Monday, 30 September 2013

Mallow Crisp Delight No Bake Recipe

It's been my first official week of uni. This is my final year, so better make this one count. After studying hospitality management for most of my adult life (I know 16 is meant be adult but I was still in childish mode) and when it comes down to one last year.
One year. Just one more year! One mind imploding, coursework writing, all nighters, handing the stupid essay in right before the undergraduate centre closes to the minute panic moments.
And I haven't even mentioned the ridiculous exams.
The pressure is on. The pressure is most assuredly on. But when its all said and done I'll be coming out with a shiny degree and I get to throw one of those hats that you wear for graduation. I call them frisbee hats but I think there called 'mortar boards'.
Back to to the subject in question, im a little under pressure (yeah you've mentioned that) but not to worry I'll be delivering the goods (baked) on here when I can because as said before, for me, baking is a good stress outlet. Also its fun and yummy. Can't beat that combo. So all in all I will be posting still.

Then it struck. It hit me suddenly. I got a cold. I'm not a sicky person but when I get ill, its just awful. So I haven't been able to get into the baking spirit this week, because no one wants to be baking and then you get snot bungee out your nose! Gross image. Yuk. 

Moving on very swifly! As I promised so long ago for a no bake recipe. I finally typed it out with some time to spare to sit in bed and sneeze in between researching about GM foods for a university assignment... here's that recipe:

This recipe was one of those recipes: "that you make up as you go" and so its all about being creative and using common sense. This is why there is a lack of pictures because we had to move fast to get this batch ready to out on display at work. 

Recipe Name: Mallow Crisp Delights (Recipe created by Louisa L and Penny H) 

For the Squares: Makes about 12
·        600g Mini Marshmallows
·        150g butter (plus a little extra for greasing)
·        510g Rice Cereal
·        Assorted chocolate buttons (we used a mix of milk and dark chocolate)
·        Your choice of decorations-more chocolate buttons, melted chocolate. Anything you like.
Equipment needed:
  •  Flat tin greased with butter or oil (foil works as well but is fiddley to get the squares off)
  • Bowl x2
  • Wooden spoon
  • Microwave
  • Sharp Knife
1.     Line a flat tin sheet with foil or grease with oil or butter.
2.     Put the cereal into 2 separate bowls.
3.     Melt half of the mini marshmallows and half of the butter in the microwave in an appropriate bowl for 30 second bursts or until you have a gooey marshmallow mess.
4.     Very quickly pour the marshmallow butter mix into one of the bowls of cereal and mix with a spoon until completely coated.
5.     Pour this into the lined flat tin sheet and flatten with a spoon.
6.     Scatter the chocolate buttons on top of the marshmallow cereal. This will create a layer of chocolate.
Step 7. Repeat steps 3-5 to get a really nice layer of marshmallow
7.     Repeat steps 3-5, so you have a layer of marshmallow on top of the chocolate buttons. (So it should be marshmallow cereal layer/ chocolate buttons/ marshmallow cereal-3 layers in total)
Step 8. Decorate to your liking
8.     Put your choice of decorations on top. Smarties, more marshmallows, glitter, jelly babies, more chocolate buttons. We opted for more melted chocolate, lightly drizzled on top.
9.  Score lines into mallow treats with a knife. So you should have even mallow squares (we got about 12 squares). Don’t cut all the way through. This makes it easier to get the squares out of the tin more easily. 
10.  Let the squares set for about 2 hours and cut into squares and stuff your face!

Have a good week baking lovers (Oh and are you watching GBBO? Dont forget to tune in!)

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Bake On! Penny x

Friday, 20 September 2013

Classic Mini Vanilla Cupcakes

Its back to school time, and the weather is slowly changing from the mildly warm summer (we dont get hot weather in the UK), to the autumn (or fall to the USA readers). I think what I'm trying to say is that its time for adapting and changing. I had to adapt and pretend I was completely confident and that I was not nervous or panicky. I recently had to do a presentation on what I've been up to during my placement year. 

I didn't have an epic placement year. I swapped placements 3 times and felt like a failure for swapping so many times, I found that the last placement in an office worked out in the end and I completed my patisserie course. I wouldn't have been able to complete the course unless I moved around. So talking about a placement year that didn't start out great but ended well, was a little nerve racking. 

Standing in front of people who you may not understand where your'e coming from was awful and during the presentation my legs were shaking. 

I worried for nothing. People understood what I went through and they did enjoy the presentation. More importantly I got a little clap at the end. I think that the fact I brought in some mini cakes helped my case. 

