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.
2 3/4 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup of butter (room temp)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 180 degrees c
In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and baking powder
In a separate, large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until smooth.
Beat in egg and vanilla.
Gradually beat in the dry ingredients.
Leave to set for at least an hour in the fridge (covered in clingfilm)
If you are not cutting shapes, roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and place onto a baking tray lined with clingfilm.
If using cookie cutters then roll out the dough and cut shapes out that are around 1 inch thick.
Bake for ten minutes or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.
Meringue can be tricky sometimes, so I hope these tips and tricks will help anyone trying to make the perfect meringue.
To prevent your meringue from ‘weeping’, add 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch to each tablespoon of sugar before adding to egg whites. ‘weeping’ is when there is too much moisture in your meringue, This causes droplets of water to appear all over the meringue which is not ideal and should be avoided.
When making meringue pie, Turn off the oven and open the oven door slightly when the meringue has finished browning and let the pie cool slowly in the oven. This will prevent the meringue from cracking and weeping.
To remove meringue shells from their baking paper, slightly moisten the underside of the paper with cold water. Slide a spatula carefully under the meringue and it should lift off easily and in one piece.
To achieve a high meringue, add a pinch of baking powder to the egg whites before beating them.
Try and use eggs that are three or four days old, as thin older egg whites whip more easily to a higher volume compared to thick and fresh egg whites.
Avoid making meringue on humid days. meringues are mostly air, and if moisture gets in, it will have an effect on the end result.
cold eggs separate easier than eggs at room temperature.
Make sure that no yolk or fat gets into the meringue as it will destroy it. Fat interferes with the formation of good foam.
To separate, crack the egg and hold the shell halves over a bowl. Transfer the yolk back and forth between the halves, letting the white drop into the bowl. Do not cut the yolk (whites containing any yolk will not beat properly). Transfer the yolk to another bowl.
A beaten egg white can foam up to 6 or 8 times its original volume if the egg whites have been at room temperature for 30 minutes before beating
Beat in the sugar at the end rather than at the start. Adding the sugar at the start can add double the whipping time. Add the sugar in at the end when the meringue has soft peaks.
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.
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
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
Remove from the heat, and using a wooden spoon, stir well until glossy and smooth and let cool for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the egg yolks and blend well. Set aside.
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to the soft-peak stage.
Whisk in the sugar, a 1/3 at a time and then whisk again untill the whites are glossy.
With a metal spoon, fold a tablespoon of egg whites into the chocolate mix to loosen it, then carefully fold in the rest.
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.
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.