2011

You are currently browsing the yearly archive for 2011.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!! WOOOO, YEAH! ETC! Making this cake was too much fun, albeit a little rushed as I only had the morning to prepare it. My self-imposed brief was to create a cake based on his favourite desserts: chocolate, pandan (a new discovery thanks to yours truly) and maltesers. Needless to say it was going to be fantastic (idiotic) from the very start.


The look on his face was priceless when I brought it out. And there’s nothing like cutting into what seems like a chocolate cake only to find BRIGHT GREEN.

The pandan cake is my white-girl version, no authentic pandan leaf here unfortunately! I assure you it’s fantastic though and may even be a nice, celebratory cake to bust out for New Years! Just throw some sparklers and gold leaf on there or something. This recipe will make two 9-inch rounds to stack.

Pandan + Chocolate Ganache Birthday Cake

(an original recipe)

Pandan Cake

1 1/2 cups plain flour

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

200 g butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 1/2 tsp pandan paste

 

Chocolate Ganache

350 g chocolate, roughly chopped

150 ml cream

Pinch of salt

 

Assembly

1x jumbo pack Maltesers

2x Flakes

Strawberries

 

For the pandan cake

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Beat butter until it begins to cream and pale. Add the sugar and continue to beat until combined and fluffy.

3. Add the eggs one at a time beating after each addition. Add the self-raising flour, butter milk, plain flour, coconut milk and pandan paste once again beating after each addition.

4. Divide between two greased 9-inch cake tins. Rap the pan by dropping it from a small height to knock out any air bubbles.

5. Place in oven and bake for around an hour or until the tops spring back when touched (don’t be alarmed if the cakes crown too much – they can be trimmed back later). Allow to cool for 15 minutes, carefully remove from tins, wrap in plastic and allow to cool completely.

 

For the chocolate ganache

1. Heat cream in a pan, or in the microwave, until hot. Pour in roughly chopped chocolate and salt and stir until the pieces have completely melted into a smooth, velvety ganache. Allow to cool in the fridge.

 

For the assembly

1. Once cakes are completely cool trim the tops so they’re nice and even. Place one on your cake stand. Pipe ganache over the top to create an even layer then top with the remaining cake. Pour some ganache over the top (the consistency shouldn’t be too runny or too stiff) and, with an offset spatula, gently encourage it over the sides of the cake. Continue this process until the cake is completely covered using the spatula to smooth around the edges.

2. Whilst the ganache is yet to set, arrange Maltesers around the base of the cake as pictured above (a three-tiered diagonal pattern), or any way you wish. Create a Malteser border around the top of the cake and adorn with broken Flakes and strawberries. Place cake in the fridge to set and once ready to serve bring to room temperature.

I’ve seen so many beautiful photos on other people’s food blog capturing a gorgeous slices of cake – there’ll be none of that here unfortunately as this is what happens when a man cuts and serves cake for everybody.

Hahahahah! Oh well. Happy Birthday, Dad! I love you.

Tags: , ,

Festive Peppermint Hot Chocolate

It’s been one of those days. I’m wearing odd socks. I’ve uttered the term “IDGAF” to so many people today I am properly offending my very own sensibilities.

I demand COMFORT FOOD. And yes, anytime I type this phrase it is always in CAPITAL LETTERS ‘cos it’s kind of a BIG DEAL.

Festive Peppermint Hot Chocolate

I toyed with the idea of buying a mint pattie for myself earlier today at the supermarket for a split second, a decision I would live to regret; on the way home I was flooded by a remorse so deep I may have shed a teeny-tiny tear. Ravaged by this soul-destroying guilt I foraged around the pantry and found some leftover candy canes from my gingerbread house building venture a few days ago. I was craving peppermint and chocolate so badly I was willing to cast off the shackles of soy-based-beverage oppression that so constantly plagues my delicious lifestyle. The rest, as they say, is history. Quick, easy history.

