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Toddler trouble.

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The Bears and I have been absent for a while. There is a very good reason for this, and it comes in the shape of a not-so-small two year old. I tried baking with him.

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It ended in a state of sugar induced hyperactivity, a broken measuring jug and very very little sleep. Oh yes, and a cake which looked like I had assembled it, run over it with the car, and then tried to fix it up again.

Image(It’s a Maple Syrup and Pecan layer cake with marscapone frosting, from Delia’s gorgeous new book. It did taste fantastic, but not fantastic enough to warrant only two hours sleep.)

And then I tried baking without him. This time the cakes were at least edible looking. And tasted exactly as they should:

 Image(These are Turkish Delight Bear-y Cakes: Chocolate cake, topped with a rose flavoured buttercream and dark chocolate sprinkles. Recipe may follow. Should the Toddler ever sleep.)

However, my living room wall no longer looked like it should:

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Neither did Daddy Bear’s computer screen. Or the sofa. And so, we stopped baking.

That completes my absence letter.

We hope to be back soon!

Mummy Bear x

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Grand Finale

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There’s nothing like leaving everything till the last minute is there? In my almost-late-twenties I should definitely have grown out of the philosophy of Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow. But I haven’t.

So here we are: Bakes #10, #11, #12 and #13 in the Comic Relief Bake Off Challenge, freshly baked just in time for Red Nose Day!

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Bake #10 – Love Heart Biscuits. These are quite similar to some lemoncurd filled shortbread stars we baked a couple of months ago and never got around to blogging about, but yes, they were delicious, like GIANT jammy dodgers!

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Talking of GIANT, these are Bake #11 – Giant Cookies. It said to fill them with 100g of chocolate, or nuts of dried fruit or sweets. However, it seems the book missed out an ingredient, as ours were filled with fudge chunks, and they were amazing. So if you’re going to try baking them, consider that as an extra option. Also, as a side note, if you come to bake them and realise you have no plain flour, do not worry. Self raising worked fine with this batch!

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Bake #12 were Simple scones, and I’d put them off for ages because I’ve read loads about scones being really tricky. Where as actually, if you follow the instructions exactly, (I know, such a novel concept for me) they rise beautifully, and are quite easy.

Howeeeeeeever….. I might suggest maybe glazing the tops with beaten egg to make them look a bit more shiny and delicious. But once they’ve been filled with jam and cream, I doubt anyone will care. Such a pity, we’ve got to eat these for our breakfast now. It’s a hard life for Bears.

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The LAST BAKE! Bake #13 – Honeycomb Crunchies. I saved the most exciting for last. If you’ve never made honeycomb, try it. Or, at least watch someone else making it. It is genuinely awesome. However, do NOT try to test if it is the right consistency with your naked finger. Fail.  Also, it may seem like there isn’t enough chocolate for biscuit/honeycomb, but don’t alter anything because once it is set it is fine!

So all that it left for me to say now is go and buy the recipe book, and support Comic Relief this year. Even if you only make one recipe from it (which should be either the brownies, love heart biscuits or the marmalade cake) it’s £2.50 well spent and all for a good cause.

Now, we’re off to gorge ourselves on biscuits, cookies and scones.

Mummy Bear

Life happens. Chocolate helps.

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It’s Mother’s Day! Did you get coffee in bed and boxes of chocolates this morning? No, neither did I. Don’t worry though, I have baked the perfect solution and won’t be sharing them. Muwhahaha.

I’ve actually gone to bake these cookies so many times over the last few weeks, but the white chocolate chunks have never lasted long enough to make it into the cookie batter rather than straight into my mouth. However time is running out in the Comic Relief Bake Off Challenge, so I’ve had to stop eating ingredients and actually start baking things.

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Bake #8 – Aztec Cookies (Chocolate and Espresso flavoured cookies with white chocolate chunks). They are almost brownie like in texture – although that could be something to do with my over enthusiasm with the balloon whisk attachment of my new hand mixer. Definitely one to be baked again, should I ever manage to resist the bars of white chocolate hidden in the fridge.

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Enjoy!

Mummy Bear x

Double whammy

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I had a minor panic yesterday in realising that it was in fact, already March, and I was only 4 bakes into the Great Comic Relief Bake off Challenge. It’s not going too well.

March 1st was also Granny Bear’s Birthday, and I had promised her cake. See where I’m going with this?! I do LOVE being efficient.

So, to kill a couple of birds with one stone and feel better about it aleady being March, we baked two of the recipes. Although, I didn’t intend to bake two for Granny Bear initally. More about that later.

First up are the Carrot Cake Muffins. I thought I was being clever in buying some ridiculously expensive Wilton tulip muffin cases in contrasting royal blue to make the orange-ness of the carrot cake stand out. However, they did not live up to their promise and just look grease stained and awful. I feel thoroughly cheated and will never impulse buy cake cases again.

