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sweet

Cheat Scones – Only three ingredients!

Recipes October 15, 2012

Scones in their baking tray
Scones (or, as I sometimes like to call them, ‘an excuse to eat jam and cream’) have always been a favourite of mine. They are perfect for picnics, girly afternoon teas, bringing a plate along to family lunches, sharing at the office or packing in kids lunchboxes! They are also extremely versatile. Into the scone batter, you could add chopped dates, sultanas, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, caramel bits, berries, pumpkin, cinnamon, nuts and much more! You could also drizzle the baked scones with a simple glaze or melted chocolate for some extra decadence. You could also try other spreads rather than the staple jam and cream — why not try peanut butter, Nutella, or lemon curd? The possibilities are endless!

Scone with jam and cream

I am a big fan of shortcuts in the kitchen. Any way I can make recipes faster, cheaper and with less washing up is a huge plus for me! I do love cooking, but the less time spent cooking and cleaning up is certainly an attractive option! I always have plenty of other things to do, including reading up on my fave food blogs, catching up with friends and my TV shows (yay for the return of Dexter, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Merlin and more!).

Fortunately for me, these scones are an absolute snap to put together! I borrowed this recipe from a work colleague who is famous for these scones and have heard many other friends say they enjoy this simple, tried and tested recipe.

Are you ready? … I hope you have your notebooks ready, because if you blink, you’ll miss it!

Some call this recipe “Lemonade Scones”, but I like to call them “Cheat Scones” because they’re so dang easy to make, it feels like cheating!

Cheat Scones
Ingredients List : Makes 1 large batch of scones – about 20, depending on how large you make them

  • 3 cups self raising flour
  • 1 cup cream I used Coles thickened cream
  • 1 cup lemonade I just used a homebrand version

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Measure flour into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Pour over cream and lemonade and mix together to form a sticky dough.
  4. Turn onto lightly floured surface so the dough will not stick and knead lightly.
  5. Press the dough into your workbench until it is about 2-3cms thick.
  6. Cut with scone cutter (I dip it into flour before cutting each time to avoid sticking) and place on a lined baking tray and place all following scones together so they touch lightly (they will bake together but don’t worry – they will be easy to pull apart.) Optional – you can brush the tops with milk before baking.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and sound hollow when tapped.
  8. Serve warm with freshly whipped cream and jam of your choice. These taste best fresh from the oven while still warm but are still delightful later, microwaved for 1 minute on high. This recipe also freezes well. (I just pop them in ziplock bags and throw them into the deep freeze for easy scone goodness later on!).

Freshly baked scones
Freshly baked golden scones just waiting to be covered in jam and cream!

Hand-whipped cream
I always buy the 600ml container of cream from Coles — it’s the perfect amount because you can use one cup for the scones themselves and the other to whip and serve with them! I usually add a spoonful of caster sugar and cornflour to each cup of cream to slightly sweeten and stabilise the whipped cream. Any leftovers I keep in the fridge for scone goodness later on ๐Ÿ˜‰

Scones with jam and cream

Hope you all had a lovely weekend! It’s so sad it was over so quickly but I hope you managed to sneak in a bit of relaxing in with all the hustle bustle!

Here’s to another week, cheers!
xoxo
C

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Brownie cupcakes with Peppermint Frosting

Uncategorized January 31, 2011

It’s no secret that I love anything choc-peppermint. I’m a huge fan of mint slices and choc-mint ice-cream. These flavours are also very popular with my friends and my boyfriend, so I don’t need an excuse to whip up anything choc-minty ๐Ÿ™‚ In the past I’ve made choc-mint hot chocolate (sooo divine!); a rich chocolate ganache ice-cream with peppermint and let’s not forget, the choc-mint cake.

I hate showing up to any social-type gathering’s at someone’s house empty-handed and it’s always an excuse to bake (I shouldn’t say this because now whenever I visit people’s houses, they will demand cookies. Haha.). However I’m often very sleepy/lazy to want to whip up something crazy complex and complicated.. Easy is the best way to go most of the time ๐Ÿ™‚ I pondered over the right type of baked good to bring to a housewarming for a friend, but I was running low on butter and eggs. Fortunately I had a box mix of brownies languishing in the cupboard… Box mix to the rescue!

These cupcakes result in a rich, fudgy brownie cupcake and is topped with a swipe of silky peppermint Swiss Meringue Buttercream (SMBC) and topped with some sprinkles to add colour. No fancy piping, decorations, special tools or skills needed! Fortunately for me I had an extra cup of the SMBC frosting from another cake sitting in the fridge just waiting to be used, but you could just as easily substitute it with a simple American buttercream (creamed butter, powdered sugar + a little milk.)

Ok, so let’s get this party started.

Start out with your favourite brownie box mix. My fave is White Wings (I swear by them! They make the best brownie box mix and believe me when I say that I’ve tried sooo many of them. This isn’t like, product placement or anything, but I wouldn’t waste my time with the other brownie mixes. Mostly they don’t bake as nice and moist as the White Wings brand or they taste crumbly/weird/have a strange aftertaste. I always have great results with this brand and it’s only in one bowl and takes a couple of minutes to assemble which is perfect for me.


This cake mix calls for 2T water, 1/4 cup oil and 2 eggs. I used a splash of water, 1/4 cup of melted butter, 1 regular egg and four egg whites (not for any particular reason, but because I had run out of whole eggs and I had used the yolks from those four to make ice-cream a day before. I kinda threw them in there hoping it would work and it turned out fine …But I mean, don’t go out of your way to do the same thing, I’ve used two eggs previously and it makes no real difference – in fact the texture seems slightly more fudgy with two eggs – probably as a result of the extra yolk.)


Melting butter for the cake batter.


Arrange your cupcake papers in the cupcake tin.


Mix cake batter together.


Here’s a tip for you; pour your cake batter into a small jug – this makes it a bit easier and neater to pour the batter into the cupcake papers rather than pouring it all in a big mess straight from the bowl.


Fill cupcake papers with batter.


Bake cupcakes and remove onto tray and cool.


You can pop them in the fridge for about half an hour if you like to help speed the cooling process along. Before frosting, ensure that cakes are entirely cool so they won’t melt the SMBC.


Tint and flavour your Swiss Meringue Buttercream (I used two capfuls of peppermint essence and gradually added Wilton’s green paste colour until I got the colour I wanted).

If you have made yours overnight like mine and kept it in the fridge, it may have gone a bit hard (due to the high fat content). Leave it out at room temperature and beat until it is smooth enough to handle. You may have to add a tiny amount of cream or milk to help make it smooth out a little bit but I found that the addition of the peppermint essence was enough to make it rather smooth again, instead of hard and lumpy. While adding peppermint essence (I added two capfuls to about 3/4 to 1 cup of SMBC icing), taste it and add more/less to adjust the frosting to make sure it is perfect. I like mine to be quite minty, but I could have gone a bit more pepperminty than with 2 capfuls (I ran out of peppermint essence).


Plop about a teaspoon of peppermint frosting onto each cooled brownie cupcake.


Using a flat butterknife, smooth out the frosting.


Sprinkle on some 100s and 1000s.


If you have more frosting or slightly higher domed cupcakes, you can create more of an upwards dome on your cupcake by smoothing the frosting upwards, like this.


nomnomnomnom.



Enjoy these cupcakes!!

Xoxox
Christine

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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 recentlyย  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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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.

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