Festive Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Festive Peppermint Hot Chocolate

The candy cane serves as lovely stirring utensil if you’re one to take your time enjoying a mug of hugs. If you’re in the company of anyone who doesn’t particularly enjoy peppermint however (a most unfortunate affliction) the candy cane can always be omitted as it is the sole source of peppermint in this recipe.

Festive Peppermint Hot ChocolateThis recipe follows my golden rule of cookery; where this is chocolate there must be salt. It’s basic ying and yang! This recipe will serve one comforting mug or two smaller shots if you’re in a generous, sharing mood.

 

FESTIVE PEPPERMINT HOT CHOCOLATE

(an original recipe)

3/4 cup milk

50 g chocolate (I used half dark, half milk)

pinch of salt

1 or 2 candy canes, curve removed

 

1. In a heat-proof bowl microwave milk until it is very hot (around one minute).

2. Chop your chocolate and once the milk is ready add to bowl and stir until melted and combined (a few flecks of chocolate may remain). Add salt.

3. Pour into glasses and adorn with can upside-down candy cane.

Festive Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Now, somebody please tell my brother if he doesn’t arrive home soon I’m drinking his for him.

Tags: , ,

It’s December! Which marks this month as my very first Christmas as a recipe/food/baking/WHATEVER blogger – all photography from here on in will feature GREEN, RED, CUTENESS, SPARKLES, BAUBLES, etc etc.

Tonight I’m off to an annual Christmas  dinner with my old school friends. Traditionally we give each other small, cute gifts. Last year I made some sugar cookies and fudge however to celebrate this blogging landmark as a vaguely serious baker I figured it was time to step up my game.

At first I was dubious of baking with such a wintery flavour in (what should be) the beginning of Summer here in Sydney however thanks to much unprecedented and rain below-average temperatures I had no qualms whatsoever getting my gingerbread on. This recipe should make around 20-25 macarons, depending on the size.

GINGERBREAD MACARONS

(an original recipe)

 Gingerbread Shells

100g egg whites, room temperature

100g almond meal

200g pure icing sugar

30g caster sugar

1 tsp powdered egg whites

1 heaped tsp ground ginger

Powdered/gel colouring

White Chocolate Ginger Ganacahe

200g white couverture chocolate, chopped

100ml pouring cream

1/2 tsp cinnamon (plus extra for dusting)

1/2 tsp ground cloves

2 tsp ground ginger

2-3 lumps of crystallised ginger (around 10g), finely chopped

 

1. Preheat your oven 150°C.

2. Sift pure icing sugar, almond meal and ground ginger and place into a bowl and give it a quick stir.

3. Beat eggwhites and eggwhite powder in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Slowly add the caster sugar, beating well between each addition, until eggwhites are stiff and glossy. This process should take around 5-10 minutes.

4. Pour half of your dry ingredients and colouring (I used half brown half orange gel colour) into the bowl of beaten eggwhites and combine with a flat utensil, like a spatula, using “cutting strokes”. Once incorporated repeat with the remaining icing sugar and almond meal mixture. This is where things begin to get a little tricky as under-mixing or over-mixing will ruin your macarons as they attempt to rise and “grow feet” in the oven. Experts say to stir the mixture until it becomes the consistency of lava. The mixture will be sticky but you’ll know it’s ready when, upon holding your spatula above the bowl, it will begin just begin to flow freely back into the bowl. You’ll need to knock a lot of the air out of it.

5. Prepare a piping bag with the appropriate tip (around 1 cm or less), a baking tray with baking paper, and pipe small rounds (they must be small enough to balance on the cupcakes!). If there are any small lumps left from piping wet your finger and gently press them down (unlike cake batter, macaron mixture does not flatten out when in the oven). Dust some extra cinnamon over the shells and allow tray to rest for 30 minutes.

6. Place baking tray in the oven and allow to bake for around 15-20 minutes (this time will depend entirely on your oven, so keep an eye on them). Within 5 minutes or so they will begin to grow feet.

