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christmas

Brasserie Bread Gingerbread Cookie Class

Reviews December 22, 2013

Gingerbread is without a doubt one of my favourite Christmas-time treats and I love to bake (and eat) it regularly every Christmas! So when the opportunity to do a gingerbread-decorating class arose with some of my fellow foodie blogger friends (Dining with a Stud, Love Swah, Corridor Kitchen, Cats Love Cooking and VegeTARAian), I couldn’t say no! We were basically doing an extended version of their kids gingerbread-decorating cookie class. The kids class runs for 30 minutes where they decorate 5 gingerbread cookies and costs parents only $20 (perfect time to grab a coffee and lunch in the café next door)!

Mince pies

Just to get us ready to start baking, we sampled a few of Brasserie Bread’s signature fruit mince pies just in time for Christmas! The buttery pastry had the perfect tender bite to it and the insides revealed a deliciously moist and fruity filling. At $3.50 a pop they are definitely at the top end of fruit mince pies, but Brasserie Bread clearly do not skimp on quality here.

Gingerbread dough

Pie sampling aside, we get down to business and started ‘pinning’ the gingerbread dough (each students was given 750 grams). For those of you who didn’t know (like me!), pinning is the fancy professional baker’s word for rolling out your dough, (rolling’pin’, geddit? took me a while, haha.) We rolled our dough out to roughly 0.4 millimetres thick and prepared to go to town on it with our cookie cutters.

Cut gingerbread dough

And then there were cookies! It was very fun using all the cookie cutters I have accumulated over the years (you can see I have a thing for cupcake shaped cookie cutters) as well as swapping cookie cutters with everyone else in the class.

Cut gingerbread dough on baking trays

Cut gingerbread dough on baking trays

A blogger’s-worth of cookies.

Cookies going into an industrial oven

And into the magical fancy rotating ovens our cookies go! (WANT!)

Baked gingerbread cookies

Matt, our resident baker/teacher for the evening whipped out some pre-baked cookies for us that we would get to decorate. If your child was attending a Brasserie Bread kids gingerbread cookie course, this is where their class would start. 

Decorated gingerbread cookies

Decorating ahoy! OK, ok, my cookies don’t win any art prizes, but they certainly were delicious 😉
If this were the kids gingerbread decorating class, this is where the class would end.

Bread and cheese

And to finish the evening, we were spoiled with a tasting of Brasserie Bread’s quality goods – bread with all the trimmings! Smoked trout, gorgeous cheeses and Pepe Saya butter.

 

You can book in a class at Brasserie Bread for your child (or another class for yourself!) online or phone 1300 966 845 for availability. The Brasserie Bread gingerbread class is suitable for kids from ages 5-12. There are still classes being run before Christmas, but book in before spots run out!

Cooking Crusade attended the Brasserie Bread gingerbread class as a guest.

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here.

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Getting into the Christmas Spirit!

Articles December 15, 2013

Christmas is undoubtedly one of my favourite times of the year. I love all the decorations, the Christmas shopping, the shiny decorations and, of course, the Christmas baking! So getting into the festive season, I thought I would share some of my fave Christmas recipes with you.

Christmas truffles

I look forward to these Christmas truffles every year and I find that, if you’re not the type of person that enjoys Christmas cake, you may enjoy these! The melted chocolate mixed in with the fruit cake really gives a wonderful chocolatey flavour that takes away from the intense fruity-ness that some people dislike about Christmas cake. Give it a try at least once and see how you go if you aren’t the Christmas cake type, and if you’re still not convinced, I guarantee they will be gobbled up by others if it doesn’t take your fancy!

Flourless Christmas brownies

These gluten-free Christmas brownies are a great option for your gluten-free Christmas guests, but are also an incredibly dense, moist and chocolatey brownie that is very simple to make which everyone can enjoy. You can leave off the fondant topping if you want but I love the snowy white topping because it makes me feel extra Christmassy!


Gingerbread

I love getting into the decorating spirit, especially with gingerbread. This is also a great activity to do with kids (but I am an adult and maintain this is also an extremely enjoyable activity ;)).

Last-minute Christmas gift ideas

If you’re still stuck for ideas for those hard-to-buy-for people, check out my handy list of 100+ budget Christmas gift ideas for the foodie (or non-foodie) in your life!

I’m looking forward to adding more Christmas recipes and ideas to this list!

