Shortbread Times Three - Recipe 22 of the Women's Weekly Challenge

I decided that I would make all of the three shortbread recipes together as they were all the same recipe with a slight amendment to each.

First up was the Choc-Mint Shortbread recipe. I had a bit of difficulty with these are I
went in search of an English equivalent to a Peppermint Crisp bar, however nothing seemed to have the right mint texture/chocolate combination. Luckily my friend Natty Jane came to the rescue after a quick shout out on my Facebook page.

The dough of this biscuit was very easy to work with and the biscuits turned out all quite uniformed, however I felt like they were undercooked. Thinking back on it now however, I think I was expecting a harder chocolate biscuit and forgetting that shortbread is meant to be melt in your mouth. I have one chocolate bar left, so maybe round two is on the cards.

The second recipe was the Latte Shortbread Dippers. These made me angry! How on earth was this recipe ever going to PIPE!!! Shortbread by nature is not a pipe-able dough and without the addition of an liquid there was no way this was going to pipe; not that I didn't try. I was so determined to pipe these and even added a few tablespoons of milk, but after two ruined piping bags and a lot of weird looks from my housemates for yelling at said bags, I gave up and used a spoon. I would like to know how on earth Women's Weekly actually managed to  pipe these, as I'm clueless.

The third recipe was Ginger, Lime and Cashew Shortbread. The idea of all these ingredients had me intrigued and the smell from the oven was delish. These were probably my favourite of the three however they were very crumbly and a lot of them didn't make it in transit to the office. I would definitely attempt to make them again as the flavour combination was great.

Happy Baking x

Gingerbread - Recipe 21 of the Women's Weekly Challenge

Gingerbread! One of my favourite biscuits ever, great on their own, with icing & sprinkles or my favourite topping - blue cheese... yes cheese! If you don't believe me try it. I first had this in Sweden at Christmas and once I had tasted its been a must have for any cheese platter affair.

My love of gingerbread went into full swing a few years ago when my lady wife and I lived together in London. My house mates at the time and I were all fairly new to the country and so when we moved in together we had pretty much had just a suitcase each. The first weekend we moved is still a fond memory as we were all so excited about moving to our own place, however we quickly realised we didn't even have a pot to boil water in and so baking back then was out of the question for quite awhile. That Christmas I decided to bake some festival gingerbread with a very limited amount of baking tools, luckily a bowl, wooden spoon, a pair of £2 scales from Argos and a wine bottle as my rolling pin was all I needed, well actually I think I may have treated myself to a heart shaped cookie cutter too. That Christmas Mon and I made about 5 or 6 batches of cookies, and I'm pretty sure we ate every last one of them. I'd even made some as decorations for the tree, though some days I'd come home to find half a cookie hanging on a tree as Mon has decided she wanted something with her tea. I even attempted a gingerbread house....

A few years on I have my own baking cupboard just to keep all my bits and pieces in, including some hooks on the wall for all 17 of my aprons, yes 17***!! My sister is a professional chef and she has 2!

Back to the cookies, this recipe was actually better than the one I have been using for years so I might use this one going forward. Unfortunately I am not much of a creative cookie decorator so they still look like a child did them.. never mind.

Happy Baking x

***to my family and friends, please no more aprons as presents, or measuring cups & spoons.. or recipe books as I stupidly try and cook every recipe from them and OCD won't let me stop!!

Happy UK Mothers Day - Melting Moments - Recipe 20 of the Women's Weekly Challenge

Last Sunday in the UK was Mother's Day and I decided to bake some biscuits to take to lunch on Sunday for Pete's step mum.

I skipped through a few pages in the Women's Weekly Cookbook and decided these would be perfect later in the afternoon with a cup of tea after a walk in the country... Gosh it all sounds very English reading back on this... you would think I was trying to accumulate some British points for my Visa next week or something.

Since I love these, I decided to make two batches, however as one batch was meant to make 40 biscuits I quickly did the maths and realised I would have to roll 160 balls!!!! Even with my housemate Helena with my kitchen hand this seemed like to much effort and in the end they were a bit bigger than they should have been, but equally just as delish.

Happy Baking x

Chocolate Guinness Cake

The other week was my boyfriend's DJ partners birthday and luckily for him it was the same night as their monthly club night CUBED. I had the task of baking the birthday cake that would be presented at midnight to Chris along with a bottle of champagne. Without knowing what his favourite type of cake was, I thought, "What do boys like? Beer of course!"

I love this cake, its like chocolate but better. I made some cupcakes years ago without a recipe, just following the directions from my ex housemate who is an amazing patisserie chef at Ottolenghi. To make them she just sat at the table and basically told me what to use and when and the end result were some amazing chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing that impressed everyone at work the next day.

Until Hummingbird brought out their latest book I have been unable to recreate this masterpiece of flavour. I did feel a bit guilty as I broke my colleagues Lent commitment of giving up cake as he just couldn't pass up a cake with Guinness. He literally sat it on his desk for 3 hours watching it, before giving in and devouring it. I was a little worried that it wouldn't have been worth the sacrifice of guilt, but going by his reaction, it was all worth it.

Happy Birthday Chris x

Please Vote... it takes 20 seconds!

This post is probably one of my most important, firstly its got nothing to do with baking, but everything to do with help finding a cure for my little cousin.

His name is CJ and he has
Mecp2 Duplication Syndrome and he is adorable! You can read a bit more about his story here...

The reason for this post is not to ask for money, but just to ask you to spare 20 seconds to vote.

If you could just vote for his condition via this link that would be greatly appreciated.

All you have to do is put your email address in and hit vote.

Would be very much appreciated.

Thanks again and **fingers crossed for CJ**

xx Laura

Bakewell Tarts

Last Sunday as I was reading my baking books in bed deciding what I was going to bake and Pete said since i never bake him anything i should bake some Bakewell Tarts just for him. So being the good girlfriend I am I decided to take on the challenge. First challenge, was finding out what exactly it was? I had never eaten one before but had a feeling almond was in it and I was right. Points to me!

I flicked through a few books and settled on the mini Bakewell tart recipe in the Women's Weekly Afternoon Tea book my dad was kind enough to send me because he thought I would like it... I have the best dad. Also because anything mini is just too cute.

Completing some of my new years goals by baking pastry
Not a bad bake for my first time
I was so chuffed with myself about how these turned out and the cherry on top well was.. just that. My other Aussie housemates had never had a Bakewell tart either and like me was not so keen on actually eating the cherry. However I think maybe glacĂ© cherries in Australia are different as we all really enjoyed these.  Next high tea favourite I think.

Happy Baking x

and one happy boyfriend...