Tag Archives: Recipes

Cinnamon Cookies for Kids

I have recently started helping out with the snacks for the toddler group that my church runs on a Thursday morning. I have mini-panics about how much food is needed, and if the other mums will somehow sniff out my lack of experience when it comes to choosing suitable fruit and baked goodies for their little ones. I envision having too little cake for the parents, un-toddler-friendly fruit, and some kind of allergic reaction to the cake I make for the little ones.

Last week I made cookie-cutter biscuits for the tots, which I had great fun decorating with the icing pens I bought to decorate my royal wedding biscuits… I have to add that ‘royal wedding biscuits’ may sound fancy, but they were not at all. The only fancy thing about them was that I iced them with cute patterns using the icing pens rather than slathering on piles of homemade icing. Rather like cement on bricks.

Anyway, back to the biscuits… they turned out fine: no allergic reactions, and no tantrums caused by a shortage of snack provisions. In fact, there were leftovers. Which were taken to snack on at my friend’s place that afternoon. So this recipe is for you, Helen 🙂

The recipe is from this book, and is called ‘Butterfly Biscuits’.

Baking With Tiny Tots

I cut them in the shape of gingerbread men, though, so I’m just calling them…

Cinnamon Cookies

Ingredients:

275g self-raising flour (+ extra for dusting)

10ml cinnamon (optional)

100g soft light brown sugar

75g butter, cut into pieces

1 egg, beaten

2 Tablespns golden syrup

Method:

1. Sift flour and cinnamon into a bowl, then stir in the sugar.

2. Rub in the butter pieces until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

3. In a separate bowl/jug, beat the egg and syrup together. Add to the flour mix and stir.

4. Form a ball of dough, wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for about an hour. (I’ve put this in bold because I didn’t notice this when checking the recipe and it kind of messed up my timings!)

5. After chilling the dough, preheat the oven to 170degC (sorry, I don’t know how to get a  degree symbol on here!!) This is Gas Mark 3 or 340degF. Line a baking sheet or two with baking paper.

6. Sprinkle some flour on the work surface and rolling pin. Roll out the dough to about 5mm thick and cut shapes with cookie cutters.

7. Bake for 10-15 mins (depending on your oven) – the edges should be golden brown. Remove from the tray to cool before decorating with icing.

*Please note the one hour chilling time before you plan your timings!

*10 minutes was plenty of baking time for my oven, and they get much darker brown very quickly, so keep an eye on them!

*This is meant to be child friendly, but I’ve skipped out a lot of ‘get your child involved’ detail in my version – a little common sense, some hand wash and a big apron is all you really need to get your little one baking 🙂

I’d love to hear about it if you try these…

Sorry about the lack of photos – Little Man was having a ‘there’s-no-way-I’m-napping’ morning, so it was rather chaotic trying to get them done in time. But hey, we all know what gingerbread shaped biscuits look like, right?

PS I made a very yummy lemon drizzle cake for the mums. [Oh, and dads. Yes, we have dads at our group too.]

But I’m not going to post the recipe for that – if you want it, you’ll have to buy our Big Fish Recipe Book 🙂 heehee

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Luscious Lemon Meringue

I love lemon meringue pie. It’s another childhood favourite of mine.

I made one recently, and couldn’t quite figure out why it had been so long since I last made it.Errrm, nope – this one’s not mine. I wish!

If you click on the photo you’ll be linked to where I got the picture from.

{Great, now I want a cake stand like that}

You see, I got distracted (what??) while mine was baking so the top got a little more way more golden than it should have. And I just couldn’t bear the thought of putting a photo of a brown lemon meringue pie on my blog. Yes, I’m a faker.

But still, the recipe is pretty easy and the result is very tasty, even when the top comes out tanned 🙂

Pastry case (although I usually just use crushed digestive biscuits and butter. Have a look at the photo above to see my very high tech biscuit-crushing technique)

Melt 125g butter, then mix in a heaped cup of flour and 3 teaspoons sugar. Press into a pie dish and bake at 150 deg C for 15-20 mins until golden. Leave to cool a little before pouring lemon filling into it.

Filling:

Mix together:

*1 tin condensed milk

*2 egg yolks (keep the whites for the meringue)

*Half a cup of lemon juice

Pour into the pastry case when cooled a little.

Meringue topping:

*Beat the 2 egg whites until stiff.

*Add half a cup of caster sugar and beat briefly until smooth and glossy.

Gently cover the the lemon filling with meringue. Make pretty swirls with a spatula 🙂

Bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown (not brown brown like I did!)

Aha! I was about to type a little ‘warning’ about the uncooked eggs and pregnancy – bingo! That’s why I haven’t made it in ages… So the little 10 minute golden brown-ing time doesn’t really count as baking. The eggs would still be pretty raw, so if you’re pregnant and worried about eggs (as they are in the UK), then don’t make this one. Yet.

