New Baking Bits and Bobs

I recently splurged a little bit on a few new baking items. As you may already know ( if the name of my blog doesn’t give it away) I really enjoy a spot of baking and getting creative in the kitchen. I love browsing all of the cooking and baking items online as well as in the shops, Lakeland has to be my favourite place to do this. I swear I could spend all my whole monthly wage in that shop!

First of all I bought a set of five cake tins from Amazon. I thought it was a good deal, and I really did need a new set. These are brilliant if you are planning on making a tiered cake. They have a removable base which I find makes it easier for removing the cake from the tin. They were cheap and cheerful from Amazon. I did originally buy them for £19.99 however they have since gone up in price slightly.

The next two products are only small, however I feel like the cake tester is a must in any kitchen. I always remember my Gran having one just like the one I purchased. Before getting this handy tool I’d always use a sharp knife to test the centre of the cake to see if it was ready. However I found it tended to take a chunk out of the cake. The cake tested I got it quite slim so I find it’s very discreet doesn’t make a mark on the cake.

I always picked up a bourbon biscuit cookie cutter. Bourbon biscuits are my fiancés favourite, and so I really wanted to have a go making my own at home. I’ll be posting a recipe soon to let you all know how they turned out.

I’m slowly building my own library of cooking and baking books, and I just recently added two new ones to my collection. Of course a GBBO book is a must, and I was so delighted to be gifted this at Christmas. It’s full of gorgeous must try recipes from last years bake off, and also features a few of Mary Berry’s.

One bakery I would love to visit is the Hummingbird Bakery. I love watching vloggers in London going to visit and try all the scrumptious cakes. This is the second of their books that I have and I can’t wait to try out a few bakes from this book as the last were foolproof!

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Pavlova

This Christmas it was my turn to be in charge of the desserts. I love doing this for my family, and each year I want to get more creative.

I decided to go for a traditional apple crumble for Christmas Eve, and then a Pavlova for Christmas Day. Truth be told this was my first time ever making Pavlova, but I’m very happy with how it turned out, and even more about how easy it was to make.

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

How to: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C, and line a large baking sheet with grease-proof paper. Using a pencil, place a large dinner plate onto the paper and trace the circumference.
  2. Whisk the egg whites with a hand mixer or stand mixer until they form stiff peaks, then whisk in the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until the meringue looks glossy. Whisk in the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla.
  3. Spread the meringue inside the circle, creating a crater by making the sides a little higher than the middle. Bake for 1 hour, then turn off the heat and let the Pavlova cool completely inside the oven until room temperature.

To top it all off:

I whipped up one large pot of double cream and spooned the mixture onto the centre of the pavlova. I decided to go a little different with the topping and add a mixture of raspberries and blackberries, and add a drizzle of a fruit coulis- I was in Sainsbury’s the night before so I picked up the Mango & Passionfruit Coulis- which surprisingly went really well!

The thing I love about Pavlova is that you can get creative and add a variety of different toppings, and at the end of the day it will still look amazing!

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Instagram

Hello everyone!

I just thought I would write a quick update to let you now that I have started using my Instagram account again for Baking and Bobby Pins. I feel that it is a brilliant platform to share blog posts and discover other bloggers. I’ll also be posting about what I’m up to day to day and lots of coffee/tea/cake photos- sorry in advance!

Please share your Instagram accounts in the comments below and if you’d like please feel free to give me a follow @bakingandbobbypins.

 

 

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Egg-travagent Shortbread

Happy Easter Weekend everyone!

I got a little creative yesterday in the kitchen after splurging on all things Cadbury and Easter related! I love making tray bakes, and so I thought I would put an Easter twist on the classic Millionaire Shortbread.

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Here is what you’ll need: 

Easter chocolates- I used Cream Eggs and Mini Eggs (my favourite!) 

