Star Baker Cookies

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As I have mentioned before my sugarcraft ladies always have some form of edible delight waiting for them when they come to class. Heaven help me if I give them shop bought food! One of my ladies, Janice, has been with me for 4 years. She is the life and soul of the party, one of the kindest ladies I have ever met and the naughtiest laugh going! She is having a tough time of it at the moment so I thought I would make her my “Star Baker” tonight, complete with cookies!

Ingredients

8 oz softened butter

5 oz caster sugar

1 egg yolk

2 tsp vanilla extract

10oz plain flour

1.Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan

2.Beat the sugar, egg, vanilla and butter together until light and fluffy

3.Mix in the flour to form a stiff paste

4. Wrap the dough in cling film or put in a freezer bag and chill for at least 30 minutes. It is better to split the dough into smaller batches to prevent you overworking the dough.

5.Roll the dough out to about 3mm or quarter of an inch thick. Cut out the cookies in your chosen shape. Work quickly to stop the dough warming up too much as this makes it difficult to work with.

6.Line a baking tray with parchment paper

7. Place the cookies on the baking tray. Make sure you leave enough space for the cookies to spread.

8. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.

9. Allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

10. Dust with icing sugar or even cover with glace icing.

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Coconut and Jam cookies

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Please forgive my lack of blogging, it has been a tad chaotic at The Cake Doctor’s Practice. We have had a lot of cake orders of late in addition to all our classes and workshops. I have been playing with recipes but just when I remember to take a photo of the cakes or biscuits I get distracted or they get eaten!

I was determined to write something up today so this the first of three!

Ingredients

8 oz softened butter

5 oz caster sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

10oz plain flour

4 oz desiccated coconut

6 tbs jam ( I used strawberry)

1.Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan

2.Beat the sugar, egg, vanilla and butter together until light and fluffy

3.Mix in the flour and coconut to form a stiff paste

4.Line a baking tray with parchment paper

5.Form the dough into walnut sized balls and place on the tray. I used a small ice cream scoop. Make sure you leave enough space for the cookies to spread.

6.Pass the jam through a sieve to ensure an even consistency.

7. Use the end of a wooden spoon to form a small dent in the top of each cookie then fill the dent with jam.

8. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.

9. Allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes

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It has been a long time since I’ve had a minute to write a new blog. It has been a tad chaotic here. I have gone into partnership with one of my friends, Leanne, who is also one of my sugarcraft students. We have opened our own Sugarcraft school! Everything happened really quickly! From making the decision, getting the funding and then literally building our kitchen and classroom from scratch!

It has been really hard work but I love it! I have space to work on my cakes and we can teach what we what, when we want!

This little recipe is a personal favourite of mine. As I’ve mentioned before I’m not a fan of cupcakes but this one I like. The peanut butter frosting is absolutely divine!

The combination of soft, rich chocolate sponge and the salty, sweet peanut buttercream is very reminiscent of Reese’s Peanut Buttercups. Naughty but nice!

Ingredients

  • Cupcakes
  • 110g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs, free range
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 75g plain flour
  • 50g good quality cocoa powder
  • 120ml milk
  • 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
  • Peanut Butter Frosting
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 140g peanut butter (smooth is easier for piping)
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tsp good quality vanilla extract
  • a splash of milk
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan
  2. line a muffin tin with cupcake cases
  3. The cupcakes are made with the all in one method so shove everything in a bowl and mix together until you have a smooth batter.
  4. Use an ice-cream scoop to portion the mixture into the cupcake cakes
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool completely before icing.
  7. To make the buttercream beat all the ingredients together and mix until lovely and smooth. You may need to add a touch more milk if the icing is a little on the stiff side.

Chocolate Chip Whoopie Pies

DSCF6069Like most Mums I think that the hardest thing that I have to deal with is seeing my son in pain. Ben is 16 now and suffers from Chronic Pain syndrome. He took the very brave decision to drop back an academic school year and repeat Year 10 due to the amount of time he missed from school last year.

I am so proud of my son because not only is he keeping up with his studies and doing his GCSE examination but he is managing to do this on a few hours sleep every night, very potent medication and varying levels of pain, from bearable to not being able to walk and screaming all night long! Most people don’t realise quite what Ben has to go through on a day-to-day basis.

We don’t have much spare money, I gave up a full-time teaching job to look after him and now make wedding and celebration cakes from home. Consequently if Ben wants a treat, a meal out or a new game for his X-box, he has to wait until I have sold a cake or two.

My way of treating Ben is to let him choose what baking he wants me to do. Usually it is chocolate chip cookies but this week he asked for whoopie pies. I can’t take credit for this recipe as I found it in the Hummingbird Bakery’s “Cake Days” recipe book. I did, however, switch their natural yoghurt and milk for buttermilk as I had some that needed using up.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75g melted margarine
  • 275g plain flour
  • 0.75 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 0.25 tsp baking powder
  • 150g chocolate chips (I used a mixture of milk and dark)

Icing 

  • 170g butter
  • 2Tbs cocoa
  • 280g icing sugar
  • 220g vanilla marshmallow fluff

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C / 150C fan
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper
  3. Beat the egg and sugar together until pale and fluffy
  4. Slowly add the buttermilk, margarine and vanilla to the eggs
  5. Add the dry ingredients
  6. Stir in the chocolate chips
  7. Heap large spoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking tray, allowing plenty of room for the mixture to spread. (I used and ice cream scoop but I think it was too big as the pies were HUGE!)
  8. Bake for 10-13 min then cool on a rack.
  9. Beat the icing ingredients together then pop in the fridge to firm up a little.
  10. Use the icing to sandwich the pies together. I made 6 pies but I think 10 is a better number as mine really were massive!

