This has got to be the simplest shortbread recipe I have ever had the pleasure of making. It takes all of 10 minutes to prepare and another 30 minutes until you can eat your heart out, they taste fantastic and freeze extremely well, what more could you ask for? I am told these are a Lebanese shortbread, not sure where the Lovers shortbread comes from.
Folks, you really must make a batch of these, we used walnuts but you can make them without anything on top, with almonds or even a little dollop of your favourite jam. I reckon these are going to become very popular. Makes 2 dozen large short bread bisciuts.
What you need
375g salted butter
1 cup icing sugar
3 cups cake flour
2 heaped teaspoons baking powder
Walnuts, cherries or whatever you are going to top them off with.
Lots of icing sugar to sprinkle on top
Heat your oven to 190 Celsius.
In a large mixing bowl, add the butter and then pop it into the microwave for about 30 seconds or so. You want it to be soft enough to beat with an electric beater.
Add the icing sugar and beat it very well on high for about 5 minutes until it becomes very pale and creamy, almost white.
No toss in the flour and baking powder in 3 portions mixing after each addition.
Thats it, now all you need to do is form little balls of the mixture, roll them gently in your hand (yes round balls), place them on your baking sheet, press a little hole in the top with your finger and fill the hole with a nut, a lttle jam or even a piece of chocolate.
Pop them in the oven for about 7-10 minutes and then turn off the oven and leave them inside for another 15-20 minutes.
If you notice some of them browning on top you can open the oven to let out some of the heat and close it up again. We made batches that were very pale that melt in your mouth and also had some browned ones that were more like biscuits with a bit of a crunch that I must confess I enjoyed even more.
Remove them from the oven and allow to cool before covering with a generous amount of icing sugar.
We’ve already posted a recipe this month, but it’s National Baking Week so we decided to take on a challenge. That’s right, we’ve been making
You will need:
125g ground almonds
175g icing sugar
75g caster sugar
… and for the filling:
150g icing sugar
flavouring (we used vanilla extract and coffee)
1. First prepare your baking sheets - draw circles of 3-4cm diameter (we drew around a roll of electrical tape!), with enough space between for your macaroons to expand. Use a thick pen that will be visible from the other side - the mixture will pick up any markings on the paper. 2. Mix together the ground almonds and icing sugar in a bowl. 3. Separate your eggs (try this) and whisk the whites in another bowl until they form soft peaks. Add the caster sugar in 3 or 4 portions, whisking well in between each, until you have a smooth glossy mixture. 4. Time to add your colour! We went for red and purple, so we separated the egg white mixture into two bowls before adding the colouring. Mix well. 5. Add your coloured mixture to the almond mixture (don’t forget to split the almond mixture in half if you’ve used two colours like we did!) Use a spatula to fold the mixtures together, until you have a thick smooth consistency. 6. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag (we just used a sandwich bag with the corner cut off) and pipe into the circles on your baking sheet. MAKE SURE you use the pen-less side! 7. Leave the macaroons at room temperature for about 20 minutes - in the meantime pre-heat the oven to 160. Your macaroons are ready to go in when they’ve become firm, and you can touch the top without the mixture sticking to your finger. 8. Bake for 10-15 minutes (10 for a smaller macaroon, 15 if they’re slightly bigger). When they’ve risen and are firm and dry on the top, they’re done. Cool on a wire rack, then use a palette knife to get them off the baking paper. 9. For the filling, mix icing sugar and softened butter, then add a flavouring. We split the mixture in two, adding vanilla essence to one batch and a few drops of strong coffee to the other. Spread the filling on the underside of one macaroon and sandwich it together with another one.
So there we have it - macaroons. Not the easiest thing we’ve ever baked, but a lot easier than we were expecting (especially for our first try!) Our attempts were hardly the smooth little globes of perfection you can buy in fancy bakeries, but hey. Thankfully we prefer the homemade look - and they taste just as good!
Fall baking - especially when it includes pumpkin - is my absolute favorite, but as I’m in New York and won’t be able to do any of that this year, I decided to go through my old recipes and just reminisce. And share them with you guys, of course.
