Grandma’s Scones

Does anything beat scones with jam and cream and tea in the sunshine? (Answer: no).

Scones are very simple to make but tend to be saved for ‘fancy’ occasions like high-tea in my house. Well, no more. I vow to make more of these versatile beauties because, regardless of occasion, there’s something supremely satisfying about a eating a fluffy scone smothered in jam (ideally homemade) and a dollop of whipped cream.

Oh and obviously it’s pronounced scone, rhyming with “John” not “Joan”.

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Ingredients (makes 18)
2 cups self-raising flour (+ extra for dusting)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1½ tablespoons caster sugar
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 eggs

Method
Preheat oven to 230-240°C (210-220°C fan-forced).

Beat eggs together in a small bowl.  Add lemon juice to milk in order to sour it (don’t worry if it gets a bit lumpy).

Sift flour into a large bowl, add sugar and then gently mix in eggs, soured milk and butter until just combined.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until it just comes together. Gently form into a disc 3-4cm thick. Use a 5cm-diameter round cutter dipped in flour to cut out scones (re-flouring between each scone). Arrange scones on a large oven tray lighted dusted with flour.

Bake scones for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Turn scones out onto a clean tea towel and cover with another tea towel.

Serve scones warm or at room temperature with jam and sweetened whipped cream.

NB: best eaten fresh on the day they’re made as they dry out quickly.

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Recipe adapted from Grandma, Margaret Payne, via Mum ♥

Melting Moments

Happy Birthday to me! Bakerholics Anonymous is 5 years old today 🙂 In celebration of the anniversary I am posting one of my favourite biscuit recipes: melting moments. This version has a tangy passionfruit buttercream which helps cut through the deliciously buttery biscuit – yum!

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Ingredients (makes 25)
250g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup icing sugar
1½ cups plain flour
½ cup cornflour
Passionfruit Buttercream
90g butter, softened
¾ cup icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pulp of 3 passionfruit

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Method
Line oven trays with baking paper.

Beat butter, extract and sifted icing sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gently stir in sifted flour in two batches.

Preheat the oven to 160ºC.

Roll teaspoons of mixture into balls and place ~2.5cm apart on the trays. Flatten slightly with a fork.

Bake biscuits for 15 minutes or until lightly golden on the bottom. Stand 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Make butter cream by beating butter, icing sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Stir through passionfruit pulp. If the icing is too runny, add more icing sugar.

Sandwich biscuits with butter cream. Dust with extra icing sugar and enjoy.

Note: if you do not have passionfruit, add more vanilla extract to make a vanilla buttercream or add 1 teaspoon each of lemon juice and finely grated lemon rind to make lemon buttercream.

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Recipe from Grandma, adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly

Butterfly Cakes with Strawberries & Cream

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Considering it’s winter, we have been incredibly lucky to have an abundance of delicious, flavoursome strawberries and these cakes take full advantage of them.

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These cupcakes are probably the quickest and easiest to make in the history of the world;  you simply blitz the ingredients in a food processor, divide into patty pans and bake!

The cakes are very light with a soft, sponge-like texture, which makes them perfect for butterfly cakes. If butterfly cakes aren’t for you, they’re also delicious with a frosting of your choice (try my vanilla buttercream or marshmallow frosting).

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Ingredients (makes 12)
1 cup (125g) self-raising flour
⅔ cup (125g) caster sugar
125g butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
Sweetened thickened cream (or whipped cream)
Good quality strawberry jam
Fresh strawberries, halved (optional)
Icing sugar

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Method
Preheat oven to 200ºC and line a 12-hole muffin tin with patty pans.

Put all of the ingredients except for the milk into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pulse while adding the milk until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among the patty pans (I know it doesn’t look like much batter, but they will rise a lot).

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Transfer immediately onto a wire rack to cool completely.

If you will be serving the cakes immediately, make your thickened cream and cut up your strawberries while the cakes cool.

Using a sharp knife at a 45 degree angle, cut out a circle from the top of each cake and cut it in half to make the butterfly wings. Fill the holes with a teaspoon or so of strawberry jam and then top with cream, butterfly wings and another line of jam. If you like, you can serve them like this in the traditional butterfly cake style (below).

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For me though, I love fresh strawberries so I top each cake with a strawberry half and then sprinkle with icing sugar. Enjoy!

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NB: filled cakes are best eaten with 6 hours
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson’s ‘Cupcakes’ in How to Be a Domestic Goddess. 

