Earl Grey Sandwich Cookies with Apricot Frosting

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I do love a sandwich cookie 🙂 It’s twice the cookie goodness plus a delicious filling. And all the more flavour possibilities!

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The Earl Grey is quite subtle but compliments the apricot really well. You can always leave it out, or try vanilla seeds instead. These were gifts, packaged in cellophane 😀

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More recipes to come, so please enjoy.

Earl Grey Sandwich Cookies with Apricot Frosting
Ingredients:
Cookies:
175g butter
125g sugar
1 egg
Zest of one lemon
350g flour
½ tsp baking powder
3 Earl Grey teabags
To fill:
75g butter
175g icing sugar
2 Tbsp apricot conserve/jam
Extra jam to fill

Instructions:
Soften the butter and beat with the sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in gently the egg and lemon zest. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and contents of the teabags. Now mix into the butter mixture bit by bit until all combined. If you are using an electric mixer, then you may have to finish it off by hand. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in cling film. Chill from an hour to a few days.
When ready to bake, turn the oven on to preheat to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two baking trays (if you have more than two, go ahead and use them! I had to do two batches of two trays). On a floured surface, roll out the dough (if it’s too hard, pop in into the microwave for a bit, but don’t overdo it!) to about 3-4mm thick. Cut out with your desired cutter and transfer, well-spaced, onto the trays. Bake about 15 minutes until slightly golden on top and the cookies move when lightly nudged. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To fill, make the frosting. Soften the butter and beat with the icing sugar and conserve until light and fluffy. It should also be thick enough to be piped, but not so thick that it won’t come out of a small tip. Pair up the cookies and pipe a ring of about 6 dots on the underside of one of each pair. Go with a little less icing so that if you have too much, you can just go over some of the dots with more later. Otherwise you risk running out! Spoon a wee dot of conserve into the hole made by the dots and sandwich the other cookie in the pair on top. Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 30 cookie sandwiches.

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‘Apple Pie’ Sandwich Cookies

Hello everyone! Hope you’ve been having a good week 🙂

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I’ve been trying to perfect the art of baking for two in my Aunty’s tiny Wellington kitchen 🙂 Sadly I can’t get the photos off my phone at the moment, apologies, so here is a recipe from my last holidays!

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Apples and cinnamon are just best friends, right? Apple crumble, apple tart, cinnamon porridge with apples, the all famous apple pie….. and now in cookie form too 😀

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They aren’t really difficult, they just have three components (which aren’t difficult either!) and they even have an apple filling! Which is just apple and a bit of honey. Mmmm. You could put jam into the middle and make it a linzer torte sandwhich cookie, or even just use apple butter/puree that you already have or have bought 🙂

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The cookies are nice and soft sugar cookies so the filling doesn’t squish out when you bite down…..! Usually I’m a crunchy biscuit kinda gal but I thought I’d honour the northern hemishpere with this one 🙂 Plus apple pie is much celebrated there!

‘Apple Pie’ Sandwich Cookies
Ingredients:
Cinnamon Cookies:
75g butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1&1/4 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
Apple Filling:
1/2 an apple
1 tsp honey
Cinnamon-Apple Frosting:
25g butter, softened
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
->some apple filling from above
Dash of milk

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease or line one baking tray.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gently mix in the egg. Combine 1 cup of flour with the cinnamon (just so you don’t add too much, it depends on the size of the egg!) and add it to the butter mixture a bit at a time. Continue to add until you have a firm dough (at this point you may have to add the extra flour). Roll out until 3-4mm thick and cut into cookies (I used an apple shaped cutter I remembered I had from when I was tiny! You can use any cutter you like). Place on the tray and bake about 10 minutes, until firm and the cookies move when nudged. Cool completely.

Meanwhile you can make the filling! Chop up the apple into tiny little cubes (or grate it and chop finely if you like) and place in a small bowl. Microwave on high for a minute and stir in the honey. Microwave for another minute. The apples should be golden cooked through. Chill.

Now, for the frosting! Beat that butter, icing sugar and cinnamon until smooth and light! Add in a about 2 tsps of the apple filling too.

To assemble, pair up the cookies into similar sized ones (sometimes they get a little morphed). Onto the bottom of one cookie, pipe or spread some frosting, leaving a gap into the middle for the filling. Dollop in about 1/2 a tsp of the apple filling into the hole and place the bottom side of the top cookie on top! Repeat until finished 🙂

Note: I like to frost all the bottom halves of the cookies first so that I can use up all the frosting and have it all even. Up to you!

