Monday, May 25, 2015

I'll have what she's having Nutella Cookies


Welcome to my kitchen, where it's kinda obvious I can not resist any type of pretty thing for my house.

It's been a problem for a while now, you might have noticed over the years I have the same thing going on with food which I frequently decorate with pink sugar flowers and sprinkles, because most everything tastes better that way.

But not these cookies. Nope, they will not win any beauty contests, but oh the taste, the yummy chocolately taste will win you over in no time.

There seems to be a lot of ingredients, but these are easy to make if you have a mixer to help cream the butter and sugar together. Just follow the steps and soon you will have a batch of soft chocolately cookies of your own.

Also make sure you take them out while they are still soft, they will continue to cook on the tray a little bit and as they cool they will harden up a little bit.

Like all chocolate chip cookies I love them best when they are still a bit warm, but if you can resist you can store them in a cookie jar for up to 3 days.

Happy Baking Xx


Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (makes 20 Super delicious cookies)
Conversions are rounded to nearest 5 gram.

250g (9oz) plain (all purpose) flour
30g (1oz) cocoa powder
2 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1 tsp bicarb soda (baking soda)
115g (4oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
115g (4oz) brown sugar (approx 1/2 cup)
60g (2oz) white sugar (approx 1/4 cup) * I used caster or superfine but regular is ok
1 large egg
145g (5oz) Nutella (heaped 1/3 cup)
230g (8 3/4oz) chocolate chips or chunks * I used a mixture

Preheat oven to 160C and line 2 or 3 trays with baking paper.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder, cornflour (cornstarch) and bicarb soda (baking soda).

Cream butter and both sugars for approx 3 minutes at high speed. Reduce speed to medium-low and mix in egg and then Nutella until combined.

Add flour mixture, mix at low speed until just combined and then add the chocolate chips mixing until the chips are distributed evenly.

Place approx 2 Tbsp (US 2 1/2Tbsp) mounds of cookie dough onto prepared trays leaving enough room for the cookie to spread during baking. Flatten the cookie dough slightly.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. The cookies will still be soft when you remove them, however leave on trays to cool and you will be able to pic them up.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the cookbook ' Sweets on a Stick': More than 150 kid friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go!. Published in the US the book is available at most online book stores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog.

Original Ideas, photography and recipes by Linda Vandermeer do not reuse without permission. 


Monday, May 11, 2015

Perfect Lunch Box Apple Muffins


I'm always looking for easy to make kinda healthy food for the kids lunches.

Maybe like me, you are not completely organised but have good intentions.

I am not that mum that has the freezer filled with super healthy organic treats ready to pack and go it a pinch.

Sometimes if we are being fancy I top them with 
Cream Cheese frosting and raspberries

But I do have a few recipes up my sleeve that I can mix up and make in under 10 minutes, bake while I'm in the shower and have ready for the school lunches that day. They might not get endorsed by any fancy celebrity diet chefs but they are fast, I have the stuff in my pantry and I figure it's way ahead of a packet of processed stuff any day.

Plus they make 12 so I use them for afternoon tea and school lunch the next day with the few left overs for me :)

cupcake cases Greengate 

Quick Mix Apple Cinnamon Muffin makes 12 regular sized muffins
Note if you are out of buttermilk substitute milk mixed with a little vinegar, that's what I did with the ones in the picture.

3 small apples or 2 medium - grate approx half and cut the remainder in small pieces
2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup buttermilk (#see note above if you are out)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use light olive oil)
1 egg
1 Tbsp butter melted (optional)
1 Tbsp cinnamon sugar (optional)

Preheat the oven to 160 C (325 F).

Line a regular 12 hole muffin tin with baking cases.

Place flour, sugar, cinnamon, buttermilk, oil, egg and apple into a large bowl and mix until just combined.

Spoon evenly into the prepared muffin tin.

Place the muffin tin into preheated oven and bake for 22-24 mins or until golden on top, if you insert a skewer no mixture should stick to the skewer.

(Optional)One muffin at a time brush the top of each muffin with a little melted butter and then sprinkle cinnamon sugar onto the top.

*Sometimes if we are being fancy I top the muffins with a little swirl of cream cheese frosting and a raspberry but it squishes too much for lunchbox treats so it's just an at home thing.


Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the cookbook ' Sweets on a Stick': More than 150 kid friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go!. Published in the US the book is available at most online book stores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog.

Original Ideas, photography and recipes by Linda Vandermeer do not reuse without permission. 


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Princess Macarons with Mini edible tiaras or how to eat a tiara 2


Ok these are my new favorite toppers.

Mini edible tiaras, seriously what's not to love, and with the right cutter you can whip up a stack of them and have them ready to pop onto pretty much anything to give it a bit of royal treatment.

Macarons.......check. Marshmallows........yup. Stacked cookies.....ah-huh.


They are really quite tiny, pretty much they just fit around my thumb. The cutter set I used (link here: Crowns Patchwork Cutters ) has a larger size tiara as well which is perfect for the top of a cake so you could make a whole princess (or prince/king) party.


Now I have made a video on how to make the tiara but as I was silly enough to start upgrading my other computer with the video on it and I think it will be another few days before I have access to it. In the meantime I have written out the instructions below.

How to make an edible tiara
You can use any cutter or hand cut the shape yourself, however I have included links to the cutter I used. If you scroll to the bottom of the post I have also included a recipe for small batch mexican paste which should make up a few dozen of these mini tiaras.

Ingredients

Mexican paste colored light orange or ivory (buy premix or see small batch recipe below)
tiara cutter (available here: Crowns Patchwork Cutters )
crisco or similar solid but soft white fat
2 X small white rolling pin - one for rolling the other (2cm or 3/4" for setting the tiaras onto to dry)
toothpick
edible gold dust*, rose spirits  and paint brush
or edible gold paint/spray

*make sure the dust or paint is edible, saying non toxic does not necessarily mean edible and many glitters and dusts sold in cake decorating stores are for decorative purposes only. The links below are edible.



Rub a little crisco onto the small tiara/crown cutter.

Using a small rolling pin roll out the mexican paste very thin (like really really thin) and press the tiara/crown cutter into the paste to cut out the shape. I like to do this on a piece of plastic wrap which is a little fiddly but I know the paste can not stick to the counter.

If necessary use the toothpick to gently remove the mexican paste shape from the cutter. Use the toothpick to remove any excess paste from the shape and the small heart at the front if desired (see the you tube tutorial for more detail).

Place onto a small rolling pin to shape the tiaras. The one I used is around 2cm or 3/4" wide or around the same size as a permanent marker tube. You can use anything that is clean and food safe you have sitting around for this.

Paint the tiaras with the edible gold paint, either by using a premixed paint or mixing edible gold luster dust with rose spirits. Don't worry they may not look very sparkly while wet.

Allow to dry. Once dry you may wish to give them an extra coat or brush a little extra gold luster dust onto the tiaras to add extra shine.

Store in an airtight container until required. You can make these weeks in advance.

Adhere to tops of macarons, marshmallows or cookies with a little royal icing.


Small batch Mexican Paste

75g pure icing sugar (2 5/8 powdered sugar)
1 tsp gum tragacanth or tylose powder

Knead together well. Store wrapped in plastic in an airtight container at room temperature. Knead again well before use. Can be colored as required.



Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the cookbook ' Sweets on a Stick': More than 150 kid friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go!. Published in the US the book is available at most online book stores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog.

Original Ideas, photography and recipes by Linda Vandermeer do not reuse without permission. 


Monday, April 20, 2015

Macarons and other things I love


I know y'all love my macaron recipe and for the first time ever it's available in print with the latest issue of Tickle the Imagination magazine.

Tickle the Imagination magazine celebrates all things handmade and  creative in Australia and you can purchase a hard copy or online download HERE.

And I know I have been a bit quiet lately, we've been having some family time. I'n contrast to the fleeting love of a macaron Mr Sweet and I recently celebrated our lasting love with our 22nd wedding anniversary and had some photo's taken by Naomi V Photography:


Happy 22nd Wedding Anniversary to us! Photo by Naomi V Photography


This is our Happily Ever After girls dresses by Mischka Aoki photo by Naomi V Photography

Thanks to Jordan from @Honey and Gold for writing our sign.
Xx


Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the cookbook ' Sweets on a Stick': More than 150 kid friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go!. Published in the US the book is available at most online book stores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog.

