Monday, 17 December 2007

Christmas Gingerbread Biscuits

Only 8 more days to go! 'Holidays are coming...'

My sister-in-laws came to stay over the weekend and wanted to make gingerbread biscuits to hand out as favours at her christmas party so I used a slightly different recipe from last time. We had great fun making them and a great weekend catching up together.

I found this recipe easier to follow than the first one I tried. I found the recipe in the bbcgoodfood magazine that Saff gave me (thanks!). It really is quite simple to follow and doesn't take up to much christmas shopping time!

All you need is:
125g/4.5oz unsalted butter
100g/4oz dark muscovado sugar
3.5tbsp golden syrup
300g plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1tsp bicarbonate of soda

icing sugar, silver balls and sprinkles to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4. Take a small pan and slowly melt the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan over a low heat. Take a medium bowl and sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger, mix all together and then pour the melted butter mixture in with it and stir until all the flour is covered. It should form a stiff dough but if it doesn't quite come together add a small splash of water.

Roll out the mixture on a clean surface using a rolling pin and use christmas shapes to cut out shapes. I used a star, a snowman and a tree. Place them onto a large tray covered in baking paper and place them into the oven for 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave them to cool before decorating!
I used plain icing sugar mixed with water to make thick white icing and used a knife to smarten up the edges. My sisters then decorated them with sprinkles, silver balls and coloured icing!

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Christmas Countdown

I can't believe how close it is to christmas, i've still got so many presents to buy, cards to write, things left to bake! I love this time of year when it's bitter cold outside and everyone hurries around the shops all wrapped up warm in coats, hats and scarfs. I love the feel of christmas and the excitment and I'm so excited to home and visit all my friends and family! Ooooh the countdowns on....

Monday, 10 December 2007

Christmas Cupcakes

You all know how much I love baking cupcakes, well i couldn't resist the urge to make christmas cupcakes. My sister in law bought me these amazing christmas red, white and green sprinkles. Some are shaped like mini candy canes and the other ones are snowflakes! I love the red and green colour against the clean crisp white of the icing, the contrast is great! I used a normal victoria sponge recipe for the sponge (see previous post) and vanilla icing. While the icing was still wet I dipped them into the sprinkles that I had poured onto different plates. I'm thinking of trying to make mini fruit cake cupcakes next week but with all these christmas partys and nights out will have the time?! I'm of to make mince pies now, yum!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

White chocolate and cranberry cookies

These christmas cookies taste like christmas heaven! They are just so sweet and the hint of white and red make these the perfect christmas treat! You can easily munch your way through 5 or 6 while watching christmas films by the fire (if only I had a fire, mmm!)

All you need is:
110g/4oz unsalted butter
110g/4oz golden sugar
110g/4oz light muscovado sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
170g/6oz plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
150g/5oz white chocolate cut into small pieces
85g/3oz dried cranberries

Make sure (as always) you preheat the oven to 190c/375f/gas mark 5. In a medium bowl beat the butter together with the caster sugar and the muscovado sugar. In a seperate bowl beat the egg together with the vanilla extract using a fork. Pour this into the other bowl and mix it together. Add the flour, baking powder and saltand blend all the ingrediants together. Finally add in the cranberries and white chocolate and mix again!

Line 2 large baking trays with grease proof paper and use your hands to shape the dough into little balls and place them on the tray leaving plenty of space for them spread. Bake for about 10 minutes in the oven and then leave them to cool. After a few minutes transfer them to a wire rack!

The recipe is taken from the BBC food website and it should make about 35 cookies. They should be crisp around the outside and chewy and gooey on the inside. Ooooh I can't believe it's nearly christmas; my husband has gone out to buy a tree.....

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Christmas Ginger Biscuits

I love making christmas biscuits and as I was attending my friends dinner party I decided to make some to take along with me! They are great to make with kids over the festive season!

