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Pooping rainbows

Daddy Bear is very anti facebook and deems it’s only purpose is as an institution for procrastination and self indulgence. Well fair enough you may think, but this is coming from the guy who has had, at one point, 9gag as his default home page. 9gag, which was invented solely for the purpose of procrastination.

So when he saw that I was making rainbow cookies, his response was a little like this:

And then proceeded to tell me that actually, they weren’t rainbow cookies, but Unicorn Poop. Apparently, according to 9gag Unicorns poop rainbows. Who knew? He then proceeded to show me some completely pointless Nyan Cat. No, I didn’t get it. But then, he doesn’t understand why I was secretly praying that JK Rowling’s new book was actually ‘Harry Potter: The Epilogue’ in disguise. I digress, back to pooping unicorns:

I made the cookies following some super assembly instructions for Jen’s Just Desserts, (check out her page for really cute and fresh ideas for baking, but beware, you’ll blink and it will be midnight!)  and used my own recipe for the sugar cookie dough.

Ingredients:

225g unsalted butter

225 g caster sugar

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

480g plain flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Food colouring in Wilton Sky Blue, Sugarflair Mint Green, Home2Bke Yellow, Home2Bake Red

Multi coloured sprinkles

Cream butter sugar and salt for 2 minutes using an electric beater, then add in the egg, egg yolk and extract and beat again until combined. Add in the flour and baking powder and mix again, using your hands to prevent a flour cloud, until an evenly mixed dough forms.

Split the dough into 4 equal parts, and then colour each part using a different gel colour. You can use any colours you like, I just used the ones listed above because they are what I had to hand, with the highest contrast.

Wrap each ball of coloured dough in cling film, and then refrigerate for at least and hour. Once chilled and firm, remove from the fridge, and unwrap the cling film. Pull off a marble sized lump of each colour and roll them into small balls, then push the 4 balls into each other so they resemble a hacky sack.

Use the palm of your hand against the board to roll the ball into a sausage shape, and then wind the sausage shape into my current favourite spiral pattern. Gently roll the edge of the spiral in sugar sprinkles or non pareils, and then pop onto a baking tray. My Cookies didn’t stick to the tray, so there’s no need to worry about lining your baking tray (woohoo!).

Pop in the oven for 10 minutes at 180 C of until they are firm to touch on top. Remove from oven, leave for a minute and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Daddy Bear and Big Bear both think that these are awesome, clearly for different reasons. Or maybe Daddy Bear just never grew up. Baby Bear is also a fan, although I haven’t met a biscuit yet that he won’t eat, so that’s not really a fair assessment on the taste!

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

Confessions of a dumb brunette

Confessions of a dumb brunette

These Peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich cookies came about only due to me being a complete airhead. A month or so ago, I bought a jar of peanut butter (the bears are not peanut butter sandwich fans) and a packet of jelly, because I wanted to make peanut butter and jelly bear-y cakes. But then Daddy Bear pointed out (whilst in mild hysterics) that when people refer to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, they actually mean jam. I was disappointed to say the least and suddenly didn’t fancy it at all.

So out of this came a combination I did want to try – peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. I made a simple peanut butter cookie dough (8oz peanut butter, 8oz castor sugar, 1 egg, splash of vanilla essence – I know, no actual butter or flour, how cool!!) and baked it in the oven for 12 minutes at 180C. Once cooled I spread marshmallow fluff onto the underside of a cookie, and then sandwiched it together with a second cookie.

(With thanks to Heartsong cakes and crafts for the original peanut butter cookie recipe)

Mummy Bear x

There’s a Starman waiting in the sky….

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Hmmm, not sure why I’m trying to merge David Bowie with Super Mario Bros, but this is another party post! When I asked Big bear what food he wanted at his party he replied ‘Can’t we just have cake?’. My sentiments exactly dear boy. But no, we couldn’t have just cake, so I had to think of various Mario themed treats for the kiddies to munch on. Thank goodness for Google image search!

To do these ‘properly’ I’m sure I’m meant to make sugar cookies and decorate them with royal icing. However, these were just going to be scoffed by a lot of hyper six year olds, and so I was determined to make them as simple as possible. This meant that I used a shortbread recipe instead for the biscuit base, and then decorate them with rolled sugarpaste. (Also I love shortbread. Preferably with lavender, but I’m not too fussy!)

Shortbread Mario Starmen

2 oz golden caster sugar

4 oz unsalted butter at room temperature

6 oz plain flour

250g yellow sugarpaste

1 tube black ‘writing icing’

Put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and rub together with your fingers until it first begins to resemble breadcrumbs, and then comes together to form a ball of dough.

