Friday, 22 November 2013

Baking Fail to Accidental Genius

Yesterday I felt like doing some baking so decided to make my Oat and Nut Biscuits. I had measured out the dry ingredients a few weeks ago and had them stored in food bags in an old biscuit tin.
On the food bags I'd written the non dry ingredients that would be needed, so proud at how efficient I had been. 

Mixing the sugar and egg together I felt that something was wrong, but put this down to the fact that I was whisking by hand instead of using the food processesor, like I usually do. 

I then added the flour, and everything seemed ok. Then came nuts and oats and everything went downhill from there. The whole mixture was extremely dry, it looked like I was making bird feed.

The measurements for all the ingredients were the same as always, I couldn't understand why this was happening. I had to pull out my little folder with baking recipes and found the one for the biscuits. Right there at the top page, the first ingredient, butter...I'd forgotten the butter. I was supposed to mix the butter with the sugar and then add the eggs.  No wonder it looked funny

How dumb do you have to be to mess up your own recipe (well an online recipe I've adapted), butter is practically a baking staple. Forgetting a pinch of salt or tsp of vanilla extract is one thing, but butter. 

On the bright side they didn't turn out too bad. I baked them in different ways to see if they could be salvaged and have stumbled upon something that might work, sort of a Oat and Nut Snap or possibly something fashioned with chocolate. 

I'm going to work on it a little more and hope that this mistakes turns out to be a great discovery. 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Shortbread and Chocolate Sandwich Bites

As promised here is the improved recipe for the shortbread sandwiches that I have been working on.
I absolutely love this buttery biscuit. Their small size means they're a great treat for all the family or can be nicely packaged as a yummy gift. I made these yesterday and my boys couldn't keep their hands off them, so I hope you love them too.

For The Shortbread
175g Plain flour, plus an extra 2 tbsp in a bowl
50g Castor sugar
pinch of salt
115g Unsalted butter, softened

For The Ganache
75g Plain chocolate
75ml Double cream

Method (makes 16 sandwich bites)
  • Add the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and mix together. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the bowl.
  • Mix the ingredients together by hand until they form a dough, take care not to work the dough too much. If the dough is quite soft it can be wrapped in cling film and placed in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  • Roll 10g portions of the dough into balls and place onto a lined baking sheet.
  • Dip a fork into the bowl of flour then press down on the balls of dough until flattened.
  • Place in a preheated oven at 150C/300F for 12-14, turning the baking sheet at the last two minutes to ensure an even bake.

Biscuit dough on silicone baking sheet
Oven ready

  • When they begin to colour at the bottom they are ready to come out. Place them on a wire rack to cool.
  • Whilst they are cooling, make the ganache by breaking the chocolate into a sauce pan and adding the cream.Gently warm the chocolate and cream whilst stirring until the chocolate has melted.
  • Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the chocolate until it is thick and glossy, this should take about 10 minutes.

Shortbread biscuits on cooling rack
Fresh from the oven

  • Place the chocolate in a piping bag and pipe the onto the bottom of a biscuit then sandwich with another. Alternatively you can spread the chocolate onto the biscuit.
  • If the ganache is a too soft for your liking, the biscuits can be placed in the fridge to for the ganache to stiffen.

Shortbread Chocolate Sandwich Bites on a plate
Take a bite

  • Eat and enjoy
These will keep in an air tight container for a few days.

As an alternative you can flatten the balls using the floured bottom of a glass, for a smoothed look, or try them without the filling. Why not try other fillings such as jam and cream.

I would love to know what you think of these and what variations you have tried.

Happy Baking...

Before you go, a little update on my finger.

On Friday I was cleaning the windows and somehow stepped on my little finger, the one I had broken a couple of months ago. The pain was really bad for the first minute but then it went and I was able to finish the windows. Throughout the rest of the morning my finger throbbed on and off so I decided to go to A&E to make sure I hadn't broken it...again.

