Neapolitan Sandwich Biscuits

Neapolitan biscuitsNeapolitan ice cream (well any ice cream) always reminds me of summer.

Sometimes I think it’s fun to make something in a slightly different way, so here are some Neapolitan Biscuits!

The flavours of the ice cream chocolate, vanilla and strawberry in a biscuit.

 

 

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Neapolitan Sandwich Biscuits

Chocolate biscuit bit

125g soft butter/spread

55g soft brown sugar

155g plain flour

25g cocoa

Vanilla biscuit bit

125g butter

55g caster sugar

180g plain flour

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

Strawberry buttercream

100g soft butter

200g icing sugar

100g strawberries (hulled and chopped)

15g caster sugar

1/2 tsp lemon juice

Makes about 30-35 complete biscuits (I used a rectangle cutter 5cm x 3cm)

Vanilla biscuit bit

Cream the butter and sugar together until light & fluffy. Sieve in the flour and vanilla, mix well, bring together to form a ball of dough. Place in a bag and in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill.

Roll out the dough (allowing it to warm slightly if it’s hard from the fridge rest) on a lightly floured work surface to about ¼ “ ( ½ cm) in thickness. Press out the shapes you would like and place on a greased/lined baking tray.

Place them on greased or lined baking sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked through & starting to turn a golden colour. Remove from the oven allow to cool for a few minutes so they firm, then transfer to a cooling rack

Chocolate biscuit bit

Cream the butter & sugar until light & fluffy, sieve in the flour & cocoa and mix well until you form a ball of dough. Place the dough in a bag in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When you’re ready to shape the biscuits preheat your oven 190°C (fan 170°C) GM 5

Roll out the dough (allowing it to warm slightly if it’s hard from the fridge rest) on a lightly floured work surface to about ¼ “ ( ½ cm) in thickness. Press out the shapes you would like and place on a greased/lined baking tray.

Bake for about 8-10 minutes so they are evenly baked top & bottom, keep a close eye on them as they can burn easily. Remove from the oven allow to cool for a few minutes so they firm up, then transfer to a cooling rack.

biscuits cut out

Strawberry buttercream bit

Mix together the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer for about 5-10 minutes until all soft and mushy and starting to thicken slightly. Remove from heat, mash with a fork or blend to a puree and allow to cool completely.

Beat the softened butter until light and fluffy. Add about half of the sieved icing sugar and beat slowly until combined. Add in the rest of the icing sugar and beat until soft and smooth. Add in 2 tbsp of the cooled strawberry puree and beat really well until mixed. Load into a piping bag fitted with a nozzle of your choice. You could spread on with a knife if you prefer.

Neapolitan line

Pipe on to one biscuit and top with the other. If the buttercream is a little soft pop in the fridge to firm up. Enjoy with a cuppa.

I also reckon that adding a dollop of strawberry (or raspberry) ice cream as a filling instead of the buttercream would be delicious too! ♥

Neapolitan stack

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Easy Spicy Chilli Bean Burgers

Bean in bun chips

I am a veggie that lives with carnivores, having said that they don’t have meat every night, actually sometimes not every week. When they have something meaty I will try and adapt the meal for me or vice versa.

Recently they were having some rather fine looking Aberdeen Angus beef burgers so I rummaged in my not particularly well stocked cupboards (shopping was beckoning!) and made these. Delicious, with a lovely chilli kick.

I nearly always have beans in a tin of some description, cheese (a total must as I LOVE cheese so much) and bread, really easy and slightly messy to make.

I am sure you could adapt it to suit what you fancy and have in at home when you make them.

Easy Spicy Chilli Bean Veggie Burgers

Ingredients (yes there’s not many!)

1 tin of Kidney beans in chilli sauce (approx 400g) slightly drained

25g grated cheddar cheese

1 large slice of bread turned into bread crumbs

Makes 4 decent sized burgers

Start by draining some of the sauce from the beans, not all, just so the burgers don’t end up too wet and sticky.