7. Once ready, remove from oven, and after 5 minutes transfer to cooling racks.

8. Whilst your shells are cooling place your cream in the microwave for 30 seconds or until relatively hot. Pour your chopped chocolate into the bowl and stir continuously until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is combined. Add cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger and finely chopped crystallised ginger and stir to combine. Place bowl into the refrigerator to cool and thicken.

9. Prepare another piping bag with a large tip and neatly pipe rounds of ganache into half of the shells. To close, gently place its partner shell on top of the ganache and twist shut, taking care to prevent ganache spilling over the edges.

As well as these macarons I’ve also bundled some of my berry and vanilla infused vodka in adorable little jam jars complete with mini baubles (a fluke discovery at Coles this morning!) – a cute reminder that a cocktail-fueled Summer is just around the corner… maybe.

Sugar and alcohol. Spice and berries. Here’s hoping they like my little edible trinkets!

Tags: , ,


Hey there sugar cookie! I have such a love hate relationship with you. Sometimes you’re adorable and cute, sometimes you’re oozy and shapeless. Sometimes you’re so chewy and delicious, sometimes you’re dry and just plain nasty.

These things are so hit and miss so when I was asked to make a Movember themed thing for a bakesale I was determined to get these cookies right. With a little help from some spice and a simple freezer I present to you my no-fail recipe and tutorial to creating perfectly shaped sugar cookies! They’re perfect for holiday events or themed garnishes, or both! This is also an easy way of creating two biscuit flavours from the same batch of dough. This should make around 30 movember cookies, depending on the size.

 

Basic Cinnamon + Chocolate Movember Cookies

(an original recipe)

120 g butter (at room temperature)

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1 tbs milk (optional)

2 tbs dutch-process cocoa

 

1. Beat butter until it begins to pale. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg and beat until combined.

2. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla and salt and continue to beat until completely combined. The mixture should begin to come together but of it seems a little crumbly add the milk.

3. Remove half of the mixture, flatten into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.

4. Add the cocoa to the remaining dough in the bowl and mix until completely combined. As with the earlier half, flatten into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to firm.

5. Preheat your oven 160°C.

6. Remove dough, one disc as a time, and roll out to around half a centimetre thickness. Stamp out shapes with your cutter of choice, place on a tray lined with baking paper and, once full of shaped cookie dough, immediately place in the freezer for around 20 minutes. This is the most important step to ensure your shapes remain in tact once placed in the hot oven! Otherwise they’ll just ooze and end up looking like an ordinary, misshapen cookie (no disrespect to all the delicious, rustic cookies out there).

7. OPTIONAL: If you have any additional stampers or or textures to add to the cookies, do this now right before placing in the oven.

8. Place in the oven and bake for around 8-12 minutes, depending on the size. You’ll know when to remove them when they begin to brown around thr edges. After 5 minutes, remove tray and transfer cookies to a cooling wrack.

Now they’re ready to decorate! I embedded them in some buttercream-covered pandan cupcakes and added cachous for eyes to make little faces (a good idea in theory however they ended up looking like the Pringles logo in cupcake form. HOW EMBARRASSING).

And I may have had a little too much fun with them too.

I’d like to congratulate everyone who has participated and donated to such a fantastic cause this year. A number of friends took part in this and, despite a little self-consciousnes, did a really excellent job by embracing the mo’. So until next year, happy Movember!

EDIT: A few people have been asking where they can find these cookie cutters and stampers. I’m using the Munchstache set by Fred & Friends; they seem to be available all over the place so have a Google!

Tags: ,



This post is dedicated to the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. Shout outs to my Australian pals!

Hopefully for those living in the great sunny land down-under this image should stir nostalgic delight within each and every one of you.



Perhaps I should explain for my international friends. This book was held precious to many families in the 90s with its simple instructions and how-tos for creating adorable cakes. It’s so popular that a commemorative Vintage Collector’s Edition was released in Februrary this year. It’s so popular it has a number of Facebook fan groups and fan pages. It’s so popular this book has barely aged; it’s incredible to see how many people continue refer to this gem of a book for fun cake ideas. It’s simply amazing.

