Monthly Archives: December 2014

My Year in Bakes

Wow… What a year!

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I wonder what 2015 will have in store? 

With my new toy: 

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I’m predicting this will be the year of fudge and nougat!

Watch this space 😉

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Indian Summer

No Indian wedding would be complete without lots of love, laughter, colour and lots and lots of FOOD.

My next few post will be about the treats I made for my brothers wedding over the Summer.

Most of these were made for the dessert table for the ladies mendhi (henna) party.

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some of the mendhi patterns of the night

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Mendhi madness

The gorgeous mendhi was applied by Sheena and Raya, who both did the most beautiful designs and really paid attention to what each person wanted.

And this is dessert table I (with some help of my sisters) did:

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Out of all my baking projects over the last few years this was my favourite and the one I’m most proud of. I was so happy with how it looked when put together and all the different desserts/sweets looked and tasted amazing.

Paisley Cakes
The ‘paisley’ is so common in mendhi patterns. I knew these cakes would go perfectly on my table.

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To make them extra special I painted the flaked almonds gold using food paint before sprinkling on top.

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They looked so beautiful on my cupcake display.

Chocolate Brownie Hearts
I made my normal brownies, plain chocolate flavour in shallow baking sheets (I usually make them in a square cake 20cm tin).

I left the brownies to cool, then using heart cutters cut them out.

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I did want to dip them in melted chocolate and sprinkle edible heart confetti … but ran out of time.

They still looked cute and were the perfect little chocolatey, fudgey morsels.

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Sweet Cones
Ok, no baking involved. But thought I’d include these.

I make these as a thank you gift for our guests.

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I got the cones and curling ribbon from eBay and filled them with marshmellows, jelly sweets, love hearts and lolly pops.

They were really easy to make and made a great gift for kids and adults alike.

The cake pops and individual banofee pies were made by my sister, I made the fruit skewers, and the small crescent and iced cakes were a gift from a friend.

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Chocolate and Caramel Ombre Cake

Chocolate

Caramel

Ombre

Cake

What’s not to love?

This is a family favourite, and I felt it would make a perfect dessert for my families 25th December gathering.

Its a definite crowd pleaser; with a chocolate, vanilla, caramel and chococaramel layer, there’s something to for everyone. 

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It’s a great way to make a beautiful, impressive ombre cake without all the added food colourings. It’s also suprisingly easy to make.

The different layers are fairly easy to make and aren’t too time consuming. I don’t follow the recipe exactly; I prefer to cream the butter and sugar, whisk in the eggs and fold in the flour to give it a spongier finish.

I also find the chocolate layer to be too dense and stodgy so used this recipe (as a two egg/4 oz recipe) and adjusted the quantities for the vanilla layer (again two eggs/4 oz).

Again decorating the cake is simple, however, the caramel makes the layers really slidey, so I normally use skewers to reinforce it while ganaching.

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Unfortunately, this time my reinforcement didn’t make too much of a difference and after the car journey my cake was renamed ‘leaning tower of Pisa cake’. I didn’t get a chance (or want to) take a photograph of the finished cake, but these are ones I’ve made previously:

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Dream House

Ever since I’ve got into this baking thing… I’ve been telling myself I have to make a gingerbread house.

I absolutely love gingerbread houses. I could spend hours on pintrest looking at the gingerbread mansions/villages/cities.

Feeling inspired by the season (and bakedbyH’s gorgeous house, I can’t believe that’s her first attempt) I decided this was the year and made my template

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I decided to go with a chocolate gingerbread house and used this recipe, substituting 50g of plain flour with cocoa powder. I also added a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and half a teaspoon of all spice.

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Mixing the wet and dry ingredients

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all mixed up and ready to roll

I’m not really sure why but I always thought making gingerbread would be really difficult but the dough was ready pretty quickly and no chilling required.

The dough itself was quite greasy, but the made it easy to roll and no messy/stickydough fingers.

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I decided my house had to have windows and used hardboiled sweets to fill the heart cutouts.

Some of the houses I’d found online had the most beautiful stain glass windows and I really wanted to recreate them (ambitious much?!).

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Unfortunately, I’m a proper weakling, and didn’t get very far bashing my sweets with a rolling pin, so ended up having to put whole sweets of the same colour and hoping for the best.

I left the them to bake for 5mins longer than advised just to make sure they wouldn’t be too soft.

After taking them out while still fingerburning hot, I cut around the templates as the dough had spread abit during baking.

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My Windows worked... Yay

I decorated the pieces before constructing the house. I used royal icing, jelly tots and some white chocolate heart sprinkles.

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And chocolate buttons to make a slate effect for the roof

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Now the scary bit…construction….

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I piped stiff royal icing and held the pieces in place until slightly set, and reinforced it with more royal icing along the joints from the inside and outside.

I wanted mine to look like my dream house from when I was a kid, unfortunately, my artistic abilities are still the same as when I was a kid.

And this is what I ended up with

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I would definitely live in that house! But will be happy to just eat it for now.