You will need:
65g/2oz butter
50g/2oz soft brown sugar
4tbsp golden syrup
150g/5.25oz plain flour (sieved) and extra for dusting
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

ready made icing from a tube or you can use icing made from icing sugar
edible silver balls to decorate

Preheat the oven before you start to 180c/350f/Gas Mark 4. Take a medium bowl and beat the sugar and the butter together, you can do this using an electric whisk but I used a wooden spoon! Once the mixture looks pale and fluffly add the golden syrup, flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda and beat together. You may want to use your hands once you've mixed everything in to form a dough. Wrap it in clingfilm and place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Dust the surface with a little flour and roll out the dough. Use christmas cutters to cut out shapes and place on a baking tray covered with grease proof paper. Do this until all the dough is used up and then place them in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow them to cool for a few minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack.

Once they are completly cooled you can begin to decorate them with whatever you like! I used icing made from icing sugar, water and vanilla extract, tube icing in white, green and red and silver balls to give them a real christmas effect!

I think these would make lovely christmas presents wrapped up in boxes tied with lots of ribbon! My friends enjoyed eating them and I think you will to! I followed this recipe from one I found on the BBC food website, there are some great ideas on there for cooking christmas dinner and other great christmas food!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Apple and pear Crumble

This isn't really part of my christmas baking but I thought I would do a quick post about one of my favourite puddings - apple and pear crumble! It makes a lovely warm hearty dessert on a cold winter's afternoon and is great to serve when the family are round especially with dollops of custard or cream!

I used:

2 large cooking apples
1 jar of home grown pears in syrup
125-150g (4-5oz) sugar
200g (7oz) plain Flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g (3.5oz) butter, chopped into small squares
25-50g (1-2oz) porridge oats

Heat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4.

Wash, peel and core the baking apples and slice them thinly with a sharp knife. Lay them in an over proof dish overlapping each other and them place the pears and syrup on top.

Sieve the flour and baking powder together into a bowl and then rub in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and the oats and mix well. Spread this mixture over the top of the fruit and even it out.

Place it into the oven for about 30 minutes until it is a lovely brown colour and a gorgeous smell is filling your kitchen. Serve it into bowls while it is still hot and cover with custard, cream or if you dare ice cream!

You could add a bit of christmas cheer to this dish by adding sultanas or cranberries and sprinking some cinammon over.

Today I am of to make christmas cookies using white chocolate and cranberries. Then I am off out into the cold day to start christmas shopping. Oxford street here I come....

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Pink Cupcakes

My sexy sister-in-law and boyfriend came to stay with us (they just got engaged! woo-hoo!) so I made some pink cupcakes to celebrate! I used pink buttercream and silver edible balls to decorate them with and used to a knife to give the buttercream a frosted effect! Check out the pictures below!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007


I'm so excited about christmas. I love the run up to christmas, all the decorations in the shops and the lights that brighten up dark streets and I just lurve christmas food! Mince pies, Christmas cake, stollen, frosted ginger cake.... the list goes on! I decided to start of the christmas baking with florentines.

You will need:
75g (2.75oz) butter
75g (2.75oz) caster sugar
25g (1oz) sultanas
25g (1oz) raisins
25g (1oz) chopped nuts
25g (1oz) glace cherries
25g (1oz) sunflower and pumpkin seeds
100g (3.5oz) flaked almonds
2 tbsp of double cream
175g (6oz) dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4 and line two baking trays with grease proof paper. Heat the butter over a low heat until melted and then add the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, take of the heat and stir in the sultanas, raisins, nuts, cherries, seeds, almonds and mix well. Finally beat in the cream.
Using a teaspoon place small amounts onto one of the baking trays, allowing space for the mixture to spread and place in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on them as you do not want them to burn-they should look golden!

While they are cooling use a circle cookie cutter to make them into perfect circles and leave to cool. Meanwhile heat the dark chocolate and spread in over the other baking tray. When the chocolate is about to set place the cooled biscuits onto the chocolate, press them down and leave them to harden.

Cut around the florentines and remove the grease proof baking paper. Use a little more melted chocolate to create swirls on the back of them by dipping a fork into the chocolate and swirling it around!

