Honey Lemon Petit-Fours

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It was winter. Edible flowers had been located. Lemon and honey drinks had been consumed in the double digits to cure the sore throats and coughs. Why not combine all of these into bite-size cake form? Those of you in the northern hemisphere seem to be looking forward to fall/autumn so hopefully this recipe will inspire some lemon and honey recipes ๐Ÿ™‚

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I made a plate of goodies for some friends and features some caramel slice (find the best recipes here and here) and some little pieces of this pumpkin and blueberry tart ๐Ÿ™‚

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Honey Lemon Petit-Fours
Ingredients:
Cake:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1 egg
1/2 cup yogurt
Zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
1 cup flour
Icing and filling:
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp butter
2 Tbsp both raspberry jam and marmalade
To decorate:
Edible flower petals

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a 20cm square cake tin.

Mix the ย cake ingredients together (if your honey is creamed, you will want to soften or melt it a bit first). Pour into the tin and bake for about 15 minutes, until a cake skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin.

Cut the cake in half. Annnnd now cut it into half again so you have quarters. Spread some jam on one quarter and place another on top. Repeat with the other quarters and the marmalade. Cut each quarter into four petit-fours (there are a lot of ‘fours’ going on here). Now to ice! In one little bowl, heat half the icing sugar, half the butter and about a tsp of the jam until a glaze forms. Spread on top of the jam filled cakes and arrange some petals on top. Repeat with the marmalade on the marmalade filled petit-fours. Leave until the glaze is set.

Makes 8 petit-fours, and the cake can be made the day before as it lasts very well ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Enjoy your week!

Sami xx

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Cinnamon Cookies Two Ways: Belgium or Chocolate-Chai Sandwich Cookies

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I love sandwich cookies. You can do so much with them. So many flavours. Maybe that’s why I love macarons…. on that note, if you can make macarons, I salute you. In my eyes, you are a kitchen master.

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Chocolate-chai may seem like an interesting combination, but it’s glorious. You may have tried ‘dirty-chai’ which is chai with coffee, and I will go a step further to say that chocolate-coffee-chai would probably taste great too… Looks like that’s a new project ๐Ÿ™‚

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You could easily use these cookies without any filling but why would you not add butter and sugar if you have the time? As long as you are allowed to eat those things, full respect if you can’t ๐Ÿ™‚

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Cinnamon Cookies Two Ways
Ingredients:
Cookies:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 egg
100g butter
1 (huge) Tbsp honey, melted
Dash of milk
Icing:
50g butter
1 cup icing sugar
For chocolate-chai option:
1 tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
Pinch cardamom
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch black pepper
Dash milk
For the Belgium biscuit option:
Vanilla essence
Pink food colouring
Raspberry jam

Instructions:
Mix together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon and coconut sugar until combined. Rub in the butter until it resembles fine bread crumbs. In another bowl, whisk the egg until broken up, then whisk in the honey. Add the egg-honey mix into the dry mixture and knead to combine gently, adding some milk if needed to bring the dough together. Knead very lightly then flatten into a disk and chill for about 10 minutes, until roll-able.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays. (Or just grease them if you are lazy)

Roll out the dough on a floured surface until about 3-4mm thick. Cut out into rounds using your desired cutter (mine was 4cm dimeter fluted circle cutter). Transfer to the trays and bake for about 10 minutes, until slightly golden and the cookies move when budged slightly. Cool on a wire rack. Depending on the size of your tray, you make have to bake them in batches.

For the icing, you have two courses of action! Both begin with softening the butter and beating the icing sugar until super light and fluffy.
For the chocolate-chai version, add the spices and NOT the cocoa to the icing and mix. Spoon half into a piping bag and pipe into the center of HALF of the cookies, on the not-so-pretty undersides. Don’t pipe right to the edges; that comes now. Add the cocoa to the rest of the icing and pipe the chocolate-chai around the edges, being pretty if you like. Now top with another cookie to complete the sandwich.
For the Belgium biscuit version, divide the icing in half. Add the vanilla to one half and the pink food colouring (tinted to your desire) to the other half. Spoon each colour into a piping bag and on the bottom half of a cookie, pipe alternating dots of icing around the edge. Fill the centre with jam and sandwich another cookie on top.

Makes about 40 cookies all up, and they last well for a few days ๐Ÿ™‚


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Have the most wonderful week everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

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Pre-sandwich-ing!