Hope you are all having a stress-free, relaxing Christmas with friends and family.

Merry Christmas!

xo
Christine

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here 🙂

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Christmas Truffles

Recipes December 21, 2012

I cannot believe how soon it is until Christmas. Every year it seems impossibly far away, until it creeps up until BAM, it is sneakily right around the corner and you’re left with no gifts, no organisation, nothing in the cupboard and a large dose of panic.

Fortunately this year I actually strapped my Christmas boots on months in advance and absolutely vowed to myself I would be organised in order to avoid this all too familiar scenario.

It mostly worked; with the assistance of budget spreadsheets on google drive, ringing relatives early and demanding to know what they wanted for Christmas and of course, making thousands of lists of gift ideas, what to buy and when.

Of course, that never means that you remember everything – leaving last minute trips to the horrifyingly busy shops and queues a yearly reality for that last minute gift so nobody will miss out, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do, I guess!

Another thing that’s crept on me recently – this month’s Sweet Adventure’s Blog Hop, hosted by the lovely Christina from the Hungry Australian. This month’s theme is “Sweets for Santa”. For those who are new to the SABH concept, its a monthly dessert themed blog hop hosted by 84th & 3rd, The Capers of the Kitchen Crusader, Delicieux, Dining with a Stud and The Hungry Australian. Bloggers participate by creating a dessert according to that month’s theme and post about it and read about other bloggers’ themed desserts – a great way to connect with other bloggers and share yummy and creative recipes!

I had been meaning to pop my Christmas hat on for some time but the weeks got away from me and finally I had the time to make a batch of these Christmas truffles.

These pudding truffles are basically a Christmassy version of a cake pop (minus the lolly pop stick) – you simply crumble fruit cake, mix in melted chocolate, shape into truffle sized balls, dip into more melted chocolate and decorate.

You can also add a splash (or more!) of alcohol for an adult-version if you are so inclined, but this version is great for kids as well. If you’re also struggling to come up with ideas for what to bring to a Christmas ‘do this year, turn up with a plate of these and you’ll be the star of the party!

While it is time consuming forming all of the truffles and decorating with the cherries, these are very simple to put together. You could use it as a fun project you could make you with your kids and really, it does require very few ingredients – just pre-bought christmas cake, a lot of chocolate, a little coconut oil (if you don’t have this, you could of course substitute with another flavourless vegetable oil, e.g. soybean, etc*) and a few glacé cherries, I mean hey, it wouldn’t be Cooking Crusade if it weren’t ridiculously simple!

*please note that oils such as olive, peanut or sesame would not be suitable oils to substitute for coconut as they are quite strongly flavoured. the coconut oil has quite a mild flavour and is not really noticeable in this recipe.

Occasionally I’ll go a little bit camera-nuts and decide I want to take in depth photos step by step of how to make a particular recipe, and this is one of those times! So just a warning, this post is pretty pic heavy!

So, lets get down to truffling!


To start, you will need light fruit cake, 2x bars good quality dark chocolate, 1 x bar white chocolate, some glace cherries and some coconut oil.


To start, roughly chop your fruit cake to make it easier to mash up. I bought an 800 gram packet, but only wanted 600 grams, so chopped it into 8 equal pieces and only used six of them.



Meanwhile, break up your first bar of dark chocolate to melt (I used 10 sec bursts in the microwave).


Pour melted chocolate into cake mixture.


Incorporate until the mixture resembles (this is hardly poetic, but) soil.


Start melting your second batch of dark chocolate and add a teaspoon of coconut oil.


Melted chocky goodness.


Using a teaspoon, scoop out one spoonful of the mixture and rolling between your hands, form small balls and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. If time allows, plunk it into the fridge to set for about an hour. But if you’re like me, proceed and hopefully everything will be fine!


Ready for dunking? This is the fun part!


Roll your truffles in the melted chocolate.



Until you have many shiny chocolatey truffly balls of goodness.
By the way – if you wanted to set these now and serve them as is if you don’t have time to decorate, these would be great as is and still taste pretty much the same with the additional decorating. But if you want things to be slightly prettier and more Christmassy, soldier on!

Now pop these little chocolate goodies into the fridge to set.

While those are setting, prepare your decorations.


I used 100 grams of white chocolate (about 4 bars of a Cadbury Dream family size bar).


You could melt this separately in a bowl and then pour into your chosen piping bag / bottle / ziplock bag if you prefer, but I found it easier to simply just pop the chocolate into the piping bottle and melt it directly in there in the microwave.


