Thursday, September 30, 2010

Macaron Gelato Sandwiches

I find that the weather is a huge influence on what I bake. With this week’s weather turning hot and humid I found myself daydreaming about ice-cream. I remember in the summer holidays when I was little, my Nanna would make my brother and I ice cream sandwiches. She would use pre-packaged rectangles of vanilla ice cream (I forget what they’re called) and sandwich them between two wafers.

Inspired by the frozen treats of my childhood, I decided to make something a little more fancy than the ice cream sandwich, gelato macaron sandwiches.

For the macarons I used the same recipe I have used previously from I love macarons by Hisako Ogita. One day I’ll try out the Italian method but for now I’m just getting comfortable using the French meringue method of making macarons. I cheated with the gelato and picked up a couple of flavours from my favourite gelato place, strawberry and caramel macadamia.

Macarons plus gelato equals love, seriously! It may take a little while to work out how to go about eating them without squishing gelato all over yourself. Sure you could use one of the cute little gelato spoons or you can embrace the mess, it’s all part of the ice cream sandwich fun!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Raspberry Mulberry Crumble Pie

It has been cold and rainy for most of the week, the kind of weather that always gets me down. Plus I kinda feel like I might be getting a cold. Bummer!

The perfect pick me up for a dreary week? Pie! Seriously pie and icecream can cure almost anything.

Quite some time ago boyfriends Mum gave me the Delicious. Sweet cookbook, it has so many great looking recipes in it but this is the first time I’ve tried one. The recipe in the book is for raspberry pie but I also used mulberries, the tree in my little yard just won’t stop growing them.

The crumble topping was definelty my favorite part of this pie, the cinnamon made it so yummy. My only little teensy weensy complaint about this pie is that the berries were a little bit tart for my liking, but that’s easy fixed with a scoop of icecream. I don't think I'm every going to find a pie I love more than my farvorite caramel apple pie, but this is definelty up there.

Raspberry and Mulberry Crumble Pie (based on a recipe from Delicious. Sweet)

1 ½ cups plain flour
150 grams chilled butter (cubed)
55 grams caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water

600 grams berries (I used half raspberries half mulberries)
150 grams caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour

¾ cup plain flour
1/2 cup ground almond meal
115 grams chilled butter (cubed)
30 grams caster sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

To make the pastry, place flour and butter in a bowl. Using your fingertips, rub together until mix resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar, egg and water, mix together to form a soft dough. Press the dough into a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is chilling, mix the berries, sugar and cornflour in a bowl and set aside.

In a second bowl mix together almond meal and flour, add the butter cinnamon and 30 grams of sugar and mix with fingertips to form a soft crumble.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees c. Grease a 25cm loose bottom tart pan. Roll out pastry between 2 sheets of non-stick paper to 5mm thick and line tart pan.

Line the pastry with baking paper and pastry weights or uncooked rice. Blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove paper and weights and bake for another 5 minutes until golden.

Add the raspberry and mulberry filling and top with crumble mixture.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the crumble is golden.

Serve warm or cold with icecream or custard.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Army Man Cookies

These cookies are probably the furthest things from cute and pink that I have posted so far. Sometimes its hard not to only bake pretty things, I'm a girl its what I do. The thing about boys though is that not many of them share my love of pink, they like brown and green and playing with toys in the mud.

So when it came to making something for a good friends Birthday I decided on cookies based on the toys that most guys I know grew up with. Sugar cookies inspired by little plastic green and grey army men toys.

Happy Birthday Benny!

For the cookies

2 cups plain flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (one stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the cookies: Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. On a low speed gradually add dry ingredients, mix until combined.

Flatten dough into a disk, wrap in clingwrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Take dough out of the fridge and let soften till workable.

Place the dough between sheets of baking paper and roll out to around ½ to ¾ centimetre thick. Place sheet in the freezer until firm.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees c. Line trays with non stick paper.

Cut out the man cookies and place on lined trays about 3cms apart. (If the dough has softened a lot, chill again before baking to ensure the cookies keep there shape)

Bake cookies until just coloured around the edges, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool on baking trays.

For the Royal Icing

4 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup meringue powder
2-3 tablespoons water (as needed)
green, black and brown food colourings

To make the icing- add all the ingredients into a medium bowl, beat the ingredients about 7 minutes until smooth. If the icing is too thick add a little more water at a time. (Thin the icing as needed when flooding the cookies)

Using a fine piping tip, outline each of the cookies. Allow the outlines to set before flooding with icing.

To make the camouflage randomly dot the cookies with each of the colours. Using a toothpick spread out the colours and slightly swirl together. Allow the icing to set hard.

Eat them up.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mulberry Muffins

My little garden had really picked up its game these last few months, first with the passionfruit and now mulberries. The best part is I didn’t have to do any work to get them, spring came and bam mulberries everywhere!

So now I have a billion berries but am not really sure what to do with them. I can’t remember seeing any recipes using mulberries. Does anyone have any ideas? I thought about maybe using them in a pie.

Not wanting the hungry birdies to beat me to all of the best berries, I picked all the ripe ones I could reach and made some quick mulberry muffins.

