Party Food

Elsa Cake (Buttercream tutorial) and an Ice-themed Birthday Party

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

Elsa Cake Buttercream tutorial

I had a request for a very special birthday this year. An Elsa cake. I’m sure many parents out there have had the same request after the much loved Frozen movie was released back in December 2013.

Elsa Cake

There are some amazing tutorials out there for both buttercream and fondant for Elsa cakes. Although, as my family are not huge fondant fans (and I am not hugely confident with fondant), our cakes are always decorated in Vienna/Buttercream icing. It does limit some of the effects you are able to create, but I (almost) always love a challenge and a bit of problem-solving.

Elsa Cake

Elsa Cake

Elsa Cake

Elsa Cake

To start with, I needed an Elsa whose clothes could come off, and even better – the one I chose had a printed on bodice. I bought mine online here – you may find something similar by searching Elsa sparkle doll. I found the ones in store didn’t look as pretty as the one I ordered.

Elsa doll

To make the cake, I used a combination of my mum’s Dolly Varden tin as well as a square 20cm tin (you could probably use a round 20 or 22cm tin). For the Dolly Varden tin I used 2 x packet cake mixes (I used Green’s Golden Butter Cake, with a dash of vanilla added to it). This took about 1 hour 20 minutes at 170C (check every 20 minutes, and 10 minutes toward the end). I wrapped the tin in foil/damp newspaper wrap to try and make the cooking a bit more even. Here is a good tutorial to make one. I also made another 2 x packet cake mixes for the square tin + 18 patty cakes. I made the additional cake, as didn’t want to take the legs off a doll I had bought as a present.

Elsa Cake

Once the cakes were cooled, I cut out a rectangle toward the front of the dolly Varden cake big enough for Elsa to fit in, scooping out the cake with a fork. I then placed her into the cake, making sure her bottom half was covered with plastic wrap. Here is a good fondant tutorial for an Elsa cake, which i based some of the carving from. Once the rectangle was cut out (and both cakes reasonably flattened), I froze both the cakes – to make carving easier and less messy later – and it’s much easier not having to make the cakes the day before the party.

The day before the party I decorated the cake, using 3 x quantity Vienna cream. (There was more than enough for the cake and some of the patty cakes as well).
375g butter, room temperature
4 1/2 cups icing sugar (I used icing mixutre)
3-6 Tablespoons milk
Beat butter until fluffy and very light in colour. Gradually add the icing sugar and milk alternatively until nice and fluffy. Add colour pastes as required, mix well.

To get the right colour I kept adding a combination of Wilton Icing colours (pastes) – Sky Blue and Royal Blue, until I was happy with the colour of the main part of the dress.

Remove the cakes from the freezer, add some icing between the two layers (you may need to add more icing here, depending how high your cakes rose and where they come up to on Elsa’s legs) and start to carve. The main carving is needed from the square cake, although i made the front of the skirt a little flatter, and took a little off the back as well.

Elsa Cake carving

Elsa Cake carving

Elsa Cake carving

Elsa Cake carving

I iced the skirt with a crumb coat (place some icing in a bowl and coat – this way you don’t need to worry about crumbs getting into the small bit of icing in the bowl). Smooth the skirt and place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the fridge and smooth well with a slightly warmed palate knife. Next ice on top of the skirt with another layer of icing. To get the striped look, use the small offset palate knife to stroke down evenly along the skirt.

Elsa Cake Crumb Coat

Elsa Cake smoothed

elsacake10

Elsa Cake smoothed

Here is a Wilton tutorial of the cake I was basing my one off.

Once you are happy with the main part of the skirt, you can add more of those two coloured pastes until you have a darker and nicely contrasted blue. This is then used for the base decorations and the ruffles. For the base I used 1cm nozzle in a piping bag and piped 5 rounds of icing, then use the small offset palate knife to pull some of the icing upwards (not too far though). Continue around the skirt until it is complete. Do the same pattern offset above this pattern.

Elsa Cake

Elsa Cake Skirt base

For the ruffles at the top, I used my Wilton tip 104. There are many tutorials on how to use these tips to make beautiful ruffles. My suggestion would be to do a rough outline (either using a template or freehand) to mark where to do the ruffles. My original ones were too small and looked silly, so I had to wipe them off and start again. I’m also not sure whether they were totally even.

Elsa Cake Ruffles

For the piping at the top and bottom, I used a size 4 Bakers Secret nozzle. I just used what I had on hand and what I thought would suit this size skirt – as the cake ended up being quite big (without looking out of proportion).

Elsa Cake

Elsa Cake

I hope this tutorial has helped anyone planning to make a lovely cake for a special someone in their life.

Some of the other things I made for the party included meringue snowmen and a lime pie (topped with snowflake icing decorations). These snowflake decorations were just made using some flower paste and using cutters that are available on ebay.

Elsa Cake Lime Pie

The decorations in the centre of the room were a combination of balloons, tissue paper pom poms and hand made snowflakes – always a fun craft to do!

Decorations

Elsa Cake

Cinnamon Rolls – Daring Bakers Challenge June 2014

Friday, June 27th, 2014

This month the Daring Bakers kept our creativity rolling with cinnamon bun inspired treats. Shelley from C Mom Cook dared us to create our own dough and fill it with any filling we wanted to craft tasty rolled treats, cinnamon not required!

Cinnamon rolls (or scrolls) have been a favourite treat for my family since I tried it a year or two ago. They come out at special holidays, or family breakfasts.

I’m very happy with my current recipe, although as past experiences would confirm, sometimes it does pay to try another recipe. I once tried a new banana bread recipe, only to be asked – Why would you try another one? Your one is great, we don’t need to try another recipe. Only to hear exclamations of happiness for the new recipe.

This recipe for cinnamon rolls differs slightly to my usual one, the dough is slightly more cake like, likely due to the addition of egg. There is also no butter in the middle of the scroll, although this doesn’t seem to make a huge difference to the overall flavour or consistency.

By the end of the day all the rolls were eaten, but I doubt they would have kept well, as some of the ones left to the afternoon had started losing their freshness. Overall the flavour and consistency were lovely. Although I am likely to stick to my original recipe for the future.

