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Biscuits and bears…

So, we have been less with the baking and more with the making…

The boys have got a little caked out so baking has been cut back to bare minimum…or “bear” minimum…(yeah, that was terrible…go ahead, leave this website, don’t come back.)

do not eat

 

SO, the bear thing…we’ve been NEEDLE FELTING!!! You sort of jab un-spun wool with a needle until it turns into stuff…or you jab the bejesus out of your finger…hurts like a bitch but you’d think it was a hot coffee enema from the way we were screaming. 

We needed snacks for the stichin’ ‘n’ bitchin’…making stuff really works up an appetite (ok, no it doesn’t, we are just greedy)

Black Sesame and Hot Ginger Honey Cookies

tip: put ugly biscuits on a gorgeous plate

  • 130g Plain Flour
  • 20g skimmed milk powder
  • 40g Black sesame seeds
  • 80g Budder
  • 80g Caster Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp Honey
  1. rub together the dry stuff until crumby
  2. stir through the honey then bring together into a dough ball
  3. roll out and cut out
  4. bake 160ºC for 15-20 mins

These were yummy, the cayenne really fires up the ginger and the smoky sesame brings it nicely together like a sweet buddery oral bonfire!

it's like some weird cookie maypole dance

 

They got strangely super hard over night so these are probably “scoff the batch” cookies which is not the biggest upset in the history of the world.

12 down 4 to go

 

Now back to the making stuff…we have been making Micro-Bears!

 

Macrocephaly: makes things cuter

Cuteness!

a lot cuter than the bloody stumps that are our fingers...needle felting is an extreme sport

 

We want to see just how small we can get them!

a penny for scale...do you know how long it took to fit a decent looking penny?

 

Anyways, hopefully more baking soon…if truth be told we are actually in a giant baking mope as GBBO hasn’t got back to us…Mary Berry, you are now dead to us, DEAD!

Bakers without Borders: Maple Marzipan Cookies

So last week we went over to The Vanilla Duck Bakery for dinner…

Mr Richard was hot smoking some pork belly and chicken on his home-made smoking contraption (OMG the most delicious meat EVER! Have you ever wanted to stick your face in a big hunk of meat and rub it all around? Us neither, until last week).  As the smoking thing can take anywhere from four to TWELVE hours(but worth every minute) we had a few hours to spare.  We decided to have a little bake in the Vanilla Duck’s kitchen!

Baking somewhere different with whatever you can find is such a fun challenge; like the shopping bag from Ready, Steady, Cook…or the lesser known Stump the Cook segment from The Splendid Table (go listen! Lynne Rossetto Kasper is soooo adorable, I want to hug her…lots).

Here’s what we came up with…

Maple Marzipan Cookies

  • 150g Plain Flour
  • 80g Butter
  • 80g Caster Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • Marzipan (of unknown quantity(oops))
  1. pre-heat the oven to 165ºC (or get whoever’s oven to do it for you!)
  2. rub butter into dry ingredients
  3. stir in maple syrup
  4. shape into a disk, wrap in cling and whack in the fridge for 20 mins
  5. whilst you wait, roll marzipan into Malteser size balls (you’ll need about 12 so factor this in if you are going to gobble any/many)
  6. TOP TIP: roll dough thickly (about 1cm) and cut out circles.  Though they are spreading cookies, you get a much more even spread and shape if you start from a uniform shape.
  7. get little Jack Horner and stick your thumb in each cookie to make a little nest for the marzipan balls…then stick a ball in (obv!)
  8. bake for about 13 mins

    trying to think "cookie" but our brains are screaming "eggs" and "breasts"

We didn’t leave enough room for spreadage so there was a bit of inappropriate touching going on (bad cookies, no means no).  Apart from that they were nummy! Lovely maple flavour coming through and that sticky, chewy cookie goodness that makes it super difficult not to wolf them all down (especially when you’re real hungry and can smell meat smoking).

Vanilla Duck took the pics...love that Ducky!

