Sunday, July 31, 2016

Chocolate macarons and last chance to win nestle giveaway


I've started to bake macarons again and it's taking a little bit of getting used to. In my old kitchen I could whip out a batch of perfect macs with next to no thought or effort, but at the moment sharing a kitchen and with a different oven than I am used to I find that the little distractions impact my final result.

This batch I forgot to add in my egg whites with the almond and icing sugar, I was mixing away and after a few seconds I realised it was quite thick and I was not going to achieve the correct consistency. Just a touch too late I remembered my extra egg whites, and although I added them in I found the mixture was a little bit too bubbly.


Although they were ok, I just wasn't completely happy with them. The crisp outside was a little bit too thin for my tastes and the feet collapsed a little.

But to tell the truth I did find them more like a well known french patisserie so perhaps I am onto something ;)


You can use Nestle Bakers Choice chocolate chunks to add into your ganache to fill the macarons and you can dust the macarons with a little bit of cocoa like mine to get the same rustic look. Click HERE for my macaron recipe if you would like to make your own.

Also remember there is still one more day let for the #BakeItYours #NestleBakersChoice giveaway. You can enter for free in my rafflecopter giveaway below. Entry for Australian residents only over 18 years of age.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, mother, owner of The Biscuit Cafe and author of the children's cookbook Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! Published in the US in 2011 the book is still available online at Amazon and other online book stores.

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

I love when people share my blog ideas and give credit. All posts contain original ideas, photography and recipes by Linda Vandermeer-McCubbin unless otherwise credited. Please feel free to link back to my blog for non commercial purposes.

I was sent a box of nestle product to assist in the development of recipes for this blog post. No sponsorship or financial incentive was received.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

White Chocolate and Caramel Brownie Recipe and a giveaway

White Chocolate and Caramel Brownies - recipe at below

I'm back home living with my parents whilst my new house undergoes some renovations.

So when I received a box of goodies from Nestle to join in the #Bakeityours challenge instead of reaching for the chocolate like I normally would I decided to make something with white chocolate and add in one of my dad's favourite lollies Jersey Caramels to come up with a treat he would appreciate.


The resulting brownies were dense and a little chewy which I liked and quite sweet. I think they improved after a day losing some of the initial sweetness and improving in texture.

Anyway onto the reason Nestle sent out the box of goodies is to let y'all know they have a new Nestle Bakers' Choice range. I like the suggestions on the front of the packets that say things like 'for coating and decorating' or 'for adding and pouring' and found the white chocolate to be quite a nice creamy texture which melted quite easily.

To help celebrate this they have offered Bubble and Sweet Australian readers the chance to win a lovely baking package valued at around $100 which includes products from the new Bakers' Choice range and and some baking products. Enter below using rafflecopter (Entry only available to Australian Residents aged 18 and over no purchase necessary):

You can enter up to 3 times, however you do not need to follow all 3 steps for your entry to be valid.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of luck



White Chocolate and Caramel Brownies
(makes 12 store in air tight container in fridge for up to 3 days) Wilton 195 piping tip used for decorating.

150 g ( 5 1/4 oz) butter
200 g ( 7 oz) white chocolate
3 eggs lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 2/3 cup plain flour
220 g (7 3/4 oz) Jersey Caramels chopped
Whipped jersey caramel topping (see below)
6 Jersey Caramels cut into half extra for decorating

Line a rectangle slice tray approx 18cm x 28cm ( &" x 11") with baking paper

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F)

Melt butter and white chocolate in a microwave safe dish for 2 minutes on medium low heat. Mix (the mixture will not be soft yet) and then heat for another 2 minutes at medium low heat. Whisk until no lumps remain.

Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until just combined.

Fold through the flour and then the jersey caramels and spread the mixture into the prepared tray.

Bake for 30 minutes until the brownie is golden and cooked through in the middle.

Cut into triangles and pipe a dollop of whipped ganache into the middle of each brownie and top with half a jersey caramel.

Jersey Caramel whipped ganache topping

5 jersey caramels
1/2 tsp water
100 g (3 1/2 oz) white choc
25 g (7/8oz) cream

Melt the jersey caramels and water for 60 seconds at low rest and stir and then heat for another 60 seconds in the microwave and mix until smooth.