They would make lovely christmas presents or look lovely on a festive spread and they taste divine!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Chocolate shortbread

My husband pointed out to me the other night that I bake lots of things that he likes but then he only gets to try them the once because I don't bake them again! I replied by telling him I like baking different things so I can put them on my blog and he said this wasn't fair! So I asked him what he would like and he said shortbread biscuits so I compromised with him by being allowed to cover them in dark chocolate! :)

I followed the same recipe as before and once they had cooled covered them in chocolate and stuck some together. There are currently none left in the biscuit tin (I made them on thursday night!)

I'm off food shopping now to Sainsbury's and then when I get back I'm going to make apple crumble and maybe some rocky roads or florentines! Yum!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Happy thanksgivings to everyone in America, I do hope you all have a lovely time and eat lots of tasty food!
I have been so busy over the past month it's been hard to keep up with my blog but worry not dear friends as I am back and ready to bake! :) On sunday evening I made some more cupcakes, I love baking cupcakes it reminds me of being a kid again, this time I made orange flavoured ones with orange flavoured icing, mmm I love the freashness and clean taste of oranges, it added a lovely taste to the sponge! I decorated them using sprinkles and coloured sugar that I bought in America when I was over there, I used a leaf shaped cutter and sprinkled orange sugar over it to make the shape of a leaf!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Chocolate fruit and nut

I had some chocolate left over from making the chocolate apples and so I decided to make my own fruit and nut chocolate. I chopped up walnuts, hazelnuts, glazed cherries and mixed them with dried cranberries and raisins and then mixed them in melted chocolate! I scooped the mixture into tiny paper cases and placed them in the fridge to set overnight. The next morning I had my very own fruit and nut bites!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Chocolate Apples

It's not Bonfire night without chocolate and toffee apples. I didn't have much time as I was missing the fireworks so I simply melted some chocolate, dipped in the washed apples until they were covered in chocolate and dipped them in some sprinkles. They were delicious to eat while watching the sky light up! Check out the pictures above!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Happy Halloween and Bonfire night!

I hope you have all had a lovely halloween and bonfire night. I can hear millions of fireworks going off as I am writing this. I love bonfire night. Standing and keeping warm by the bonfire, waving sparklers around watching them glitter in the air, the cold misty night, all the colours that fill the dark sky, the atmosphere as everyone stands around eating burgers, hotdogs and of course toffee and chocolate apples which I am off to make! Have a spingly sparkly noisy crazy night everyone and remember, remember the 5th of November....

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Nutty Flapjack

I found this recipe in one of my nan's old cook books and as my sister was coming to stay I decided to make some for her. It went down really well and disapeared out of the biscuit tin like gold dust!

All you need is:

125g (4oz) margarine
1 tablespoon syrup
125g (40z) caster sugar
60g (2oz) oats
60g (2oz) Self raising flour
90g (3oz) crushed cornflakes

Heat the oven to 190C, 375F, Gas Mark 5 and grease a sqaure baking tray with a little margarine or butter.

Simply melt the margarine and syrup in a pan over a low heat. Meanwhile, mix the sugar, oats, flour and crushed cornflakes in a bowl and once the margarine has melted pour it into the bowl and mix until all the dry ingrediants are covered. Pour the mixture into the baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes until just firm.

Remove from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin. Cut into sqaures while it is still hot! The flapjack is a lovely golden colour that matches the colours of autumn! Enjoy!

Saturday, 20 October 2007


Shortbread is made using only 3 ingrediants and doesn't take long to make at all. It makes me think of traditional things and naturally of scotland! Shortbread has a lovely melt in your flavour!

All you need is:
275g (9oz) plain flour
75g (3oz) caster sugar
175g (6oz) butter
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C/Gas mark 4 and gently grease a baking tray.
Mix the flour in a large bowl with the sugar and then fub in the butter. Once the mixture looks quite crumbly begin to knead it until all the crumbs have stuck together and it forms a soft smooth paste. Roll it out using a rolling pin and use cutters to cut out shapes. I used stars, circles, pumpkins and witches!
Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes and leave to cool. Do you like the pictures?

