Gingerbread biscuits

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I just love Halloween and I love gingerbread biscuits. I decided to put a Halloween twist on this classic recipe from the Festive Flavours cookbook using my Halloween mini cookie cutter set.

The recipe is made even easier to follow using the recipe chip and it’s makes the perfect dough. I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and placed it in the fridge to chill for about an hour.

The chilled dough is so easy to work with and I had fun choosing my shapes with my cookie cutters. The cookbook also had a great tip to pierce holes in the cookie if you want to use them as gift tags or Christmas decorations!

But back to my Halloween theme. After baking the biscuits and leaving them to cool completely, I made the royal icing. Using a piping bag with a thin nozzle I started decorating my biscuits. This was the easy part because I was sticking to simple decorations. And I think keeping it simple really makes these ginger-dead biscuits stand out! What do you think?

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 Want the new Festive Flavours cookbook and recipe chip? Contact your consultant or order online here.

Olive and fennel grissini

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I couldn’t wait to make this recipe for Olive and Fennel Grissini from the new Festive Flavours cookbook because my hubby loves anything with olives in it.

I was flipping through magazines for Halloween treat ideas and came across witches broomsticks made with breadsticks. The grissini would be perfect for this! You will need a packet of mozzarella cheese slices and cooking string or a bunch of chives.

So I followed the recipe using the recipe chip and made the dough. When it came to actually making the grissini I used the cookbook because it had some easy to follow pictures for these steps.

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Because I had rolled out my dough onto my ThermoMat I used my spatula to cut the folded dough into strips. Never use a knife on your ThermoMat because any cuts will release the micro fibre in-between the silicone layers.

After twisting the strips I popped them in the oven for 25 minutes at a time. I had to bake them in two batches. The recipe says to leave them in the over to dry out and cool completely for 2-3 hours or overnight. I left them overnight and in the morning they were ready for the finishing touches.

I took my slices of mozzarella cheese and using a small knife I thinly sliced each cheese slice leaving a 1cm border to create a fringe look. I rolled a slice of cheese around the base of a grissini and used some cooking twine to secure the cheese in place. You could use a chive for this but would need to soften with boiling water first. Repeat with your remaining cheese and grissini and your broomsticks are ready 🙂

Want the new Festive Flavours cookbook and recipe chip? Contact your consultant or order online here.


Two-tier cake

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I made this two-tiered cake for my niece’s christening. For all family events the cake of choice has always been the basic butter cake from the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. Because of this tradition we always just called it ‘birthday cake’.

So I was planning to make this ‘birthday cake’ and thought I would have to convert the recipe myself. Luckily I hopped onto the Recipe Community and found someone had already beaten me to it. Click here for the AWW Basic Buttercake on the Recipe Community.

I still had my AWW cookbook out and saw there were some differences in quantities for some ingredients. I have no idea how old my cookbook is. It’s my mums and I remember my 4th birthday cake so it definitely over 25 years old, so maybe the quantities had changed over the years. But since this was the recipe I had made for many years I wasn’t going to try different quantities. So here’s the tweaks I made – 110g sugar, 85g milk and 265g self raising flour and I increased the baking time to 35 minutes.

While I was baking the cakes I got started converting my Planet Cake’s ganache recipe for Thermomix. This ganache is perfect for covering cakes before covering with fondant. It was great to make with my Thermomix because for once I didn’t have to worry about burning the chocolate! You can view my recipe on the Recipe Community here.

Now back to the cakes. I made 4 batches to make 2 different sized cakes. After they were cooked and cooled it was time to cut the tops off for a flat and even surface and cut in half for a ganache middle.

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The ganache needs to set for 8 hours or overnight. I had made it early in the morning so that night I began assembling my tiers.

And then I was done for the night. I put the ganache covered cakes in the fridge and went to bed. You could speed up the process by freezing for a maximum of 10 minutes.

The first step the next day was smoothing the ganache. This is the most important step to ensure a smooth surface for the fondant. But it is also the most time consuming. You need a jug of boiling water and a long palette knife or bread knife. Leave the knife in the jug for a few seconds and once it’s hot smooth out the surface of the cake. Once smooth let the cake set for several hours or do another quick freeze.

The cakes were now ready to be covered with fondant. The first step is to make a syrup with apricot jam and boiling water. This will act as a glue for the fondant. Then it’s time to roll out the fondant. I always sprinkle icing sugar down first so the fondant doesn’t stick. Roll the fondant out big enough so that it will cover all of the cake but be careful not to roll too thin that it will tear when you lift it.