There were a few other recipes suggested for this months challenge, including a roasted banana cinnamon bun with maple glaze…. now that I have to try…

Cinnamon Buns

(from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart)
Makes 8-12 large or 12-16 smaller buns

Ingredients
6½ tablespoons (100 ml) (3 oz) (90 gm) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
5½ tablespoons (85 ml) (2¾ oz) (80 gm) shortening, unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon (5 ml) lemon extract OR 1 teaspoon (5 ml) grated lemon zest (I used vanilla essence)
3½ cups (840 ml) (16 oz) (450 gm) unbleached bread (or all-purpose/plain) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (¼ oz) (6 gm) instant yeast (active dry worked as well)
1 1/8 – 1 ¼ cups (270-300 ml) whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature
½ cup (120 ml) (3½ oz) (100 gm) cinnamon sugar (6½ tablespoons (100ml) (3 oz) (90 gm) granulated sugar plus 1½ tablespoons (20 ml) (1/3 oz) (10 gm) ground cinnamon)

Directions:

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together sugar, salt and shortening (though it is not difficult to do by hand, using a strong spoon).
Add the egg and lemon extract to the creamed sugar and shortening and mix together until smooth.

Add the flour, yeast and milk to the mixer and mix on low speed until the dough begins to form a ball.
At this point, switch to the dough hook attachment and knead for 10 minutes (if kneading by hand, you will probably need to do so for closer to 12 – 15 minutes). The dough will be silky and supple, but not overly sticky. You may need to add a touch of flour if your dough is too sticky – that is okay.

Lightly oil a bowl, turn the kneaded dough out into it, turning to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
Allow the dough to rest (ferment) until it has doubled in size, approximately 2 hours.

Once the dough has rested and risen, you are ready to shape the cinnamon buns. Prepare your a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper.
Spray your work surface lightly with cooking spray and turn the dough out onto the work surface.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough, into a rectangle about 2/3 an inch (15 mm) thick, 14 inches (350 mm)wide and 12 inches (300 mm) long (for large buns) (or 18 inches (450 mm) wide by 9 inches (230 mm) long for smaller ones). You may need to sprinkle the dough and/or work surface with a bit of flour to keep the dough from sticking. This is okay.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling over the surface of the dough.

Starting with a long end, roll the dough, creating a spiral, into a log shape, making sure to end with the seam side down.

Cut the dough into pieces approximately 1¾ inches (45 mm) thick (for large buns) (1¼ inch (30 mm) for smaller buns).
Place buns approximately ½ inch (15 mm) apart on the prepared pan. They shouldn’t be touching at this time.

Allow the shaped buns to proof at room temperature for 75 – 90 minutes until they have nearly doubled in size. They will now be touching each other. If you are not planning on baking the buns the same day as you are preparing them, you can place them into the refrigerator after they are shaped (before this rise) for up to 2 days. If you do so, you will need to allow them to return to room temperature prior to baking, which means removing them from the refrigerator about 3 or 4 hours before baking.
Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4 degrees at the end of this proofing time.
Bake the buns for 20 – 30 minutes, until golden brown
Allow the buns to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then drizzle with glaze (recipe below). Remove the buns from the pan to a cooling rack and allow them to cool for at least 20 minutes before eating.

White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns:
(also from The Bread Bakers’ Apprentice)

Sift 4 cups (500 gm) (17½ oz) of confectioners’ (icing) sugar into a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of lemon or orange extract and between 6 tablespoons to ½ cup (90 to 120 ml) warm milk, whisking well until all of the sugar is dissolved. (Add the smaller amount of milk first, whisking briskly, then add slowly until you have the consistency you want for drizzling over the buns.)

Notes:
You can replace the lemon extract/zest with the extract/flavoring of your choice. I usually use vanilla extract.
This dough is silky, smooth and so lovely to work with, and the resulting buns are light and so incredibly easy to eat. I have made these several times, with traditional cinnamon-sugar filling and also with a fruit compote for a fresh, summery treat. Delicious!

Passion Fruit Caramel Chocolates – Daring Bakers Challenge July 2013

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

In a “celebration” of past Daring Baker and Daring Cook challenges, Lisa challenged all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we’d like! The REAL challenge was picking which delicious recipe(s) to try!

I remember before I started the Daring Bakers, each month on some of my favourite food blogs I couldn’t wait to see what everyone had made. Seeing their wonderful creations and wishing I had made them was the reason I joined up to the Daring Bakers.

So when this challenge came up, I thought it was a great opportunity for me to try some of those dishes I had missed making. Some of the dishes I considered making were eclairs, a French Yule Log or tuiles. Although after I attended a chocolate tempering class last year (and received some silicone chocolate moulds for Christmas), I decided to go back to a challenge I had already done, although hadn’t made one of components I would have liked to make.

So, passion fruit caramel chocolates became my challenge for this month. The caramel just tasted divine, and some tips on chocolate tempering from the class came in handy too. When I handed out the chocolates I got a lot of great responses and comments that I could certainly make them again (which I will – because I loved them). They made quite a mess though, although to make yummy food, sometimes you need to spread chocolate over the counter and lots of utensils.

From Daring Bakers August 2011
Lisa’s Passion Fruit Caramel Bonbons was adapted from CandyBarLab.com

Passion Fruit Caramel Chocolates aka Bonbons

Servings: 16 large (1.5” – 2” molds) or 20 to 25 medium bonbons (would have made more than 30 small chocolates)

Painted passion fruit caramel filled bonbons
Ingredients, sans passion fruit, From CandyBarLab.com, with my revisions

Ingredients
Dark or milk chocolate melted, preferably tempered, about 1 lb / 450g
1 cup (225g / 8oz) Granulated White Sugar
1/2 cup (125ml / 4 fluid oz) Light Corn Syrup
1/2 cup (125ml / 4 fluid oz) Water
4 Tbsp (60g / 2 oz) Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp (30ml / 1 fluid oz) Heavy Cream
1/4 cup (60ml / 2 fluid oz) Passion Fruit Puree (I purchased frozen passionfruit pulp, then thawed it and removed the seeds)
1/2 Tbsp salt

