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cookies

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.

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Cake Decorating Adventures

Uncategorized October 17, 2011

Sorry I haven’t been around much lately guys! I’ve been trying super hard to exercise a lot and eat really well to shape up for the wedding at the moment and it’s seriously taken all of my concentration. I mostly go to work, drive an hour, get to the gym, exercise like crazy and go home and eat food, watch a couple episodes of The Office and then it’s bed time and the whole thing starts again, hehe.

So not much time for blogging I’m afraid! But that doesn’t mean I’ve taken an absence from food or food photography, so I thought I’d do another pic-post of some of the things I’ve been whipping up lately (although I mostly do not have the energy to do an entire post for each item!)

Thank you for watching. 🙂


Choc chip cookies (yes, you may notice some of these foods aren’t exactly in my ‘diet’ category… cough.) These were great straight out of the oven but I apparently messed up the amount of flour in them resulting in 1 hour later, rock hard cookies…. whoops. Back to the drawing board! Couldn’t resist posting this pic though, because they still look good here! hehe.



Vanilla cupcakes decorated with a cream cheese frosting swirl, fondant cut outs and sprinkles. Man I love how fun decorating is!



A chocolate mudcake frosted with milk chocolate ganache and decorated with white fondant heart cut outs and strawberries. I love how easy it is to put together pretty designs without very much effort at all.


Lemon cupcakes with a lemon zesty glaze – my first somewhat failed attempt at food styling, lol.






We had Dyan’s first birthday without us on September 19, so a couple of our friends got together. I made this white chocolate (her favourite) cake for it.

You can check out the rest of the cake pics here.

Hope everyone’s having a great week!

Loooove and hugs!
xoxo
Christine

10 Comments
front-image

Valentine’s Day Cookies

Uncategorized February 28, 2011

Hey everyone! Sorry I’ve been MIA for awhile. I’ve been soo busy with work, church, apple picking and of course baking. 🙂 I thought I’d take a bit of time to do some blogging 🙂

I couldn’t think of what to do for my bf for Valentine’s day… Since at the time, his V-day gift to me was a surprise, I had to come up with something romantic. I figured that since I love baking, and there are so many cute V-day themed bakeables, that I should bake something sweet. I also got the chance to use my cupcake shaped cookie cutter for the first time! I ended up baking him a bunch of basic sugar cookies decorated with royal icing 🙂

Sugar Cookies (adapted from a bunch of sources, you will see this one everywhere)
3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract

Cream together butter and sugar, add egg and vanilla. Add flour+baking powder cup by cup until you have a crumbly dough. Refrigerate for about half an hour (makes it easier to roll out). Roll out, cut into shapes and bake for about 15 minutes at 150-160 degrees Celsius or until a pale creamy light golden colour (don’t underbake!) Cool completely and decorate.

For the frosting for this, I simply used a mixture of royal icing powder and lemon juice, then used Wilton paste dyes to colour it.

I loved making these, sooo cute!

This cupcake shape crumbled a bit on the side when I took it off the baking sheet, so I took the opportunity to make it “interesting” haha.

I also made some pale pink hearts with sprinkles.

Then experimented with some bow ties and polka dots.


In fact, I made so many that I bundled them up and took them to the office!

You can buy (quite large) cupcake shaped cookie cutters from Alfresco Emporium (I bought mine from Cherrybrook) for $9.95 🙂

Enjoy! xoxo

Christine

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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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1

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

2 Comments
1moneyshot

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies

Uncategorized September 20, 2010

It’s a difficult thing to find a Really Good Cookie Recipe. There’s usually one problem – too crispy, not soft enough, too many choc chips or not enough. My ultimate cookie is a soft, dense cookie. Chewiness will also not go amiss. Oh-so-slightly crispy at the edges but gorgeously soft and dense in the centre.
Probably one of the best cookies in the world come from Subway, but I almost never allow myself to buy them since I discovered they were 200 calories a pop (and seriously, who can resist that three cookies for $2.50 deal? come on people, i don’t have that much self control).

These aren’t particularly chewy, but they are certainly dense, soft and crispy. Love, love, love them. I was passed on the recipe from my friend Niwa, can be found here. The original recipe is for white chocolate macadamia cookies, but i’ve made these with regular choc chip with same success – it’s a great basic cookie dough.