Mini Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (RECIPE)
Man these are so easy and so delicious you will not be able to wait for them to cool. The great thing about these is that they take just 10 minutes in the oven so if you are having people over just pop them in the oven a few minutes before they arrive and you will treat them to warm fresh cheese muffins. (makes 12)
I also like these with plenty of butter and a something sweet so you will usually find them smothered in marmalade or a jam of some description if they are on my plate. Give these a try, the family will love you no matter what…
What you need
120g sifted flour (1 cup sifted flour)
3 teaspoons baking powder
150g grated cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon mustard powder (don’t leave this out)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Heat your oven to 200 Celsius and butter a muffin tin.
Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and mustard powder together into a bowl and then add the cheese and give it a quick turn with a spoon.
Whisk the egg lightly with a fork to break it up and add to the milk, then add it to the flour mixture and give it a good mix to distribute the cheese evenly and make a consistent batter.
Spoon into the muffin tin and bake for 10 minutes.
TIPS: It really doesn’t get much simpler than that folks and they are very delicious. They will also keep in the fridge for a few days ready for work or school. Try the banana bread as well if you are in baking mode.
Milk tart is a South African institution like pap and wors or Denningvleis… This is a really great recipe that can easily be doubled if you are having people over. The crust takes a little time but is well worth it and you can make double while you are at it and store in clingfilm in the fridge for another day. (1 pie… anything from 1 to 8 people)
What you need
1 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
125g butter (from the fridge cut into small blocks)
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons iced water
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
dash of nutmeg
3 tablespoons maizena
1 cup cream
3 egg yolks beaten
Cinnamon and Sugar
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl, add the caster sugar and butter and work with your fingers until you have a breadcrumb like texture. Now add the egg yolk and cold water and mix with a fork until combined and the dough is coming away from the sides of the bowl.
Gather up the dough, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for about 1/2 an hour.
Take a 23cm round baking dish and press the dough as thin as you can into the base and up the sides of the dish.
Bake the crust on it’s own in a 180 Celsius over for 10 minutes, remove and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.
In a bowl add the cream and maizena and whisk to combine.
In a pot over a medium to high heat bring the milk to the boil, add the sugar, butter and salt and stir furiously, remove from the heat, add the vanilla essence and nutmeg, stir and pour over the cream mixture, mixing well.
Now pour the egg yolks into the mixture and whisk very well. It should start to thicken.
Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake at 180 Celsius for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven, sprinkle with cinnamon and caster sugar mixture and serve hot or cold.
Sometimes you want a cake that is a simple yet delicious and easy to make cake that anyone, no matter who they are will love. This is an extremely versatile cake which can be an anytime cake or a hot dessert ideal for winter or when you need something hot with whipped cream… you know what I mean. (20cm pie dish or spring form cake tin) I like to use a pie dish because it is usually served hot straight from the oven as a dessert, a bit like a honey version of the all time favourite Malva pudding.
What You Need
1 cup of cake flour
Half a cup of sugar
4 tablespoons of butter (melted)
125 ml milk
4 teaspoons of baking powder
2 ml of salt
50 ml melted butter
20 ml honey
Preheat oven t o 180⁰C.
Grease a 20cm pie dish with a little butter and leave it to one side.
Sift all of the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
Heat the milk with the butter until the butter has melted, this should leave the milk warm but not boiling, remove from the stove.
Beat the egg in a separate bowl, and then add the warm milk mixture.
Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix very well.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
So many people tell me baking is difficult, come on what could be easier than that.
When your cake is about to come out of the oven, melt the honey with the butter until very liquid but not boiling.
Pour the syrup over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven and serve warm with cream or ice cream or let it cool and serve when you are ready to make someone verrrry happy.
There is a chocolate cake that also uses hot milk in the recipe that is truly decadent, try it you won’t regret it.