Chocolate Petit Four Stacks with Banana or Berries (Made with a Sandwich Press!)

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Would you guess that these babies didn’t go near the oven? Instead, a sandwich press took the wheel ๐Ÿ™‚ Which means that they didn’t take very long to whip up…. 20 minutes!

Simply cut out:

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Pipe outlines of chocolate icing:
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Fill with goodies:
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And stack!

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This would be a good recipe to play around with, lots of flavours and fillings would work well! You could even add some whipped cream on top!

Here is the recipe:

Petit-Four Stacks
Ingredients:
Wafer Pastry layers:
1 egg
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp sugar
25g butter, melted
Icing/Filling:
15g butter, melted
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp cocoa
Hot water
To fill:
Jam or chopped banana
Makes 10, roughly

Instructions:
For the pastry layers, turn on your sandwich press (one with flat grills!). Mix together all the ingredients. When the press is heated, dollop on tablespoon-ful sized amounts and close the lid. After a minute, check to see if it is lightly golden around the edges. Quickly take it out and cut out the layers with your chosen cutter. Leave to cool and repeat the process.

To fill, mix together the butter, icing sugar, cocoa and a dash of hot water until your have a thick icing. Spoon into a piping bag, and onto 2/3 of the pastry wafers, pipe an outline. On the remaining 1/3, pipe whatever pattern you like, squiggles or something! In the the outlines, spoon in some jam or put in a piece of banana. Stack in threes, with your patterned layer on top.

And that’s it! They last quite well, although I would serve on the day you make them. Makes about 10 altogether.

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Some Easy Small-Batch Spread Recipes (a Jam and a Curd)

Jam is just wonderful. A celebration of fruit, and with an almost limitless potential for combinations and experiments. And then, there’s the stuff you put it on…. even better!
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The whole ‘when life gives you lemons’ phrase comes to mind but really, or at least my philosophy is, ‘when life gives you any fruit, take it immediately and bake with it’.
Same goes for vegetables, you can get dinner for free!

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So, if in doubt of what to do with this amazing free fruit, here is the answer: make some jam or curd out of it. We had some leftover plums and grapefruit/oranges/lemons/lemonades from out lovely neighbour’s garden. The plum jam is spread on some no-knead artisan bread (I must post the reicipe) and the curd is on the coconut scones found here.

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I don’t like to add too much sugar to jams or curd as I like them to be more fruity-flavoured than sweet. Therefore, these aren’t jams that are going to last forever in the cupboard, sorry! Still, give them a go and swap the fruit around if you like. Any juice of any citrus can be used (you may want to adjust the amount of sugar or honey if you are using extra sour fruit). These small batches are great if you want to use it just to fill a cake or some cookies, or in some ice cream etc!

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So, here are the recipes!

Easy-As Plum Jam
Ingredients:
250g plums, chopped
Dash of water
100g sugar
Instructions:
Have a clean jar prepared to put the jam in. In a saucepan, heat the plums and bit of water until boiling and add the sugar. Keep boiling until the sugar has dissolved and the jam is nice and thick. Pour into the jar and let cool. Just like that!

Simple Lemon Curd
Ingredients:
300mls citrus juice
60g sugar
30g honey
1 egg
Instructions:
Prepare a jar for the curd. In a small saucepan, over low heat, mix all the ingredients together. Boil gently, for about 35 minutes and stir occasionally. When the curd is nice and thick, pour into the jar and cool.
Store these babies in the fridge for about a month.

Happy Baking everyone! ๐Ÿ˜€

Sami xx

Jam Meringue Slice AKA How to Use Up Failed Whipped Egg Whites

Many of you reading this will know the feeling; when something that was going so well decides halfway through that, ACTUALLY, it doesn’t want to go as you planned…. like when suddenly your meringue batter decides it does not want to whip to stiff peaks and instead, stay a glossy and glorious yet less-than-satisfactory mess. Perhaps, as happened to me the first time my egg whites failed at the tender age of 8, it will reduce you to tears.
My advice to you, if any of this is the case, is that you must not fear; instead, use that kitchen ingenuity to use up the incredibly sour lemons that life has given and power on. Break a few more eggs (save the yolks for later) and keep going on with your recipe and put the whites aside to use in another fashion.
Exhibit A)
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A delicious and redemption laden slice with minimum complication and as called for after your egg white ‘disaster’, not stressful at all.
I would just like to take a moment to recognise the people who have endured this trialling experience and also run out of eggs in the process, leaving none extra to whip up and finish the recipe. That’s tough man. We feel for you. If this is you, then I fear options may be scarce: look up substitutes online or maybe find a way to adapt the recipe. Also; sorry. I feel your pain.
So! Advice to prevent such an event? As a matter of fact I do have some, especially after being quite paranoid ever since that day ten years ago when it comes to whipping egg whites…..