Amongst its pages of how-tos for the Teddy Bear cake, Train cake, Piano cake and Butterfly cakes lies the most infamous cake of all – The Swimming Pool cake. It was every kid’s dream cake when I was younger, and why wouldn’t it be? Delicious cake slathered in buttercream and jelly (or jell-o for my American pals) covered in lollies and candy. It was a dream come true. I might go as far as to call this an Australian Icon.

Thankfully, however,  the culinary world has evolved from using algae-green jelly and nailpolish as decorating components.

My version is a little different from the recipe listed (I didn’t use “1 packet butter cake mix”, for example) so here’s my step-by-step guide to creating this iconic Australian cake. It’s best started a day in advance to prepare the cake, and more importantly the blue jelly. I hope you have lots of lollies ready in your pantry!

Swimming Pool Cake

(Alana’s Illustrated Guide)

1. BUY LOLLIES AND CANDY. Blue jelly, desiccated coconut, Teevee snacks (or long chocolate covered biscuits), jelly babies, gummy bears, snakes, kool mints and cocktail umbrellas. GO NUTS!

2. Prepare blue jelly according to packet instructions. Place in fridge and allow to set completely.

3. Prepare a 9-inch round cake. I used my standard vanilla cake recipe and added a chocolate swirl by adding a little cocoa in some of the remaining mixture. Once baked (180°C for around 50 minutes), wrap in plastic so it doesn’t dry out and place in the fridge until your jelly is ready.

4. Remove cake from fridge. With a sharp knife trim the cake to remove the dome that has probably formed in the baking process to create a nice, flat surface.

5. With the sharp knife, cut around the top in a circle to represent the wall of the swimming pool. Hollow out the centre if the cake to form a recess for the jelly.

6. Prepare chocolate buttercream by beating 125g butter, 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, 50g melted chocolate and a tablespoon of cocoa. Spread around the cake covering the edges and around the wall of the recess.

7. Prepare green coconut “grass” by combing desiccated coconut with a few drops of green food colouring. Gently place or spoon around the rim of the cake ensuring not to spill any on the sides (a little overflow is fine though as they will be covered by the biscuits). I know it’s looking a little silly now but just bare with me, it will be worth it, I promise!

8. Create the fence of the pool by arranging the Teevee snacks (or biscuits sticks) around the edge of the cake. Be sure to leave a 1 1/2 inch gap to make room for the ladder.

9. Construct the ladder out of must sticks and thin candy strips, I used thin sour laces. Use a little of the buttercream to attach the pieces and lean against the cake.

10. Remove your set jelly from the fridge and mash with a fork to represent water. Carefully spoon into the crevice of your cake, ensuring you don’t spill any onto the coconut grass (once it sticks, it stays!).

11. It’s time for the decoration! Adorn your cake with cocktail umbrellas, jelly babies, gummy bears, kool mints for balls or anything else you like. I had my brother make create some lounging jelly babies floating in pool toys constructed from snakes. Place them in and around the pool edges!


Note: you may have a LOT of sweet treats leftover if you bought as much as I did.

It’s a sight to behold, isn’t it? It’s just so adorable taking a knife to is seems almost blasphemous…

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-

Oh well. Good night, sweet prince.

You were everything I ever dreamed of and more as a 5 year old.

Tags: , , , , ,

Macaron Cupcakes. MACARON. CUPCAKES. Why aren’t these a “thing” on the internet yet? A dessert garnished with another dessert; genius (if I do say so myself)! I first made a dozen of these a few months ago for Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, an annual event to raise both awareness and funds for The Cancer Council. My vague instructions were to “make cupcakes, or macarons, or I don’t know, SOMETHING” so I took it in my stride to combine the two aforementioned goods to create the absolute ~CUTEST~ cupcake known to man. They were a hit! And of course the inspiration behind the alanabread logo.

So when my friend Bayden of Packwood recently asked if I could bring something along to the accompanying bakesale at Folkraiser @ Hibernian House this weekend there was only one adorable cake on my mind.

