Friday, 31 December 2010
Sticky Toffee Pudding is as quintessentially British as Macarons are French, both have a place in my heart and now so do these Macarons that gloriously combine the two.
This is a new Macaron recipe, from a new book, Mad About Macarons, at first glance the book is fantastic. There are both traditional and unusual Macaron recipes, both savory and sweet and big and small. One of the best things about the book however is the Quick Reference Guide For Egg Whites, which coverts the basic Macaron recipe to fit any quantity of egg whites you may have, 150g, 100g, 50g, 60g and so on, this is so helpful and makes making small batches a breeze.
These Macarons taste unbelievable, the flavour is nothing short of perfect in my opinion and the Macaron shells have the perfect amount of chew. I would have preferred a slightly better pied (or foot) but all in all I was very happy with this recipe. I can't wait to try the Tiramisu Macarons, the Tutti Frutti Macarons and the Chocolate Caramel Macarons, hopefully now the holidays are nearly over I can get back into Mac Tweets, I've missed the last two.
Sticky Toffee Macarons - Recipe from Mad About Macarons
Makes about 40 medium sized Macarons.
For the Macarons:
150g egg whites
100g fine caster sugar
180g ground almonds
270g icing sugar
Line three flat baking sheets with greaseproof paper and set aside.
Sift together your ground almonds and powdered sugar.
Whisk the egg whites to glossy firm peaks adding the caster sugar gradually. If making coloured macarons, then add a dash of colouring towards the end of mixing.
Incorporate the beaten egg whites into the dry ingredients using a large spatula. Mix well.
(There is no need to fold the mixture)
Now work the mixture using your spatula or a plastic scraper, press down well going back and forward to press out the oxygen from the whites. Do this for no more than 5 minutes, until you have a smooth batter. The mixture should fall like a ribbon of the scraper.
Transfer your batter to a piping bag with a plain round tip and pipe rows of macarons.
Leave for about 30 minutes to set. While they are setting preheat the oven to 160C Fan setting, if you do not have a fan setting you may need to set the temperature slightly higher.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 10 -12 minutes.
When ready, leave on the baking tray to cool then carefully lift each macaron off with a palette knife.
For the Filling:
400g soft dates
60g unsalted butter
2 tbsp dark rum
1/2 tsp mixed spice
2 tbsp golden syrup
Few drops vanilla extract
120ml double cream
Place the chopped dates, butter, rum, spice, syrup and extract in a pan and just cover with a little water. Cook gently, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until the liquids are absorbed.
Stir in the cream and mix well. Puree the mix in a blender or food processor and set aside to cool.
Transfer to a piping bag and pipe into the centre of one macaron shell before sandwiching it with another. Repeat until all your Macarons are used up.
Have an amazing New Year everyone, I can't thank you all enough for joining me on this, my first year of blogging. I can't wait to see what glorious bakes 2011 has in store, have a brilliant time what ever you're doing tonight and I will see you all next year.
x x x
Thursday, 30 December 2010
A lovely friend of mine gave me a Jello Shot mould for Christmas, the mould came with a little book of recipes and since New Year is just around the corner, I thought I'd better get practising.
I had never made jello shots before, I decided to use Strawberry Jelly and Grey Goose Vodka for this batch as it felt like a safe combo. I was a little worried the jelly wouldn't set or worse still, the shots would set but I wouldn't be able to get them out in one piece! I needn't have worried, I left the jelly to set over-night and after a couple of minutes out of the fridge and a little shaking, the jello shots fell out perfectly.
Watch them wobble...
You don't really need a mould for these just fill normal shot glasses or indeed plastic ones.
1 pack of Jelly (Orange or Strawberry)
100ml Water (boiling)
50ml Water (cold)
Mix the jelly with the boiling water until the powder/block is fully dissolved, then add the cold water and vodka. Finally, place in the fridge for mixture to set.
Setting should take around 4 hours so be sure to factor this in to party plans.