Preheat your oven 200°C, 180°C fan, gas mark 6

Beans

Place the beans in a bowl, mash slightly with a fork or potato masher, I like some texture to them so don’t totally mash them. Add the cheese and breadcrumbs and mix.

 


 

Beans bowl

The mixture will be sticky but should come together. If it’s still very sticky and a bit runny and won’t hold it’s shape then add some more breadcrumbs.

Beans shapeBeans shaped 2

To shape I used a large circular cookie cutter (dusted with a little flour), placed on a lined baking sheet. The magic liners that you can wash and reuse are brilliant for this. You could use cooking rings or small cutters as a mould. The one I used was about 9.5 cm diameter. Press the mixture in, I made 4, so a quarter mixture if you’re using the same size ring. Bake for about 10 minutes until the top is hardening and starting to change colour then gently flip over and do the other side.

Beans in bun

Great served in a bun with ketchup and fries! I also had them with salad. I used 2 on the day and then froze the other 2. They cooked for a little longer from a half defrosted state and were just as lovely. ♥

Bean in bun chips

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Scrabble tile letters Valentine toppers

scrabble tiles & ribbonI have a bag of Scrabble tiles that come out occasionally for adding to photo’s, which I really like the look of. Then the other day I saw a beautiful wedding cake that had used them, well a sugarpaste version, which looked amazing and I just had to give it a go.

You can use either sugarpaste or florist paste, the latter hardens quicker and as they need to be firm to write on, it works out a quicker way but either works well in the end.

Love tiles

I discovered that not all tiles are the cheapo plastic style of my childhood some are wooden, wow! So when I coloured the paste I added a little brown and did a lazy mix in to give a slight wood grain look. Next roll out, I used some tiles as spacers so I would get round about the same thickness for the paste.

scrabble tile colour       scrabble tiles rolling

cuttersI have a set of little shape cutters and the small square happens to be exactly the same size as a tile so I used that to cut out the squares, I then gently used a finger to smooth the corners a little so they were more rounded then angular.

 

Then you’ll need to leave them to dry to a fairly hard finish, somewhere they won’t stick to and somewhere flat so they keep their shape. Then, using an edible pen you can add the letters and number score of your choice. To achieve a nice dark black you may need to go over it a few times allowing it to dry in between additions.

Scrabble pen  scrabble tile

They are then ready to adorn your cakes or cookies or brownies or meringues or whatever your lovely creation is! ♥

scrabble love  scrabble sexy cup1

Scrabble cheeky

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Chocolate Chip Swirl Buns

Choc chip buns coolingI had a few egg yolks left over after making loads of macarons recently. I froze them in batches mixed with a little sugar and labels on as my memory is dreadful!

Well, I decided to make buns with some egg yolk enriched dough. Chocolate chips were thrown in so they appealed to my daughter, they were perfect though as I was thinking dried fruit instead.

Chocolate Chip Swirl Buns

Printable recipe here

Ingredients

475g strong white flour

1 tsp salt

6g fast acting dried yeast

25g very soft butter

140ml tepid water

140ml tepid milk

2 egg yolks

35g caster sugar

50g dark chocolate chips

Also a little beaten egg or a little milk for brushing the tops before baking

In a large bowl, or the bowl to your mixer, add all the ingredients apart from the chocolate chips and egg or milk for brushing the tops.

I mixed mine using my mixer with the dough hook, gently to combine and for a couple of minutes. You can do this by hand too, it is a very sticky mixture so be warned! After you’ve achieved a lovely smooth dough add in the chocolate chips.

I mixed in using my hands, very sticky but I enjoyed it! Then cover the bowl with a piece of oiled clingfilm or a damp tea towel and leave to prove. It should be doubled in size. Mine took ages (about 3 hours) as my kitchen was very chilly.

Remove from the bowl and give it a gentle thump or bash on a floured work surface to expel the air. Then divide in to 8 pieces of similar size. I used my brilliant scotch scraper (or my ninja tool as I call it!)

