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Granny’s Jam Drops

7 Apr

One of my favourite childhood memories is eating home made jam drops. I would carefully nibble the biscuit around the jam centre and once there was no more biscuit to hold I would pop the little jam filled well in my mouth.

jam drops

My Rooster also loves jam drops, however until today he had only had the supermarket variety. This is something that needed to change.

The recipe I have is the same recipe my great grandmother (aka Granny) used to make, I think I just remember eating hers, I definitely remember eating Nanny’s and my Mum’s though.

To make them you need

120g butter

3/4 cup of sugar

2 eggs

2 cups of plain flour

2 tsp of baking powder

a splash of milk if needed for consistency

your favourite jam

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Start by creaming the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs and beat well,

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gradually add flour and baking powder, if necessary add a splash of milk for a smooth consistency, I didn’t need to do this, so you most likely won’t either.


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Roll teaspoon fulls of the dough into balls and place on a lined tray.

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Now you need to make little wells for the jam to sit in.  I found using my knuckle gave the best results, a nice round deep well to hold all that lovely jam.

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Spoon in your favourite jam, we used strawberry.

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Now bake for about 15 minutes at 160ºC

My mini men couldn’t wait to get into these, they hadn’t even cooled before they were munching away on them.

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Rooster declared they were the best jam drops ever, so much better than the supermarket ones, which made me feel happy as he often is not fussed on the home made versions of his favourite bakery/supermarket treats.

I already have a request for a second batch for his soccer carnival next month.

They were just as perfect as I remembered them too.

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Paleo macadamia Salted caramel

24 Dec

 

 

 

 

One of the most vivid memories of my childhood is sitting on the concrete out the front of my grandma’s house with a hammer and a bag of macadamias, balancing the nuts precariously on the cracks in the concrete then hitting them with the hammer. Trying to put just the right amount of pressure to crack the shell without smashing the nut is an art form.

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Macadamias are such a summer treat here in Australia so when I found this recipe I knew I just had to make it and amidst all the naughty Christmas treats that are laden with gluten and refined sugar it is something a little more Paleo friendly.

I came across this recipe via Pinterest (where else?) .

It comes from Kitsa’s Kitchen and she called it Macadamia Christmas Crunch.

 

 

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This recipe is so simple it’s silly.

1 cup of raw honey

250g butter or ghee

1 cup macadamias

salt

Place the honey and butter in a saucepan together and boil. According to the recipe it should reach toffee stage, however I found the honey just did not heat the same way sugar does and mine never made it to that stage. If yours does great, if not don’t worry.

Now add macadamias, I used plain macadamias, I think they might have been ever so slightly roasted as they didn’t have the waxiness fresh out of the shell nuts have. Also add some sea salt, a teaspoon or two, whatever your taste is.

Pour it into a lined tray. I added more nuts to mine as I didn’t think there was enough and I sprinkled some more salt on top

Then pop it in the fridge until set.

DSC_1133Mine was more like caramel than toffee and melted easily out of the fridge. They were completely unsuitable for taking to work to share with my workmates as they melted and stuck to the plate during the drive and then needed to be pried off the plate with a knife.

They are much better suited to a little soirée at home where they can be served directly from the fridge.

Now let me tell you about how they taste.

Pure, buttery, melt in your mouth bliss, with a kick of salt and the delightful creaminess of the nuts. I dare you to try and stop at one, I couldn’t.

These could possibly be the best caramels I have ever tasted, honey makes a far superior caramel to sugar. I am disappointed though that I could not get it to boil hotter so that it was more of a cruchier texture more like peanut brittle, that would have been perfection.

 

Gingerbread Part Two

23 Dec

I make gingerbread bikkies most years. I don’t have a go to recipe, I usually do something different every year.
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This year I used the Iced Ginger Cookie recipe from the Sweet Treats from the Lime lounge Cafe book

Ingredients

125g butter

100g brown sugar

1 egg yolk (I added a whole egg as well)

90g golden syrup

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1 tsp bicarb soda

3 1/2 tsp ground ginger

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Method

Preheat oven to 180ºC and line tray with baking paper.

Beat butter, sugar and egg yolk until creamy

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Add syrup and beat again.

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Sift flour, bicarb and ginger and fold into mixture.

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At this point the mixture was very crumbly and not coming together like dough should (see the above picture) so I added an egg and beat it all until it was beautifully smooth (the picture below).

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The recipe doesn’t insist on it, but I did refrigerate my dough for about 30 minutes before rolling and cutting shapes.

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The recipes suggests baking them for 30 minutes, but I suggest 15 minutes, and definitely no more than 20.

Cool them on a wire rack.