Equipment
2 or 3 quart, heavy-bottomed pot
Candy thermometer
Whisk

Directions:
1. Place the sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium saucepan.
2. Set over medium-high heat and stir to combine.
3. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until dark amber in color 310°F-315°F / 155°C-158°C, about 5 minutes.
4. Use a pastry brush, dipped in water, to wash down sides of pan to prevent crystallization as the mixture boils.
5. Remove saucepan from the heat and gradually whisk in the passion fruit puree, heavy cream and butter.
6. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool.
7. Transfer cooled caramel to a pastry bag fitted with a medium plain tip or a squeeze bottle.
8. Coat the molds with chocolate using the method mentioned above.
9. Fill chocolate coated molds with caramel. You can use a spoon too but it’s less messy and goes a lot quicker with either of the two aforementioned methods.
10. Finish off with a layer of chocolate as mentioned in the method above for making filled chocolates with molds
11. Once fully set, carefully knock the chocolates out of the mold

Tempering Methods

Method 1: On marble or granite

Marble slab, chocolate or bench scraper, dipping forks and chocolate thermometer

Tempering Ranges:

Celcius
Dark: 45°C-50°C > 27°C > 32°C
Milk: 45°C > 27°C > 30°C
White: 45°C > 27°C > 29°C

Fahrenheit
Dark: 113°F-122°F > 80.6°F > 89.6°F
Milk: 113°F > 80.6°F > 86°F
White: 113°F > 80.6°F > 84.2°F

Chocolate is melted and heated until it reaches 45°C / 113°F. It is then poured onto a marble surface and moved around the surface with a scraper until it has thickened and cools to 27°C / 80.6°F. Once cooled it is then put back into the bowl and over heat to bring it back up to 32°C/30°C/29°C /// 89.6°F/86°F/84.2°F depending on the chocolate you’re tempering. It is now ready for using in molds, dipping and coating.

Tempering using a marble surface

• Finely chop chocolate if in bar/slab form.
• Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
• Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water).
Tip: Make sure that your bowl fits snuggly into the saucepan so that there’s no chance of steam forming droplets that
may fall into your chocolate. If water gets into your chocolate it will seize!
• Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate so that it melts evenly
• Once it’s melted, keep an eye on the thermometer, as soon as it reaches 45°C / 113°F remove from heat (between 45°C-50°C / 113°F-122°F for dark chocolate)
• Pour ¾ of the melted chocolate onto a marble or granite slab or worktop
• Using a scraper or large palette knife move the chocolate around the surface to help it cool
Tip: Keep the motions neat and tidy, if you’re not working with a lot of chocolate you don’t want to spread it too far otherwise you may end up with chocolate that begins to cool too quickly and start to set as well as drops below
• the necessary temperature. Use a motion that folds the chocolate on itself
• Check temperature regularly with a thermometer
• Once it reaches 27°C / 80°F put the chocolate back into the heatproof bowl with the remaining chocolate
• Gently stir together with a rubber spatula
• Check the temperature to see if it’s risen back up to the working temperature of the chocolate (milk, dark or white) as seen in the above chart
• If the temperature has not risen to its working temperature, put the bowl back over the simmering water, stirring gently
• IMPORTANT: You really need to keep an eye on the temperature as it can rise quicker than you think, so as soon as it’s up to its working temperature, remove from heat
• It’s now tempered and ready to use
Tip: If you’re using the chocolate to dip a lot of truffles etc. which means the chocolate will be sitting off heat for a while it will naturally start to thicken as it cools. To keep it at an ideal viscosity for even coating, put the bowl over steam for 30sec-1min every 5-10mins, just do not let the temperature go over the working temperature!
Tip: Having the chocolate in a warmed glass bowl and wrapped in hot kitchen towel can also help keep the chocolate at its working temperature for longer
Tip: It is also easier to keep the heat if you work with larger amounts of chocolate rather than small amounts. Any leftover chocolate can be kept to be used later and then re-tempered
Tip: Remember, don’t let any water get into your chocolate at any stage of the tempering process!
Method 2: With tempered chocolate pieces, also called “seeding”

Tempering Ranges:

Celsius
Dark: 45°C-50°C > 27°C > 32°C
Milk: 45°C > 27°C > 30°C
White: 45°C > 27°C > 29°C

Fahrenheit
Dark: 113°F-122°F > 80.6°F > 89.6°F
Milk: 113°F > 80.6°F > 86°F
White: 113°F > 80.6°F > 84.2°F

Chocolate is melted and heated until it reaches 45°C / 113°F. Tempered un-melted chocolate is then stirred and melted in until it brings the temperature down to 27°C/80.6°F. It is then put back over heat and brought up to its working temperature of 32°C/30°C/29°C /// 89.6°F/86°F/84.2°F depending on the chocolate you’re using. It is now ready for using in molds, dipping and coating.

Tempering using the seeding method with couverture callets

• Finely chop chocolate if in bar/slab form (about the size of almonds).
• Place about ⅔ of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl
• Set aside ⅓ of the chocolate pieces
• Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water)
Tip: Make sure that your bowl fits snuggly into the saucepan so that there’s no chance of steam forming droplets that may fall into your chocolate. If water gets into your chocolate it will seize!
• Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate so that it melts evenly
• Once it’s melted, keep an eye on the thermometer, as soon as it reaches 45°C / 113°F remove from heat (between 45°C-50°C / 113°F-122°F for dark chocolate)
• Add small amounts of the remaining ⅓ un-melted chocolate (seeds) and stir in to melt
• Continue to add small additions of chocolate until you’ve brought the chocolate down to 27°C/80.6°F (You can bring the dark chocolate down to between 80°F and 82°F)
• Put it back on the double boiler and bring the temperature back up until it reaches its working temperature of the chocolate (milk, dark or white) as seen in the above chart. (32°C/89.6°F for dark, 30°C/86°F for milk and 29°C/84.2°F for white)
• If you still have a few un-melted bits of chocolate, put the bowl back over the simmering water, stirring gently and watching the thermometer constantly.
• IMPORTANT: You really need to keep an eye on the temperature so that it doesn’t go over its working temperature

It’s now tempered and ready to use

Tip: Another way of adding the “seed” is by dropping in one large chunk of tempered chocolate (the seed). That way you only need to fish out one piece of unmelted chocoalte and don’t need to fish out several small bits of unmelted chocolate once the chocolate has reached temper.
Other Tips

