31 Aug 2009

Sweet and Simple Bakes

It's been a while since I participated in the wonderful Sweet and Simple Bakes monthly challenge. I always start off with good intentions but then before I know it, it's the first of the month and I've gone and forgotten all about it. This month I was determined to make the deadline, I was going to join in, I had to! And how better to adhere to a looming deadline? Make it well in advance of course! I only wish I lived by these rules while at uni.


When I saw what was on the menu for this month, well I couldn't help but bake them super early! So early in fact, I had them baked and eaten on the 2nd of August, check my bad self out. Jammy doughnut muffins, how could you resist such a thing? I had the majority eaten before they even had time to cool. I made these muffins with my homemade Strawberry and Gooseberry jam for even more of a home made feel.

Jammy Doughnut Muffins

Makes 12

Ingredients
275g (10 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
3 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
100g (4 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
2 eggs
200ml (7 fl oz) milk
75g (3 oz) unsalted (sweet) butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 tsp strawberry or raspberry jam

For The Toping
100g (4 oz) unsalted (sweet) butter
150g (5 oz) granulated sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

You will need 12 hole muffin tin lined with paper cases.
Method
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl, and stir through the sugar. In large jug, lightly beat the eggs then add the milk, cooled butter and vanilla extract and beat together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients stir gently until just combined. (Do not over mix, its fine to have a few lumps in the mixture.) Spoon half the muffin mixture into the base of each paper case. Top each muffin with a teaspoon of jam. Now equally between each paper case, top with the remaining muffin mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes until well risen, golden and firm to the touch.

For The Topping: melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Spread the granulated sugar in a wide, shallow bowl with the cinnamon if using. When the muffins are baked, leave in the tin for 5 minutes. Dip the tops of the muffins in the melted butter and then roll in the sugar. You can serve these muffins warm or cold; however, I do prefer to eat them whilst warm.

27 Aug 2009

Finally!

First of all, I'd like to apologise to the wonderful Joy of Hot Oven Warm Heart for taking so damned long to get this post up! This is one recipe I've really been looking forward to and I go and get ill. I'm such a sickly child! But, better late than never.


Banana bread is one of my very favorite things to bake. I absolutely, positively adore the stuff. The thing that got me excited about this particular banana bread was the apples, not only do you add chopped Granny Smiths to the batter, but you go and caramelize them first! My heart just skipped a beat! Caramelized apple in banana bread, how delightfully nomtastic!

I have to admit, this recipe has bumped my previous go to banana bread recipe to the back of the class! I just can't describe how amazing, how mouthwateringly delicious this cake is! Spicy and sweet, moist and sticky. I just can't get enough! My breakfast for the next week has been sorted, don't know what the boyf is going to do ;)

25 Aug 2009

Winner

And the winner, as generated by random.org is comment number 36:

Rosie

What a great Giveaway Katiecakes!! I would just L-O-V-E to own this book!! Thank you for the chance to win :0)

My ingredient would have to be beetroot because I have been pondering on making a red velvet cake without all the red colouring. Hopefully the beetroot would stain the sponge enough and with veggies included it’s got to be healthy don’t you think ???

Congratulations Rosie, mail me your details and the book will soon be winging it's way to you!

Also, I'm so sorry I haven't yet posted my SMS for this week. My weekend was super hectic and I've suddenly been struck down with a dreadful cold. I promise it will be up as soon as possible :(

17 Aug 2009

My first giveaway!

Since the release of Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache I've been lusting after Harry Eastwood's newest venture into healthy baking. I'd go into borders, pull up a stool and drool longingly over the beautiful photography and the mouthwateringly delicious cakes for hours. Eventually I thought enough was enough, after all I was starting to get funny looks from the staff. I bought the book and have poured over it ever since. Mere days after my purchase a friend tells me they have acquired a free copy and would I like it. Naturally I thought of you, dear readers. And here we have it, my first giveaway. A brand new copy of Harry's beauty of a cookbook, Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache.


You have 2 ways to enter, first of all I'd like you to leave a comment telling me of the most unusual ingredient you have, or would like to bake with and how you would use it. If you want to leave a link to a specific blog post I'd love to see.

Secondly, tell someone about the give away. Tweet it/blog it/yell it from the roof tops, whatever you want just make sure leave a comment letting me know what you've done. And don't forget to link it back to this post ;) The winner will be chosen at random from a generator so enter twice, once with your ingredient and once with your promotion of the giveaway to maximize your chances.

This competition is open to EVERYONE (I rang the post office and found it wasn't as expensive to post to the USA as I first though, the website lied) only and will run till August 24th. Winners will be announced Tuesday 25th of August!

Good luck guys :D

16 Aug 2009

SMS Hazelnut Truffles

Well, I think this is the very first Sweet Melissa Sunday I had an easier time locating ingredients than my American and Canadian counterparts. I'm usually on the P&Q fretting over course corn starch or asking what shortening is but not this time. One trip to Tesco and I not only found hazelnuts, but I found ready roasted and chopped hazelnuts for £1 whilst everyone over the pond were hunting high and low only to discover a bag for $8! For once, I lucked out!


These truffles were so so simple to make, just a case of melting chocolate and cream together and letting it set. As I've mentioned many times before, I live in a world of nut haters so rather than having to eat a whole batch of hazelnut truffles, I made more than half of them plain. But, to mine, and everyone else's surprise, the nutty truffles actually turned out to be the favored of the two, even among the nut haters. They were like little Ferrero Rocher's.