After both cakes were covered with fondant it was time to assemble the tiers. This was my first time making a tiered cake. With the help of Google I knew I needed to support the tiers. I tried to find wooden dowels but the two shops I went to didn’t have any so I just ended up using cake pop sticks. I measured the size of the top tier using the cake pan on the bottom tier. Then I marked out four central support points. I first used a skewer to push through the first point and then put a cake pop stick in. I marked where it was level with the cake and removed it and cut it to size. I used this one as my original to measure out the other sticks and then placed each on in the bottom tier cake.

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With my support system in place I assembled my tiers and started decorating my cakes.

I didn’t put the cross on the top until the last minute just in case it wasn’t stable enough.

Gluten and grain free bread rolls

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I’m not gluten free or even much of bread eater but I do love these gluten and grain free bread rolls in the Everyday Cooking for Thermomix Families TM5 cookbook.

You need 300g of raw almonds for this recipe but my group leader gave me a great tip. Her son is gluten free and absolutely loves these bread rolls! One day she didn’t have enough almonds so she used half almonds and half pumpkin seeds and they still came out great! She’s even successfully tried the recipe with a mix of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to make it nut free 🙂

The recipe doesn’t require a lot of ingredients but one of them is gluten free baking powder. You can make your own gluten free baking powder using the recipe in the Basic Cookbook.

The dough is made in 5 quick steps and then ready to form into rolls. It is a sticky dough but very easy to work with. The recipe says it makes 12 portions but I’ve made 16 rolls that were still a decent size. And if you have any leftover rolls you can store them in the freezer.

Contact your consultant to get your copy of the Everyday Cooking for Thermomix Families TM5 cookbook and recipe chip or buy the combo online here.

Grain free cinnamon ‘donut’ cupcakes

 
At the recent Quirky Cooking seminar Jo Whitton gave some tips about baking. When she was talking about egg whites she gave her tip for the Grain free cinnamon ‘donut’ cupcakes. 

She said don’t be tempted to fold the egg whites in the Thermomix bowl. She stressed it was important to carefully fold the egg whites into the mixture in another bowl. And by carefully she meant take your time and slowly fold the egg whites into the mixture. This important tip was the make or break for successful cupcakes. Jo said some people had told her they had tried making this recipe and they hadn’t risen, or they had risen and then collapsed. She asked if they had carefully folded the egg whites which they hadn’t. 

This recipe is really easy to make and I already had all the ingredients in my cupboard. I think the reason I had never made these cupcakes is because there wasn’t a picture in the cookbook. I’m all about the photos! 

So I left the seminar inspired to give them a go and they did not disappoint at all. I’m glad I had this tip and took my time carefully folding the egg whites. My cupcakes came out perfectly and were a hit.  I’ll definitely be making this recipe again! 

Chocolate Fondant

This recipe for Chocolate Fondants could be dangerous. The total time it makes from start to finish is 30 minutes!

Great for when you need to satisfy that sweet tooth with a warm dessert but not so great for the waist line 🙁

All you need is butter, dark chocolate, eggs, raw sugar and plain flour. They’re all pretty much staples in any kitchen.

It was my first time actually making fondants. I think I always thought it was more complicated than what it actually is.

The test to check if the fondants are cooked is to lightly press with your thumb. They should have a moist but firm crust. The ultimate test is when you cut them open and the molten chocolate just oozes out. Perfection 🙂

You can serve them with ice cream or cream, or just on their own. Sometimes simplicity is best.

You can find the recipe in the new Everyday Cooking for Thermomix Families TM5 cookbook and recipe chip.

Contact your consultant or buy your copy online here.

Torta caprese

IMG_5160The Torta Caprese is the flourless almond cake in the Basic Cookbook and can also be made gluten free. I love how it highlights the milling function of the Thermomix and if you want, you can substitute the almonds with any nuts of your choice, like hazelnuts or macadamia nuts.

This cake is very indulgent and is definitely a crowd pleaser. Bake it in a square tin and cut it into squares if you have a group to feed or bake it in a heart shaped tin for something a bit more romantic like I did back on Valentine’s Day 🙂

Chocolate zucchini muffins

IMG_4962I love this recipe from the Cooking for me and you cookbook.

As a ‘recovering fussy eater’ I know I don’t hate zucchini anymore but I still struggle to like it. The less I see it the better lol! This recipe blends zucchini into the chocolate batter so I get to have my cake and eat it too 🙂

The recipe is for mini loaves but I doubled it (and added 20% to the cooking time) and was able to make 12 muffins and 24 mini muffins.