Melted.
I added a teaspoon of coconut oil to this too to thin it a little for piping.


Slice your glacé cherries all ready for decorating.
I bought these from Coles in the baking aisle.

SO I didn’t get very many photos of the decorating process, sorry! But I will explain it as best I can…

Slice your glacé cherries thinly – the idea is that the truffles look like mini Christmas puddings with custard (the white chocolate) and holly leaves (the glacé cherries). Pipe the melted white chocolate onto the tops of the truffles and arrange glacé cherries on top while the chocolate is still liquid, to ‘glue’ them on top. And that’s pretty much it! Return to the fridge to finish setting the chocolate and you’re done!




A plate of goodies to take to my next Christmas party!


These are also great to wrap up and give as gifts over this Christmas season.

Christmas Truffles (a recipe by Cooking Crusade)

Makes: 40 truffles (approx)
Time to prepare: About 30-40 minutes to prepare, 1-2 hours to chill and another 20-30 minutes to decorate

Ingredients
For the truffles
600 grams light fruit cake, sliced into chunks
200 grams dark chocolate (I used Nestle Plaistowe 70% Cocoa dark chocolate)

For the truffle chocolate coating
200 grams dark chocolate (I used Nestle Plaistowe 70% Cocoa dark chocolate)
1 teaspoon coconut oil

For the white chocolate truffle coating
100 grams white chocolate (I used Cadbury Dream)
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Red and green glacé cherries to decorate

Equipment needed
Large mixing bowl, masher (or fork), small glass bowl (enough to hold chocolate), 1 piping bottle (or a ziplock bag will do in a pinch), sharp knife and cutting board, baking tray lined with grease proof paper.

  1. Place fruit cake in a large mixing bowl. Mash the heck out of it using a potato masher, or even a fork will do in a pinch. You could use a food processor if you wanted this crazily smooth, but I don’t mind a bit of texture to it, and honestly I think the masher/fork does a pretty good job most of the way.
  2. Melt 200 grams dark chocolate in a smaller bowl (I usually microwave it in 10 second bursts until completely melted). Pour melted chocolate into the mashed up fruit cake.
  3. Fold chocolate and cake together until the chocolate is fully incorporated into the cake. The mix should have a fairly uniform colour.
  4. Using a teaspoon, scoop up the chocolate cake mixture and roll between the palms of your hands until you have small balls. Place on a lined baking tray until you have used all the chocolate/cake mixture. Place in the fridge to set. (*Note: if you are an impatient lady like me, you can skip this step, but this will probably keep the balls from falling apart in the melted chocolate – not that I had massive issues with this, but it would probably make them handle a bit better).
  5. Prepare your second batch of chocolate for the truffle coating. Break up the bar of chocolate and place in the same bowl you used for chocolate melting previously (hey, save on washing up why not?) Add a teaspoon of coconut oil and melt the same way you did before (10 sec bursts in the microwave) or your fave choccy melting method.
  6. Remove truffles from the fridge and dip into melted chocolate. Roll in the melted chocolate using a spoon, remove and drizzle excess chocolate off truffle (as much as possible) and return to baking tray. Repeat until all truffles are coated. I found that the 200g of chocolate was the perfect amount to coat the 40 truffles I got out of this recipe. Return truffles to the fridge to set again.
  7. Place 100 grams white chocolate into your piping bottle and microwave until completely melted. Add coconut oil and stir to combine. Pipe white chocolate onto your set truffles and add chopped glacé cherries to decorate to look like mini Christmas puddings. Set the white chocolate in the fridge. Best served at room temperature and great to give as gifts!

I do hope you all have absolutely lovely plans for Christmas! I’m hosting a small Christmassy get together this Sunday (my first one, truth be told. I’m rather excited!) Then the usual family get togethers with my and my partner’s families over Christmas and Boxing Day with the usual food and gift frenzy! I’ve also booked movie tickets in advance to see Les Mis on Boxing Day night – it looks amazing and I can’t wait! A week or so off work will also be very greatly appreciated and hopefully I will spend a great deal of the time sleeping and lazily eating. Heaven!

Much love and have an absolutely amazing Chrissy!!

xo

C

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here 🙂

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100+ Budget Christmas Gift Ideas for Foodies

Uncategorized December 5, 2012


Image obtained from The Telegraph

Looking for last minute Christmas ideas for the food lover in your life?