Choc chip doughChoc chip dough above

Roll each in to a long thin sausage shape about 40 cm long, a little flour helps but too much hinders the rolling. Then wind it round to make a swirl shape. Place on a lined or greased baking tray and repeat with the rest of the dough. Loosely cover with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise until about doubled again, about 30 mins. Somewhere warm will speed this up. I know, the rolled up dough buns don’t look very appetising!!

choc chip longchoc chip dough rolling

Choc chip buns proving

Preheat your oven to 200°C (fan 180°C). Once doubled in size gently brush the tops with beaten egg or milk and bake until deep golden. Between 15-20 minutes usually. Keep an eye on them though as ovens vary and they burn easily.

choc chip drizzle

Remove from the oven and either enjoy while still slightly warm or cool on a rack for later. I dusted some with a mix of cocoa and icing sugar, some got a drizzle of melted chocolate and some were naked! They will keep for a few days but at their best on the day baked. ♥

I think the large batch of egg yolks are destined for vanilla ice cream……………

choc chip buns

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Christmas Muffins

Christmas muffins closeI decided to make some muffins with a Christmas inspired taste. The smell of spices will fill your kitchen and then you get to scoff the labours of your hard work, perfect!

You can vary the spices and fruit to your taste or what you have available.

 

Conversion chart via Delia here http://www.deliaonline.com/home/conversion-tables.html

Click here to download the recipe

Muffins bit

300g plain flour

180g soft brown sugar

3 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp mixed spice (or pumpkin spice or your favourite blend of spices)

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp salt

3 large eggs

190g vegetable or sunflower oil (I like to weigh this for a more accurate measurement)

200g dried fruit, your choice (I used sultanas and cranberries)

Grated zest of one orange

Christmas muffins fruit

Glaze bit

100g sieved icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract/bean paste

1-2 tbsp milk

To decorate I used some sliced almonds and glacé cherries

Preheat oven to 200°C (fan 180°C) 400°F Gas mark 6

Makes 12 muffins

Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin cases

muffin cases

The muffin bit

In a large mixing bowl sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the sugar and stir to combine. I like to use a balloon whisk to do this. Add in the dried fruit and orange zest, mix with a wooden spoon.

Sugar

Christmas muffins bowl mix

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a small bowl crack the eggs and briefly beat then add the oil and beat until mixed and creamy.

Add the wet to the dry and mix firmly and quickly until just combined. The mixture will be fairly stiff. Do not over mix as this makes the muffins heavy. Spoon in to the muffin cases and bake until just firm and skewer entered will come out clean, about 23-28 minutes.

Allow to cool completely.

Christmas muffins no glaze

The Icing glaze bit

Place the sieved icing sugar in a small bowl add the vanilla and 1 tbsp milk, mix well, a small whisk is helpful for this. You may need to add a little more milk to get a smooth, drizzling consistency but not too much that it’s really runny.

Drizzle with a teaspoon over the muffins and then, if you wish, add some sliced almonds and a glacé half. Enjoy ♥

Christmas muffins open

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Pecan and Maple Shortbread Hearts

Pecan and maple shortbread above

 

I just love pecan nuts and maple syrup together. Always reminds me of Autumn for some reason……

I decided to add the flavours to shortbread, perfect with my cuppa!

 

 

Conversion chart if you’re not metric via Delia http://www.deliaonline.com/home/conversion-tables.html

Printable recipe

Pecan and Maple Shortbread Hearts

Shortbread bit

125g soft butter

50g caster sugar (or soft brown)

180g plain flour

25g pecan nuts finely chopped, I used my mini processor

1 tbsp maple syrup

Pecan halves (20) to decorate the top, optional

Pecans

Glaze bit

35g icing sugar, sieved

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp milk

I made 20 using a heart cutter that was 5 cm across at the widest point

Making the shortbread bit

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the rest of the shortbread ingredients and mix until combined. Wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 190°C (fan 170°) gas mark 5

Line/grease some baking trays.

The dough will be firm so give it a quick knead to soften slightly, it’s a fairly sticky dough so I used 2 large sheets of baking paper and rolled the dough out between them. This way it was less messy and I didn’t have to add loads of flour.

