Sunday, 19 December 2010

The Seven Kinds!

In our house at Christmas I have always heard of the Norwegian tradition of  'Seven kinds', which is a selection of biscuits, seven different kinds made especially for Christmas time. For weeks now I have tried to discover why exactly there has to be seven, but cannot find an answer except for that it wouldn't be a proper Christmas if it wasn't seven. This isn't really a good enough question for me, I even tried writing to the King of Norway but I guess I'll just have to accept it.

My grandmother in Oslo always makes seven kinds, so while we now live in Cambridgeshire I still though I would give it a go with my newly found baking obsession. Time however was not on my side, so luckily I found a base recipe that allows you to adapt it sightly to make several kinds! Perfect.

The varieties change from family to family but there are a few that are always used. So I used some traditional and added or two of my own to make it a bit more contemporary.

My choices were : Gingerbread, krumkaker, German slices, checkerboard biscuits, jammy hearts, sugar stars, shortbread slices

Base Recipe (for 5 kinds)

It's really simple, totally gorgeous and with enough butter to make your heart scream!

1kg plain flour
750g butter
300g icing sugar

Chuck it all into a mixing bowl and knead it until it forms a firm, but not rock hard dough. All can bake on 180degrees (fan oven 160) for 10-15min. I can't stress enough not to use self raising flour...I did this thinking it would be ok and they all just fell to pieces. I noticed this when no sooner had I said it was going to be a perfect Christmas, had my mum dropped nearly all of two kinds on the floor....

Luckily however this is when I discovered how rubbish they were with self raising. So, DON'T BE COCKY WITH YOUR FLOUR CHOICE!

German slices:

Roll the dough out into a sausage about 5cmn in diameter and chill for 30 minutes. Take out of fridge and cut into 5mm slices. When baked, dust icing sugar on with stencils.

Checkerboard biscuits:

Divide mixture into two halves, mix one half with 1 tablespoon on cocoa powder. Halves both halves and roll out into sausage shapes. Place one plain and one chocolate next to each other, then on top place the other two sauages, making sugar they are opposites - so it looks like a pieces of checkerboard. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes and slice in 5mm pieces.

Jammy heart:

Roll out dough into 2-3mm, cut out heart shapes, and use a small heart cutter to cut out the middle of every other one. So there will be one plain, on the bottom, then one with the cutout on top of it. Spread some raspberry jam on the plain one and lay the cutout one on top.

Sugar stars:

Roll dough out to 5mm depth and use a star shaped cutter to cut out pieces. Place on a baking tray and sprinkle on pearl sugar. If not then normal granulated sugar will be fine.

Shortbread slices:

Roll dough out to 5mm depth and cut out rectangle shapes, then using a small heart cutter press lightly into the rectangle without going all of the way through. Place a couple of chocolate hearts down the middle and bake. When cook icing festive patterns around the chocolate.

Krumkaker Recipe:

These are crunchy vanilla cones made with a brandy-snap like iron. Gorgeous if the bottoms are dipped in chocolate!

3 eggs
150g caster sugar
150 melted and chilled butter
150 plain flour
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar/essence
2-4 tbsp water

Mix eggs and sugar until big and fluffy like eggnog.  Then add the butter, flour and vanilla. Leave batter to swell for 30 minutes (optional). Turn on iron when ready to bake and butter plates for the first cone. Add a tablespoon of batter in the middle and press the lid of the iron down. Cook until golden brown, remove and wrap around the cone roller, or around a self made one. Set for 20 seconds and leave to cool.

Gingerbread Recipe:

250g butter
125 golden syrup
150ml double cream
250g icing sugar
400g plain flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground gloves
1/2 tsp pepper

You need to add more spices to taste.

Heat butter, golden syrup, double cream and icing sugar in a saucepan. Leave the mixture to cool and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Knead the dough well and roll out, cut out festive shaped pieces and bake on 175 degrees (165 fan) for 10-12 min.

You will now have 7 kinds of delicious biscuits for Christmas. Keep them, give as gifts and just enjoy. NOM! Pin It Now!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

"Millies" Style Cookies Recipe

We ALL love Millies cook right? So I've been experimenting with this recipe until I got it as close as I could. It's very easy to make and takes almost no time at all. It does however make a fair bit so you may spend a bit of time actually baking them all.

125g butter
100g light brown sugar (soft)
130g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1tsp vanilla extract
230g self raising flour
1/2 tsp salt


1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, gas mark 4.
2. Cream butter and sugars, once creamed add the beaten eggs and vanilla and mix.
3. Sift in the flour and salt. This is where you can add other ingredients such as chocolate, toffee, fudge etc. You have to be careful with high sugar ingredient as they can melt right through the dough and wet ingredients can change the consistency and bake it bake totally different.
4. Roll out onto a slightly floured surface and cut out with a circular cutter. For a more home-made look you can also press them out with your hands.
5. Place on greaseproof paper on a baking tray and bake for 7-10 minutes for gooey ones. Pin It Now!

The Ultimate Brownie Recipe

So I'm trying to get my old recipes back online so here is the first one. My brownie recipe is one adapted from a great one I found with a few adjustments. This is easily the thing I get asked to make the most so it must be here it is for you to have a go with yourself. They are foolproof and come out gorgeous every.single.time.


