Archive for the ‘t r e a t s’ Category

p e a n u t b u t t e r c u p s

March 1, 2011

I found a recipe for peanut butter cups posted on design*sponge a week or so ago and I just HAD to make them. It never occurred to me that they would be so simple to make, not to mention fun! So here is my version, adapted from Ashley English’s recipe. They taste delicious.

 

 

P E A N U T B U T T E R C U P S

200g dark belgian chocolate

200g milk belgian chocolate

2-3 plain digestive biscuits

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/2 cup vanilla infused icing sugar, sifted

generous pinch Maldon sea salt

 

L I N E a muffin tray with 12 paper cases.

Take 100g dark and 100g milk, and C H O P into pieces. Place in a double boiler and melt the chocolate stirring it well to combine.

Pour a tablespoon of M E L T E D chocolate into each paper case and roll it around the sides by tilting each case in your hands, or use a pastry brush to get the chocolate about two thirds up the sides. Cover the tray in cling film and put in the fridge for about 15 minutes or until set.

Place your biscuits in a ziplock bag and S M A S H them with a rolling pin until they form fine crumbs. Put into a large bowl with the icing sugar, peanut butter and salt. Combine well and use your hand to help bring it all together into a smooth ball. Cut into 12 equally sized  pieces, and roll each one into a small ball.

Take the tray out of the fridge and D R O P a ball of filling into each case, pressing gently to flatten a little.

Now get the remaining chocolate, and M E L T in the double boiler as before. Once melted, and stirred well, pour a little over each cup until you’ve used up all the chocolate. It should cover the filling so you have none poking through the surface. Give the tray a gentle shake from side to side to knock out any air bubbles. Cover the tray in cling film and place it flat in the fridge for about an hour to set.

Makes 12. Lasts about 12 minutes.

 

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r e d v e l v e t c a k e s

February 22, 2010

This is the recipe I used for the cupcakes I sold at the ShOP Valentine’s Day Baking Extravaganza I posted about earlier. This is a teeny bit more complicated than your standard cupcake recipe as there are a fair few ingredients and it calls for silly amounts of red food colouring (which ends in silly amounts of mess!). Typically red velvet recipes require buttermilk which is not an easy ingredient to obtain! So instead I am using a mixture of vinegar and milk which works as a perfect substitute in this case. I kept it simple, icing them in white vanilla butter frosting. The contrast of the white against the deep red sponge is gorgeous and works so well! 

 

 

R E D V E L V E T C A K E S

250g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

1tsp baking soda

1 tsp maldon sea salt

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 bottles red food colouring (78ml)

115g butter

375g caster sugar

2 large eggs (or 3 small)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup whole milk

1 Tbsp white cider vinegar

1 tsp white cider vinegar

 

V A N I L L A F R O S T I N G

200g softened butter

200-300g sifted icing sugar

vanilla extract

milk

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line muffin trays with paper cases. Firstly you need to prepare the buttermilk S U B S T I T U T E. In a jug, add 1 Tbsp of the cider vinegar, and top up with the cup of milk. Leave it on the side for at least 10 minutes. It will thicken and look a bit lumpy, a bit like cultured yoghurt. This is OK.

Meanwhile, start to make the cake B A T T E R by sifting the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl. Gently combine the red food colouring and sifted cocoa powder together in a separate smaller bowl til smooth.

B E A T the butter and sugar til light and fluffy in another large mixing bowl. Gradually beat the eggs into this mixture, followed by the vanilla extract and red cocoa paste. Once combined, add a third of the flour mixture and mix well. Then add half of the milk and vinegar concoction. Stir well, then add another third of flour. Mix, then add the remaining milk. Finally, add the last of the flour and mix well to incorporate. 

 

 

Lastly, combine the tsp of baking soda with a tsp of cider vinegar in a cup, and once dissolved stir this into the cake batter. F I L L the paper cases about two thirds of the way up, and place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. You can test whether they’re done by pushing a toothpick or kebab stick into the centre of the sponge. If it comes out clean, they’re ready. These cakes do take a little longer to cook than conventional vanilla cup cakes!

C O O L the cakes in their tins for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 20. 

To make the F R O S T I N G , beat the butter in a bowl until it’s as white and smooth as you can possibly get it. This is a good time to be the proud owner of an electric mixer (Woe is me! ). Then sift in the icing sugar, a bit at a time, beating to incorporate it. Add a tsp of vanilla and beat it in until you reach a smooth spreadable consistency. If it’s too runny, add more icing sugar; if it’s too stiff, add a splash of milk.