Rolling pin

Cookie cutting

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roll out to a thickness of 4-5 mm, then use your cutter (dip in flour to help stop it sticking) carefully lift the biscuits on to a baking tray. Allow room for expansion so leave a space around each one. If using the pecan halves to decorate then gently place on top, giving a little pressure but not squashing down hard.

 

Bake until starting to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool on the tray for about 5 minutes (otherwise they are very fragile when first out the oven) then transfer to a cooling rack.

The glaze bit

Maple glaze

 

Mix the 3 ingredients together, I used a fork to help get a smooth icing. Then drizzle over the top of the cooled shortbread hearts. Placing kitchen towel underneath helps catch the drips and means less clearing up afterwards. The icing will harden and then you can store the shortbread in a tin. ♥

 

Pecan and maple shortbread glaze above

Maple & pecan shortbread glaze on rack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pecan and maple shortbread  hearts

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Tiffin Cupcakes

Cupcake tiffin largeEasy to make and delicious to eat, tiffin is perfect for an afternoon perk up with a cuppa.

I decided to make an individual sized portion, no cutting and they look like cupcakes too!

The mixed spice is an optional extra which makes them a bit of a Christmas taste, you could always soak the fruit in a little alcohol for a grown up boozy twist.

This is also a great way to use up any left over dried fruit after the festive season and all those spare chocolate bars we have (hahahaha not many of those here sadly!)

Printable

recipe here

Cupcake tiffin single

Tiffin Cupcakes

The cake bit

250g milk and dark chocolate (your choice but I used half of each) broken into pieces

150g butter

250g biscuits, I used amaretti biscuits and digestives

150g mixed dried fruit, I used cranberries, chopped apricots and sultanas

1 tsp mixed spice (optional, adds a Christmas taste)

50g soft brown sugar

2 tbsp golden syrup

The white chocolate ganache whipped frosting bit

200g white chocolate broken into pieces

85g double cream (I used Elmlea)

To decorateCupcake tiffin cherries

12 glacé cherries

Edible sprinkles/glitter

Ingredients conversion chart here courtesy of Delia http://www.deliaonline.com/home/conversion-tables.html

Makes 12

Line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake cases or cake cups.

Ideally make the frosting first so it has time to cool.

Frosting bit

In a small saucepan heat the cream to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat and throw in the chocolate and quickly stir through. You want all the chocolate to melt in to the cream. If there’s still a few unmelted lumps place the saucepan over a very low heat and stir until all melted. Tip into a bowl and allow to cool completely.

The cupcake bit

In a large mixing bowl place the biscuits and carefully crush using the end of a rolling pin (messy but fun!). It’s up to you how crushed you want them, I like a mix of bits and crumbs. Add in the dried fruit and mixed spice, then give it a stir.

Place the dark and milk chocolate in a large saucepan with the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup. Place over a low heat, stir occasionally, until all melted and mixed together.

Cupcake tiffin mix

Remove from the heat and add the fruit and biscuit mix and stir well so it all gets covered in the chocolatey mix.

Spoon equally in to the cases, pressing down but not squashing too hard. Allow to cool completely, you can pop them in the fridge to help them set once cooled.

Cupcake tiffin frosting bag

Cupcake tiffin topping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The white chocolate ganache frosting should be cold before you whip it. Ideally use your mixer, it will only take a minute or so and you’ll see it lighten in colour and get a much fluffier texture. Then either pipe for a fancier look or just spread across the top of each tiffin cake. Decorate as you wish with glitter and cherries then enjoy.

Cupcake tiffin cherries

Cupcake tiffin single

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you like them quite solid, store in the fridge, if not just keep boxed at room temperature.

Enjoy ♥

Tiffin cupcakes

Categories: Biscuits, Cakes, Christmas, Sweet | 4 Comments

Brainies!

Brains skull closeHave been meaning to make these for about a week, ready for Halloween and by the skin of my teeth I managed to get them ready before the doorbell rings with trick and treaters!

You could add these brains to cupcakes, biscuits or traybakes. I thought brownies worked well and then you can call them Brainies!

