Wednesday, 31 October 2012

not so spooky cupcakes...

Though Australians don't really celebrate Halloween, I hope someday we will. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a choice of these to decorate Halloween inspired baked goods. Instead our supermarket chains have chocolate chips, hundreds and thousands and sprinkles- oh and more hundreds and thousands.

I do however think change is in the air. On a quick dash to the shops today I noticed that the shelves of the candy aisle were empty. People were purchasing candy! We even had little monsters come knocking and people were decorating their gates! (Yes gates, not houses...maybe next year)

These cupcakes were made for a presentation night at my sister's school. I admit they aren't very spooktacular but they're our little contribution to the Haloween spirit and to the refreshments table tonight.

Let's hope next years festivities are even greater!

Chocolate Cupcakes and Frosting
From the Hummingbird bakery cookbook ~ makes 26 mini cupcakes


100g plain/ all purpose flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
40g soft unsalted butter
120mL whole milk
1 egg (room temperature)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170C. Line a 24 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
Place the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a large bowl and beat on slow speed until well combined and a sandy consistency.
Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla in a jug and add half to the dry mixture.
Beat on a slow speed to combine and then increase the speed to remove any lumps.
Add the remaining half of the liquid mixture and beat slowly until just combined, don't over mix.
Transfer the mixture into the paper cases until 2/3 full.
Bake for 20 minutes until they spring back to the touch. A skewer inserted should come out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before frosting.

Vanilla Frosting:

125g icing sugar, sifted
40g unsalted butter, room temperature
10mL whole milk
A dash of vanilla extract
Orange food colouring

Beat the icing sugar and butter until combined using an electric mixer on medium speed.
Add the milk, vanilla and colouring and beat on slow speed until the mixture is combined and smooth.

For the chocolate frosting I omitted the orange colouring and added 1 tablespoon of cocoa and as much milk as was required for the mixture to combine and form a smooth consistency.

 Wishing you all a happy Halloween!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Picnic dessert

These kebabs are amazing! Fudgy brownie cubes, soft marshmallows, strawberries and a drizzle of dark chocolate...hungry yet?

The first time I made these kebabs I was in a slight state of panic. I had a picnic to attend and I was responsible for bringing dessert. The only problem was I had completely forgotten the picnic was on. So when the day arrived here I was lounging in my PJ's, looking dishevelled, no dessert prepared and 2 hours until the picnic. So upon realising, I needed something easy, quick and transportable. A quick search of the pantry and within no time dessert was made.

I made these again last Sunday and they were a huge hit. They're perfect for a picnic, easy to eat and not too rich... well depending on how many you scoff down.

Dessert Kebabs
S'morish original ~ makes 20-30

1 large punnet of strawberries
1 packet of marshmellows
1 batch of brownies  (I used these)
75g dark cooking chocolate
20 skewers 

Make the brownies. Once they have cooled to room temperature cut into 3cm x 3cm cubes.
Assemble the kebabs by inserting a strawberry first, this mosistens the skewer so that the marshmellows don't stick. If you wish, slice the larger strawberries in half, by doing so you will be able to make more kebabs.
When all kebabs are assembled arrange them on the tray that you will serve them on.
Melt the dark chocolate and drizzle over the kebabs.

These kebabs can be stored in the fridge however you may like to bring them to room temperature before serving.

What's your favourite picnic dessert?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Chocolate lace cookies

Monday afternoon, after a long day at university, I visited a lovely place, full of relaxation and happiness.  This perfect little place is called Procrastination Station, and I visit it with stunning regularity.  It is so easy for me to visit Procrastination Station, because often it's situated in my own house, and 9 times out of 10, it's in my kitchen. It's not my fault I'm always at Procrastination Station. I blame it on assignments and unenthusiastic lecturers and a sore brain.

Anyway, on Monday, mid-assignment, I decided that this blog had a depressing lack of chocolatey indulgence and it needed to be fixed, so off I went to Procrastination Station.  I've made these beauties quite a few times now, and they've always been a hit, mainly because they're the perfect "I'm-eating-away-my-feelings-leave-me-alone" food, which is what stress forces me to do. They are amazing, the perfect pick-me-up.  Rich, sweet, powdery, chocolatey perfection.  So I thought I'd share these pretties with you to make me feel better about myself.

Chocolate Lace Cookies

Makes about 52 - this is not accurate, due to the fact greedy family members stole some away whilst I was baking

225g of dark courveture chocolate
1 1/4 cups of plain/all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of pure cocoa powder
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
8 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups of caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/3 of a cup of milk
Extra caster sugar for rolling
Icing/confectioner's sugar for rolling

Preheat your oven to 180˚C.  Roughly chop the chocolate and melt in a bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl the chocolate's in.  Once it's done, set aside to cool.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa into a bowl.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.  Add the melted chocolate.  Put the mixer on low speed and add the milk and dry ingredients, alternating between the two, until just combined.

Divide the dough into halves and wrap with plastic wrap.  Chill in the freezer for about 2 hours or until firm.

Once the dough is done chilling in the freezer with its icecream homies, scoop teaspoon-sized portions and roll them into balls with clean hands.  I found it helps to dampen your hands with water for this bit as they roll more smoothly and less mixture sticks to your hands.  Roll the balls in caster sugar and then toss them in the icing/confectioner's sugar.  Be liberal with the confectioner's sugar as this is what gives the cookies their gorgeous white shells.  Dont be afraid to pile a bit of icing sugar on top of the balls for extra powderyness.

Place the balls onto a tray lined with baking paper, spaced about 2-3 inches apart as they will spread as they cook.  Bake them until the icing sugar splits and the cookies have flattened - about 10-15 minutes.  You can gauge when they're ready by feeling the edges of the cookies.  Once the edges start to harden, it's time to take them out to cool.

When families attack.

Let the cookies cool and enjoy with a tall glass of milk!

A printable version of the recipe can be found below!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Honey cookies & a smidgen of procrastination

I am unashamed to admit that these cookies were the product of procrastination. With writer's block and an intense unwillingness to face yet another assignment, I found myself in the kitchen measuring and combining ingredients. These cookies taste alot like honey jumbles but with a bit more crunch!

Honey Cookies
Makes 20~ S'morish Original
100g honey
100g olive oil spread/unsalted butter
10 cloves (optional)
1 egg at room temperature
200g wholemeal plain flour
50g plain/all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
Pinch of salt

In a saucepan melt the honey and olive oil spread/butter on low heat. Stir occasionally until ingredients have melted and are combined.
Add the vanilla and cloves and heat until the mixture comes to a foamy bubble.
Take off the heat and let it cool for 5-10 minutes.
Pour the slightly cooled mixture into a bowl of a mixture.
Add the egg and beat on low speed.
Add the flours, cinnamon and salt. the mixture should come together and form a smooth, elastic, caramel coloured dough.
Roll the dough into a sausage and cover tightly in plastic/cling wrap.
Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes and preheat the oven to 180° fan-forced.
Uncover the dough and slice into 0.5cm slices.*
Place slices onto a baking tray.
Bake on the top shelf of the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Allow the cookies to cool on the tray as this will let them firm/harden.

 *This dough is quite versatile. You can roll it out and cut out different shapes, or make thumbprint cookies like in the image below. To make the thumbprint cookies roll pieces of the dough into balls. Make a dent in each ball using the end of a wooden spoon handle or your thumb. Fill the dough with jam. I used apricot but you could use anything you like.
At least cookies were the product of procrastination. Slightly more productive and edible than you tube.

Have you ever found yourself baking in the spare of the moment to avoid facing what needs to get done?

Enjoy x