If you’re already experienced in macaron and cupcake baking then this should be an absolute breeze, albeit a little time consuming. The great thing about this combination is that you can mix up the flavours as freely as you’d like and, with the addition of some lovely pastel colours, they’ll always look fantastic. They basically advertise themselves! And who wouldn’t want a delicious cupcake with a macaron top-hat?!

This recipe will make 12 macaron cupcakes with some extra macarons to spare.

 

MACARON CUPCAKES

(an original recipe)

Macaron Shells

100g egg whites, room temperature

100g almond meal

200g pure icing sugar

30g caster sugar

1 tsp powdered egg whites

Powdered food colouring of your choice

 

Salted Callebaut Ganache

140g Callebaut chocolate, chopped (I used half milk, half dark)

80ml pouring cream

sea salt, to taste

 

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

100g butter, room temperature

1 cup caster sugar

1 vanilla bean

3/4 cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup +2 tbs plain flour

2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup buttermilk

 

Cream Cheese Icing

250g cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups icing sugar mixture

Food colouring of your choice

 

Assembly

Mini cachous

 

For the salted Callebaut macarons

1. Preheat your oven 150°C.

2. Sift pure icing sugar and almond meal and place into a bowl and give it a quick stir.

3. Beat eggwhites and eggwhite powder in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Slowly add the caster sugar, beating well between each addition, until eggwhites are stiff and glossy. This process should take around 5-10 minutes.

4. Pour half of your dry ingredients into the bowl of beaten eggwhites and combine with a flat utensil, like a spatula, using “cutting strokes”. Once incorporated repeat with the remaining icing sugar and almond meal mixture. This is where things begin to get a little tricky as under-mixing or over-mixing will ruin your macarons as they attempt to rise and “grow feet” in the oven. Experts say to stir the mixture until it becomes the consistency of lava. The mixture will be sticky but you’ll know it’s ready when, upon holding your spatula above the bowl, it will begin just begin to flow freely back into the bowl. You’ll need to knock a lot of the air out of it.

5. Prepare a piping bag with the appropriate tip (around 1 cm or less), a baking tray with baking paper, and pipe small rounds (they must be small enough to balance on the cupcakes!). If there are any small lumps left from piping wet your finger and gently press them down (unlike cake batter, macaron mixture does not flatten out when in the oven). Allow tray to rest for 30 minutes.

6. Place baking tray in the oven and allow to bake for around 15 minutes (this time will depend entirely on your oven, so keep an eye on them). Within 5 minutes or so they will begin to grow feet.

7. Once ready, remove from oven, and after 5 minutes transfer to cooling racks.

8. Whilst your shells are cooling place your cream in the microwave for 30 seconds or until relatively hot. Pour your chopped Callebaut into the bowl and stir continuously until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is combined. Add sea salt, to taste, until you chocolate flavour begins to “pop” (this took me a few turns of my salt mill). Place bowl into the refrigerator to cool and thicken.

9. Prepare another piping bag with a large tip and neatly pipe rounds of ganache into half of the shells. To close, gently place its partner shell on top of the ganache and twist shut, taking care to prevent ganache spilling over the edges.

For the vanilla bean cupcakes

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Beat butter until it begins to cream and pale. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the butter, add the sugar and continue to beat until combined and fluffy. You should be able to see the flecks of vanilla bean.

3. Add the eggs one at a time beating after each addition. Add the self-raising flour, milk, then plain flour once again beating after each addition.

4. Spoon into a prepared cupcake tin with liners, filling each to around two thirds full. Rap the pan by dropping it from a small height to knock out any air bubbles.

5. Place in oven and bake for aound 15-20 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched. Allow to cool for 5 minutes then transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. While these are cooling, prepare your cream cheese icing by beating the cream cheese with icing sugar and food colouring until combined and creamy.

 

For the assembly

1. With a piping bag with a large tip attached carefully pipe cream cheese icing over cupcakes. Carefully take macarons and place at an angle on each cupcake ensuring their placed firmly enough that they won’t slip off. Sprinkle with mini cachous and place cupcakes in the fridge for the icing to firm up to ensure the macarons will stay put.

