Sugar Cookies

hello kitty sugar cookies!

Hello kitty sugar cookies

My end of semester assignments and the holidays have kept me pretty busy over the last few weeks, so I have unfortunately neglected my blog, but not my baking! As you can imagine there has been a lot of cooking and baking over Christmas so I have a lot to share. The first of which being these really addictive Sugar Cookies (seriously, we demolished them). One of best friends bought me Hello Kitty cookie cutters for Christmas, she knows me so well! So a few days after Christmas we put them to good use.

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup of butter (room temp)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees c
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and baking powder
  3. In a separate, large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
  4. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  5. Gradually beat in the dry ingredients.
  6. Leave to set for at least an hour in the fridge (covered in clingfilm)
  7. If you are not cutting shapes, roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and place onto a baking tray lined with clingfilm.
  8. If using cookie cutters then roll out the dough and cut shapes out that are around 1 inch thick.
  9. Bake for ten minutes or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
  10. Decorate however you wish
Advertisements

The Dreaded Tempered Chocolate

Tempering Chocolate

Image Credit: East Village Kitchen

It’s not until you start baking quite often that you realise the importance of knowing how to temper chocolate properly. It still taste great when it’s not but the texture and visual side of things is noticeably different.

When you buy chocolate in the shop it is already ‘in temper’, which means that all the fat crystals are aligned to give it that shine and really nice snap!  So when you melt this chocolate, you are taking it out of temper.  The heat causes the fat molecules to get all jumpy and if they aren’t realigned correctly, you get what’s called “bloomed Chocolate”.

So I’m posting up how to temper chocolate correctly. I hope it helps!

All you need is: A pan, Chocolate and a thermometer.

  • Rest a large bowl over a pan that is filled with 1 inch of water.
  • NB: Ensure the bowl is an inch away from the water to ensure that the bowl is definitely not touching the water
  • Used chopped up chocolate as it melts better and evenly.
  • Get a silicone spatula to use for stirring.
  • Bring the water to a simmer. It is very important that the water is not brought to boiling point. The chocolate needs to slowly melt in order for it to temper properly, so leave it at simmering only.
  • Stir chocolate continuously as it completely melts
  • NB: A single drop of water will destroy our chocolate completely so be very cautious as to not let this happen
  • Bring milk chocolate to 45oc and If using dark chocolate bring it to 48oc
  • Once completely melted remove the bowl from the pan of water and wipe the steam from the bottom of the bowl.

And there you have it, you should have lovely tempered chocolate. enjoy!

Delicous Chocolate Mousse

Bubbly chocolate mousse

Bubbly chocolate mousse

Image and recipe credit: Dessert.net.au

My all time favorite dessert is a delicious bubbly Chocolate Mousse. While browsing for a mousse recipe last week, I managed to find this gem of a recipe.

Chocolate Mousse
  • 7 oz of milk or dark baking chocolate ( I like to mix it up with my favorite chocolate bars like Galaxy)
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 oz of golden caster sugar
Method:
  1. Place the broken up chocolate and 120 mil of warm water in a large mixing bowl and have it over a a saucepan of (barely) simmering water. Ensure that the bowl is not touching the water in any way. heat the water at a low temperature so the chocolate melts slowly. It should take 6-7 minutes
  2. Remove from the heat, and using a wooden spoon, stir well until glossy and smooth and let cool for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the egg yolks and blend well. Set aside.
  4. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to the soft-peak stage.
  5. Whisk in the sugar, a 1/3 at a time and then whisk again untill the whites are glossy.
  6. With a metal spoon, fold a tablespoon of egg whites into the chocolate mix to loosen it, then carefully fold in the rest.
  7. The end of the recipe needs patients as the mix needs to be gently folded and cutting movements to retain the air which makes the mousse light.
  8. Place the mousse in the containers you plan on serving them in, cover with clingfilm and put in fridge for at least 2 hours.

Add some Whipped cream on top to serve. I prefer the whipped cream you get in a container as it is the tastiest and really compliments the chocolate mousse.

Following Tradition

Odlums logo

Odlums logo

Image Credit: Business & Leadership

For generations my family have used Odlums recipes. Why? Simply because they have -without a doubt- the best recipes of all time. On the back of their flour, they have recipes for all different kinds of baked goods and my Nanny used to collect all of them. there was never a wrapper thrown out. I’m extremely grateful to her for collecting these recipes, as its something I would like to leave behind for my grandchildren too. Unfortunately she passed away ten years ago, but my Granddad had obviously been paying very close attention to her cooking because  his cooking tastes the exact same. Now he is the one who is teaching me the essential family secrets and tips! Moral of the story is, I would highly recommend everyone to go onto the Odlums website from time-to-time. I know you wont be let down.

All Things Cake

After plenty of research into the best and most useful baking tips,I have finally collected a list of extremely useful ones I have found and collected over the years! This week I am putting up a list of useful cake tips.

  • An easy way to keep your loaf cakes fresher for longer is, when cutting the slices cut from the middle instead of the outside. Firmly push the two leftover sections together to reform a loaf. This  eliminates the dried out, end slice.
  • Even though this next tip might be a familiar one to most, a lot of people don’t use it. For the best cake mix, always let the eggs, butter and milk reach room temperature before using.
  • To cut a freshly baked cake, use a wet knife.
  • If you roll fruit and raisins in flour before adding to a cake mix, It can prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the mix.
  • Use unflavored dental floss to slice evenly and cleanly through a cake or torte. Simply stretch a length of the floss taut and press down through the cake.
  • An apple cut in half and placed in the cake box will keep the cake fresh several days longer.
  • If there is one thing that I hate doing while baking, it has to be waiting for the cake to cool down so I can ice it. To cool a cake quickly for frosting, pop it into the freezer while you make the frosting. By the time frosting is ready, the cake will be cool and ready to slip out of the pan

More to come over the next few weeks so make sure to check it out!

Arsenal Cake

Twenty Sixth birthday cake I made for my sister's boyfriend

Twenty Sixth birthday cake I made for my sister’s boyfriend

Image credit: Bloggers own image

Here is my second special designed cake attempt. I made this cake for my sister’s Boyfriend as a gift for his 26th birthday. His name is Ade and he is a huge arsenal fan!

For this cake I used a Vanilla sponge with a layer of chocolate cream filling and I used sugar fondant for the icing. The fondant makes designing the cake a lot easier because of the flat smooth surface.  I had help from my friend Jennifer with the crest.

Here is the recipe I used:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup butter (lightly salted)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

1. Beat eggs in large mixing bowl with paddle attachment for 4 minutes.  Do not skip this step!

2. Add sugar, and continue beating for another 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and stir on low until just combined.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients.  Add to eggs and sugar on low-speed until just combined.

4. In a saucepan, heat milk and butter on low heat just until butter is melted.  Add to batter, beat just until combined.

5. Pour into two greased and floured 8″ round cake pans.

6. Bake at 325 until the middle springs back when touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let stand in pans for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto wire cooling racks and cool completely.

18th Birthday Celebrations

First professional-looking cake I ever attempted!

First professional-looking cake I ever attempted!

Image credit: Bloggers own image

Back in early June, I attempted my very first professional-looking cake for my little brothers 18th birthday. Not to bad for a first-timer aye’? I was delighted with it.  I didn’t do it all on my own thought! I had help from two of my dearest friends who helped with the design of the icing. The cake itself was a Oreo chocolate sponge while the icing was a white sugar fondant that I got in Decobake  bachelors walk.  I would definitely modify the recipe of the sponge the next time, it definitely needed more Oreo! Practice makes perfect.