Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Christmas, mine was lovely, I was very good this year and didn't skip any of the family do's and am very happy for it. Everyone really enjoyed their baked goods.

Ok so right now you are probably thinking what a spaz! and you know what that's cool I own up to it. Miss kitty didn't mind though, she likes playing with ribbons and she really enjoyed her presents (kitty milk and kitty food).

I’m sorry I have not baked you anything this week, I have a pretty new kitchen aid on my bench waiting to be used and still nothing. Reason one, I know that as soon as I use it it will never be perfect and shiny ever again.

Reason two, Lego Harry Potter. I don’t often play video games, mostly because I don’t have enough time but also partly because I suck at them, but Harry is the exception. Its Harry Potter, its Lego, it was Christmas holidays, it was raining and boyfriend was in trouble if he tried to get the Xbox off me.

Happy last day of 2010 and all the best for the new year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

This is a very quick post to wish you all a very Merry Christmas to! All the best for a safe and happy holiday.

I've been sucked into the craziness that has been the week before Christmas. The last 4 days have been early morning and very late nights trying to get all my Christmas baking done.

Last year I started what I think will now be my Christmas tradition, making cupcakes and sugar cookies to share with everyone.

This year it went from sharing two things too eight things, oh well I had lots of fun making it all. I may have over extended myself a little but got everything on my list done and am happy with the results.

White Chocolate Rocky Road
Fruitmince Pies
Rum Balls
White Chocolate Truffles
Eggnog Cupcakes
Christmas Jellies
Chocolate Candy Cane cookies
Gingerbread Men

Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

White Chocolate Rocky Road

Every year at Christmas for as long as I can remember my Mum or Dad always made a huge batch of rocky road, some was taken to my Grandma's, some to my Nanna's and the rest got munched on over the break. This year I decided to made my own version.

I love how easy rocky road is, it takes hardly any time to make and you can pretty much put anything you like in it. A warning, this recipe makes alot! Two whole brownie pans.

White Chocolate Rocky Road

600 grams Turkish Delight
800 grams Toasted marshmallows
500 grams White chocolate
180 grams Pistachios

To make the rocky road- line two slice tins with baking paper.

Spread pistachios evenly over a baking tray, roast in a moderate oven until fragrant. Keep and eye on them they burn quickly, and then you (me) have to make sad faces as you tip them into the rubbish.

Chop up the Turkish delight and marshmallows into chunks and mix together with nuts in a large bowl.

break up the blocks of chocolate into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate 20 seconds at a time until melted.

pour the melted chocolate over the marshmallow, Turkish delight and pistachios, mix together until everything is coated,

Spoon the rocky road mixture into prepared tins and spread out evenly.

Cover the the rocky road with cling wrap and refrigerate until set.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gingerbread Men

Gingerbread men were probably one of the first things I ever baked on my own, I made a big box for each of my grandmas for Christmas. I can’t remember how old I was, but I have made gingerbread every Christmas since.

I love this recipe, I use it every single time I make gingerbread. It's super easy and doesn't even matter how many times you re-roll the dough, the cookies always turn out perfect. The beautiful biscuits book is probably the oldest cookbook I own, well actually I think I stole it from my Mum, I hope she doesn't mind.

This year my gingerbread men look a little different, they have had an unfortunate encounter with some hungry mouths.

This little guy is as happy as a gingerbread man can be.

Safe to say this guy is disappointed and more than a little bit cranky that someone decided to eat his leg.

And this little guy, well he is just plain shocked!!

Gingerbread Men
(From Womens Weekly, The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits)

125 grams butter
½ cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
1 egg yolk
2 ½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons ground ginger
2 ½ tablespoons golden syrup

To make the cookies- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add egg yolk and beat well.

Gradually add sifted dry ingredients and golden syrup, mix until all ingredients are incorporated.

Knead dough lightly and divide into six pieces.

Roll out each portion of gingerbread dough in between 2 sheets of baking paper, dough should be about 3mm thick.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees c.

Cut out the gingerbread figures, using a small flower shaped cutter cut off arms or legs to look like bite marks.

Remove any excess dough from around the cut-out figures.

Transfer the baking paper and cookie cut-out onto a baking tray, bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on tray.

Royal Icing

1 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon meringue powder

To make the Royal Icing- In a small bowl mix together icing sugar, meringue powder and a little water at a time to form a think paste. Continue mixing until icing is smooth.

Using a fine piping tip, pipe on faces, arm and leg squiggles and buttons. Press candy buttons onto royal icing.

Now it's time to finish what someone started, Umm Nom Nom...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

StarWars Cookies

I really debated with myself whether or not to post these cookies, the force was definitely not with me when making them. It was very late on my Sunday night when I finally had some time to ice these, it was hot and sticky and I was in no mood for cookie decorating. I was impatient and didn't wait long enough for my first colour icing to dry before poorly piping on the details so they're a bit blurry, I just wanted to go to bed.

