Coffee Kisses!

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I have one very old trusty Be-Ro cookbook that my Nana gave me years ago. With new cookbooks sometimes the recipes are so complex you can’t always trust the results. This cookbook is simple and fool proof. It contains all the classics and I’m going to be trying a few more of them over the next couple of weeks! First up is coffee kisses! Part cake part biscuit they are similar to a whoopee pie or even a macaroon. Deliciously light and perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon! This recipe should make about 15!

 

Ingredients

175g Self Raising Flour

75g Caster Sugar

75g Unsalted Butter

1 Medium Egg Beaten

2 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp of hot water

Coffee Buttercream (buttercream mixed with 2 tsp of instant coffee mixed with 1 tbsp of hot water)

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Method

NB: These can be made by hand but you can also make them in a food processor if you prefer!

1. Heat the oven to 180C, 350F and grease a large baking tray.

2. Mix the flour and sugar together and rub in the butter with your hands or by pulsing in the food processor.

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3. Stir in the egg and all the coffee mixture. The mix should be quite wet!

4. Divide the mix and roll into small balls, slightly smaller than a walnut.

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5. Bake the biscuits for about 15 minutes until the tops have hardened. Leave to cool on the tray.

6. When cool sandwich together with the coffee buttercream!

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Coconut and lemon, Easter nest cupcakes…

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I realise I’m not the first person to create a cupcake like this but having seen pictures of something similar I wanted to try and recreate them myself! Every recipe I had seen called for shredded coconut to create the ‘straw’ of the nest. As far as I know this is slightly different to desiccated coconut and isn’t readily available in the UK so off I popped down the shops searching for an alternative! I finally settled on coconut flakes which I bought from Sainsburys. These pieces are larger than desiccated coconut but I was able to slice the large pieces into strips quite easily and mix them with the smaller pieces already in the packet!

 

The recipe I used made 12 large cupcakes but the mixture could easily be used to make smaller fairy cakes more suitable for kids!

 

Ingredients: Cakes

175g Soft Unsalted Butter

175g Caster Sugar

3 Medium Eggs, Lightly Beaten

175g Self Raising Flour, Sieved

1 tbsp Milk

1 Large Lemon

3 tsp Caster Sugar

 

Ingredients: Topping

75g Unsalted Butter

75g Cream Cheese

Icing Sugar

Coconut Flakes

Cadbury Mini Eggs

 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190C (Gas Mark 5 or fan 170C).

2. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.

3. Cream the butter ad sugar in a bowl with either a wooden spoon or electric whisk until pale and creamy.IMG_4004

4. Gradually whisk in the eggs until just combined..

5. Add the flour and milk. Whisk with an electric hand whisk until combined and fluffy.

6. Add the zest of the lemon and 1 tbsp. of lemon juice. Keep the rest of the lemon to one side for the topping and syrup.

7. Divide the mix equally between the paper cases and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and risen.IMG_4006

8. While the cakes are cooking, squeeze into a bowl the remaining juice of half the lemon and mix with 3 tsp of caster sugar. When the cakes are removed from the oven, prick the cakes all over with a toothpick and spoon a teaspoon of the syrup mix over each cake while they are still warm.

9. Leave the cakes to cool in the tin for five minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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Topping Method

1. To create the topping, mix the butter and cream cheese together thoroughly. Gradually add icing sugar until the topping will hold in medium peaks. To flavour the topping add 2 tsp of lemon juice and 2 or 3 tsp of icing sugar to prevent it from becoming too runny.IMG_4010

2. To prepare the coconut, slice the large pieces into strips and mix with the smaller pieces from the packet. Place a small frying pan on a medium heat and add the coconut to the dry pan. Turn regularly until the coconut colours slightly and remove from the pan.

3. When the cakes have fully cooled either pipe the topping onto the cakes or spread it on with a knife. It doesn’t need to be too tidy as it will be covered with the coconut! Sprinkle the coconut around the edges of the cakes and finish with two mini eggs in the centre.

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Blackberry and Lemon Cupcakes!

I tried to make these cupcakes this week and I had a bit of a fail with the topping! I’m going to try it again soon but here’s a picture of my first attempt! For some reason I couldn’t get the topping to thicken! If anyone has a recipe for an amazing flavoured frosting please let me know!

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Florentines: Failures and Foolproofs

Having tried my first Florentine the other day I was in love instantly! The one’s I tried were made by ‘Fudges’ and are available in Waitrose and Co-op. They are deliciously rich without being too sweet. If you are thinking about making Florentines before trying them, I would definitely recommend you buy a box of the Fudge’s Florentines first to give you an idea how they should taste! This recipe uses a Hairy Biker’s recipe as a basis but I then read the Fudge’s ingredient list and adapted the recipe to make them as similar as possible!

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To begin with a did have one large failure making these Florentines. The Hairy Biker’s recipe suggests you place the mixture on greaseproof paper on a baking tray. DO NOT DO THIS! You’ll have this issue…

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….Florentines that are CEMENTED to the greaseproof paper! No amount of pallete knifing or careful prising will get these bad boys off, believe me! I ended up throwing the lot away because no one was tempted by a paper Florentine sandwich. What you will need is a silicon baking sheet. I bought mine from Sainsbury’s but they are widely available. They don’t need greasing and the Florentine’s come right off! Don’t attempt this recipe without a silicone baking tray, trust me!

Now that bit is out of the way here’s the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 75g golden caster sugar OR golden caster sugar

  • 2 tsp plain flour

  • 75ml crème fraîche OR  double cream. I’ve tried both and personally I think the cream is better!

