Gingernuts with Custard Cream filling!!

Fox’s Biscuits make a biscuit called Ginger Crunch Creams. I love these things. If I ever leave England these would be in my top 5 of most missed treats. So, I had been thinking about making my own for a while. I mean it’s just a crunchy ginger cookie with cream smooshed in the middle. (Word is trying to correct smooshed hahaha!!)

Baking is a huge trend at the moment so I wasn’t surprised to see that Jamie Oliver jumped on the bandwagon with an issue of his magazine dedicated to baking (Issue 27 Mar/Apr 2012). I am glad he jumped because this issue has a lot of interesting recipes.

There is a whole section for homemade biscuits based off of shop-bought favorites. I took the recipe for the ginger nuts and then halved the recipe of the cream filling from the custard cream recipe! Then like magic I had my favorite shop-bought biscuit, but even better!! These turned out exactly how I wanted them too!! Enjoy!!

Notice how I switch between calling these biscuits and cookies. Ha! My 4 year old already corrects my American words. It’s a little annoying to be honest. Humph. ;0]
makes 16 (8 if you are sandwiching them together)
100g self-rising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground ginger
a few gratings of nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
50g light muscovado sugar
50g butter, cubed, softened
2 tbsp golden syrup
Demerara sugar, for sprinkling

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and line a baking sheet.
  2. Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and then rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Stir in the syrup, and press into a dough
  4. Divide into 16 pieces (I weighed mine out because every time I try to break into equal pieces I fail.) they should weigh about 15g each give or a take a little.
  5. Roll each piece into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet. Use a bottom of a glass to flatten them.
  6. Sprinkle some of the demerara sugar onto each one; I didn’t have this so I just used regular granulated sugar. The demerara sugar is bigger granules and would work better the regular sugar just sort of blended into the biscuit. Press the sugar into the cookie with your fingers.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Remove the biscuits and let them cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
for the custard cream:
100g icing sugar
2 tbsp custard powder
50g unsalted butter, softened
boiling water

  1. Mix the icing sugar and custard powder together in a big bowl.
  2. Then beat in the butter, this is why I suggest a big bowl. I used my medium sized bowl and the sugar/powder mix went everywhere the second I turned on my hand mixer. If I had the bigger bowl it has bigger sides and wouldn’t have puffed up into my face!!
  3. Add 1 tsp of boiling water and mix until smooth.
  4. Cover and set-aside until ready to use.

To finish: Spread each side of the cookie with the custard cream and smoosh them together!!

note: there are no eggs in this recipe

Peggy Porschen Boutique Baking!! {book review}

 Boutique Baking: delectable cakes, cupcakes, and teatime treats by Peggy Porschen
I pre-ordered this book a few weeks ago not expecting it until the end of May.
Amazon for whatever reason has decided to ship it early. I'm not complaining!!
May is the month of my birth so I ordered a few books that I felt I couldn't live without! This is the first one to arrive. I expect another one Monday or Tuesday and the third by the end of next week. So, exciting!!

Also in May I am planning my second Bakery Tour of London. A friend and I are going to see Wicked and I thought why not visit a few places- including the Peggy Porshen Parlour! I can't wait!!

This isn't so much a review as I haven't made anything from it yet. However, I have read it and I can tell you I am super excited to try some of the recipes! Such as:
 Sticky Toffee Cupcakes!!
and
Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake

Yum!! There are many more treats in this book too! The content page reads: Sweet Treats; Beautiful Biscuits; Cupcake Heaven; Luscious Layer Cakes; Classic Cakes & Bakes; Delicious Drinks;  and The Icing on the Cake. The book is beautifully put together. The pictures are gorgeous and the recipes are written with clear instructions. (note: I have yet to test them)
I can't wait to share my creations from this book!!

Flourless Chocolate Lime Cake with margarita cream!!