• If you’re using the chocolate to dip a lot of truffles etc. which means the chocolate will be sitting off heat for a while it will naturally start to thicken as it cools. To keep it at an ideal viscosity for even coating, put the bowl over steam for 30sec – 1min every 10 – 15mins, just do not let the temperature go over the working temperature!
• Having the chocolate in a warmed glass bowl and wrapped in hot kitchen towel can also help keep the chocolate at its working temperature for longer
• It is also easier to keep the heat if you work with larger amounts of chocolate rather than small amounts. Any leftover chocolate can be kept to be used later and then re-tempered
• Remember, don’t let any water get into your chocolate at any stage of the tempering process!
• Unless you’ve been working with chocolate for a while and have developed a feel for the tempering process and can tell the chocolate’s temperature by touching it to your lower lip like a pro, it’s imperative that you use a thermometer to determine the temperature, as going a few degrees either way can ruin the temper.
• If at any stage you do make a mistake with the tempering process you can simply start again from the beginning.
• While a marble or granite top is ideal for cooling the chocolate in the first method, you can also cool it on a countertop that’s laminated, glass or steel. It will take longer to cool, but it’s possible! (but I definitely wouldn’t recommend a wood or rough textured counter top Wink )
• Any chocolate left over after making your molded or dipped chocolate can be stored away in a cool place and then re-tempered before using again. There’s no need to ever waste good chocolate! Smile
• Wooden spoons can retain moisture so it’s best to use a rubber spatula while tempering

How to make filled chocolate with molds

Tempered Chocolate
Various Colored Cocoa Butters (optional)
OR Food Grade Cocoa Butter colored with powdered food coloring

Other Equipment:
A small brush
Chocolate molds
A Ladle
Bench or plastic scraper
OR
A small brush or spoon

Directions:

1. If using colored cocoa butter and plastic molds, paint designs at the bottom of the wells in each mold. Let dry. You can also use lustre dusts mixed with a bit of extract or vodka, instead of colored cocoa butters for a nice sheen. Let painted molds dry.

2. When coating the molds with the tempered chocolate, I like to do it how the chocolate pro’s do it (much faster and a lot less tedious). While holding mold over bowl of tempered chocolate, take a nice ladle of the chocolate and pour over the mold, making sure it cover and fills every well. Knock the mold a few times against a flat surface to get rid of air bubbles, then turn the mold upside down over the bowl of chocolate, and knock out the excess chocolate. Turn right side up and drag a bench or plastic scraper across so all the chocolate in between the wells is scraped off cleanly, leaving you with only chocolate filled wells. Put in the fridge to set, about 5 to 10 minutes. Alternatively, you could take a small brush and paint the tempered chocolate into each mold, or spoon it in if you’d like.

3. Remove from refrigerator and fill each well with the filling of your choice. Again take a ladle of chocolate and pour it on top of the filled chocolate wells, knocking against a flat surface to settle it in. Scrape excess chocolate off the mold with the bench scraper then refrigerate until set.

4. When set, pop your beautiful filled chocolates out of each well and enjoy!

Cinnamon Scrolls

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

I love fond memories of food from when you were younger or on holidays. I always remember the “love heart” candies and have looked all over the internet for these lollies. I have found many a love heart candy – none living up to the shape and size of the original ones, and none living up to the flavour.

I also have memories of a yummy and fantastic cinnamon scroll – the thing is, I have no idea where this originates from. I think it must have been bought somewhere – but I am still left wondering – where was this ideal scroll I ate…

I searched the internet for what I thought would make this magical scroll, and I kept finding recipes with an icing over the top – and this didn’t fit my memory, although almost all the recipes have icing, so I figured there must be a reason, it surely tastes great with the icing.

After trying this recipe, I have not looked elsewhere. This recipe is lovely and I have made it several times, and it has almost become a tradition for Easter or Christmas, holiday times, times with family or friends.

I have tried doing everything for this recipe all in one day, and also leaving to prove over night. Both work fine. Sometimes food has to fit around your schedule. I often make the full quantity – so double the recipe below, which makes about 60, as you can bake them at separate times.

Cinnamon Scrolls

ROLLS:
Recipe adapted from: Sugar and Spice (I changed a couple quantities in the frosting recipe and filling)

Makes about 30

DOUGH:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 pkg active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons or approx 1 tablespoon)
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bi-carb soda)
1/2 tablespoon salt

FILLING:
50-100g melted butter, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon for sprinkling (or more or less to taste)
1/2 cup sugar, plus more as needed

Directions:
Mix milk, vegetable oil, and 1/2 cup of sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point.) Remove from heat and let it cool 45 minutes to 1 hour.

When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in package Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute and then add 4 cups of flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

Next, add 1/2 cup flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir mixture together. From here, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it—overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to rise out of the pan, just punch it down. Or, of course, you can just go ahead and make the rolls.

Sprinkle surface generously with flour and roll the dough into a thin rectangular shape (approx 0.5cm x 28cm x 60cm). Brush melted butter on top, then sprinkle sugar over the butter, and finish with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Starting with the wide end, roll the dough tightly towards you in a neat line. Next, pinch the seam to the roll to seal it. Spread 1 tbsp of melted butter in each pan/dish. With a sharp knife, begin cutting the dough into 1 inch slices, and laying them in the pans. Let rest for 20-30 minutes. Bake at 180C for 13 – 17 minutes, or until golden.

IF MAKING AHEAD FOR CHRISTMAS or EASTER MORNING: Instead of popping them into the oven, just put them straight into the fridge and let them rise for the 2nd time in the fridge overnight (they’ll rise VERY slowly in the fridge). Then, in the morning let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes, and then pop them in the oven as directed.

FROSTING: (you could multiply the frosting by 1.5 or 2x if you like loads of icing)
Ingredients:
100-200g icing sugar or icing mixture
1/2 tsp. maple flavoring (I left this out)
1/8 (30ml) cup milk
1-2 tablespoons (about 10g) melted butter
2 tablespoons brewed coffee (I didn’t use this, as I don’t like coffee – instead I added a dash of vanilla essence)
Pinch of salt

Directions:
Mix together all ingredients, and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls.

Raincoast Crisps – Daring Bakers Challenge February 2013

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie was our February 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to use our creativity in making our own Crisp Flatbreads and Crackers! 🙂

It wouldn’t be the end of the month without me rushing to finish and post my Daring Bakers Challenge. This month was focused around crackers, and after the last challenge made such wonderful ones, I was looking forward to it.