 

All packed up and ready to go!

If you’d like to hear more of Packwood’s tunes you can check out the Facebook page here, also the alanabread facebook page is here too. Here’s a fan-video from our friend Zohara from a show a couple of months ago (you can hear me playing piano at 5:30!):

Lessons learnt the past few days: 1) orchestral folk music is cool, 2) being a baker/musician for a night is a total dream come true, and 3) there is something strangely satisfying about baking your own logo.

Tags: , , ,

Awesome friends? Check. Picnic blanket? Check. Great location? Check. Lots of fresh and delicious food? Double check.

Unfortunately I left my darling camera at home over the weekend so you’ll just have to take my word that splendid picnic times were had yesterday. As usual we all prepared some things to share and, to comply with the eating habits of my wonderfully diverse group, I decided it was time to venture into vegan baking.

The ‘V’ word is often a little daunting. Unfortunately many make assumptions of bland, tasteless and generally odd looking food. While this is sometimes the case true vegan cooking/baking can produce the most amazingly ingenious dishes so long as your core ingredients are substituted accurately (I have one of my favourite pals, vegan chef extraordinaire Ro, to thank for this revelation over the past couple of years).

Despite the challenges one must overcome in the absence of milk, butter and eggs this is a very simple cake to prepare as there is no beating required. A simple bowl and spoon is all you need to make these vegan chocolate cupcakes!

Decorating cakes that sit below the rim of the baking cup is a rarity for me so when I realised these cakes weren’t going to rise too much it became a fun learning exercise in decorating with glaze. Ideally I’d have used fresh cherries as a garnish, but you know, cherry season is yet to grace us.

I’ll spare you my horrendous recipe sketch covered in water and cocoa, here’s a nice, neat typed version for you to try at home. Makes 12 vegan treats.

 

Vegan cherry + choc + coconut cupcakes

(an original recipe)

1 1/4 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup good quality, dutch-process cocoa

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup coconut milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup preserved morello cherries, roughly chopped

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

 

Vegan chocolate glaze

1/2 cup sugar

4 tbsp vegan margarine (eg, Nuttelex)

2 tbsp good quality, dutch-process cocoa

2 tbsp coconut milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

 

12 fresh, glacé or any other candied cherries to serve

 

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and prepare a muffin tin with 12 baking cups.

2. Combine your dry ingredients  (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt) into a bowl. Then add the coconut milk, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract and stir until well combined.

3. Remove morello cherries from jar and chop roughly, placing on paper towels to remove some of the moisture. Add them to your mixture as well as your desiccated coconut and once again stir to combine ensuring the cherries are evenly distributed.

4. Place mixture in baking cups around two thirds full and bake for around 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

5. Meanwhile, combine sugar, margarine, cocoa, coconut milk and vanilla into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for five minutes then remove from heat. Stir constantly for five minutes; the glaze will begin to thicken.

6. Carefully spoon the glaze onto each cupcake make sure to bring it to edge of the baking cup. Adorn each with a glacé cherry and allow to set for 1-2 hours.

Gives these a try and I promise these will be a part of your permanent baking repertoire. Wait, actually, one of my friend’s just called me then so say that these were really great. AWW! Based on this, and my adorable animated gif, you should definitely make these right away.

Tags: , , ,

I hate Summer. I hate, hate, hate it. What’s there to like about the heat, sweatiness and general discomfort? Ever since I was young I’ve had an irrational fear of sand (true story) so I find the beach unbearable too. That’s so un-Australian, right m8?! I should probably trade passports with an English backpacker as I’m constantly avoiding Australia’s (apparent) greatest features in the search for air conditioning and fashionable Winter accessories. I am the original Summer Scrooge.