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I used a store bought royal icing to ice the bikkies. I just piped simple patterns on to them as I was doing it late at night and just couldn’t be bothered with anything elaborate.

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The Minimen took them to daycare to share with their classes.
They both gave them the thumbs up.
I really liked this recipe, it made a lot of crisp little mouthfuls of ginger yumminess.




Gingerbread Part One

22 Dec

I love Christmas time. I love baking new things and old favourites.

Gingerbread is a festive favourite, This year I made both a cake and biscuits. This post will be dedicated to the cake.
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I had never made or tasted gingerbread cake before but the picture in this recipe drew me in and made me believe I needed to eat it.

         Treacle Gingerbread

125g butter, chopped
2/3 cup (160ml) treacle
1/3 cup (70g) dark brown sugar
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
1/2 cup (115g) chopped glace ginger
1 1/2 tbs ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1/2 cup (125ml) buttermilk
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  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 8x30cm bar pan with baking paper.
  2. Combine the butter, treacle and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Combine the flour, glace ginger, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a bowl. Add the eggs, buttermilk and treacle mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.

  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing a whisked 2 egg whites until they were fluffy, then added about 2 cups of icing sugar and 1 tbs flour and the juice of 1 lemon.

I decorated the cake with a cute little snowman and tree I bought from the supermarket.

The cake tasted delicious, however it was a bit on the dry side. It was really quick to whip up, which I love.


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Drop,back tomorrow and I’ll share the cookies I made!

 

Paleo vanilla cupcakes with not so paleo strawbery icing

1 Dec

This week both my blender and food processor have given up on me. I am quite beside myself with grief.

Fortunately my mixer works just fine, so to console myself I made some delicious paleo vanilla cupcakes using this cake recipe from Paleo Fondue.

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They have the not so paleo addition of white choc chips, they are also iced with not so paleo buttercream.

and since white chocolate goes so well with strawberries I added fresh strawberries into the butter cream, which is simply butter and icing sugar.

imageThe buttercream is decadent and tastes just like strawberry heaven.

The cake is moist and fabulous, it uses a combination of arrowroot and coconut flour which I think is a good combination. I have only used arrowroot by itself previously and I find it can have a bitter aftertaste, the addition of the sweet coconut flour masks this and although the raw flour had a distinctly coconut flavour, I couldn’t detect that in the baked cake. It also has both coconut sugar and honey, I think one of these would probably be enough sweetner as the cake is super sweet and caramely.

This will definitely be my new go to vanilla cake recipe.

 

Little Stacks of Heaven

11 Nov

Despite pavlova being a traditional Australian/New Zealand dessert I had never actually tried it until a few years ago. It is a favourite of my husband’s and he often has me whip one up for him.DSC_0972

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with pav it is basically one big pile of meringue which is crunchy on the outside and fluffy and soft on the inside, topped with whipped cream and seasonal fruit. We are not too fussed on the fluffy middle, to me it has a slight raw egg flavour so I make a variation on the traditional pav by making several thin rounds of meringue and layer them with cream and strawberries to make a pavlova stack.  These thin layers are mostly crunchy with a bit of chewy gooiness in the middle and no raw egg flavour.DSC_0968

As it is my husbands birthday this week (and this happens to be my 100th post)  I thought I would make these cute individual Mini Pavlova Stacks.

The recipe I use is simple and super easy.

6 egg whites, (I can’t bear the waste of throwing away the yolks so they are in the freezer and there may be some ice cream in my near future)

1 1/2  cups of caster sugar

3 tsp cornflourDSC_0949

Whip whites and sugar in an electric mixer on high until thick and glossy, I did it for about 5 minutes.DSC_0952

Line several baking trays with baking paper and sprinkle with cornflour. I also draw circles on the paper to use as a guide when spreading the meringue.
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Spoon or pipe equal amounts of meringue onto the paper and spread it out using the circles to ensure they are all an equal size and shape.

Pop them in an oven preheated to 120 degrees Celsius for roughly an hour, they should sound hollow when tapped. Turn the oven off but don’t remove them just yet, leave the oven door ajar and let them sit in the oven for another hour or so to dry out.DSC_0964

If they don’t readily come away from the paper then they haven’t dried out enough, I just put mine back in the oven for a little longer. However, it is my experience that some meringues just don’t want to play nicely. Out of the 18 rounds I made 2 were not interested in behaving correctly and consequently were smashed.DSC_0963

Now it is time to put the stack together!

Whip up some cream layer one meringue, cream, fruit of your choice, berries, tropical fruits like mango, kiwi and passionfruit or stone fruits like peaches or nectarines are definitely the best, repeat layers twice.DSC_0971

You should definitely serve this fresh and with a scoop of very good quality vanilla ice cream!