Brains shaping

I used Fudge and Chomp bars as the dome for the icing to go on. Shaped slightly so they are more like a lozenge shape. using the fat end of a piping nozzle works well to shape the ends. Mine were about 2.5 cm long, you can make them whatever size suits your project.

 

 

 

 

Using a vanilla buttercream coloured pink attach the chocolate to the brownie.Brains attached I used a round piping nozzle with a diameter of about 3-4 mm, change the size to suit you. Then pipe a slightly wiggly line down the centre.

Brains stem

Next pipe in a continuous line up and down the side, then the other side like a long wiggly worm!

brain above

To add some blood I used jam with a little water added to make it a runnier consistency. Sieve it to get a gel, then for an added zing I put in some red colour gel.

Brains jam

Brains skull closeDrizzle with a small spoon or pipe over the brains randomly. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Brains skull plate

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Oaty Coconut Crunch Cookies

Oat coconut crunchies close stackI had a bit of a craving recently for a crunchy cookie with oats and coconut, I seem to remember years and years ago making something scrummy with oil and not butter so felt the need to create them again!

 

I had some wheatgerm in the cupboard so decided to add some, it is a great source of vitamin E and Folic Acid too. I got mine from Waitrose in the UK and I’m sure you can buy it at health food shops.

They are delicious, sweet with a lovely oat bite and a fab crunch (fairly delicate, although I did manage to transport them without many breakages)

These are perfect with a cuppa of course and will keep in an airtight container for several days if they don’t get munched straightaway.

Recipe can be printed

Oaty Coconut Crunch Cookies

125g porridge oats

25g wheatgerm

25g dessicated coconut

150g soft light brown sugar

120 ml sunflower or vegetable oil

1 egg lightly beaten

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

Makes about 30

In a large bowl place the oats, wheatgerm, coconut and sugar. Stir in the oil. Leave for about an hour.

Preheat the oven 160°C (fan 140°C)

To the oat mixture add the egg and vanilla, stir until well combined.

Oat coconut crunchies trayOat coconut crunchies flatten

Place heaped teaspoonfuls of mixture on a lined baking tray (I love using the magic reusable liners), they need room to spread so 6 on a standard sized baking tray is plenty. Press them flat with a fork that’s been dipped in water (this stops it sticking too much to the mixture). Shape them in to rounds if you wish.

Oat coconut crunchies large

 

This is what happens when they are baked too close together, they get a little friendly in the oven! Of course I only did that to show you *ahem*.

 

 

Oat coconut crunchies plateOat coconut crunchies stack

Bake for 14-18 minutes until evenly golden. Allow to cool slightly on the tray until they harden up enough to transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy ♥

Oat coconut crunchies above

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Chickens! Here come the girls……………..

We used to keep chickens when I was young, lots in a large run. I’ve always wanted to have a few but after seeing that a local farm was rehoming a large batch, the decision was made.

Now our garden is by no means large, but we thought with some clearing and careful planning we’d be able to fit in a small house and run. A massive consideration for the housing type was something that Mr Fox will find too much of a challenge to reach the chickens. I’m hoping this fits the bill as we do have foxes visiting us on occasion.

Chicken run in progress

We collected them on Saturday 31st August. The poor things were rather unceremoniously boxed up and driven home.

Check out the “unboxing” here.

We had our first egg the same day and have had a steady supply since. We have egg boxes for 4 eggs which is perfect.

First egg4 eggs

The internet has been a constant source of information and advice and it’s great to read tips from people with backyard chickens too!

Chickens

I am trying to find things to keep them entertained, we have a ball which is filled with food and as they roll it round it come out. Once they got the hang of that it was great! I’ve dabbed a large pine cone with peanut butter and sprinkled on bird seed, huge hit! Hung things inside the run for them to reach, all good fun.

ConeChucks pinecone

I love that they are eager to come out in the morning but not making a row, I love that they get their PJ’s on and take themselves to bed when it’s getting dark!

They’re entertaining and real characters. Not shy of us at all and always on the look out for tasty treats.

So say hello to Rusty Russett, Speckle Hen, Terra Cotta & Ginger Spice ♥

The girls

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