Photography copyrighted do not reuse without permission. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Chocolate Hot Cross Bun Recipe


I love baking, love it. But for some reason when it comes to hot cross buns I usually buy them from the bakery or supermarket.

But this weekend we had a bit of free time so I whipped up some myself taking an old traditional hot cross bun recipe and modifying to add chocolate chips, removing all that unnecessary dried fruit and changing the bun into a chocolate bread with a lightly fragrant cinnamon base.

Deliciously perfect just baked Chocolate Hot Cross Buns

I don't know why it took me so long, look at that picture, delicious just baked softly fragrant buns and oh my goodness the house smells even better than those buns look.

Plus it cost me way less than the bakery ones, so economical as well.

They were super easy as I used my stand mixer's dough hook attachment and saved about 10 minutes time of hand kneading, although don't worry, the recipe will work out just fine hand kneading if you don't have a dough hook/stand mixer.


I find the key things for successful baking with yeast is to not overheat and to prove the yeast prior to mixing into the other ingredients. Oh and time, you can't really rush it, I made the ones in the picture in about 2 1/2 hours including rising and baking time but I would normally set aside at least 3 hours.

Chocolate Hot Cross Bun Recipe makes 12 large hot cross buns
I use premix royal icing mixed with water to a piping consistency.

2 X 7g packets yeast 14g total (1/2 oz total)
1 tsp caster sugar
3/4 cup milk (6 fl oz)
50 g unsalted butter (1 3/4oz) melted/softened
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk (4 fl oz) extra
525 g plain (18 1/2 oz all purpose flour)
70 g caster sugar (2 1/2 oz)
25 g cocoa (7/8 oz)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
230 grams chocolate chips (8 oz)  # the baking kind that hold shape.
1/2 cup royal icing mixed with  1/2 tsp cocoa and 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

Put milk in microwave safe jug and heat in microwave for around 15- 20 seconds at high so that it is warm to touch (not hot). Using a fork whisk in yeast and 1 tsp sugar and allow to sit around 10 mins until needed.

The yeast should froth up like this

Sift the flour, cocoa, remaining caster sugar, cinnamon and salt together and set aside until required.

In the bowl a large stand mixer with a scraper beater attachment or regular beater, place the butter, egg and 1/2 cup milk and mix for 30 seconds at low speed. Add the yeast mixture and mix another 10 seconds, then add the sifted flour mixture and beat at low speed until all the dry mixture has been incorporated. The mix will be quite sticky.

Switch to a dough hook and mix at medium low speed for a couple of minutes until the mixture is smooth and elastic.* If you do not have a stand mix and dough hook you can knead by hand for around 10 minutes.

Spray a large bowl with oil, place the dough into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and pop in a warm place to rest for around 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the mixture has doubled in size. I use my oven and turn it up to 50C for a few minutes then turn it off before placing the bowl into the oven, if required I turn the oven light on. It should be just warm not hot.

Once the dough has risen remove from bowl, punch it down and mix in the chocolate chips quickly. I used baking chips which do not melt very quickly, the higher quality chocolate will melt and become a sticky mess.

Dough should be smooth and flexible

Lightly spray a baking tray around 20cm X 30 cm with oil. Shape the dough into 12 even rolls and place into the tray. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest/rise for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 190 C (fan forced). Remove the plastic wrap from baking tray and pop the buns in the oven for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 160 C and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Allow to cool a little. Pop the royal icing into a zip lock bag, cut a small hole in the corner and pipe crossed onto the top of the buns.

Best served immediately although still good next day. Store in airtight container at room temperature.


Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the cookbook ' Sweets on a Stick': More than 150 kid friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go!. Published in the US the book is available at most online book stores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog.

Original Ideas, photography and recipes by Linda Vandermeer do not reuse without permission. 

Cute dress from Target Australia

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Woodland party cake


I can not believe how long it has taken me to share all these pictures of the sweet woodlands party cake. I made it almost a year ago for my niece's 10th birthday. It is approx 6" by 6" high.

At the time I was playing around with some freeze dried fruit powder and I painted the cake with a mix of powdered raspberry mixed with rose spirits, lemon powder and some gel food colours.

I love the textured look that I achieved by rubbing in extra powder after hand brushing the cake.