Have an amazing New Year everyone and try to drink somewhat responsibly if you can.◦
Monday, 27 December 2010
Hi everyone, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, although I wouldn't say it's quite over yet, I like to continue the festivities until New Year if I can. Anyway I'm back with a decidedly un-Christmasy post, Zombie Cupcakes.
I was given not one but two fantastic zombie cupcakes books over Christmas, Zombie Cupcakes by Zilly Rosen and A Zombie Ate My Cupcake by Lilly Vanilli.
Both are fantastic but I must say I prefer Zombie Cupcakes so I'll start with that one, the designs are much more interesting and there seem to be more of them. The recipes are also more unusual, key lime cupcakes, blue banana cupcakes and apple sauce and caramel cupcakes are at the top of my list.
Inside a White Velvet Cupcake
I used pure vanilla paste and '00 flour and these cupcakes turned out beautifully, they rose gloriously and tasted fantastic.
White Velvet Cupcakes- Zombie Cupcakes by Zilly Rosen
Makes 12 Cupcakes
3 large egg whites
175ml/6 fl oz milk
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
350g/12 oz white plain, cake or pastry flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
200g/7 oz granulated sugar
125g/41/2 oz unsalted butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/Gas Mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with 12 large paper baking cases. Put the egg whites, 2 tablespoons of the milk and the vanilla extract in a medium bowl and mix together with a fork.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar. Add the butter and remaining milk and, using an electric whisk, beat together until combined. Gradually beat in the egg white mixture. Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for about 20 minutes, turning once halfway through baking, until well risen and firm to the touch.
Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Tuesday, 21 December 2010
I have White Chocolate and Bailey's Cake and Chocolate Cake on the cake stand, Ginger Glazed Ham on the carving board and a massive heap of scrumptious Peanut Butter Cookies in the cookie tin. It's Baby Love's last day at work today and I'm totally ready for Christmas to begin the second he walks through the door.
I like to bake and cook all my favourite things at Christmas so there was always going to be some peanut butter cookies at some point. This recipe is perfect, the cookies are gorgeously chewy and perfectly peanut buttery, it is certainly in my top five cookie recipes, if not top three.
Mmmm cookie stack....
Best Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe Ever
Recipe Source - Blisstree
Recipe Source - Blisstree
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350
Stir together the dry ingredients.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer cream the butter, shortening and peanut butter until smooth. Add sugars and continue beating until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Add flour mixture and blend well.
Shape dough into 1″ balls. Place a lined baking sheet 2 inches apart. Flatten with a fork dipped in flour and then flatten the other way to create cross hatching.
Bake for 8-10 minutes for chewy, 10-12 minutes for crispy/chewy and 12-14 minutes for crispy but watch carefully. Cool completely. about 6 dozen.
This is going to be my last post before Christmas, I hope you all have an amazing, fabulously festive time and I will be back with lots of goodies to post very soon.
A very very Merry Christmas to you all.
x x x
I made these cute corn on the cob cupcakes as part of a bespoke batch last week, I didn't actually expect them to be as cute as they were but they really made me smile.
I hope they made their sweetcorn loving recipient smile too.
Saturday, 18 December 2010
These cupcakes are just too sweet, pretty pink and perfect for a party princess.
The cakes are decorated with little pink cupcake toppers, Rose toppers and Hello Kitty toppers, obviously the cupcake was my favourite, although I must say it was quite hard to choose, they're all gorgeous.
The butterflies are all dusted with either pink or gold edible lustre dust and the cupcakes are all finished with sprinkles.
The Rose topped cupcakes have a shabby chic edge, which I love and I think they'd be fantastic for a summer garden party.
x x x◦
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
I'm over the moon with this recipe, I only baked the cookies for 12 minutes rather than 15 and they are, as promised gloriously chewy. The oat to flour ratio is spot on and this is something I've always had issues with, too oatey tastes too healthy and I still want a soft cookie, just with oats!
The melted butter also adds extra chew and the cookies baked brilliantly, with the perfect amount of spread. You could add mixed spice instead of the cinnamon and grate in some orange or clementine zest, for a gorgeous Christmasy cookie.