  • 50g flaked almonds

  • 2 tbsp candied peel

  • 2 tbsp crystallised stem ginger

  • 50g sultanas

  • 100g good quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces

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Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

2. Heat the butter, sugar and flour in a pan over a medium heat, stirring continuously, until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.

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3. Gradually add the crème fraîche or cream, stirring continuously until well combined.

4. Add the almonds, candied peel, stem ginger, and sultanas and mix well until combined.

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5. Place teaspoonfuls of the mix onto your silicon baking sheet. Gently press them down the make a slightly flatter circle. Shape them at this stage into a neat-ish circle but remember they will spread! Space the teaspoonfuls out at 2.5cm/1in intervals so they don’t merge together when heated.

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6. Transfer the florentines to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on the tray, then transfer the florentines to a cooling rack. To do this, carefully remove them from the tray with a palette knife. They will still be slightly bendy.

7. Bring a little water to a simmer in a pan. Suspend a heatproof bowl over the water (do not allow the base of the bowl to touch the water). Add the chocolate pieces and stir until smooth and melted.

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8. Turn the florentines so that the flat base is facing upwards. Spread the melted chocolate over the florentine bases and set aside to cool and set. You may need to do this in the fridge!

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Breakfast Muffins! (P.S. They’re low fat!)

On my quest to find the best muffins I tried my first ever (cringe) ‘low fat’ bake! Now when I say low fat, I’m not suggesting you scrap your 5-a-day and have 5 muffins instead but these are a great alternative to cereal in the morning and brilliant if you would rather eat later or take breakfast to work with you! They contain honey rather than sugar and are sweetened with fruit! The nuts and oats add an amazing crunch!

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This recipe makes 12 muffins and the method is super simple! It came from my Good Food magazine which I recently subscribed to!

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 150ml pot natural low-fat yogurt
  • 50ml rapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 100g apple sauce or puréed apples
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g wholemeal flour
  • 50g rolled oats, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • 100g blueberries
  • 2 tbsp mixed seeds, I bought mine from Sainsbury’s and you can buy them in bags mixed!
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    Method

    1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with 12 large muffin cases.

    2. In a jug, mix the eggs, yogurt, oil, apple sauce, banana, honey and vanilla. (It will look disgusting, don’t panic!)

    3. Tip the remaining ingredients, except the seeds, into a large bowl, add a pinch of salt and mix to combine.

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    4. Next, pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mix briefly until you have an even batter, don’t over mix as this will make the muffins heavy. All you want is for the ingredients to be evenly mixed, no clumps of flour etc.

    5. Spoon the batter between the cases. Sprinkle the muffins with the extra oats and the seeds.

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    6.Bake for 25-30 mins until golden and well risen, and a skewer inserted to the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool. Store in a sealed container for up to 3 days!

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    Blueberry Muffin…Success!

    After my horrendous blueberry muffin fail a few weeks ago I’ve been really trying to improve my muffin making skills! I found a whole ream of recipes on the internet and I looked through all of them comparing and contrasting techniques to try to find the optimum recipe. This recipe I found really does work but the muffins are quite sweet and more of a sponge cake type texture. I’m still chasing a recipe that will give me Starbucks style amazing muffins but I’m yet to find it! I will keep trying though and if I find a better one I’ll be sharing it!

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    The bets part of this recipe has to be the crumble or streusel topping! Made similar to a traditional crumble the topping is sprinkled over the cake mix and becomes crunchy and crispy on the surface of the muffins!

    If you would like to give these muffins a try here is the link to the recipe! I would just like to add that this recipe makes 6-9 muffins depending on the sizes of your muffin tins! Mine are more of a cupcake size so it made 8 muffins. If you have very large tins you will probably only make 6!

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    The texture of the recipe is very thin and almost batter like. Don’t be concerned this is how the mixture should be!

    To create the crumble topping I halved the mixture on the recipe as many people had mentioned it makes too much mix! I agree as even half was still too much!

    To speed this up you could make the crumble topping in a food processor. This cuts the butter with the sugar and the flour a lot faster than using a fork or your fingers. You’re looking for a texture similar to sand or gravel. Then sprinkle this over the filled cake cases.

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    While the texture and flavour of these muffins is great I still don’t feel that I’ve found the ultimate recipe. I know everyone’s tastes are different but for me I prefer a more dry muffin that is slightly less sweet. I would also like the topping to be more crisp and crunchy! I’m going to try and tweak this recipe and read a few more to really find an ultimate muffin recipe which I’m hoping I will post soon. I know I sound a bit muffin obsessed but I’m really enjoying making them and I hope I can find one that really works! If anyone has any great muffin tips please let me know I’d really appreciate it!

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    Birthday Cake! Another attempt…

    Recently it was my friends 21st birthday and not knowing what to get I decided to bake a cake! I’m not brilliant at decorating celebration cakes but I am trying to improve! To make this recipe I used my Ultimate Chocolate Cake recipe.

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    The fudge icing for this recipe contains butter and when warm it is quite pliable. The butter can slightly separate from the icing but this allows you to spread the icing smoothly without a knife sticking to the top! This is how I achieved the smooth finish on the top of the cake! As I put the fudge icing in the centre of the cake as well I didn’t have enough to cover the sides so I whipped up a batch of chocolate buttercream (butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder) and using a large star nozzle, piped individual stars all over the exterior of the cake. I then used writing icing to pipe the ‘21’ onto the cake and decorated the cake with Dr Oetker chocolate stars which I think look quite effective! I know the cake isn’t a show stopper but I can only realistically use more simple techniques to decorate until I improve my skills! If anyone else has any simple techniques for decorating cakes please let me know!

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