My regular posts on this blog have gone AWOL but I assure you that there has still been lots of baking going on when possible 🙂 I have been so obsessed with mini cupcakes lately! Instead of a recipe I’ll just explain them because there are so many….!
These babies above are plain vanilla with vanilla buttercream that I spread on lazily with a knife and sprinkled with confetti, and below are some chocolate ones with piped chocolate buttercream 🙂 It’s the same batch but I added cocoa to half the mixture.
The cuties above had some lemon zest and juice added to plain vanilla batter and I piped some buttercream flavoured with zest and juice on top, with a slice of more lemon zest.
I got a bit extravagant when I photographed these ones and added some MAC… why not?! They are plan vanilla with soaked some Monin rose syrup and then some piped Rose Monin-flavoured buttercream and a dried rose petal.
These ones are just vanilla cupcakes with cinnamon buttercream and a cute pink jellybean on top. And below are a cute mix of them!
These ones weren’t as pretty as I expected 😦 But hey, they are all chocolate flavoured! I found those white chocolate disks with sprinkles on top at a pick’n’mix in a store close to where I work and I had to use them somehow….!
Anyway, that’s a small update on my baking adventures lately, I promise I have some recipes coming soon!
Happy Easter and happy baking!
Ombre Vanilla Donuts
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence/extract
50 grams butter, melted
+a little extra milk
1 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp butter, melted
Blue and red food colouring
If you are using the oven to bake these babies, preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease your donut tin. This recipe makes about 30 little donuts, so you may have to cook them in batches.
Meaaaanwhile, mix together the flour, sugar and baking powder. In another bowl, mix together the vanilla, butter, egg and 250mls milk. Make a well in the dry ingredients and mix in the wet ingredients until combined. The mixture should be thick enough to spoon into the donut molds. If it’s too thick, add a but more milk. Preheat the donut maker, if using. Fill the donut holes about 3/4 full and cook until golden and spring back when lightly touched (About 10 minutes in the oven if you are using that method). Cool on wire racks.
Onto the icing! Mix together the icing sugar, butter and a bit of hot water until you have a thick icing. Add some red food colouring and only the tiniest dab of blue. Mix and ice a handful of donuts before adding a little more blue colouring (don’t forget to add on the sprinkles now, before the icing sets. Ice some more and keep repeating until you have used up all the donuts/icing.
Enjoy! Makes about 30x5cm diameter donuts.
I present to you your next dessert or breakfast. It is delicious as either. Or maybe lunch, a snack, up to you!
I had one in a cafe and was determined to recreate it at home. For once I think I did it better……..
I have never tried or made rice pudding so I can’t compare then but I have a feeling they are similar. Also it is gluten free, which makes it a good alternative to porridge. I’d have it any day! I admit we were a bit lazy and used plums and berries that were already poached but you can use any fruit, fresh or cooked. I have a lot of ideas for sweet risottos now!
It is a bit of a labour love but I found it doesn’t take as long as a savoury risotto so bonus! It’s worth the try at least once 🙂 Here is the recipe:
Divine Sweet Vanilla Risotto with Red Fruits and Cinnamon
About 2 cups milk
1/4 cup (or so) of sugar
1 cup risotto rice
Vanilla paste or essence
Knob of butter/margarine
Poached red fruits like berries and plums
In a medium sauce pan, gently heat about one cup of the milk with the sugar and vanilla until the sugar has dissolved. Add all of the rice and start mixing/ massaging the rice over the low heat. The rice will begin to plump up and absorb the delicious vanilla-scented milk. When the milk has almost been absorbed, add some more and keep stirring. After about 25-30 minutes, taste it to see how the rice is cooked. If it’s still too raw for your liking, keep adding milk until it is perfect. When it is done (you may like it firm to the bite or super creamy), take it off the heat and mix in the butter/margarine. Get out those plates and serve the risotto into it. Pour some fruits on top and dust with cinnamon!
Makes about 4 servings and it lasts well in the fridge, you can heat it up the next day.
Summer means gelato. Well, this Summer does! It’s always good to have few goals to keep you going in the holidays, which is always easy due to the plethora of delicious and seasonally exclusive foods available and the sudden availability of free time. We have a Christmas in (Hopefully) the sunshine here in New Zealand, which means lots of Ice Cream and sometimes frozen Christmas Puddings instead of boiled ones. It also means we have a lot of winter decorations and fake snow in what sometimes reaches 30 degrees Celsius heat, much to the amusement of Northern Hemishere residents.
