Home made sprinkles and excitement

glassI can’t believe I’ve not posted this recipe sooner. I was so excited about these sprinkles when I made them – I Instagrammed them, I gave people a sneak peak on Facebook, and I used them as soon as physically possible on my caramel doughnut cake.

And then I just forgot to share them with you!! My apologies, dear readers.

I can’t take credit for the idea (as much as I would love to!)…I got the idea from Pinterest, which directed me to I Am Baker, who had a tutorial up for home made sprinkles. I modified the recipe slightly to suit me – and they are so easy!!

Scale apron giveaway ends soon!

Norman giveawayHello fellow bakers!

No recipe in this post – just a reminder that my scale apron competition closes at 5pm Sydney time today! Norman has taken a serious liking to it, he would have entered by now if he could! All you have to do to be in the running to win is like Baking with Gab on Facebook, like the most recent post and then email bakingwithgab@gmail.com with the subject “Scale Apron Giveaway” – that’s it!

The apron was donated to me for the giveaway by Ria from Zambella Gifts and Homewares – check out her shop, she has some lovely items!

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Jam Sandwich biscuits and simplicity

close upI love how effective these biccies are, and they’re only a little bit more work than a simple jam drop. They’re soft and jam-filled and delightful with an afternoon tea. The ruby red of the jam and the blackness of my tea look just gorgeous together and the sweetness of the biccies complements a strong black cuppa. I hosted a mini tea party for myself to celebrate the beauty of these biscuits – I’m not even ashamed to admit it!

They would suit an Alice in Wonderland themed tea party perfectly, so I think I’m going to have to hold another Mad Hatter’s Party like the one I did a few months ago (have you seen it? Check it out here!)

biteJam sandwich biscuits

  • 2 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 225g butter, diced
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup strawberry jam
  • Icing sugar, to dust

doughPlace the flour and sugar together in a bowl and mix. Add in the cubes of butter and mix until large crumbs form. Add in the egg yolks and then the vanilla, mixing to form a cohesive dough. To help make the dough stick together better, add in the milk, one tablespoon at a time. You may not need all of it, so add it slowly.

Generally with dough, if it’s crumbly when you’ve mixed all the ingredients in, it will be crumbly when you roll it out. Play it safe and add in a little liquid so that you don’t have crumbly jam biscuits.

squaresKnead the dough (which should know make one big ball) for one minute with your dough hook (or for about four minutes by hand) and wrap in cling wrap, then pop it in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Whip the dough out of the fridge and roll out to about 1/2cm on a floured surface. Grab your scone/biscuit butters (I chose crimped squares and circles) and cut
out an even number of shapes.
flouredNow take a second, smaller shape cutter (I chose a love heart, but you can use any shape) and press it into the centre of half of the biscuits. Re-roll dough and repeat. At the end of the process you should have about 24 individual biscuits, which will make 12 sandwiches. I kept the mini hearts that came out of the centre of the  biscuits and topped them with plain icing and sprinkles – they were a good addition to my high tea selection!

aboveLine the biscuits up on your prepared tray (they won’t spread, so you don’t have to give them too much room, don’t worry) and bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow the biscuits to cool completely before attempting to sandwich them together – it’s easier this way and saves you from burning your fingers!

When all the biscuits have cooled, separate the solid biscuits and the biscuits with heart-shaped holes. Take the biscuits with holes in them and liberally sift icing sugar over them. Set these to one side, they’ll be your top bisctuits.

sprinklesIf you’re using a chunky jam like the Bonne Maman jam I used, mash the chunks out so that it’s smooth and can be spread thinly. Spread a teaspoon of jam over the solid biscuits (these will be the bottom biscuits), taking care to not spread it all the way to the edge. Try to spread the jam slightly thicker at the centre of the biscuit, where the heart shape will be.

tiersTake a top and a bottom biscuit and squish them together, like a sandwich. These biscuits sound a little bit fiddly, but they’re so easy…and gorgeous!

Also pictured is my Peanut Butter fudge and Nutella fudge, which are both speedy to make and dangerously delicious.

 

 

 

Strawberry melting moments (recipe in progress)

I made some strawberry melting moments yesterday. But something just wasn’t quite right. The scent you get when mashing strawberries is lost in the baking process. While the passionfruit melting moments recipe works perfectly, the strawberry version falls short. The biscuits were a little too floury and dense. I’m hesitant to use strawberry flavouring, I’d prefer to make use of the real thing!

Berry lemon drizzle cake

cutoutI recently realised that my kitchen has a ridiculous amount of lemons in it. I love lemons because they have so many uses – you can cook and clean with them, add them to water to give yourself a boost of a morning, and they’re so bright that they jazz up a dull fruit bowl.

All that being said though, there were too many – something had to be done! I’ve still got leftover lemon curd in the pantry and I’ve been drinking zesty water for days now. So I made this little beauty. This cake is super lemony and perfect to serve if you’re not after a saccharine dessert.

This post was written for the Geelong Blabbertiser and can be found here as well.