Ingredients
2 1/4 C plain flour I once made these cookies without adding baking soda. They were far better with the baking soda – too dense.
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C white caster sugar

3/4 C butter, room temperature – (important for creaming)
2 large eggs
2 t vanilla essence/extract
1 cup nuts (pecans or macadamia)
– I used macadamias
1 1/2 C white chocolate, chopped – I used 1 cup of white chocolate chips


Preheat your oven (180 C) and line a baking tray with baking paper or a baking mat. In a dry bowl, mix together flour, salt and baking powder.

Cream butter and sugars with an electric mixer or with a wooden spoon and some serious elbow grease. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy.

Add flour, cup by cup at a time. I always use a wooden spoon for this step, otherwise the flour shoots everywhere with the electric mixer. Flour + cookie dough on the walls = not good.

Fold in your chocolate chips and chop nuts.

Add nuts to the dough.

Macadamia nuts are hard to chop.. I find they have a tendency to shoot everywhere if you’re not careful. I tried bashing them in a ziplock bag, but I broke the bag. Haha. If you have a good solution for macadamia-bashing, let me know your tips and tricks!

Tip – leave in the fridge for 30-60 minutes to harden the dough. This makes it easier to shape into round balls and according to some, makes the dough denser when baking. I have no idea what the connection is, though. Feel free to share, if you know!

Shape tablespoons of dough into balls and place on tray. If you checked out my previous post, you may have halved the choc chips.. if you have, use the reserved amount to decorate cookies with. If not, just chuck in the oven and bake away away.

NOW LISTEN UP, BECAUSE THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART.
DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM YOUR OVEN. DO NOT DO IT.

The best way to get good cookies is by WATCHING THEM LIKE A HAWK. Too many times I have walked away from an oven in boredom, only for a few minutes, seriously and I’ve paid the price with sad, sad burnt cookies. It’s just so annoying buying good ingredients, putting it all together only to get screwed up results. Trust me. I’ve been through the heartbreak and I don’t want you, dear reader, to go through the same pain. It happened during PMS one time and I nearly cried.

Okay, getting a bit emotional here.

Back to the recipe.

In a hot oven, these tend to bake for about 10-15 minutes. When in doubt take them out earlier rather than later, because cookies tend to firm up quite a bit outside of the oven. You should take them out when they are only just beginning to brown on the edges. But never take too long because you have no idea how much burning is going on underneath the pretty white surface if your oven isn’t the right temperature. Trust me on this. If you get it right, the results are super delicious.


Cool on a wire tray and eat one warm with a glass of milk. It is pure magic – the combination of melted chocolate, crispy, soft cookie and cool milk. You’ll love this one.


xoxox

– Christine

If you want tips on how to freeze cookie dough, check out my previous post, here.

4 Comments
freezeforlater

Quick Tips: Cookie Dough

Uncategorized September 6, 2010

The Joys of Freezing

I love chocolate chip cookies. I would probably make them more often if I didn’t know how much sugar and butter and chocolate went into them. Another deterrent is getting all the ingredients – butter (usually one of the first ingredients to go in my boyfriend’s household and at home. i just loove my butter. Chocolate chips are also annoyingly expensive. I’ve found that in the past that there’s almost no point in buying the Coles No Brand cooking chocolate chips. They are AWFUL. So I always spring for the good brands, but they’re something like $4-5 AUD per CUP of chocolate chips. It seems so wrong, since you can buy good quality blocks of eating chocolate for about half the price. Something is wrong here, people. I seriously need to find a baking/chocolate warehouse and stock up somewhere cos these prices are killing me, man! Nothing will keep me from my chocolate chips… Anyway, moving on.

One of my fave tips for cookies is freezing half the dough I make from a batch of cookie dough. I roll it into a long roll and then wrap it in clingfilm and freeze. Whenever you want cookies, simply slice and bake. It’s so awesomely easy, it’s like buying the Aunty Kath brand from Coles. Except cheaper. and A Million Times Better.


Cookie dough at your service, sir.

One problem I used to have with my chocolate chip cookies, years ago, was a minor presentation problem. I love cookies, but I love pretty cookies. Everyone knows that the best choc chip cookies dazzle you with the little chips twinkling prettily through the cookie dough, like this. My cookies always turned out a bit like this, with the cookie part covering the chips completely. Sure, they still tasted good, but I wanted perfection, dammit. Cookies never look like that when you buy them, or on the front packet of cake mixes. Almost all cookie recipes instruct you to fold all the chocolate chips into the dough. I started reserving half the chips to dot over the top of the cookies…. and success. Pretty cookies! yay!

Naked cookie dough. Oh noes! Cover us with delicious chips, mister!

Ahh, that’s much better.

Yay! Cookies. OMOMOMOM.

THE END

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