After waking up frustrated from the tropical temperature in my room this morning I knew I had to prepare something refreshing lest I immediately purchase a one way ticket to Europe; my only option was to turn to the freezer for inspiration. Frozen raspberries in hand I picked a fresh lime from the tree in the backyard and convinced myself I was going to make the most delicious, refreshing thing I had ever tasted. Or I would cry.

With only five ingredients and three steps is one of the easiest recipes I’ve posted here; it involves preparing a simple syrup and combining it with some crushed frozen raspberries. Try adding a variation of frozen berries or even upping the amount of booze on this if you’re in the mood to get your buzz on!

 

Raspberry Sorbet (with Lime and Cointreau)

(an original recipe)

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1 lime

3 1/2 cups frozen raspberries

2 tbs Cointreau

 

1. Combine sugar, water and juice from half a lime into a saucepan over medium heat. Allow sugar to dissolve, then boil gently for 5 minutes to form a sugar syrup. Once prepared decant into a heatproof bowl and place in the fridge/freezer to cool completely.

2. Meanwhile, place raspberries into a food processor and churn until crushed. Place into a bowl and add the juice of the remaining half a lime and the Cointreau.

3. Once the sugar syrup has cooled completely pour into your raspberry mixture and stir to combine. Prepare in ice cream maker as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Okay, okay, maybe there is one redeeming quality about Summer; eating lots and lots of raspberry sorbet.

Tags:

Before I begin my usual selfish ramble about how wonderful food is I need to thank Diana of Diana’s Desserts for this incredible apple cider baked donut recipe. I’ve seen the term “Apple Cider Doughnuts” wafting about food blogs like crazy as of late but after some investigation I’ve found most of them seem to stem from this recipe. So thank you, Diana, this recipe is amazingly delicious for something so simple (and since I busted my handmixer the other day this recipe was an absolutely blessing to my unfortunate circumstance).


I’ve added my own garnishes to these lovelies (because what’s the fun in cooking straight from a recipe?); my simple apple cider glaze and apple bark. It’s important to use a good quality apple cider here as it is the only wetting agent for the glaze (so if you were considering using Strongbow kindly close this browser now :)). And as for my apple bark – this was a complete(ly successful) afterthought that went down a treat providing a welcomed crunchy tang.  You may want to organise this a few hours prior to baking your goods as it will need around 3 hours in the oven.

As you can see I’ve used donut pans, mini donut pans and a baby cupcake tin so in the spirit of concise headings I’ve umbrella’d these delicious gems under “baked goods”. This recipe does not discriminate against shape!

 

APPLE CIDER BAKED GOODS + CIDER GLAZE + APPLE BARK

Apple cider baked goods (from Diana’s Desserts)

2 cups plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 egg

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup apple sauce

1/3 cup maple syrup (or maple flavoured syrup)

1/3 cup good quality apple cider

1/3 cup vanilla yoghurt

3 tbsp vegetable oil

 

Apple cider glaze

1 cup icing sugar mixture

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup good quality apple cider

 

Apple bark

1 apple

springkling of cinnamon

For the apple cider baked goods

1. Preheat oven 180°C.

2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

3. In another bowl combine wet ingredients; beaten egg, brown sugar, apple sauce, maple syrup, apple cider, yoghurt and vegetable oil. Give them a quick whisk then add your bowl of dry ingredients. Whisk until just combined.

4. Divide your mixture between pans/tins of your choosing. For a donut pan bake for 10 minutes, for mini donuts and baby cupcakes bake for 5-7 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched.

5. After 5 minutes transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

For the apple glaze

1. Combine icing sugar, cinnamon and cider in a small bowl and stir well to remove any lumps.

For the apple bark (do this the morning before)

1. With a sharp vegetable peeler peel thin strips of apple, including the skins, and place on a baking tray. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

2. Bake in a cool oven (around 80-100°C) until completely dried, between 2 -3 hours. (If you are doing this day before you may need to re-crisp your apple bark for half an hour before assembling). Once dried, the apple skins will shrink and curl like little twigs. The apple strips will look like leaves.