I think I may have chosen the easiest recipe given, as the dough came together very quickly. Although when it came to drying all the crackers, this looked like it would take a reasonable amount of time, as my oven only has two shelves (and the bottom shelf never cooks as fast or even). One loaf when sliced as thin as I could manage fit on two trays and after needing to put a pie in the oven, I decided on leaving the second loaf – as we had already eaten some of the thin slices that weren’t cut very well.

We ate the loaf for breakfast, sliced thickly, grilled and with a bit of butter, and it tasted very nice – with the currants (I used instead of raisins), adding a nice addition of sweetness and moisture. I think my parents in law would be quite surprised to see me eating dried fruit in bread or cake as I’ve always had an aversion to it.

I think the loaf was a little nicer than the crisps, as the flavour was more evident. I would definitely consider making the bread component of this challenge again.

Thanks to our host this month! It’s always a pleasure trying new recipes.

Raincoast Crisps

From Dinner with Julie blog with Julie van Rosendahl
Servings: About 8 dozen

Ingredients
2 cups (480 ml) (280 gm) (10 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (1/3 oz) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) salt
2 cups (480 ml) buttermilk
1/4 cup (60 ml) (50 gm) (1¾ oz) brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup (60 ml) honey
1 cup (240 ml) (180 gm) (6½ oz) raisins (I used half a cup of currants)
1/2 cup (120 ml) (60 gm) (2 oz) chopped pecans
1/2 cup (120 ml) (125 gm) (4½ oz) roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
1/4 cup (60 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) sesame seeds
1/4 cup (60 ml) (30 gm) (1 oz) flax seed, ground
1 tablespoon (15 ml) (2 gm) finely chopped fresh rosemary

Directions
Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar and honey and stir a few strokes. Add the raisins, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed and rosemary and stir just until blended.
Pour the batter into two 8”x4” (20cmx10cm) loaf pans that have been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack.

The cooler the bread, the easier it is to slice really thin. You can leave it until the next day or pop it in the freezer. Slice the loaves as thin as you can and place the slices in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. Slice so thin that they are almost lacy. Reduce the oven heat to slow 300°F/150°C/gas mark 2 and bake them for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes, until crisp and deep golden. You can also cut in half before the second baking. This is the way I like them. The size works better. Be careful not to burn.

Storage and Freezing Instructions/Tips: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month. Prolong the freshness by freezing for up to 3 months.

Empanadas – Daring Bakers Challenge September 2012

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Patri of the blog, Asi Son Los Cosas, was our September 2012 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she decided to tempt us with one of her family’s favorite recipes for Empanadas! We were given two dough recipes to choose from and encouraged to fill our Empanadas as creatively as we wished!

Nick’s veggie beds are all made 🙂 After the removal of some palm trees and their never ending root system, a partly new fence, a sturdy woodshed (made by my very talented Dad), there was finally room and time for Nick to make some raised garden beds. He used retaining wall blocks to build 5 veggie beds. On the weekend we were able to harvest our first broad beans from the bed, and we shared them with family – just as we shared this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge.


This recipe was quite easy to make and very tasty. I would love to make it again – maybe with a few changes on the ratio of bread to filling. (see my notes below). After seeing how easy it is, I’d love to try some more fillings.

My notes on the recipe:
I made double the meat mix and 1x the dough mix. Next time I will make about 4x the meat mix (~1kg), and 1x dough – and make it into 2x emapanadas (one on each tray).
We added extra spices to the meat mix – try some salt, and cumin powder (and maybe some tomato paste). I also used mushrooms and red capsicum.

Empanadas

Serves about 8-10


Dough Ingredients:

5-1/3 cups (1280 ml) (750 gm) bread flour
2 cups (480 ml) of lukewarm water (about 85°F/30ºC), approximately
1 satchel (1 tablespoon) (15 gm) dry yeast or (1 oz) (30 gm) fresh yeast
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (11 gm) salt
4 tablespoons (60 ml) oil (you can use oil from the pan where you have cooked the filling)
1 large egg, for egg wash

Measure out all the ingredients.
Shift the flour into a big bowl and make a well in the middle. Rub the yeast in with your fingers.
In a small bowl, mix the water and the salt.
Now, using your fingers or a wooden spoon, start adding the water and mixing it with the flour-yeast mixture. Keep on working with your fingers or spoon until you have added enough water and all the flour has been incorporated and you have a messy ball of dough.
On a clean counter top, knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes
You could do all the above using a stand mixer, in that case mix the ingredients with the paddle attachment until mixed and then switch to a dough hook and knead on low for about 6 minutes.

Clean and oil the big bowl you used for mixing and place the kneaded dough in it. Cover it with a napkin or piece of linen and keep it in a warm, draught-free place for approximately 40 to 50 minutes.

Once risen, turn the dough back into a floured counter and cut it in half. Cover one half with the napkin to prevent drying.
Spread the other half of the dough using a rolling pin. You can use a piece of wax paper over the counter, it will make it easier to move the dough around. Depending on the shape of your oven pan or cookie sheet, you will make a rectangle or a round.
Now, the thinness of the dough will depend on your choice of filling and how much bread you like in every bite. For your first time, make it about 3mm thin (about 1/10th of an inch) and then adjust from that in the next ones you make.

Ground meat filling:

400 gm (14 oz) chopped onion (approximately 1 big onion or 2 medium-sized ones)
200 gm (7 oz) tomatoes (peeled and seeded)
1 small green pepper
2 garlic cloves
¾ cup (180 ml) olive oil
300 grams (2/3 pound or 10.5 ounces) minced (ground) meat
1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Heat the oil in a skillet
Fry the finely chopped onions, pepper and garlic until the vegetables are soft. Add then the tomatoes, chopped small, and cook until done.
Add the meat and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the paprika, and stir into the frittata.
Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Fill the empanada en bake as indicated.

Assembling the empanada:

If you haven’t used wax paper, either lightly flour or line with wax paper your pan or tray.
Cover the base and sides with the dough. Using the rolling pin or a knife, cut the extra dough.
Place the filling, making sure it is cold and that all the base is covered. Using a hot filling will make the bottom layer of the empanada become soggy. Be careful to avoid adding too much oil from the filling, try to make it as “dry” as possible.
Start preheating your oven to moderate 350°F/180ºC/gas mark 4.
Take the other half of the dough and spread it out to the same or less thinness of the base. You can use a piece of wax paper for this too. Take into account that this “top” dough needs to be smaller around than the bottom, as it only needs to cover the filling.

