Sunday, September 12, 2010

Little Cupcake Bites

The ever-clever Bakerella came up with these. I've made them a few times, but they've never turned out quite as cute as they did when I made them for our Election Party recently.

No one won the election that evening, but all our guests won because they got to pop a few of these leetle guys.

Bakerella really explains it best, but I'll jot down some easy-as-pie directions just in case clicking on a link is too much work for you.

Actually, if clicking on a link is too much work, I advise against making the Cupcake Bites because it's a tedious process with multiple steps and a bit of waiting...

... and a LOT of pleasure at the end when you eat them.

Little Cupcake Bites
1 box of cake mix (vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, whatever!), or make your own.
1 can of frosting (or... make your own)
1 block dark/milk chocolate or dark/milk chocolate bits for melting
1 block white chocolate or white chocolate bits for melting
A candy mould
Mini m&m's

1. Make the cake, then allow it to cool.
2. Once cooled, crumble it up so it's all crumbly in a mixing bowl.
3. Add the frosting and mix them.
4. Roll the cake-frosting paste into little balls, then pop them in the fridge.

5. Melt your white chocolate and divvy it up into the candy moulds (almost 1/2 full).
6. Press a little cake ball into each mould so that the white chocolate is pushed up around the sides of the ball.
7. Put them in the freezer to set.
8. Once set, melt the dark/milk chocolate and remove the cake balls with the white chocolate base from the moulds.
9. Dip them into the dark/milk chocolate upside-down.
10. If you have a friend, have them sprinkle and m&m the Cupcake Bites right after you dip them.
11. Put them in the fridge to set.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Little Lemon Cheesecakes with Whipped Cream Topping

For the MasterChef finale, we served up dinner and dessert with all the trimmings. G made a real yum curry, and I provided the lemon cheesecake. We traipsed down to St. Kilda with our Tupperware and plates wrapped in foil and watched the finale with some friends. Adam, the "lawyer with a creative flair for the exotic" (or something like that) took the prize, and I took a lot of food from my plate to my mouth.

The recipe is from The original recipe is for a full-sized pie, but I halved it and made four mini cheesecakes in tart tins. I also made a crust out of cookie crumbs and melted butter instead of the pastry pie shell that the recipe calls for.

These little guys were really, really, really good! One of the best treats I've ever made or had. For real!

The recipe below is my slightly altered version, but you can view the original here.

Little Lemon Cheesecakes with Whipped Cream Topping
About 185 grams of Nice biscuit (or graham cracker) crumbs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
90 grams butter or margarine, melted

1/2 package cream cheese (Philly da best!), softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 eggs

Whipped topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioner sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F)
2. Use a food processor to make crumbs of the biscuits
3. Add cinnamon and nutmeg
4. Add melted butter/margarine and mix--it should be wet and pasty, like a delicious cookie plaster
5. Press the mixture into greased tart tins, covering the bottom and up against the sides
6. In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and the egg (I don't have an electric beater at the moment, so I used a whisk and it was A-okay, sweetie-pie, no problemo)
7. Poor the mixture into the tart tins
8. Bake for 20 minutes-- they will be slightly firm to the touch
9. Chill for an hour or so, until they are thoroughly chilled (I put mine in the freezer because I was in a hurry)
10. When they're nearly chilled, mix together the cream, confectioner sugar, and vanilla with a beater (once again, I have no beater so I whisked it into a whipped cream... I had sweat on my brow by the time it was fluffy)
11. Spread the whipped cream onto the tarts

That's all! Oh boy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mini Apple Pies

Two days ago I celebrated the 14th anniversary of Will Smith saving Earth by thwarting a hostile alien invasion. I also celebrated the USA's independence!

It's far too cold in Melbourne for a picnic, BBQ, or any of the usual 4th of July activities, so I hung a star-spangled banner in the hallway and got to bakin'.

When I took them out of the oven and left them on the kitchen table (which is actually in the lounge room), I remembered that tale about the pie cooling on the windowsill. Doesn't a bad boy come along and steal it? Or stick his thumb in it? I Google'd it, and all I found were some vague references. I did find this, though:

Wen I wus a liddle boy,
Jes thirteen inches high,
I useter climb de table legs,
An' steal off cake an' pie
Altho' I wus a liddle boy,
An' tho' I wusn't high,
My mammy took dat keen switch down,

An' whupped me till I cry.