PS: Dad, if Mom shows you this, don’t drool too much 😉 My dad and I always had this as our birthday meal dessert.

And another PS: A friend recently mentioned using cream cheese in the lemony filling bit. I haven’t tried it yet, but if any of you have a recipe like that – let me know!

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Recipe Book Update…

In a very long and blabby post a little while ago I mentioned my recipe book. I know, how boring. But it’s important to me, mmmkay?? I’m going to need a new one soon….

And so far I’ve found the following ideas:

I think this is my favourite in the practical stakes. I’m not a big fan of using a file, but I think that’s the way to keep things organised, for sure. Also, not keen on having to rewrite recipes, but I suppose I could just stick a recipe cut out in the big space.

Via The Kitchn and Pinterest

I like the cover of this binder/file:

Via Prudent Baby and Pinterest

Again, not so keen on using a file, but plastic sleeves (UK: plastic wallets/pockets) solve the problem of different sized recipes (cut out from magazines, handwritten on scrap paper, etc).  Bonus: on the website I can download the templates for that pretty file cover free 🙂

This one is pretty much the same idea, except without the plastic sleeves. She’s prettied it up with scrapbooking paper and things like that, and prefers to type up her recipes. Won’t be doing that.

From See Jamie Blog via Tip Junkie

Inside the binder (See Jamie Blog)

I love the vintagey look of this lettering:

From On Awesome Avenue via Tip Junkie

Oh boy. I think I’ve found my winner. Even if it weren’t the perfect solution, uh, it’s a Cath. And I love a Cath.

So it wins.

Image via Paper Posey

This is the info about what’s inside:

Via Amazon

The outside is pretty (pretty – check)

On the inside cover it has conversion charts (useful – check)

Tabbed sections to categorise recipes (practical – check)

It is a ring binder but also has pockets for cut-outs and ready-to-use punched pages for writing out recipes (works for all the different kinds of recipes I have – check)

*sigh* perfection.

Trust Cath xxxx

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Happy Easter All…

Well, it’s a luvverly long Easter weekend… and it’s my 30th birthday tomorrow!

Happy birthday to me 🙂

I wanted to share a great hot cross bun recipe for Easter. I haven’t made any this year because the weather’s been so lovely –  hot cross buns feel like they should be eaten fresh out of the oven on a cool day with a cuppa, and we’ve been out and about so much in the sunshine that I’ve not really had the time (or the inclination to be around a hot oven).

That means that obviously I don’t have photos to put on the post, but I’ve scanned taken a photo of the picture from the actual recipe (cut out of a magazine)… Scanner software has gone on holiday too, it seems.

I don’t know about you, but I like to see what the finished product should [but probably won’t in my case!] look like. So here goes:

Ingredients:

450g strong white bread flour

1 tsp salt

1 tblspn mixed spice

50g butter (diced)

75g caster sugar

1 sachet (7g) instant yeast

150g sultanas

300ml [half and half] milk & water

vegetable oil for brushing

FOR THE CROSSES AND GLAZE:

50g flour (self-raising or cake/plain)

2 tblspn caster sugar

Method:

Sift flour, salt and spice in a large bowl.

Rub in the butter with your fingertips.

Stir in the sugar, yeast and fruit.

Make a well and pour in the milk and water, gradually folding in the flour mixture until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 mins until smooth and elastic, then shape into a ball.

Brush the inside of a bowl with oil, put the dough in the bowl and cover with cling film/damp tea towel.

Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour and a half, but rising times vary – it could be 2 hours, or more, in a cold kitchen).

Brush a large round cake tin (about 25cm diameter) with oil.

Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and shape into balls, keeping the tops smooth.

Arrange in the cake tin and cover with cling film – leave to prove like this for about 30 mins (again, in a warm place until doubled in size).

Preheat oven to 200 deg C (180 degF/gas 6).

Make the crosses: Mix flour with 4 tblspns cold water in a small bowl until smooth. Spoon into a freezer bag, snip off one corner and pipe crosses on the buns.

Bake for 15 mins until golden*

Prepare the glaze while buns bake: Heat the sugar with 4 tblspns water in a  small pan until the sugar has dissolved.

As soon as the buns come out of the oven, transfer to a wire rack and brush with the glaze.
Leave to stand in a warm place until the glaze dries.

*I always land up baking mine for about 20 mins, as the underside is still a bit raw and squishy after 15 mins.

Happy Easter, and happy baking 🙂

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Cheat’s Pizza Base

Ok, I mentioned last week that I had made a last minute pizza lunch. You probably all have your own quick and easy pizza base recipes anyway, but I thought this deserved a mention from me to make up for the fact that I have snubbed it for years in favour of  ‘real’ pizza base. Y’know – yeast, time consuming, kneading. And then, just like that! I need to save time and suddenly I turn to the quick and easy again. I’m so fickle.