As the house I made was smaller than the one on the recipe, I used the extra dough to make cookies, which gave me an opportunity to use my new ‘baked by maryam’ stamp 😁.

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Mini Tiramisu Cakes

I’m really enjoying the repeats of Lorraine Pascales ‘Baking Made Easy’ on Food Network. She makes everything look so easy.

I’ve taken it as a sign that the episode where she makes these Mini Tiramisu Cakes is always on, and decided with my coffee by my side to give them a go. 

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I really need to stop listening to my mug

Ingredients:

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After preparing the batter, rather than using a muffin tin/muffin cases, I used my Lakeland Mini Sandwich Tin as I wanted to make them look like miniature cakes not cupcakes.

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There was, however, plenty of batter left over, so I made 6 cupcakes out of it.

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While the cakes were cooling I made the filling (substituting the marsala for a few spoons of coffee dissolved in water, also, if you are piping instead of scooping the filling … 350g of mascarpone should be enough..I had loads left over and made some trifles with the amaretti biscuits). And the syrup, which started of quite watery but thickens as it cools.

Once cool enough I cut them in half (and also had a little try, a really moist cake with a none overwhelming coffee flavour.  Unfortunately the Amaretti seemed to soften/dissolve into the cake, however, you could taste the almond) and brushed syrup over both halves.

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Once fully cooled, time to fill.  Lorraine uses an ice cream scoop and puts a huge dollop of the mascarpone to sandwich the two halves.  I felt that was too much and decided to pipe.

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And to finish a dusting of icing sugar:

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I was really impressed by these, a really good cake made super moist by the syrup and with the mascarpone filling with it soft bits of Amaretti biscuits it tastes just like Tiramisu.

Biscoff Brownie Slices

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After making the Peanut Butter Brownie Slices I started to think about what other combinations I could do. 

Biscoff was an obvious choice.  Biscoff is a biscuit spread. The biscuits are Speculoos; a spiced caramel biscuit popular in Belgium and the Netherlands. It always reminds me of my chocolate and waffle filled holiday there last year.

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Maison Dandoy - a gorgeous biscuit shop in Brussels which specialises in Speculoos, the moulds in the picture are used to make traditional biscuits

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Biscoff is fast becoming as popular as Nutella and is sold in most supermarkets and also recently spotted near the huge jars of Nutella at my local crepe stand.

To make the Biscoff layer I melted 400g of Crunchy Biscoff with 300g of milk chocolate and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter over a water bath. Once melted and mixed until incorporated the mixture was poured over the brownie in the tin.

Everything else is the same as the peanut butter brownie slices, however, this time for the brownie I used caster sugar as I wasn’t sure how strong the Biscoff flavour would be and didn’t want the caramelly/fudgy brownie to mask the flavour.

I can’t decide which ones I found more delicious, these or the peanut butter brownies.

Maybe I should make another batch of both to help me decide? 😉

Peanut Butter Brownie Slices

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The only good thing about my daily commute is it gives me time to dribble over yummy recipes and give me inspiration on what to make next.

I recently found this amazing website after finding Manuela/Passion for Baking on instagram, her pictures are amazing and her website doesn’t disappoint. I saw these Crispy Peanut Butter Bars but wasn’t really feeling the rice krispy base but knew they’d make an awesome topping for my super fudgy brownies.

I also found a recipe on Baking Mad which makes brownies even fudgier and more amazing. I decided to give the Muscavado sugar a go, especially considering how it made a huge difference in my chocolate cake. But I stuck to the Jamie Oliver recipe as I know the quantities work perfectly.

For the brownies:
Melt 250g unsalted butter and 200g dark chocolate over a water bath(I use store own brand/Bourneville as I find the high cocoa chocolate too rich)
Sieve 80g cocoa powder/65g plain flour/1teaspoon baking powder and 360g dark muscavado sugar and mix to combine
Add the butter/chocolate and mix
Add 4 large eggs and mix
Bake for 30-40mins at 160degrees. Leave in tin to cool (I use a 20cm square cake tin)

For the peanut butter ganache (dribble):
Melt 300g of milk chocolate with 400g peanut butter together in a water bath, mixing until smooth and fully combined.
I used Diary Milk and smooth peanut butter.
Pour over the brownie in the tin and leave to cool. Once cool place in the fridge for 2hrs to set.
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Chocolate layer:
Melt 220g dark chocolate with 115g unsalted butter and a teaspoon of liquid glucose over a water bath.
Mix until fully incorporated and smooth. Leave to cool, and once cool pour over set peanut butter layer.
Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
I ran out of dark chocolate so did a 50:50 mix of Dairy Milk to Bourneville.
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Remove from tin and cut into squares…. and eat 😀

O M G!

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Amazing…super fudgy brownie with a caramelly flavour, smooth peanut butter truffle (mmmmm) with a shiny chocolate coating!

These are very rich, I cut them into 25 pieces which were just the right size, and perfect if you are on the greedy side as they look small 🙂

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