Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Halloween Half Term Gingerbread Horrors!

It's autumn and everyone has the flu bug...
Even this gingerbread skeleton went to the doctors - because he was feeling crumby!
It's half term and Halloween on Monday so somehow I had to keep the kids entertained! Gingerbread is fab for this as they can help with making the dough and the decorating part (and the eating part of course...)
350g Plain Flour
175g Light Brown Sugar
100g Butter
1 Egg
4 tbsp Golden Syrup
1 tsp Bicarbonate Soda
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Cinnamon
Mix the flour, ginger, cinnamon and bicarb of soda in a bowl.
Cut the butter up into small pieces and add in slowly, rubbing in with the flour. This should make a bread crumb consistency.
Add the syrup and egg into the mix.
Then add your sugar.
Knead the mixture until it forms a dough.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry out. Don't roll it too thin! About half a cm thick will do.
Cut out your shapes with cutters. - If you don't have any, dont worry!
Draw a template on paper, cut it out, place it over your dough, and use a sharp knife to cut around it. (Parents must do this for small children)
Place your shapes on a lined baking tray.
Bake for 10 minutes if you like them slightly soft and chewy, or 15 minutes if you like them crunchy!
Then comes the fun part.. decorate!
Make up some icing (icing sugar, dash of milk, water) until the right consistency is formed.
Use this to stick your decorations on!
You can use anything from sugar strands, to chocolate drops, to raisins, to smarties!

Simple, yet special, Shortbread

As winter closes in we are all beginning to reach for the kettle for a cup of tea!
And what better to go with it than homemade shortbread.
Remember: shortbread is baked on a low heat to avoid browning. Take them out of the oven when they are still light and springy to touch- they will harden as they cool.
You could always try dipping them in chocolate or putting raisins in!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Lemon Lilac Swirl Cupcakes

I've always thought home made gifts were the more meaningful ones; I'd much prefer a cupcake to soap set!
These cupcakes are a new take on the "Colour-Me-Cupcake" earlier in this blog.The sponge is plain vanilla, but rather than do a variety of colours for the icing, I picked two. I coloured half of my buttercream lilac and flavoured the other half lemon. My next idea will probably be to create two complimentary flavours of icing swirled together: chocolate and mint, or, banana and coffee, maybe.
Just to make it a bit more of a gift I bought some individual cupcake boxes:
Happy Birthday Auntie!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

All In Whirls for Gooey Cinnamon Twirls!

It was about this time a month ago I was sat in the California kitchen being treated to some cinnamon whirls from Cinnabon (an American baked goods company who's signature dish is the cinnamon bun). 
So in celebration (and commiseration for myself- I'm so ready to go back!) I thought I'd give my first sweet pastry ever a go!

It was actually surprisingly easy! The recipe I followed was from 'Joy of Baking' - click here to find the recipe!
Just a few things to note:
1. I found I needed a lot more flour than the recipe stated so that the original yeast dough was not sticky
2. Half-and-half cream is a bottled American product but is essentially a half cream half milk mixture. Double cream is 48% fat; Single cream is 18% fat; whole milk has just under 4% fat. Half and half cream is 12% so its best to go for 2/3 single cream with a dash of whole milk!
3. They only needed about 20 minutes cooking time: not 25-30!
4. They are done when a toothpick comes out with no dough on, just cinnamon paste if you want it gooey like these!
Always best warm out the oven, still gooey, and with icing drizzled over the top!