Well look no further!

This year I planned on making Christmas hampers for the first time to give as gifts to family and friends. I’ve also recently fallen in love with the whole stocking filler concept, which I never really grew up with, but have really enjoyed planning in recent years.

If you’re anything like me, there is always someone or other who I have difficulty coming up with a gift idea. So this year I thought I’d really brainstorm about the sorts of thing that hopefully everyone would like, and, given the season, I thought I’d share some of my inspiration and ideas with you!

As always, I’m looking to find the best gifts possible for the lowest price possible in order to stick to a budget. However, rest assured, I would never scrimp on quality when choosing gifts! So if you’re looking to save a dollar or two, this list may come in handy for you!

Even though I bought a lot of these things for the Christmas hampers, I think a lot of them would also be suitable for Christmas stocking stuffers too. If you were planning on making Christmas hampers as well and were looking for inspiration, then you may find this post handy too.

A bunch of these things are also from my cupboard and/or great gifts I’ve recently received for my birthday/early Christmas and do not plan to give away, but I thought they might be good inspiration for others!

Most of these items can be found at local health stores, good gourmet food stores and Costco. You can also check out Coles and Woolworths as they stock some of these items or similar.

Savoury crackers for hampers
Savoury crackers for hampers.

These are always a handy gift to put into hampers – great for entertaining, picnics or for nibbling on dips at home.

Health foods

Ideas for the health-geeks!

  • Organic quinoa
  • Hand made spinach tagliatelle
  • Savoury yeast flakes (used in some vegetarian recipes)
  • Raw organic coconut chocolate butter
  • Chargrilled eggplant pesto
  • Carmens deluxe fruit muesli
  • Organic spelt fettucine
  • Large bag of almonds

Sweet things

For the sweet lovers.

  • Ice Magic
  • Marshmallow creme
  • Turkish delight and Mint Thins from the Reject Shop (I know it sounds silly to shop for Xmas gifts at the Reject Shop, but there are actually plenty of great Christmas items in there for a great price!)

More sweet things

More goodies for the sugar lovers!

  • Giant bar of Cadbury chocolate from Coles
  • Beerenberg apricot jam from EBD, also available from Coles
  • 1L bottle of maple syrup from Costco
  • Cadbury Favourites from Coles

Baking things

For those who love to bake and decorate!

  • Wiltshire cookie cutters from the SydFoodBlogger’s Xmas picnic
  • Wiltshire cake pop set from the SydFoodBlogger’s Xmas picnic
  • Christmas cookie cutters from the Reject Shop
  • Miniature fondant heart cutters from eBay (or in cake decorating stores)
  • Number cookie/fondant cutters from eBay (or in cake decorating stores)

Here it is all in one handy-dandy list, with some extra ideas not pictured in the above photos. These are just some ideas that I thought of, but as you can see the possibilities really are endless!

Foodie hamper/stocking stuffer ideas

1. Savoury crackers
2. Organic quinoa
3. Handmade tagliatelle
4. Savoury yeast flakes
5. Raw organic coconut chocolate butter, or Nutella or a nut butter
6. Chargrilled eggplant Pesto
7. Deluxe fruit muesli
8. Organic spelt fettucine
9. Almonds or other good quality nuts
10. Giant bars of chocolate
11. Fruity jams or mustards
12. Marshmallow creme
13. Boxes of mini chocolates
14. Jar of organic virgin pressed coconut oil
15. Good quality bottles of olive oil
16. Pink Himalayan salt
17. Truffle paste
18. Fancy spices, e.g. saffron threads, dukkah
19. Candy in cute bags
20. Tea and/or cute tea cups
21. Jarred antipasto
22. Chocolate covered sultanas and nuts
23. Balsamic glaze
24. Jarred caramelized onions
25. Peanut brittle, turkish delight
26. Coffee
27. Chocolate covered pretzels
28. Maple syrup, agave nectar or honey
29. Wine or non-alcoholic sparkling wine for those who don’t drink
30. Ice Magic

Ideas for those who love to bake and cake decorate

Most of these items can be purchased from Coles, Woolworths, cake decorating stores and/or eBay.