I bet Momma makes some good pie, so as if it wasn't worth the whuppin'!

So, the pies I made were very cute and really quite tasty. The crust was more of a chewy pastry than a flaky, crispy pastry, so I dunno how you feel about that. I think I prefer a flaky crust, but G seems to love the chewy crust. So we are a household divided.

Mini Apple Pies
Apple Mixture:
2 apples (Granny Smith are best for pie!)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water

1. Peel and chop up the apples-- slices of you want to fan them out in some sort of beautiful way, or small chunks for more of a filling, which is what I did.
2. Melt the butter/margarine in a saucepan, then add apples.
3. Cook for a few minutes, then add the sugar, water, and spices.
4. Simmer until the apples are soft.

While the apples are cooking, make the dough:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
1/3 cup water
2 cups flour

1. Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl.
2. Knead dough on a floured surface.
3. Roll out flat.
4. Cut out circles (I used the lid of my margarine container-- it was perfect).

5. Now, you can put the circles in little pie tins/tart tins then fill them with apple and cover them however you like. Or, you can put apple on one half of the circle then fold it over and seal the edge with a fork-- a delightful apple turnover! I brushed the tops of the pies with some of the apple juice from stewing the apples, then sprinkled on some sugar.

6. Bake at 375 F (190 C) for 15-20 minutes or until golden on the edges.

It would have tasted better if there had been fireworks exploding away in the background.

But setting of fireworks in Melbourne would be neither ethical nor legal.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Gimme! (Please)

I really, really want these:

I already have these...

... but I do lots of measuring.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Jo Bean and the Amazing Technicolour Heart Cake

Have you ever heard of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat? Probably not. Doesn't matter. Have you ever been obsessed with the idea of making a cake that looks like a rainbow explosion? It's been on my mind for a few days now, and today I finally remembered to buy more vanilla essence so I could finally make my dreams come true.

I baked it with the intention of trading it for some art at SUPER MARKET-- an art show where everything and anything is legal tender except dollars and cents. I heard someone was doing silhouette cut-outs, and I intended to offer my cake in exchange for my silhouette. But then I was overcome with a great fear of rejection and a great rolling, rumble in my stomach.


Anyway, it's my vanilla cupcake recipe, halved. And lots of food colouring.

I used foil to divide the heart pan into three section to at least somewhat separate the 3 colours. It's a bit ghetto and didn't work particularly well. I'll use cardboard next time.

The batter took the food colouring very well. The red looked a bit pink, but das cool.

The batter's in the pan, looking like some sort of flag (maybe Primary Colourland's), and ready to go.

The frosting, the frosting, the frosting!

It looks like an artist's sink!

Why would I need two forks? S'not like I'm sharing...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I'm jealous of anyone that is eating one of these muffins when I'm not.

I know that Australians get pretty uneasy about pumpkin being used in sweet treats. You're all about roasting pumpkins or pureeing them into a soup. But I'm all about the pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin cookies, and best of all- pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.

I just realised what a cute word "pumpkin" is. It sounds like the name of a little creature. Maybe the adult of the species is called a "pump" and the babies are "pumpkins." I bet that if a pumpkin scurries across your path, it would mean good luck for infinity.

I got this recipe from I mostly stuck to it-- the only changes were margarine instead of butter, a little extra vanilla, dark chocolate instead of semisweet, and fresh pureed pumpkin instead of canned. These muffins are sweet, but very wholesome and aromatic (thanks to the nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon). I used dark chocolate chips, and in my opinion that's the right thing to do. Milk chocolate would be tasty enough, but I think the richness of the dark offsets the pumpkin rather nicely.

