Tag Archives: baking

Biscotti: a quick treat for afternoon tea and good Christmas gift idea

Coffee Biscotti

Coffee Biscotti

I made this Coffee Biscotti yesterday afternoon because I was feeling grumpy.  Yes, you heard me, I bake for therapy! There are not many things, that relax me as much as the sound of my Kenwood  Chef mixing and the smell of freshly baked goods that fill my kitchen.  I instantly start to breathe slower and feel better while I am mixing one or another treat.

This Coffee Biscotti is really fast to put together and really tasty.  It is truly one of those recipes that I am very sure cannot flop even if you want  it to.  I substituted a few things to work with what I had in the house.  Feel free to make it your own…

Coffee Biscotti

Coffee Biscotti

I am seriously contemplating to whip up a batch or two of this for Christmas and to give them away as a small gift.  I have truly found that friends really appreciate something that has been lovingly made by yourself.  So if you are looking for something that will take less than an hour to make and that will not cost you an arm and a leg, try this Biscotti recipe.

Coffee Biscotti

Coffee Biscotti

This will take you about fifteen minutes to prepare and a further hour to finish baking.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cake flour
  • 2 Tbsps granulated coffee
  • 1t cinnamon ( I substituted this wit a Chai Spice mix that I buy from our local farm market)
  • 1/2 t bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 baking powder
  • 1 t freshly ground pink himalayan salt
  • 1 cup soft dark brown sugar
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 70 g whole pecan nuts (I roasted mine but that’s optional)
  • 30 g slivered almonds (also toasted)

Note: feel free to substitute with your favourite nuts or whatever you have available.

Method:
  1. Preheat your oven to 180° C
  2. Mix the flour, coffee, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk the eggs until light and add to the flour mixture to create a dough.
  4. Add the nuts and bring together in a ball.  Don’t be alarmed if it seems sticky.
  5. Halve the dough and bake two rolls on a baking sheet.  Press down to make it slightly flat.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes and let it cool down before slicing into 2 cm slices.
  7. Place flat on a baking sheet and bake for another 10 minutes before turning over and baking on the other side for another 10 minutes.
  8. Drizzle with white chocolate if you wish.

Enjoy at tea time with a cup of your favourite tea..

What to do when you are playing hookey from school? Sugar Biscuits of course!

Sugar biscuits

Sugar biscuits

The  academic year for our children ended on the 30th of November.  It is therefore optional to attend, until school closes on Friday for our Summer holidays.  There is something very sneaky- feeling about not having to attend to school, even if it is still legal, and with the blessing of your teacher, while some of the other learners are still going (Us, Afrikaners have  a saying: “Shame nê” – which literally means I feel sorry for you).  We have been trying to catch-up with play dates these past few days of playing hookey, resulting in going to a movie and having some of the childrens’ friends over.

This morning we decided to make some  sugar cookies for the holidays and to decorate them.  I had three lovely little helpers and this is what they did on this fine sunny SA-day!

Sugar biscuits

Sugar biscuits

I was really amazed with the amount of creativity each one of them came up with.  Watching them create each little art work, made me reach for my camera.


  
 The result was colourful and very festive as you can see for yourself…

  
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 I placed out a few bowls of glaze icing, sprinkles and other ready-bought-decorations on our patio table, not too much ado….  Just a little mixture of icing sugar and water with gel-colorant.

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Yes, tasting was done and yes, this little one ended up on a sugar- high 


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Luckily, this Mom saved some cookies that she wants to try and decorate with proper Royal Icing tomorrow… although I feel a little intimidated by all the talent that surrounds me apparently…..

Apple Cake with Earl Grey Apples

I don’t know exactly how it happened but somehow I ended up with three bags of apples in my refrigerator.  Luckily I have children that love apples and eat them as a staple.  Now who am I to complain if they want to keep the doctor away?

Although I also like nibbling on these crunchy lovelies, woman can’t live of fruit alone… That is why I was quite exited when I stumbled onto this recipe in an old Ideas Magazine’s little extra booklet.  This  is definitely one of my favourites I have ever made and I am therefore dying to show it off to all of you!

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

The cake is beautifully moist with little pieces of apple every here and there and  of-course the must-have cinnamon adds a lovely homely feel to it.  The cherry on …. or rather the apple on the cake, and show-stopper, is definitely the delicate, citrussy, Earl -Grey-Apples.  Trust me this is heaven on a plate!