Now go and enjoy this heavenly little treat!DSC_0973

Scooby Dooby Doo, Where are you?

4 Oct

 

Rooster turned 5 a few weeks ago and we had his party this week end just gone. Originally he had planned to have this cake with fondant kiwis on top, but as the day got closer I just had no time or energy to work with fondant, also I didn’t really like his choice of cake so I talked him out of it.

We had hired a Scooby Doo jumping castle for the party, image

so I convinced him to have a Scooby cake. The one he chose even had a cake tin with accompanying instructions

Photo courtesy of Netties Vintage Box

And I discovered I could hire it, bonus! Then the only place in Brisbane that I could hire it from did not answer their phone, email and when I drove to the shop it was closed, I rang a place in Sydney and they were unable to get it to me in time, and I did not have time to find one to buy. So, with two days till the party, I decided to wing it.

I made a slab cake (it was even a packet cake! and I hate making packet cake)

I iced the cake with butter cream

I traced the picture onto grease proof paper then on the reverse side I piped the outline in black and then pressed it onto the cake.

So far, so good!

Then I filled in the ears and tongue with pink, the eyes with white, then using a small star tip I created Scooby’s fur.

For the burger I used a skewer to spread the different layers except for the lettuce layers, I used a leaf tip for a ruffle like lettuce effect.

I piped on the collar and dog tag and added a Happy Birthday.

I was pretty impressed with myself, especially since Mr Minx told me I couldn’t do it after I had a little melt down when I was trying to figure out how I would do it.

Once again I forgot to take a photo! I am so bummed, but here is a photo of the partially eaten cake.

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21st cake

3 Oct

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It was my brother’s 21st recently and I made his cake.

I wanted to make something quite impressive so I started with a double batch of white mud cake and added cocoa to half of the batter so I ended up with one white cake and one chocolate cake. I cut the white one into two layers and the chocolate one into 3 layers.

My brother is a big fan of cookies and cream chocolate, while he was living with me last year I think it was all he ate, so I made a cookies and cream ganache to go between the layers.

I used the condensed milk butter cream I have previously used fr a crumb coat. This butter cream is so decadent, it has become my go to icing, Mr Minx will eat it straight out of the bowl!

For the decoration I chose to use the petal technique I have seen so often on Pinterest. Here is a tutorial. The great thing about this technique is that it is super easy, although time consuming, and looks super awesome!image

All you need is an off set spatula or spoon, and Wilton tips number 12, I think I had number 10 as the shop was out of 12s. If you are using more than one colour you will need more than one tip.

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Basically you just dot the icing in a line down the cake

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and then spread the dots with the spatula

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Sorry for the poor picture quality, I was sick while doing this and could only manage phone photos.

On the top of the cake I put one row of dots and spread them towards the centre of the cake. Then I topped it with Oreo truffles. These were so easy to make, I used a packet of Oreos and a packet of cream cheese, popped them in the food processor and wizzed them up, made little balls and then coated them in melted chocolate.

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The cake was a pretty big hit, the family were impressed. The cake was pretty delicious, although very sweet, I couldn’t finish my piece. I forgot to take photos of the cake until we were at the restaurant so they are a bit dark, but you get the idea.

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Mermaid Tales

19 Sep

I feel so neglectful of my little blog. There has been so much going on in my house recently I hardly have time for basic human needs let alone blogging!

We have started on the next phase of our renovation, so I have been trying to organise our new front door, windows, other building materials, asbestos removal, the BA, Owner Builder permits, the new walk in wardrobe and the mortgage. In a midst all this we have had two birthdays, mine and Rooster’s.

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This was the front of our house at the start of last weekend.

 

Since Rooster has been around my birthday is usually spent preparing for his, this year I decided I was going to have a cake and a little celebration though. We had a few friends around for a BBQ and I made a Mermaid cake. In this post I will tell you the story of the cake, forgive me for the lack of photos, it just completely slipped my mind to take any during the making process.

For the cake I wanted something a little different from the usual stock standard chocolate so I chose a passionfruit buttermilk cake. Here is the recipe I used.

Passionfruit Buttermilk Cake

250g butter softened

1 cup caster sugar

3 eggs separated

2 cups S.R flour

3/4 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have butter milk mix 1 tbs vinegar to 1 cup of milk and let sit until curdled)

1/4 cup passionfruit pulp ( I think I used double this amount)

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, beat in yolks one at a time, stir in flour, buttermilk and passionfruit.

Beat whites until soft peaks appear fold into cake batter.