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This carrot cake recipe is very different to the one I usually follow, I won’t post it because I’m all for raising the money for charity, but I will say it used shredded bran, and called for a flavoured cream cheese centre.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all up for new ideas. But preferably ones that work. It’s like a Carrot cake with a cheesecake centre. Which I guess it ok if you like baked cheesecake, but I think I’ll stick to using cream cheese in frosting. And the Primrose Carrot cake recipe.

Which is why I decided to try another recipe as well (and it also ticked bake #6 off the Comic Relief Bake Off Challenge)

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This is the Mocha Marble Loaf cake. Except, as you can see, it is not a loaf cake. Loaf cakes take a LONG time to bake. And Baby Bear is nowhere near patient enough to wait 90 minutes for cake. And Mummy Bear has no loaf shaped cake box. And besides, as I’ve said before: (Almost) everything is better in miniature.

So they are in Bear-y cake form, and it’s safe to say the marbled chocolate coffee sponge with white chocolate frosting far FAR better that the Carrot cake muffins. And no silly greasy tulip cases in sight.

We halved the recipe and it made 12 Bear-y cakes….. just remember to also halve the amount of cocoa powder and vanilla essence first time round. Unlike Mummy Bear.

So all that is left to say is: Happy Birthday Granny Bear!

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Mummy Bear x

Challenge Accepted

Mummy Bear has given up Facebook for lent, and is trying to develop new ways in which to procrastinate and NOT write an essay on the role of the professional practitioner in implementing the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Therefore we have decided to take up the Comic Relief Bake Off Challenge, and bake every recipe in the Great Comic Relief Bake Off book before Red Nose Day. Which gives us 25 days to bake 14 recipes. SIMPLES. Except at some point – next week- everyone goes back to school, which really only gives us 10 days. As Gimli would say: “Certain chance of death. Small Chance of success. What are we waiting for?”

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First up: Sticky Brownies.

I’m not going to share the recipe, because you NEED to buy the book, it’s all for charity. But, I will say we adapted the recipe a TEENY bit, in that we had no vanilla essence, so we used orange extract. And it said to add either chocolate chunks OR nuts. We added white chocolate chunks AND chopped hazelnuts. Because Baby Bear isn’t really one for following rules. And because Granny Bear had provided us with plenty of both.

So, one down, 13 to go. I fear a food coma coming on.

Mummy Bear x

Love is in the air. Or rather, the acrid smell of burnt sugar is.

Daddy Bear and I don’t ‘do’ Valentines day. His argument is that he doesn’t need to have an overly commercialised day to remind him to buy flowers and tell me that he loves me. Which would be fine, if I got flowers on other days.

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But having discovered the amazing idea from ‘Stockpiling Moms’ of melting candy canes to make hearts, I decided I was going to bake him some bear-y cakes this year. However, (and I am ridiculously embarrassed to admit this) STUPIDLY I never considered the 250 degrees could mean Fahrenheit, and set my oven to 220 Celsius for ten minutes. This is what my candy canes looked like after 120 seconds:

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FAIL. Much anger ensued, and after peeling the candy canes off the baking tray, they looked like this.

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I did feel much better having beaten the life out of them with a pestle. Nevertheless, I was determined to make SOME sort of bear-y cake for Daddy Bear, if only to stop him from laughing at the hideous baking disaster that was the candy canes. This is what he ended up with:

Image They are vanilla bear-y cakes, topped with the crushed candy canes and then a white chocolate and peppermint two tone butter cream (in a vain attempt to still have some recognisable form of candy cane on the cake!).

The butter cream was definitely the BEST part of cake.

180g unsalted butter,

100g melted white chocolate,

300g of icing sugar

1 tsp pepper mint essence.

Beat in a bowl with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy. Paint a stripe of red gel food colouring down the inside of a disposable piping bag with a large round nozzle in, and then fill up with buttercream. Pipe in swirls on top of your cake.

So there you are Daddy Bear, this is from me to you, on nearly valentines day, from the bottom of my arse. I would say heart, but my arse is much bigger.

Mummy Bear x

Ever decreasing circles

I have been a bad blogger recently. Or rather, I have been a good mother, student, employee and wife. It’s been one of those months where everything comes at once and you end up going round and round in ever decreasing circles. But the end is in sight and I have made friends with my beloved oven again. And I have a new obsession in baking  –  swirls. Because plaiting is very last month.

And so we have swirl-whirly  biscuits, (named by Big Bear) which are vanilla and chocolate swirled biscuits, filled with chocolate and hazelnut swirl spread. I found the recipe (and beautiful photographs) at Iced Cupcakes, and the only thing I changed was the filling, because I found a swirly spread. To be honest, once spread on the biscuits, you couldn’t tell that the filling also started as a two tone swirl, but I do LOVE it when everything fits in a theme.

EDIT: Iced cupcakes has removed her blog. *sob* But fear not, you can find the recipe on our facebook page.

If you’re wondering what these are like, I can explain. Sort of. They are too spongy to be biscuits, but aren’t quite cake. I guess the closest thing to it is a whoopie pie. But they are definitely not pie like. Confused? Me too. Delicious? Very!

Mummy Bear x

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