Melt the white chocolate and cream together at medium low heat 2 minutes and mix until smooth. Add in the melted caramel mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

Whip with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.



Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, mother, owner of The Biscuit Cafe and author of the children's cookbook Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! Published in the US in 2011 the book is still available online at Amazon and other online book stores.

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

I love when people share my blog ideas and give credit. All posts contain original ideas, photography* and recipes by Linda Vandermeer-McCubbin unless otherwise credited. Please feel free to link back to my blog for non commercial purposes.

I was sent a box of nestle product to assist in the development of recipes for this blog post. No sponsorship or financial incentive was received.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Islands in my dreams that is what they are


I'm dreaming of kitchen islands in the new house.

I've been pinning my self silly with pictures of white light New Hampton style kitchens and sending them to the kitchen designer.

*not my kitchen this is from my pintrest board which links back to Better Homes and Garden

We can do it if I want...... if I have the money and time but that is where I'm falling a teensy bit short at the moment.

Also I am short a lifestyle when my whole life can be on display as I have a real family with active kids and while I like the idea of walking into the house and seeing my amazing kitchen and beautiful living area, the reality will be piles of school shoes, bags and sporting equipment if I don't plan storage accordingly.

Anyhoo that is the subtle but totally worthwhile advice I got from the kitchen designer when we met on site to measure up the space. She came up with some great ideas for a beautiful kitchen with an island which included removing walls and opening up the whole space.

It sounded ah-mazing! Exactly what I wanted for my pin-perfect new house.

But I own a cafe now and I don't have time to run around and make sure the house is camera ready and truthfully I never did, only 2 rooms in the old house ever looked that way most of the time.

So some compromise is going to have to occur.

A few different versions have been drawn up for the new kitchen but in the meantime I'll keep on island dreaming.



Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, mother, owner of The Biscuit Cafe and author of the children's cookbook Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! Published in the US in 2011 the book is still available online at Amazon and other online book stores.

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

I love when people share my blog ideas and give credit. All posts contain original ideas, photography* and recipes by Linda Vandermeer-McCubbin unless otherwise credited. Please feel free to link back to my blog for non commercial purposes.

*this post does not contain my original photography, I have provided a link to the source.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

and then this thing happened.........

I haven't been blogging lately.

Mostly because the blog has always been a reflection of what is happening in my life.

And then this thing happened.........last October my husband of 22 years told me out of the blue and without prior warning he had been seeing someone and was moving in with her that night.

At the time I was floored, we had been living together as husband and wife in all ways and I had no idea, it took me a little while to regroup.

I've shared a few posts since then but because I always share what is happening in my life it felt like the elephant in the room I was avoiding.

It's not really something I wanted to put out there because obviously there are children involved and for their sake I try to deal with the situation with as much grace as possible, But it happened, it's part of my life and it is impacting everything I do.

Hugely and in a positive way as I have decided to turn this situation into an opportunity for me to grow and nurture my needs.

If life gives you lemons

I've sold the family house and although I was sad to see my kitchen and craft area go I am looking forward to creating my own new space in the (much smaller) house I am moving into soon.



I've been spending lots of time with my children, which I always did, but there is a sense of calmness that hasn't been there for a while.

And I've bought a cafe just down the road which is truly so exciting for me.

I hope you can understand my past absence as I have spent time looking after my children and myself and I look forward to continue sharing with you my journey. I hope to share the renovation of my new home and my journey at The Biscuit cafe Springwood.



Linda Vandermeer is a blogger, baker, mother, owner of The Biscuit Cafe and author of the children's cookbook Sweets on a Stick: More Than 150 Kid-Friendly Recipes for Cakes, Candies, Cookies, and Pies on the Go! Published in the US in 2011 the book is still available online at Amazon and other online book stores.

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

I love when people share my blog ideas and give credit. All posts contain original ideas, photography and recipes by Linda Vandermeer-McCubbin unless otherwise credited. Please feel free to link back to my blog for non commercial purposes.