Ghost vanilla biscuits

November 2, 2020

I refuse to buy sweets for trick or treaters on Halloween night so I make something instead. This year was ghost biscuits from a very simple recipe from Marian Keyes' Saved by Cake (Penguin, 2012).

200g butter or non-dairy spread
200g caster sugar (or any fine granulated sugar)
2 tsp vanilla paste or extract or 1 vanilla pod
1 egg
400g flour of choice

Icing:
300g icing sugar
lemon juice 

giant black cachous

In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and egg. Sieve in flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Divide dough half, wrap each half in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 180C. Line 2 trays with baking paper.
Roll out dough to about 5mm thick on a well floured surface, or in between 2 sheets of baking paper. Cut out shapes using your cookie cutter of choice and place on our baking trays about 2cm apart.
Bake for 9 to 12 minutes depending on how thick and large your biscuits are. The biscuits should be set and the underside  lightly golden brown.
Remove from the oven, then leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the icing, in a shallow bowl mix the icing sugar with enough lemon juice to form a spreadable icing. At this stage you can divide up the icing into separate bowls and colour with a few drops of food colouring if you wish.
Place each biscuit face side down into the bowl of icing then tilt side to side to let the excess drop off, or take a smooth palette knife and spread icing on evenly. Decorate immediately with any sprinkles or glitter you desire. In my case I just had to add 2 black cachous for ghost eyes.

 

Brown butter banana cake with brown butter cream cheese icing

October 24, 2020
 
I've always wanted to give brown butter a go, considering all the cheffy types love the flavour and believe it adds so much to sweet or savoury food. So I used it in this cake and frosting - rather excessive I thought but it makes an impressive cake! It's from Jill O'Connor's Cake, I Love You (Chronicle Books, 2017). The beurre noisette brings an extra depth of caramelness to the banana.

330g unsalted butter
3 c flour (I used spelt)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
4 eggs at ro...
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Gingerbread loaf

October 19, 2020

Do you ever get a craving for a thick slice of gingerbread slathered with butter? Oh, it must be just me! If you want a quick recipe, just chuck all these ingredients in a food processor and let electricity do all the work.

2 c flour (I used wholemeal)
3/4 c coconut sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg or allspice
1 c buttermilk or yoghurt (mixed with a little water if it's very thick)
1/2 c molasses
115g butter or coconut oil, melted
2 eggs
2 tsp ...
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Tiramisu ice cream

September 26, 2020


When I see tiramisu on a menu, I am compelled to order it! The there's nothing quite like a creamy, coffee, spongey dessert to end your meal. This healthy ice cream version is tiramisu reimagined, in a good way. It's from Jessica Sepel's Living the Healthy Life (Macmillan, 2017)

2 frozen bananas

1 tbsp tahini

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp instant coffee/espresso/Inka

1 tbsp cacao powder

pinch sea salt

1 c coconut cream or milk

few ice cubes, optional


crushed roasted peanuts and chocolate flakes to garnish


Just ...


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Life-changing crackers

September 25, 2020

Sarah Britton of My New Roots created the life-changing bread, using only seeds and psyllium. Here's the cracker version from Super Loaves & Simple Treats by Melissa Sharp (PK, 2017). They go so well with all kinds of sweet or savoury toppings, or just by themselves.

1/2 c sunflower seeds
1/3 c flaxseeds
1/4 c hazelnuts
3/4 c oats
2 tsp chia seeds
3 tbsp psyllium
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp seaweed flakes
2/3 c water
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 160C. Line 2 baking sheets with bakin...
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Yoghurt crackers

September 19, 2020

It's a cliche but these ARE easy and quick to make and will have you crunching in no time. Quicker than going out to buy crackers from the shop.

250g wholemeal flour, or flour of choice, plus extra for rolling

1/2 c yoghurt

2 1/2 tbsp milk of choice

2 tsp sea salt

1/3 c olive oil

1-2 tbsp water, as needed

3-4 tbsp olive oil for drizzling

3-4 tbsp seeds of choice (I used fennel, caraway and sesame)


In a bowl mix the flour, yoghurt, milk, salt and oil into a dough. You can do this in a food processor or...


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Black Forest gateau

September 16, 2020


Here's another excellent vegan chocolate cake (another one here) zhujed up with some cherries in the chocolate ganache. A 3-tiered cake means business! Thanks to Nadia Lim for the foolproof recipe. She says you can use any liquid but coffee gives more depth and richness to the cake.

2 1/2 c self-raising flour or plain flour with 3 1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 c cocoa

1 1/2 c sugar (I used coconut)

1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt

2 c coffee, water or milk (I used decaffeinated coffee)

2 tsp vanilla extract...


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Coffee cardamom cookies

September 15, 2020

The flavours here are very popular in the Scandinavian countries - it's a sophisticated biscuit. I was surprised that our 8-year-old liked them too; I used decaf coffee to mitigate any caffeine effects!


Makes about 24

2 c flour

1 tbsp ground espresso or 2 tsp instant coffee

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamom

pinch sea salt

115g butter

1/2 c soft brown sugar

1/4 c sugar (I used coconut)

1 egg

1 1/2 tbsp molasses

1 tsp vanilla extract


Glaze:

1/2 egg white (15g)

3/4 c icing sugar

1 1/2 tsp melted butter

1-2 tsp war...


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Dinner rolls

September 11, 2020

Here's an easy bread roll recipe mixed in the food processor - no need to knead!


Makes 12

1 c / 250ml water

2 tsp dried yeast

1 tsp sugar

3 1/2 c / 500g flour (I used spelt)

1 egg

50g butter, softened

1 tbsp salt

1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp milk for egg wash (or use milk)


Place all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with a blade and mix until a dough forms. Use floured hands to transfer the dough into a floured bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove at room temperature for at least 2 hou...


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Healthy florentines

September 7, 2020

A refined-sugar-free treat for any time of the day. I think the thinness of a florentine is the secret to its success, so use flaked or slivered almonds. Pepitas and oats add extra nutrition.


Makes about 25

1/2 c rolled oats

1/3 c almonds

1/3 c finely chopped walnuts

1/3 c pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1/3 c finely chopped apple-sweetened cranberries (I didn't have any so used sulphur-free apricots. Other tangy dried fruit would work well too, such as cherries or blueberries)

1 tsp mixed spice (or a mix o...


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WELCOME 2 BAKE CLUB -
MAY THE CAKE B WITH U

EST. 2010

Frances Chan loves to bake. She's also a freelance editor and has written a couple of children's books. She shares some of her adventures, culinary or otherwise, on Instagram.


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