They sugar cookies were still yummy and I was pleased with how the cutters worked. I used the same cookie and royal icing recipes as for my army men cookies.

Oh well, I still think the Yoda ones look kinda cute and I did get to test out my new cookie cutters so it wasn't a complete loss.

Friday, December 10, 2010

KitchenAid Colours?

It is possible that I might be a super dooper lucky girl this Christmas.
A KitchenAid mixer of my very own. Swoons.
The only problem.. and its a big one! What colour would I choose?
I am so very torn.

There's the ice blue.

Or the pink.

Or the pistachio.

Or the red.

Or the practical side of me even suggests the cream.

I just don't know, I'm indecisive at the best of times.

... An update, I think I've decided on the ice blue.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

It’s really feeling like Christmas now, my tree is up, I’ve been wrapping presents, it’s about time for some cookies!

Walking past Mrs Fields cookies the other day I noticed they had a number of Christmas themed cookies, the candy cane topped caught my eye. I thought to myself, yum! they would make great gifts, so picked up what I needed and recreated them at home.

These candy cane cookies are really quick and easy to make and are soo chocolately delicious, if you don’t like chocolate I’d probably skip this recipe. The bit of crunch from the crushed candy cane is probably what made me fall in love with these cookies, a definite two thumbs up.

This recipe makes about 40 cookies, 35 of which are sitting as balls of dough in my freezer waiting to be baked just before Christmas. I told myself I’d be super organized with my Christmas baking this year, I’m off to a good start so far.

Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
(adapted from Chocolate fudge cookies- Womens Weekly. Cookies, Cheesecakes, Cookies)

250 grams butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup caster sugar
¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
2 cups plain flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips

1 pack of white chocolate melts
Candy canes, crushed

To make the cookies- preheat the oven to 180 degrees c. Line baking trays with baking paper.

Sift together flour, soda and cocoa powder.

In a bowl beat together butter, sugars, vanilla and egg with electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Mix in the sifted dry ingredients, one half at a time.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls, placing about 5cm apart on baking trays.

Bake cookies for 12 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool on trays.

Once the cookies have cooled dip half of the cookie in melted white chocolate, sprinkle with crushed candy cane.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Coconut Ice Macarons

A warning about the post ahead... Look out! Pink overload!

I have been meaning to try out this idea for a long time, I tried to make them before I went on holidays but had run out of sugar. Gasp! I know, who does that?

With all my ingredients in order I set out making Coconut Ice inspired macaron, they turned out brilliantly! One bite and I was instantly reminded of the old time pink and white coconut treats.

Once again I used a recipe from the book I Love Macarons, it has not failed me yet. I made two batches of mixture, leaving one white for the bottoms and adding a few drops of pink colouring gel for the pink tops. Instead of vanilla extract I added half a teaspoon of coconut essence to each macaroon mixture. To add to the Coconut Ice look I sprinkled some coconut on to the tops of the pink macarons before baking.

I think these may have just been added to my list for Christmas gift baking.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fruit mince tarts

A fact about me- Up until a year or two ago I thought fruit mince pies contained fruit and minced meat, gross. It was boyfriend who finally taught me the truth about fruit mince tarts, oh how very silly I have been. In an attempt to get said boyfriend excited about Christmas time I made him some fruit mince tarts. My plan didn’t really work but at least they were yummy.

I was short on time and ingredients so used a ready made fruit mince instead of making my own. I was impressed with the store bought filling, I added a little bit of vanilla extract and cinnamon but the fruit mince is tasty enough on its own.

For the pastry-

2 cups plain flour
1/3 cup icing sugar
150 grams butter, chopped
1 egg, separated
1 tablespoon cold water
1 Tablespoon white sugar

To make the pastry- in a bowl, rub together flour, icing sugar and butter until mix resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add water and egg yolk and mix together to form a soft dough.

Cover with cling wrap and chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.

To make the Pies- preheat oven to 180 degrees c. lightly grease a standard size muffin tray.

Roll the pastry dough between two sheets of baking paper until 3mm thick.

using a circle cutters cut out 10 larger circles for the bases and 10 smaller circles for the tops. Re-roll the remaining pastry and cut out a star for the top of each tart.

Gently press the pastry into the muffin pans.

Fill each tart with a heaped a heaped tablespoon of fruit mince filling.

Lightly brush the edges on the pastry with egg white. Cover each tart with a pastry top, gently pressing together at the edges.

Brush the top of each tart with egg white, place a pastry star on top of each tart and sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Bake tarts for about 25 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked and just golden.
Cool the tarts in the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a tray to cool completely.