Monday, July 14, 2014

Orange is the new Chocolate Cookies


O'range you glad you saw this recipe. Well maybe not yet but if you bake up a batch of these cookies I'm pretty sure you will be.

That is if you like chocolate and orange together which we most certainly do in this household.

This month you won't be finding any of those plain ole' vanilla chocolate chip cookies in our jar. Nope Orange is the new chocolate around here.


These cookies are flavored with  a combination of juice, extract and zest which results in a lovely fragrant slightly chewy cookie.


They are perfect for an afternoon snack and if you manage not to eat them all at once I think the orange flavor becomes a little improved by the next day.

Or maybe it's just when they are warm with the chocolate chips still melted I just focus on the melty chocolate yumminess. I'm not that sure, pretty much my opinion is easily swayed like that when sweets are involved.

Anyhoo the recipe for these orange chocolate cookies is below, but if you like chocolate chip cookies like I like chocolate chip cookies try out these other recipes on this blog, recipe links below picture:


Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes approx 24 cookies depending on cookie size)

1 1/2 cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
1/4 tsp bi-carb soda (baking soda)
1/4 tsp salt
115g (4 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup caster sugar (superfine use regular white sugar if superfine not available)
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/4 tsp orange essence
1 cup chocolate chips (any type)

Preheat oven to 160 C. Line 2 trays with baking paper (parchment paper).

Sift together the flour, bicarb soda (baking soda) and salt.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and both sugars at high speed for a few minutes.

Scrape down sides of bowl, reduce the speed to medium low and mix in the egg, then add the orange juice, zest and essence and mix until combined.

Add the sifted flour mixture and mix at low speed until the mixture has just combined.

Using a spatula or large spoon mix chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Spoon dough onto the prepared trays about 1 1/2 Tbsp (2 US Tbsp) in size and flatten slightly.

Bake for around 12 to 15 minutes until the cookies start to turn golden, the middles of the cookies will look set and no longer be shiny. Remove from oven allow to rest on trays for around 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for at least 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.

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

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Best gender reveal baby shower cookie idea


Oh yes this has to pretty much be the easiest gender reveal cookie idea for a baby shower ever.

Secret gender reveal cookies with a sugar sprinkle baked in the back. You can decorate your cookies any way you like and the gender reveal is hidden on the other side.

So just in case you don't know. Gender reveal is when the mum to be has not yet announced whether a boy or girl is on the way. There is usually something at the party which reveals to the guests using the old pink or blue standby. 

He or She,
What will baby be?
Turn over the cookie,
and you will see.

These cookies do all the work for you, just pop a sprinkle into the back of each cookie before baking and let each guest find out in their own sweet way.


I've had this idea for a while and when my friend had a pastel rainbow themed baby sprinkle (second baby shower) it was the perfect opportunity to try it out.


I didn't end up making a big deal of it, I just popped those sprinkles in and in fact I'm not even sure if anyone noticed. They all knew a baby girl was on the cards, they didn't need to be told via cookie message. It was like my sweet little secret.

If you were going to make a big deal of it all, maybe having a little sign next to the cookies with the above poem would let everyone know to check the cookie before they all get eaten.


So like many of the best ideas it is as easy as it sounds. Just buy a container of sprinkle shapes or quins in the colour you would like to use and press them onto the back of the cookie before baking.

Then you just bake as you normally would.

I have made up a super quick video of me making them here, it's less than 2 minutes:



I found pink heart sprinkles very easy to find at the supermarket, cake stores, online and pretty much everywhere. The blue star sprinkles were not everywhere but are easy to pick up on ebay and you will find them online at specialty cake decorating stores.

Now, I did make my own star sprinkles for the photo as I did not have any handy and plus I was just taking some photo's and I was being cheap. Make sure you do not use home made fondant sprinkles to bake in your cookies as they will melt during baking. I also recommend not using any super hard type decoration, sugar quins or sprinkles will work out best.


These cookies were part of a lovely pastel rainbow baby sprinkle CLICK HERE if you would like to see more pictures of the baby shower.


Here is my sugar cookie recipe


460 grams plain flour (16 1/4 oz all purpose flour)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
230 grams unsalted butter (8 1/8oz)room temperature
220 grams caster sugar (7 3/4 oz superfine sugar)#
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
#use regular white sugar if you do not have caster/ superfine sugar

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to medium low, add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and mix in the sifted flour mixture until combined. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill in fridge for 30 minutes or so.

