These little beauties are gorgeous!! They’ve come about because one of the lovely ladies who attends my classes is dairy free. I like to bake for the students at my classes, so was looking for a dairy free recipe. I found a recipe I liked, but tweaked it a bit and now I’m going to share it with you! Be prepared- the dough needs to chill for AT LEAST 4 hours, overnight is even better. So if you want to make these cookies you have to be patient!
Ok, so the jury is still out on these. I have to be honest with you, I can’t make my mind up whether I like them or not. The reason I chose to make them was to do with my quest to find yummy tasting treats that don’t pile on the pounds. And this recipe boasted that these are under 50 calories each. Worth a try I thought. So I made them, and took them along to a class I was running, and my family and friends have tried them too. And I think it’s fair to say we’re split 50/50 into those that like them and those that don’t. So you might just have to try them for yourself! The original recipe I found was here.
And this is what they’ll look like when they’re baked. Excuse the watery picture, it was very sunny in my kitchen when I took this picture!
And there you have it. Easy peasy to make, I’ll leave the taste testing up to you and you can tell me what you think.
I love fresh bread, there’s little that can beat the taste and texture of it fresh from the oven. But sometimes I just don’t have time, or I’m just not organised enough, to make it all by hand. So this is where my bread machine comes into it’s own. Hands up who has a bread machine? And hands up who hasn’t used it in ages? That’s about to change…..
Ingredients you will need:
30g butter, chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp. sugar
600g white bread flour
2 tsp dried yeast
You’ll need to add the ingredients according to the instructions for your machine, but for mine it’s this order- water, butter, salt and sugar, then flour, egg and yeast.
Put it on the dough setting and let the bread machine work it’s magic. The dough cycle on my machine takes 1 hour and 20 minutes.
As soon as it’s finished, you can tip the dough out and break it into 12 pieces, and roll each one into a ball. Put them onto two greased baking trays and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes at 200 degrees, or until cooked and golden brown.
Then remove the bread rolls and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Or, leave to cool as long as is needed to enable you to hold them without burning your fingers, break apart, spread with butter and enjoy!!
Now if you decorate a lot of cakes like I do, you’ll be after the perfect sugarpaste to use to both cover the cakes, and model with. And, like me, you’ve probably used a lot of different types in the quest to find it. I’ve tried Tesco, Asda, Regalice, Dr Oetker, Bako, Covapaste….and possibly a couple of others too. I was quite happy with the Tesco brand for quite a while, but then they ‘improved’ the recipe, and like many other decorators I know, I found it much harder to use. So I had settled on Covapaste for a while, and it suited me. But I’ve had a couple of difficult batches of this recently, so went on the hunt again.
I was sent a free sample of Sweet Silk Sugarpaste from Sweet Success. I’m saying that to be totally honest and up front with you. It was a 1kg free sample, but I am reviewing this giving my own true, honest opinions. I am not being paid to review this product.
It just so happens that the next cake I was making was a birthday cake for my daughter, Grace. Now I gave this sample quite a work out. I gave it a good knead, I coloured it, and I rolled it very thin as the cake was a 8″ round, 4″ deep one, and I wanted to use the same paste for some of the decorations. I’ll be honest with you, it did tear a little bit, and when I tried to colour it, it took longer than the Covapaste to fully take on and evenly distribute the colour. But I felt that I’d probably not treated this in quite the same way as I would have done another batch of paste- ie I rolled it far thinner than I normally would, so I ordered some more and had another go.
And with the next cake I had more success. In fact, I’ve tried it on this cake…..
Although on this last one I had a bit of trouble again. You see I’d forgotten the magic trick that I’d tried with the others- warm the paste in the microwave. Just for about a minute on a low heat, but that’s just enough to introduce enough warmth to it, that you don’t have to knead and knead and knead it to get it pliable, and the warmer paste takes the colour much more easily, it’s softer, it rolls better, it covers better. I forgot about this when covering this one, so ended up with some tears and elephant skin (hence the rocks covering the front- sssh don’t tell my nephew, this one was for him!)
So the secret to this, for me anyway, seems to be, if you warm it up, it’s easier to use. So for now, although I’ll still keep an eye on what other brands are doing, I’ll be using Sweet Silk Sugarpaste from Sweet Success. You can buy it direct from Sweet Success, and they make it there themselves. And if you are going to be using a lot of it, you can apply for a trade account so you’ll get it that bit cheaper too.
Or, you could enter their current competition to win 1kg of the paste to try for yourself. You can enter over on their fb page. Good luck if you’re entering!!
Let me know if you use it too, and what you think about it, I’ll be really interest
ed to hear your thoughts.
Have you been to Cake International? It’s been running for many years, but I’ve been to the Birmingham one for the last three years. The first one, I drove there from Manchester with my mum, spent a fortune on goodies and came home full of ideas, and totally in awe of anyone who entered the competition, thinking it wasn’t anything that I’d ever do myself.