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of soft butter
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 10 ml grated lemon zest
  • 1t vanilla essence
  • 1 cup natural low-fat yoghurt
  • one Granny Smith apple peeled and diced
  • 260 g cake flour
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t bicarbonate of soda
  • 5 ml baking powder
  • pinch of salt

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 170° c
  2. Grease and line a 20 cm round cake tin.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until light   and fluffy
  4. Add the lemon zest and vanilla
  5. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until mixture is light and fluffy
  6. Add the yoghurt and beat very slowly to mix in
  7. Stir in the apple
  8. Sift together all dry ingredients and fold into the butter mixture.
  9. Spoon into cake tin and bake for 50 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean
  10. Cool down and decorate with glace icing and Earl Grey apples

Glace Icing:

  • 1 cup of icing sugar
  • a little water
  • zest of the rest of the lemon
  1. Just add enough water to get a runny consistency and pour over the cake.
  2. Top with lemon zest

Earl Grey Apples:

  • 1 1/2 cup of water
  • 4 Earl Grey teabags
  • 250 ml castor sugar
  • 2 Pink Lady apples
  1. Bring water to a simmer together with the teabags for  5 minutes.
  2. Remove tea bags
  3. Add sugar
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes until reduced and a syrup has formed
  5. Cut the apples into thin slices and place in syrup, remove from stove
  6. Leave for at least 1/2 an hour
  7. Place onto cake just before serving

Enjoy with your favourite cup of tea.

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

Apple cake with Earl Grey apples

Easy Cuppa Pudding for Vacations

Easy cuppa pudding

Easy cuppa pudding

Well, as most of my dear readers will know by now we are currently on those few rare, but very precious, days of the year namely vacation.   I really find that these times just bind our family spontaneously together.  As I am typing away I’m listening to my beautiful kids laugh and giggle at their dad kicking a rugby ball.  A child’s laughter must be one of the most enjoyable sounds on all the earth.  There are times when I wish I could capture the sounds thereof with all the joy and carefreeness for years to come when they will grow into adults and have to weather the world.  Oh!  If I could just teach them to always laugh like a five year old.  The sky seems to be limitless and there is nothing that can’t be fixed by dad and a cable-tie and the best cure for falling down and hurting yourself seems to be one of mom’s cookies.

My daughter and I have also been spending some time together yesterday.  We made these very easy, very sweet but delicious puddings:

Easy cuppa pudding

Easy cuppa pudding

These guys are really easy to make as they require very little baking utensils.  This could therefore be whipped up in the simplest of kitchens even by little hands.  I found the recipe in one of my favorite foodie magazines Sarie Kos June/July 2012 edition and we adapted it ever so slightly.  They tasted great out of the oven with a sweet apricot flavor and a sauce that caramelized on top.

Cuppa Pudding

Cuppa Pudding

Ingredients: 

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup of cake flour
  • 1 t of baking powder (the original recipe called for 11/2 t  Bicarbonate of soda which is dissolved in the milk)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 free range eggs whisked
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° c
  2. Butter 4 enamel cups
  3. Mix the flour and baking powder
  4. Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and mix in the milk and the rest of the ingredients.
  6. Spoon into the enamel cups and place on a baking tray.  Bake for 45 minutes
  7. When in doubt if the puddings has been baked through do a skewer test

Sauce:

  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg whisked

Mix all of the above and pour over the puddings when they are done baking.  Place back into the oven and bake for another 20 minutes untill the sauce has thickened and caramelized.  Serve piping hot.      

Cuppa Pudding

Cuppa Pudding

 

Easy cuppa pudding

Easy cuppa pudding

 

Pistachio-, Choc chip- and Oats with White Chocolate and Cranberry Holiday Cookies

In less than a week we will be packing our car, locking our house and heading off to the seaside for the Easter Holidays.   It’s been a long-standing tradition in our house to take along a tin of rusks and biscuits to nibble on.  Here is what I have filled our cookie-tin with.

Holiday cookies

Pistascio-, Choc Chip- and Oats with White Chocolate and Cranberry cookies.