If not using wax paper, move carefully the top to cover the filling. If using wax paper, transfer the dough, turn upside down, cover the filling and gently peel off the wax paper.
Using your fingers, join bottom and top dough, when you have gone all the way around, start pinching top and bottom together with your thumb and index finger and turning them half way in, that way you end up with a rope-like border. As a picture is worth a thousand words, please watch this video to see how it is done: http://youtu.be/CNpB7HkTdDk
When you are finished, make a 1 inch hole in the middle of the top layer. This will help hot air exit the empanada while it’s baking without breaking the cover.
You can use left-over dough to decorate the empanada, using rounds, bows, lines… let your imagination flow and make it pretty!
Using a fork, prick the top layer or, using scissors, make snips that go all the way through the top layer.
In a small bowl, beat an egg and add a tbsp of cold water. With the pastry brush, paint the top of the empanada with the egg wash.

Place the empanada in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Check that the bottom part is done.

Scones – Daring Bakers Challenge January 2012

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

After News Years and Christmas, everyone wants a break from cooking don’t they? Well, not us, or at least that’s not what happened. We decided to have some friends over for a Garden Party so lots of cooking (and cleaning) happened in what was supposed to be a relaxing start to the New Year. Then some big birthdays came up, more desserts, Australia Day – I tried out a new lamington recipe, and of course the Daring Bakers Challenge.

Luckily for me, the challenge just happens to be easy, affordable, quick and extremely tasty. I love fresh scones, they are probably one of my favourite foods. They must have a large slathering of jam and cream on top too. Although I must admit, I could not resist the scones once they came out of the oven. I took a bite of the smallest scone and fell into buttery bliss.

Audax, did an amazing job with this recipe and had certainly done his research on the matter and how to make different textured and flavoured scones.

Thanks to Audax for a great (and thankfully quick) challenge this month. I always love seeing your creations from the challenges!

Basic Scones (a.k.a. Basic Biscuits)

Servings: about eight 2-inch (5 cm) scones or five 3-inch (7½ cm) scones
Recipe can be doubled – I doubled this recipe and would recommend doing so. I hope it can be tripled or quadrupled – as I loved the taste so much.

Ingredients:
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.)
3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.

4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!


5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.

7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.

8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.

9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

Variations on the Basic recipe
Buttermilk – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with buttermilk, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, increase the fat to 4 tablespoons, in Step 3 aim of pea-sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 fold and turn the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with buttermilk.
Australian Scone Ring (Damper Ring) – follow the Basic recipe above but decrease the fat to 1 tablespoon, in Step 3 aim of fine beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, in Step 7 form seven rounds into a ring shape with the eighth round as the centre, glaze with milk.
Cream – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with cream, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with cream.
Cheese and Chive – follow the Basic recipe above but add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, after Step 2 add ½ teaspoon sifted mustard powder, ¼ teaspoon sifted cayenne pepper (optional), ½ cup (60 gm/2 oz) grated cheese and 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives into the sifted ingredients, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are widely spaced in the baking dish, sprinkle the rounds with cracked pepper.
Fresh Herb – follow the Basic recipe above but after Step 3 add 3 tablespoons finely chopped herbs (such as parsley, dill, chives etc).
Sweet Fruit – follow the Basic recipe above but after Step 3 add ¼ cup (45 gm) dried fruit (e.g. sultanas, raisins, currents, cranberries, cherries etc) and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.
Wholemeal – follow the Basic recipe above but replace half of the plain flour with wholemeal flour.
Wholemeal and date – follow the Basic recipe above but replace half of the plain flour with wholemeal flour and after Step 3 add ¼ cup (45 gm) chopped dates and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.

Cinnamon Doughnuts – Daring Bakers Challenge October 2010

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010



The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

Will this year get any busier?? I hope not – but I’m pretty sure it will.

October has been an amazing month. Birthdays always have a huge presence in October – with my family and friends accounting for at least 7 birthdays.

I did manage to fit in the Daring Bakers Challenge this month, though I couldn’t cater to all the requests (custard filled doughnuts didn’t make it). I ended up making the common cinnamon sugared doughnuts – which I often crave whilst out at the shops (and no – I don’t buy them even 10% of the time I want them).

I made these doughnuts the day after my first progressive dinner with friends. It was a lovely long evening with good friends, good food, lots of laughs and full tummies. I bet you can guess what course I cooked for the dinner?

Back to the doughnuts – these were lovely and you couldn’t get them any fresher. They were soft and delicious and even tasted ok the next day.

We tried to encase some chocolate inside some of the leftover dough and fry that, but either the cooking time wasn’t long enough or the dough was thicker (due to more handling) and didn’t cook as well. So, the chocolate filled doughnuts were still a bit raw inside…

I also tried the dough in a mini doughnut maker I was given – although it didn’t work, and I expect the recipe for the doughnut maker works a lot better.

For the recipe I used (and have given below), I felt that there was too much oil used in the saucepan. These doughnuts floated, and therefore you only need the oil a little deeper than half the height of the doughnut.

Even though I loved the doughnuts, I don’t tend to fry many things, mainly due to the excess oil that is often wasted. I did enjoy this challenge though. Thanks to our host for providing so many recipes and ideas for this month’s challenge.

Yeast Doughnuts

Preparation time:
Hands on prep time – 25 minutes
Rising time – 1.5 hours total
Cooking time – 12 minutes

Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

Ingredients
Milk 1.5 cup / 360 ml
Vegetable Shortening 1/3 cup / 80 ml / 70 gm / 2.5 oz (can substitute butter, margarine or lard) – I used butter
Active Dry Yeast 4.5 teaspoon (2 pkgs.) / 22.5 ml / 14 gm / ½ oz
Warm Water 1/3 cup / 80 ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs, Large, beaten 2
White Granulated Sugar ¼ cup / 60 ml / 55 gm / 2 oz
Table Salt 1.5 teaspoon / 7.5 ml / 9 gm / 1/3 oz
Nutmeg, grated 1 tsp. / 5 ml / 6 gm / ¼ oz
All Purpose Flour 4 2/3 cup / 1,120 ml / 650 gm / 23 oz + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)

Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)

Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.

Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.

Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.

Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.

Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).

Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.

Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).

Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired. Allow to cool slightly before coating in cinnamon sugar.