Deciding on the 'keep it simple' theme, I choose the classic vanilla cupcakes. You can't go wrong with a classic. I got quite a few compliments on the cute-ness and the delicious-ness of the cupcakes so I was pleased. 
Oh and the presentation went well! Thank-you for those who listened to the presentation. 

Recipe-Makes 48 (Adapted from Cupcakes from Primrose:
·       110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
·       225g golden caster sugar
·       2 large eggs
·       150g self raising flour, sifted
·       125g plain flour, sifted
·       120ml semi-skimmed milk at room temperature
·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·       110g unsalted butter
·       60ml semi-skimmed milk
·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·       500g icing sugar, sifted
To decorate:
·       A colour paste of your choice
·       Sprinkles and decorations
·       Wooden spoon/ spatula
·       Bowl x 3
·       Jug/ small bowl
·       2 x Mini Muffin tray lined with 48 mini cupcake cases  
·       Piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle/ palette knife
·       Teaspoon
1.    Pre-heat the oven to 160c fan/180c/350f/Gas Mark 4 and line the mini muffin trays with cupcake cases.
Step 2. Butter and sugar until pale and smooth.
2.    In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar until pale and smooth.
3.  Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until combined.   
Step 4. Combine the two flours and milk and vanilla extract
4. Combine the two flours in a separate bowl and combine the milk, and vanilla extract in a jug. Add one-third of the flours to the creamed mixture and beat well.
Step 5. The completed cake batter
5.    Pour in one-third of the milk mixture and beat again. Repeat these steps until all the flour and milk has been added.
Step 5. Fill the cupcake cases
6.    Carefully spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them to about two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until slightly raised and golden brown.
7.    Remove from the oven and leave the cakes in their tins for about 10 minutes before carefully placing on a wire rack to cool. Once they are completely cool, you can ice the cupcakes.
Step 7. Wait until completely cold to ice
8.    To make the buttercream, in a large bowl beat the butter, milk, vanilla extract and half the icing sugar. I did this with a spatula and it took about 5 minutes with loads of elbow grease!

9.    Gradually add the rest of the icing sugar until the buttercream is incorporated, smooth and creamy. 

 These were a real hit in the classroom, it would have been weird if I took photos of people eating. I used confetti sprinkles, glitter sugar, and oreo's to decorate but you can use whatever you want. 

Anyway my main message in this post is no matter what's going on around you, don't lose your confidence and smile. It's not as bad as it seems.
Have a good weekend!

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Bake On! Penny x

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Salted Caramel Cupcakes and My 'Primrose Friwend'

A couple of days ago I went to one of my favourite haunts in London with my friend Lauren. Both being keen bakers, we always get a buzz when we go into bakeries and moonch our way through cakes and sweets. One of our favourite haunts?
Primrose Bakery in Covent Garden. 2 cappucinos and 2 cupcakes later, we saw something that we had to have.

No it wasn't the uber cute cupcake grey jumpers that the bakeries sell, its not that cold in the UK yet. Nor the sweet aprons, we both have lovely aprons. No. It was a Primrose Bakery KeepCup. We saw it and we wanted it! Both being coffee buffs as well as cupcake buffs, we both had the same thought:
Its so damn cute and it carries coffee. I am willing to pay anything to have one. 
So we walked out with a Primrose Bakery KeepCup and a free coffee which was a nice bonus as well. We now have a running joke of being: Primrose Friwends (You must say it in a silly voice and holding up your coffee mug/cup/shoe) 

Getting back to the post however, we both have excellent tastes of course, so we both got the same cupcakes. (You know the saying about great minds, there mental.) Salted Caramel Cupcakes. Wow... they were just yum... yet it was something I've never thought to make.

As mentioned in a previous post, I'm officially qualified check out the picture below. Aren't you all so proud? 
To celebrate I made something I never tried before and now am a little obsessed with. Salted caramel cupcakes. I've made caramel, but never tried to incorporate it into a cupcake or cake. The most trickiest part is making the caramel. 
With caramel there is always a burn risk as well as burning the caramel and wasting the ingredients. This caramel may take a couple of attempts, especially if your not familiar with making something like this. So here's the warning: Don't be silly enough to walk away from the caramel or have small children in the kitchen because they expect you to share the food.  

