Saturday, January 4, 2014

Welcome to 2014! Happy New Year!!

Ring in the New Year!

I am starting out this new year with a bang, and hopefully one that continues throughout the coming year.  I am hoping to Blog 3 times per week now that I am a WAHM with a 4yo (who is starting preschool net week), and running my business from home which I found to be thriving in the 2nd half of 2013!

My 3 posts per week I am planning them to be :
  1. A traditional post of a foodie creation, a love, a challenge or a hot recipe I want to try.
  2. An Honest & Healthy Recipe - creating or replicating a 'healthy' creation to inspire you.
  3. A business post from something I have done from my WAHM biz - Cookie Queen Kitsch'n.

This year with juggling a few things in my day to day life I have decided to make my Blog Posts more achievable, and last year with the cookbook challenge I had an epic fail in the blogging department.  I just stretched myself too thin, and I didn't cook as much as I use to, with my partner cooking a lot, and a lot of easy meals of sausages & 3 veg or pre-prepared meals (takeaway). Putting on a lot of excess kilos in the process.  So I am hoping that this year's Blog will help me shed the kgs and get our family eating plan back.... for some reason Im the only one who put the pounds on though!
Here is flashback of my 2013 in photos, where I enjoyed 3 major family holiday trips (Great Ocean Road Trip in Victoria Australia), Cradle Moutain, Bechino & our Road Trip in Tasmania, and our 4 day Romantic Getaway in Fiji, plus all the work for my wonderful customers. 2 Standout Buffets with my daughter's 4th Birthday and my surrogate Sister in Law's Baby Shower, plus some other snippits.







 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap of 2013 - Maple Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies

 

HO HO HO and its a very Merry Christmas with only 11 days remaining to the big day.  And it's another year of the Annual partaking in the Food Bloggers Cookie Swap.


A couple of months ago I have made the decision along with my partner to turn my part-time Cookie Business into a Fulltime Working At Home Mum (WAHM) Business, and since then it has been super duper uber crazy busy! Parties, Events, Corporate Orders and Market Days have kept me run off my feet every single week.  So it was definitely a squeeze to get the 36 cookies required completed for the swap given I insist on producing decorated cookies. AND as usual my definition of a Christmas Cookie is definitely a gingerbread variety...  and I have to say I did excel as far as taste for my family, they deemed it a great look and tasting cookie all round.  Even my Miss 4 ate several and even insisted on taking a 'doggy bag' of them to her Nanny's house on her sleepover.  They did puff nicely the first roll out of each lot of dough, a note is to knead the dough back together well before re-rolling it to avoid distortion and shrinkage in cutter shapes.

Maple Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies


1/4 cup Butter - softened
1/4 cup Brown Sugar - firmly packed
1 Egg
2 Tbsp Molasses
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
1/2 cup FRESH Pumpkin Puree
1/4 cup Water
3 1/2 cups all-purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Bi-Carb (Baking) Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cloves
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper

Place pumpkin diced into a saucepan of water and boil until soft, drain and put through the food processer until a puree.

Place butter and sugar in the electric mixer and mix until light and fluffy.  Then add the egg and combine well. 

Add in the molasses, maple syrup, pumpkin and water and mix well on medium.

In a separate bowl sift together the dry ingredients and whisk them through so the raising agent is spread throughout.  Then add all at once to the wet/or pumpkin mixture in the electric mixer with dough hook.  Mix on low speed until a ball of pliable dough.

Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it on a floured surface.  Make 2 large discs of dough and put in glad wrap/cling film and place in the fridge for 4 hours (or overnight).

To Make Cookies :

Pre-heat over to 160 degrees.
Remove from the fridge, allow to sit until the dough is rollable, roll out the disc and use cookie cutters to cut out your cookies, place them on a lined cookie tray.
Bake for 15 minutes - check for golden colour as they may need more time depending on your oven.
You can decorate how you wish, I used Royal Icing.

I credit the Blogger Courtney from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life for these gorgeous cookies :
http://www.sweettoothsweetlife.com/2010/12/08/maple-pumpkin-gingerbread-cookies/
I thought these were easy and great, but I did opt to make my own Pumpkin Puree just because I hate pumpkin from a can, I don't think it tastes the same at all, plus you avoid unnecessary preservatives.

I have received 3 Cookie Packages from my fellow Cookie Swappers, their details and pics are below, so far I have nibbled at each package and they taste great! Thank you so much lovely ladies. 

Thank you and my Cookie Bakers for 2013 were :

Alicia from The Kitchen and the Camera :
http://www.thekitchenandthecamera.com/2013/12/white-chocolate-cranberry-shortbread.html

Kate from The Cook's Companion Challenge :
http://cookscompanionchallenge.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/301984-passionfruit-shortbread-biscuits.html

Giulia from Love At Every Bite :
http://www.loveateverybite.com/dolci-desserts/great-sweet-food-blogger-cookie-swap/


If you missed out this year but don't want to miss out in 2014, just sign up with your email here so you get the notifications when the swap is taking names next year : http://eepurl.com/qCABj

 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

White Chocolate & Raspberry Celebration Cake


Again I am still do Blog Post delayed catch ups, this one is from my daughter's 4th birthday.  She requested raspberry cake.... again. Along with Orange Sponge Cupcakes.  So here is the cake I made for the bottom layer in her Lalaloopsy Birthday Party Cake.

