Saturday, 28 December 2013

Chocolate & Vanilla Pinwheel Biscuits



When I was browsing recipes and ideas for Christmas biscuits to make for my family, I came across these fabulous pinwheel cookies by Sugary Winzy. I just had to give them a go! The effect is so fun and eye catching. As well as the look of these biscuits, the other thing that attracted me is that you can make them in advance, keep the rolls of dough in freezer and take them out and slice them when you're ready to bake. You don't even need to thaw them for more than a few minutes!


To make the chocolate dough I started by melting 30g butter into 2 tbsp milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. In a bowl I mixed the milky butter with 6 tbsp cocoa powder and set aside.


To make the vanilla part of the dough I mixed 230g butter with 225g caster sugar until creamy. Then I added 2 egg yolks, one at a time mixing between each addition. And finally I added 4 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tbsp milk.


To the vanilla dough mixture I added 375g plain flour and 1 tbsp baking powder and mixed until a dough formed.


I took about 3/4 of the vanilla dough and mixed it into the chocolate dough. Then I shaped both doughs into balls and cut in half.


Onto greaseproof paper I rolled out both dough halves into rectangles that were approximately 8" by 7".


Carefully, I tipped the chocolate dough onto the vanilla dough and rolled over them lightly so that they stuck together. Then, like you would do with a swiss roll, I rolled up the doughs together. Do the same again with the two other halves of dough. Then I wrapped both dough rolls in cling film and put them in the freezer.


When ready to bake the biscuits, I took the rolls out of the freezer and let them thaw for 5-10 minutes. I sliced them into 1/4" thick slices using a sharp knife and placed on a baking tray.


I baked the biscuits on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 15-20 minutes. They do grow in size so leave space between them. I was so thrilled with how they looked! And as you can see from the missing spot, tasting before giving out as gifts is very important and necessary!


Not the best photo, but this is how I presented the biscuits. I them in some treat bags from Lakeland, tied them with ribbon and made my own Christmassy luggage tags to tell people what they were. I was pleased to hear that my family enjoyed eating up these biscuits, they certainly didn't last very long!




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Chocolate & Vanilla Pinwheel Biscuits
Ingredients
  • 260g Butter
  • 4 tbsp Milk
  • 6 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 225g Caster sugar
  • 2 Egg yolks
  • 4 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 375g Plain flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
Instructions
To make the chocolate dough melt 30g of the butter into 2 tbsp of the milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. In a bowl mix the milky butter with the cocoa powder and set asideTo make the vanilla dough mix 230g of the butter with the caster sugar until creamy. Then add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing between each addition. Finally add the vanilla extract and 2 tbsp of the milkTo the vanilla dough mixture add the plain flour and baking powder and mix until a dough formsTake 3/4 of the vanilla dough and mix it into the chocolate mixture. Shaped both dough into balls and cut each one in halfOnto greaseproof paper roll out both dough halves into rectangles that are approximately 8" by 7"Carefully lay the chocolate dough onto the vanilla dough and roll over them lightly so that they stick together. Then, like you would do with a swiss roll, roll up the doughs together. Do the same again with the two other halves of dough. Then wrap both dough rolls in cling film and put them in the freezer for 1 hourWhen ready to bake the biscuits, take the rolls out of the freezer and let them thaw for 5-10 minutes. Slice them into 1/4" thick slices using a sharp knife and place on a baking trayBake the biscuits on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 15-20 minutes. They will grow in size so leave space between them

Friday, 20 December 2013

Gingerbread Cake


This gorgeous spicy golden cake is part of a set of recipes put together by Schwartz to get you started into the world of baking. They have put together a selection of simple, traditional and tasty recipes that are all easy to make and delicious to eat. From a chocolate drizzle cake to a light fruit cake, they are great recipes for less experienced bakers who still want to create something attractive and delicious. You can see the full list of recipes by clicking here. I decided to make the Gingerbread Cake because it sounded warming and seasonal.


I started by melting 100g butter, 225g golden syrup and 50g soft light brown sugar on a low-medium heat.
 

Once it was smooth and golden, I left it to cool slightly.


In a bowl I beat together 2 eggs and 150ml milk.