Vanilla & Rose cupcakes and unexpectedness

closeThis past week has been humbling. Talking to friends and family, support for the blog has been overwhelming; finding that my recipes reach people who I never would have picked as bakers is the greatest compliment! I have always been passionate about baking and I hope that Baking with Gab can help to spread the love.

These cupcakes were surrounded by unexpected moments as well.

Kreativ Blogger award (blogs I love)

I was nominated by A Pug in the Kitchen and I appreciate it so much! Awards are a great way to share your favourite blogs with other people. I’m new to blogging and there are many other bloggers much more established than me, but everyone is so lovely and positive! A Pug in the Kitchen’s posts are honest, entertaining and delicious, go and check her out!

Weekends away and baking

The weekend just gone was fantastic. I ate too much, window-shopped and caught up on some reading, but most of all I enjoyed being in the country. I spent every Easter until I was about 15 at my cousins’ farm in Orange, so it has a special allure for me. There is so little going on there that you can see the Milky Way at night and you can’t see any neighbours! People are friendlier, the air is cleaner and I swear the sky is bluer there.

gate

bench

farm sun set

sheds

The farm has always just been “the Farm” to me. As though it was the only one in existence, like no other farms could live up to the one that my cousins owned. It is expansive and beautiful in its own rugged way. It was greener than I’ve seen it in the past, which was good for the cows and my photo shoot! Said cows took a keen interest in the picnic photo shoot.

gathered

rocks

cpwas watching

I used my brownie recipe posted previously (which is an adaptation of a Donna Hay brownie and a Gordon Ramsay  brownie), I just baked it in jars and topped it with strawberries and Milky Way infused cream. I’m still perfecting the consistency of the Milky Way cream, I’ll post that recipe up soon.

starwbs in jar

brownie in a jar

close jar

cute spoon

done

My mother darling’s fantastic new bag featured in this shoot. She bought it without knowing that I had planned a picnic-themed photo shoot! She hadn’t used it once and she still let me take it away for the weekend. And I bought super cute picnic spoons – feel free to admire them!

basket

spoons

There was also Bentley. The photos don’t do his character justice. He came to live on the farm after Snag, guardian sausage dog of the farm died. Bentley is a tiny sausage of energy, affection and adventure. He wouldn’t stay still long enough for me to get a good photo!

bentley walks

bentley

bentley 2

spot the doxie

fire

There was a cow traffic jam which made me laugh. I was like the ultimate tourist as we drove through it. It reminded me how country life moves at a different pace. We took our time getting past them, willing them to not run in front of the car and ruin our planned trip to find delicious food.

cows

cpws 2

I baked a few things, but mostly enjoyed food made by local cafes and restaurants or by my relatives. We visited the Old Mill Café, which was fantastic (both the conversation and the food) and bought some locally-sourced products from A Slice of Orange, which I’ll use in the blog in the coming weeks.

alcohol

apples

lemon

stand

sweeties

Macaroons and failure

The first (and last) time I made macaroons I was distracted. Never be distracted with macaroons. The first batch I put in the oven sunk, the second batch burned. I got cranky at the idea of macaroons and have not attempted them since. After two years, I decided it was time to try again!

I don’t have a good track record with meringues, so I was super conscious of doing things as perfectly as possible.

I wiped Penelope’s bowl down with a lemon to eliminate any fats or oils that could be lingering from its last use. I washed the lemon juice off and dried the bowl, then let it sit for a while to ensure that no moisture had hung about. I don’t usually have much patience for things like this, but I was determined to get these macaroons made!

IMG_5260When you crack your eggs don’t let any egg yolk enter the whites, it will dash all your efforts in cleaning the bowl so thoroughly because it will affect how the whites whip up. Be vigilant!!

I was so determined that this was going to be a successful macaroon making session that I planned three flavours. This was going to be a macaroonathon.

So I managed to make meringue with no problems. I was actually really impressed that I had made successful meringue. That is the extent of my success with macaroons. My first batch were lumpy and did not hold a nice shape. I’ll be honest, they looked like little lumps of poo. My second bunch was much more promising. IMG_5262The mixture was smooth and shiny, it glinted at me from the bowl even after I put the pink food colouring in. I tapped the bottom of the baking tray to remove excess air bubbles and I got prematurely excited. They were perfect circles, no lumps in the mixture – they were smooth, glossy little discs on the baking paper.

And then something went wrong. They expanded too much, they deflated, they looked like pancakes.

Poos and pancakes. Great.IMG_5312

Is it too much to ask that I produce one successful macaroon? My creations tasted fab (which made it worth the time I put into double sifting the tant pour tant, the almond meal and icing sugar mixture) and they formed the shell but remained soft on the inside. They just didn’t look right.

One of my pet hates is cooks who put too much emphasis on aesthetics and ignore taste, but even I have my limits. These thing tasted fine, but I would never serve them! Not even a sprinkling of icing sugar could mask these abominations.

Luckily I had friends to mourn the macaroons disaster with me. We chomped on ill-formed marshmallowy-pancakey-pooey-things and had a laugh. This isn’t the end though! For the moment I’m going to recommend you leave it to the experts. Go visit Zumbo or your local patisserie.

Macaroons: 1  Gabby: 0 – they’ve won this round.

Until next time, macaroons.