Raspberry Jam Drops

IMG_0731I have an obsessive personality, and lately I have been micromanaging my apartment into the perfect blend of ‘accidental’ chic and purposeful perfection.

As a break from all of that, I decided to hop into the kitchen to make some jam drops.

IMG_0716

First step is to gather up all the ingredients. Story about the butter – Simon Johnson left Echire butter that was 2 days before the expiry date on their shelves and we bought some unknowingly. As an apology they gave us a block of Lescure for free because there wasn’t any Echire left. Not complaining!

Vanilla from Heilala – supposedly award winning and whatnot. I haven’t tried out enough pastes to make a proper comment but seems good so far.

Also, in line with the chia craze, I got a bottle of raspberry jam with chia from Henry Jones & Co. Yes – I’m always searching for the new and novel. That makes this recipe vaguely healthy, no?

IMG_0720

Raspberry Jam Drops

Ingredients (makes 15)

60g butter
40g icing sugar
80g self-raising flour
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
Raspberry jam

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160 Celcius (fan-forced).
  2. Cream butter and sugar together.
  3. Add egg yolk, flour and vanilla paste and combine.
  4. Roll into small balls and press a circle into the center.
  5. Spoon raspberry jam into the centers.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

 

Photography

photo

Lens: 60mm 2.8f
Processing: Lightroom 4
Props: Brown cardboard, wooden basket, baking paper and jam jar on a white stool

Advertisements

Candle Cupcake

Recently, a friend had a birthday and I baked a simple batch of chocolate cupcakes for her. Because it was such a plain project I thought I’d try to photograph it a little differently and decided to style it sitting on a SOMA cube motif. I like how the  shadows turned out.

IMG_0711

There’s my set up – light coming from the right from my apartment window, black board at the back. Taken with a 60mm 2.8f lens.

photo

 

Raspberry Friands

IMG_0688

Hello, World!

Yes, I know that my supposed every Monday and Thursday posts have not been forthcoming for an entire four months. The truth is, life caught up with me and the other truth is that I was lazy. I didn’t want to face the mountain of dirty dishes that comes with baking and decorating, particularly with the more complex projects that I embark on.

Anyway, last night I decided to push myself and baked off a quick and easy batch of friands and they turned out great!

 

IMG_0691

These took almost no time at all to make and best of all, very little dishes to wash up because there was no creaming or whisking or anything fancy involved. And berries makes everything look pretty.

 

Raspberry Friands

Ingredients (makes 6)

1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup almond meal
2 egg whites
1/3 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup raspberries

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180 Celcius.
  2. Pour all ingredients except the raspberries into a bowl and mix well together.
  3. Spoon mixture into friand tins or cupcake ones if you don’t have them.
  4. Press the raspberries into the top.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and springs back when pressed.

Christmas Pretzel Wreaths

I have this bright idea of decorating my Christmas tree with edible objects every year. I decided on pretzel wreaths this year – simple, effective and long-lasting.

Pretzel Wreaths

This isn’t a particularly original idea – I saw this on Pinterest a while ago but wanted to make my own and put my own spin on them. I used up my extra leaves and flowers from a different project and did some of the others with a variety of sprinkles.

Pretzel Wreaths

Ingredients and Materials

Chocolate, melted (read how I melt chocolate the easy way)
Mini pretzels
Waxed paper
Sprinkles or desired decorations
Ribbon

Method

Watch the YouTube video I made below:

And here they are on my Christmas tree! I thoroughly enjoyed the process and I hope you did as well!IMG_0550

Christmas Swiss Roll

Christmas Swiss Roll

I am alive!

I am sorry I have not been posting – I went away to Europe (thoroughly enjoyed myself – I now want to move to Germany for 6 months if I have the chance!) and have just been so busy catching up with everything when I got back that I just did not have the time or energy to come up with any inspiration. Things have changed though and today I finally got round to making something.