Line a few baking trays with parchment/ baking paper.

Dust workbench with plain flour and using a large rolling pin roll out the dough until around 1/2 cm (1/4") in thickness. If the dough is to hard you may need to work/knead it a bit until you can roll it out.

Cut out cookies shapes and place the cookies on the prepared trays. (Knead and reroll dough as necessary, if it becomes to soft you can pop it back in the fridge.)

Pop the cut cookie dough trays into the fridge to chill again for around 30 minutes until firm (or in the freezer for 10 minutes).

Preheat oven to 160 C (320 F) and cook the cookies until they just start to turn golden, around 15 minutes (less or more depending on cookie size).

Cool on trays for 5 minutes and then carefully lift onto a wire rack to cool completely prior to decorating.

- Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 1 week.



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.

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

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Sweet Pastel Baby Sprinkle


My friend Daneve from Ah-Tissue is having a baby and we helped celebrate with a baby sprinkle.

Yup a sprinkle, 'cause after the first baby is showered with gifts the parents really only need a 'sprinkle' of help.


Our mutual friend the lovely Carol from Creatively Bespoke Weddings and Events pulled the whole thing together organising and decorating the venue and pretty much everything else. She arranged the backdrop and printables from Emma Smith Stationery and the pretty sequin tablecloth from Memories are Sweet for the table, plus those lovely mirrored white trays the cookies are sitting on are all hers.


Carol set up the drinks station, center table, pastel parasols hanging overhead, and many other gorgeous little details including the sweet bouquets of flowers from Angie's Floral Designs. If you pop over to her facebook page they have lots more photo's of the lovely details - Creatively Bespoke Weddings and Events facebook.

Daneve's of course made the pretty tissue pom poms and paper flower decorations and her friend Mel organised the crafty activities, music and savory foods :)


and I did what I do, the sweets for the table. We had a rainbow macaron stand, stacked cookie towers, decorated square cookies, pastel meringues, strawberry cake pops and a swirly butter cream rainbow cake.

Oh and these sweet parasol cookies as take home favours.


Although I was in love with the parasol cookies, I did have a soft spot for the stacked cinnamon buttercream cookies in soft pink and green.


Oh and the shabby chic type decorated cookies in rainbow hues. I guess we all know I do love cookies.


It was all so very pretty and a great afternoon for friends to catch up, chat and share our joy with the mother to be.

Credits

Event Styling Creatively Bespoke Weddings and Events
Paper pom poms and flowers - Ah Tissue
Sweets - Bubble and Sweet
Printables - Emma Smith Stationery
Tablecloth - Memories Are Sweet
Floral Arrangements - Angie's Floral Designs
Venue - The Carriage Room



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.

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



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Lemon cream and macaron stuffed strawberries


Are these even a thing?  I'm not sure but they did taste really good. I guess they're a thing now.

Delicious strawberries stuffed with lemon cream and then topped with a mini macaron. 

If you don't have mini macarons on hand of course you can just stuff with the lemon cream and top with some sprinkles or chopped pistachios.

I've made these up with leftovers I had on hand, the recipe links to the macaron and lemon cream are in the instructions below.


Macaron Stuffed Strawberries
As mentioned above if you do not have macarons handy you can top with sprinkles or chopped pistachio, and I guess then they would be Lemon Cream Stuffed Strawberries and still delicious :)

Strawberries
Mini macarons (CLICK HERE for recipe, but make the macarons smaller)*
Lemon cream curd (CLICK HERE for recipe)^

Using a sharp knife hull the strawberries. If you would like to stand the strawberries upright, cut a little of the pointed rounded tip off as in the picture.

Place the lemon cream in a piping bag with a ruffle tip (eg Wilton #32 or #199) and pipe a small swirl of cream starting in the hulled hole and working your way around in one swirl.

Push a macaron into the top of each lemon cream filled strawberry sideways as shown in picture.

Best served within a few hours of making.