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, melted (1½ sticks)
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
1 heaping cup of raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Melt the butter and let cool slightly.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the cinnamon, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy. Add the flour mixture, mixing until just blended. Add the oats, nuts, and raisins. Mix until just blended.
Place 1/4 cup balls of dough onto parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 15-16 minutes.
Do not over-bake. The edges should look brown and the centers still slightly soft. Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Monday, 13 December 2010
This is a brilliant Christmas cupcake recipe, the flavour combination is sublime and makes a great change from the usual spiced and fruit cupcakes recipes around at Christmas, these cupcakes are also a great choice for both adults and children, who I think are less fond of the strong spicy Christmas cake recipes.
That being said the white chocolate and clementine flavours could not be any more Christmasy if they tried and I love the snowy white peaks of frosting.
I played with the recipe a little, the original used the juice of only 1 clementine but I felt the batter was a little dry. I also omitted the Macadamia nuts but if you wish to use them, add 55g/2 oz of nuts at the same time as the white chocolate.
The recipe is supposed to make 12 cupcakes but I ended up with 10 and since I peaked the frosting rather than icing the cupcakes flat, as in the book, I only managed to ice 8, so bare this in mind and double up the icing recipe if necessary.
White Chocolate & Clementine Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Eat Me, The Stupendous, Self-Raising World of Cupcakes & Bakes According to Cookie Girl.
110g/4 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
110g/4 oz sugar
2 large eggs
140g/5oz self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
85g/3 oz white chocolate
zest of 3 clementines
juice of 2 clementines
For the meringue icing
170g/6 oz caster sugar
1 large egg white
2 tbsp hot water
pinch of cream of tartar
1. Preheat the oven ti 180 C/350 F/Gas 4. Line a twelve hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale, light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour and baking powder together and add this a third at a time to the batter. Chop the white chocolate and add to the mixture along with the clementine zest and juice.
3. Spoon the mixture into paper cases so that they are three-quarters full. Bake the cakes in the centre of the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Check with a skewer- if the cakes are cooked the skewer will come out clean. Remove from the oven and place cakes on a wire rack to cool.
4. Put all the ingredients for the icing into a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Beat with an electric whisk until soft peaks begin to form as you lift the whisk.
5. Working quickly, ice the cooled cupcakes, creating peaks and swirls with a palette knife.
I made these gorgeous mini cupcakes for an event this weekend, all the cupcakes are either chocolate or vanilla and all of them are decorated with sprinkles, snowflakes, Christmas trees, hundreds and thousands and hearts in both red and pink.
Mini cupcakes are perfect for large events, they are a brilliant dessert canape and a bite size treat is usually much more suitable for corporate parties and club events than full size cupcakes.
The cupcakes went down a storm and the event was a huge success.
I have a busy week this week as I'm sure most of you do too, I haven't even nearly finished my Christmas shopping, I have to make a non-traditional chocolate, buttercream Christmas cake and I haven't even planned the Christmas menu yet. I'm doing a two day menu including 7 hour lamb for the main event, Lamb may not be traditional but Baby Love adores my 7 hour lamb so I gave in. I think I will also make a Ham the week of, possibly Nigella's ginger-glazed Ham because I know it's fantastic.
x x x
Friday, 10 December 2010
This gingerbread is an adults treat really, I can't see children going crazy for it, the treacle and ginger are both bold flavours that I love but they're not for everyone.
This is a great recipe to use if you have guests popping in, the gorgeous gingery scent will fill your house and the fat squares of gingerbread are a scrumptious, warming treat which go perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee.
Sticky Gingerbread Recipe - Nigella Christmas
200g golden syrup
200g black treacle or molasses
125g dark muscovado sugar◦
Wednesday, 8 December 2010
Really this post should be entitled 'Ideas For Your Christmas List' or indeed 'Ideas For My Christmas List' but lets just pretend we're thinking of others as we really should be.