I made this cake first of all because I've never made a flourless cake. Second, because of the lime, my family LOVES lime. :)
My cake is super dense, which I imagine is what happens when there is no flour, but it makes the cake very dense. There were no complaints at my house!
I made the lime cream to top it based on Nigella's recipe for Margarita cream, minus the alcohol. Not that I don't love alcohol, I just have 4 kids who will be eating this cake. ;) The lime cream is ah-may-zing!! It's so yummy and a must have to balance out the sweetness of the cake.
~ Janet

This recipe is taken from Nigella's website so it is the UK version. I tried to make it American friendly if any questions please leave a comment. It also appears in her book Kitchen.

For the cake:
  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped -Bittersweet Chocolate Ghirardlli's
  • 150g soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing
  • 6 eggs
  • 250g caster sugar -super fine sugar
  • 100g ground almonds -Almond meal/flour
  • 4 teaspoons best-quality cocoa powder, sifted
  • zest and juice 1 lime
  • icing sugar, to dust (optional)
  • 1 x 23cm springform or other round cake tin
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4, line the base of your cake tin with baking parchment and butter the sides.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter together either in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water, or in a microwave (following manufacturer’s instructions), then set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar together until about tripled in volume, pale and moussy. I do this using a freestanding mixer, but a hand-held electric model would be just fine too; obviously, by hand is possible but would demand tenacity and muscle.
  4. Mix the ground almonds with the cocoa powder and fold this gently into the egg and sugar mixture, followed by the slightly cooled chocolate and butter. Finally, fold in the zest and juice of your lime.
  5. Pour and scrape this mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 40–45 minutes (though start to check at 35); the cake will be just firm on top, but still have a bit of wobble underneath.
  6. Remove from the oven and sit the cake in its tin on a wire rack to cool. Once the first heat has left it, drape a clean tea towel over the cake to stop it getting too crusty, though a cracked and cratered surface is to be expected; it’s crunch I’m avoiding here.
  7. When cold, unmould, dust with icing sugar if you wish and serve with the jaunty Margarita Cream that follows...
Margarita Cream
  • 60ml lime juice (2-3 limes) or from a squeezy bottle
  • 1x15 ml tablespoon tequila
  • 1x15 ml tablespoon triple sec or Cointreau  note above I omitted this and it turned out great!
  • 75g icing sugar -confectioners sugar/powder
  • 250ml double cream -heavy cream
    1. Stir the lime juice, tequila and orange liqueur together in a good-sized bowl, then whisk or fork in the icing sugar and let it dissolve in the sour, strong liquid.
    2. Slowly whisk in the double cream and keep whisking until you have a light, floaty, aerated mixture, then serve with the Chocolate Lime Cake above
    For the American version use this in place of the ground almonds.
    Almond meal/flour found in health food stores, or in your health food isle at the local grocer.


    World Book Night Monday, 23rd April, 2012!!

    first look
    I was chosen to be a book giver for this year World Book Night!! It has nothing to do with baking, but it does have to do with my first love! Books!!! This blog started because of my obsession with books! So, in a way it does make sense for me to talk about it here!  

    Out of a very generous list of books I chose I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.

    It was a few years ago I came across this apparently well known title. I thought it couldn’t have been that well known, as I hadn’t heard of it before!! On Pages of the Mind (the book blog I started with my sisters) I wrote my initial thoughts on the book. Now that I have the opportunity to actually give people physical copies of the book I cannot find the words to express how much I love this book!! I hope those I share it with will love it like I do!!

    all labelled - ready to go
    If you have read this book before please leave me a comment and tell me what you thought of it. If you have not read this book please leave me a comment and tell me why you want to read it. I have decided to give 2 away on this blog to anyone in the world! The 2 will be chosen randomly from the comments below! World Book Night has been a huge success and all my books are claimed or given away!! Happy Reading!!!

    For everything to do with World Book Night visit the official site!

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti and Swirl Cheesecake!!