Cinnamon Sugar:
Mix together ¾ cup caster sugar with ½ teaspoon cinnamon for coating the doughnuts.

Decorated Sugar Cookies – Daring Bakers Challenge September 2010

Monday, September 27th, 2010

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

This challenge came at the perfect time, right before a High Tea that was being held at work. And just before my two week holiday – during which I would certainly not get these made. So I made these cookies right at the beginning of the month (and left it to the last minute to post it).

I tried to do a few different designs on my cookies, although not many turned out as pretty as I would have liked.

One of the mandatory elements for this month’s challenge was that it had to be the theme of September, whatever it means to each of us. For me, September is the start of Spring – my favourite season of the year. We have just had gorgeous flowers appearing in our garden. I recently bought three orchids, and after buying these, we found one in our garden which we had never noticed before. Then I was given oodles of them from both my Grandma and my Mum’s neighbour.

My sweet peas have flowered themselves silly. Last year I found my favourite one and once the seeds dried, I threw them around the garden, without Nick knowing and they have formed a jungle – and I love it.

I also discovered that previous owners have planted daffodils and although they didn’t flower last year, I’m so glad they did this year.

With such fantastic inspiration for this challenge, I tried to make flower inspired cookies. Most of which didn’t turn out as well as planned. Although the love heart ones will just have to symbolise my love of Spring.

The biscuits themselves were quite plain, as expected. For the time, effort and taste I probably won’t make these again, although I always enjoy trying something new.

Thanks again to our host for this month and the daring kitchen team!

Basic Sugar Cookies

Makes Approximately 36x 10cm / 4″ Cookies

200g / 7oz / ½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
400g / 14oz / 3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
200g / 7oz / 1 cup Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
5ml / 1 tsp Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean

Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavourings you’re using. Beat until just becoming creamy in texture.
• Tip: Don’t over mix otherwise you’ll incorporate too much air and the cookies will spread during baking, losing their shape.

Beat in the egg until well combined, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a non sticky dough forms.
• Tip: I don’t have a stand mixer so I find it easier to switch to dough hooks at this stage to avoid flour flying everywhere.

Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces.

Roll out each portion between parchment paper to a thickness of about 5mm/1/5 inch (0.2 inch)

Refrigerate for a minimum of 30mins.
• Tip: Recipes commonly just wrap the whole ball of dough in clingwrap and then refrigerate it for an hour or overnight, but by rolling the dough between parchment, this shortens the chilling time and then it’s also been rolled out while still soft making it easier and quicker.

Once chilled, peel off parchment and place dough on a lightly floured surface.

Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife.

Arrange shapes on parchment lined baking sheets and refrigerate for another 30mins to an hour.
• Tip: It’s very important you chill them again otherwise they’ll spread while baking.

Re-roll scraps and follow the above process until all scraps are used up.

Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C Fan Assisted) / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.

Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies.
• Tip: Bake same sized cookies together otherwise mixing smaller with larger cookies could result in
some cookies being baked before others are done.
• Tip: Rotate baking sheets half way through baking if your oven bakes unevenly.

Leave to cool on cooling racks.

Once completely cooled, decorate as desired.
• Tip: If wrapped in tinfoil/cling wrap or kept in airtight containers in a cool place, un-decorated cookies can last up to a month.

Royal Icing

315g – 375g / 11oz – 13oz / 2½ – 3 cups Icing / Confectioner’s / Powdered Sugar, unsifted
2 Large Egg Whites
10ml / 2 tsp Lemon Juice
5ml / 1 tsp Almond Extract, optional

Beat egg whites with lemon juice until combined.
• Tip: It’s important that the bowls/spoons/spatulas and beaters you use are thoroughly cleaned and grease free.

Sift the icing sugar to remove lumps and add it to the egg whites.
• Tip: I’ve listed 2 amounts of icing sugar, the lesser amount is good for a flooding consistency, and the larger amount is for outlining, but you can add even more for a much thicker consistency good for writing. If you add too much icing sugar or would like to make a thinner consistency, add very small amounts of water, a few drops at a time, until you reach the consistency you need.

Beat on low until combined and smooth.

Use immediately or keep in an airtight container.
• Tip: Royal Icing starts to harden as soon as it’s in contact with air so make sure to cover containers with plastic wrap while not in use.

Decorating Your Cookies: Flooding
“Flooding” a cookie is a technique used when covering a cookie with Royal Icing.
1. You outline the area you want to flood which helps create a dam
2. Then fill or flood inside the area you’ve outlined

Decorating Your Cookies: Royal Icing
The most important thing when it comes to decorating with Royal Icing is the consistency.

There are two ways of flooding your cookies. Some like to do the outline with a thicker icing and then flood with a thinner icing. Some like to use the same icing to do both which saves time and you don’t have to have two different piping bags for each colour you’re using.

The Same Consistency Method
Consistency:

Mix your royal icing according to the recipe/instructions

Drag a knife through the surface of the Royal Icing and count to 10

If the surface becomes smooth between 5 & 10 seconds, the icing is at the correct consistency
• Tip: If your icing is too thick, thin it by adding a few drops of water. Mix, do the 10 second test, then if it’s still too thick, add a few more drops of water, repeat, etc.
• Tip: To thicken your icing, add small amounts of icing sugar until thick enough for the 10 second test


Two Different Consistencies Method

Consistency:

Mix your royal icing according to the recipe/instructions.

Separate into 2 different bowls, one lot of icing for outlining, the other for flooding.

For the outlining icing, drag a knife through the surface of the Royal Icing.

If the surface becomes smooth at around 10 seconds, the icing is at the correct consistency.
• Tip: If your icing is too thick, thin it by adding a few drops of water. Mix, count to 10 seconds, then if it’s still too thick, add a few more drops of water, repeat, etc.
• Tip: To thicken your icing, add small amounts of icing sugar until thick enough for the 10 second test.

For the flooding/filling icing, drag a knife through the surface of the Royal Icing.

If the surface becomes smooth at around 3-4 seconds, the icing is at the correct consistency.
• Tip: If your icing is too thick, thin it by adding a few drops of water. Mix, count to 3-4 seconds, then if it’s still too thick, add a few more drops of water, repeat, etc.
• Tip: To thicken your icing, add small amounts of icing sugar until thick enough for the 3-4 second test.