To be honest I've sorted gifts for everyone else but when hubby asked me to produce a Christmas list I struggled somewhat. This, I have decided must mean I'm spoilt rotten but non the less I have trawled the Internet and found some glorious goodies to add to my list.
So far as well as what I have posted here my list is mainly made up of shoes but I still need more ideas! What's on your Christmas lists?
OK so no it's not particularly practical and no it won't replace your normal rolling pin but that doesn't stop me wanting this gorgeous made in England imprinting rolling pin. I want all my pies to say made in England! It's just too cute.
I don't know a single cupcake lover who doesn't covet a Johnny Cupcake T-Shirt, I love these two but would happily received any of his designs. I can't believe I don't already have one, although I'm not much of a T-Shirt girl I'd make an exception for these.
If one thing in this world is certain it's that I will always want something from Williams Sonoma.
I wish I could have this gorgeous cakelet pan for Crimbo, why on earth doesn't Williams Sonoma deliver to the U.K.? Don't they know that I alone would make it worth their while? The little cakes look stunning and I love the gorgeous snowy cake stand too.
I love love love Lush and think it's one of the best places for Christmas gift shopping, this ones definitely on my list...
This scrumptious chocolate scented face mask had me at the name but also sounds brilliant, with Rhassoul mud, cocoa powder and spearmint this face mask, deeply cleanses the pores and balances oily complexions, it also smells heavenly.
I saw this little milk carton milk jug in town the other day and it is just too cute, they also do one in chrome but I must say I much prefer the porcelain.
Lush Bath Ballistics are heavenly and these Strawberry Ice Cream Skin Softeners are my favourites. With soya milk in the middle, when added to the bath the water becomes extra softened when the ballistic fizzes down to the centre. It's a milk bath like Cleopatra used to have, and it's great for soothing skin after intense sunshine. Mrs. Whippy fizzes slowly, giving you a long-lasting soak and smooth skin and the creamy strawberry aroma is heavenly.
This gorgeous sweet stand took my breath away, it's the sweet stand of my dreams, the way I always dreamed a sweet stand could be...
Both sweet stands are designed by Mackenzie Child and at around £300 each will maybe have to wait till next year.
The lovely Smaira over at DollyMixFits commented on one of my earliest blog posts this morning, (it was a little strange looking back to when I started my blog at the beginning of the year), Smaira asked about this caramel ginger frosting recipe, which I had posted. I had made gingerbread cupcakes but decided to leave them unfrosted and just dusted them with icing sugar, I had however suggested that if you did want to frost your cupcakes then this recipe was the one to go for. So although I have posted this frosting recipe before and raved about it, there were no pictures so of course I had to make some more.
How did I totally forget about this glorious frosting?! The second the memory was ignited in my mind I knew that today would be a Caramel Ginger Frosting day. Thank you Smaira! I can't think of a better way to spend my day off, I ate two the second I iced them.
These cupcakes are lovely and the frosting is one of my all time favourites, I can't believe I forgot about it for so long. I love the warming ginger and the cakes have a gorgeous texture, they're not particularly sweet which is why they go so brilliantly with this creamy, fudgy ginger frosting.
Gingerbread Cupcakes with Caramel Ginger Frosting
Recipe from Divine Cupcakes by Tamara Jane
makes 24 cupcakes
300g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
150g unsalted butter, softened
400g caster sugar
7ml vanilla essence
100g finely chopped crystallised ginger
160ml sour cream
1.Preheat oven to 170C. Line two 12-hole muffin trays with cupcake papers.
2.Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger and mixed spice.
3.In a separate bowl, cream the butter for 1-2 minutes.
4.Add the caster sugar one-third at a time, beating for 2 minutes after each addition.
5.Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved.
6.Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and the mixture is light and fluffy.
Caramel Ginger Frosting
200g Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Ground Ginger
500g Icing Sugar
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the brown sugar and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mix to the boil, reduce heat and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cream and ginger.
Cool to lukewarm temperature. Gradually stir in the icing sugar and cool the mixture completely. Beat until the frosting is light and creamy. If the frosting is too stiff, add a little more cream.
x x x◦