Oh, and, the fee for reading this blog entry is one muffin. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip, please.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (so you're supposed to get a packet of whole nutmeg pods and grate one... but if it's impossible or too much effort, just use the pre-ground stuff)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (I used margarine)
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (I used the Kent variety and it was fantastic. Cut the rind off the pumpkin, steam it, then mash it. Alternatively, use canned pumpkin)
1 cup chocolate chips (do the right thing...)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C), grease 12 muffin cups and put them in muffin tray
2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, ground spices, and salt
3. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar (better to use an electric mixer, but I did it by hand)
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well
5. Beat in vanilla
6. Alternate adding 1/3 of the flour mixture and 1/3 of the pumpkin puree, mixing after each addition
7. Add chocolate chips
8. Distribute evenly in muffin tin, ready with greased muffin cups
9. Bake for 18-20 minutes

Friday, May 14, 2010

Derby Pie

My mom grew up in Kentucky, so we've always celebrated Derby Day. Here in Australia, though, there's not a Derby Party in sight. And until now, there wasn't a Derby Pie in sight.

This is the best pie.

Derby Pie
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup flour
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
9-inch pie-shell (you can make your own pastry if you like, of course)

1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C)
2. Bake pie shell for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and set aside
3. Cream butter and sugar
4. Add eggs, salt, and flour
5. Add chips and pecans
6. Pour into shell
7. Bake 3o-35 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean)

I whipped up some cream with a bit of castor sugar and WOWEE!

Don't tell anyone about this recipe, I don't want everyone to know about it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ice Cream Sandwiches

I made chocolate chip cookies again. But this time they were big and I put ice cream between them.

Sunday is my day off, so I put in the hard yards for 45 minutes then sat back like a king and savoured every bite. But it wasn't as civilized as I just made it sound. It was more like a frantic face-stuffing.

Ice Cream Sandwiches
Make these Chocolate Chip Cookies, but halve that recipe.
Chill the dough to make it nice and firm, if necessary.
Make four big cookies.
After they'd cooled, I used the lid of the ice cream container as a mould for the ice cream (the lid of So Good Soy ice cream is the perfect size).

Sandwich the ice cream between the cookies, roll the sides in sprinkles, nuts, or chocolate chips, and put them in the freezer for just a lil while.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Puppy Love

I had more chocolate tart today and I, uhhh, took more photos.
There's something very cute about white, red, and dark brown.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chocolate Tart (with Chocolate Pastry)

Did I ever tell you that my Uncle Dave saw Bruce Willis at an amusement park once? I really like B-dubs.

I made something extremely chocolatey last night and fed it to my unsuspecting in-laws.

I rarely make tarts. I've been known to dabble in tarts of the lemon persuasion, but I seriously felt like some serious chocolate yesterday, so I found a recipe that struck my fancy and lost myself in a cloud of cocoa powder.

The recipe, which is from, is a goodun! My pastry dough was a little too soft-- so I kneaded it on a heavily floured surface to firm it. If yours is not-quite-right, you can do that or perhaps just chill it for longer than 30 minutes.

Also, if I make it again, I might play around to make it a creamier chocolate rather than a richer chocolate. It was DEEVINE, but INTENSO. Or maybe instead of the chocolate pastry, do a regular shortcrust. Or maybe put some MINT in it! Oh boy.

Chocolate Tart with Chocolate Pastry
Chocolate Pastry:
125 g (just over 1/2 cup) chilled butter (I used margarine and it was fine-- or perhaps the marg is to blame for my pastry dough's softness)
1 cup flour
1/3 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 egg yolk

Custard Filling:
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon custard powder
2 tablespoons castor sugar
200g chopped dark chocolate
300ml cream (couldn't find soy cream substitute in time)
1 cup milk (I used soy)

1. Place butter, flour, icing sugar, almond meal, and cocoa powder in the blender and process until it's like breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk.
2. Knead on floured surface. Shape into a disc, cover in plastic wrap, chill for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 200C (390F).
4. Roll pastry to 4mm thick (or so) and line tart pan with it, trimming the top edges to make it beautiful. Chill 15 minutes.

5. Line pastry with baking paper and fill with dry rice or beans. Bake for 10 minutes.

6. Remove beans/rice, bake 5 minutes.
7. Reduce oven temperature to 160C (320F).
8. Combine yolks, custard powder, and castor sugar in a saucepan. Add chopped dark chocolate, cream, and milk, and place over low heat. Cook, whisking occasionally, for 5 minutes.

9. Pour chocolate custard mixture into pastry. Bake 20 minutes.

10. Chill before serving with cream and raspberries.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cool Things

I baked Chocolate Chip Cookies today.