Monday, 15 October 2007

Halloween Cupcakes

On saturday afternoon I made some delicious cupcakes for some friends that were coming over to dinner. I used the same recipe as I did for the victoria sponge cake and then covered then in yellow icing and dipped them in sprinkles. A good tip for using colouring with icing is to use a cocktail stick and dip that into the bottle of colouring and add it slowly to the icing. This means that you get the colour you require rather than a really deep yellow! Another good idea for treats on Halloween don't you think?! Check out the pictures below-Do you like my autumn themed cupcake cases?!

Monday, 8 October 2007

Chocolate Brownies

After spending a week in America I just had to come home and make chocolate brownies. The gooey rich soft texture is just irrestiable. I love brownies and I think autumn is the perfect time to eat them. There is nothing better than coming in from a wet chilly dark evening to a freshly cooked chocolate brownie with a large mug of hot english tea.

All you need is:
300g (10oz) plain chocolate (broken up)
225g (7.5oz) butter, softened
3 eggs
225g (7.5oz) sugar
75g (3oz) self-rasising flour (sieved)
175g (6oz) walnuts (broken up)
200g (7oz) milk chocolate

Make sure you preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas mark 5 and grease a shallow baking tin; you need one about 11 x 8inch.

Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat and add the broken up chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted throughly. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and the sugar and then add in the chocolate and the butter mixture. Stir in the flour, walnuts and the broken-up milk chocolate pieces.

Pour the mixture into the tin, level the surface with the back of a metal spoon and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. You want your brownies to have a firm crust but you want them to be soft and gooey underneath so make sure you do not overcook them. Remove from the oven and leave the brownies to cool in the tray. Once they are cooled chop them into squares and eat!

Sorry it has taken me so long to upload the photos, what can i say apart from it's been such a busy week. I thought these would make great treats to give out on halloweeen wrapped in tissue paper and ribbon!

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Lemon zest cake

I arrived back from my holiday yesterday and couldn't wait to get back in the kitchen and get baking! I decided the first thing I would bake would be a lemon cake as I put a little poll on my blog a few weeks ago asking what I should bake next and the lemon cake won, so here it is! I've just eaten a slice and I have to say lemon cake is so delicious with a real tangy kick.
You will need:
125g (8oz) margarine
125g (8oz) caster sugar
125g (4oz) self-raising flour (sieved)
2 medium eggs
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 unwaxed lemon
For the lemon icing:
250g (8oz) of icing sugar (sieved)
2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Take a 7 inch cake tin and line it with grease proof paper and grease the sides with a little margarine or butter.

In a large bowl cream the sugar and the butter together until it looks light and fluffy. Add in one beaten egg and mix together. Add the second egg with a tablespoon of flour and mix again. Add the rest of the flour and fold it into the mixture, followed by two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. Using an unwaxed lemon grate in some lemon peel to really set the flavour alive with lemon zestiness! Make sure everything in mixed in and pour into the cake tin. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

Once the cake looks golden and your kitchen is filled with a lovely lemon smell remove it from the oven and leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes remove it from the tin and leave it to cool.

To make the icing sieve 250g (8oz) of icing sugar into a bowl and mix it with 2-3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. You want your icing to be quite thick; if it is too runny add more icing sugar. Once your cake has had time to cool, pour the icing onto the cake and use a metal spoon to spread it around, let the icing drizzle down the sides and decorate how you wish. I used some liitle autumn leaves that I bought in america!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007


The reason that I have not been baking much this week is because I am on holiday over in America visiting family. I have been totally inspired while here by all the autumn (or should I say fall!) decorations, the beautiful colours, pumpkins outside all the shops, halloween decorations hanging up everywhere, there is a real sense of magic in the air that I think is sometimes missed in England. So, I've decided to dedicate this month's blog to the lovely autumn month of October to bring all things related to this season. I'll be making pumpkin cookies, caramel apples, gingerbreads, cinnamon toast and other delicious treats to celebrate the change of season with. Ooh, I can't wait to get home and get started! The curtains are closing on those long summer breezy nights (not that we had many!) as the fresh chilly autumn air takes over and the leaves change to the rusty golden colours of orange, yellow and brown. Autumn has arrived!