I used Blue Diamond Almond Breeze milk again, this time the unsweetened version as this cake has lots of golden syrup in it to provide sweetness. Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts in the world, so it's good to know you are getting some extra nutritional value your baking. You can read more about the health benefits here.



In another bowl I sifted in 225g plain flour, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2 tsp Schwartz Ground Ginger and 2 tsp Schwartz Mixed Spice.


I've been using Schwartz spices for years and I'm a big fan of their range. They are probably the most recognisable herb and spice brand in the UK with the distinctive shape and colour of their bottles. They have a huge selection of spices which are perfect for baking, and a great variety of herbs too. I use their Perfect Shake range a lot in my cooking. They're great for adding flavour to meat and dishes like risotto, stir frys and casseroles.


On with the cake... I poured the egg mixture and sugar mixture into the flour and mixed well.


I spooned the mixture into a lined loaf tin.


I baked on 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2 for 1 hour and 30 minutes until it was a rich gold colour.


Once cool, I digged in! Wow this cake is full of flavour and deliciously moist and light too. I enjoyed it with some cream poured on top, but it's great on it's own too. I was really pleased with how this turned out. The cake is best after a week stored in an air tight container, so the flavours can develop. If you can't wait that long, like me, the good news is it's yummy on the day it's made too. This would be a great recipe for a Christmas gift as the cake will keep till after New Year if you make it next week.


Check out Schwartz'z website for more easy to make and delicious cake recipes!



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Gingerbread Cake
Ingredients
  • 100g Butter
  • 225g Golden syrup
  • 50g Light brown sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 150ml Milk
  • 225g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp Schwartz Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp Schwartz Mixed Spice
Instructions
Melt the butter, golden syrup and light brown sugar on a low-medium heat. Once it is smooth and golden, leave it to cool slightlyIn a bowl beat together the eggs and milkIn another bowl sift the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, Schwartz Ground Ginger and Schwartz Mixed SpicePour the egg mixture and sugar mixture into the flour and mix wellSpoon the mixture into a lined loaf tin. Bake on 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2 for 1 hour and 30 minutes until it is a rich gold colour

NB. This post was created in association with Schwartz, all opinions are my own.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Orange & Ginger Slice



These delicious slices are filled with festive flavour and are great little treats for parties and family gatherings. They are so simple and quick to make, which is just what you want this time of year. The crunchy ginger topping packs a spicey punch which you can adjust depending on your taste. This recipe is based on a 'Lazy Daisy' cake, which is an old recipe from the 1940s that uses hot milk to make the cake. It is usually topped with coconut, but I changed it to fit the season.


I started by heating 120ml Blue Diamond Almond Breeze and 15g butter in a pan.


I used Blue Diamond Almond Breeze again after being sent some recently and using it in my Mulled Wine Cupcakes. I have recently been having trouble with cow's milk so I was really interested to try out almond milk. It comes in three varieties; original, unsweetened, and chocolate. I've only tried the original variety so far, but it tastes really nice. It's also very low in calories and perfect for anyone on a diary free or vegan diet. You can use it just like regular milk in baking, or when making soups, sauces and hot drinks.

 

In a bowl I whisked together 2 eggs until frothy. I gradually added 200g caster sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla extract.


I then added the zest and juice of one orange and whisked in.


In a bowl I weighed out 160g plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder and a pinch of salt. I added it to the mixture and stirred until just mixed. Finally I poured in the hot milk mixture, stirred in, and poured into a lined tin.


I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 25 minutes until golden.


To make the topping I melted 110g brown sugar, 45g butter, 2 tbsp Blue Diamond Almond Breeze and 2 tsp ginger (add more or less depending on your taste).


Pour the mixture over the cake, then pop it under the grill for about 3 minutes until it bubbles all over. Leave to cool, then slice and serve!


These Orange & Ginger Slices were a huge hit in my office, the only thing I would change is to double to recipe next time! They are really light and moist, and the ginger topping has just the right amount of spice for that festive kick. It's a very versatile recipe too so you can change the flavours depending on the season. It would be great with other citrus fruits and spices.