31. Cake pop box set
32. Miniature fondant cutters
33. Cupcake tins
34. Mini or regular size cake tins (round, square, heart shaped, loaf tin)
35. Cookie sheet
36. Jelly moulds
37. Pizza stone
38. Giant bag of good quality chocolate chips
39. Good quality baking chocolate
40. Fondant – coloured, plain, flavoured
41. Caramel chips
42. Cute cooking utensils (wooden spoons, whisks, even more gadgety things like a garlic press, cheese graters, pizza cutters etc.)
43. Reusable and disposable piping bags
44. Frosting piping tips
45. Cake turn table
46. Baking extracts (vanilla paste or extract, citrus oils, etc.)
47. Food colours
48. Sugar flowers
49. Organic vanilla beans
50. Cute cupcake liners
51. Mini palette knives for spreading icing on cupcakes
52. Cute cake sprinkles, sugar pearls, cachous
53. Cute cookie/fondant cutters (numbers, alphabet are great for those who love to write messages on cakes, but other adorable cutters are not difficult to find in homeware shops). Christmas cookie cutters are also great.
54. Royal icing mix
55. Cookbooks (Nigella, Jamie Oliver, Adriano Zumbo, $120 Food Challenge)
56. Macaron box mix (try Donna Hay or Adriano Zumbo brands)
57. Stripey paper straws
58. Cookie jar

And now some stocking stuffer ideas for those who aren’t as food-crazy as I am!

For the ladies…

59. Nail polishes, plain and/or crackle
60. Nail stickers
61. Nail files
62. Toe separators
63. Scented body wash
64. Body (face/hand/foot/body) creams
65. Body (face/hand/food/body) scrubs
66. Bath Bombs
67. Cocoa body butter
68. Hand sanitizer
69. Small $20 gift cards (e.g. Event/Hoyts cinemas, JB-Hifi, Myer, DJ’s, iTunes and also fave clothing stores and online vouchers too!)
70. Books, fiction or non-fiction
71. Cute hair accessories: clips, brushes, headbands, hair flowers
72. Jewellery: bracelets, rings, necklaces, earrings
73. Clothing accessories: scarves, belts, small purses
74. Lip balms in different flavours: strawberry, coconut, berry
75. Romance novels? For those who are so inclined – great for the beach!
76. Cute sundress
77. Nice stationary – notebooks, pens and more (I suggest Kikki K and Typo)
78. A watch
79. A cute alarm clock
80. A pretty wall decal
81. Jewellery box
82. Makeup case

For men…

83. It’s cheesy, but socks. Men I know ALWAYS need socks.
84. Small gift cards (Event/Hoyts Cinemas, JB-Hifi, Myer/DJ’s, iTunes)
85. If they’re into sports, try looking into that arena – small weights, tennis or golf balls, basketballs, soccer balls, sports shoes and other gear is a treasure trove of ideas. If you don’t have any specific ideas, Rebel Sport vouchers are usually appreciated!
86. Men’s body wash/facial creams
87. Handkerchief packs
88. Hair gel
89. Nice deodorant / aftershave
90. Combs
91. Nice leather wallet

I know, I know, the men’s list is a little short. But I always struggling coming up with gifts for guys so I would love any ideas to add that you may have!!

For the Ladies and Men

92. Money box for spare change
93. DVDs
94. Sunglasses
95. Beach towel
96. Thongs
97. Sunscreen
98. Phone case
99. Headphones
100. Portable phone charger
101. Books, fiction or non fiction
102. Men/women’s magazines or a half yearly subscription
103. Boxes of favourite chocolates (scorched almonds, turkish delight, Roses, etc.)
104. USB memory stick
105. Travel mug, or a regular regular mug
106. 2013 wall calendar
107. Sleeping mask
108. Candles, scented or plain
Reader suggestions:

109. Erika from the Pancake Princess and Protein Prince suggests “an framed instagram collage of sorts for xmas (a la http://www.beckyhiggins.com/blog/2012/06/inspiration-a-la-jen/)…but for a foodie who also loves photography, a framed photo of something delicious could be cute! Photos are cheap to print at Costco (love that place) and frames can be pretty cheap as well.” Thank you, Erika! A great idea!!

 

And just to finish this post off, here is a list of awesome Christmas recipes I plan to include in this year’s hampers (but probably not all of them)!

