Jammie Dodger Cheesecakes


I have become rather interested in synchronicity lately after watching the program ‘Touch on’ on Sky 1. Synchronicity is a term used by Carl Jung to explain that the events that happen in our lives are not an accident or coincidence as everything happens for a reason. We have all had times when you go to ring or text someone and before you get to do it they ring or text you. The moment when you are in a real hurry and you drive into a car park and someone drives out just at the right time (OK that never happens to me) but those are very simple examples of synchronicity. I think the Jammie Dodger Cheesecakes I created are an example of synchronicity at work that day for me.

Jammie Dodger Cheesecakes

They began creation in my mind a few months ago when I spottted mini oreo cheesecake’s on the wonderful Grace’s Sweet Life but I never got around to making them. Not until this weekend when the order of the Cosmos (or whatever you believe in) decided that I was going to create them. Firstly the universe made sure Jammie dodgers were on offer so I had multiple packets as they are not a biscuit I buy as they are quite pricey. The cream cheese I had ordered for something else a long time ago which sat folornly waiting to be used decided it would leap out of the fridge at me. The raspberries ordered for a raspberry bakewell cake never arrived ( I was so gutted) so my baking plans for the weekend were ruined (or so I thought)

Jammie Dodger Cheesecakes

The roughly drafted recipe from months ago fell onto the kitchen floor and I realised that now was truly the time. I opened the dodgers with a sense of purpose and began to count the biscuits and this is where I hit my first problem. I assumed there would be 12 in a packet in my rough recipe (always the optimist) to find there was only 8! Dejected I took one dodger, hovered it by my mouth in a knee jerk must have comfort food type reaction. As I grumbled about it all being wrong – blah blah blah, my Son walks in. He hears me moaning and says ‘I’ll just work out the correct ratio for you Mum, give me a pen’. Umm did that really happen?

Jammie Dodger Cheesecake

I needed 92g of cream. Guess how much was left over after the turkish delight cake? Yes exactly 92g and for some unknown reason I did not throw it away although I would normally as I don’t eat cream unless it is in something. The scaled down cheesecake mixture by my Son could not have been more of a perfect fit if it tried. These were meant to happen and I am so glad they did as they are bliss.

Jammie Dodger Cheesecake

I love that you can see the splat on the dodger and the jammy heart through the paper which again is a miracle as I have baked these again and it didn’t happen (I think as I did not push them fully down into the tin in my haste). Thanks to synchronicity my family all raised their little Jammie Queen’s to the sky and admired the splat before sending them on their final journey. I don’t think I can even express how much I love it when baking and synchronicity come together.

Jammie Dodger Cheesecake

So whether you believe in synchronicity or not I feel it has a lot to play in my life and I am certainly looking out for the signs. They are there you see as when I was photographing these on instagram I ended up having a conversation with Butcher Baker who I have not spoken to too for ages who was in the throws of writing a fantastic post on how to make Jammie dodgers and had sent me a message. The World as they say works works in mysterious ways so why not slow down and listen to the baking messages you get. What have you been told lately?

Jammie Dodger Cheesecakes

Let me know your synchronicty / coincidence stories – be it life or baking! I truly find it fascinating.

Ingredients
1 packet of Jammie Dodgers (8 biscuits)
1 packet of mini Jammie Dodgers (optional for topping)
272g cream cheese
67g vanilla sugar (or use caster sugar)
1 egg (room temperature)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 tsp if not using vanilla sugar)
92g single cream (any cream will work fine)
2 tbsp of strawberry jam (optional as a filling to the cheesecake)

