Monday, 25 February 2013

Chewy American style cookies

I’m a huge lover of cookies, but I’ve struggled to get that soft chewy American style cookie…well until now!

I'm now in love with this recipe, it has worked every time and is so easy.

I’ve gone a bit cookie crazy now and been experimenting with loads of different flavours. Below is the choc chip recipe further down are a few of the flavours I’ve experimented with.

Makes 15
120g salted butter, at room temperature
75g light brown sugar
75g granulated sugar (use caster sugar)
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
240g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g choc chips

1. Beat together the butter and sugars until fluffy – I use my lovely new Kenwood Kmix for this which was a bday present and I’m in love with it! Add the vanilla extract, then the egg, and beat in well (I add a spoonful of flour here as well to stop curdling).
2. Add the flour and bicarbonate of soda, then mix until combined to a dough. The mixture will be pretty solid making it hard to mix – that’s why using a stand mixer really helps – unless you want a great bingo wing workout!

3. Then add you choc chips (or other choice).
4. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper. Shape mix into golf-ball sized balls and place on baking tray, spacing them well apart. Bake for about 13-15 minutes, until golden, but not browned.


So my experiments -
I replaced the choc chips with a variety of different flavours.
White choc and toffee popcorn = 130g white choc, chopped up plus 70g toffee popcorn

Choc orange = 150g good quality dark orange chocolate chopped up (I used Sainsbury’s Swiss Fair-trade) and 30-50g of sugared orange segments again chopped up.

M&Ms – 200g of M&Ms!

For Easter I’ll be trying white choc and raspberry! Have you got any other cookie flavour ideas?

Monday, 24 September 2012

My first competitive bake off!

I’m an avid watcher of programmes like the Great British Bake off and the Ace of Cakes so when I saw that my local food festival was holding a “bake off” I had to enter it!

The theme was Salisbury...which is the city where the food festival is held! I decided to do my cake themed on the local charter market which has been going since 1227!

I started making all the decorations on Wednesday evening and finished the cake on Saturday ready to take along for the festival on the Sunday.

All the decorations were made out of Renshaw’s Sugar and Flower paste. I just bought the white one and coloured it with the Sugarflare pastes. I love the pastes, they give such a vibrant colour and never make the icing sticky.
Here are the selection of decorations I made! I warn you, I took a LOT of pics! If you want to know how I made any specific item, leave me a comment and I'll let you know!


I made two cakes - both were Madeira cakes as it’s a firmer cake, able to take the pressure of the millions of decorations I made!

I flavoured one with lemon (which is apparently the tradition flavouring). This was to become my fruit and veg stall. And the other I actually made a flavour discovery breakthrough!

As the second stall was going to be the “bakers” stall, I wanted to do something nice and sweet so I thought chocolate. As well as using cocoa to make the chocolate flavour though I added a tablespoon of Whittards dark chocolate and Raspberry cocoa drink. The flavour worked SO well and came through nice and strong. I’m going to experiment a bit more with their hot chocolates and see what else I can use!

I then used buttercream icing to give the cakes a “crumb coat” before covering with fondant. This just makes it a bit easier to ice as it’s a smoother surface and it helps the fondant stick too!

Then the really fun part was seeing everything come together.

I managed to find a box big enough to transport the cake to the guildhall. I actually started to have nightmares on the Wednesday night about getting the cake to the venue in one piece, or without tripping over (I’m pretty clumsy and tend to trip over my own feet a lot)!
Well luckily I didn’t trip and made it to the Guildhall in one piece, and had to do some of the finishing touches, like add the canopies. I’ve never known myself to shake so much! I really don’t know how the contestants on the GBBO do it!

There was a children’s category and an adult category, and it’s with great pleasure that I can let you know that I won! Yay! My first ever bake off was a success! It’s at this point that I have to let you into the secret that there were only a couple of entries (which I still can’t believe)! But, a win is still a win, and I had so much fun making the cake and decorations!

I won a great goody bag from a local cook shop called dinghams. The best thing in the goody bag – a pineapple peeler! I’ve always wanted one of these and it’s the most amazing gadget ever! I urge you to buy one!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Egg free chocolate chip cookies

I've been recovering from an op  recently so haven't been able to bake or craft as much as I'd like to. It has been driving me bonkers!
Luckily I'm on the mend now and I fancied doing a spot of baking today.
Unfortunately, being refined to the house for a few weeks has meant a lack of ingredients! Even eggs!
Luckily I had a few basics so thought I try an eggless cookie recipe and they worked out great! The texture is quite chewy but I'm a big fan of that! They don't brown as much as normal cookies either, but I doubt they'll hang around long enough for anyone to care!
2 & 1/4 cups - Plain flour
1/2 cup - softened butter
3/4 cup - Caster sugar
1 tsp - Vanilla essence or flavour
1/2 cup Oil (I used sunflower)
1 tsp Baking powder
3 tsp Water
1/2 to 1 cup of Chocolate chips (although I used peantut butter chips for mine, mmmm)!
Basically cream the sugar and butter together, then add everything else!
Bake for about 12 - 15 minutes at 190 deg and enjoy!