Ladies: A Plate Please….Sweet Treats for those Special Occasions
See recipe for this at the end of the post.
A Reindeer Cupcake Christmas Tree
Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
Crazy Carrot Cake for Tea Time
Don’t you just hate it when biscuits/cookies spread and ‘bleed’ when in the oven? They still taste nice but they don’t look so nice. Here are a few tricks that I have learned through trial and error to avoid this scenario:
Anzac Biscuits for Anzac Day
Pumpkin & Chocolate Marble Muffins
Don’t tell them they contain pumpkin and they’ll eventually work it out, but will eat them anyway. These are delicious, great for the lunchboxes and they freeze too. If you would like the recipe please message me and I will put it up.
St Patrick’s Day Cupcakes
Here are two versions of St Patrick’s Day Cupcakes I made as a gift for a friend and we enjoyed the leftover ones for a St Patrick’s Day afternoon tea. The children’s cupcakes are green velvet and the adult cupcakes are chocolate stout with bailey’s frosting. I don’t really like cupcakes all that much. I prefer making them and the aesthetics of them, however the the chocolate stout ones are particularly scrumptious. Message me for the recipes.
Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday
This year we’ve made pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, the last day before Lent starts. Traditionally the idea is that you use up all your rich ingredients such as butter, eggs and milk before the Lenten fast begins. Message me if you would like my pikelet recipe, or drop scones/scotch pancakes as my kiwi/british bilingual children also know them as.
Valentine’s Day Red Velvet Cupcakes
Here are some red velvet cupcakes I made for our Valentine’s Day Family Banquet this year. As the recipe makes 20 we had plenty to give away too. I’ve been wanting to make these for a few years now, and my little ones enjoyed ‘helping’ me decorate them. And I’ve discovered that turning the corners of a paper plate up and stapling them makes a cost effective decorative cupcake gift box. I found the cupcake papers from Countdown and they are the best ones I’ve used as they stand up on their own. Message me if you would like the red velvet cupcake recipe.
Egg-cellent Easter Treats
My husband makes hot cross buns in our bread maker that look magnificent and taste really delicious. But they are quite time consuming. But for busy families, here is a simple treat that I made for Easter last year – ‘Easter Hot Cross Muffins’. The recipe is an Alison Holst one, but email me if you would like the recipe. In previous years I’ve made an ‘Easter Tree’ by hollowing out eggs and painting them, but for a simpler version I just hung little easter eggs on a branch cut off on our our trees.
Christmas Starters: Caremelised Camembert with dried fruits and nuts. This is a very special starter that looks very festive and tastes wonderful. 1 large camembert cheese A handful of prunes, apricots, red and green grapes macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts Arrange fruit and nuts on the camembert. Then make a caramel (see below for directions) Then drizzle the caramel over the camembert topped with fruits and nuts. The caramel should harden. Serve with crackers. Caramel: Caramel is a really versatile building block for dozens of desserts, and making your own caramel is a simple process. But there are a few pitfalls to watch for: one is the sugar crystallizing out, which makes the mixture solidify. The other is overcooking or undercooking the caramel. To set up, have a cup measure half-filled with water, a pastry brush, and a saucepan. In the saucepan, combine 1 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of cold water, and 1/4 tsp. of lemon juice. Including a little lemon juice is one way to help prevent your caramel from crystallizing and seizing up as it cooks. Use the wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals from the side of the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Rather than stirring to dissolve the sugar, which could cause crystallization, gently swirl the pan. Once it’s come to a boil, continue to cook, and occasionally wash the sides of the pan with a pastry brush until the color starts to change—this will take about 5 minutes. When it starts to brown in spots, swirl it occasionally just to even out the color, and keep the hot spots from burning. Once the color starts to change, watch your caramel very closely—it can go from undercooked to overcooked within a few seconds. You can check the color by putting a dab onto a white plate. Very light caramel won’t really have that bittersweet caramelized-sugar flavor. The darker you go, the more bitter and complex the flavor gets, but you don’t want to take it so far that it tastes burned.
Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti Recipe:
2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (60 grams) shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (75 grams) dried cranberries or cherries
@ Tbsp orange zest
Preheat oven to 180 degrees and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the sugar and eggs on high speed until thick, pale, and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). At this point beat in the vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and beat until combined. Fold in the chopped pistachios and cranberries.
Transfer the dough to a well floured counter and roll into a log shape, about 12 inches (30 cm) long and 3 1/2 inches (9 cm) wide. You may have to flour your hands to form the log as the dough is quite sticky. Place the log on the baking sheet and bake forabout 25 minutesor until firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 150 degrees. Transfer the log to a cutting board and cut into about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) slices, on the diagonal. Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for about 8-10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.
Makes about 20 – 24 biscotti.
Salted caramel, coffee and choccolate swirl cheesecake
Caution: Excessive consumption may be associated with weight gain, and the development of diabetes and heart disease.
- Oreo cookies 300g
- Butter, melted 150g
- Nestle Carnation caramel 300g (I used normal Carnation milk and boiled with sugar and butter to make caramel)
- Sea salt 1 tsp
- Dark chocolate 100g
- Instant coffee 1 tsp
- Double cream 500ml
- Soft cheese 500g
- Icing sugar 125g
- Creme fraiche 300g
- Pull apart the biscuits and scape out the filing (discard or eat!). Wizz the biscuits in a food processor, pour in the butter then wizz again. Press into the base of a 22-23cm springform tin then chill.
- Gently heat the caramel with the sea salt – you don’t want to boil it, just get it slightly runnier.
- Put the chocolate, coffee and 100ml cream in a bowl and heat in short blasts in the microwave until melted. Cool.
- Beat the soft cheese and vanilla with the icing sugar and creme fraiche. Gradually mix in the remaining 400ml cream. Spoon half the mix into the tin and level.
- Spoon big blobs of choc and caramel on top, then add the rest of the cheese mix and again do blobs of chocolate and caramel on top.
- Use a big palette knife to quickl ripple the choc and caramel through the cream. Don’t over do it (I nearly did!). Put in the fridge and chill for 4-6 hours or preferably overnight.