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 275f / 135 C / 115 fan
2. Pop a jammie dodger upside down (splat faces down!) so you have the jam centre facing downwards in muffin cases and in a muffin tin x 8
3. Beat together cheese and sugar
4. Dizzle in the egg and mix
5. Ad the cream and mix – add in the vanilla extract and give a final mix
6. Pour mixture into the cases on top of hte jammie dodger until each is near the top
7. Warm the jam so it is runny and easier to pour (about 20 seconds in the mircowave)
8. Add a dollop of jam to centre of each cake and swirl
9. Add one further dollop of jam in the centre so they look like a jammy dodger
10. Transfer to the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 11 minutes and then rotate the tin 180 degrees. Bake for a further 11 minutes (approx your oven may vary). There will be some wobble to the cheesecakes but the mixture will not be runny when it is done.
11. Leave cheesecakes to cool in the tin and then transfer (still in the tin) to the fridge overnight for best results. Do not try to admire the splat at the bottom as it will end in disaster just trust it is there (ifd you pushed it down enough) and enjoy the thrill of seeing it tomorrow when you salute the sky with your new Queen of cheesecakes.  If it does not appear then blame it on synchnocity playing with you.
12. Top with cream and a mini dodger if you wish.

Enjoy!

Jammie Dodger Cheesecake

Coming soon: pay day cake 4 is in development and a little clue there is less cake this time. Other than that I have no idea I’m just going to see what happens.

Sprinkle Spiral Cookies


Ever since I saw beautiful spiral swirl cookies on Sprinklebakes who has such beautiful photography that it just inspires me to keep on trying.  They would make perfect party or wedding favours as they can be made ahead and frozen and you can adapt the flavours and colours to suit any event.  After hours of staring at cookie images I dreamt about them which meant I had a soggy with drool pillow and images of swirling colours had caused me to roll the duvet around me leaving the other half with none and shivering (oops).  I must have thought about them far too much as the next night I ended up having dream arguments with myself over which colour and flavours to create and I would shout out ‘strawberry’ or ‘blue no pink’ and then silence would fall only to be filled by that baking addict long sigh of contentment.    

Be warned that these cookies will bring out the sprinkle fetish in you and when the box of sprinkles finally arrived I literally pounced on my poor neighbour with delight as she delivered them to me.  I should have waited to open the box when she was gone but the ‘I need sprinkles NOW!’ urge took hold and I started to open the box in a relatively cool (ish) manner.  This was until the selotape decided to stick better than a wax strip during a brazilian and then all decorum went out the window.  I bit the selotape with my teeth like a hungry caveman, clawed at the box with my talon nails whilst trying to explain to my dear friend (in between breaths) that it was sprinkles inside.  She knows me well, so she took a ring side seat and watched me with a smirk as I wrestled with the cardboard caged sprinkle tigers.  If you can recognise any of this odd behaviour you need to consult my baking addiction guide here – yes right now!

Ahh sprinkles how I love you I could literally look at you for hours. 

I choose to model the sprinkle spiral cookies on ‘Stupid Cupig’ who is a little Bath pig which I designed and painted for our top table at our Valentine wedding inspired by a play of words from the song ‘Stupid Cupid.  I love the Bath Pigs about as much as I love my home City of Bath.  The pigs were the focus of a treasure hunt involving life-sized pigs painted by artists, schools and businesses (this was of course before I discovered sprinkles).  I spent many an hour hunting piggies with my son trudging behind his maniac Mum just so I could photograph each one in order to name the tables at the wedding after them.  How else can you get away with sitting random odd people at a table called Inky Pinky Porky without causing offence!

The cookies are cotton candy and vanilla flavour as I wanted something fun and different.  They have a melt in the mouth sugar cookie consistency and taste as amazing as they look.  I am taking a frozen bath covered in sprinkle butterflies with me on holiday to bake.  I will be back to make more of these and I will try to take some of photo’s of the making process as I have my heart set on some pretty packaging and different flavour combinations.  Also I realise as I look at the swirl cookies that they remind me of bacon particularly when accompanied by a pig looking over them – perhaps that’s why she turned her back to them!