Home-made hamper ideas/recipes

Fantastic Blogger Christmas Recipes

Useful shops to check out

So how is your Christmas planning going? If you have any more tips or ideas to share about hampers and stocking stuffers, I would love to add them to this post!

xoxo
C

49 Comments

Flourless Christmas Brownies

Recipes November 20, 2012

Flourless Christmas Brownie

I can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner. Scary, right? I swear it was New Year’s Day for 2012 just a few seconds ago… It is absolutely amazing how time seems to be moving right now. I’ve had a busy week – I’ve turned 25 (today, actually!) and finally upgraded to a full drivers licence (goodbye, P plates!)

This year I was hoping to get ridiculously organised with Christmas super early – taking a bit of the stress off during the mad December last-minute shopping (which usually occurs on Christmas Eve. Haha… but seriously, not joking). I’ve (as usual) been trying to become more organised to help save time and money wherever possible by planning ahead. One of my ideas this year is to make some homemade Christmas hampers for family and friends packed with plenty of homemade goodies. One of these recipes I plan to include are these Christmas brownies!

How lucky was I, then, to be sent a package of Lucky Nuts from Nuffnang to review? It also gave me a chance to completely stuff a brownie recipe full of nutty goodness – as if I needed a reason. While I haven’t used Lucky Nuts in the past for baking, I certainly have used them for everyday uses: sprinkling them in cereals, adding them to pestos and dips and, of course, snacking on at work! Aside from being a good quality product, I like that they’re so conveniently accessible from Coles and Woolies, which is a big plus in my books. All in all, they definitely turned out well in this recipe!

Lucky Nuts Californian Walnuts and Almond Meal

Flourless Brownie

These brownies are based off Nigella Lawson’s Flourless Brownies, but packed with extra goodies – more nuts, cherries and chocolate chips, and topped with a layer of fondant. I had never tried baking flourless brownies before but was pleasantly surprised with the result – a dense, incredibly moist and chocolatey brownie, stuffed with extra nutty goodness. It reminded me of a chocolatey version of a Christmas cake – you could add some liquor, extra nuts and dried fruit to emulate this if you wish but I think they’re pretty good the way they are!

Since this recipe uses almond meal instead of flour, these brownies are also perfect for gifting to your gluten intolerent friends and family! This recipe is also great for cleaning up as it is all made in the one pan.

Flourless Christmas Brownies

Ingredients To make about 20 brownies

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup baking dark chocolate
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence (I store my vanilla beans in my caster sugar, so skipped this step)
  • 3 eggs, whisked (I used organic)
  • 200g Lucky almond meal
  • 150g Lucky walnuts
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 250 g (or 1 cup) dark chocolate chips You can also use white or milk choc chips to mix things up a bit!
  • 250 grams of white fondant

Ingredients at a glance.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C and butter / line a brownie tin with baking paper to prevent sticking.
  2. Melt butter over a low heat in a saucepan with high sides.
  3. Add baking dark chocolate and stir until butter and chocolate melt together.
  4. Take off the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla essence (if using).
  5. Temper eggs by adding a little of the warm chocolate mixture to your beaten eggs and mix together. Add eggs to saucepan and stir until mixed in.
  6. Add almond meal and stir until fully combined.
  7. Add walnuts, cherries and chocolate chips. If you wish to add any other dried fruit/nuts, etc. do so now.
  8. Pour brownie mix from pan into lined tin and bake at 150 degrees, or until a thin blade comes out of the brownie with moist crumbs sticking to it.
  9. Roll fondant out until at 2cm thickness. Moisten the top of your brownie with water and top with fondant. Brownie slices best after being refrigerated overnight. Serve and enjoy!

Melting chocolate, butter, sugar together
Mixing in the rest of the ingredients
View pics left to right, top to bottom.

Final result

Hope you are all having a great week and aren’t getting too stressed out by impending Christmas shopping!

With lots of love from the freshly-turned 25 me!
xox
C

Disclaimer: Cooking Crusade was sent Lucky Nuts to review by Nuffnang (Product Talk by Nuffnang), however the opinions in this post are my own.

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here 🙂

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marbled

Christmas Gingerbread

Uncategorized December 29, 2010

Tis the season to be jolly!

I thought I would join in on all the fun and make some of my own Christmas gingerbread. So many other of my subscribed blogs have been making Christmas cookies lately, The Pioneer Woman, Sweetopia and Bakerella to name a few. This is me jumping on the Christmas Cookie bandwagon!