    7 years ago today I got married! At the time we caused a bit of scandal by basically eloping. However time has passed and the drama forgotten…that is until I made this cheesecake: 
    It is massive and worth talking about. I however am not giving you the recipe! I know I am mean. It’s just that I already shared a cheesecake recipe from this book with all of youu. It’s from Tea with Bea by Bea Vo and the book is currently only 4.99 at The Book People. This book is worth buying. Some of the recipes look a bit daunting, but the few I've tried so far are easy to follow and turn out amazing. You can always visit them in London if you can't be bothered making your own! :0)  
    I am however giving you the easy recipe for chocolate peanut butter biscotti. It also come from the book and is the crust of this delicious cheesecake that is so big I am going to have go to just start handing it out to strangers.

    300g/2 cups plain/all purpose flour
    1 ½ tsp baking powder
    1 ½ tsp salt
    100g/ ½ cup light brown soft sugar
    40g/2 tbsp natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
    40g/2 tbsp golden syrup
    3 tbsp sunflower oil
    2 eggs (medium UK; large USA)
    2 tsp water
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    80g/ 2/3 cup shelled whole peanuts (unsalted/honey roasted)
    80g/3oz high quality dark/semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into pea-sized pieces
    caster/superfine sugar, for sprinkling
    70g/ ½ cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)

    Combine all the dry ingredients: flour, b.powder, salt, sugar, cocoa.
    Whisk g.syrup, oil, eggs, water, and vanilla until well combined.
    Add to the dry mixture and mix until just combined and there is no trace of the dry ingredients.
    Add the peanuts and chocolate until just combined.
    Bring the dough together into a ball, wrap in cling film/plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
    Pre-heat oven to 145Cfan/160C/290F/gas3
    Sprinkle the work surface with sugar. Flatten the dough roughly with your hands on the work surface.
    Dot spoonfuls of the peanut butter over the dough.
    Lightly roll the dough into a log about 6cm/2 ½ in wide and 2cm/1 in high (will spread when baking)
    
    log before baking
    Try to encase the peanut butter as it can burn when exposed.
    Place a the log on a prepared baking sheet (lined with parchment paper)
    Bake for 25-40 minutes until the top is completely hardened, and when tapped, feels sturdy and not squishy inside.
    Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes.
    Turn the oven temp down to 135Cfan/150C/265F/gas2.
    Slice the cooled log, diagonally, into 1cm/ ½ in wide batons.
    Lay all the batons flat on the same baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until nice and dry, then flip them over and bake again for the same amount of time.
    Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute.
    Cool completely. Will store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.  
    I hadn’t realised that they used a fan-assisted oven for all the recipes in this book so when I made these it took FOREVER to harden. I didn’t bother cutting mine all nice and neat as the were for this cheesecake:  
    …more then they were for coffee or tea!!
    Enjoy!!

    Cookies and Cream Fudge Brownies!!

    Tonight myself and a few other girlfriends are going around to our mutual friend's place for a catch up and to meet her little girl; born last week. I thought for a girls night in we needed chocolate! I found this recipe in the You Magazine just like the previous post (Pineapple Muffins). This recipe originally was published in Baking Made Easy by Lorraine Pascale, a book I don't actually own!

    Here's what happened...this recipe calls for a 8 in (20cm) baking tin. I only have a 9in (22/23cm) so that's what I used. I wouldn't suggest it. These are still really yummy, but they aren't as thick. I also wasn't thinking and I didn't adjust the baking time. The top cracked badly! It could be one of 3 things: 1. baking time 2. the instructions in step 3 it tells you to whisk the eggs etc... I may have over whisked or 3. because I used double stuffed Oreos which weigh 185g not 154g. I still just added them all. I won't know unless or until I make them again. Anyone else have any other theories?
    see it's all cracked
    I should have grabbed some ice cream or cream for these brownies as it would have made a perfect dessert! Like I said they were very yummy, they just didn't turn out very nice looking so I could take a nice picture for everyone! ;0) I guess I might have to invest in an 8in (20cm) square tin. I'm finding a lot of brownie recipes call for it. humpf.
    • 165g butter plus extra for greasing
    • 200g dark chocolate grated or finely chopped
    • 3 eggs
    • 2 egg yolks
    • seeds of 1 vanilla pod or 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 165g soft light brown sugar
    • 2 tbsp plain flour
    • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
    • pinch of salt
    • 154g pack of Oreo biscuits broken into quarters (I used double stuffed)
    • icing sugar for dusting
    1 x 20cm square baking tin