*When I am making a batch of regular macarons I often pipe half a tray of smaller ones for other decorations. You can wrap in plastic wrap, place in an airtight container and freeze, then defrost still enclosed in the airtight container and plastic wrap in the fridge when you are ready to use them. Wrapping them well as described minimizes the risk of condensation forming on the macaron.

^The lemon cream recipe in the link will make quite a big batch for strawberries, you can half the recipe.



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.

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


Monday, June 9, 2014

Adorable Cakes for All Occasions by Sharon Wee review and Win a signed copy


When I heard that Sharon Wee of Sharon Wee Creations was releasing a book on cake decorating I had a feeling I would like it and of course once it arrived I was not disappointed.

In case your not in the cake world, I'll just give you a heads up, Sharon is well known for her beautiful and often whimsically adorable cake designs, cake decorating demonstrations and courses.

Adorable Cakes for All Occasions delivers all that you would expect with a lovely variety of cakes ranging from simple to a little bit more complex, with detailed instructions which make creating your own cake totally achievable.

In particular, I loved the sweet Zebra cake with cute floral wreath and monogram, but there are a number of cakes that are pure Sharon Wee with a delightful Super Miss Sunshine cake with a city skyline, sun a balancing superhero and the Fly Away Bunny Cake with a sweet stripe cake and bunny holding a balloon.

You'll love learning the little tricks of the trade that Sharon shares as she shows how to make these cakes.


Adorable Cakes for All Occasions contains a fantastic basics section on covering cakes, cake structure, a number of recipes and of course the actual cake designs with easy to follow picture instructions (see example below).

Plus there are a number of smaller cake and treat recipe and instructions included as well


One of the things I really liked about the book, well apart from that super cute Zebra cake, was how many of the creations did not require the purchase of special equipment. Sharon shows how to decorate many of the cakes using basic cake decorating tools which will probably have many of us (and our credit cards) sighing in relief.

The book can be purchased on line from Sharon Wee Creations in hard copy or PDF form CLICK HERE.

UPDATE 20 June 2014  - Giveaway closed winner JESS has been emailed

Plus one lucky Bubble and Sweet reader has the chance to win a signed copy or Adorable Cakes for All Occasions - Yay.


Entry via rafflecopter, no purchase necessary.Giveaway open internationally for 1 signed copy of Adorable Cakes for All Occasions by Sharon Wee creations. Terms and conditions are detailed in the rafflecopter.

UPDATE 20 June 2014  - Giveaway closed winner JESS has been emailed

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

I received a copy of the book Adorable Cakes for All Occasions for the purpose of this review, however the post is not sponored. Pictures property of Sharon Wee Creations please do not reuse without permission. 


Monday, June 2, 2014

One bowl easy mix Raspberry Cinnmon Banana muffins


I do a lot of baking for the kids school treats. No big reveal there I guess. It's generally healthier, I know what it contains and our school is a nut free zone so I am always sure that those muffins or cookies I make myself are ok.

These muffins are one bowl easy mix which I love 'cause less washing and cleaning is always a big tick for me. Plus I know the kids will eat them and the won't come home crushed and all smushed which is an extra big tick in my books.


I can whip up these muffins in a few minutes pop them in the oven and have them ready for a school snack, after school treat or ready to go picnic pack in no time.

Which is pretty much what we did with this batch in the photo's. A tray of muffins, a bottle of pink lemonade a throw and some cushions and we had a picture perfect picnic in under 30 minutes including baking time at our local park.

Quilt and cushions all Greengate purchased at Mollegaarden

This muffin recipe is based on the Bitty Banana Cakes on page 60 of Sweets on a Stick.



Raspberry Cinnamon Banana Muffins makes 12 regular muffins
Replace the raspberries with blueberries or chocolate chips for a delicious variation.

3 very ripe bananas
1 egg
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup oil
1 cup raspberry (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 160C (325F) and line a 12 hole muffin tin with baking papers.

In a large bowl mash the bananas well.

Add all remaining ingredients except the raspberries and mix until just combined.

Gently fold in the raspberries and spoon mixture evenly between the 12 paper cases.

Bake until the top is golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean (around 20 minutes).


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.

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


Monday, May 26, 2014

Pretty pink raspberry macarons


This weekend we had raspberry white chocolate macarons. I know it's a bit of a rehash, I make them all the time, although I haven't included any pictures in the blog for the longest while.