1/2 bar salted butter 

126g shortbread biscuits (You could also choose to make your own shortbread if you like for the base) 

300g milk chocolate 

100g white chocolate 

1 tin condensed milk 

1 tbsp soft brown sugar 

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Method: 

Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.

Using either a food processor, or a good old rolling pin and plastic bag, break up the shortbread until there are no large chunks.

Melt the butter and mix into the crushed shortbread until well combined, and placed into the baking tray and flatten with a spoon.

To make the caramel, pour the condensed milk and brown sugar into a pot over heat, and stir with a wooden spoon constantly until thickened. Pour the caramel over the shortbread and smooth out.

Allow caramel to cool and set before adding the chocolate.

Melt the milk and white chocolate (I use a microwave,  however you can use a bowl over boiling water), and pour over the caramel layer.

Next up is the fun part! Before the chocolate is set, drop a couple of hand fulls of Mini Eggs over the chocolate, followed by a few cut up Cream Eggs. Decorate this part however you like!

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Enjoy!

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Blueberry Banana Bread Recipe

I love banana bread, especially when it’s freshly out the oven. I thought I’d give a little fruity twist on the classic recipe and add fresh blueberries. Let me know what you think!

 

Ingredients 

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour 

1/2 cup granulated sugar 

1/2 packed brown sugar 

3 1/2 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp salt 

3 tsp vegetable oil 

1/3 cup milk (I used semi-skimmed) 

1 egg 

2-3 bananas 

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Method

Pre heat oven to 180°c. Line and grease a loaf tin and set aside. 

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt. 

In a separate bowl mash the bananas. Add in the egg, vegetable oil, and milk and mix until well combined. 

Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until a sticky dough forms. 

Add the blueberries and fold until well combined. 

Pour the dough into the lined tin and pop into the oven for 60 minutes, checking regularly, until golden brown and a metal pick comes out clean. 

Removed from oven and place on a wire wrack until cool. 

Enjoy!! 

 

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12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 12- Gingerbread Bears

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! I thought I would end my 12 Days of Christmas Cookies with how I started… Gingerbread! Gingerbread is so versatile, and you can be as creative as you like with different shapes and decorations. Today, I decided to make these cute gingerbread bears.

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Ingredients 

175g butter or margarine 

175g light muscovado sugar 

2 eggs- beaten 

450g plain flour 

2 tsp baking powder 

2 tbs ground ginger

2 tsp mixed spice 

Your choice of nuts. I used a mixture of almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts. You need one for each bear that you make. 

Method

Pre-head oven to 180°c. Line a flat baking tray with grease-proof paper. 

Combine the plain flour, baking powder and spices together. In a separate bowl, cream the butter/margarine and muscovado sugar together, then add in the beaten egg, mixing well. Finally, add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and stir until a soft smooth dough is formed. Wrap in cling film or grease-proof paper and refrigerate, or roll out on a floured surface straight away. 

Cut out the bear shape from the dough and place them onto the lined baking tray. Place the nut in the middle of the bear, and wrap the arms of the bear around the nut. 

Depending on the thickness of your gingerbread, bake for around 5 minutes, checking on the cookies. 

Once they are baked, remove from the oven and let them cool before decorating. 

I mixed up thick icing and piped eyes, ears and buttons onto the bears for a better effect. 

 

Enjoy!

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Thank you for reading.

Lots of love,

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12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 10- Sugar Cookie Ornaments

This recipe is super versatile. The dough can be used for a variety of cookies. Today I made the dough into Christmas ornaments, fit for your tree!

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Ingredients 

1 1/2 cups softened butter

2 cups caster sugar 

4 eggs 

5 cups plain flour 

2 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp salt 

Method 

Pre-heat oven to 200°c. Line a baking tray with grease0proof paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs to the mixture. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly add in the flour mixture to the liquid mix. 

Cover the dough and chill for at least an hour. 

Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut your desired shapes. 

Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before decorating. 

Mix up your desired icing and decorate as you like! 