+Be super careful separating those eggs! Everyone seems to have their own method (personally I have always found it terrifying to use the broken egg shells as they look so manacing *shudder*), I use my hands, so I won’t tell you how to do it exactly. Just don’t break the yolks any speck of fat (or shell) will inhibit the aerating you desire. For those of you interested, I have seen people use empty plastic bottles to separate eggs… google it!

+If you want to be extra cautious, separate the egg over a tea cup, and not the bowl of egg whites you are going to use. This way if the egg yolk breaks or isn’t as fresh as you had hoped, it won’t spoil the egg whites you already have. A little time consuming yes, but worth the effort.

+You need an extra clean bowl! Don’t use plastic, please! It traps fats from previous mixtures and is a bit of a risk. Glass and metal do well, although I have seen experiments showing that copper bowls take the cake (or pavlova) when it comes to making meringue. Another thing to google!

+To clean it, you can wipe the inside of the bowl with some white vinegar or lemon juice to get rid of any fat residue or dust or dirt. I find this does the trick!

If all of this seems a little pedantic to you, or you have never experienced any issues, then don’t worry; just keep powering on as is! We all bake differently and have different histories, recipes and mishaps to share (try the salt instead of sugar deal, wehey!).
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I have written this recipe as if the egg whites have not failed just in case you want to make this slice anyway, or simply to use up egg whites leftover!
If you DO have failed egg whites, then just skip the egg white whipping stage and pour it the mixture onto the slice once slathered in jam. This recipe tastes great whether your whites are at stiff peak or not.
I sincerely hope this has helped!

Jam and Meringue Slice
Ingredients:
Base:
220g flour
20g custard powder (optional)
100g sugar
125g butter, melted
To top:
100g any jam
2 egg whites
100g castor sugar

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a 20cm by 20cm slice tin with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix together all the base ingredients (the flour, custard powder, sugar and butter) until combined. Press evenly and firmly into the slice tin. Spread the jam on top.
Whip the egg whites until bubbly, then add the sugar bit by bit, beating until glossy. It was at this point that mine decided they could not be bothered anymore and would not whip further than thisโ€ฆ. So if this happens to you, it doesnโ€™t matter! If you can however, get them to stiff peaks. Spread on top of the jam on the slice and bake for about 25 minutes, until the meringue is crispy and lightly golden. Cool in the tin, then cut and serve.
Lasts about 2 days.

NOTE: based on some feedback, the base may be a little too sweet for you, so you could use about 75g sugar if you prefer.

Sami ๐Ÿ™‚

Mini Raspberry Cupcakes with Meringue Frosting

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Just a cute wee recipe from a few years ago. These adorable bites are simply a raspberry cupcake with 7-minute-esque frosting. The raspberry flavour comes from raspberry jam, which was the only thing on hand during winter (not even frozen berries, the price of those babies sky-rocketed…..!) but I am sure you could easily use any other jam or curd as long as it is smooth and seedless. This recipe easily translates into large cupcakes but I would double the recipe for 12, a full batch!
Enjoy tutti ๐Ÿ™‚

Mini Raspberry Cupcakes with Meringue Frosting

75 g butter
ยผ cup sugar
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp seedless raspberry jam
1 ยผ cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp milk

To Frost:
1 egg white
ยผ tsp cream of tartar
1 Tbsp seedless raspberry jam
ยผ cup sugar
1 tsp water

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 180ยฐC and line 6 hole regular cupcake tin and a 6 hole mini cupcake tin.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the jam and oil. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Gradually add to the butter mixture. Mix in the milk. Spoon into the cupcake cases and bake for 10 minutes, for the mini ones and 15 minutes, for the regular ones, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire wrack.

Lightly mix the egg white, cream of tartar, jam and sugar together in a small glass or ceramic bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk until the egg mix is white. Then add the water and continue to beat until the frosting reaches stiff peaks. Ice the cupcakes. Leave for the icing to set, then store in an airtight container.

