Nutella Braided Bread

29 Jan img_3237

Hello all!


So this year, I’ve decided I want to start learning all things BREAD. Where better to start than making this super healthy, vegan, calorie and guilt free one?! (Lies). I’ve long wanted to attempt making this beauty and have seen many versions of this type of bread on social media in different shapes, sizes etc. This is an adapted version of a lovely recipe I found on the Inspired By Charm blog (click link to see original recipe). I added extra yeast and chocolate chips to mine which made a huge difference. I also omitted the egg wash so that I could eat it too – I found it wasn’t necessary at all but you can add it if you want a deep golden brown finish.

Ingredients (In cup measurements as was using an American recipe!)

  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup Nutella
  • Handful dark chocolate chips
  • Handful milk chocolate chips
  • Cornmeal for dusting
  • 1 egg, beaten with a tablespoon of water to use as an egg wash (optional)


  1. Mix yeast with ¼ cup of the water. Let it sit for 10 minutes to activate in a warm place.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the yeast and the remaining water, mix on low with a dough hook attachment to combine ingredients. Turn speed up to medium, and knead dough for about 7 minutes.
  3. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover bowl loosely with cling film, and then leave in a warm place (I put it in the coolest warming oven of an Aga – roughly 40-50 degrees C). The dough is ready when doubled in size (which took mine about an hour).
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to form a rectangle, roughly 12 x 15”. Spread Nutella in an even layer on the surface, leaving a ½ inch border of dough. Sprinkle on chocolate buttons. (I heated the Nutella slightly to make it easier to spread – about 15 secs in a microwave). Roll tightly in a rolland place on a parchment-lined / silicon-lined baking tray that’s been sprinkled with cornmeal. Cut the dough down the middle with a knife, leaving one end intact. Twist ends overtop each other, making sure to turn cut side toward the top. Cover dough loosely with cling film, and let it sit for 20 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. If using – brush surface of the bread with the egg wash. Bake bread for 25-28 minutes until deep golden brown in colour. Leave to cool for 5 minutes and sieve some icing sugar over the top for a pretty finish.


& Enjoy! – trust me, this bad boy won’t hang around the house too long if my experiment was anything to go by…




Chocolate Sponge Mousse Cake Dessert

6 Jan img_2992

Hello all!

Happy New Year! After a hectic two months of serious exam stressing and Christmas food gorging, I’m back with a beauty of a recipe – my chocolate mousse cake dessert. This happened as somewhat of an accident when I was making an eggless chocolate sponge for my nephew Jack’s first birthday… It turned out nicely and JUST as I was lifting it out of the tin… SPLAT. The sponge cracked in half and it was no longer usable for the main event – his birthday cake – so I decided to give this dessert a go. It’s not by any means light, so January dieters LOOK AWAY NOW! It is a bowl full of rich, chocolatey, spongy, mousse-y goodness and it instantly became a firm favourite in the Hornibrook household!

It consists of chocolate sponge in various layers that have been drenched in chocolate ganache sauce, piped full to the brim with chocolate mousse and topped off with some whipped cream and toasted almonds for a nutty crunch. What’s not to love?!

See the recipe below – Diet starts February……….


For the sponge (I made an eggless sponge, however you can make a sponge including eggs by following the recipe to my Easter chocolate cake sponge recipe, by clicking here)

For the Sponge

  • 280g self raising flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 175g brown sugar
  • 50ml vegetable oil
  • 40g butter
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 200g dark chocolate chips (I use Callebeaut)

For the Chocolate ganache sauce 

  • 75ml cream
  • 120g mix of milk/dark chocolate chips (I usually use half and half of each)

For the Mousse (Nigella Lawson’s instant mousse)

  • 150g mini marshmallows
  • 50g butter
  • 250g dark chocolate chips (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
  • 60ml hot water (from a recently boiled kettle)
  • 300ml cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 200ml Cream, whipped & in a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle
  • Handful of toasted slivered almonds (Pecans would work great aswell)


Sponge – use an 8 or 9 inch round cake tin

  1. Preheat the oven 180 C / Gas 4. Grease your tin with butter and line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl. Mix the bicarb with 1 tablespoon of milk then add to the flour and cocoa powder mixture. Melt the butter with 100g of the chocolate chips.
  3. Add the sugar along with the remaining milk, oil, golden syrup, melted butter/chocolate and vanilla extract. Beat with a fork or hand whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining 100g of chocolate chips now. Transfer to the prepared cake tin.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the centre of the cake is not fully cooked then leave the cake in the oven for another 5-10 minutes, but cover the top of the cake with tin foil so it doesn’t burn. Remove the cake from the oven. Leave to cool.

NOTE: While the sponge is cooking, make the chocolate sauce next so it is cool by the time you are assembling..

