Thursday, 24 February 2011

Love-bug sugar cookies.

I've decided that I definitely enjoy making and icing cakes more than biscuits. I think this is due to the fact that the biscuits I made yesterday took way longer than I thought to ice and also because I am not very good at icing them. They never turn out how I imagine they will.

I think this is down to the fact that to make beautifully iced biscuits you need to be patient and neat and those are 2 things I definitely am not.

Any way I had been meaning to make these biscuits on valentines day however as usual time got away from me. But hey heart shaped biscuits should be eaten all year round in my book. Any way here are my Love-bug Iced biscuits. I'm sorry they're not so great and neither is the photography.

They are a basic Vanilla biscuit then I piped a line of thick red icing around the heart cutting off before the tip and I filled this with red flooding icing. I then iced the tip with white icing then once dry decorated with black spots and faces.

Here's how:

For the biscuits:

Makes about 24

350g Plain Flour
100g Self Raising Flour
125g Granulated Sugar
125g Butter Softened and Diced
125g Golden Syrup
1 Large Egg beaten
Pinch of Salt

Sift the flours together into a bowl. Add the sugar and salt and mix well. Add the butter and rub into the mixture with your fingertips until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.
Make a well in the centre and add the egg and syrup. Mix well, drawing any of the flour left at the side of the bowl and stop as soon as a ball has formed.
Roll the dough in between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper (This way doesn't use flour so stops the dough from getting to tough) until it's about 5mm thick. Then chill the rolled out dough in the fridge for about 30mins.

Pre-heat the oven to 170deg C Then cut the the biscuits out and bake on a lined baking tray for about 12  - 15 mins. Once the biscuits are cooled they are ready to ice.

For the outlining icing Mix icing sugar with colour and water (Adding a drop at a time) Until you have icing about the consistency of toothpaste. Then ice this around the edges where required. Then for the flooding icing make the icing to about the consistency of thick custard and pipe inside the outline, spreading out where necessary. Leave to dry until the icing is hard. This can be done by placing the biscuits in the oven on its lowest setting for around 30 minutes. Then decorate with more think piping icing.

And that's it! I did plan to try making a few using flood on flood icing so that the bugs spots were set into the biscuit like the red icing however as I only had one piping bag and a lot of biscuits it was just taking to long and i was still icing at 11pm - (Note to self, organise my time better) They don't look as great as I'd have liked but They still taste pretty great.

Back to cakes next week.

Any way bye for now 

Cupcake Kris

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Valentines cupcakes and an Award.

Wow it's been 10 days since I've blogged and I really feel like I've abandoned my blog after just 10 days. I've been busy but I've still been keeping up with all the wonderful blogs I read and I was pleased to see that the lovely  Domestic Goddess Wannabe from karen and nigella had bestowed me with a Stylish Blogger award. Check out her blog it's always updated with brill recipes.

There are four rules to taking part - thank and link to the blogger who nominated you; share seven things about yourself; award 15 new bloggers, and tell them you have done it. I will be passing the baton to:

I found it really hard to thing of 7 things about me (I can't be that boring right) but I found it really hard to think on the spot but here we go.

1) I love my music and always wished I could play an instrument but I don't have the patience. I like many types of music but mainly rock and metal and my fave bands include, Biffy Clyro, Clutch, Incubus, Killswitch Engage, RATM, AC/DC and many many more. I adore live gigs.

2) I live with my lovely boyfriend and a very naughty border collie pup called Clyro. Clyro likes to chew things he shouldn't especially if those things are electricals belonging to my boyfriend. Clyro's favourite is playstation pads.

3) As you know I love making cakes and baking but I also like to try my hand at making jewellery and clothes now and again. My mum has worked as a dress maker and this Christmas she got me a sewing machine of my own.

4) I studied film and TV at university and I used to work for the extreme sports channel. One day I hope to go back to working in television.

5) I love to read and will read pretty much any genre of book. I do like Sci fi and Fantasy though and that also is what I like to watch on TV although I do have a guilty pleasure which is I love to watch Americas next top model.

6) As I said I studied film I have many Faves but a few I can watch over and over are: The Big Lebowski, Withnail and I, Almost Famous and anything that can make me laugh.

7) I talk way too much and way too fast.

So there you go.

Anyway on to Cupcakes:

I wanted to bake much more this weekend but I was rather busy so I have postponed some of my planned baking however I did have an order from a friend for some Valentines themed cupcakes and here they are:

I made some Vanilla and some Chocolate and decorated with Vanilla and Chocolate Butter cream and Fondant hearts, Love hearts, sprinkles and jelly lips.
The vanilla cakes were baked with a smaller red heart shaped cake inside each one like so:

the theory being that when you slice them in half there's a secret red heard in the centre. I got the idea from a wonderful site called bake it in a cake My hearts were a little bigger than I think they should have been and Not as red/pink as I would have liked them.
Unfortunately I don't have a pic of mine cut in half as I'm dozy and accidentally deleted it but they were no were near as good as the bake it in a cake ones though, even though they still tasted great.

The recipe for the Chocolate Cupcakes and frosting are here

And that's it. Hopefully I'll get round to doing all the baking I've postponed over the past few days and there will be another Valentine's themed (All be it an untimely one) blog soon

Anyway bye for now

Cupcake Kris

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Lots of baking books and Mince Pierogies

I've been meaning to post for a while about all the lovely baking books I've received as presents recently. Some where for Christmas and some were just because but I got quite a few and now I have so many recipes I want to try out that they will keep me in ideas for a very long time.
Anyway I took a picture of the newest additions to my recipe books. here they are:

You'll notice a book called Kinky Cupcakes that was from my great friend Mandie and it's such a cool and different book that gives you instructions on how to decorate cupcakes in really different and elaborate ways. I haven't attempted any yet but when I have a free afternoon I will definitely give it a go. Just look at these:
They involve making your own chocolate legs. The cupcake on the front of the book has legs sprouting from a can can skirt.