Salted Caramel Flapjack

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I don’t know about you but all this salted caramel and salted  chocolate trend is old news to me! I’ve had a passion for chocolate coated salted pretzels for years. I always used salted butter in my baking. Why would you want to deprive your taste buds?

I can’t claim any credit for this recipe at all as I saw it on the Food Network channel and liked the look of it. It is from a chappie called Andy Bates who seemed to be sponsored by Tate and Lyle. I liked the look of it because I had everything I needed in my cupboards and it looked really straight forward. Plus it has one of my favourite ingredients in it, condensed milk!

Ingredients for the flapjack

Ingredients for the caramel

  • 397g can of condensed milk
  • 95g golden syrup
  • 225g soft brown sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 2 Tbs glucose syrup
  • 175g white chocolate, chopped
  • sea salt.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan/ gas 4
  2. Grease and line 10 in square tin
  3. To make the base, melt the butter and syrup together then stir in the oats.
  4. Tip into the prepared tin and press down firmly.
  5. Bake for approximately 15 min or until golden brown. Set to one side to cool slightly.
  6. Add the sugar, milk, butter and syrups to a heavy based pan.
  7. Heat gently, stirring until all the sugar dissolves.
  8. INcrease the heat and bring to the boil.
  9. Simmer for 8-10min , stirring constantly to prevent the caramel from sticking.
  10. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate.
  11. Once smooth, pour the caramel over the flapjack and level with the back of a spoon.
  12. Sprinkle the salt flakes over then cover with another piece of greaseproof paper and gently press the salt into the caramel surface.
  13. Allow to set and cool then cut into finger slices.

 

Apple Crumble Cupcakes

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As it is is National Cupcake week here in the UK, I thought I would treat my sugarcraft class to some. I’m not really a fan of cupcakes. I can’t see the point of all that buttercream and I get bored when I’m asked to decorate them.  I can, however, see the point of a really good apple crumble. I’ve always said that if I was on death row my final meal would be apple crumble and custard!

This particular recipe is a bastardization of one by Eric Lanlard and Patrick Cox from their book, “Cox, Cookies and Cake”. I liked the idea of this cake because not only does it feature the flavours of my favourite pud but it also doesn’t have any buttercream topping.

The original recipe calls for 2 Bramley apples but I found the apple flavour a little lacking and dominated by the cinnamon. Having tinkered around with the recipe a little, I think I may have hit apple crumble gold! I tried it out on my class last night and was bombarded with requests for the recipe. So this one is for you, Janice!

 Ingredients

For the crumble topping:

50g plain flour

50g soft brown sugar

0.5tsp ground cinnamon

40g butter

For the cupcakes:

1 large Bramley apple, peeled, cored and diced

1 – 2 eating apple, peeled, cored and diced

1tsp ground cinnamon

0.5tsp bicarbonate of soda

100g butter

200g soft brown sugar

2 free range eggs

350g self-raising flour

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / gas mark 6 and line a muffin tin with cupcake cases
  2. Make the crumble topping by rubbing all the ingredients together. Set to one side for the moment.
  3. Place the Bramley apple into a saucepan with the cinnamon and 0.5Tbs water. Heat gently whilst stirring until the apple becomes soft and mushy.
  4. Allow to cool then push the apple through a fine sieve or ricer.
  5. Weigh a total amount of 250g of pureed apple and eating apple. Ideally you should have equal amounts of each but it really is just to personal taste.
  6. Stir the bicarbonate soda into the apple and leave to rest.
  7. Beat together the butter and sugar.
  8. Beat in the eggs
  9. Fold in the flour and apple sauce.
  10. Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases using an ice-cream scoop. This makes between 12-14 cupcakes.
  11. Sprinkle the crumble topping over each cake
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until well risen and golden brown.

These cupcakes are lovely served with a cup of coffee but they are truly gorgeous served warm from the oven with a dollop of custard!

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Rocky Road Cheesecake or Ben’s Good-Boy Pie

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Long time, no blog! Life, as usual, has taken over! This particular recipe is the result of having a particularly picky 15-year-old son. I don’t know if your kids are the same but Ben goes through phases of liking food then refusing to touch them! I get fed up of giving food away because Ben has gone off it. A whole chocolate orange fudge cake went to his best friend’s house last week! Needless to say, I am the best as far as Ben’s friends are concerned!

This recipe started life as simply rocky road but then I tinkered with it! I sort of deconstructed it and added cream cheese but shush, don’t tell Ben! If he thought it was cheesecake he wouldn’t eat it! Hence the name Ben’s Good-Boy pie! I told him I would only make it if he was a good little boy  (he is close to 6 foot and towers over me!) and didn’t give me any grief!

This is a very rich dessert but as a little treat after tea, I think it is fine!

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Combine the crushed biscuits and melted butter then press tightly into an 8 inch loose bottomed Springform tin. Chill until firm.
  2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan melt the butter, chocolate and syrup together.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream cheese
  4. Pour over the prepared biscuit base.
  5. Top with mini marshmallows. I used a blowtorch to colour them slightly but it is equally nice without doing that.
  6. Place in the fridge and allow to set completely before removing from the tin and serving. Ideally leave the cake overnight.