Category Archives: Sweet treats

Blueberry Upside Down Cake

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  • Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

As we all know, blueberries are a super food.  I take this to mean that this is a health food cake!

• 1/3 c brown sugar
• 300 g blueberries, plus extra to serve
• 1 ¾ c plain flour
• 1 c caster sugar
• 2 ½ t baking powder
• ½ t cinnamon
• 1 egg
• ¾ c milk
• 1/3 c vegetable oil
• Finely grated rind of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a 20cm round cake pan with baking paper. Sprinkle base of cake pan with brown sugar and then spread 150 g of blueberries evenly over the sugar.

Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Add remaining blueberries and mix to coat.

Whisk together egg, milk, oil and lemon rind. Add to dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Stand for 5 minutes before turning out onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature with extra blueberries and thickened cream.

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Apricot Coconut Choc Chip Cookies

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Apricot Coconut ChocChip Cookies

 

I make a lot of cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. They fit the bill from everything from lunch box sweet treats and school cake stalls to going away parties for soccer coaches! So I need to have a lot of recipes up my sleeve to keep things interesting.

I have a very large cookbook and foodie magazine collection to keep me inspired, and often I turn to my oldest books for tried and true recipt ideas. the trusty Country Women’s Association for simple, reliable and straightforward recipes.
This recipe isn’t actually old, but since it has come from the Country Womens’ Association it might as well be.  Recipe adapted from “Biscuits and Slices : Traditional, Tempting, Tried and True”, Penguin Books, 2009.

Recipe

• 125 g softened butter
• 1/3 c caster sugar
• ½ c brown sugar, firmly packed
• 1 egg
• 1 c self raising flour, sifted
• 1 c shredded coconut
• 1 c dried apricots, chopped
• 1 c dark chocolate bits

Preheat oven to 180C. Line 2 large baking sheets with baking paper.
Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Stir in flour until well mixed. Add coconut apricots and chocolate bits and mix well. If your dough feels a bit soft, refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking.
Mould teaspoons of dough into balls and flatten slightly on trays, leaving about 5 cm between them to allow for spreading.
Bake for about 12 minutes or until beginning to brown around the edges. Remove from oven and leave on trays for 5 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 30.

Coconut Layer Cake

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I don’t make cakes very often.  I like making them, but I know how quickly they will be gobbled up in our house.  So when someone asks me to bring dessert to an event it’s an invitation to bake!

This cake is so easy to make, and is moist and light.

Recipe

  • 2 c self raising flour, sifted
  • ¾ c desiccated coconut
  • 1 c caster sugar
  • 1/3 c almond meal
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 160 g melted butter
  • Desiccated and flaked coconut for decorating

Preheat oven to 175C.  Line a 21 cm spring form cake pan with baking paper.

Combine flour, coconut, sugar and almond meal in a large bowl and mix together.

Whisk buttermilk, vanilla and eggs together.  Add butter and whisk again.

Pour egg mixture into flour mixture and mix with a metal spoon until well combined and smooth.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Leave to cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing. Cool completely before icing.

Icing

  • 2 c pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 90 g butter at room temperature
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 T milk

Beat all ingredients together until smooth, light and fluffy.  Add milk to adjust to the desired texture.

Using a large serrated knife, cut the cake in half horizontally.  Carefully lift the top of the cake off and place on a flat surface. Spread ¾ c icing evenly over the base of the cake. Carefully place the top of the cake over it.  Spread remaining over the top and sides of the cake.  Decorate with desiccated and flaked coconut.

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Brown Sugar Pecan Muffins

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Brown Sugar Pecan Muffins

My grandparents lived for a time in San Antonio, Texas.  It was a place that they loved, and the friendships they made lasted forever. For many years, until my Grandfather’s passing, they made an annual trip back to visit their friends and to play golf.

My Grandmother would always bring back 2 or 3 enormous jars (they were SO big I’ve always wondered where she got them) of freshly picked pecans.  They were her favourite nut to bake with and she had a stack of recipes for them.

Her muffin recipe here dates back to the 1960s.

Usually I believe that muffins are best fresh out of the oven, but I think these muffins are best the next day.  They are moist and chewy, and the nutty flavours enhance once cooled.

Recipe

  • 1 c pecans
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • ½ c macadamia or canola oil
  • 1 lg egg
  • 1 T maple syrup

Topping

  • ¾ c dark brown sugar, packed
  • 4 ½ T butter, melted
  • ½ c crushed pecans

Grind pecans into fine crumbs (my Grandmother had the coolest hand-grinder that screwed onto a jar – I wish I could buy one) and set aside. You need to grind enough for the muffin batter and the topping.

Make the topping by mixing all ingredients together and set aside until needed.

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 1 hold muffin pan with paper baking cups.

Sift dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, oil, egg and syrup in a small bowl. Add egg mixture to dry indgredients and mix until just combined.