Ingredients (Adapted from Peggy Porshen Sugar Cookie Dough Recipe from the book Pretty Party Cakes which you can buy here and is packed full of cake and cookie imagery guaranteed to make you go oooh)

Makes 3 cookie rolls 1 for now – 2 for later or reduce the recipe.  This recipe gives a firm cookie dough that once chilled could be used as a weapon against intruders as well as being firm enough once chilled to get perfect swirls.

Vanilla Dough

200g unsalted soft butter
200g caster sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
1 vanilla pod (scrape out the seeds or you could use 1 tsp of vanilla essence – try my homemade version which is very tasty and easy to make)
400g plain flour

Cotton Candy Dough

Same ingredients as above plus the following
Add 8-10 drops of quality flavouring to the butter and sugar mixture (I used Lorann Cotton Candy – which you can get here)
4-5 drops of colouring to the butter and sugar mixture (I use Sugarflair as this will not effect the consistency of the dough – which you can buy here) always colour the dough a little bit more than the colour depth you wish it to be as some colour will be lost during baking.

Sprinkles – I found smaller ones worked better (non paraleills) – but the choices are endless! 

Instructions for dough (make each separately)

  1. Line a cookie sheet / tray with baking parchment / greaseproof paper
  2. In a mixer cream the butter and sugar together, add the vanilla
  3. Beat in the egg until combined and add the flour and mix on a low-speed until a dough forms.
  4. The recipe says to mould the dough into a ball and cover in clingfilm and transfer to the fridge for at least one hour.  Repeat above to make the second batch of dough but add flavouring oils and colouring.

Making the swirl (see a photo guide here by the amazing Sprinklebakes who I find such both a baking and photographic inspiration)

  1. Line a cookie sheet or flat baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Roll out both sets of dough so that each is a large rectangle and 5mm thick (about the size of a pound coin).  Place the vanilla dough on on a lined baking tray then place your coloured layer of dough on top – neaten the edges of the dough so both are an equal size by cutting out a rectangle with a knife.  

Note: If your dough just crumbles and will not roll out I found if I warmed it a little so the dough is pliable and then rolled it out it worked better.  Make sure you return it to the fridge for at least an hour or overnight (see below). 

  1. Now it is time to roll – start the process of by rolling the first layer over the tightly and then roll it up like swiss roll – use the paper to help you get a tight even roll. 
  2. If the dough splits – pinch it back together and keep going – it will all be fine in the end.
  3. Pour your chosen sprinkles to a baking tray (with sides – this is more for me than you!) and roll the cookie in it so that it is covered in sprinkles.  Cover your cookie roll in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least one hour – better still leave it over night until firm. 
  4. At this stage you can also transfer the cookie roll to the freezer for up to one month (I keep them longer and they have been fine) and defrost in the fridge overnight before baking.

Baking

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 / Gas 4 / 170 Fan
  2. When ready to bake cut the cookie roll into slices once fully chilled. I prefer mine to be about 1cm (ish) as this gives a melt in the mouth cookie rather than too cripsy.   Warning – cutting the roll before it is firm will result in an imperfect swirls – look on the internet there are plenty of pictures of them
  3. Bake in the oven for 8 – 12 minutes depending on the size and thickness of your cookie they should not be brown but will just beginning to have a slight golden colour to the outside. I always do a small test batch to see how long to bake them for.

Happy Valentines!

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Valentine Bake and Craft Competition Entries 2012


Update:  You can see the winner here.

The virtual sounds of plans, laughter, a few ‘ah ha’ moments and whoops of twitter joy have headed my way as people created their Valentine bake and craft entries bringing out their creative and romantic sides. Take a few minutes to look through these wonderful virtual entries and click on the images to visit their pages. Do stop and say hello as they don’t bite (as far as I know!) and there have so many more images and stories on their blogs all of which are a very good read and all are competing to win this handcrafted oak heart trophy. This competition has been a real learning curve for me but an enjoyable one.  All being well I do think it will be back on a yearly basis as I don’t think DH will want to make trophy’s every month but this way it keeps it special.  A big thanks to all who entered and bonne chance!

