cake recipe, and for some reason i cannot make a regular cake to save my life. so this is why i always stick to traybakes (as the british call them, or a cake baked in a pan, not turned out and eaten in squares right out of the pan) or cupcakes. i feel like they are harder for me to ruin, there is no turning out the cake, trimming it, worrying about the icing looking perfect, etc. this traybaked poke cake is great because it reminds me of those tasty cake kandy kakes, but better because it’s homemade. and bigger. the fudge icing is from life above the cafe and i originally saw it on her instagram. she has the most amazing dessert recipes! definitely check out her blog. the cake recipe is modified from the wasc cake recipe from sugar geek show, and is super easy because it’s semi-homemade, and all you do is throw everything in the mixer together and turn it on. let me know if you try this chocolate chip traybake and what you think!

ingredients

cake
1 yellow box cake mix
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt – mountain high yogurt is delicious for baking or just by itself with some fruit or honey
1 cup milk
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter (1 stick)
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
splash (1/8-1/4 tsp) almond extract
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups peanut butter – i love the simply nature organic peanut butter from aldi, it has no added sugar

frosting
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
5 oz evaporated milk
1 stick of unsalted butter

instructions

preheat your oven to 350, and prepare a 9×13 glass baking dish by spraying with cooking spray or coating with a stick of butter. in an electric stand mixer, or large bowl, combine the cake mix, flour, sugar, salt, yogurt, milk, butter, eggs, vanilla and almond extracts. with the paddle attachment or a whisk (if you’re using a regular bowl) beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. fold in the chocolate chips. pour into your prepared pan and bake 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. i checked mine at 30 minutes and it was still completely not set in the middle. i ended up adding about 12 more minutes of baking time, for a total of 42 minutes. it will depend on your oven. just ignore the instructions/ingredients on the back of the box and only use the ingredients listed here.

after the cake comes out of the oven and cools completely, poke holes all over the top of it using a straw. microwave your peanut butter for 30-40 seconds so it’s very pourable, and spread it all over the top of the cake. after this, start the icing. in a medium-large nonstick pot, whisk together the dry ingredients (sugar, salt, and cocoa powder). add the evaporated milk, whisk everything together and bring it to a rolling boil, whisking the entire time. set a timer for 2 minutes and let the mixture boil for exactly 2 minutes, whisking constantly. when the timer goes off, turn off the heat and whisk in the stick of butter. continue whisking for one more minute after the butter is completely incorporated to cool the mixture slightly.

then take the hot icing and pour it over top the peanut butter and spread evenly over the top of the cake. i usually take mine and tap the bottom on a wooden surface (so i don’t break the glass pan) until i see that the fudge frosting starts to go down into the holes in the cake. wait until it has cooled completely before cutting into it! the top will become crusty and crackly and delicious and this is a perfect snacking cake. you can tell i definitely didn’t let mine cool all the way before cutting into it, but it’s so tempting when the frosting is still warm and gooey and fudgy. sooooo delicious. let me know if you try it! the method for the icing is on my reels on instagram if you want to check it out 🙂

mom’s chocolate chip cookies – with a twist

brown butter toffee chocolate chip cookies

this recipe is a riff on my favorite chocolate chip cookies that my mom makes every christmas. brown butter and toffee bring a great nutty/toasted flavor and nothing is better than melty chocolate chips right out of the oven 🙂 i also had to add sprinkles for a little festive charm (here is a link to this fun sprinkle mix), but the other half of the batch is sprinkled with maldon sea salt and honestly they are to die for. next time i will go sea salt all the way around. or maybe sea salt AND sprinkles. can’t go wrong with sprinkles. hope you enjoy these as much as my family has over the years!

ingredients

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon brown butter (instructions below, but this will need to be made ahead of time)
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 white chocolate chips
3/4 cup crushed toffee bits with chocolate (i used this one because i’m lazy, but you could also chop your own, or put the candy bars into the food processor)
optional – sprinkles and/or sea salt for decorating

instructions

a few hours or up to a couple of days before you plan on starting your cookies you will need to make the brown butter. cut up 1 stick + 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter into tablespoon size pieces and using a light colored pan or skillet, start to melt it over medium heat, stirring with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. i use an extra tablespoon because some of the liquid evaporates as it’s cooking. cook the butter until the foam disappears, you start to see brown bits in the bottom, and it is giving off a nutty aroma. this should take around 5-8 minutes. be careful not to overcook it as it can burn! as soon as it’s done, pour the butter along with all the brown bits into a glass bowl and set aside to cool. the butter will need to solidify again before we bake the cookies, so you can leave it at room temperature, or put in the fridge and then get it out to come to room temperature before baking.

for the cookies, start by preheating the oven to 385 degrees. whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl. take the stick of regular unsalted butter and nuke it (yes nuke it) for about 15-20 seconds or until it just starts to melt. i don’t know why… this is how my mom does it… just trust me. add this, along with the room temperature brown butter to your electric mixer with the paddle attachment, as well as the brown sugar and white sugar. cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until fluffy. add in the eggs and vanilla, and mix until combined. add in the dry ingredients in thirds with the mixer on low until everything is fully combined. add in the chocolate chips and heath bar bits, then mix on low until everything is incorporated and evenly distributed. scoop evenly sized balls of cookie dough (i don’t own a cookie scoop because i’m weird and just use a spoon) onto a baking sheet, sprinkle them with your choice of toppings, and bake for approx 10-12 minutes. mine never take longer than 10 minutes.