The second and third years I went with cake friends and stayed over near the NEC. It was a really social experience, spending time in person with ‘real live’ cake friends, not just chatting to them over the internet! Each year different friends entered the competition and, with them, I lived through their anguish beforehand whilst making their competition piece, their nerves when waiting for the judges to announce who had been awarded what grades, and their joy and sometimes disappointments at how they had been scored.
But I hadn’t ever entered the competition myself. Well, I lived in Manchester, and the cake had to be delivered to Birmingham before 8.45am on a Friday morning, and I had work, or had to take the children to school, so I couldn’t possibly get it there, could I?
Good enough excuse I thought.
Then Cake International moved to Manchester. And not just Manchester- to Event City, which is less than ten minutes away from where I live in Urmston. So the ‘I can’t get it there’ excuse was no longer relevant. Hmmmmmmmm.
So, when the time came to think about buying my tickets for CI, it was crunch time. Was I going to buy a three day pass? Or enter the competition and have a three day pass because of it? So I entered the competition. I read through the rules of each class and decided on Class B: Celebration cake with all edible decoration.
I decided to stick with something I knew I could do. Some people enter CI to really challenge themselves, and hats off to them for doing it. There are some absolutely fantastic pieces there, such as this amazing piece from Rhu at Pimp My Cake By Mama Rhu. But I thought I’d make a cake which I’d make for a customer, and just have fun making a cake I enjoyed. Which is exactly what I did.
I like making cakes with lots of detail. Cakes which make you look a little bit closer. Cakes which have decoration at the back as well as at the front. So I kind of went to town with it on this cake. I didn’t stress, I didn’t worry, I just enjoyed making a cake that I wanted to make. So far so good I thought.
On the morning of delivery I was still fairly relaxed about the whole thing. Until the point of putting it on the table. Then I started to feel nervous. Lots of people would be looking at my cake over the next three days. The judges would be scrutinising it in a matter of hours. People might wander past it and criticise it. I might be there and hear them! Suddenly I wasn’t quite so calm! But I felt confident enough in my cake to think I might be awarded a merit, and if I was lucky enough to get a bronze, then I’d be thrilled.
After taking the children to school, and going home to bake for a order, I returned to CI at about 11am. As soon as I arrived I went to the competition area and saw a judge with my cake! Suddenly I felt very sick. Suddenly it really mattered to me what this person thought of my cake, and I needed to know as soon as possible.
Then I, and other cake friends, waited for the results to be announced. And waited and waited and waited. Three o’clock came round and I had to leave to collect my children from school. On returning home I was glued to my laptop, waiting for Rhu to let me know what the results were. Then Rhu posted a picture for me.
They are made from butter, golden syrup, water, bicarbonate of soda, oats, coconut, flour and sugar. Anzac biscuits were made by the wives and girlfriends of soldiers to send them in the war, to cheer them up and keep them fighting fit. They do not contain anything which will go off quickly, so were ideal to last the journey to the battlefield.
Anzac Day is celebrated in Australia to mark the first anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the first world war.
So we decided to make a batch of them for Grace, and her class mates, the teachers and teaching assistants….and a few left over for us too- we made five batches in the end!! They are yummy, and taste like you are having something healthy with the coconut and oats!!
Here’s how to do it…..
Ok, so they’re called Aphrodisiac cookies, mainly because they contain walnuts and dark chocolate, both of which have reported aphrodisiac qualities. I can’t promise they’ll pep up the old love life, but they’re a really yummy cookie, so it’s worth a try anyway isn’t it?!
1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees. Put the softened butter/baking margarine, the eggs, and the vanilla extract in a bowl. Mix together. You can use an electric whisk if you want to, if you do it’ll be far fluffier in appearance than in the next picture….
2. I used a wooden spoon, so if that’s what you use too, it’ll look something like this.
3. Add all the rest of the ingredients. I LOVE recipes where you just pile everything in at once. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the art that goes into more carefully added/folded/whisked at each stage etc recipes, but if you pile it all in at once, you have less time to wait before you get to try it, which has got to be a good thing? Yes?
4. Mix everything in together, until fully combined.
5. Using a dessert spoon, or whatever you have handy, dollop small amounts onto a lined baking tray. You should get about 24 cookies out of this recipe. Make sure you have quite a gap in between each one as they tend to spread……see the next photo…..
6. You see? Lots of spreading, which resulted in the top ones touching each other. Not a big problem, but remember to space them apart. Leave them on the baking tray for at least 10 minutes to cool down. They are very fragile and soft as soon as they’re out of the oven and will break easily if you try and transfer them to a cooking rack. I know, I tried. If they’re still fragile after this time, leave them for a bit longer before you move them onto cooling racks to finish cooling fully.
How To Make A Paper Piping Bag
2. Take the top right hand corner and fold it down…..