17 December 2011

Crazy arse baking 101

It is that time of year again where we go crazy with baking and covering anything that can't escape in icing. Not to be found under last years bench mark we went one step further lost the plot and went doubly crazy-arse!

So, why should we be the only ones hey!   Here are some delectable treats for you to make and share!

French Almond Macarons - yes you know you want to!

3 egg whites at room temp
1/4c caster sugar
11/4c icing sugar
1c ground almonds
1tsp finely grated lemon zest
5-6 drops of food colouring of choice (used yellow and think I should have put more in)
150g white chocolate chopped
1/4c cream

How to
Beat egg whites in clean bowl until peaks form.  
Slowly at caster sugar and keep beating until thick and glossy.
Sift icing sugar and almonds together and FOLD into mix in two batches along with zest and colouring.
Using a large nozzled piping bag pipe onto lined trays then let sit for an hour to get a crust over them.
Bake in 130c oven for 20min (my oven bakes hot so I did about 16min).
Remove from oven and cool on tray.

bring the cream to the boil in small saucepan.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until it has all melted.  Leave for a couple of minutes to cool slightly but still can be 'poured' onto biscuit.
Spoon mix onto one side of biscuit then press together with another biscuit.  
I found I had heaps of filling left over and have put it in the fridge for another batch later.
(This recipe was from this years Christmas issue of family circle magazine)

Christmas Sugar Cookies
1.5c butter
2c caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
5c bakers flour
2tsp baking powder
1tsp salt

How to
Cream butter and sugar together and beat in eggs and vanilla.
Stir in sifted flour, baking powder and salt.
Chill dough for at least one hour (this is important as it rolls better when cold)
Roll out to 1cm thickness and cut into shapes.
Place on lined tray and bake for about 5min at 200c.
Once cool you too can go berserk with the coloured icing!

Rich fruit cake with stout
3c mixed fruit
2.5c mixed dried fruit/nuts and whatever might take your fancy
200g butter
375ml of stout
4 eggs
2c bakers flour (i find this is best for baking and pasta making)
2tsp baking powder
3/4c brown sugar
1tsp mixed spice
.5c pecans or almonds for decoration

How to
Combine fruit, butter, sugar and stout in a saucepan and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool.
DO NOT try the mixture at this point as it is totally gross and you will wonder how the cake will turn out.  Trust me the cake comes out absolutely divine!
Preheat oven to 130c (fan-forced)
Sir eggs and sifted dry ingredients into fruit mix, pour into 23cm round or square tin and bake for about 2.5hrs.
Cool over night in tin.
I used orchard icing that you roll out this year for the first time.  I cut my square cake into quarters so I could give small individual cakes as gifts.  I have come to the final conclusion that cake decorating is an art to respect LOL
(Recipe adapted from Women's Weekly easy baking book)

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