Cranberry and Coconut Macaroons

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I made a batch of these macaroons for my sisters 40th birthday party on the weekend. They were well received. Several people asked for the recipe so I thought I’d do a blog post and share it with you as well.
I played with the recipe by adding different ingredients and really liked the cranberry macaroon, though they do taste just as good plain. Just leave out the cranberries and mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

These are very simple to make and look impressive piled up on a serving dish.

All you need is:-

175g shredded coconut

130g castor sugar

pinch of salt

2 tsp vanilla

60g dried cranberries roughly chopped

2 egg whites

1 egg yolk

Blend the cranberries, eggs and vanilla in a blender until the cranberries are chopped up into small pieces.

Mix the coconut, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the cranberry and egg and mix with your hands until everything is well combined.

Form tablespoons of the mixture into whatever shapes you like (I used a teaspoon and my hand to form a cone shape but whatever’s easier for you. It will all taste the same)

Place them onto a baking paper lines baking sheet and cook at 130C for 20 – 25 minutes or until lightly brown.

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Cool on sheet.

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They store well for a week in an airtight container, but trust me, there won’t be any left to store.

Please enjoy…

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Chocolate and Ginger Cupcakes

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I think I went a little mad on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.

The baking bug got a hold of me and wouldn’t let go easily.

I ended up with banana bread, choc. Ginger cupcakes, rocky road biscuits, ginger and date scones and a gluten free sponge cake with cream and jam. Madness I tell you, but oh so much fun.

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Everything ended up going to my mum and dads for Sunday lunch. What a feast.

I’m still not done baking though. Hot Cross Buns I think. Yeah I’ll be making some today.

In the meantime enjoy these lovely rich cupcakes.

For 12 cup cakes you need:-

65g butter

150g golden syrup

80g castor sugar

2 eggs

160g plain flour

10g baking powder

40g cocoa

5g bicarb.

10g ground ginger

3Tbls finely chopped glacé ginger

Chocolate Fudge Icing

70g butter

3Tbls water

80g castor sugar

180g icing sugar

3Tbls cocoa powder

To make the cake place the butter, golden syrup and sugar in a medium saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar has melted. Leave to cool about 5 minutes.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients until well combined and spoon evenly into patty lined muffin tins.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool completely before icing.

For the icing combine the water, butter and castor sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa together in a bowl and stir in the water and butter mixture until smooth.

Refrigerate until set.

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When you’re ready to ice your cakes simply beat the icing mixture a little to make it easier to spread.

I was feeling a little fancy so I piped the icing but spreading it on the cake is very acceptable.

These went down a treat after Sunday lunch at my mum and dads.

Enjoy…

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Tessa’s Filo with Poached Pears, Rose and Pistachio Praline

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Another wonderful recipe from Tessa Kiros’  ” Falling Cloudberries” for this months The Cookbook Guru Challenge.

It was just too good to pass up. I borrowed the book from the library nearly 3 weeks ago and have had this recipe bookmarked since I read it.

Having absolutely no idea what to make for dinner it was time to send out the urgent message…

‘Hey, how’s your day going? What do you feel like for dinner cause I have absolutely no idea?’

To which my husband replied….

‘How about Monk Soup with lots of toasted Lebanese Bread?’

Perfect….

But a really healthy dinner like that deserves a really good dessert like this…

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In a saucepan bring to the boil 80g castor sugar, a couple of pieces of lemon rind, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise (optional, I like the licorice flavour it gives) and 1 cup of water. Let it boil for 5 minutes while you peel, quarter and core 2 firm pears.

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Lower the heat under the sugar syrup, add 1/2 tsp rose water (the recipe calls for untreated rose petals which I didn’t have, so rose water did the trick) and gently lower in the pears. Lay a piece of baking paper on top of the pears so that the exposed parts don’t discolour. Simmer very gently for 15 – 20 minutes or until the pears are cooked through and soft but not mushy.

Take off the heat and allow to cool.

Next you’ll need 3 sheets of filo pastry, 30g melted butter and 1 Tblsp castor sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.

Lay one sheet of filo on your bench and brush it with the melted butter then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Place another sheet of pastry on top and do the same again. Finish with a good brush of butter. Cut the pastry in half longways and then into strips about 5cm wide. Carefully place on a baking paper lined baking sheet and drizzle each piece with a little honey then bake at 180oC for 12 – 15 minutes until brown and cripsy. Leave to cool.

So now for my favourite part, pistachio praline. Lightly butter or oil a piece of baking paper and put it on a baking sheet. Put 3 Tblsp castor sugar  into a small saucepan or frypan over a medium head. Leave it to melt and turn a caramel colour. Don’t stir it just swirl the pan a little. Be sure to keep your eyes on it so it doesn’t burn.

Take it off the heat and stir in 30g unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts, then carefully pour onto the prepared baking sheet and leave to cool and set. Break up into pieces, put in a ziplock bag and bash with a mallet until it’s like coarse breadcrumbs.

To serve – spoon a couple of pieces of pear onto a plate or a bowl with some of the syrup, add a couple of strips of the filo pastry, sprinkle with the praline and scoop in some vanilla ice cream.

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I sounds like a lot of work but it was really worth it.

