Posts in Category: Bake

Gingerbread

I adore gingerbread. I know a lot of people don’t like it, but I am a big fan personally. Mmmm spice in cookies, just delicious!

I used another recipe by Peggy Porschen for my gingerbread, which I hadn’t used before. For some reason I tend to find a great gingerbread recipe and then promptly lose it. This one from Peggy is heavy on the spice (no complaints from me) and feels really wet when you make it but it turns out pretty damn good. Due to the moistness of the dough, it requires a lot of fridge time, before you roll it and then after you cut your shapes out, before baking. Chilling the shapes before baking means they won’t spread very much.

I always make gingerbread men, but I found a fancy little trick on Pinterest where you can turn your shape upside down, and make some fun reindeer faces as well! Gosh, you creative people out there, I would never have thought of that.

The gingerbread and reindeer were fun to make, but my main inspiration for this year were Slovak gingerbread cookies. I encourage you to Google (or your choice of web search) Slovak gingerbread cookies, and prepare to ‘Ooh’ and ‘Aah’ over them. They are seriously one of the prettiest type of design I’ve seen.

And so, I tried. I need more practice with my itty bitty piping tips and to figure out how to not get them clogged but for the most part they behaved themselves.

These three were my first go.

Then, for what seemed to take forever, I piped the cross hatching on this cookie, and filled in the dots. It’s meant to look like a snowflake but that failed miserably. Just to make you understand how small this gets…..that cookie is about 5 cm across.

Needing a break from the detail and precision of the last cookie, I decided to play with dots and flowers.

And perhaps, these last cookies are my favourite. The beauty of simplicity and the cleanness of the white against the gingerbread brown. I think I deserved a cup of tea after that. Oh, and a gingerbread cookie of course!

Until next time, have fun!

Christmas Characters

Just a quick update today with some quirky Christmas characters. I’ve got to get back into the kitchen and bake up some cookies for Christmas Day with the family!

I’m loving these because all you need is a circle cookie cutter.  I flooded the cookies completely with blue, then when dry, added the characters on top of it. It does mean you eat more sugar…but it’s Christmas!

My favourite is the reindeer, as it looks like he’s peeking over the edge of the cookie at you.

This was a Pinterest inspiration, but unfortunately I can’t read the notes as they are in a different language so I’m unsure where this has come from.  Thanks for the idea whoever you are.

Until next time, have fun!

Snowflakes and Christmas Trees

I had a killer day of cookieing yesterday, doing about eight hours of icing. Got a bit of hand owwies today when I squeeze my right hand into a fist from all that work but it’ll be right tomorrow. And I did complete a lot of cookies for gifts for some old workmates and others.

I’ve got a mini tutorial for you I guess, showing how I did the snow on the Christmas trees. First you want to do your green base and let it dry for an hour or two, until it’s firm. Pipe on some white icing as below. With brush embroidery, the name of this style, being messy can work in your favour! You want the icing to be piping consistency, so quite firm, so that it holds its shape. If you thin your icing too much as if to flood, it will spread and you won’t get the definition you need and want.

Grab a paint brush, that you only use for this purpose, don’t be daft and mix paint and icing, that’s a big no-no. Quickly drag the icing away from where it was piped, with your brush.

Super quick and highly effective design I think! This technique has always been a favourite of mine since I learned it.

Here are my trees complete with their bright red pots. These were done with my usual vanilla sugar cookie base.

I paired the trees with some adorable gingerbread snowflakes. I’m quite proud of these because I made up the piped design myself and I think they look great. Jason said that snowflakes are meant to be individual at which I promptly stuck my tongue out at him.

That’s one of my weak points I think,….if I haven’t planned the cookie design and I just try to improvise, it usually turns out disappointing to me. Not today, my friends!

The silver was achieved by piping a pale grey icing onto the snowflake and painting with edible silver luster dust mixed with vodka. I think I need to pick up some cheaper vodka….I cringe each time I use my Grey Goose for this purpose, even if it’s only a few drops.

It took three goes to get this level of cover on the silver cookies.

Apologies for the shoddy photographs, as the cookies had to be packed up last night to leave the house early this morning for their recipients, I had to take them at night and obviously haven’t learned yet how to do that better.

I’d like to share some feedback from one of the eaters of these cookies today, that made me laugh a lot.