I’ve never really made Christmas themed cookies before so this was a first for me. I had only just started collecting cookie cutters as well. Prior to this year, I only had one heart shaped set from Chalet. This year I got another set of stars (Chalet), some Christmas tree cutters for Christmas from my grandmother, a mixed bunch of Christmas-themed cutters from David Jones (trees, stars, gingerbread men etc) and last week I got an awesome set of snowflake cookie cutters from Alfresco Emporium. Speaking of which, if you haven’t managed to go shopping there yet, I highly recommend it! They have so many wonderful baking supplies. I picked up some royal icing powder ($8.95), a cake leveler ($11.95) 12 Wilton disposable icing bags ($11.95 – a bit pricey, but I wanted to try them.. I’ve only got two reusable loyal icing bags at home and they get a bit messy. They were great, but I’m hoping to get some cheaper ones online in bulk sometime soon.) I also picked up an icing bag coupler (hard to find and useful when you want to do a couple different colours with different tips when icing (and only $1.95!) And of course my new beloved snowflake cookie cutters! They were originally $19.95 but they had a 50% off Christmas sale, so they were $9.98, woo!

I’m looking forward to using the cake leveler. Previously I had just a serrated knife to level and tort my cakes but a lot of cake decorators recommend using a leveler. I will definitely report results when I next use it.

For these cookies I used the same recipe that I always use off Taste.com as always, with fabulous results (except for the fact that sometimes I tend to sliiightly overbake them. Hey. Everyone likes slightly crisp gingerbread, right? Guys? Hello?)

To decorate I used the royal icing powder (just add water, it’s a snap!) I’d love to find meringue powder because you have to use quite a bit of royal icing powder to make the icing and it wasn’t that cheap ($8.95 for a bag) and a lot of blogs I’ve been following say that you only need a tablespoon of meringue powder or two and you add in the sugar yourself. Sadly I haven’t been able to find meringue powder anywhere in Australia. If you find any, please let me know! Because I’d love to find it..

For an excellent tutorial on how to outline and flood cookies, check out Pioneer Woman’s post featuring Bridget from Bake at 350. It really helped me out with these cookies.

For marbling cookies, I also highly recommend Sweetopia – this blog has sooo many beautiful and well written tutorials – the photography is stunning as are the cookies! Check out the post on how to marble royal icing here. Sweetopia is basically a cookie-heaven blog so I also recommend checking out the rest of the posts .. they’re great!

To create the marbled icing effect, simply pipe straight lines of flood icing of a different colour onto the flood icing on the cookie before it has dried.
Drag a toothpick through to create the feathered lines.

I piped this snowflake design on and then sprinkled it with 100s and 1000s.

For the trees, I just used the outline/flood method and then added some milk chocolate chips and extra 100s and 1000s. I was hoping to use cachous because they replicate shiny baubles better but I didn’t have any on me at the time.. Next time, Gadget!

Enjoy these cookies!

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Gingerbread

Uncategorized December 3, 2010

Gingerbread is one of my favourite types of cookies. I never had it much as a kid, but I remember drooling over the shiny packets holding its iced gingerbread tastyness at Woolies and Coles when I was a kid. Wasn’t really allowed them, sadly (probably the right thing to do lol) but since I’ve started baking, it’s been a big favourite of mine. I particularly love the softness and the spice of the cinnamon and ginger that blend so perfectly together. They’re also great for Christmas. I still remember the plate of gingerbread cookies my friend Kira baked for Christmas a couple of years ago. The softness of the cookie melded so perfectly with the crispness of the icing with a teensy lemony tang Kira had added. Yep, we had gobbled them up. I even have a picture of them.

Ah, that takes me back.

Fortunately gingerbread is also one of my boyfriend’s fave cookies as well, which gives me a good excuse to whip up a batch every now and then.

I recently  bought a set of star shaped cookie cutters and well, it was a good excuse as any.

You can check out the recipe I used here. I highly recommend this one, super easy and delicious! This recipe is definitely a keeper.

I experimented a little with the icing – one with water and icing sugar and one with milk and icing sugar. I noticed that there was no real discernible difference in the taste, but the icing with the milk was a lot shinier in appearance whereas the water-icing was dull. Hopefully you’ll be able to tell the diff in the above pix.

I didn’t attempt to replicate Kira’s amazing icing because it contains raw egg and I am a superstitious ninny when it comes to raw eggs. Maybe one day I’ll try it. But for now…

I’ll stick to being paranoid.

Have a wonderful weekend!~

xox

Christine

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