To be honest, I am not the most talented when it comes to Swiss rolls – more often than not they become cake sandwiches. This was a slightly fancier version as well as I had decided to pipe holly leaves and cranberries as a motif.

Recipe as follows:

Christmas Swiss Roll

Ingredients and equipment

2 eggs
110g optima flour (an Asian sponge cake mix)
15ml water
1 tsp vanilla essence
30g butter, melted
Food colouring of choice
20cm x 30cm baking pan
Silicone coated baking paper
Disposable piping bags

IMG_0537

Method

  1. Line tin with silicone coated baking paper.
  2. Whisk eggs, flour, water and vanilla together until light in colour and double in volume – this may take up to 5-10 minutes depending on the speed of your mixer.
  3. Add melted butter to the mixture and fold in until full incorporated.
  4. Remove a tablespoon of mixture and add colour as desired – in my case I made one tablespoon red and the other green. Place coloured mixture into piping bags.
  5. Pipe patterns as desired onto the baking paper in the tin. Place in freezer until fully set (1-2 hours).
  6. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan-forced).
  7. Pour remaining batter over frozen pattern and even out with spatula. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and roll. Fill with desired filling.

Tip: Roll the cake as soon as it is out of the oven to prevent cracks from forming and make sure the cake is not over baked.

Just a simple project – hopefully I get into more complex things in the near future but for now – that’s it! Glad to be back.

Lemon Tree Cupcakes

Lemon Tree Cupcakes

Having exhausted every idea associated with lemons, I asked for suggestions from my housemate. She promptly replied, “How about a lemon tree?”

Yes – how about it?

Lemon Tree Cupcakes

Lemon Cupcakes

(makes 9 cupcakes)

Ingredients

100g butter, room temperature
100g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs
100g self raising flour

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160° Celcius (fan forced).
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light in colour and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add zest and eggs and mix until combined. Mixture may look slightly curdled but nothing to worry about.
  4. Add flour and mix until well incorporated. Pour batter into a piping bag.
  5. Pipe mixture into cupcake liners in a cupcake pan (fill 2/3rds of the way up).
  6. Bake in oven for 18-20 minutes or until cupcake springs back when pressed gently.

Lemon Curd

Ingredients

160g caster sugar
2 eggs
Juice and rind of 2 lemons
80g butter, melted

Method

  1. Whisk eggs and sugar together until smooth in a microwave safe container.
  2. Stir in lemon juice, lemon rind and butter.
  3. Pop into the microwave and cook for 60 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir thoroughly.
  4. Repeat Step 3 until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and when a line is drawn through it with your finger it stays nice and sharp.
  5. Leave to cool before use.

Lemon Tree

Lemon Tree Tutorial

Equipment and Ingredients

Milk chocolate, melted
White chocolate, melted
Green gel food colouring
Yellow gel food colouring
3 piping bags
Waxed paper
Lemon tree template (available here)

Method

  1. Place lemon tree template underneath wax paper.
  2. Pour melted milk chocolate into a piping bag and pipe the tree trunk.
  3. Leave until fully set.
  4. Mix some green gel food colouring into a portion of the melted white chocolate and place into piping bag. Pipe leaves of tree. This is done by piping a small dot and drawing the tip of the bag away, creating a tail that resembles the tips of the leaves. Leave until fully set.
  5. Mix some yellow gel food colouring into remaining melted white chocolate and place into piping bag. Pipe lemons onto tree by piping small dots.
  6. Leave to set fully.
  7. Remove from waxed paper by carefully peeling the wax paper away. I like to do it at the edge of the table.
  8. Your lemon tree is ready for use!

Assembly

  1. Cut a slot into the lemon cupcake in desired area that is slightly longer than the width of the chocolate tree trunk.
  2. Gently insert tree into slot.
  3. Pipe or spoon lemon curd onto cupcake.

Photography

Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph my set up for this project! However, it is similar to that of my Flamingo Cupcakes. The only difference was the props. In this particular photograph, the gray background is a cashmere scarf and the cupcake is sitting on a burlap bag.