Chocolate ganache sauce

  1. Warm the cream in the microwave in short bu rsts of 30 secs or alternatively on the hob in a dish over a sauce pan of hot water (Bain marie).
  2. Add the chocolate buttons and return the microwave in further 30 sec bursts, stirring in between until sauce forms. Alternatively, add buttons to dish on top of sauce pan and stir until chips are melted. Set aside to cool.


  1. Put the marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water in a heavy-based saucepan.
  2. Put the saucepan on the hob, over heat, though keep it fairly gentle, to melt the contents, stirring every now and again. Remove from the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, whip the cream with the vanilla extract until thick, and then fold into the cooling chocolate mixture until you have a smooth mixture.
  4. I added a tablespoon of ganache to the mousse and marbled it through for extra chocolatey goodness…


  1. I used a large crystal trifle dish to assemble the dessert in. You can really assemble it in any type of dish you’d like but I loved how it looked in this dish.
  2. Slice up the cooled sponge into thin wedges. Drizzle the dish base generously with chocolate sauce. Layer sponge pieces on top and drizzle more choc sauce over them.
  3. Scoop in a layer of mousse then repeat the sponge/chocolate sauce layers until the dish is full (last layer should be mousse).
  4. Leave enough sauce to dot around the top in large splodges, and then marble with a toothpick for the pretty marbled effect.
  5. Pipe whipped cream around the edges and scatter the toasted almonds. Ready to serve and eat as much to your heart’s desire ;).



Snickers Peanut Butter, Caramel & Chocolate Cream Pie

2 Oct img_3289

This recipe is hands down one of the best creations I’ve made to date! It was inspired by a girl boss inspiration of mine – Marissa Carter, owner of Cocoa Brown Tan and baking queen extraordinaire. The minute I saw her making this beauty on snapchat I had to get baking at the weekend. The original version had solely peanut butter however I adapted it to make this drool worthy snickers version.

Without further ado, I give you the best thing you will EVER make:



  • 1 & 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 cup salted butter (cold)
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2  cup water (as needed)


  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter


  • 2 & 1/2 cups full fat milk
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tin cooked condensed milk (Caramel – see note below)

NOTE: Boil condensed milk tin on high/medium heat in a saucepan of water covering it for 2 hours. You can buy condensed milk already boiled as Nestle brand ‘Caramel’ or dulce de leche)


  • 500ml cream
  • 150g salted peanuts
  • 75g milk chocolate
  • 75g dark chocolate


1 x 9″ pie tin (deep). Can also be done in a tart tin


To make the pastry, Blitz all ingredients in a food processor EXCEPT the water until fine crumbs form. Add enough water to make it into a smooth dough, then chill in the fridge for 15-30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (fan). Roll out the dough until it reaches about half a cm in thickness then blind bake the pastry shell in the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown. (Line tin with parchment & fill with baking beans to blind bake)

Meanwhile, make the peanut butter ‘nuggets’ by tipping the icing sugar and peanut butter in a bowl and beating with an electric whisk until dry nuggets form. NOTE do not over beat as it will turn into an icing.

Once the shell has cooled start the filling. Mix 1/2 cup milk with the cornflour in a bowl. Add remaining milk to pan & heat until steaming. Whisk in cornflour and heat mixture until it thickens, then add the vanilla, peanut butter & caramel tin whisking until smooth. Toss the nuggets in to the base of the pie shell, then pour in the filling on top. Cover with cling film & leave to firm up and cool in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

To make the toppings, heat 50 ml of the cream with the two types of chocolate until melted – i usually do this in 30 second bursts in the microwave. Leave sauce to cool. Whip the remaining cream. Take the pie out of the fridge and spread generously with whipped cream , topping with plenty of salted peanuts and dousing the entire pie with chocolate ganache sauce.

Happy baking – I promise you won’t be disappointed with this one 😉




Coffee & Hazelnut Praline Cake

28 Aug IMG_2039

Hello all!


Apologies for my writing hiatus as of late, as some of you may or may not know from my instagram I was eating my way around America for the last couple of weeks. But, to make it up to you I have one of the best cakes I’ve made to date – Coffee & Hazelnut Praline cake! It’s a relatively simple cake to put together and of course can be made without praline but trust me – it’s worth the little extra time it takes. If you were to leave the praline out, you could decorate with roasted pecans or walnuts or even dip them in caramel for a shiny finish.

Anyhoo, I’ll stop babbling and give you the recipe to this beauty….