“You’re not a baker, you’re a dealer!”

Ahhh cookie crack, I love it 🙂

I’ve got a whole bunch of stuff to share with you this week, having finished a sewing project, a knitting project and more Christmas cookies. Hope you stay tuned for those!

Until next time, have fun!

Christmas Cupcakes

Welcome, welcome, it’s the 1st of December! A month for sparkly lights and pretty baubles and required family gatherings 😉 Oh, and presents! I like those.

It’s also a time for much treats. So to celebrate the first day of December, and impeding Christmas (at least for me), have some cupcakes!

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I had a lot of leftover buttercream from the Castle Cake and fortunately it’s not crazy hot so it’s behaved a lot better. Can’t say the same for tomorrow’s forecast. Today’s also the first day of summer so, sorry for the potential future complaining of heat!

I added some LorAnn oil in Butterscotch flavour to the buttercream to change it up from the cake earlier in the week. These are super concentrated flavours that you only need a drop or two of. That’s good because they come in miniscule bottles. And there are sooooo many flavours. I’d really love to try them in some macarons some time.

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I coloured a very small amount of sugarpaste (fondant) green and red, also colouring my fingernails quite green in the process. I have a decent selection of sugarpaste cutters stashed away so I thought I’d pull them out and have a play.  Same goes for the cachous and pariels. You might know them as dragées or just those little hard balls of candy. Luckily only my silver ones are rock hard, the other are quite pleasant to eat.

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Both of these plates I picked up at a local op shop/thrift store a few years back, for a couple of bucks each. You’ve heard the saying: What is one person’s junk is another person’s treasure!

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I like this recipe for vanilla cupcakes from my Woman’s Weekly Cupcakes book as it makes a quite reasonable eight cupcakes. Much better on our waistline with just the two of us.

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The snowflakes and holly leaves were cut out by rolling sugarpaste thinly, then using some plunger cutters. Love plunger cutters, press them into your sugarpaste, press the plunger to imprint any design it has, lift and press the plunger again and out pops out the shape. I left the shapes overnight to dry and painted some of the snowflakes with edible silver dust mixed with vodka.

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Hope you enjoyed today’s cupcake journey and you aren’t craving them too much. Stayed tuned during December for many Christmas themed cookies!

Until next time, have fun!

Castle Cake

This week, Jason celebrated his birthday. If you don’t know exactly when it is, then too bad as I’m not allowed to tell you because he’s a bit funny about it. For fun we had burgers and beer at a local brewery and watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And played some Diablo 3 together. Good, clean, mob slaughtering co-op fun 🙂

I also made him cake!

I was cleaning out my upstairs linen closet earlier this year which also doubles as my cake supply cupboard. He had seen my Wilton Enchanted Castle cake pan and had told me, jokingly, “I want a pretty princess castle cake for my birthday!”

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I remember when you say these things! It also had never been used. Wilton released this pan in 1998 and it still endures today which is pretty awesome.

Now I could have gone the pink and purple castle but I didn’t want to make him cringe too much, so I went for a ivory and gold castle instead.

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Now mind you, it’s warming up dramatically here, and it has been a hot and humid week and completely unacceptable weather for making buttercream icing and baking.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream is my go to, it’s just utterly delicious and I’m certain I’ve mentioned that before. I use this recipe and guide from Sweetapolita.

You can see the buttercream melting in this closeup 🙁

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These are the piping tips I used to ice the cake. From left to right, PME 2.5, PME 4, PME 13 star tip and some very random leaf tip i found in my stash and doesn’t even have a brand name on it.

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The ivy was an afterthought because I’ve never used a leaf tip before and I just winged it on the spot but I did think the castle needed a little something extra to break up the ivory and gold.

To wrap up, I have very mixed feelings about this cake with its semi-melty buttercream. I obviously couldn’t take my time with  it due to the weather, the buttercream was starting to melt even a few minuts out of the fridge so it’s below par for what I feel I can usually achieve. But then I shouldn’t beat myself up about it because I can’t control the weather and unfortunately we don’t have air conditioning. I might just need to make a point of not playing with buttercream between November and March.

But I do still sort of love this cake despite its flaws, it is pretty cute. It also tastes great regardless of what it looks like.

Until next time, have fun!