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Passionfruit Slice

Passionfruit is one of my favourite fruits – I love its intense tangy flavour which, to me, tastes like summer. It should come as no surprise then, that I love this slice which pairs passionfruit with lemon in a creamy cheesecake-like layer on top of a chewy coconut-ty base – delicious! I also love it because it’s so quick and easy to make, perfect for whipping up quickly the night before a morning tea at work.

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It smells so good that Bailey wouldn’t leave it alone! 

Ingredients (makes 24 pieces)
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
½ cup caster sugar
100g butter, melted
395g can condensed milk
½ cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons passionfruit pulp

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Method
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 16 x 26cm pan with non-stick baking paper, allowing it to hang over the sides.

Combine the flour, coconut, sugar and butter in a large bowl. Use your hands to bring it together into a dough. Using a metal spoon, press dough into the base of the prepared pan.

Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 150°C. Whisk together condensed milk, lemon juice and passionfruit pulp in a large bowl until well-combined. Pour onto the cooled base and spread evenly.

Bake for 15 minutes or until just firm. Set aside to cool completely before cutting into squares. Enjoy!

thumb_IMG_0282_1024Adapted from Passionfruit Slice on Taste.com.au

 

Vanilla Raspberry Layer Cake

Well.. I lied. I completely intended to blog more in the last few weeks (as evidenced by my last post!) but I’ve just been too busy. I had my 21st Birthday to plan, uni assessments galore, the Psychology ball to organise, and now Laura’s 18th is coming up in a couple of weeks. Yikes, I get exhausted just thinking about it all! However, while I haven’t been blogging, I have been baking.

Here is the cake I made for my 21st Birthday afternoon tea – triple layer vanilla cake with a tangy raspberry filling & super glossy meringue frosting, topped with vanilla bean macarons. The raspberry filling was perfect as, otherwise, this cake was going to be too sweet, so I would certainly recommend leaving it (or perhaps substituting it for a tangy lemon curd if you’re not a raspberry fan) to cut the sweetness from the frosting.

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Don’t worry, the empty plates in the background didn’t stay empty!

For my 21st birthday cake, I used 2 packets of Betty Crocker’s SuperMoist Vanilla cake mix, with some extra vanilla added so they tasted more ‘home-made’ divided into 3 20cm lined pans. I did this for 2 main reasons; it saved a lot of time (and time was precious as I had so much other cooking to do!), and because it reliably produces an even, stable, fine-crumbed cake that is easy to work with. If you don’t want to use cake mixes, just make a double batch of your favourite vanilla/butter cake and that will work as well 🙂

The raspberry filling needs to be made at least a day ahead but keeps well in the fridge so can be made up to a week ahead.

I also made the macaron shells a couple of days ahead to save me some stress on the actual party day.

The frosting should be made the day of serving as it does not keep particularly well.

Ingredients

For the raspberry filling (make at least a day ahead)
340g frozen raspberries
⅔ cups water
½ cup white, granulated sugar
1 tblspn lemon juice
2 ½ tblspns cornstarch dissolved in ¼ cup of water

For the cake
2 boxes Betty Crocker’s SuperMoist Vanilla cake mix (made following instructions, so add the eggs, milk, butter etc. as specified by the box)
½ tablespoon vanilla extract

For the meringue frosting
6 egg whites
1 ¾ cups caster sugar
2 tblspns liquid glucose (or light corn syrup)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the macarons
https://bakerholicsanonymous.wordpress.com/recipes-2/cookies-biscuits-macarons/vanilla-bean-macarons/

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Method
To make the raspberry filling:
In a saucepan combine the raspberries, water, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to boil and simmer for 15-20mins  or until the raspberries have broken down.
Remove the mixture from the heat and strain with a fine mesh sieve. Return the stained mixture to the heat. Dissolve the cornstarch in water. Whisk the cornstarch mix into the raspberry mixture.
Bring the mixture back to a boil and simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Refrigerate overnight to set.

To make the cakes: Line & grease 3 20cm cake pans. Set oven to temperature specified by the cake mix boxes. Make cakes according to box instructions, add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract to each cake mix & divide mixture among the three pans. Bake for specified time, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

To assemble the cake: Carefully place a cake layer on your serving platter. Top with a generous amount of raspberry filling and spread gently using a spatula to make an even layer. Top with another cake layer and repeat. Finally, top with the final cake, ready to be frosted.