The winner will be announced on Feb 14th as an update to this post (wi-fi permitting!) so come back and see who won. The competition will be judged by an independent professional cake eater and lover of beautiful things and will be done in full X factor style with photo’s of all the work, hours of indecision, caffeine overload but will lack the far flung visit to judges houses – although with these entries you are all welcome for tea anytime!

Triple Valentine Wedding Cake by @Rhixx (twitter only entry – no link to blog / website)

Valentine wedding cakeAmazing @Rhixx used her baking mastery to create this Valentine wedding inspired triple tier cake
Valentine ringCreative artisan Perles de Bijoux used the calling of beautiful sparkly Swarvoski crystal beads and wove them into a Valentine inspired ring of love
Made with love
Made with love is the story behind the meeting of husband and wife and surprising your man with a romantic packed lunch which also includes a heart shaped chocolate cake from talented Homemade by Fleur
Triple Valentine
We don’t do Valentines Day is the story behind this beautiful craft and bake inspired entry from amazing crafter ChouxChouxBeDoo which also includes cake and cupcakes none the less.
I Heart Cupcakes
Underneath their unassuming exterior lies a secret…a hidden heart! and this entry comes aptly from Laura Loves Cakes which also includes full instructions so you will never have to wonder again!
Valentine Whoopie Pies
A 21st Birthday prompted this entry for Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Marshmallow Icing and this delightful entry comes from Aga Girls and was inspired by Hummingbird Bakeries.
Luuuvvv Biscuits
27 years of marriage and being alone this Valentine inspired the creation of Luuuvv Biscuits and this delightful entry comes from inspired The Daisy Cake Co who was also the winner of the Hotel Chocolat box so she will be able to enjoy those in peace this Valentines!
Red Velvet Cupcakes
The intrigue of red velvet cupcakes proved too much for My Culinary Adventures who was unable to resist any longer which is good as they are perfect for this Valentines Day competition.
Custard Cream Hearts
A brand spanking new blog and it’s first post none the less was the entry with Custard Cream Hearts from All for Scone! who has been meaning to begin a blog and this competition spurred her into action which is amazing. A great first post – happy blogging and good luck!
An amazing entry of Valentine Raspberry and White Chocolate Cake from Baking Beats with his stylish creation complete with the ultimate Malteaser explosion I mean what’s not to like!
A teeny tiny entry of Valentine Fairy Slippers from Janice Pattie with her so cute fairy slippers which are oh so adorable. I just wish my feet were tincy wincy enough for these (sigh).
A fantastic swarm of cute little bees on the top of Nigella’s Chocolate Honey cake is the entry from the biggest Baking Addict I know. She truly lives up to her name and her cake is smothered in ganache. The bee’s look to cute to eat although I would have to give in due to the chocolate!

An unusual combination of half Carrot and Chocolate Cake Hearts which are lovingly smothered in an orange cream cheese icing is the entry from Baking Bachelor. A truly unique combination which includes love heart messages and as he now has lots of these treats he can delight many a lady with these!

Clementine and Cardamom Shortbread


I baked some delicate clementine shortbread with a hint of warming cardamom and drizzled with chocolate to warm up the Football Mothers who diligently and proudly stand in all weathers every weekend to watch their sons.  It’s cold already as I sit here and I can’t feel my feet, my fingers are slow at typing, nose is occasionally dripping on the keyboard.  This is before I go to the windy, sub-zero micro climate of the football field where shivering is obligatory and all sense of fashion is replaced by anything thermal and woollen. 

cardamom and clementine?  Don’t worry the cardamom is there to boost the clementine flavour and gives a warming dimension which is delicate and not overpowering.  These  just melt in your mouth leaving a warm burst of citrus as an after taste.

The football testers enjoyed the shortbread out on the cold windy pitch and scarves were ceremoniously pulled down from mouths for a few minutes.  Apparently cardamom is very good for men said Mum1 with a raised eyebrow. 

