Sunday, 14 December 2014

Brie & Cranberry Tartlets

Christmas party season is upon us and if you are hosting a party, or need to take some food along to one, easy to make treats that are also delicious are top of the baking list. These tartlets fit the bill perfectly, sweet cranberry sauce and smooth savoury brie go together perfectly in a crispy pastry case. I think I will be taking these along to my family's annual Christmas Eve buffet!

I started by making the pastry. I mixed 175g plain flour and 85g butter together and rubbed with my fingers until it resembled breadcrumbs. I added 1 egg and brought it together to form a dough. I also had to add a splash of milk as it was a bit dry. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled in the fridge for 1 hour. You can buy ready made if you need to save extra time.

I made the cranberry filling by mixing together 250g smooth cranberry sauce, 50g dried cranberries and 1 tbsp port. You don't have to add port if you don't want to.

I chopped up the brie into pieces, leaving the rind on. If you really hate the rind you can remove it of course.

I rolled out the pastry until it was quite thin, about 1-2mm. I cut rounds out using an 8cm round cutter. I got 21 tarts from the pastry.

I greased a tartlet/mince pie tray and put the rounds of pastry in, gently tapping them down into the tin.

I put about 1 tsp of the cranberry mixture into the pastry and topped with a square of brie.

I baked them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 10-15 minutes until golden. When they came out of the oven I sprinkled some finely chopped pecans on them. You could use walnuts or almonds too.

The tartlets are so delicious and incredibly moreish! I ate 3 while writing this post! And I really want to go and get another one...

I am submitting this post to the LV= Very British Cookbook.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Snowflake Biscuits & Christmas Jumper Day

This Friday is Save the Children's annual Christmas Jumper Day. The charity work around the world saving the lives of children and fighting for their rights. A lot of people I know are having Christmas Jumper Day's at work and donating to the charity. I was contacted by both Save the Children and a company called The Biscuiteers, who make bespoke biscuits about the day and I was inspired to not only get my Christmas jumper on, but also to make these gorgeous snowflake biscuits and spread the word about this fantastic cause!

Here's me in my Christmas jumper! And the biscuit likeness sent to me by The Biscuiteers, isn't it fantastic?! Their speciality are beautifully iced biscuits that they send out in gorgeous tins.

To make the dough for the Snowflake Biscuits I first creamed together 230g butter and 225g caster sugar. I then added 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp almond extract and mixed well.

Finally I added 385g plain flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tbsp baking powder and mixed to form a dough. I wrapped it in cling film and chilled it in the fridge for 1 hour.

I got the snowflake cutters from Lakeland and they are pretty tricky to use because they are so intricate. I found the best way was to roll some of the dough out onto baking paper, press the cutter in, then gently peel the baking paper away. The dough will stay in the cutter.

Using a lollipop stick I first poked out the holes of the snowflake, then holding the dough filled cutter close to a lined baking tray, I used the lollipop stick to gently poke the dough to get it come out of the cutter. I did get a few lollipop stick indentations, but they disappeared after baking.

I filled my baking tray full of snowflake shape dough using all four different shapes from the cutters.

I baked them on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for around 8 - 10 minutes, until they were just going golden at the edges.

To make the icing I mixed 1 egg white with 225g icing sugar in my food mixer until thick. I piped it onto the biscuits using lot of different patterns. Snowflakes are unique after all! I used some sprinkles and glitter as well for decorations.

Although the cutters are tricky to work with, the effect is amazing and they look so stunning and even prettier when decorated!

Here are some more I decorated the next day but didn't get a chance to photograph in the day light.

I am also entering these into myself and Cakeyboi's monthly challenge, Treat Petite. I'm hosting this month and the theme is Christmas.

I am also submitting this post to Patience Brewster's Cookie Exchange.

Biscuit recipe from Bake Space. Icing recipe from The Biscuiteers.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Chocolate Roulade with Baileys Cream

The Christmas season is here and I am loving it! Mostly because I could finally make this roulade... I saw the fabulous Mary Berry make this at the BBC Good Food Bakes & Cakes Show back in October and the whole audience was drooling. Although her recipe doesn't feature any Baileys, at the show she put a good glug of it into the cream and I thought it sounded delicious. I was recently invited over for dinner at a friend's house and took this over for dessert, much to everyone's delight!

I started by melting 175g dark chocolate in a glass bowl over water.

Meanwhile I whisked up 6 egg yolks (keep the whites!) and 175g caster sugar until thick and creamy.

I used my food processor to whisk up the 6 whites from the eggs until stiff.

I whisked the melted chocolate into the egg yolk mixture. Then I mixed in one tablespoon of the egg whites. I folded in the rest of the egg whites gently, and 2 tbsp of sieved cocoa powder.

I poured the mixture into a lined baking tray. If you have a swiss roll tin you can use that, but I just use a regular baking tray.

I baked it on 160C/ /Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes. I left it to cool in the tin with a tea towel covering it.

When it was completely cool I whipped up 300ml of cream and a good glug of Baileys. I tasted it to make sure the amount of Baileys was enough for me, so put in however much you like. I tipped the sponge out onto a piece of baking paper dusted with icing sugar and scored it about 2cm from one end. I spread the cream over. I didn't use all of the cream, I saved some for extra!

I gently rolled the sponge up. It will crack, this is meant to happen and also makes a nice effect!

I dusted it with extra icing sugar and served with the leftover Baileys cream. It's so light and delicious, plus as no flour is used it's a great dessert for anyone on a gluten free diet. The sponge has a great fudgey texture and the hit of Baileys in the cream adds festive decadence.