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12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 8- Cranberry & Pistachio Biscotti

Biscotti are hard Italian biscuits. They are traditionally made with hazelnut and aniseed but can be flavoured with a variety of other nuts and fruit. Today I made festive biscotti, with flecks of green pistachios and red cranberries, with a sprinkle of icing sugar for added sweetness!

Biscotti are hard and crunchy because they are twice-cooked (‘bis’ is Italian for twice and ‘cotti’ for cooked).

Give them a go and let me know what you think!

 

Ingredients 

4 tbs olive oil 

150g caster sugar

2 tsp maple syrup 

2 eggs 

225g plain flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

Dried cranberries

Pistachios (shelled)

 

Method 

Pre-heat oven to 150°c. Line flat baking tray with grease-proof paper. 

Mix together the oil and sugar, then beat in the eggs and maple syrup. In a separate bowl mix together the plain flour, salt and baking powder, and then gradually stir into the liquid mixture. 

Once the dough is formed, divide in half, and then wet your hands with cool water, as this will make handling the sticky dough a bit easier. Mould the dough into two log shapes and place onto the baking tray. 

Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 140°c. Use a sharp knife and cut the log into thick diagonal slices, and lay them on their sides. Place back into the oven for about 8-10 minutes to allow them to dry and crisp up. 

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12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 6- Grinch Cookies

I was so tempted to keep this recipe until Day 12, but I was far too excited to share my all time favourite Christmas movie inspired bake!

These Grinch green cookies are complete with a candy cinnamon heart that definitely is ‘two sizes too small’!

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Ingredients 

170g butter

170g plain flour 

57g icing sugar

57g custard powder 

green food colouring- I used a gel type so I didn’t need to use as much. (Add as much until you get the colour you like.)

icing sugar for dusting

small candy hearts (if you cannot get these then you can always make sugar paste hearts) 

 

Method 

Pre heat oven to 175°c. Line a flat baking tray with grease proof paper. 

Mix all ingredient together in a bowl. Roll the dough into small balls and place equally spaced onto the baking tray. 

Bake for around 10 minutes, checking frequently, or until golden brown at the edges (this may be difficult to tell due to the cookies being green!) 

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a little bit before dusting them in icing sugar. Last, but not least, gently press the candy heart into the centre of the cookie.

 

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12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 5- Linzer Biscuits

This was my first time baking these lovely spiced Austrian biscuits. I have put a slight twist on the recipe so apologies if it is not very traditional!

The Linzer Biscuit originates from Linz, an Austrian city. Linz is home of the Linzertorte, which is a rich tart filled with preserves. The Linzer Biscuit is a variation on the Linzertorte which differs as it is cut into cookie shapes and the top cookie has small cut out with exposes the sandwiched jam in between the biscuits.

Today I decided to go for a star shape with a heart cut out. But you can create any shape that you like.

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Ingredients 

1 pound butter (room temp)

1 cup granulated sugar 

1 tbs maple syrup 

3 1/2 cups plain flour 

1/4 tsp salt 

1 egg 

1 tsp cinnamon 

3/4 cup good quality raspberry preserve 

Icing sugar for dusting 

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Method 

Pre heat oven to 180°c, and line a flat baking tray with grease-proof paper. 

Cream the butter and sugar together until well blended. Add in the maple syrup and the egg until combined. In a separate bowl, sift together the cinnamon, salt and flour. Combine the dry ingredients into the butter and sugar mixture and mix until a soft dough is formed. 

Wrap the dough in cling-film and allow to chill for around 1/2 an hour. 

Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out your desired shapes.

Place the cut outs onto the baking tray and bake for around 20 minutes until edges begin to brown. 

Remove from the oven and once cool, place some raspberry preserve onto the base biscuit and top it off with the cut out biscuit. Finally, dust your Linzer Biscuits with a sprinkle of icing sugar. 

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Enjoy!

 

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