    1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 with the middle shelf ready. Grease the baking tin, then line with baking paper – leave it overlapping the sides a little.
    2. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and add the grated chocolate. Leave to stand for a few minutes until the chocolate goes soft then stir together. Alternatively, you can put the chocolate and butter in a bowl and melt in the microwave in 25-second blasts, stirring well each time.
    3. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla together in a large bowl until they begin to get light and fluffy. Add the sugar in two additions, whisking between each. Pour it around the side of the egg mix so as not to knock out the air that has been whisked into it. Keep whisking until the mixture becomes stiffer. Once the egg mixture is ready pour the chocolate into it, again around the sides so as not to knock the air out.
    4. Add the flour, cocoa powder, salt and a third of the Oreos and stir until fully combined, then pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Scatter the remaining Oreos over the top, pressing them in slightly. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. The middle should be very slightly gooey.
    5. looks normal

      but the whole top comes off

      still delicious!
    6. Leave to cool in the tin. The top will sink and crack a little. (Mine cracked a lot!!) Pull the brownies out using the overlapping paper and cut into squares. Dust with icing sugar.
    VARIATION Instead of Oreos you could use toasted walnuts, pecans or sprinkle the brownies with honeycomb.

    note: published in YOU, Mail on Sunday; find it here.

    Pineapple Muffins!! (low-fat)

    I made a very yummy sweet and sour stir-fry for dinner last night; the point of me telling you this is that it had fresh pineapple in it. The reason for me stating this is- I didn’t need a whole pineapple.
    I remembered this recipe that I pulled out of the YOU magazine (4 March 2012) that comes every Sunday in the Daily Mail. These are made without butter and egg yolks so they are semi-healthy for you!! Do I dare call them low fat?
    They are very moist and dense and will keep for a couple days according to the article. My Mini-Baker didn’t really like them because they do have a different texture. I really enjoyed them though, even if they can only be eaten one at a time! This recipe makes 10 ‘buns.’ Enjoy!!

    200g plain flour
    1 ½ tsp baking powder
    100g golden caster sugar
    200g trimmed and diced pineapple flesh
    100ml apple juice
    3 medium egg whites (large in the US)
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    finely grated zest of one lemon (I left this step out as my husband is citrus intolerant)
    50g of dried sour cherries or raisins
    vegetable oil for brushing (I used sunflower oil)
    125g apricot jam
    poppy seeds for sprinkles
    1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and prepare your muffin tin
    2. Mix the flour, baking powder, and sugar together in a large bowl.
    3. Mash the pineapple in a food processor or as I did with my stick blender thing that I used to make baby purees’- it shouldn’t be liquid but a puree with texture.
    4. Add all the wet ingredients to the dry. Pineapple, juice, egg whites, vanilla, and zest. Stir until just combined.
    5. Fold in the cherries or raisins.
    6. The mixture is very sloppy so you will need to brush the inside of your paper cases with a little veggie oil.
    7. Carefully spoon the mixture into the cases. I used an ice cream scoop. You can fill them up (not to the top) because they won’t raise much.
    8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are a light golden brown and they are slightly raised.
    9. While they are cooling- gently heat the jam in a saucepan and once loosened sieve into a bowl. Then brush the tops of each bun with the jam to glaze them.
    10. Sprinkle the poppy seeds over the tops and leave to set for 30 minutes to allow the glaze to set.
                                        

    Hotcross Buns!!

