Get your Bake On: Homemade Smarties Cookies – soft, squidgy and delicious!

Crikey, well, it’s been a while hasn’t it!

Happy new Year to you all and I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. By wonderful, I mean alcohol and food filled.

I don’t know about you guys, but our kitchen cupboards currently resemble the snack aisle of a supermarket on Black Friday. Smarties, Toblerone’s, Chocolate Oranges, Chocolate truffles, Ferrero Rocher, Pringles, Doritos…and a fridge full of random pieces of cheese.

In a futile attempt to cull a load of chocolate in one go, the other day I made some Smarties Cookies. The kids LOVED them and they taste even more delicious than the ones you spend a load of dosh on at the supermarket bakery, trust me, I ate 3.

I suggest using Smarties in my recipe because we had enough to make me morbidly obese in a week, but any chocolates in a sugar shell will work for this recipe, M&M’s, Minstrels, etc, will do the same job.

This is also a super recipe to get the kids involved with too. My littlest mainly just taste tested the Smarties and the cookie dough, but he tried.

Homemade Smarties Cookies Recipe

*BAKING TIPS*

Don’t skip chilling your cookie dough. Chilling it ensures you end up with gooey, squidgy, delicious cookies and not crumbly ones. You know, like the ones you get at Millie’s cookies *drool*.

Make sure you leave a lot of room between the cookies as they spread a lot when you cook them. I also like to bash the top of the cookies down gently as they come out of the oven to flatten them a bit.

Leave the cookies to cool down on the baking tray for 8-10 minutes once they’re out of the oven. This allows them to firm up enough to put on a cooling rack without risk of them falling apart.

Don’t over-bake the cookies, 10 minutes in the oven is really enough. They should be very pale and slightly golden around the edge.

Homemade Smarties Cookies recipe

Happy Baking!




Get Your Bake On: Old School Butterscotch Tart

One of my fondest memories of primary school was, believe it or not, the school dinners.

I’m not talking about the questionable ‘meat’ slices we had with our roast dinners (WTF was that stuff?! It’s probably best not to know) nor the pink gunge known as Blamange that we were often presented with. I’m talking about the holy grail of puddings that we got once in a Blue Moon, but when that day arrived, my word I was a happy little person;

Butterscotch Tart

Butterscotch Tart recipe

I can still remember the taste of it if I close my eyes.

The way the Butterscotch filling stuck to the back of my scratched spoon.

The way the pastry flew across my melamine plate if I wasn’t careful as I cut it.

The dollop of sweet, marshmallow like cream on the top of it.

Utter childhood bliss.

My two eldest boys are suckers for this pudding too so we spent some time yesterday making one. They sat there in the kitchen last night, savouring every mouthful and telling me, “this is the pudding of my dreams Mummy!”. Happiness personified.

I hear ya kiddos, I hear ya. Now, where’s my slice?

Here’s the recipe!

Butterscotch Tart recipe




Get your Bake On: Rainbow Swirl Buttercream Icing

Here’s a little ‘How to’ YouTube vid I made showing how to make, and pipe, rainbow coloured buttercream swirls.

Rainbow swirl icing

This icing technique is a really easy way of creating an eyecatching topping for celebration cakes and cupcakes. It’s so easy, even I managed it – and that’s saying something! Piping is not my strong point!

I don’t include the basic vanilla buttercream icing recipe in my video because everyone has their own way of making it, but my go to recipe (which makes enough buttercream to top about 16 cupcakes or fill and crumb coat a celebration cake) is;

2 tsp – Vanilla extract

500g – Sifted Icing Sugar

160g – Unsalted, softened butter

20ml – Milk

You can adapt the recipe to use any colours you wish and I always use gel colours rather than liquid ones because the colour is more vibrant and it doesn’t change the consistency of the icing.

Happy Baking!




Get your Bake On: Swirl Meringues

Meringues.

Fluffy, chewy, crispy little morsels of deliciousness. I love the things…possibly a bit too much!

I made these swirled meringues the other day to adorn the top of a birthday cake I made for a friend and everyone seemed to respond well to them and said they looked pretty good. So, I thought I would share my ‘how to’ with you in the form of a video tutorial.

I kid you not folks, this recipe is idiot proof. So idiot proof even I have managed to make them look acceptable.

If you have a bake sale coming up, why not give these bad boys a whirl. They’ll catch everyones eye and they taste great too!

Happy swirling!

(Oh, and if you like what you see and you fancy giving my YouTube channel a like, I would really appreciate it!)


Recipe notes

Ingredients:

4 egg whites

115g Caster Sugar

115g Icing Sugar

Cook/Prep time:

20 minutes prep.

1hr 30min bake.

2hr cooling.

Oven temperature: 100’c (fan)

Yield:

Approximately 12 large meringue cookies, or a mixture of large round ones and small droplet ones.




Get your Bake On: Meat Ragu Arancini

I cannot tell you all how much I love Arancini.

Literally, I am pretty certain that if there was only one food I was allowed to eat for the rest of my life, it would be these. Yep, even over chocolate. Shocking, I know.

I don’t know what it is about these delicious fried risotto balls that I love so much, anything fried is normally a winner in my book, and if they are on a menu when we go to eat out, it’s a no brainer and I will choose to have them.

Making them at home is a labour of love I have to admit, there are lots of component parts to them which can take a while to make, such as the risotto and the meat ragu, but I promise you all they are worth it! What’s even better is if you have some leftover risotto or bolognese from dinner the night before, these little babies are way less stressful to make because you already have half the prep done! No food waste either!

open meat ragu arancini

So, what are Arancini and where do they come from?

Arancini are the ancient street food of Sicily. You and me grab a sandwich, in Sicily they grab an Arancini. Lucky guys eh?!

I was lucky enough to visit this magical little island, with it’s ominous and temperamental volcano, 6 years ago with my family and sample some authentic Sicilian Arancini. They didn’t let me down!

The origin of this typical Sicilian food isn’t actually well-known. People from Catania argue the origin belongs to them (they think arancini were created to help poor people through history to eat something healthy during emigrations) whilst those from Palermo state that the origin is in fact very ancient. They claim they were created by the Arabs and they called it “arancina” (translation; little orange) because its shape and colour once fried is similar to that of an orange. I’m inclined to agree with the folks from Palermo. Please don’t send a horse head my way for saying that…

Arancini are either round in shape (Palermo) or Conical (Catania) but because I am a novice, I can only make round ones!

They are essentially balls of cooked risotto, filled with whatever takes your fancy (normally meat ragu or ham and cheese) and then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. An entire meal in one little ball.

I hope you have a go at making these at home. I know it might look/sound daunting to start with but honestly, if I can make them, anyone can! Buon Appetito!


Meat Ragu Arancini recipe


 Arancini ingredients

Arancini before breadcrumbing

Cooked Arancini balls