The slightly tart berries work really nicely with the sweetness of the cake, the cooked berries are almost like little pockets of jam dotted through the muffins.

My favorite part? The colour, the swirls of pinky purple inside the mulberry muffins definitely impressed me.

For the Muffins
(addapted from basic muffins in The Essential Baking Cookbook)

2 ½ cups self raising flour
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
1 ½ cups of milk
150 grams butter (melted and cooled)
250 grams ripe mulberries

To make the Muffins- Grease a regular size 12 hole muffin tin. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees c.

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar to the flour and stir through. Make a well in the dry ingredients.

In a jug mix together the milk, eggs and vanilla.

Pour the liquid into the well in the dry ingredients and add the cooled butter.

Gently fold the ingredients together with a metal spoon until just combined. Be careful not to over mix the muffins or they will be tough and rubbery.

Gently fold in the mulberries. The mixture will be rather lumpy.

Spoon the muffin mix evenly into the muffin tin, fill each about ¾ full.

Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes, until they are risen and golden and bounce back when poked.

Let the muffins cool in the tray for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sea Themed Cupcakes

These cupcakes were a father’s day gift for my dad, this post is a little late as father’s day was almost a week ago, sorry.

I thought sea themed cupcakes would be cute idea, Dad just got back from a cruise the day before I seen him.

For the cupcakes I used the same snickers cupcake recipe I made a few weeks ago only minus the chocolate frosting. For the blue frosting I replaced the peanut butter for vanilla buttercream.

For the sand I used crushed digestive biscuits, they are the Australian equivalent to graham crackers. I guess they are called digestives because of the wholemeal, but a little statement on the side of the pack made me giggle, it informed that the biscuits do nothing to aid in the digestion process.

For the cupcake toppers I made shark fins and life rings out of fondant. Sadly because of the weather the shark fins were still too soft when i took the pictures.

Boyfriend enjoyed the beach and life ring cupcakes, he said they were sand-sational. Shakes head.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pistachio Macarons

Spring is here and it’s not fooling around, over night it changed from cool to really warm. I've realised I love changing seasons, well probably not spring to summer, but I'm a big fan of the others.

Things I have loved about the first week of spring- Flowery dresses, no need to wear tights for the first time in months, my garden is going crazy, baby ducks (Mums duck hatched 17 ducklings) and picnics.

Ok so macarons and pink soda is not quite a picnic, but it worked for me. This is the first time I've made non vanilla macarons and was so very happy with the result. The pistachio macarons worked perfectly with the mildly honey flavoured white chocolate ganache.

Pistachio Macarons with Honey White Chocolate Ganache
adapted from I love macarons by Hisako Ogita

For the macarons

2/3 cup (85grams) ground almonds
1 ½ cups pure icing sugar (150 grams)
1/3 cup ground pistachios (45 grams)
3 large eggs whites (room temp)
65 grams caster sugar
Green food colouring
Extra ground pistachio (for sprinkling)

To make the macarons- Line a baking tray with baking paper. On baking paper draw 1 ½ inch circles spaced at least ½ an inch apart.

Sift together the powdered sugar, ground pistachios and almond meal, then sift again.

Beat egg whites in a stainless steel mixing bowl until foamy. Gradually add the caster sugar and beat to form stiff glossy peaks.

Beat in a drop of food colouring. (The pistachios alone make the mix a nice colour already, I just wanted them a touch more green)

Add half of the sifted almond, pistachio and powdered sugar, fold in with a spatula. Stir in second half of dry ingredients till combined.

Spread and scoop the mixture against the side of the bowl, repeat this at least 15 times. (This step is what gives the macarons their shine, doing it too much may leave oily marks on the macaron shell.)

When the mix is firm and runs slowly from the spatula it is done.

Pour the batter into a piping bag fitted with a 0.4 inch tip. Pipe batter into the centre of the drawn circles, keeping the piping tip close to the surface to avoid forming peaks.

Give the base of the baking tray a good tap on a flat surface.

Top each of the macarons with a sprinkle of ground pistachio.

Rest the piped macarons for about half an hour, until the mix no longer sticks to your finger when touched and surface is smooth.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees c. Position racks toward the middle to bottom of the oven.

Bake the macarons for 16-20 minutes until crisp on the outside and soft but cooked inside.

When macarons and completely cool sandwich with ganache.

For the ganache

3/5 cup (100 ml) whipping cream
100 grams white chocolate (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon honey

To make the ganache- place chocolate in a bowl. In a small saucepan bring honey and cream to the boil. Pour boiling cream over chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is melted and mix is smooth and glossy. Cool the ganache to room temperature and chill slightly in the fridge. When cool continue whisking until thick and lighter in colour. Spread or pipe between macarons.

Friday, September 3, 2010


For a long time I have been searching for spice jars, finally I found exactly what I was looking for. I seen a great idea using spice jars filled with sprinkles as a wall feature, I only wish I could remember where I saw it. Before now my sprinkles where sadly hidden away in a container in the pantry. I managed to find the perfect little jars now I just need to find or build some shelves. For now my pretty jars of colour are living above my cook books.