Pour into cake pan (I used a round 24cm pan) and bake in oven preheated to 160 degrees Celsius for 40 minutes or cooked through.

Due to the amount of cakes I am making for everyone’s birthdays I started colouring the fondant several weeks ago. For my cake I needed some variegated blue for the back ground. To do this I made a light and dark blue then made them into sausages and wrapped them around each other, then rolled it into a ball so that when it was rolled out the colours would swirl together.

Underneath the fondant I chose to use white ganache, which was something I have never done before. I made it in a 2:1 ratio like I do with dark chocolate ganache, however I have since read that white ganache should be made in a 3:1 ratio. So my ganache was soft but I forged ahead with the cake not knowing the problems it would cause later.

I rolled out the blue swirled fondant, rolled it up and put it on the cake, no problem, at least until I realised some of the fondant had stuck together and I had a big blog of unwanted fondant on the top of the cake. I tried to pull it off but it wouldn’t budge, I tried to smooth it out but due to the soft ganache it wasn’t providing the support I needed to be able to do that and I would have torn the fondant. In the end I just placed the mermaid over that spot and managed to cover most of the mistake. I also had an air bubble, put I was able to pop that with a skewer and there wasn’t much of a mark left.

To make the mermaid I just used a picture and molded the pieces on top of the picture then transferred it to the cake. I used little cut out stars,  silver cachous and some pearlescent edible powder to embellish it.

Then because of the softness of the ganache I put it in the fridge. This was the wrong move. I have put fondant covered cakes in the fridge before and not had a problem, but I think they did not have runny ganache under the fondant and the fondant may have been dried out before going in the fridge.

So a couple of days later I pulled the cake out and it was wet like someone had sprayed it with water. I panicked and ran to my best friend Google to ask “Why is my fondant wet?” and “How can I fix this?” Google suggested it was due to humidity and advised I put it in front of a fan to dry out and brush it with some corn flour.

So then my cake spent half the day in front of a fan and covered in cornflour. The fondant dried but the ganache got softer. I tempted fate by returning it to the fridge, and monitored it closely for any ill effects but it seemed fine, no more weeping. I was so relieved.

So here is the cake

You can see it is not perfect. However, it was delicious and my friends were suitably impressed!

 

 

I felt a bit like one of those over achieving supermums yesterday…..

28 Aug

DSC_0901It is strawberry season here at the moment, unfortunately we don’t grow our own, nor have I had time to go to a farm to pick our own, but they are incredibly cheap at the supermarkets and fruit stores and so delicious! I have bought many punnets lately.DSC_0888

Yesterday morning, while making Mr Minx’s green smoothie (yesterdays was almond milk, strawberry, kiwi and silverbeet) I noticed a recipe for Strawberry ricotta muffins on the inside lid of the strawberry punnet, and of course the logical thought when I have to myself ready for work and the Minimen fed, clothed and ready to leave the house in an hour was “I might whip up a batch of those now”

While the Minimen slept I raced around and got myself presentable then in super human speed I made the muffin batter and put them in the oven. Here’s the recipe courtesy of Coolhaven Farms, Beerwah.

250g strawberries, hulled and chopped roughly

2 1/2 cups of S.R flour

I tsp of ground cinnamon

2/3 cup of castor sugar (I used 1/3 stevia 1/3 castor sugar)

2 eggs

3 tbs of melted butter

1 cup of milk

1 cup of ricotta ( I used low-fat ricotta)

Mix dry (flour, sugar, cinnamon) ingredients in a large bowl and wet (butter, milk, eggs) ingredients in another bowl or jug.

Pour wet into dry and mix until just combined add ricotta and strawberries, spoon into muffin pan I like to use patty papers to make cleaning up easier. The recipe said to put a dollop of ricotta on top and sprinkle with demerara sugar, however I didn’t think the other members of my house would eat anything dolloped with ricotta and I do not have demerara sugar, nor do I really know what it is, so instead I sprinkled some brown sugar, I would have liked to put some oats on top too but once again I need them to be appealing to all members of my house.

Then I popped them in the oven, preheated to 180 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes.

While they were cooking I was able to feed the Minimen, who had woken up while I was making the batter, they wanted spaghetti on toast and there was a mini meltdown from Rooster as he didn’t want his brother having the same breakfast as him, crisis averted by sprinkling some cheese on Duckman’s spaghetti.DSC_0894

Then with the promise of fresh muffins, they got dressed without complaint, even happily put shoes on!

Then the muffins were ready!DSC_0898

They were delicious! Rooster, who usually is not fussed on home-made devoured two, and two more when he got home in the afternoon.

The Minimen went to daycare without even a hint of a melt down and I even made it to work on time, if only every morning could be like this!

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