Makes 16, they last well for 3 days!

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Have a good week everyone! Also yummmm apple pie 🙂
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Sami xx

Chocolate and Liquorice Allsort Birthday Cake

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I imagine my little 13-year-old self was quite pleased with this one, as was my grandfather; it was his birthday cake 🙂
There is nothing quite like a good cake, is there? And when celebration is necessary, cake comes with it hand in hand….birthday cake is probably my favorite thing to bake in the world anyway! I am sure you have fond memories of your own birthday cakes, or perhaps ones that you have made for ones you love.
Or perhaps you make cakes for a living, in which case, I both jealous and incredibly happy for you!
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This is just a nice chocolate cake with whipped chocolate ganache frosting, and than a brocade of liqourice allsorts for decoration; there is no liquorice flavour IN the cake (although I do have a recipe for that, which I am quite excited to try….!). You could easily make it with any other decorations on top, or just leave it plain. I have a photo of it without the candy below the recipe, in case you want to check it out.

Chocolate and Liquorice Allsort Birthday Cake

Cake:
170g butter
1/3 cup castor sugar
1&1/2 cups flour
1&1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp cocoa
Pinch of salt
3 eggs
1 Tbsp milk
Whipped chocolate ganache:
150g milk chocolate
3/4 cup cream
To decorate:
200g liquorice allsorts

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease two 20cm diameter cake tins.

Beat together the butter and sugar until smooth, then sift together the flour, salt and cocoa. Beat into the butter with the eggs. Combine until smooth. Add the milk if you think the batter is a bit thick. Divide the batter between the tins and smooth over. Bake for about 15 minutes, and until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove from tins and cool completely.

Melt the chocolate over a pot of simmering water. Turn off the heat and slowly mix in the cream. Leave until cool. Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer and whip high speed, or use a whisk or egg beaters. Beat until light and fluffy.

Level off the top of one of the cakes and spread a bit of icing. Then place the other cake on top. Spread the remaining icing over the cake. Arrange the liquorices allsorts over the cake. Store in an airtight container.

Lasts for  3 days

Makes 12 slices

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Enjoy your birthday cake endeavours, and the rest of your endeavours for that matter 🙂

Easy Chocolate Cake with Berry Frosting

Part two of the “Yay it’s the end of the year!” cake baking day. Even better, the cake itself is vegan!
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The frosting rosettes were ‘just because’ but if it’s not your style, it’s by no means necessary 🙂 I iced the cake in an odd manner in the way that I frosted the top layer first, to make sure I had enough frosting for the rosettes, then did the filling, but you can do it as you wish! Any berries would go nicely, boysenberries and blueberries would give a purple colour and just strawberries would make it a lighter pink.
Anyway, here is the recipe. It’s quite a light cake and I would add about 1/4 cup more sugar next time.
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Easy Chocolate Cake with Berry Frosting
Ingredients:
Cake:
260g flour
10g cocoa
1&1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup neutral oil
4 tsp vinegar
1&1/3 cup water
Frosting and Filling:
200g frozen mixed berries
20g honey
75g butter
150g icing sugar

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two 22cm diameter circle cake tins with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and sugar. Make a well in the centre and pour in the oil, vinegar and water, then mix until combined. Divide evenly between the tins and bake for 35 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile, make the berry coulis. Heat the berries and the honey over low heat until thick. Leave to cool and then chill until needed.
When ready to frost, strain about 1/3 of the coulis so it is seedless. Soften the butter and whip until pale, then add the icing sugar bit by bit until combined (I did this with an electric mixer), adding a bit of the strained coulis when it gets too thick. When light and fluffy and thick enough to pipe, spread enough frosting on the layer of cake that will be the top layer, so that there is a nice and smooth layer for the top. Spoon about half of what is left into a piping bag with a star tip and pipe a border of frosting on the top layer. Add as much coulis as you like to the rest of the frosting (not too much or the frosting turns a funny texture) then spread it onto the top of the other cake layer. If you have any coulis left, you can spread this on top of the filling. Now place the top cake layer on top of the bottom one, creating a two layered cake with a nice pink filling. Store in an airtight container. Lasts a few days when uniced, the cake keeps well.

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I am looking forward to fresh berries in summer 🙂

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies with Chocolate Frosting

It has been a very difficult week. It is times like these, however, when baking becomes more than just a task. It becomes a way to relax and think things through, and most importantly to ‘spread the love’ when times are tough.