This cake tastes delicious, but I ensure I use a good quality white chocolate, I find the cheaper cooking ones just taste bitter a bit like cardboard.  So my fav is Cadbury Dream, but my 2nd Choice is Nestle Plaistowe.

White Chocolate & Raspberry Celebration Cake

250g Castor Sugar
180g Butter - room temp
465g Plain Flour (less 3 Tbsp)
3 Tbsp Cornflour
3 tsp Baking Powder
3 Eggs
375ml Milk (I used 50% lite milk & 50% Buttermilk) - room temp
270g White Chocolate (Good Quality, I use Cadbury Dream) - chopped
Raspberries - Frozen

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Grease
and flour cake tin, I used a 10 inch springform pan.

Cream the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer on medium speed.  When pale and fluffy you can add in the eggs one at a time until fully combined.
Sift your dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and whisk to ensure the raising agent and cornflour are dispersed throughout flour well.

Take your milk and your dry ingredients and add them into the butter mixture in alternative additions, once fully combined take the bowl out of the electric mixer.

Chop your white chocolate up into very fine pieces and stir into the mix with a wooden spoon.  Next take your frozen raspberries and stir them lightly through the batter.

Pour the mix into your prepared cake tin, and place into the preheated oven, and bake for 45-55 minutes.  Always check the centre of the cake with a wooden skewer to ensure the centre is cooked and not raw, this is done by sticking it in when you pull it out it should be clean without mixture stuck to it.  Your should turn out the cake once it has cooled for at least 15 minutes.

Once your cake is completely cold (I usually also placed wrapped in gladwrap/clingfilm into the freezer to ensure it is extra cold), it is ready to frost, ice, ganache and if so desired cover in fondant like I did!

Here is the Dessert Buffet setup I did for my daughter's birthday, we went with a Hot Pink and Sunshine Yellow theme in her favourite doll sesries called Lalaloopsy Dolls.

And.... these are a close up of the uniquely self designed Cookies and Choc-Coated Oreos!
 

And here are the Take Home Favours I made for all the little girls and boys!! Such fun!

I had the designs for my stickers, invitations and tags made through Lala Heaven on Etsy.com, here is her link : https://www.etsy.com/shop/LalaHeaven?ref=search_shop_redirect Katie is fabulous and fast, I found no request too great for her, she even personalised these gorgeous stickers of Dyna-Mite after she met the live doll, for me which I put on boxes of my daughter's favourite treat - Milk Duds!



Sunday, November 3, 2013

Triple Lemon Vanilla Bean Layer Cake with a Lucious Lemon Buttercream

Firstly apologies for my delay in blogging, its been a while and I keep starting new posts and not publishing for one reason or another.... so here goes one.  I promise to catch up asap!

I have an abundance yet again of lemons from my Mum's tree, a massive bowl is overflowing on our dining table, leaves and all.   Last night I did an order of 2 dozen macarons using them, and it inspired me to bake something further today because the Lemon buttercream was soooo delish!  And before you ask... yes I had my handy helper under foot too.

So fasten your seatbelts and hold onto your hats, this one is super fast and uber tasty...

Triple Lemon Vanilla Bean Layer Cake

225g Butter - room temp, cubed
1 cup Castor Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
1 Lemon Rind
1 Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Lemon Extract
6 Eggs
1 cup Milk (i used Lite Organic with a squeeze of a 1tsp of lemon juice in it)
3 cups Plain Flour (All-Purpose) - remove 3 tablespoons of flour
3 Tbsp Corn Flour (or corn starch)
2 tsp Baking Powder

Lucious Lemon Buttercream

125g Butter - room temp
3 ounces Cream Cheese
1 Whole Lemon - Zest & Juice
1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence
2 cups Pure Icing Sugar - sifted
2 cups Icing Sugar Mixture - sifted

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees.  Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans.

Place your butter and castor sugar in the mixer and cream them together, then add the vanilla, lemon rind, juice and extract and mix in well, it may appear curdled but keep going.  Add in your eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.

Prepare, measure and have ready to go, your milk and also your dry ingredients sifted together (flour, corn flour/cornstarch and baking powder.  Alternatively add the milk and dry ingredients in 3 consecutive additions. Lightly mix at the end.

Pour your mixture into 2 equal sandwich pans.  Place in the oven on the middle oven shelf.  Bake for 35 minutes and check they are cooked through as every oven is different.

Buttercream - Place all ingredients into mixer and mix until it is pale, light and fluffy.  Frost your cake bottom layer first then top layer, and embellish with your choice of sprinkles or leave plain. Enjoy!