Recipe: Makes 12 cupcakes (Recipe adapted from Making Cupcakes with Lola)
·       250g plain flour, sifted
·       1 teaspoon baking powder
·       ¼ teaspoon sea salt
·       125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
·       185g light brown sugar
·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·       2 eggs
·       150 ml natural yoghurt
Salted Caramel
·       180g golden caster sugar
·       90g unsalted butter
·       120ml double cream
·       250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
·       75ml milk
·       730g icing sugar, sifted
·       7 tablespoons of the salted caramel sauce (This seems like a lot but I really like a rich caramel frosting. Taste as you go when it comes to this frosting)
·       A little sea salt, to taste.
·       Chocolate sprinkles, if you like!
·       Large heavy-based saucepan
·       Electric whisk/ Wooden spoon
·       Bowl
·       Jug/ small bowl
·       Sieve
·       Teaspoon
·       Muffin tray lined with 12 cupcake cases  
·       Whisk
·       Piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle/ palette knife
1.    Pre-heat the oven to 180c/350f/Gas Mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.
2.    Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Step 3. Butter, sugar and vanilla beaten together
3.    Put the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until pale and fluffy.
Step 4. Add the eggs one at a time. 
4.    Add the eggs one at a time. Beating well after each addition.
Step 5. Completed batter
5.    Add the sifted dry ingredients and natural yoghurt in alternate batches mixing after each addition, until combined.  
Step 6. fill the cases 2/3 full
6.    Carefully spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, filling them two-thirds full. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until slightly raised. To check they are cooked, insert a skewer in the centre of one of the cakes-it should come out clean.
7.    Remove from the oven and carefully place on a wire rack to cool.
Salted Caramel filling:
Step 1. Don't stir just swirl
1.    Scatter the sugar evenly over the base of a heavy based saucepan and set over a medium heat. DON’T BE TEMPTED TO STIR. If you want to check how the sugar is doing, give the pan a swirl around once and a while.
2.    Once the sugar has melted and the colour has gone a light amber colour, remove from the heat.
3.    Add the butter and cream and whisk thoroughly until combined.
4.    Transfer the mixture into a jug or bowl to help the sauce cool down faster.
1.    To make the buttercream, put the butter into a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or electric hand whisk until soft.
Step 2. Add the salted caramel to the icing mix
2.    Add the salted caramel sauce you've just made and then beat in the icing sugar. Beat on a low speed using an electric whisk or use a wooden spoon.
Step 3. Add the milk until well combined
3.    Add the milk in until well combined and add a little salt if you like, for taste.  
To Finish
1.    Once the cupcakes are completely cold, make a hole in the middle with a teaspoon.
2.    Fill in the hole with some of the caramel sauce. Place a portion of the cake back on top of the filling.

3.    Spread or pipe the buttercream on top of the cupcakes. To finish off, drizzle some of the caramel sauce and sprinkle some chocolate decorations. 

There is nothing like the sweet salty taste of a caramel cupcake. I did share these with my loved ones (they saw them so I couldn't eat them all myself. Remember this Lauren: PENNY DOESN'T SHARE FOOD!!! So I was a little ticked I had to share). I also gave some to my good friend Lauren, because it would be cruel if I didn't. Especially if I posted this and she read it and was like:
    "Ahh! She made them and didn't share! This is unacceptable! No more nice cakes for you then!!
    So Lauren you shall be forever known as my 'Primrose Friwend'. I'm not even sorry. :D
    Bake on!

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Bake On! Penny x

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Good News All Around!

Hello fellow baking lovers. Well sadly there's no recipe today. There will be a recipe coming up in the next few days, so keep an eye for it. I have returned to London for a few days to see some friends, eat some food and be a general pain to the population.

I have nothing but all good news! Recently I've been interviewed the the website Gourmandize UK, which can be read here. How amazingly cool is that?! I've never be interviewed for anything before  so I'm thrilled (apart from that police thing...(I haven't be interviewed by the police, it was a stupid attempt to be funny. Did it work?)). I'm absolutely buzzing about this. Also if you've read the interview, I apologise to my boyfriend about the comment about Misha Collins being a yummy dish (its true however).
Sweetie you are also a yummy dish. Don't get jealous. :D

Also some more amazing news, I've just received my patisserie certificate! I'm now officially qualified!

Look at this!
I think I deserve a crown for that! 

Also today (4th September 2013, 9:20am. I thought I would tell you the time because I'm up super early. Thats an achievement in itself.) I'm also Gourmandize UK's blogger of the day! Here's the proof:
See? Here's the proof!!!

So lets recap:

  1. I'm blogger of the day on Gourmandize UK.
  2. I got an interview with Gourmandize UK.
  3. I have a level 2 patisserie certificate.
  4. I also drew a picture that isn't half bad.
Have a happy Wednesday baking fans!
Also, here's a doodle that I doodled for you to enjoy. It features me me with my baking crown and my friend Sofia putting me straight. 
Thanks Sofia for letting me doodle you!

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Bake On! Penny x
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