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These cookies came from a time like this. Recently I discovered that someone very close and very special to me was now gone, It was tragic and unexpected.
Thus, it was straight to the kitchen to create whatever came to mind first; these cookies. A peanut butter cookie with creamy peanut filling and chocolate frosting. A hug, essentially, in edible form. You can use whatever peanut butter you have on hand (we only have extra crunchy) and go for it. They were a gift, and I always love making sandwich cookies to give as a present as they package beautifully.
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I hope you have a restful week!

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies with Chocolate Filling
Ingredients:
100g butter, softened
80g crunchy peanut butter
50g brown sugar
50g white sugar
1 egg
250g flour

Peanut Butter Filling:
20g cream cheese
20g peanut butter
10g butter, softened
35g icing sugar

Chocolate Frosting:
75g butter
10g cocoa
150g icing sugar
Milk

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line or grease two cookie trays.
Cream the butter, peanut butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg, followed by the flour (one spoonful at a time) until a thick and smooth dough is formed. You may not have to add all of the flour, so don’t get too enthusiastic and add it all at once! I used electric beaters to mix the dough but had to finish it off by kneading it lightly. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 4mm thick and cut into 5cm diameter rounds. Arrange on the baking trays and bake for about 15 minutes, until the cookies shift around the tray when pressed lightly. Mine didn’t turn out super golden, but they harden a lot as they cool, so were cooked properly in the end. Cool on wire racks.
For the peanut butter filling, mix the filling ingredients together until smooth. Pair up the cookies (you should have about 22 pairs). Place a scant teaspoonful of the filling in the centre of the underside of one cookie in each pair. Chill for 5 minutes. While chilling, make the frosting. Soften the butter and mix in the cocoa and icing sugar, with a bit of milk if needed until a thick and smooth consistency is achieved. It has to be soft enough to pipe however, you don’t want to have any disasters with a split piping bag! Fill a piping bag with a small (about 4mm) round tip with the frosting. Take the cookies out of the fridge and pipe the frosting around the peanut butter filling (I did mine in a spiral motion) then press the other half of each cookie pair on top and squish down firmly. Chill the cookies for about 10 minutes to set the frosting, then store in a cool place in an airtight container.
Makes 22 cookies

A Ridiculously Good Chocolate Cake and my Birthday Cake Part 1

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Well, why NOT have two birthday cake? And besides, how do you choose between chocolate and caramel? I didn’t; just make both! I turned a quite grown up age a few days ago, and even though I wasn’t sure I quite felt up to it (milestones, where does the time GO?!) I could not pass the opportunity to make myself a cake. Or two. Actually my uncle shares a birthday with me, so it was for him too, I’m not that greedy.
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Making this cake was a bit of a last minute decision, but was it worth it! This recipe is incredible, everyone said it was to die for and there were a lot of second helpings. Please try this cake.
Even better, it is so quick to make, one bowl, just cocoa (but still with a rich flavour), oil so it’s super moist and it keeps for a while. Don’t be scared of the coffee, I promise you won’t taste it. Plus it’s a good way to use up leftover coffee!
You can decorate anyway you want of course (every one ended up picking off the maltesers but they looked good while they lasted…). If you wanted to frost the sides, I would double the frosting recipe.

The Best Birthday Chocolate Cake
2 cups flour
1&1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1&1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
½ cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup hot coffee

Icing:
100g butter, softened

¼ cup cocoa
1&1/2 cups icing sugar
2 Tbsp milk

Malteasers, to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two 20cm diameter baking pans and grease the sides.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda until combined. Add in the milk, oil and eggs and mix until combined on a low speed. Still at a low speed, add the coffee and mix until combined, then turn up the speed and  beat for about 2 minutes to aerate the batter some more. If you don’t have an electric mixer, you could always do this by hand.
Divide evenly between the two tins and bake for about 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool for half an hour, then turn out onto wire racks and cool completely.
To make the frosting, simply beat the butter and cocoa until extr a light and fluffy, then add the icing sugar a bit at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Add a bit of milk in between the additions so it doesn’t turn too thick. The icing is ready when it is airy and a good consistency to spread onto the cake without being too thick.
Place the bottom layer of the cake on the plate or serving tray and level off the top with a serrated knife. Spread half the frosting on top to fill it. Carefully place the top layer on top and this and use the rest of the icing to frost the top. Arrange the malteasers around the edges and you’re done! Easy as that.
Makes a very large birthday worthy cake, which keeps very well, about 4 days in top form!

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Enjoy your Sunday everyone and watch this space for my other birthday cake recipe (pictured in the back of the first photo) 🙂