Sprinkle a baking tray with plain flour. Take a third of the dough and roll onto the tray to approximately 0.5 cm thick. Use a star cutter to cut out as many shapes from that section of dough as possible (leaving a 1 cm gap between each cookie). Remove the excess dough, take some more from the bowl and repeat again, rolling to 0.5 cm thick and cutting out. Continue doing this until all the dough has been used – with this dough I created 19 star biscuits, but it all depends on the size of your cutter.

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Pre heat your oven to 150C and the pop the baking trays with the stars on into the fridge to chill. After 20 minutes, take them out of the fridge and place in the oven for approximately 8 minutes or until they begin to go golden on top. Remove form the oven and leave to cool before taking them off the baking tray.

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To decorate, roll yellow sugarpaste thinly, and then use the same size star cutter to cut out stars from it. Wet the back of the sugarpaste lightly, using a brush and water, and then stick to the top of a star biscuit. Draw the eyes on with the black ‘writing icing’, or alternatively use royal icing or black buttercream if you are unable to find any writing icing tubes. (They’re normally in kids decorating sets in the supermarkets.)

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And this is them at the party – slightly battered from the high speed drive to the hall (thanks Daddy Bear!) and having been prodded at already by several children, but still vaguely resembling Mario Star Power!

Mummy Bear x

Soggy Bottoms and an Eton Mess

I was concerned about the Olympic shaped void in my evenings after the closing ceremony this Sunday. But fear not it seems, as The Great British Bake Off has returned to fill my evenings with burnt crusts and soggy bottoms. To say I was excited was a minor understatement! To celebrate this fact, and to have something to stop me from licking the TV screen and drooling on the sofas whilst watching the programme, I decided I would have to bake something. Something new, for a new series, but something with a little bit of Britishness in. Is Britishness even a word?!

Anyway, a while ago someone had shared a photo with me of some cookie cups. Before this, I had no idea they existed. My life is definitely more complete now. I loved the idea of them, but wanted to make them when I knew exactly what I wanted to fill them with (and not being a huge fan a chocolate, ruled out a lot of the ideas!) And then suddenly I was inspired – what could be a better British flavour than Eton Mess Cookie Cups! For those of you who are Cookie Cup virgins, these are what my empty cups look like. See, now you understand my filling dilemma – the possibilities are endless!

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Eton Mess Cookie Cups

115g salted butter at room temperature

200g caster sugar

1 large egg

200g plain flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp baking soda

60g packet of Strawberry fruit chunks

120g good quality white chocolate (because the cheaper brands just burn) chopped into chunks

300ml double cream

1 pack of fresh raspberries

Mini meringues (you could make these, but I already had a tub, so was lazy!)

Cream the butter and the sugar in a large mixing bowl. I don’t bother to get my electric mixer out for this part of the recipe because it only takes a minute to mix the whole dough together, even with my weakling arms. Add the egg into the mixture and beat again.

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the mixture, and then combine with a wooden spoon. to Get the last bits to combine fully, just use your hands – it’s much easier! Pop all the fruit chunks and the white chocolate chunks into the dough and kneed with your hands until they are evenly mixed throughout the cookie dough.

Take a chunk of dough, approximately the size of a golf ball, and pop it into a one of the holes in a muffin tray. Use your hands to roughly squash it down just so it fills the bottom. Repeat for the rest of the dough, which should fill about 16 muffin holes.

Bake in the (fan) oven at 170C for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and use the bottom of a spherical measuring spoon (I used the Tala tablespoon) to press a dip into each of the still warm cookies. Leave to cool completely before removing from the muffin tins. The best way to remove the cookie cups is to press down on them gently and twist, which will free the base, and then you will be able to lift them out without breaking.

Whip the double cream until it forms stiff peaks (Yes, I did use the electric whisk for this, as otherwise I would be unable to move my arms for at least a week afterwards!) and then fill a piping bag with it. I didn’t have any piping bags left, so I just filled a sandwich bag with the cream and then snipped of the corner, but it would look pretty piped with a large round nozzle, or even a large french nozzle. Pipe a little cream into each of the cookie cups, then pop a raspberry in, followed by another swirl of cream, and a second raspberry for each cup.

Finally, crush some of the mini meringues in a bowl, and then sprinkle on top of the cream in each of the cups. If you knew all of the cookie cups were going to be eaten straight way, I would mix the meringue in with the cream and then pipe them into the cups together. But as there was only myself and Auntie Bear to consume them, having 8 each would have been a tad excessive. (But not impossible!)

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And as for The Great British Bake off – I had no idea what a Rum Baba was. But it’s now on the to-bake list!

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