    These are traditional made on Good Friday, but I had things going on. Plus it’s my first time working with yeast so I wanted the time to get it right! I think I did too! It could have done with a little less time in the oven. I had made a ham for our Easter lunch so the oven was already very warm and one of the buns in the back has a blackened corner. Still edible though!!
    I am glad my first experience with yeast has been a success….I see lots of breads and cinnamon rolls appearing on my blog in the near future!!
    I think my family and I are (hopefully) done with germs. It seems like we keep catching everything that’s going round atm!! You should be seeing more of me again! I’m working out how to use twitter, so you if you want to help you can find me @unitedcakedom, is that all you need to find me??
    I found this recipe in Sue Lawrence’s Book of Baking. It’s a wonderful book of baking! It’s recently out of print; I found my copy for something like 40p on amazon (not including shipping). It has basic, but delicious looking baked goods!!
    Hope everyone has a great Easter/Spring break!!

    for Buns
    500g unbleached strong white flour, sifted
    1 tsp salt
    40g  light muscovado sugar
    ½ tsp mixed spice
    ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    55g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
    100g raisins and currants (I just used raisins)
    25g chopped mixed peel, optional in my opinion
    7g sachet of fast-action/easy-blend dried yeast
    300ml mixed milk and water, heated to tepid

    1. Sift flour into mixing bowl and stir in salt, sugar and both spices.
    2. Rub in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs.
    3. Stir in raisins and peel if using.
    4. Then stir in the yeast.
    5. Slowly stir in the tepid liquid and bring the mixture together with your hands to form a ball.
    6. Turn out on to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.
    7. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling film. Leave for about 2 hours (or 1 ½ hours if your house/kitchen is warmer) until well risen.
    8. Lightly oil a baking sheet. Knock back the dough (knock the air out) and divide into 12 pieces. Mine were nowhere near even, but you could weigh it out to get them the same size.
    9. Put in a warm place for about 45 minutes or until well risen again.
    10. Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/gas7 

    for Pastry and Glaze

    70g plain flour
    40g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
    1 tbsp golden syrup

    1. Place the flour in a bowl and rub in the butter.
    2. Slowly add enough cold water (1-1 ½ tbsp) to combine into stiff dough.
    3. Break into 12 pieces and roll out into snake shapes and divide into two to make a cross on each risen bun.
    4. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until puffed up and golden brown.
    5. While the buns are baking gently melt the syrup in the microwave or in a pan on a low heat.
    6. Place buns on a cooling rack and glaze each bun with the golden syrup.
    7. Leave to cool and Enjoy!!

    GU Mango & Passion Fruit Cheesecakes!!



    3 After Noon Mango & Passion Fruit Cheesecakes

    They are just little, but oh so yummy!!
    I normally don't buy this brand because it's generally expensive. However this time I couldn't resist. I love mango and more so passion fruit! I couldn't say no to a cheesecake with these two ingredients! I think I may have to have a go at making a big one!! ;0)

    Chocolate Easter Nests!!


    I think everyone knows how to make these! Coat cereal in chocolate and add mini eggs and you're set! Mini-Baker made one at preschool, she ate the eggs off and left the "nest" which her little sister gobbled up when no one was looking. The chaos that ensued! So, we made our own.


    I used a 100g bar of milk chocolate, Cadbury, melted with a few squares of butter to make it smoother.



    Once it was melted I just mixed in some corn flakes. I just guessed and didn't weigh an exact amount! You could use any cereal really. Different ones will give you different nest looks. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases. (Made 4.) Then before it set we added some Cadbury Mini Eggs (I love these!!) and a chic! The chic isn't necessary it's the ones from the preschool I didn't go buy any. Then they take minutes to set, but the girls had to wait until after dinner to eat them!


    Simple easy Easter treat!! Enjoy!!

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