Yeah, I know, BOoooOOoooo, boring, been done, spice things up!

They're really good, though.

Here they are:

And, I would also like to show you my baking box. My mom has always had a baking box for as long as I can remember. It's more like a Baking Box than a baking box... it was the be-all and end-all of baking supplies, a bottomless box of tricks waiting to be wielded in the kitchen. It's just a shoebox, but I'm obsessed with it.

Lastly, I got a little book to write my recipes in. I'm consolidating all the recipes I've jotted down in various Official Recipe Notebooks.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Little Orange Pound Cakes with Orange Glaze

I've moved house!

Which means: new kitchen, new hood, new views, new neighbours, new ceilings, new floors, new this, new that, bleep.

The first thing I baked in the shiny new abode was these cakes. My mom sent me a silicon mould with heart-shaped compartments for Valentine's Day, and I was all in a tizzy and had to use it right away. I don't have a pound cake recipe of my own, so I took a chance on the first one I came across.

I had one orange left from BAJA ORANGE SHRIMP FAJITAS, so I thought it best to have a pound cake of the orange-flavoured variety. BAAAA-JAAAAAAA!

The recipe is from My Wooden Spoon. I halved it because there are only six hearts in my mould, and I certainly didn't feel like two rounds of baking and I certainly didn't want muffin-shaped orange pound cakes (BORING)-- I'd just end up feeling bad for them because they'd have to sit around being boring while the cute heart ones were gobbled up in a hot second.

Here is the original recipe (un-halved):

Orange Pound Cake
1/2 cup butter, room temperature (I used margarine)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup milk (I used soy)
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind

Orange Glaze
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/3 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325F (180 C) and butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan
2. Cream butter & sugar, then add eggs and mix well; set aside.
3. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt.
4. In a measuring cup combine orange juice, milk and orange zest
5. Start adding the juice mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the flour mixture until light & creamy
6. Spoon (pour) into pan and bake for 45 minutes or until center comes out clean with toothpick
7. Cool in pan and then remove from pan and drizzle with glaze

They were quite tasty. In my opinion, pound cake SUCKS when hot, so don't sneak a bite before it's cooled. I ate one of the little hearts when it was still hot and I thought my first baking venture in my new home was a failure and I was slightly disappointed. Then they cooled and I glazed them and they were delish and hope was restored.

Oh, and I've made these since. It's the Strawberry Cake I've shown you before-- just muffin-sized!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies (Blossoms)

I've been thinking about peanut butter a lot lately. Thinking about putting it in my mouth. A few nights ago, my friends and I had a girl's night and I felt I ought to bring something sweet for after the veggie burritos. I decided on peanut butter squares, I made them, and they sucked. To be fair to the squares, they tasted quite nice, but the consistency and appearance were downright disappointing. So, I will not give you the recipe, nor will I write another lick about it. I'll provide you with a photo, though:

The failure left me feeling unfulfilled. So, onto another peanut butter treat! A tried and true and tremendous recipe for peanut butter cookies. It's my Mom's, and the original recipe is actually for Peanut Butter Blossoms. However, most unfortunately, Hershey's Kisses aren't available Down Under (except at USA Foods, where the going rate for a little bag containing five Kisses is $5 or something), so when I make them they're just plain old peanut butter cookies.

They're never as amazing as Mom's, of course. Mom isn't as enamoured of baking as myself, but when the mood strikes and she whips up a batch of something, they're always perfect! She must have inherited that from my Grandpa, who actually makes the actual best chocolate chip cookies in the actual world.

But mine are still good.

Peanut Butter Cookies (Blossoms)
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening (my mom always uses shortening, I use butter/margarine)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sugar (plus a little extra sugar for rolling)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C) (after the dough is chilled)
2. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl
3. In a large bowl, mix shortening/butter, egg, vanilla, sugar, brown sugar, peanut butter, and milk
4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing all the while
5. Chill the dough for 2 hours or more

6. Roll into perfect little balls and roll the perfect little balls in sugar
7. Bake 8-10 minutes

8. If you are doing Blossoms, press a Hershey's Kiss into the center of each cookie right after they come out of the oven

I bet some readers cried when they got to instruction #5. I HATE it when I have to chill dough, because I want the cookies now now NOW NOW.