Another great book in that pile is the one called Taste Baking and that's where the recipe for today comes from. It's a wonderful book filled with not only sweet baking but also savoury ideas. And for once on my day of baking I didn't make sweet treats and stuck to savoury.

I tried a recipe called Mince Pierogies, something I had never heard of before and cant even pronounce the name but they are basically a bread roll with beef mince, onions and mushrooms baked inside. They're great for a hot lunch or a snack for visiting friends.

And here they are:

And here's how they're made (I've added to and adjusted the recipe slightly from the book to add my own favorite spices and change the size)

250g Plain flour (I found I needed quite a bit more as the dough was too sticky so used more like 300 - 320g)
7g sachet of easy bake yeast (The recipe only called for 3 1/2g but i tried to add a bit more as I'd added more flour an ended up adding the whole sachet but it worked fine.)
100ml Lukewarm milk
2 eggs
Pinch of sugar
2 tbsp Oil (I used olive)
1 tbsp Butter
1 Onion, chopped
1 Clove of garlic, chopped
200g Minced beef
50g Mushrooms peeled and chopped (I was far to lazy to peel)
1 Egg yolk, beaten
1/2 tsp Paprika
Dash of chili powder
Salt and pepper

Sieve the flour into a bowl and sprinkle over the yeast. Add the milk, eggs sugar and 1 tbsp of oil and mix. Knead into a soft elasticy dough. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes. 

Heat the butter with the remaining oil. Gently fry the onion and garlic. Add the mince and fry until brown, mix in the mushrooms and fry for 1 - 2 minutes, season with salt, pepper, paprika and chili or whatever herbs and spices take your fancy. 

Heat the oven to 240 deg C

Roll out the dough onto a floured surface (the recipe didn't specify how thick, I went for around 2cm.) and cut out circles about 6cm in diameter. I wanted my rolls to be bigger than the recipe (partially because I'm greedy and partially because I'm lazy and dint want the fiddly job of filling tiny circles) so i cut out circles of about 10cm diameter. 

Spoon a mound of filling onto each circle fold to make a semi circle and press the edges down well (It is really important to make sure they are really well sealed as I had a couple burst.)

Place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper, brush with egg yolk and leave to rise for a further 15 minutes.

Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.

So there you have it! Something savory for a change (Although you could easily fill these rolls with something sweet, diced apple etc.)

After I had made these I couldn't leave the kitchen without making something sweet though  - I think I have an addiction. So I made some more muesli bars but this time I added a lot less butter and less syrup left out the cranberries and coconut and added 2tbsp of crunchy peanut butter and they worked really well.

The original muesli bar recipe is on the last post and I also linked it up to this other great blog I found sweet as sugar cookies . Where each week the blogger hosts Sweets for Saturday. It's a great place to find new recipes and blogs to follow.

Anyway that's it for today.

Bye for now

Cupcake Kris

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Oatylicious lunchtime snacks.

I love baking with porridge oats, mainly because I love the toasty nutty flavor of anything with oats in but also because no matter what you make with them they always make the treat seem like it's a little healthy and good for you, even if said treat is actually packed full of sugar and butter. 

I'd been craving oatmeal and raisin cookies for a while and I also wanted to make some handy treats that I could easy wrap up each day and take to work for lunches. So, on Sunday I stocked up on oatmeal, dries fruit nuts and seeds and got baking.
First I made the oatmeal and raisin cookies I'd been craving and well they didn't make it past Monday until they had all been eaten so It's a good job I also made a ton of Muesli bars. Here they both are:

And here's how they're made: First the cookies as they are one of my all time favourites:
recipe via Hummingbird bakery. 

Makes 20

270g Unsalted butter
160g Caster sugar
160g Soft dark brown sugar
2 eggs
few drops of vanilla extract
380g Plain flour
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
110g Rolled oats
220g Raisins

Preheat the oven to 170deg C.
Put the butter and sugars in a bowl and whisk together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well. Then whisk in the vanilla extract.

Sift together the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Add the oats and mix well. Add to the butter mixture and beat until well mixed. Stir in the raisins with a wooden spoon until evenly dispersed.

Arrange equal amounts of cookie dough on to some prepared baking trays making sure the cookies have enough room to spread while baking. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 12 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

And that's it for the cookies, now for the muesli bars:

These can be adapted to include any of your favourite dried fruit, nuts or seeds e.g, raisins, sultanas, apricot, sunflower seeds, cranberry, mango.... the mix of flavours and ingredients you can experiment with is vast and that's what makes these great, they never get boring.

makes about 15-20

I used:
320g Unsalted butter
240ml Golden syrup (although I'd definitely use less syrup next time as they were a little sticky - probably about 200ml)
250g Soft light brown sugar
270g Rolled oats
150g Desiccated coconut
125g Dried cranberries
125g Raisins
140g Cornflakes
100g Mixed seeds
good handful of cashews, chopped.

As I said feel free to mix the ingredients around to add more of your favorite.
Put the butter, golden syrup and sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat until melted and smooth. 
Put the oats, cereal and all your dried fruit/nuts/seeds into a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until everything is mixed. Pour in the butter mixture and mix until everything is combined and the dry ingredients are coated and evenly dispersed.

Press the mixture into a prepared baking tray and use a tablespoon to flatten it. Then cover this with a sheet of greaseproof paper and another baking tray covered in jam jars to compress the mixture. Leave this in the fridge overnight to cool and set.

And that's it, 2 recipes using porridge oats that aren't as healthy as I like to pretend they are.

Bye for now

Cupcake Kris xxx