And that’s all for today’s post! I have an extremely busy week ahead but I will try my best to be on time for my next post. Blogging and full time work is not easy!

How To: Make Crunchy Tooth-Friendly Biscotti

Thin Biscotti

So you made a batch of biscotti, attempted to bite into them and failed because they were rock hard.

Instead, you succeeded in breaking a tooth in the process and now you need to schedule an appointment with me. Or your local dentist. Yes – I am a dentist in real life. Of all the things in the world!

In case you’re shaking your head at the high sugar content of my blog posts in direct juxtaposition to my real life profession, it’s all good – looking at sugary food never hurt anyone. 😉

Anyway, I thought I’d share my favourite biscotti recipe that is crunchy but not tooth cracking-ly so. It is still nice and crispy but breaks up easily for effortless chewing. Also, it uses whole eggs, which means I am not left with a stray egg yolk wandering around aimlessly in the fridge for a week.

DISCLAIMER: If you do break a tooth eating these I am not liable – you probably needed a new filling anyway if that happened!

Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

Thick Biscotti

Biscotti Recipe

Ingredients

1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Screen shot 2013-09-16 at 9.56.22 PM

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160° Celcius (fan-forced).
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg and beat until well combined.
  4. Stir in all other ingredients thoroughly, forming a stiff dough.
  5. Form dough into a log roughly 12 inches long and 2 inches wide and place on baking tray covered with a sheet of baking paper.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes. Wrap log in cling wrap and leave in freezer for a few hours, preferably overnight.
  8. Take frozen log out of freezer and slice with a serrated knife diagonally into preferred thickness.
  9. Arrange biscotti slices flat on baking trays and bake at the same oven settings for about 10-15 minutes, or until biscotti is crisp.

Note: This recipe makes a biscotti dough that does crumble a little more easily than other recipes – which may seem like a bit of a pain. However, it is well worth the effort for the texture and flavour of the end result!

Tips for Perfect Biscotti

Cream Butter And Sugar Really Well

This is essential because it is a major contributor to the non rock-hard texture I was talking about. To be honest with you, it was a good couple of months into baking before I truly understood what creaming entailed. I will be dedicating an entire post to this at some stage in the future but for today’s exercise, make sure the mixture has:

  • lightened in colour – it will no longer be yellowish, but rather a light shade of well… cream.
  • increased in volume

If it hasn’t done the above two things – keep on creaming. It’s still not there yet!

Ensure Space Between Logs Is Adequate

So you doubled up the recipe and decided you want to have two logs on the same baking tray because life is too short to prepare a second one. If you have a large tray that’s all fine and dandy. Otherwise, unless you want a large puddle of dough in the middle of the pan, it will be wise to keep them on separate trays. This may have come from personal experience. This rule applies to all cookies that have the potential to spread.

Freeze Logs Of Dough Prior to Slicing

Does it make your job harder because the dough is frozen? Yes, and no. Yes because it is firmer and therefore requires more force, but no because it doesn’t smoosh on itself and the nuts don’t fall out of the dough! Plus, you’ll get beautiful clean slices at the end of the exercise. And stronger and more muscle tone in your arms. So I tell myself. Interested in clean slices in other baked goods? Read How To: Cut Brownies.

Also, if you’re lazy just make your biscotti nice and thick and call them rustic, rather than thin delicate slivers.

Photography

Biscotti Photo Setup

Set up for both of the photographs were on a neutral sheet of paper (as you can see, I have an entire roll of it!) on my trusty piano stool. Shot in natural daylight. The aperture was set at 4.5 for the thin biscotti and 2.8 for the thick ones and shot with a 60mm macro lens.

 

And that’s it! What is your preference – thick or thin biscotti? Let me know in the comments. I ate the entire batch in 4 days and have concluded I prefer the thick ones better but the thinner ones are prettier and more dainty.