Please give it a go…

Enjoy…

Rhubarb and Mixed Berry Pies

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I’ve got to say, I’m not a real big fan of rhubarb but these little pies turned out really delicious.

My husband and I went to the Growers’ Market in Pyrmont on Saturday. It’s only on for a few hours on the first Saturday of every month but you can walk out with bags full of goodies.

Our main aim was to buy garlic plaits to give as gifts, but you always end up buying other things.

I found some baby white turnips which I plan to pickle and a bunch of rhubarb that was meant to be poached, and half of it was. The other half ended up chopped, mixed with some beautiful fresh berries and baked in my favourite polenta short crust pastry.

Here’s how to make them…

For the pastry measure out 215g plain flour, 40g polenta, 60g castor sugar and 175g butter and pulse them in a food processor until they resemble breadcrumbs (takes only a few seconds) then add 1 egg and 1 Tblsp cold water and pulse until the pastry comes together.

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1/2 an hour.

Now roll out the pastry and line either 1 large loose bottom pie tin or 6 small ones, leaving enough pastry for the top, and chill.

Roll out the left over pastry and cut into thin strips. Leave aside in the fridge until ready to use.

For the filling:

In a bowl mix together 180g fresh mixed berries (I used blackberries, chopped strawberries and blueberries, but any combination will work), 200g rhubarb (chopped into 1cm thick slices), 180g castor sugar, 2 Tblsp plain flour and gently mix.

Spoon the filling evenly into the chilled pastry lined tart tins and lay the thin strips over the top however you like.

Bake at 200c for 15 minutes then turn the temperature down to 180c and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until cooked and golden brown.

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Yummy on its own or with a scoop of your favourite ice cream.

you’ve got to give this a go….

Enjoy…

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Chocolate Cherry Mud Cake..

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So, as promised, here is the recipe for the chocolate  cherry  mud cake I made  the other week for my sisters birthday…

(“Can I Really Eat It??”  Gluten Free Caramel and Prune  Mud Cake)

This is NOT one for those who opt for sugar-free baking, but a sliver of this cake is just heavenly.

In a saucepan over low heat gently melt 250g butter with 200g dark chocolate, 300g castor sugar, 220g syrup from a 670g jar of pitted morello cherries and 60g brandy, stirring often until smooth.

Once melted take of the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Then stir in 3 lightly beaten free range eggs.

Now stir in 225g plain flour along with 15g baking powder and 50g cocoa. Then gently stir through the drained cherries from the jar(I think it came to about 300g of cherries)

Pour the mix into a lined deep cake tin and bake @ 150c for between 1  1/2 to 1  3/4  of an hour.

Let it cool completely before decorating with fresh cream, a few cherries and some chocolate shavings.

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This was a very moist, luscious cake. Went down well with a strong cup of coffee.

Enjoy…

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Little Apple Pies.

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Sometimes you just need apple pie.

For this one I added dates to the filling instead of sugar. It added a great flavour.

A little ice cream on the side and you’ve got yourself a brilliant dessert.image

So…..

For the pastry rub 50g butter into 100g plain flour, 15g polenta and 20g sugar until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add a little cold water (about 2-3tablespoons) and mix into a dough.

Roll out to 3mm thin and line the base and sides of two small tart tins. With the left over pastry cut two rounds big enough to cover the tops of the tins. Chill in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

Peel, core and dice 1 green apple. Put in a small saucepan with 5 chopped dates, 1tablespoon sultanas, juice of half a lemon and a couple small cubes of butter. Cover and gently cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and the dates have melted. Add a few chopped walnut pieces and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Stir and leave to cool.

Once the filling is cool, divide it between the two pastry lined tins, cover with the two pastry rounds and seal with a fork. Brush a little water over the top of each pie with and sprinkle with a little raw sugar and a pinch of cinnamon.

Bake for 30-40 minutes at 180c. The top should be a light brown.

Enjoy…

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Rainbow Cake

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Yet another Birthday. My sister’s turns #? on Wednesday but Sunday is family get together day so Sunday, we eat cake.

Katy’s cake of choice this year – Rainbow Cake. Fine choice too.

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A very simple Vanilla Butter Cake – With an electric mixer, beat together 250g chopped butter with 220g castor sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in 4 eggs (one at a time) with 2 tsp vanilla extract. Next sift in 80g almond meal (ground almond), 260g plain flour, 10g baking powder and pour in 60ml milk. Mix on low speed until well combined. Divide batter into 3 bowls, add a few drops of food colouring and mix well.

(This particular cake had 6 layers so I made this recipe twice.)

Butter and line 3x18cm cake tins. Pour each coloured batter into a separate tin and bake at 160c for 22 minutes or until cooked. Let the cakes cool for a few minutes in the tin then take them out and let them cool completely on wire racks.

Cream cheese icing – In electric mixer beat 250g chopped butter with 250g cream cheese until white and very smooth. Gradually beat in 500g sifted icing mixture and finish of with 2 tsp vanilla extract.

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Now just spread cakes with icing and put them on top of each other. Leave enough icing to cover the sides of the cake.

Decorate with whatever sweets you (or whoever’s eating) like and serve.

Happy Birthday Katy.

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