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To make the meringue frosting: Add egg whites, sugar, liquid glucose and cream of tartar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 54°C on a thermometer (be patient, it does get there eventually!).
Beat heated mixture with electric beaters on a low speed for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. Increase the speed to high and beat until it is very thick and glossy, about 5 minutes.
Add vanilla and beat to combine.
Frost cake immediately by piling the frosting on top of the cake and, using a metal spatula, gently spreading from the top down. Smoothe as much as possible with your spatula.

Top with 6 macarons, 3 of each colour and a candle (if desired).

Serve each piece with a macaron & enjoy!

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Raspberry filling recipe adapted from: Pinterest (various sources with the same basic recipe)

Meringue frosting recipe adapted from Sweetapolita’s ‘Perfectly Pink Angel Food Cake’ http://sweetapolita.com/2015/05/perfectly-pink-angel-food-cake/

Vanilla Bean Macarons

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I made these particular macarons to sit on top of my 21st birthday cake (and because I think no afternoon tea is complete without them!) Feel free to adapt the colours or flavours as you wish.

Ingredients (makes around 40 macarons, 20 paired)
Macaron shells
225g pure icing sugar
130g almond meal
115g egg whites
60g caster sugar
1g bicarb soda
A few drops of rose pink & violet food colouring

Vanilla bean filling
100g butter, softened
¼ cup milk
½  tblspn organic vanilla bean paste
4 cups icing sugar
Rose pink & violet food colouring

Method
Preheat oven to 150°C fan forced. Grease and line two large baking trays with baking paper.

Separately sift icing sugar and almond meal into medium bowls or over sheets of baking paper. Repeat process 3 times and re-weigh ingredients (I know this seems excessive but trust me, it’s worth it). You will need to top up the ingredients as you may have lost some in the sifting process. Sift icing sugar and almond meal into a bowl and repeat, ensure there are no lumps.

Whisk egg whites until doubled in size using electric beaters or an electric stand mixer. While still whisking, gradually add caster sugar and bicarb, whisking until mixture forms very stiff peaks.

Gently fold almond meal mixture into meringue using a spatula until incorporated.

Divide mixture into 2 bowls. Add food colouring (pink to one, purple to the other) one drop at time, stirring very gently with a spatula, until desired colour reached.

Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 9mm round nozzle (approximately). Hold nozzle close to the baking tray and pipe 3cm diameter circles onto prepared trays – don’t make a circular motion àla soft serve. Tap the underside of the tray to allow macarons to settle and air bubbles to escape. If there is still a little peak on top, dip a teaspoon in water and use the back to smooth the surface. Repeat with other colour. 217929_10151403883896183_1104201680_n

Leave to rest for at least 20-30 minutes or until the macarons form a skin and the top is no longer shiny or sticky to the touch (this is VERY important as it will give your macaron its lovely ‘foot’).

Bake for 12 minutes. Remove trays from the oven and allow macarons to cool on the tray. They will still be soft at this stage but will firm up on cooling.

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To make the buttercream, cream the butter for 1-2 mins. Add the milk, vanilla and half of the icing sugar and beat for at least 3 mins (until the mixture is light and fluffy).

Add the remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 mins or until of a spreadable consistency. Add extra milk if too dry or extra icing sugar if too wet.

Halve the mixture and add a drop of rose food colouring to one half and a drop of violet colouring to the other.

Pipe a generous amount of buttercream onto half the macarons and sandwich with a second macaron.

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Recipe adapted from Callum Hann’s ginger macarons

Salted Caramel Blondies

These delicious blondies taste like a cross between choc chip cookies and cake. Be careful not to over cook them as they’re definitely best when fudgy.

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Ingredients (Makes about 25 blondies)
180g unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups lightly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups plain flour
Sea salt flakes
½  cup white chocolate melts
½ cup white chocolate chips
½ cup milk chocolate chips (optional)

Method
Preheat the oven to 190°C (or 170 fan-forced). Line a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper.

Mix the melted butter and brown sugar together in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla extract.

Gently stir in the flour and a pinch of sea salt. Carefully fold in the chocolate, making sure it is evenly dispersed.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tin and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle a couple of pinches of salt over the top and then bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the outside is cooked and the middle has a slight wobble.

Remove from the oven, sprinkle once more with a pinch or two of salt, and allow to cool for 30 minutes in the tin. Gently remove the blondie from the tin by the baking paper and leave to cool for a further 5-10 minutes on a cooling rack.