I only use real butter and genuine vanilla extract when I bake.  Once you have tried it you will never look back to the ordinary block of margarine  and artificial vanilla.  Remember to always buy the absolute best ingredients you can afford and can get hold of.Holiday Cookies

I have found these recipes on a few nifty pages on the net.  It didn’t take too much persuasion for me to make the following:

  1. Pistachio Cookies

Pistachio Cookies

Pistachio Cookies

I really enjoy the green color and the lovely aroma these cookies have!  I bought the ready shelled Pistachios from Woolies and ground them in my food processor. These greenies are light in texture and practically melt away in your mouth.  They are quite fast to make as well, which is an added advantage when you don’t want to slave the whole day for something sweet and delicious.  I got approximately 24 biscuits from this batch.

Recipe

( Adapted from Taste .com.au)

 Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of shelled pistachios (150g)
  • 3/4 cup of caster sugar (sifted)
  • 1/3 rd cup of cake flour
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 Tbsp icing sugar
Method:
  1. Preheat your oven to 180°c  and line two baking trays with baking paper or silicone sheets
  2. Place 3/4  of  pistachios in a food processor and process until finely ground
  3. Add flour and 1/2  cup of  caster sugar and pulsate a few times to mix well.  Transfer to a mixing bowl
  4. Whisk egg whites until soft peaks form and gradually add the remaining caster  sugar
  5. Place heaped teaspoons of the mixture on the baking sheets and sprinkle the remaining pistachio nuts on
  6. Bake for 12 minutes.   Remove from the oven.  Let it cool down for a few minutes before placing on a wired rack to cool down completely
  7. Dust with some icing sugar

  2. Choc Chip Cookies

Choc Chip Cookies

Choc Chip Cookies

O sweet joy! Crunchy, buttery cookies with melty chocolate chips!  Choc Chip Cookies extraordinaire! My favorite, any time of the day!

Recipe

I adapted the following recipe from Betty Crocker.   The original recipe made 4 dozen. I halved it so I would only get 2 dozen.

Click (here) for the original recipe

Ingredients:
  • 95 ml white sugar (1/4 cup+2 Tbsps+1 tsp)
  • 95 ml brown sugar (1/4 cup+2 Tbsps+1 tsp
  • 125 ml soft salted butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 free range egg
  • 280 ml cake flour (1 cup+ 2 Tbsps)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of roughly chopped nuts
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°c and line baking tray with baking paper or a silicone sheet
  2. Beat sugar, butter,vanilla and egg in a large mixing bowl with an electric beater
  3. Stir flour and baking powder with a balloon whisk
  4. Add to the butter mixture and stir well until stiff dough forms
  5. Add choc chips and nuts and stir in
  6. Spoon tablespoon size dough onto baking sheet.  Place them 2 cm apart from each other
  7. Bake for 10 minutes or until light brown
  8. Remove from the oven.  Let it cool down for a few minutes before placing on a wired rack to cool down completely

  3. Oats ,White Chocolate Chips and Cranberry Cookies

Oats with white choc chips and cranberries

Oats with White Choc Chips and Cranberries

These cookies are filled with the goodness of rolled oats and cranberries.  They are chunky, slightly chewy and really tasty with the sweetness of the white chocolate chips that contrast  with the tartness of the  cranberries.   This recipe makes about 24 yummy cookies.

Recipe

Adapted from taste.com.au

Ingredients:
  • 150 g of butter
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 free range egg (room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup cranberries
Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°c and line baking tray with baking paper or a silicone sheet
  2. Beat the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until light and creamy
  3. Stir flour and baking powder with a balloon whisk together
  4. Add the oats choc chips and cranberries and mix in
  5. Spoon tablespoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet.  Flatten slightly.   Place the cookies 2 cm apart from each other
  6. Bake for 12 minutes or until light brown
  7. Remove from the oven.  Let it cool down for a few minutes before placing on a wired rack to cool down completely
Home Made Cookies

Home Made Cookies

pistachio cookie

Pistachio Cookie

Blue Eyed Blueberry Muffins

I love it to whip up something freshly baked when a girlfriend comes to visit. Last week I made these muffins for a dear friend of mine. They were absolutely lovely, still semi warm. The fresh blue berries sort of oozed out to infuse the muffins with their lovely fruity taste, together with sweetness of the muffin they are a taste sensation!

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