Cake batter

225g (8oz) soft salted butter

225g (8oz) caster sugar

4 eggs

225g (8oz) plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 generous tbsp Irel coffee essence

(Note: Irel is coffee essence made up mostly of chicory – Irel can be very hard to find nowadays so any coffee essence will suffice, but try find Irel if you can as it has the best flavour for this by far. I never use real coffee in a coffee cake as I don’t think it has the same taste)

Hazelnut Praline

140g (5oz) Skinned Hazelnuts

140g (5oz) caster sugar

Coffee Butter Cream

150g (9oz) butter

330g (16oz) sieved icing sugar

2-4 tbsp Irel coffee essence (2 for a milder tasting icing, 4 for a  stronger one)

Equiptment: 2 x 8″ sandwich tins


Heat the oven to 170 degrees celsius. Grease the sandwich tins with butter and line the bases  with circles of greaseproof paper.Beat the soft butter with the sugar in a mixer bowl, add the caster sugar and whisk until pale in colour and light. Mix in the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition so the mixture doesn’t split. Sieve the flour with the baking powder and stir gently into the cake mixture.Finally, add in the coffee essence and mix thoroughly. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared sandwich tins and bake for 30 minutes.

While the cakes are baking, make the praline. To skin the hazelnuts, I roasted them in a moderate oven of 160 degrees C for 10 minutes so that they didn’t roast but their skins fell off. Note: this is not a necessary step, but I find hazelnut skins can be bitter. Then sprinkle the sugar in an even layer in a frying pan, tossing the hazelnuts on top. Heat on a moderate/high heat until the caramel has turned a deep golden amber and you can hear the nuts begin to ‘pop’ – this means they are toasted. Be careful not to stir with a spoon as the caramel can seize, but I swirl the pan to ensure they cook evenly. Then pop out the mixture on to a sheet of greaseproof paper on a cold surface and leave to cool. Once cool, blitz in a food processor until it turns to a course rubble with some smaller/bigger bits.

When the cakes are cooked, the centre will be firm and springy and the edges will have shrunk from the sides of the tins.Leave to rest in the tins for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.Remove the greaseproof paper from the base, and then flip over so the top of the cakes don’t get marked by the wire rack.Leave the cakes to cool on the wire rack.

To make the coffee butter cream, whisk the butter with the sieved icing sugar and add the coffee essence.Continue to whisk until light and fluffy.When cakes are cooled, divide the coffee butter cream evenly and ice the top and sides of the cake. When they are ices, grab handfuls of the praline and and hold them up to the sides of the cake, coating it in an even praline coating. It’s easiest to do this while the cake is placed on a wire rack as any extra praline will fall under and can be reused.

Note: You could half the sandwich cakes making a four layer cake, which would look even more impressive!

Happy Sunday baking!







Nutty pecan, pumpkin, & cinnamon granola

20 Jul IMG_1898

Hello all!

I haven’t had the time I’d like this summer to dedicate to the blog. I’ve been here there and everywhere (literally), so I’m finally taking a breather from travel/work/general busy-beeing this week to catch up on a few things in my life.

Namely, my room looks like a post earthquake scene and my ‘healthy diet’ regime has been shattered into pieces with all of my non stop going. BUT, this is the week I become my slightly more functioning human self which will be helped by a huge bake up of this glorious granola. Like anyone, I always find it so much easier to eat healthier when I have food ready on hand. I normally make up a large batch of this granola at the start of the week, eventually munching my way through it with Greek Yoghurt, Berries/apples/mango (any type of fruit does the trick) topped off with an extra shake of cinnamon.

There are oats in this granola, which are low GI (Glycaemic Index) meaning they release their energy more slowly, keeping you fuller for longer. Cinnamon also can lower blood sugar levels meaning you won’t have that spike of initial energy and crash straight away after. The ideal ‘I’m getting my $h!t together to be healthy’ kind of breakfast!

So without further ado, I present to you the most scrummiest healthy granola you’ll ever make…. (I’m not biased or anything…)

Makes enough to give roughly 10 servings


  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 50g pecan nuts (split them in halves)
  • 150g jumbo oats (this is important- I find the smaller rolled oats too ‘bitty’)
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 generous tbsp honey (You can use maple syrup too although the granola will not be as sweet)
  • 1/2 or 1 tsp cinnamon (depending on how strong a cinnamon taste you like)

NOTE: I like these blend of seeds and nuts but you can substitute them for anything you like. Almonds work very well in this recipe also.


  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  2. Melt the coconut oil and honey together in a medium pot over a low/medium heat until they start to bubble.
  3. While this is melting, weigh out your dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to the coconut oil/honey mixture and stir well until all ingredients are combined.
  4. Place granola on a baking tray lined with parchment.
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes keeping a close eye as the granola can burn easily.
  6. Once baked until golden and nutty brown, remove from the oven and let cool. Break the granola up, smashing half into small pieces and keeping the other half large clusters.