The original recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson here

Ingredients
100g icing sugar
200g plain flour
100g cornflour
200g very soft unsalted butter
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
Zest of two clementines
6 cardamom pods
Dark chocolate for drizzling (optional)

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3.
2. Add the icing sugar, plain flour and cornflour into the bowl of a food processor and give it a quick run to ensure there are no large lumps
3. Add the butter and vanilla seeds to the mixture (keep the pod to your make own vanilla sugar or vanilla essence)
4. Mix again until the mixture begins to form into a clump or ball ( a few minutes do not  overmix). Tip the mixture into the a greased tin and level with a spoon or palette knife. 
5. Cut the shortbread into slices to make fingers and prick each finger three times with a fork. 
6. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.  The shortbread should be pale and perhaps a  little golden around the edges. 
7. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before the fingers as they will have tried to merge back together.  Leave shortbread in the tin to cool before removing as they are very crumbly and need to firm in my experience.
8. Drizzle with melted chocolate and scatter grated zest on top for decoration.

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6 steps to Toffee Crispie Heaven (Gluten Free)


Last week (before I got sick and no these were not the cause!) I needed a quick lunch box filler that would cheer up a dreary Monday and these little cripsy bites definitely hit the sticky toffee spot.  I know we all have done rice cripy cakes but these are by far the best I have found and baking does not always have to be labour intensive.  When I offered them to people at first they just looked intrigued and then nibbled the top followed by:

‘?@??@??” echoes the expletives through the room and then silence as they paused to eye up the next bite with the same zeal found in a jelly baby head biter.

‘@@##?? they’re good!’ the muffled sound that tries to come out through stuck together toffee teeth. Random bits of rice cripsy fly in all directions and I take cover.

‘nom nom nom’ teeth nashing sounds make me wince as I pray they are not going to bite their fingers by accident.

When fingers become disguised
I think this is because I have had one too many finger biting incidents.  This is where my finger takes on a chameleon appearance cunningly camouflaging itself as something tasty but suddenly returning to its normal pink fingerish self but with the addition of pulsating teeth marks.  I scream out ‘oowwwww’ and shake my hand around desperately as if it will shake the teeth marks out and then I blow on it event though it’s not burnt>  Yes I know it is not going to make it better but it at least I am in control again and not the stupid ‘bit my own finger idiot’.  I wonder if this is why there is a lone wandering hand in the Addams Family as someone got a bit over zealous with a toffee crisp and bit the entire thing off either that or I have been scarred for life by my Dad’s favourite tea time program of which I can still hum the theme tune (thanks Dad as I know you are reading this x).

These treat size bites remind me of toffee crisp bars we used to get years ago and I loved them but nobody seems to do them anymore but now I can have them anytime I want (mwoahhhh ha ha ha – sorry been stuck in bed for days bit excited to be finally up).

These use only 6 ingredients and take six little steps to make and who knew wine glasses could come in in so handy for measuring!  All you need is baking love: butter, rice crispies / pops,  marshmallows, toffee and milk and then you are in chewy toffee heaven. They are moist, sticky and full of marshmallowy toffee which loves to attach its self to your teeth but this my family tells me is an added bonus as it allows them to savour the taste again later without gettng caught eating in class – personally I think one more tablespoon of milk would sort that out.

This is now one of my firm favourites for lunch boxes or anytime I need to get sworn at or dodge rice cripie missiles followed by silence.  I dipped the base in melted Toblerone and drizzled the top with chocolate.  You don’t need expensive ingredients I used the basic / value range of everything except the Toblerone (leftover from Christmas) so these really are a frugal baking thrill.

I found the original recipe here from the Nigella website posted by Lindz and adapted it only slightly:  If you do want to make them gluten free do check the ingredients on your toffees and marshmallows and use nestle chocolate instead as this is gluten free.

