Saturday, 15 February 2014

Anti Valentines Gluten-Free Zombie Cookies

It's a little late in February for a Valentines post but I don't like Valentines so there you go. I like the idea to dress up in red and eatting chocolates and sweets but thats it. I don't fancy overpaying for a meal that costs less any other day, but because its Valentines day its £60 for a sub-par 3 course meal and a cheap glass of plonk wine... Yeah no thanks... 
But I appreciate that people think its a real holiday and people really go above and beyond to celebrate. I made my feelings about Valentines clear last year in this post
Yet last year, I still fell into the trap of making treats for Valentines day. I caved into the pressure!! Damn you Valentines! Actually the truffles and biscuits were very tasty and it was nice to have the boyfriend around to fight over them with as well. 

So what happened this year? The weekend before Valentines I spent with my boyfriend because I have too many university deadlines and we don't really do Valentines. We prefer to make anytime we spend together special rather then just the one day. 
I had spent Valentines weekend alone eating chocolates and baking of course! This year I decided to channel my distaste for Valentines with these horrors:

They want your heart and your brains!!! 

Using the dough recipe and icing recipe on last years Valentine heart biscuits by using Fred biscuit cutters (which I got as an epic Christmas presentThanks Ben and Lucy!) I was able to create some yummy biscuit creations, however they became really wet. At first I thought: Must have made the icing wrong. But I found out that one of my family members had stored the biscuits in a moist environment (it was stored in very cold conservatory). So that's why the biscuits ran but they just look more horrific, which is the look that is really on trend, well it is for zombies. 

My advice when you start these biscuits:
  • Bake your biscuits and make sure they are cold or your icing will warp.
  • While your biscuits are baking draw how you would like to decorate your biscuits. I really went to town with my doodles.
  • Stick with 3-4 colours for your zombies. I used 5 colours and it got fiddley and annoying as I wanted it done by colour 3. 
  • Do one colour at a time, one zombie at a time. I tried to fill in all the greens on all the zombies. That doesn't work and it will cause a mess. This is why 2 batches were made so you had the outlines icing and the filling icing
Recipe: Makes 20 biscuits
  •     125g unsalted butter
  •     125g caster sugar
  •     1 medium egg
  •     1 tsp vanilla extract
  •     250g Doves Farm plain flour, sieved plus a little extra to flour your work surface.

  •     Electric whisk
  •     Bowl
  •     Sieve
  •     Undead Fread Cookie cutters
  •     Speech Bubble cookie cutter (I don't have one so I used a paper template)
  •     Whisk
  •     Cling-film
  •     Baking sheet lined with parchment
  •     Rolling pin
   1.    In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.
   2.    Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix together.
3.    Sift half the flour into the bowl and mix in, then sift in the other half and mix again.
   4.    Knead the dough until smooth, then wrap in cling-film and let it rest in the freezer for an hour at least. 
   5.    Pre-heat your oven to 180c/350f/Gas Mark 4.
   6.    Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to around 4mm thick and cut out into zombie shapes.
   7.    Place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool before decorating.

Recipe: Stiff peak royal icing
  •     1kg icing sugar/confectioners’ sugar
  •     4 medium egg whites
  •     2 tsp lemon juice
  •     Green, blue, black and red food colouring paste (you can leave a little icing white if you prefer)
  •     Electric whisk
  •     Bowl x 5
  •     Sieve
  •     10 disposable piping bags
  •     Scissors
  •     Forks x 5
  •     Toothpick
  •     Tissue
  •     Tablespoons x 5
  •     Zombie decorating sheet
1.    Sift the icing sugar into a bowl.
2.    Add the egg whites and the lemon juice to the icing sugar and mix together for about 5 minutes.
3.    The mix should look smooth and shiny. If it looks a little dry then add one drop of lemon juice and mix for a minute.
4.Once your icing makes a stiff peak put it in 4 clean bowls (5 if you keeping a little white icing).
5. Colour the different bowls different colours using the food colouring. (Leave one of the icing bowls coloured white)
6. Quarter fill, 4 (or 5) of the piping bags with each colour. Snip a small hole in the top of each bag.
7. Take a biscuit and starting from the top centre, pipe an different coloured outlines around the inside edge of the biscuit to the tip of the zombie. 
8.    Make sure there are no holes or missing gaps in the zombies, if there are fill them in with the correct colour.
9.    Once all the zombies have been outlined, add a teaspoon of water to each of the colours until the consistency of each icing is runny. Keep adding water, carefully, until it reaches running consistency but not watery.
10.  Fill each 4 (or 5) more disposable piping bags and cut small holes in the ends.
11.  Flood the inside of the biscuit starting at the edge and zigzagging up and down until completely flooded.
12. Once your speech bubbles are completely dry (AND ONLY WHEN COMPLETELY DRY!!) write your beloved a message.

Messages such as:
I love you for your brains
I fancy a bie... out of you...
Want dinner...want you!! BRAINS!

You can be very creative with this of course.

Happy Valentines!
Bake On! Penny x

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Dancing around at Disco Soup

 I forgot to put this video up on the blog a while back. Remember when I said I also write for Slow Food on Campus Portsmouth's Blog? No I dont remember either, but I often do a couple of write up and I took part in their Disco Soup event which you can read about fully here. Its so cringey to watch because I'm wearing no make-up and I'm all hot from kitchen heat, but it was a good laugh! 

Have a good Valentines (even if you hate it as much as I do)

Bake On! Penny x

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Volunteering, Cupcakes and Slow Food

Last Wednesday I went out for Slow Food on Campus Portsmouth to help out with the Volunteering In Portsmouth (VIP) Baking Event for the Elderly. (There's me in purple in the right hand corner) 

 Essentially the idea was teach people how to decorate using fondant and buttercream. It was very rewarding and great meeting new people as well! It was a fun day for everyone and we got some great designs including a Dr Who Tardis!! 
We were practicing make buttercream. We gave out handouts which featured basic vanilla cupcake.

I have to say a big thank-you to VIP and Slow Food for the opportunity. Oh and an even bigger thank-you to Chef Will I would have been all over the place if it wasn't for him! (Hes the super tall one)

The point of this post is to highlight that doing one good thing can not only brighten up your day but the people around you as well. The whole group had fun! If you get a offer like this, you take it!

Bake On!

Bake On! Penny x
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