But they are so good and creamy and melt in the melt with a crisp little shell. Well you get the picture.

I guess there is a reason why I make them all the time........


I made up chocolate ones as well, but the pink ones always seem to have my heart. I've popped the recipe below, which is as I said already a revisit of my previous recipe. The filling is right at the bottom, and remember to fill them the day before you need to serve.



Macaron Shells makes around 30 filled macarons
Fill the shells with the filling (included after recipe for shells) at least 1 day before you serve to get the correct consistency. Store in an airtight container in fridge and then bring to room temperature about 30 minutes prior to serving.

190 gram (6 5/8 oz)almond meal (almond flour)
190 gram pure icing sugar (6 5/8 oz powdered sugar)
190 gram granulated sugar (6 5/8 oz)
48 grams water (1 5/8 oz)
140 gram egg whites aged split into 2 lots of 70grams each (5 oz split into 2 lots of 2 1/2oz each)*
food color of choice (I use gel type food color like Wilton)

*ageing egg whites refers to separating the yolks from whites and then leaving the whites to age for a few days. This can be done on the counter if your countries climate permits or in the fridge, wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and then pop a few holes in the top. Alternately you can pop fresh egg whites in the microwave on high for 10 seconds or so - I used the microwave method in this batch pictured.

1. Mix the ground almonds and icing sugar together and pulse a few times in food processor to make almond meal finer. Do not over process as the meal can become oily. Sieve into a large bowl. Add colour and 70g (2 1/2 ounce) of the egg whites to the sugar/almond mixture but don’t mix in.


2. Place remaining 70g (2 1/2 ounce) of egg whites in bowl of mixer fitted with the whisk.

Yup - I really use this super old fashioned thermometer I have had for about 20 years to make my macarons

3. Pop granulated sugar and water into saucepan stir to combine and cook without stirring to 118C (245 F). Brush down the sides with a pastry brush dipped in water as required to avoid the sugar crystallizing. Once the mixture reaches 115C (240 F) start mixing the egg whites on high. Make sure you have a pouring shield on your mixer, when the sugar syrup reaches 118C (245 F)remove from heat and immediately pour in a thin stream down the side of the mixer bowl continuing to whisk on high.

4. Continue to whisk the meringue on high until the side of the bowl is only a little warm to touch, around 50C (120 F).


5. Add meringue mixture to almond mixture and using a large spatula fold the mixture together until it starts to shine and forms a ribbon that disappears back into the mixture after about 20 seconds.



6. Add the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a plain tip (or just cut the end of a disposable piping bag, that's what I do) and pipe in lines onto parchment lined baking sheets. To make the macarons as even as possible I apply a constant slow pressure to the piping bag and count a few numbers like up to 3 for each one.


Waiting to form skins after piping

If your mixture has peaks after you have piped a couple of rows that do now sink back down you macaron mixture needs more mixing. Pop it back in the bowl and mix it a bit more

7. Set aside for about 30 minutes or until the macarons have formed a skin so that the macaron mixture does not stick to your finger when gently touched. If the weather is humid this step may take longer up to 2 hours. I pop on the aircon if it's humid at my house.

Baking in the oven. The macarons will rise after a few minutes in the oven and develop a frilly foot
Eeek- can you see some of those less than perfect under mixed mac's in the back  that I pointed out 
in the previous picture - they do not have a flat shiny top. That's so not mac-cool

8. Meanwhile preheat oven to 140C (285 F). Once ready bake the macaroons for around 13 to 15 minutes depending on size, it may take longer, all ovens are different. If they are baked and you gently push on the side the tops will not move, if the tops do move do bake for another minute or 2. Also they should not be browned if they are reduce the heat for the next batch or bake for less time.

9. Once baked remove the baking trays and immediately slide off the macarons and the parchment onto the work surface and let cool completely before removing the shells.

10. Once cooled match disks into like sizes and sandwich together using the ganache.

Raspberry White Chocolate Filling


To make ganache melt white chocolate with cream in the microwave and mix gently until combined, use a ration of 3:1, so for example 360 grams white chocolate to 120 grams cream, sorry guys I measure as I already have the scales out and I can't be bothered messing up a liquid measuring jug :) Add some pink gel color and raspberry flavor to taste.



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.

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