IMG_1888IMG_1890 (2)


Chocolate, Salted Peanut & Honeycomb squares

22 Apr IMG_1817

I cannot describe how absolutely scrummy these chocolate bites are. I stumbled across this recipe once in Nigella’s ‘Kitchen’ book (who else, seeing as these are the epitome of over-the-top indulgence). The salty crunch of the peanuts, with the dark, rich chocolate with a bit of chew and sweetness from the honeycomb results in a confection that only dreams are made of!

Nigella uses crunchie bars in her original recipe, however I made my own honeycomb in place of this. Either works great, but I find the homemade honeycomb gives a slightly crunchier/chewier texture as the crunchie bars often go soft after a few days of the squares being cut. It’s essential to use good quality chocolate here – I use Belgian Callebeaut chocolate buttons. That nasty ‘chocolate flavoured’ cooking stuff they claim to be chocolate just won’t do.

Anyhoo, I’ll stop babbling and just give you the recipe to these little beauties… You can thank me later…


For the honeycomb (make this first and leave to set before starting the squares)

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the chocolate squares

  • 200g dark chocolate buttons
  • 100g milk chocolate buttons
  • 125g salted butter
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 250g salted peanuts
  • 160-180g of honeycomb
  • square tin 24 x 24 cm lined with parchment paper or cling film



  1. Put the sugar and syrup into a saucepan and stir together to mix. Don’t stir once it’s on the heat as the sugar will crystalize. You can swish the pan around to mix if necessary. (Picture 1)
  2. Place the pan on the heat and let the mixture first melt, then turn to liquid and then let it bubble until it turns the colour of maple syrup (see picture 3) – this will take 3 minutes or so.
  3. Off the heat, whisk in the bicarbonate of soda and watch the syrup turn into a whooshing cloud of aerated pale gold. Turn this immediately onto a piece of reusable baking parchment or greased foil.
  4. Leave until set and then chop roughly with a heavy knife.

Chocolate Squares

  1. In a saucepan, melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup together in a saucepan on a low heat. NOTE: Be careful here as the chocolate can easily catch and burn.
  2. Tip the peanuts into a bowl and add in the honeycomb.
  3. Take the melted chocolate mixture off the heat and stir in the peanuts and honeycomb pieces then tip straight into the lined square tin.  Smooth the top of the mixture and put it in the fridge for about four hours before cutting into cubes/slices as desired.


Pecan Brownies

23 Mar DSCN1022

Hello all!

With Easter coming up, I thought it was rather fitting to do a chocolate themed post. If you need some Easter cake inspiration, check out my previous post by clicking here.

So for anyone who knows of the Perry Street Market Cafe in Cork, you might know how totally irrestable their brownies are. They do them in a few different flavours, but white chocolate is by far my favourite! As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I was told I have an egg intolerance. I mostly try to keep off them as I definitely find a vast improvement in my skin health when I do, however sometimes I just have to splurge (namely, every time I visit Perry Street to have one of those sacred brownies).

In an effort to recreate their dreamy confection, I stumbled across Jamie Oliver’s ‘vegan’ brownies. I, myself am not vegan, however I find vegan recipes convenient for when I am  trying my best to steer clear of all things eggy. As it is solely eggs I avoid, I often adapt these recipes to suit my needs. I fed these brownies to the family troops and not one of them noticed there wasn’t an egg in sight. Success! The pictures just don’t do them justice! They are honestly the most gooey and delicious brownies and by FAR the best egg free substitute I’ve made to date!

Of course, if you’d like to make the original vegan version, follow the link to the original recipe here.

So here it is! My ‘non vegan version of Jamie O’s vegan brownies minus the eggs’ version. I couldn’t put that as the title now, could I?!


  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 60 g butter (salted) plus extra for greasing
  • 200 g  dark chocolate chopped or in buttons
  • 170 g self-raising flour
  • 3 heaped teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 180 g caster sugar
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 230 ml whole milk (pour in gradually, may not need all of it)
  • 200 g pecan nuts
  • Handful milk chocolate buttons


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease a square baking tin (roughly 20cm) with a little butter, then line with greaseproof paper.

Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base doesn’t touch the water. Break 150g of chocolate into the bowl and allow it to melt, then set aside to cool slightly. Melt the butter and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, sieve the flour and cocoa powder into a large bowl, then stir in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Stir in the oil, butter, milk and melted chocolate until just combined.

Stir in the remaining chocolate, the handful of milk chocolate buttons and most of the pecans, reserving a few for the top. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading it out evenly. Sprinkle over the remaining pecans, then place into the hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked on the outside, but still gooey in the middle. (NOTE: Very important not to overcook brownies as they will not be gooey and soft and DELICIOUS. I normally bake mine for 16-20 minutes, with 25-30 minutes producing a more cakey like textured brownie)

Leave to cool for around 5 minutes, turn out onto a wire cooling rack. I love mine just warm with a scoop of plain vanilla ice cream. As they say in Cork, ‘You can’t bate it!’.

Happy eating!

– Rachel