100g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
75g light brown sugar (soft)
200g dark chocolate
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder


1. Grease and line your baking tin, I recommend a square one as it's not easy to cut them from a round tin.
2. Place the butter, sugars, chocolate and syrup in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat gently until it's all melted and smooth, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool. You can speed up this process by placing the bowl in a sink filled with some water.
3. Turn on oven to 180 degrees. Beat together eggs and vanilla extract, then whisk in the cooled chocolate mix.
4. Sieve together the flour, cocoa and baking powder and fold carefully into the chocolate mix. It's best to use a metal spoon or a spatula.
5. Now spoon the mixture into your greased tins and bake for 30-60 mintues. I find mine take an hour but it depend how deep your tin is.
6. Leave to cool, cut, eat. Nom! Pin It Now!

Inside My Cookbook!

I was given this by one of my best friends during University. I wasn't as culinary obsessed then as I am now, but I still wanted it as soon as I saw it. So on our very own pre-Christmas Day, My friend, Taz, bought me this! I vowed to fill it by the end of the year...which of course I didn't! But I'm certainly having a good go now.

Inside she added a few of her own illustrations of my favourite men/chefs such as Jack Black and Gordon Ramsey. She even added a few recipes, some hand written and some from magazines we loved. They are still in here to this day and I'll never get rid of them.

I love that this book is a binder that I can add to, and take pages out of as so many are ring-binders and you're stuck with whatever you put in there.

So for all of my own recipes that feature in this book, I have Taz to thank for as she really helped start it off...I now think I need to buy more page inserts as I've nearly run out!

And if you love it, you can buy this book in different styles from Paperchase. Pin It Now!

Friday, 19 November 2010

My Best Baking

So this is my new blog, as I seem to have accidently deleted my old one which had alll of my cakey posts on so I shall try to re cap for you guys.

Basically, I have a slightly massive obsession with baking, cooking too but mainly baking, I spend more on oven dishes than I do shoes, so it's pretty serious. I have absolutely no training, in fact I am trained as a journalist so I am mixing two of my favourite things, baking and writing!!

In the last blog I had showcased some of my best baking bits so now I shall do a little bit on each to get you up to speed on what I do.

Right so the first I need to tell you about is the most important..THE brownies. The most epic brownies you will ever eat, of which I will post the recipe shortly. This is what I always get asked to make because they always come out perfect every time, absolutely fool proof. Just a note though...I always practically double the just have to!

Next are the proper cherry bakewells! Had to rummage through the internet to find a decent recipe but finally got one! Adapted a little for my own preference and out came these little beauties! A little time consuming but well worth the effort, and they look great in a cupcake stand!

Moving on we have the ultimate toffee apples. It was fair season and all you could smell was sugar! So after thinking how depressing it was to only get them once a year I made a recipe to show how you can have them whenever you want. These particular ones I made were for a charity tombola and they looked pretty sexy if I do say so myself. Note to self, do not use lollipop sticks dyed with blue food colouring as it sinks into the apples and turns them a funny colour.

The best birthday cake I have ever made is easily the pink princess cake for my friends 21st birthday. It turned out to be my masterpiece and I loved every moment of making it. The bottom tier was quilted with silver balls in the accents, and the top some draping icing, love hearts and icing tassels to make it a bit more fancy. The end result was amazing, especially when I dusted it with shimmer to give it a super girly effect!

Now for the ultimate cheesecake. The baked snickers cheesecake. I was sent this recipe from a friend and it sounded absolutely amazing it was worth a lasted about 5 hours after setting! It didn't stand a chance really it was that good.  I had never baked a cheesecake before...and it took a while to make, bake, cool and then let to set. But it was absolutely gorgeous, a definite must make, will post recipe!

Minnie Mouse cake, this is one of my first commissioned cakes for a little girl's 4th birthday. The brief was that it had to be pink, chocolate and HAD to have Minnie Mouse on. So I did a double layer chocolate sponge with pink buttercream icing. The fondant was baby pink and I made the found out of self coloured icing in the style of making a stencil and piecing the bits back together. I then even piped Happy Birthday round the side in the Disney fondant and finished  it off with a pink ribbon with white polka-dots for the ultimate girly feel.  It was a bit stressful being one of my first...hence the wine glasses (not just mine!)

Princess castle cake. My niece is princess obsessed, so the natural cake for her third birthday was a princess castle cake. A normal two tiered sponge cake filled with again, pink buttercream and iced in pink fondant. The towers were made from thinly rolled white fondant moulded around tubes to keep shape. I then cut out little windows and etched in some brick work to look more authentic. I piped green icing to look like ivy and added a bit of extra detail for windows etc. She loved it and it did look really cute!

Ok this is all for now, so much for you to read already, and I'll start writing up the recipes soon! Pin It Now!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Fizzy Lemon and Cola Pastry Tart

When buying the latest copy of Company magazine I never expected to find a recipe that got me really excited. Right in the back with a little recipe by Gizzi Erskine's new cookery book "Kitchen Magic" which amazing recipes she tries to combine some of her favourite things she likes to eat. Hence the lemon and cola tart as she remembers the lemon being super tart and lemony and drinking a glass of fizzy coke with it.

She's spruced this classic lemon tart recipe up with cola replacing water in the pastry and popping candy sprinkled on the top of the lemon. It sounds absolutely mad but is fantastic.

I have now also decided I would love to make a baking book one day so this has given me great inspiration to combine two of my favourite things, writing and food! yum yum Pin It Now!
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