To D E C O R A T E , pipe icing onto the cooled cakes. Then decorate with any candy you can find! Hundreds and thousands, shavings of chocolate, sprinkles, jelly beans, smarties etc… I cut little hearts out of layers of licorice all-sorts and used them to decorate the centre of each cake. The world is your cupcake! 

 

S h O P b a k i n g e x t r a v a g a n z a

February 22, 2010

A couple of weekends ago I took part in a wonderful Valentine’s Day event at ShOp on the Christmas Steps in Bristol. I brought down a selection of cupcakes to sell in ShOp, and Jayne who runs ShOp, had her mum Linda in to kindly spend the afternoon doing baking demonstrations and encouraging everyone to muck in and make some treats to take home! We made peppermint creams, shortbread, and scones. It was a huge success and by the end of the day we managed to get icing sugar and flour in almost everyone’s hair. The mark of a good baking session i’d say!

 

p e p p e r m i n t c r e a m s

 

I sold three varieties of cupcake including vanilla cake with vanilla frosting, red velvet cake with vanilla frosting, and vanilla cake with zesty lemon frosting! All individually iced and decorated, and boxed and tied up with a ribbon for those unsuspecting significant others on V Day! I’ll include the new recipes in my next blog update. For now I’ll just share a few pictures from the day.

 

v a n i l l a f r o s t e d c a k e

 

Jayne and Emma making peppermint creams.

 

p e p p e r m i n t c r e a m s

 

t h e c u p c a k e s t a l l

 

b a k i n g t o o l s

 

p e p p e r m i n t h e a r t s

p e p p e r m i n t h e a r t s

 

Emma and Linda making peppermint creams

 

It was a fantastic day and we hope to do something similar in ShOp again soon! So watch this space, as you’ll be the first to know about any future cooking events there! Don’t forget to check out their website at http://www.shoptheshop.co.uk/

p e c a n p r a l i n e c o o k i e s

January 7, 2010

So I told you there would be another post coming soon! These cookies make use of the pecan praline I made yesterday (see previous entry), and they were a bit of an experiment, but one that paid off!

 

 

P E C A N P R A L I N E C O O K I E S

125g butter

1/2 cup dark muscovado sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

1  1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 good pinch maldon sea salt

75g dark belgium cooking chocolate

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecan praline

 

Firstly P R E H E A T the oven to 180°C. To make the cookie batter, cream the butter and sugars in a bowl until smooth. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract and mix well. Sift in the flour and baking powder, and add the salt. Beat mixture thoroughly. Chop the slab of chocolate into smallish 1cm pieces with a knife. Fold into the mix along with the chopped praline.

 

 

For L A R G E cookies, drop generous tablespoons of mixture onto a baking tray covered in wax paper. Leave plenty of room between each cookie! For smaller cookies, drop decent teaspoons of mixture onto the tray. Put them in the oven on the middle shelf, and bake til lightly browned. Large cookies will take about 12 minutes to cook, the smaller ones will take about 9 minutes. Take them out and leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

These cookies are S O F T inside with nuggets of praline and chunks of chocolate. Andrew gobbled a few down before they had a chance to even cool down, so they have the thumbs up from him!

 

 

l o u i s i a n a p e c a n p r a l i n e

January 6, 2010

I woke up today to find that bristol is under a blanket of snow. It’s beautiful! But instead of braving the cold, I thought I would stay in today and make something with what I can find in my cupboards (not a lot). This is a simple recipe that is more akin to the traditional praline recipes of the 19th century. There’s no cream or condensed milk, just a small amount of butter. The rest is sugar, water, pecans, and a dash of vanilla! YAY I have ALL these things!

 

 

P E C A N P R A L I N E

1 cup white sugar

1/3 cup dark muscovado sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup pecan halves

2 tsp butter

1 tsp vanilla

 

To make the P R A L I N E , put  the sugars and water in a heavy based medium saucepan. Bring to the boil on a medium heat stirring occasionally until all the sugar crystals dissolve. This will only take a few minutes. Then with your hands, crush the pecan halves gently into the saucepan, so you have a variety of pecan pieces. Stir these into the sugar syrup, and reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally. Cook for anywhere between 15-30 minutes, until the syrup begins to thicken and reaches setting point. You can test this by dropping a small amount on a saucer and putting it into the freezer for a minute. It should start to set pretty quickly if it’s ready and the mixture will look much more opaque at this point. If it just spills out on the saucer it needs longer.

 

 

When it’s ready, remove from the heat, add the butter and the vanilla, and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon unil it starts to stiffen slightly. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a baking tray lined with wax paper and leave it to set. If it goes too stiff to spoon onto the tray, just add a few drops of hot water and beat well to loosen the mixture.