I subbed the hazelnut liqueur for almond extract as I didn't really fancy spending £10 on a bottle of booze I'd probably never use again. Check the delicious blog Living Life Foodcariously by the lovely Annie for this simple and delicious recipe! And, get yourself over the the SMS girlies to check out some more truffletastic entries.

14 Aug 2009

My first paid order

A few weeks ago I was commissioned by a friend to bake a batch of cupcakes for a birthday present. I've never been paid for my cakes before and normally I wouldn't take money from a friend, allas she wouldn't take no for an answer.


She gave me free reign over the cakes, her only request was they must be peppermint. So, of course I made a chocolate chip cupcake (chocolate and mint were made for each other, I'm sure you all agree) with a basic peppermint butter cream. It all seemed a little boring so I decided to try out a technique that had been floating around my mind for a while now. Pink and white two tone frosting! I was overjoyed with the result, the only problem I had was super sticky hands from layering the colours in my piping bag, yick!!

Two Tone Frosting:

250g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter
25ml milk
a few drops of peppermint extract
Pink food colouring

Beat together the sugar and butter until the mixture comes together. Add the milk a few drops at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Continue to beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Transfer half the frosting into another bowl and add one or two drops of pink food colouring. Mix till the colour is evenly distributed.

Take a piping bag fitted with your favorite nozzle and lay it down on a counter top. Take spoonfulls of the white frosting and lay it on the bottom half of the bag, once all the white frosting is used take the pink and scoop it on top of the white. Take care not to over fill the bag! Fasten bag and pipe away :)

9 Aug 2009

Snickerdoodles :))

I've always wondered why snickerdoodles are called snickerdoodles. They're nothing like a good old Snickers and I feel they're too big to justify the name doodle. Regardless, these little gems are up there in my very favorite cookies. But, I'm a horrible cinnamon addict so I'm bias. Come the winter months a spoon full of cinnamon will be ending up in every single cake I make. I just can't stop myself!


Now, first of all I have to say that these snickerdoodles are the very best I've ever tasted. So soft and gooey, it's a melt in the mouth extravaganza! Thank you so much, Spike for choosing Snickerdoodles! Such a giant winner!! The one problem I have with this recipe is the fact it yields 3 dozen cookies, 3 DOZEN! Who's going to eat all of these lovely biccies I ask you? Me, that's who!! Better add another 10 minutes to my daily Wii Fit regime.

Now, if you excuse me my snickerdoodles and I are off to picnic in the countryside.

Don't forget to check out the other bakers, I doubt any of them would miss such a delicious Treat!

4 Aug 2009

Girl dates are the best dates

Who here hasn't seen Twilight? I'm guessing most people with girly parts under the age of 35 have had the pleasure of witnessing this romantic re-envisioning of the classic vampire tale. Strangely, two of my very good friends had yet to see this pointy toothed teen romance and in my eyes this was something to rectify, as soon as possible! We arranged a date, got rid of our boy halves for the evening and settled in for a heart warming night with my Twilight blu-ray and 50" TV! What better way to watch than in enormous HD. *swoon*

Since the girls were coming over I felt I had to whip up some dainty treats for us to nibble upon. After an afternoon perusing my mountains of cookery books I finally decided upon ginger Madeleine's (which I forgot to photograph), sugar cookies and a gorgeous lemon cloud cake.


Having never flood filled a cookie before, I knew it was something I needed to try. Rather than starting out with something complex, I decided on some simple hearts. I got the recipe for the royal icing from Not Quite Nigella after I read about her maiden voyage into flood filling (you must check out her super adorable poodle cookies). The whole process was actually a lot easier than I first though, well, once I got the hang of it. Out of the 12 cookies I made, only 8 of them were worthy of the girls.


The cloud cake was something I've been meaning to make for the longest time. I'm utterly obsessed with lemon deserts, lemon meringue pie being my absolute favorite! This cake embodies everything a lemon meringue pie offers with the amazing addition of a fluffy sponge base. Not only does it look absolutely dreamy but when you slice it open, lemon curd comes spilling out, soaking into the cake layer, yum!! You can find the recipe on the BBC Good Food site.

2 Aug 2009

Sweet Melissa Sunday: Peanut Butter Cookies


I never really understood people that don't like peanut butter, much like those who don't like cheese. I don't think they're to be trusted, how can you not adore peanut butter. So salty, yet so sweet. When I lived in my old flat, my room mate would awake every morning and breakfast upon a huge slice of toast slathered with peanut butter and nutella spread, since then it has remained one of my very favorite morning treats. But, of the people who love peanut butter, like me, there's still the question of which side of the peanutty fence they fall, chunky or smooth? Are you a chunky gal, hungry for a bit of bite in your butter or are you a smooth lady, sophisticated and creamy spreading it elegantly upon your toasted sourdough? I'm a chunky girl, I love crunching the chunks of peanut between my front teeth, much to my fiances annoyance. Saying that, I only had smooth to hand so rather than give in and make delicate wee cookies, I tossed aside my tablespoon scoop and instead attacked my dough wielding a huge ice cream scoop!

Well, they certainly weren't delicate. Much like a Yorkie bar, these cookies aren't for girls, or at least faint hearted girls! These babies pack a punch fit for a king! My way only yielded around 15 cookies, rather than the two dozen stated in the recipe, but what can I say? I like my cookies like I like my peanut butter, chunky!

Check out the wonderful Stephanie over at Ice Cream Before Dinner for the recipe and as always check out the SMS gals for their delightful cookies!