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Orange & Ginger Slice
Ingredients
  • 120ml + 2 tbsp Almond Milk
  • 60g Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 200g Caster sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 Orange
  • 160g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 110g Light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Ground ginger
Instructions
Heat the 120ml of almond milk and 15g of the butter in a panIn a bowl whisk together the eggs until frothy. Then gradually add the caster sugar and vanilla extractThen add the zest and juice of the orange and whisk inIn a bowl weigh out the plain flour, baking powder and salt. Add it to the egg mixture and stir until just mixed. Finally pour in the hot milk mixture, stir in, and pour into a lined tinBake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 25 minutes until goldenTo make the topping melt the brown sugar, 45g of the butter, 2 tbsp of almond milk and ground gingerPour the mixture over the cooked cake, then pop it under the grill for about 3 minutes until it bubbles all over. Leave to cool, then slice and serve!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Mulled Wine Cupcakes


If there's one drink that really says Christmas, it's got to be mulled wine. I'm pretty sure it's only drank around Christmas time, and I know a lot of people who consider that after they've had their first mulled wine, Christmas is officially here! Also know as 'gluhwein' and 'glogg', mulled wine is warmed red wine, with sugar and spiced with orange, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, star anise, and/or cardamom. The spices used are a cultural, or personal, preference. I love making my favourite drinks into cupcakes! Here's how I did it...


I started by warming up 100ml mulled wine. I used a bottle of ready spiced mulled wine, but you can spice your own if you wish. Once it was warm I added some dried cranberries and left them to soak for about an hour.


I used these dried cranberries which are flavoured with orange for that extra orange zing in the cupcakes. You can also use 100g plain dried cranberries.


In a bowl I measured out 200g self raising flour, 140g caster sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp mixed spice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 40g butter. Feel free to add your favourite spices in whichever quantity you wish!


In a jug I whisked together 120ml Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, 1 egg and 1 tsp vanilla extract.


I was recently sent some Blue Diamond Almond Breeze to try out in my baking. I have recently been having trouble with cow's milk so I was really interested to try out almond milk. It comes in three varieties; original, unsweetened, and chocolate. I've only tried the original variety so far, but it tastes really nice. It's also very low in calories and perfect for anyone on a diary free or vegan diet. You can use it just like regular milk in baking, or when making soups, sauces and hot drinks.


I mixed the almond milk mixture into the flour mixture bit by bit, and then added the 100ml mulled wine strained from the cranberries. I poured the mixture into a lined cupcake tin and put a few cranberries into each one until they were all used.


I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 20-25 minutes until golden.


Whilst they were cooling I made a buttercream out of 400g icing sugar, 150g butter and 3 tbsp mulled wine. I also added some Christmas Red and Grape Violet Sugarflair food colouring till I got a rich burgundy colour. I put some cinnamon and mixed spice into my icing, for extra warmth. I just added a couple of pinches of each until I was happy with the taste.


I used a star nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes, then I added some sugar snowflake decorations.


Finally, for that Christmas sparkle, I sprinkled some gold edible glitter onto the cupcakes!


When cut open, the cupcakes were lovely and moist and filled with juicy cranberries.


Serve with mulled wine, of course!


I am entering these into myself and Cakeyboi's monthly challenge Treat Petite. This month's theme is Happy Holidays!



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Mulled Wine Cupcakes
Ingredients
  • 100g Dried cranberries
  • 100ml + 3 tbsp Mulled wine
  • 200g Self raising flour
  • 140g Caster sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 190g Butter
  • 120ml Almond milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 400g Icing sugar
  • Sprinkles
  • Red & purple food colouring
Instructions
Warm up the 100ml of mulled wine. add the dried cranberries and leave to soak for about an hourIn a bowl mix together the self raising flour, caster sugar, baking powder, mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg and 40g of the butterIn a jug whisk together the almond milk, egg and vanilla extractMix the almond milk mixture into the flour mixture bit by bit, and then add the mulled wine strained from the cranberries. Divide the mixture into cupcake cases and put a few cranberries into each one until they are all usedBake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for about 20-25 minutes until goldenMake the buttercream by mixing the icing sugar, 150g of the butter and the 3 tbsp of mulled wine. Add the food colouring to get a rich burgundy colourUse a star nozzle to pipe the buttercream onto the cupcakes, then add sprinkles and gold edible glitter