You can either eat the morsels of candy goodness as they are, or crush and sprinkle over icecream etc… I am going to A T T E M P T to make some cookies with the praline later on today. So there may be another post on the way soon!

 

 

 

 

c h o c o l a t e p e c a n p i e

November 4, 2009

I made this chocolate pecan pie for my birthday dinner on monday. It’s sort of an amalgamation of various different recipes because I wasn’t  happy with the ones i found!

 

 

T A R T C A S E

100g cold butter (i prefer salted!)

200g plain flour

60g caster sugar

2 egg yolks

 

C H O C O L A T E P E C A N P I E F I L L I N G

1  1/2 cups pecan nuts

125g dark belgian cooking chocolate

4 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup (can substitute with golden or maple syrup)

1 tsp vanilla

pinch maldon sea salt

 

To make the T A R T C A S E , cut the cold butter into small dice. In a bowl rub the butter into the flour between the tips of your fingers to form what looks like fine breadcrumbs. If you have a food processor you can blitz it together in there instead, using short bursts. Add the sugar and turn through. In a separate small bowl, lightly beat the yolks with a fork. Add a tablespoon of cold water to the yolks, then stir this into the flour mixture. Bring it together with your fingers to form a dough. Knead it briefly to make  a smooth ball. Chill in the fridge for an hour or more. Roll it out to fit a 24cm tart tin (the kind with the base that pops out of it). Once it’s in the case and you’ve tidied the edges, put it back in the fridge for an extra 30 minutes of chill time. Blind bake the pastry (i line the pastry with greaseproof paper and fill it with rice) at 180°C for about 15 minutes, or until firm and lightly coloured. Leave to cool on a wire rack!

To make the C H O C O L A T E P E C A N P I E , spread the pecan nuts evenly across the base of the tart case. In a bowl, combine the sugars, syrup, vanilla, and salt. Break the chocolate up into small pieces, and place in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering hot water. Stir the chocolate until melted, then take off the heat and allow to cool a little (without letting it set!). Stir the chocolate into the sugar mixture well. When it is just warm to the touch (the eggs will cook and scramble if the chocolate is too hot), gradually beat in the eggs to form a smooth silky texture. Pour this over the pecans in the tart case. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 50-60 minutes, or until it is set.

Cut the pie into wedges, and serve with a ball of vanilla ice cream. Y U M .

g r r r r . . . a r g h ! c u p c a k e s

November 4, 2009

I spent a large part of last weekend fashioning faces for cupcakes. I LOVE decorating cupcakes. And everybody seems to enjoy devouring them, so they’re a regular on my baking agenda. Oh also, I normally double this recipe because I like to make heaps!

 

C U P C A K E S

125g softened butter (i prefer salted variety)

125g self raising flour

125g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tbsp milk

 

F R O S T I N G

100g soft butter

100g icing sugar, sifted

vanilla extract

food colouring of your choice!

lots of candy!!

 

 

To make the C U P C A K E S, you need to firstly beat the softened butter with the sugar in a bowl until pale and fluffy. I use a wooden spoon, but if you’re lucky enough to have an electric mixer, go with that! Gradually beat in the eggs, whisking as you go. Beat in the vanilla. Sift in half the flour, mixing well to incorporate. Then add the milk, and the remaining flour. Continue to fold this in until the mixture is smooth. In a muffin tray lined with paper cases, pour the mixture in to fill each case about 2/3 of the way up. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 12-15 minutes until golden. (n.b. If you’re unsure, stick a wooden kebab stick into the centre of one cake to check it’s done. If it comes out clean, they’re ready! If it’s all globby with bits of cake, keep ’em baking!) Cool on a wire rack. Makes 8-10 large-ish cupcakes.

To make the F R O S T I N G, beat the butter in a bowl until it’s as white and smooth as you can possibly get it. Again, this is a good time to be the proud owner of an electric mixer. Woe is me! Then sift in the icing sugar, a bit at a time, beating to incorporate it. Add a tsp of vanilla (or lemon juice, or other flavouring) at this point, and if you want to colour it, add a few drops of your colouring. Beat it in until you reach a smooth spreadable consistency. If it’s too runny, add more icing sugar; if it’s too stiff, add a splash of milk.

To D E C O R A T E the cupcakes, spread or pipe the icing on. I cut up bits of licorice all sorts, strawberry laces, and so on, to make parts of the faces. I also decorated with hundreds and thousands, and used specialty black icing to pipe the letters and make the cobwebs.