Makes 24 mini cupcakes
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My Favourite Caramel Birthday Cake

Sometimes I feel a little bad I don’t broaden my horizons and try a different cake every year…but then I remember why I make this cake consistently, it’s just that good.
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It’s big, triple layered and covered in one of the best frostings I have ever tasted. There’s even a little raspberry jam between the layers: don’t freak out! It’s just enough to add a little interest and colour but it won’t detract from that caramel goodness, I promise ๐Ÿ™‚
The cake stays pretty moist (providing you don’t leave it in the oven too long, it’s not foolproof) when done properly and feeds a crowd very nicely (we had two cakes between about 17 people and there was still about 1/3 left of each cake! Yes, I had it for breakfast. Guilty as charged). I wrapped some lace around it because it looked pretty but you can do as you like!ย 
I really hope you give it a try sometime ๐Ÿ™‚

My Favourite Caramel Birthday Cake
Cake:
2&2/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch Salt
250g butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
ยฝ cup brown sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 cup milk

Frosting:
90g butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups icing sugar

To fill:
Raspberry Jam

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line/grease three 20cm diameter cake tins.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until nice and light and fluffy. Beat the egg yolks in one at a time. Alternate mixing in the dry ingredients and the milk, starting and beginning with the dry (I did this by hand because I didnโ€™t want to overmix it). It will be quite thick, but do not fear. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into the batter 1/3 at a time, mixing gently and folding until just combined. The batter should be soft dropping consistency, so not too thick that you have to spread it around the tins. If it is too thick, add a tablespoon or so more milk.
Divide the batter between the tins and bake for about 35 minutes until the skewer comes out clean when inserted (I have accidentally over baked this, so I hovered around the oven and whipped them out as soon as they were done). The tops should spring back when lightly touched. Cool half an hour in the tins then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
When ready to assemble, place a layer of cake on the serving plate. Spread some jam onto the top, leaving a 1cm border. Place the next layer on top and repeat the process. Finally, arrange the top layer on top of this.
To make the frosting, melt the butter and brown sugar together. Heat gently until the brown sugar has dissolved completely (this is important as if not you can end up with grainy frosting; however, I assure you this is still delicious!). Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the icing sugar a bit at a time. When cool enough to spread on the cake, itโ€™s time to get down to it! Frost the cake in any way you may desire. If it helps, I started with a thin crumb coat and then put about 1/3 on top and helped it spread itself down the sides. I then iced the sides, and when it began to set, I smoothed out the edges with a knife dipped in water. The frosting does set quite quickly, although you can easily reheat it a bit. When the cake is iced to your standards, you are all done. Pat on the back, it will all be worth it, I promise!
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Belgium Biscuits

Ahh, some traditional New Zealand baking. You wouldn’t think it with that name, would you?
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I can’t believe that when I made my recipe book for a school project a few years ago, I didn’t include them; and I only just realised! You’ll find many different recipes for these pretty and delicious biscuits in books and on the web, and they are all similar in; being two cookies sandwiched together, being spiced and being iced with some sort of pink. The name comes from it’s inspiration from the Linzer Torte, as I am lead to believe, and the name changed. Either way, they are a Kiwi classic and not very time consuming. I didn’t have any coloured sugar or jelly crystals to decorate with, so I used some pink 100s and 1000s instead. Have a play ๐Ÿ™‚

Belgium Biscuits
Cookies:
125g butter

1/3 cup sugar

2 tbsp golden syrup

1 cup self raising flour

2/3 cup normal flour

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

Icing:
1/2 cup icing sugar

2 tsp butter, melted

1 tbsp-ish hot water

To decorate: pink decorations such as jelly crystals, sprinkles etc
1/4 cup-ish (traditionally) raspberry jam

Instructions:
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the golden syrup. Sift the dry ingredients together. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter (chances are you will not need t use your hands or remove the dough from electric beaters if you are using them). Chill for at least 30 minutes, until the dough is no longer sticky and is strong enough to roll out. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Roll until about 3mm think and cut into your desired shapes (I used a mini fluted tart tin, as I couldn’t find my cutter!). Place on a greased tray and bake 10 minutes until golden, or the cookie moves when you nudge it gently. Cool.
Make the icing by mixing together the icing sugar, butter and water until thick enough to spread. Place about a tsp or so of jam on the bottom of a cookie and sandwich another on top. Spread the icing on top of the cookie and decorate with the pink of your choice. Makes about 24.

ImageBonne journee!