Colouring
Separate Royal Icing into separate bowls for each colour you plan on using.
• Tip: Make sure to cover the bowls with cling film or a damp cloth to prevent the top from setting and then making lumps

Using a toothpick, add gel or paste colouring to each bowl and mix thoroughly until desired colour is reached
• Tip: You can use liquid food colouring but you might not be able to get the desired strength of colour, liquid colouring will also thin out the icing so you’ll need to add more icing sugar to thicken it again.

Prepping and Filling Your Bag
Attach your icing tips to the piping bags using couplers
• Tip: You don’t need to use a coupler but it makes it easier if you want to change tip sizes
• Tip: A size 1 tip is best for doing intricate details. A size 2 tip is good for some details and outlining. Fill or flood with sizes 2 – 5.
• Tip: You don’t need a piping bag, you can use a parchment cone or ziplock bag with a tiny bit snipped off the corner. I would however recommend getting a piping set if you don’t have one as it will be much easier and more precise.

Stand the piping bags in glasses with the tops of the bags folded over the top of the glass.

Fill your icing bags with each coloured icing.

Tie the ends of the piping bags with elastic bands.

Decorating: Outlining

Fit the piping bag with a size 2 or 3 tip.
• Tip: Or snip a very small bit of the corner off of a parchment cone or Ziploc bag

Hold the piping bag at a 45 degree angle above the cookie where you want to start the outline.

Gently squeeze the piping bag and start moving in the direction you want to outline the cookie.

Start lifting the piping bag away from the cookie so that the flow of icing falls onto the cookie, making it an even and neater outline.

As you start to reach the beginning of the outline, bring the piping tip closer to the surface of the cookie to meet the start of the icing outline.
• Tip: If you’re doing an intricate cookie, like a snow flake, you won’t be able to lift the tip as far away from the cookie.

If you’re doing a different colour border, eg a black border, let the outline dry before flooding. If using the same colour for the outline as you’re flooding with, begin flooding after doing the outline.

Decorating: Flooding
Fit the piping bag with a size 2-5 tip, the bigger the area being filled, the bigger the tip.
• Tip: Or cut slightly more off the corner of a Ziploc bag to create a slightly larger opening.

Quickly zigzag back and forth over the area you want to fill.
• Tip: You need to be quick when flooding the cookie so don’t worry too much if it’s not filled in neatly.

Using a toothpick or clean paintbrush, push the icing around into the gaps that are still remaining.

Either pick up the cookie and tip it from side to side to even out the filling, or lightly bang the cookie down on your kitchen counter.

Decorating: Melding Colours

If you would like to add lines or dots to the base colour that you flooded the cookie with so that they meld and dry as a smooth surface, you need to add the lines/dots/patterns as quickly as possible after flooding and smoothing the surface of the cookie.
• Tip: Make sure to have all the colours you’re planning on using ready and close by so that you can switch between colours quickly

Simply pipe other colours onto the flooded surface in patterns or lines which you can either leave as that or then drag a toothpick through to make marbling patterns.

Decorating: On top of flooding

If you’d like to do other patterns/outlines or writing on top of the flooded surface so that they are raised above the flooded background, simply allow the icing to dry, preferably over night.

Fit the piping bag with tip sizes 1-3.

Pipe patterns or write on top of the dry icing
• Tip: For writing, the consistency of your icing should be thicker rather than thinner, drag a knife through your icing and when the surface smoothes around 12-15 seconds, the consistency is correct.

Packaging and Storing
Once fully decorated, allow cookies to dry for 24 hours in a cool and dry area.

Stack cookies in an airtight container, from largest cookies at the bottom, to smallest and more intricate at the top, with parchment or wax free paper in between the layers.

Store in a cool and dry area with the container’s lid firmly sealed.

Will last for about a month if stored this way.

General Baking Tips
When measuring by volume (cup) always shift/aerate your flour/icing sugar in the container/bag before measuring because it settles as it sits and so you end up with more flour/icing sugar in your cup. I do this by moving the ingredient around with a spoon, whisk or fork.

When measuring flour or icing sugar by volume (cup) never scoop the flour/icing sugar up with the cup otherwise you compress the contents and this can make a big difference in the amount you’re using. Rather, spoon the ingredient into the cup until level with the top.

When measuring baking powder or baking soda, always level off the top of the measuring spoon with something flat (like the back of a knife) as these ingredients need to be accurately measured.

When mixing your ingredients, always follow the recipe instructions, especially when it comes to beating in eggs and flour, so if it specifies to mix until just combined or to beat for 4 minutes, follow the instructions to get best results.

Unless otherwise specified, always have your ingredients at room temperature.

It’s always best to invest in an oven thermometer so that you know exactly the temperature you’re baking at then you can also find out if you have cold or hot spots in your oven.

If you need to rotate your trays midst baking, always allow at least half the baking time to lapse before opening your oven to move baking trays around, this allows time for your baked goods to form a good structure so that they won’t flop.

General Royal Icing Tips
Keep a damp cloth handy while decorating your cookies so that if you’re switching between different icing bags, you can keep the tips covered with the damp cloth so that the icing doesn’t dry and clog them.

If your icing tips do clog, use a toothpick or pin to unclog them.

Always pipe a little bit of royal icing onto a board/paper towel before you begin to make sure there are no air bubbles.

Remember to always cover bowls containing royal icing wither cling wrap, a damp cloth or sealable lid so that the surface doesn’t dry.

Don’t store anything decorated with royal icing in the fridge otherwise the royal icing will become tacky.

Pizza Wheels

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

These pizza wheels go so fast at any party we’ve had.

They can be made non-vegetarian by adding some chopped ham or salami.

I love them, and there’s not much more I really have to say about these – except how can you go wrong with a mini “pizza”?

Pizza Wheels

Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

Makes more than 40

4 puff pastry sheets
6 tablespoons tomato paste
1 red capsicum, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
grated cheese

Spread the tomato paste over the puff pastry sheets, leaving a 1.5cm gap from one end. Sprinkle capsicums then cheese over the pastry leaving the gap. Roll the pastry toward the gap and then press the end onto the roll to join the pastry. This can be covered and placed in the refrigerator until needed.

Cut 1cm slices of the roll and place on baking paper on a baking tray. Cook in a moderate oven (180C) for approx 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and pizza wheels have browned. Serve when hot.

Related Posts with Thumbnails