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.
Following my ‘All Things Cake’ Post, I am now posting my useful tips that I have gathered for all things cupcake. I hope they help!
When that muffin or cupcake just wont budge from the pan, place a cold wet towel underneath the pan for thirty seconds and they will slip right out.
To divide the batter evenly when making cupcakes or muffins, use an ice cream scoop to transfer batter from the mixing bowl to the baking pan.
You can add water to the baking try of empty slots and it has multiple benefits. It can prevent the cupcakes or muffins from browning on the edges to quick. the extra steam prevents the mix from over cooking. It can also be used to prevent the baking pain from warping when you are not using every slot. Just half fill all the empty slots with water and put in oven to bake as normal.
When decorating with icing, It looks a lot better to use a piping bag and nozzle. It gives the cupcakes a more professional look, rather than using a spoon or knife.
Always fill your cupcake cases 2/3 of the way full to allow for the mix to rise. over flowing cupcakes and muffins does not look good, although its nice to nibble on the extra!
I would always suggest using an electric mixer, as mixing things by hand all the time can be time-consuming and just plain tiring. If the recipe says fold on, then do not use an electric mixer. you must fold it in yourself, either using your hands or a wooden spoon.
Sifting is key to light and fluffy cupcakes. as tempting as it may be do not skip this step because it makes a huge difference in how your cupcakes or muffins turn out!