The wonderful thing we learned from our baking excursion is how much fun it is to bake with someone else!  The Vanilla Duck is awesome to hang out with and has so many good baking ideas!  I think there will be more collaborations in the future!

Milk and Chocolate Biscuits: Delicious all year round (we are very lazy)

Hey Kids!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!  We hope you got some nice things from Santa (who must have been terribly uncomfortable this year as the weather was so clement…Red fur trousers in the heat must amount to a substantial amount of crotch sweat);

The bakery is now the proud owner of a Baby Gaggia Espresso Machine so no excuses for us not getting our lazy arses in gear and posting in a reasonable amount of time.  So, yeah, we are only just posting our Christmas biscuits due to the jolly, joy, joy of drinking, eating, socialising, eating, snacking, munching, sleeping, watching Goonies…but it’s not like we get paid for this or anything so deal with our dallying.

on Dasher, on Dancer, on Hob-Nob and Linzer!

What were we saying? *distracted by a Lindor Reindeer* Oh, Christmas biscuits…sooooo, our main gripe about the Christmas biscuit, and don’t get us wrong, we love traditions and cracking out the old standards each year, but come on folks, a little imagination…we like sugar but we’re only an iced vanilla biscuit away from the diabetes.

So we went for something a little different…and they were awesome!

the forest of num numsFrom this angle I guess these are girl reindeer

We thought we’d play with different textures and flavours in the same cookies but try and keep each separate and distinct.  What we came up with was a vanilla shortbread type bikkie containing milk crumbs (oh, milk crumbs BTW=delicious!!! More than delicious, they are a eat-the-batch-and-have-to-make-more-then-eat-half-of-that-batch-and-make-yet-another level of delicious) topped with a layer of really deep, dark chocolate sort of shortcrust pastry type biscuit.  You get the soft buttery, milky bottom layer with the crunch and cocoa intensity from the top…marvellous!

check out the layerage

We made Christmas trees rolling the base to 6mm and topping with 2mm thickness of the chocolate layer; this gave a great balance of the two.  The milk layer was a soothing back massage, the chocolate, a cheeky slap on the ass.

We dusted in gold and added a little squiggle of green for some tree-y-ness ( and because as much as we love chocolate, food the colour of post-Guinness bowel movements doesn’t get us reaching for the biscuit tin).

you can't polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.

What to do with the pile of doughs left over?! (apart from eat them raw, don’t judge, raw cookie dough is a food group of it’s own); we squished then into a single marble dough and made reindeers!

almost too cute to eat...

 

the herd has been thinned...

a delicious ecosystem

So here’s to a great 2012 and another year of baking experiments!

Chocolate Spiderweb Cookies

So Halloween is approaching…

Perfect time to start spookifying our baking! Mwah ha ha ha!

spooky yet ordered

TBH…not really trying too hard with the scary as these are brown and pink…not a classic Halloween colour combo…but fuck it…we’re sooooo over black and orange already…

Also, what are Halloween spiderwebs about? More “How clean is your house?” than “Nightmare on Elm St”…really quite rando, no? just me then? 

spiderwebs around the fireplace...must fire the cleaner

These are double-baked cookies.  When we make biscuits you should really have a taste and texture in mind.  What we wanted from these is a nutty taste without being a pile of nuts glued together with some cookie dough (people really do over-use stuff in cookies, just ‘cos the bag has 100g of whatever, doesn’t mean the recipe needs 100g.  hold back and snack of the rest of the bag whilst the cookies bake (you know we are talking chocolate chips here).). *wow that is some gratuitous punctuation!*  What was I ranting about? Right, cookies…we wanted a taste of nut but with a nice crisp snap and crunch from the biscuit…no softies today.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Halloween in earth tones...tastefully spooky