Chinese food is so good, healthy and uick to make and this one is really fanatstic. The sate sauce makes all the difference so if you don’t have any just mix a 1 tablespoon peanut butter with 1 tablespoon water to thin it out a bit. For thoe who like a little heat you can happily add 1 finely chopped green chili. (4 people)
What you need
500 – 600g rump steak, fat removed, sliced thin across the grain
100g unslated roast cashew nuts (if you have raw cashews just pot them on a baking tray in a 200Celsius oven until they begin to brown.)
6 or 8 spring onions roughly chopped
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1 tablespoon maizena(cornflour)
2 tablespoons satay sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Oil for frying
In a wok or heavy based pan on a high heat, add the oil and sear the beef strips in 2 or 3 batches, remove and set aside.
Add a little more oil to the pan and add the garlic, spring onions, ginger and cashew nuts. Toss around for about 2 minutes then add back the meat and all of the juices and toss again.
Mix together the 1/2 cup water, satay sauce, soy sauce and maizena, mix and then add to the pan.
bring to the boil and stir well to ensure that all of the ingredients are well coated and suace begins to thicken.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the garlic until it begins to brown. Add the leek and fry for 5 minutes. Add the wine and season with salt, pepper,soy sauce & basil. Leave to simmer until all the wine has evaporated, then add the water. Leave to simmer until the water evaporates. Whilst you are waiting for this to happen, heat the butter in a saucepan until it melts. Then add flour a teaspoon at a time whilst stiring, add flour until the flour and butter lumps together. Then slowly add milk whilst stiring to create a thick sauce, then stir in the nutmeg. I havn’t put amounts for flour and milk because its best to judge amounts by eye when making a roux. Also if you want to add cheese to the pie, its best to add the cheese into the roux when its on the heat so the cheese melts into it. Set this sauce aside until the leeks are cooked. Once the leeks are cooked, take them off the heat. Slice the potato into cubes and stir them into the leeks. Then stir the roux into the leek and potato mix. Pour this into a pie dish.
For the pastry:
2oz wholemeal flour
2oz self raising flour
2oz butter, cut into small cubes
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 - 3 tbsp water
Weigh the flours and place in a bowl with the salt. Rub in the butter but make sure to leave in a few lumps. Mix in the yeast and lemon juice. Add water until it forms a dough. Leave in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes before use. Roll out and cover the pie dish with the pastry.
Bake the pie at 180C for 20 minutes until golden brown, serve with green salad.
Nutty chocolate crunch
Turn all those nuts, biscuits and chocolate from Christmas into these delicious tiffin bites, great for gifts
9 oz assorted nuts , or a mix of nuts and dried fruit
11 oz milk or plain chocolate, or a mixture of both, chopped
4 oz butter , chopped
5 oz golden syr
Butter and line a 20cm square tin with non-stick baking parchment. In a large bowl, combine the biscuits and nuts, halving any larger nuts. Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth and glossy, then pour this over the biscuit and nut mixture.
Tip the mixture into the tin, then flatten lightly – it doesn’t need to be completely smooth. Chill for at least 2 hrs or overnight before cutting into squares.
These muffins will be a delicious treat for any time of the day and make the perfect “on the run” breakfast. You can quite happily add a handful of nuts to this muffin recipe instead of just sprinkling them over the top to add a little something extra. Muffins keep well in an airtight container and it’s best to make any muffin recipe with paper inserts, they’re just easier to store that way.
What you need
310g self-raising flour
180g caster sugar
125g soft brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
400g can pie apple
150g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
60g walnuts, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Preheat oven to moderately hot 200 degrees celsius. Lightly grease 12 regular muffin holes.
Place the pie apples in a bowl and lightly break up with a knife.
Sift the flour and cinnamon into a bolw and add the sugar. Make a well in the cetre.
Whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla in a jug and pour into the well. Add melted butter.
Fold the mixture gently until just combined. Add the pie apples and gently stir through. Do not
over mix – the batter should be lumpy.
Fill each muffin hole/paper cup with the mixture and sprinkle with walnuts. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.
Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then gently loosen each muffin and transfer to a wire rack.
Close all the windows while you are baking these or you will have the neighbourhood kids knocking on the doors! You might want to try the cheese muffins as well, they are really great.