For the assembly

1. Hold your baked good up-side-down and dip into the glaze. Shake of any excess and place back on the wire rack. Take a piece of apple bark and place on baked good while the glaze is still wet so it stays in place once dried. Continue with the rest of your donuts and baby cupcakes.


Bring these along to any dinner party and they will be very, very well received.





Trust me; I know from experience.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About a year ago I was transformed into a macaron making machine. Macaron after macaron, request after request, I was churning these mothers out like a, ahhh… like something that prepares a lot of macarons (you can find some evidence in my old kitchen porfolio). Unfortunately this lead to a great macaron meltdown. I had grown so tired of these adorable, French biscuits I began to despise the process and thus began my temporary retirement. It was an epic rage quit inspired by sugar and ground almonds. Months later (last night) however and due to popular demand (a friend) I managed to pull myself out of my rut and make a great macaron comeback.

The first time I ever tasted pandan was in cake form accompanied by a cup of jasmine tea; a seemingly apt combination for a macaron. If you have reservations about opening an entire can of coconut milk for only 2 tbs I completely understand and suggest you use regular milk. However, like salt to lemon, coconut and pandan compliment each other so wonderfully it really is a shame to tear them apart.

Apologies as mine are a little on the thick side; my excuse being I was adjusting to a brand new piping nib… and I’m out of practice.

 

JASMINE + PANDAN MACARONS

(an original recipe)

For the shells

1 teabag (or 1 heaped tsp) jasmine tea leaves

100 g almond meal

200 g pure icing sugar

100 g aged eggwhites, room temperature

30 g caster sugar

1 tsp powdered egg whites

 

For the pandan buttercream

100 g butter, room temperature

2 cups icing sugar mixture

3/4 tsp pandan paste

2 tbs coconut milk

1. Preheat your oven 150°C.

2. Sift pure icing sugar and almond meal and place into a bowl with your jasmine tea leaves and give it a quick stir.

3. Beat eggwhites and eggwhite powder in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Slowly add the caster sugar, beating well between each addition, until eggwhites are stiff and glossy. This process should take around 10 minutes.

4. Pour half of your dry ingredients into the bowl of beaten eggwhites and combine with a flat utensil, like a spatula, using “cutting strokes”. Once incorporated repeat with the remaining icing sugar/almong meal/jasmine tea mixture. This is where things begin to get a little tricky as under-mixing or over-mixing will ruin your macarons as they attempt to rise and “grow feet” in the oven. Experts say to stir the mixture until it becomes the consistency of lava. The mixture will be sticky but you’ll know it’s ready when, upon holding your spatula above the bowl, it will begin just begin to flow freely back into the bowl. If it’s too watery then you may have mixed too much!

5. Prepare a piping bag with the appropriate tip (around 1 cm or less), a baking tray with baking paper, and pipe rounds. If there are any small lumps left from your piping tip wet your finger and gently press them down (unlike cake batter, macaron mixture does not flatten out when in the oven! Also, ensure you don’t leave drops of water on your macarons or they will balloon whilst baking). Allow tray to rest for 30 minutes.

6. Place baking tray in the oven and allow to bake for around 15 minutes (this time will depend entirely on your oven, so keep an eye on them). Within 5 minutes or so they will begin to grow feet.

7. Once ready, remove from oven, and after 5-10 minutes transfer to cooling racks.

8. Whilst your shells are cooling place butter and icing sugar into a bowl and beat until fluffy. Add pandan paste and beat further. Slowly add coconut milk until the buttercream reaches desired consistency.

9. Prepare another piping bag with a large tip and neatly pipe rounds of buttercream into half of the shells. To close, gently place it’s partner shell on top of the buttercream and twist shut, taking care to prevent buttercream spilling over the edges.

Making macarons is no easy task. This process takes time, patience and most of all PRACTICE. There are too many things that can so wrong so if they haven’t turned out as well you’d like don’t give up! Try, try, try again. It’s a tremendous feeling getting these right. But once you make them…

… they won’t last long.

PS. Have you said hello on Facebook yet?

Tags: , , ,

« Older entries