  • 90g butter
  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 180g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • pinch o’ salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 50g chopped hazel nuts
  • 100g dark chocolate (we used a 72% cocoa solid bar)
  • royal icing for spooky wooky icing
  1. beat butter and sugar until light
  2. beat in egg and vanilla
  3. fold in everything else (except the chocolate and royal icing…that would be stupid, don’t be stupid)
  4. wrap in cling and put in the fridge for an hour
  5. roll and cut out
  6. bake at 160ºC for 12 mins
  7. take out and leave to cool

    appropriate quantity of nuttage

  8. bake again at 150ºC for another 12 mins
  9. take out and leave to cool
  10. melt the dark chocolate (don’t waff about with a pan of water, just blast it in the microwave until about 2/3rds melted then stir until all melted)
  11. pipe an outline

    apparently Simon couldn't wait for the finished article...anarchist

  12. fill in with chocolate goodness
  13. leave to cool in fridge
  14. put piping bag in mouth and squeeze out excess chocolate
  15. lick lips
  16. pipe spiderwebs with the royal icing
  17. eat

I discovered when making these that…I had a terrible nut allergy (not really…I’m totally laughing at my own tasteless joke); what I actually discovered is that I don’t have a CLUE what a spiderweb looks like!!! I had this picture in my brain but it turns out that was a mislabelled picture of a snowflake…

webs are hard

I decided to make a nice collage of pieces of spiderweb, oh and the square biscuit?…why do spiderwebs need to be on a round thing; who decided on that rule? I learned about spiderwebs and drew a few on paper before piping…no doubt shoving out something of greater importance from my tiny, tiny brain…goodbye family birthdays.

I'm no Peter Parker

As these are such nice crisp biscuits they are perfect for dunking; the chocolate melts and it’s just a mess of delicious…DELICIOUS!

Finlay-Jack Underlord of the Overworld

Right, I’m heading back to the sofa with the rest of the bikkies and a nice warming mug of gin. 😉

The Wondercat School: Brush Embroidery Tutorial

OK, class…settle down, backs straight…it’s learning time.

Welcome to Brush Embroidery for dumb-asses

I’m your teacher Ms. Finlay, bad boys and girls will end up in the naughty box…

the best children are battery farmed

Right then children, time to learn brush embroidery…

figure 1: brush embroidery

First things first, create a canvas on which to work.  I have made some almond biscuits filled with marzipan and blackcurrant compote and covered with lemon royal icing.  You can do the same or use a cake perhaps?  Maybe a piece of cling film over a plate?  T.B.H. I don’t really care what you use I just need to keep you occupied until playtime…

a canvas as blank as your inbred little minds

 

Take some royal icing in a piping bag.  I used a number 2 piping tip, you can use the same or just snip off the end of the bag if your mean mummy and daddy couldn’t be bothered to provide you with the correct equipment…I’ll be having words with them at parents evening, if I can get your perverted father to keep his eyes off my tits.

Pipe a zig-zag curved line for each petal.  Think of a circle and pipe the petals to follow the edge; you don’t know what a circle is?  Have you paid no attention to anything I’ve said this year?  You cretinous little monster…don’t even start with the crying!

figure 2: notice the curve

Now, take a wet brush and drag from the middle of the line to the middle of the imaginary circle.  The aim is to smudge only half the line so you leave a raised edge.  Wipe and dampen your brush for each petal.  What do you mean all this water has made you pee yourself?!  I’m paid to teach not wipe up your messes…you can sit there stinking of piss until your mum picks you up.

figure 3: notice the untouched edge of the line

I’ve told you what to do now, just keep doing it until the bell rings and I can be rid of you all.

par exemple

Take a look at some of mine and try not to kill yourselves whilst I sneak out the fire exit for a fag.

presentation is always important, it appears your parents don't agree judging by how you all arrive in the morning

 

see how the marzipan has absorbed the compote...let's try and make your squishy marzipan brains soak up my delightful teachings

There will be a test on this in the morning unless a teacher accidentally backs her car over you on her way home…whoops! my bad!