Well I hadn't broken it again, however, I was told by the doctor that the GP I had originally seen should have placed my finger in a splint or taped it to the ring finger in-order to keep it as straight as possible. Now that it's started to heal in a bent position, he said that there is a chance that it may stay that way. I have an appointment booked with the fracture clinic today and I couldn't believe how quick it was for them to set up considering the fact that I'm still waiting for the appointment that my GP arranged at the same fracture clinic. If I had gone to A&E from the start all of this could have been avoided

Monday, 11 November 2013

Mrs U Bakes...Well She's Trying

As I stated in a previous post, I've been doing a lot of baking as my pinky finger is not as it should be. I've been working on some new recipes. Here's what I've come up with so far.

A plate of shortbread biscuits with chocolate in the centre
Shortbread and Chocolate Bites

These are shortbread and chocolate sandwich bites (or something like that). The biscuit part of this is perfect, in terms of size, look, and of course taste. The only thing I need to change is the filling, here I used an icing based filling, which I found to be too sweet. After a bit of research I've stumbled upon an alternative which I'm going to try and do during the week.

A plate of rolled wafers
Rolled Wafers

This is my attempt at rolled wafers. The actual mix is easy to do, the difficulty comes when putting the batter on the baking sheet, too little and it burns easily, too much and the texture feels stale. I've worked out the size that I want and with a little inspiration from Master Chef Australia I know how to execute it.
The next pressure point is actually rolling the wafers, they are soooo hot. I have to ignore the pain just to get them to roll exactly the way I want, so I'm on the look out for some gloves I can use to do this.
Once these are perfect I'll work on toppings and maybe fillings.

Silicone mould with doughnut batter

These are my most recent creation. I love cinnamon dough balls and wanted to make something similar. I've adapted this doughnut batter recipe and used cake pop moulds to bake it in. I initially wanted them to be round but they weren't consistent in shape and colour. So instead I'm just using one half of the moulds. 

Baked doughnut balls

This batch was still a little doughy inside, even though I had used less batter in each mold. Next time I'll lower the temperature of the oven, hopefully the inside will have more time to cook before the outside does.

A plate of doughnut balls
Doughnut Balls

Recipes will be available once I get them all perfected.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

New Pattern: Elise

Crocheted gilet

Finally it's done, Elise has been published. I just couldn't wait anymore so I've spent the last few days sorting out pictures and proofing. I'm scared to read through it again in case I find another mistake.

The pattern is only available in a UK size 10/12 (bust 36"/38"), I've done some maths for larger sizes but I'm not 100% certain that they'll work, I'll have to test it out before adding more sizes to the pattern. I'm not sure when I'll get the time to do this with the children, house work, WIPs and this pinky finger issue (yes its still bent), not to mention starting the Ruana and jumper and putting together some jewellery for Christmas. I will have to do what I can, when I can.

Elise is available from Etsy, MISI, Ravelry and Craftsy, I really do hope you like it, it's my first proper step into garment making so I'm anxious about getting it right. Who knows this time next year I might have a few jumpers under my belt.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Pattern Writing, More Than A Piece of Cake

I finally got round to taking some descent pictures of the Elise Gilet. They're not exactly as I would have wanted (modelled by a person) but I like them. Upon looking over the pattern I noticed a few errors, I ended up having to sit with the gilet at the laptop, counting stitches, recapping what I did.

This has shown me how important it is to write down every little detail clearly as the piece is being worked. Though I did write down what I was doing it was more or less in the form of notes. I know now that I will have to write things down as if I was writing the pattern.

Before I started writing patterns, I didn't realise how time consuming it would be. I thought that once the item is finished I'd spend a couple of hours writing it out and 'There you have it' the pattern is done. Oh how wrong I was, writing up the pattern takes just as much effort as making the item itself.

Making Elise has been a great learning opportunity, and I now feel even more confident moving onto the Ruana.

Crocheted gilet