Divide batter evenly into the prepared cups.  Sprinkle topping over the batter.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Chocolate Shortbread Stars

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Chocolate Shortbread Stars

I often bypass cookie recipes that involve kneading the dough. I always think of them as a hassle, although the truth is, kneading the dough is not a lot of work, and is actually kind of fun.

These cookies have a very rich chocolate flavour, a good crunch and they melt in your mouth.  They are adapted from an Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook (always reliable) called “Bake”.  Another one of my ‘go to’ books for kids treats and quick desserts.

Recipe

  •  250 g butter, softened
  • 1 c pure icing sugar
  • 1 ¼ c plain flour
  • ½ c rice flour
  • 1/3 c cocoa powder (my preference is the Woolworths Home Brand because it is very intense)
  • 125 g dark chocolate bits
  • 2 T icing sugar, extra
  • 1 T cocoa powder, extra

Beat butter and sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Add sifted flours and cocoa in 3 batches.  Knead on a floured surface until smooth.

Roll dough between sheets of baking paper to 3/4 cm thick.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 160C, and line two large baking sheets with baking paper.

Cut stars (makes about 30 x 6.5 cm stars) from dough. Place them about 4cm apart on oven trays. Decorate with chocolate bits.

Bake for 16-18 minutes.  Cool on trays.

Sift combined extra icing sugar and cocoa onto cookies before serving.

Raspberry Rose Cupcakes

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Raspberry Rose Cupcakes 3

These cupcakes are divine.  The combination of raspberry and rose with a sweet vanilla icing works deliciously well.  And they are SO easy.

Recipe

  • 125 g butter, softened
  • ¾ c caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/3 c self-raising flour
  • 1 c ground almonds
  • 1/3 c milk
  • ¾ c raspberries (fresh or frozen), plus extras for decorating
  • 1 t rosewater *

Preheat oven to 180C.  Line a 12 x medium sized cup muffin pan with paper cases.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in flour, ground almonds, milk, and rosewater. Then very gently fold in the raspberries.

Divide batter between cases. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Leave to cool in pan.

Icing

  • 175 g butter
  • 1 1/2 c icing sugar
  • 1/4 t rosewater
  • 1/2 t vanilla

Beat all ingredients together until light and fluffy.  Spread generously over cupcakes and top with raspberries.

Raspberry Rose Cupcakes 4

Honey Jumbles and a Tribute to Angelina Jolie

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Honey Jumbles ready to eat

Anyone who has lost a beloved family member to breast cancer understands the agony of it all: the initial shock of diagnosis, the roller coaster of emotions as hopes rise and fall throughout treatment and then the devastation if the cancer wins the battle.  But what people don’t talk about is the legacy of uncertainty left behind by that cancer – as family members start to wonder if they are next.

Angelina Jolie made such a brave decision to have a double mastectomy. Even having a genetic mutation that almost guarantees that cancer will come, it would have been such a hard decision.  But being brave enough to tell the world about it, is just amazing. It must help to make the decision a teeny bit easier for others with the same health issues if a strong and beautiful woman can share the experience and declare her femininity unscathed. She has my enduring respect for doing so.

These cookies come from a recipe in a special issue of the “Australian Good Taste” magazine (October 2009) promoting “Pink Ribbon Breakfasts” to raise money for breast cancer.  They are soft and chewy with a lovely hard icing, just like the commercial ones – but SO much nicer!!

Recipe

  • 2 1/3 c plain flour
  • 1/3 c self raising flour
  • ½ t bicarb soda
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • ¼ t ground cloves
  • 60 g butter
  • 1/3 c brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/3 c golden syrup
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked

Sift flours, soda and spices into a large bowl, and make well in the middle.  Combine the butter, sugar, golden syrup, and honey in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring continually, until ingredients are melted and well blended. Pour into flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Add egg and mix until well combined.

Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky. Wrap in non-stick paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest.

Honey Jumbles dough

Pre-heat oven to 160C and line 2 large baking sheets.

Divide the dough into 16 equal portions. With each portion, roll into an 18 cm log, about 1.5 cm thick. Cut into approximately 6cm lengths. Round the edges and flatten slightly and place on trays, leaving some room for spreading.

Honey Jumbles ready for oven

Cook for 10-12 minutes or until light brown.  Remove from oven and leave on trays until cooled completely.

Honey Jumbles Cooked

Icing

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 ½ c icing sugar
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 3-4 drops red food colouring

Whisk egg white in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in sifted icing sugar.  As the icing thickens, add the lemon juice to thin out. Whisk until icing whitens.  Spread half the cookies evenly with the icing.

Add the food colouring to the remaining icing and whisk in. Ice the remaining cookies.

Honey Jumbles read

Set cookies aside to allow the icing to set.