Posts Tagged ‘treats’

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!

 

 

 

 

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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.