So this is my way of apologising to you, O Wonderful and Easy Pizza Base Recipe.

2 rounded cups self-raising flour (or cake/plain flour + a heaped teaspoon baking powder)

pinch salt

Add:

75ml oil

175ml milk

Mix together, press into a baking tray or pizza tray.  Spread tomato and toppings, bake at 180C/350F.

*** I usually pre-bake the base for a few minutes (5-ish) before adding the tomato and toppings. I prick it with a fork a few times, then pop it in the oven while I tidy up and get the toppings ready. I started doing this after having slightly undercooked base a few times… but I think it’s because I overload with toppings!!

This pizza recipe makes me think back to all the camping trips we used to go on when I was a child. My parents learned very early on that having food to eat in the car (padkos) goes a long way to pass the time when travelling. And that also meant less time for squabbles to break out between siblings in the back seat… This pizza was quick to make inbetween packing all the camping stuff, and easy to store in the car, and relatively un-messy to eat with our fingers. Yay 🙂

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Red Velvet…

Even just typing the title got me singing Black Velvet 🙂

So… I have discovered something to top chocolate cake. I know, who would’ve thought it possible??

I found this recipe for Red Velvet Cupcakes on a blog called Annie’s Eats. I copied and pasted the recipe from the blog, but have changed a couple of things, like using the word ‘icing’ instead of ‘frosting’ and adding some different measurements for some ingredients. I sometimes find the American way of listing everything in cups and tablespoons quite hard to use for certain ingredients, like butter.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Makes about 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
For the cake:
2½ cups cake flour
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
30ml/2 tbsp. liquid red food coloring
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar

For the icing:
300g tub cream cheese
75g/5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
10ml/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2½ cups icing sugar, sifted

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a large bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar.  Beat on medium speed until well blended.  Mix in the dry ingredients on low speed and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared liners.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 18 minutes.  Let cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the icing sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.  Ice cooled cupcakes as desired.

Ok, this is me again, not the recipe.

Helpful stuff:

* The author recommends using vanilla flavouring (colourless) for the icing rather than vanilla essence for a nicer colour and texture. I did, and I liked it 🙂

*I piped the icing on top using a ziploc bag with a little snip in one bottom corner. It’s not exactly pro-looking, but it was something different to just slathering the icing on top with a knife or spoon. I don’t think I’m ready to actually go out and buy piping bags and fancy schmancy piping tips.

*I decorated with mini mini marshmallows (yip, that’s what the box called them) on some, hundreds & thousands on some, and cherries on the rest. I thought they looked cute, and carried on the pinky-red theme of the cakes.

*I decided to do some research into how full you’re supposed to fill cupcake liners… apparently 2/3 is the accepted amount. Based on some other cupcake advice I found at the same time, I used a 1/4C measure (not completely filled) to pour the batter into the cake liners so that each had the same amount of batter. I’ve always just guessed in the past, and used a couple of normal spoons. This way took out the guess work, was quicker and less messy. Hurray!

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Tea for 2 or 3 or 4…

Yesterday I mentioned some spectacular food that a friend had made. The dessert was particularly awesome, and since dessert in general is my favourite food, that is what I am going to focus on for now.

My friends had recently been to Pizza Hut and shared their Hot Cookie Dough Dessert. And then decided they had to share the cookie dough love by recreating this treat for me. Big smile 🙂

OH. MY. HAT. It was awesome! It is basically a gigantic choc-chip cookie, eaten straight out of the dish. My friend also added marshmallows. A rocky road choc chip cookie piece of gorgeousness.

So I then did my best to recreate the dish myself. And here’s what I found (after googling and taste-testing):

Lizzie’s Cookie Dough Delight – A Dessert For Sharing

If you think the name’s a mouthful, you should actually try eating it.

Ok, that was lame. Sorry. Here goes:

2 and 1/2 cups flour (plain/cake)

pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon bicarb (baking soda)

170g/ 3/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

250 – 300g chocolate chips

Marshmallows if you’d like them.

1. Preheat oven to 160 deg C/350 deg F.

2. Stir flour, salt and bicarb together in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the melted butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended.

4. Stir the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, then add choc chips (and marshmallows).

5. Spread evenly in an oven dish and bake for 10-15 minutes. The top should be golden, but adjust cooking time to your preference when it comes to how soft and doughy it is inside.

Serve with ice cream and chocolate sauce.


*I used El Cheapo cooking chocolate of all three sorts, broken into pieces, instead of traditional chocolate chips.

*I kept some chocolate aside and melted it down to drizzle over as a sauce once baked.

*I am admitting that actually I used too much chocolate. This is a momentous occasion – I did not think that was possible.

*Eating it straight out of the dish adds to the decadence of the dessert, but feel free to scoop out into bowls before topping with ice cream.

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