I digress! Back to this gelato. It’s easy and egg free, which means you don’t have to go through the ordeal of separating egg yolks and then the hassle of using up the whites. It also needs a tad less sugar than usual as the alcohol in it doesn’t freeze.
It was made only hours before it was served (excellent time management, I know) so this is what it looked like after one hour in the freezer post-churning:
Could be worse. But ideally, give it a good 6 hours plus. For those of you who do not know what Cynar is, don’t worry. I didn’t until I discovered we didn’t have Marsala wine minutes before having to add it to the gelato. It’s an 16% alcohol spirit from Italy and is flavoured with lots of herbs and plant extracts; primarily believe it or not of artichoke essence. You wouldn’t guess it….! You can pick any alcohol you want really, just be sure it’s about the same alcohol percentage for consistency. Adapt it to your tastes or what you are serving it with! I wanted Marsala as it was for an Italian date tart but hey, I did things last minute.
Anyway, try it! It’s super creamy and not too demanding in terms of special ingredients. You could probably leave out the alcohol if you aren’t a fan, but it would be risky. I intend to post a recipe for delicious ‘plain’ vanilla ice cream sometime soon! Here is the recipe~
Vanilla and Cynar Gelato
100 white sugar
500mls full cream milk
½ tsp vanilla paste or essence
Scant 50mls of 15-20% alcohol spirit
(I used cynar, marsala would be good!)
Crushed chocolate/coffee beans/nuts
Cherries or other berries
If you are using an ice cream maker, don’t forget to have the freezing bowl completely frozen!
In a medium saucepan, mix together the sugar, cornflour and about ¼ of the milk on low heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. Add the rest of the milk, stirring, a bit at a time, followed by the vanilla. Continue to boil gently until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon and holds when you draw a line through it. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl (which you could have pre-frozen if you want to speed things up!) and mix in the cream and alcohol. I added mine a bit at a time and taste tested to make sure I didn’t add too much. Also if you go overboard, the ice cream won’t freeze, so be careful!
Chill (or freeze if you are in a hurry) the mixture until completely cool. Churn in your ice cream maker until nice and thick. Transfer to a container and freeze for a few hours before serving.
Makes about half a litre.
Fun fact: you are all capable of making and decorating adorable cookies. I used to think it was just for the professionals like Peggy Porschen but fear not, for those with a kitchen;can. It’s been a while since I’ve made these, so I’ll have to get back into them, but there is a recipe from a few years ago (5 actually, time flies….!) for cookies I have as a present for a new mother. If this is not a suitable theme for your cookies, simply change the colours 🙂 Remember that the colours sometimes fade slightly when the icing dries, so make it a little darker than you intend. I just used vanilla butter cookies for the base but you could add some lemon zest or substitute some flour for cocoa if you want to alter the flavour.
For some reason that photo is slightly blurry…. but you get the idea. Anyway, have a go at them, even if they’re not for a gift and are just for fun!
Pastel Iced Sugar Cookies
½ cup sugar
¼ cup icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg yolk
1&1/2 cups flour
1tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 egg white
1&1/2 cups icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease 2 cookie trays.
Soften the butter and beat with the sugars and vanilla essence until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add to the creamed butter mixture until the dough forms clumps. Pour the extra flour and dough onto a floured surface and knead until the mixture forms a smooth dough. Roll the dough until it is 6mm thick. Cut out shaped with a small heart and a small star cookie cutter. Transfer the shapes onto the cookie tray. Gather up the remaining dough and roll into a ball. Roll out until 6mm thin. Repeat the cutting process until there is no or a small amount of dough left. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Unstick the cookies from the tray and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container until ready to ice.
Beat the egg white until stiff peaks form. Add the sugar a bit at a time, beating well after each addition. When combined, divide into 3 even portions. Colour one portion baby pink, one baby blue and one lemon yellow. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of each colour into a separate baking paper piping bag. Snip the ends of the piping bags and pipe outlines around the cookies. When the outlines have dried, add a bit of hot water to the royal icing to make it a bit runnier. Spoon into more paper piping bags and pipe the icing inside of the outlines, using the flooding technique. If necessary, use a toothpick to drag the icing into the corners. Then decorate with different colour icings, making different patterns such as dots and stripes. Leave the cookies until the icing has dried. Store in an airtight container.
Here are some slightly less professional ones used as a birthday gift a few years ago:
The flowers are ones that I had actually made before hand, I piped them onto greaseproof paper to store them, and them stuck them on top of the dried flooded icing, which is an option too. Not very spectacular this batch but it’s just to give you an idea 🙂