I decided to apply the colour in quite a rough organic way, see below for example, and then my design was guided a little by the underlying colours, like a natural landscape.


The design centered on the mason jar party light idea I had so I started by drawing on my string with an edible pen (AmeriColor 2 Pack Gourmet Food Writer Set, Black Marker ) then I cut out pink and blue fondant by hand and a little grey for the lids and drew on a little line at the corner and popped the jars on the cake. Later on I used a little royal icing to pipe a little line of white on the side to look like reflected light.

I rolled out some chocolate flavored fondant to make the poles and shaped the birdies. Then I used some cloud cutters to make the white clouds, mine are from Cakes by Bien (see below for details).  To get them looking fluffy I rolled out the white fondant quite thick and then popped some plastic food wrap over the top then pressed the cutter down, see in the picture how it makes the edges look a bit rounded instead of being sharp and defined.

The cloud cutters were quite handy as I also used them for the trees and bushes.

I also hand cut the deer (as someone else was using my little Cakes by Bien Deer Aimee cutter which would have been perfect).


Okay instead of explaining every step I pretty much I hand cut everything without a template except the flowers and cloud cutters. Any of the white detail is piped royal icing (except the clouds and flowers) and the black is edible pen.

Tip. when applying the flowers, cut them out, keeping them in the plunger cutter, apply a little water or edible glue on the spot you want them and then push them out onto the cake using the plunger center to gently adhere them to the cake.

Inside the cake was strawberry cake with vanilla Italian Meringue Buttercream.


I prefer Americolor food writer pens. I used Bakels chocolate and white fondant and Satin Ice red fondant and Queens premix royal icing.



 Cloud cutters - used for clouds, trees and bushes - Cakes by Bien


Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the cookbook ' Sweets on a Stick': More than 150 kid friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go!. Published in the US the book is available at most online book stores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog.

Original Ideas, photography and recipes by Linda Vandermeer do not reuse without permission. 


Monday, February 23, 2015

Egg Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Thumbprint Cookies


I live in a household of people who like to lick the bowl.

Except me, I'm the odd one out. 'Wait,' I cry 'That has raw egg in it!'

Everyone around me looks at me like I am some kind of crazy 'cause y'know they just wanna eat raw dough.


As I compromise I came up with this egg free chocolate chip cookie dough a while back and last week I thought I would give the kids a treat and pop it onto thumbprint cookies.

Of course they loved them, in fact Sweet loved them most of all and after finding extra left over raw cookie dough in the bowl she was in dough heaven.

I on the other hand was not completely smitten, they tasted OK but I think my brain was convinced that I should not be eating the raw dough.

Anyhoo enough about my issues. The point of this intro is that if you like raw cookie dough you'll love these cookies. Yup just like I thought, pretty much everyone that is not me can now scroll on down to the recipe.


Egg free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Thumbprint Cookies

225g (8oz) unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
1/3 cup cocoa
1 cup sifted icing sugar (powdered sugar)
pinch salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

Line 2 baking trays with baking paper (parchment paper) and preheat oven to 160 C (325 F).

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until combined.

Roll tablespoons (US approx 1 1/2 Tbsp) of mixture into a ball, flatten, place onto prepared trays with enough space around to spread a little.

Use your thump to press an indent into the middle of each cookie.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the cookies are firm to touch.

Allow to cool on tray for 5 minutes and then remove to wire tray to cool completely.

Once cooled place 2 teaspoons of chocolate chip cookie dough mixture (recipe below) on top of each cookie. If you like sprinkle extra mini chocolate chip cookies on top of each cookie.

Store in an airtight container in fridge for up to 3 days.


Egg Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

1 cup plain (All purpose) flour
75 grams (3oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp (2 US Tbsp) Milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Sift the flour and set aside.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer at high speed cream (mix together) the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to medium low, add the milk and vanilla and mix until combined. Then reduce speed to low and mix in the flour until completely combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix in by hand.



Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, maker and author of the cookbook ' Sweets on a Stick': More than 150 kid friendly recipes for cakes, candies, cookies and pies on the go!. Published in the US the book is available at most online book stores.

Affiliate links may earn me money and contribute to supporting this blog.

Original Ideas, photography and recipes by Linda Vandermeer do not reuse without permission.