Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Egg Cookies

I am loving looking at all the pretty Easter treats being made by everyone. My bloglist is full of so many beautiful Easter and spring themed cookies, cupcakes and macarons. Not wanting to feel left out I've made some on my own egg cookies based on boyfriend's Easter favorite, candy eggs. Personally I've always preferred chocolate eggs and was was always disappointed receiving sugar eggs when I was little. They sure are pretty though.

The cookies are my new favorite shortbread, decorated with royal icing and fondant. The centres are rolled white fondant, cut with a small flower shaped cutter. The roses are painted on with food colour gel and were left to dry the day before I made the cookies. After flooding the cookies with royal icing I pressed on the rose fondant cutout into the wet frosting.

I wish I was lucky enough to be having an Easter lunch or afternoon tea, I had so much fun coming up with ideas for an Easter table. It started with just a basket, then I went a little overboard.

I wish everyone a safe and happy Easter weekend, whatever your plans may be.

Running with Glitter

Thanks very much to Kelly for inviting me to the Running With Glitter Party

Monday, April 18, 2011

Glazed Pumpkin Scones

Lately I've found myself day-dreaming about pumpkin scones, well actually its a little more specific than that, I've been daydreaming about munching on a pumpkin scone, with a big coffee, on a sunny, clear Autumn day in Boston gardens. The weather here at the moment is reminding me of our holiday last year, I had read about Starbucks pumpkin scones before our trip and they were one of the first things I sort out after arriving.

There are so many versions of this recipe around, mine is a little different because it uses fresh Pumpkin. After doing a bit of searching I realized there is no such thing as pumpkin in a can in Brisbane Australia, unless I wanted to pay $6 a tin from the candy store that imports a selection of American foods. No thank you!

They mashed pumpkin worked just as well and the scones turned out exactly as I remembered, slightly orange coloured with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. As tasty as the scones are its the glaze that makes me swoon, a vanilla glaze drizzled with spiced icing, yum!

I will definitely be making them again, only next time I might make them half the size, then maybe some other people will get to share.

Pumpkin Scones (Adapted from-

2 cups all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (I used steamed, mashed fresh pumpkin)
3 tablespoons half-and-half (I used 2 tablespoons cream, 1 tablespoon milk)
1 large egg

To make the scones-Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Using a flat bladed knife or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, milk, cream (or half and half), and egg.

Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

Form the dough into a ball.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making four equal portions. Cut those four slices diagonally so that you have 8 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until scones are light brown, cool on a wire rack. (Prepare the vanilla glaze)

When scones are cool, use a pastry brush to paint the vanilla glaze over each scone and allow to set. (Prepare the spiced icing)

Drizzle the spiced icing over the top of each scone and allow to set.

Vanilla Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the vanilla glaze- Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth.

Spiced Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

To make the spiced icing- Combine the ingredient for the spiced icing together.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Raspberry White Choc-chip Hot Cross Buns

I have always wanted to like hot cross buns, I really liked the look and smell of them, but all those sultanas.. Yuck!. I hate sultanas, I'd take one bite, remember I didn't like them and then do it all over again the year after. You can imagine my excitement when shops started selling fruitless buns and then eventually choc chip buns and now all kinds of combinations. It got me thinking, what flavour would I really like? Well it had to have white chocolate chips and raspberries because they go so well together.

I haven’t had much experience with bread making but I was determined to make some of my own hot cross buns this Easter. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, they looked like hot cross buns, they smelled delicious and had the traditional sweet spiced taste. The white choc-chips and raspberries made them extra yummy, and the raspberries gave them a pretty pink swirl of colour inside.

Hot Cross Buns

2 x 7g sachets dried yeast
1/2 cup warm water
4 cups white bread flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
40 grams butter
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup water

To make the buns- place the yeast, 2 teaspoons of the flour, 1 teaspoon of the sugar and warm water in a small bowl and mix well. Leave the bowl in a warm draught free place for about 10 minutes, until the mix is frothy and increased in volume.

Sift the rest on the flour and spices into a large bowl, stir in the sugar and rub in the butter with your fingertips. Stir through the raspberries and chocolate chips.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, stir in the yeast mixture and up to 3/4 cup of water to make a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, add more flour as necessary to stop the dough sticking.

Place the dough into a large floured bowl and cover with clingwap, sit the bowl in a warm draught free place for 30-40 minutes until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c. and line a baking tray with baking paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently to deflate.

Divide the dough into 12 portions and roll into balls. Place the balls of dough on the baking tray just touching each other. Cover loosely with cling wrap and leave to sit in a warm place until nearly doubled in size. Prepare the paste for the crosses.

Pipe crosses over the tops on the buns with a piping bag.

Bake the buns for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Prepare the glaze.

Brush the glaze over the hot buns and allow to cool.

Paste for crosses

1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 teaspoon caster sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons water

To make the crosses- mix all ingredients in a small bowl to form a smooth paste.


1 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon gelatine
1 tablespoon water

To make the glaze- heat all ingredients in a small saucepan until dissolved.

Next time I'll try orange and dark chocolate chips.


Friday, April 8, 2011

New Tattoo

Remember when I said the the Tiramisu cupcakes were made as a thank you, this right here is what they were thanks for. As good as the cupcakes were they really don't make up for happy I am with my new mixer tattoo.

So so many thanks yous to you Mark VanNess, it is so much more awesome than I ever could have imagined!

I borrowed the picture from Mark's site as I haven't taken any of my own yet, I'll get some when is all healed up. (The picture was taken the next day so it was still a bit red and swollen, but oh so pretty!)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tiramisu Cupakes

I may have just found my favourite sweet! Not just my favourite cupcake, my favourite sweet treat. I know I say a lot of things are my favourite, but I really mean it this time. Every single part of these tiramisu cupcakes is delicious.

I wasn't really into tiramisu until a few years ago, about the same time I really stared enjoying coffee. Regular tiramisu is yummy but this cupcake version is tasty with an added bonus, they're portable.

These were made as a thank you (I'll show you what for in a little while). When the person they were intended for mentioned he really liked tiramisu I immediately thought of this recipe in Martha Stewart's cupcakes. The recipe is a little more involved than your usual cupcake recipe, but believe me it is well worth it.

The little cakes turned out beautifully, the extra eggs in the recipe allowed the cupcakes to soak up the all the yummy coffee liqueur syrup without getting soggy. The mascarpone cream icing is light and heavenly making these cakes the perfect little packages.

This recipe is directly from Martha Stewart Cupcakes, anything I did differently I've added in brackets.

For the Cupcakes

1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup milk
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
3 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup sugar

To make the cupcakes- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar. Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes.

Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.

Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

(While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, prepare the Coffee Syrup and allow to cool)

To finish, brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee-marsala syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used. Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes. (I found the cupcakes absorbed the syrup more evenly when I poked a few holes in the middles with a skewer. The holes also prevented the syrup spilling to the edges of the cupcakes and making the wrappers come off)

(While the cupcakes are absorbing the syrup prepare the icing)

Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving. (I used a large round piping tip to ice the cupcakes with a swirl of mascarpone cream)

For the Coffee-Marsala Syrup

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed very strong coffee (or espresso)
1 ounce marsala (I used Tia Maria instead)
1/4 cup sugar

To make the syrup- Stir together coffee, marsala, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

For the Mascarpone Frosting

1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

To make the icing- With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.

I suggest enjoying one of these with a hot cup of coffee :)