Once cool, cut into squares. Enjoy!

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Adapted from Callum Hann’s ‘Salted Dirty Blondies’ in I’d Eat That, 2014.

 

Warm Cinnamon & Rhubarb Muffins

It’s that time of the year again: swot-vac. While I always have good intentions, designing elaborate study timetables and carefully planning my time,  I often find myself procrastinating in one way or another and procrastibaking is my specialty. Fortunately, I work well with a rewards-based system where I treat myself to a baked item after doing a certain number of hours of study, and so baking is useful in that it provides me with much-needed study motivation (or so I tell myself).

Coincidence? I think not...
Coincidence? I think not…

These cinnamon & rhubarb muffins are perfect for this because they are heavenly, especially when fresh out of the oven or warmed in the microwave, just the thing to reward yourself after working hard. They’re so good in fact that I had to stop myself from inhaling them all right away. So go on… treat yourself to a batch of these perfectly seasonal study treats – I can assure you, you won’t regret it!

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Ingredients
For the rhubarb mixture
1 cup bunch rhubarb, washed, ends trimmed
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar

For the muffins
1 cup rhubarb mixture
1 ¼ cups plain flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup buttermilk
¾ cup olive oil
1 egg

For the sugar-cinnamon crust
⅓ cup sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

How good is rhubarb?! Image credit: pipmagazine.com.au
How good is rhubarb?! Image credit: pipmagazine.com.au

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced. Line 2 muffin tins with 16 muffin cases.

Chop rhubarb into small, even pieces and cook with water and sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat until the rhubarb is tender and the sugar has dissolved. Stand for 5 minutes to cool.

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Add flour, sugar and baking powder into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Carefully pour in the buttermilk, olive oil and egg and gently stir to combine. Mix in the cooked rhubarb, being careful not to over-stir (note: the mixture is supposed to be very wet, don’t worry!)

Spoon mixture evenly into muffin cases & top with mixed sugar and cinnamon.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.  Enjoy!

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Recipe from Grandma (from Sue Lowry)

Honey Joys

Also known as honey jumbles or honey crackles, these delicious sweet treats were a staple birthday party food of my childhood. They always bring back wonderful memories and I really should make them more often as they require incredibly little effort & take about 10 minutes to make from start to finish.

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Ingredients (Makes approximately 40 small or 16-20 large)
1 heaped tablespoon of good quality honey
60g butter
90g sugar
125g cornflakes

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Method
Preheat oven to 150°C.

Melt butter, sugar & honey in a small saucepan over a medium heat.

Pour gradually over cornflakes in a large bowl, and stir until well mixed.

Place dessert spoonfuls of mixture into small paper patties, and bake for 6 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Recipe from my amazing Mum, Anne Bills

Figolli (Maltese Easter Biscuits)

When we lived in Canberra, our lovely friends at Church would bring us some Figolli (traditional Maltese Easter biscuits) every Easter Sunday. As they were such a favourite with all of us, when we moved to Adelaide we decided that we couldn’t be without Figolli at Easter, and so we started making them ourselves.

This has just been our third Easter in Adelaide and I’m pretty confident that we’ve perfected them by now – consistently getting a rich buttery biscuit outside and perfectly chewy almond-citrus filling. We tend to to make ours round (although by all means use any shape you like) and decorate them simply with pastel icing and topped with an Easter egg. Do yourself a favour and try them!

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Ingredients
Pastry
400g plain flour, sifted
175g caster sugar
200g butter
2 egg yolks
Grated rind of ½ a lemon

Filling
300g icing sugar, icing
300g ground almonds
2 egg whites
Grated rind of 1 lemon
2-2½ teaspoons orange blossom water

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Method
In a food processor, blitz flour, sugar & butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add egg yolks, lemon zest & sufficient cold water to bring together. Knead gently to form a smooth ball and then cover in cling film and refrigerate for 20mins.

Meanwhile, add the lemon zest, orange blossom water, egg whites & sugar to the ground almonds. Mix until combined.

Preheat oven to 180°C or 160°C fan-forced.

Roll pastry out to a 2-3mm thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out 2 of each shape (we used round & oval shaped cutters of varying sizes).

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Spread almond paste on one half and lay matching shapes on top, pressing the edges together.

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Bake for approximately 20 mins or until golden brown.

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Allow to cool before decorating with glacé icing & mini easter eggs or speckled eggs.

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Adapted from ‘The Food and Cookery of Malta’ (1999)

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