Paisley Feather Cookies

Just a bit of piping play with some leftover cookie dough…I think there is potential for a full batch…maybe not the two-tone one, seriously, how horribly decorated is that one!?

my entry in the edible renewable energy competition

my first entry was less successful

adaptable for space power...I would ease off licking the radioactive icing though

carefully calculated icing grooves improve the aerodynamics...not just randomly squiggled with a piping bag, honest.

the dots are microchips...mmmm chips.

I have no idea what the photo captions are all about, but things powered by delicious? *starts drafting Nobel acceptance speech*

Umbrella Cookies: Don’t rain on my parade!

Don’t tell me not to live, just sit and putter; Life’s candy and the sun’s a ball of butter…

a brolly cookie against a painting of a city...or a giant hand holding a table parasol coming to smash the place up!?!

So it is Sunday, I am not feeling at my best due to a trip to Birmingham for a night of dancing.  Birmingham BTW doesn’t have a Vivienne Westwood shop! Britian’s second city?! Not in my book! They’re living like animals, ANIMALS!!

Speaking of animals: A bull made of jelly beans…

"shall we visit the badger made of cheese next?"

So, as I was saying, not feeling tip-top but I was compelled to bake something.  I’ve not made iced cookies for jelly bean donkeys years!

what a glorious feeling *munch munch munch*

And yes, I know it’s summer and some people may question my decision to make umbrellas;  to these people I say “No cookies for you!

you can have none of my umbrellas, ellas, ellas...

Biscuit Recipe

  • 120g soft butter
  • 185g icing sugar
  • 330g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • pinch o’ salt
  • almond extract
  • tsp baking powder
  1. Cream sugar and butter
  2. Mix in egg and almond extract
  3. Stir in the rest of the stuff
  4. Roll out and cut
  5. Bake for about 7 minutes at 190ºC
They are iced with royal icing which I will do a full post on.  For now here are a few pointers…
1)icing consistency is super important
2)flood-fill icing think glacier rather than river
3)it takes time and patience…not the best activity with a hangover
4)you will smoosh one with a finger or elbow (eat the evidence)
5)wait for things to dry before adding more icing or silver paint
6)piping away from you usually gets a neater line
7)unless you are some crazy robot, you will have variations in quality, none will be totally perfect
8)using leftover icing to pipe yourself a moustache is awesome

umbrellas and a laurel bush...I'm not sure where to go with this...I may feel wittier in my toga.

that's some fine comic sans

Later my dears, I’m off to my bed…

Biscuit Combat…FIGHT!

Following on from the last post concerning the traumatic loss (then finding) of Granny Chadong’s biscuit recipe; we are getting greased up and violent…

Here’s a quick summary:

  1. Lost best recipe
  2. Found another recipe
  3. Found best recipe
  4. Fight to the death of the old champion and newcomer
Let’s start with the equivalent of the boxer weigh-in thing…were they stand in their little nundie pants on a scale while people take pictures.  I’ll replace the scale with a white plate and I can’t find little cookie Speedos so there are raisins on display NSFW!
OK, let’s ring the bell and get it on (did I say that? I’m trying to use fight talk, I don’t know fight talk.)!
Si and I will be judging so once again I’m going to be hiding from my evil mistress: Dailyburn Calorie Counter.

Granny Chadong’s

  • Taste:4.25
  • Texture:4.75
  • Overall:4.25

Treacle & Honey

  • Taste:4
  • Texture:3.5
  • Overall:3.75

The Winner!

Granny Chadong’s wins with a last second dodge of the Spinning-bird Kick and finishes off Treacle & Honey with Yoga Fire! FATALITY! (I know I’m mixing my fight game metaphors, if you’re injured by this you have many issues to work through)
Granny C’s weren’t how I remember them, they were a lot softer; maybe it was because I put them straight into a tin? maybe they needed  a few minutes longer in the oven? maybe I just forgot what they were really like.
They are still so, so good though!
I may tinker again with the recipe as T&H did have some good qualities I may try and incorporate.

In reality the real winners were Mykie and Simon who got to chow down on a plate of cookies.

Final Thought: If we ever open a strip club it is going to be called Treacle & Honey.