Ingredients

250g Toffees (Sainsbury’s Basics)
50g Butter (room temperature)
3 tbsp of milk
1 tbsp of golden syrup
115g Marshmallows
175g Rice Crispies or similar cereal

Instructions

1. Brush your desired tin or mould with baking spray or oil and wipe with a kitchen towel to make sure it is not too oily.  If you use silicone moulds always brush them lightly with cake release spray and then wipe off the excess with a kitchen towel even for cakes, choclates etc then your crispy treats will fly out of the moulds unlike one born every minute.
2. Add toffee, golden syrup, butter and milk into a saucepan and heat gently.  Stir the mixture as it heats until all the ingredients have melted.
3. Add marshmallows and stir until they have melted.

4. Add the cereal to the pan and make sure it is all well coated with the toffee mixture

5. Pour quickly into the tin or mould and level (it will stick to everything in my experience leaving wispy marshmallow strands everywhere)

6. Leave to set (about an hour) and drizzle with what ever chocolate you fancy but they are just as nice without too. Cut into sizes required and eat (one is not enough) they will keep for about 5 days if they get that long in an air tight container.

Around the World in a VW Gingerbread Camper


I sent my little VW Gingerbread Campervan called May on a virtual journey around the World (see part one here). May has reported back with her own version of the Seven Wonders of the Gingerbread underWorld that she saw along her way. Click on the links to see the sights.

You can see more of May the gingerbread campervan on Youtube.

Gingerbread Campervan House8

Quick Snapshot

May wanted to take some pictures of her journey so she stopped by here to get a gingerbread camera.ingred-sm
 

 

 

 

 

Stop 1: Glastonbury Festival

Firstly May did a visit close to home and went off to the Glastonbury Festival where she got a VIP pass to the pyramid stage made by Dave (@ossiespoon) who inspired me to write about May’s sightseeing. After getting stuck in all that mud and having random people climb into her on numerous occasions slightly disgruntled she went off to have a look at…

Stop 2: The Gingerbread Blues with the G Street Band

May decided to catch a band while shew was at Glastonbury as it would be rude not too and although this band were not well know enough for the Pyramid stage she enjoyed the Gingerbread Blues with the G Street Band. These creations are made by The Gingerbread Giant and you can see his website here.

Stop 3: Hogwarts

May then went off to drive around the set of the infamous Hogwarts which is little ironic as this gingerbread structure is made in the US where as Lacock which was one of filming locations is just over the road from where May began her journey. This structure took 1 month to make and is the fantastic work by Kitty of CakeKitty.com a true testament of an individual’s artistic work and dedication.

Stop 4: Gingerbread Tron

May decided with all that wizardry she would rather go and have a chat with another car as she was getting withdrawal symptoms so she popped in to see Gingerbread Tron aka the transforming gingerbread house (click to see the video it really is inspiring) by Brian Hall and had a gingerbread latte with him.

Stop 5: Angry Birds

After all that excitement she needed to find somewhere for the night as she was tired with all that travelling but the only place she could find for the night was the Angry birds gingerbread house uploaded by mraakko on youtube . The video shows a time-lapse of it being built and May was suitably impressed until a flying angry bird splatted icing all down her door.
 
nekkp.jpg
Stop 6: Sweet Paris
She visited Paris where she stopped off to see the gingerbread house being made at Disneyland. She did a bit of sightseeing and spent an evening watching the building of the gingerbread Eiffel Tower (youtube by AFKasbis).
 
Stop 6: Luxury House
 
May needed a little more luxury so she stopped off at Anna’s gingerbread house which took one week to build. She rested her wheels for a few hours and ordered an oil cosmopolitan from room service and throughly enjoyed the hospitality with 5 gingerbread stars.
 
Pic_9_finishfrontblue
Stop 7: Mrs Holly Bell’s
 
May finally stopped off back in the UK at Mrs Bell’s where she was able to watch her rather sensual demonstration of how to make the a gingerbread Christmas cottage cake. This is the very video which inspired her maker in the first place and caused a serious case of gingerbread addiction (although it has to be said her maker certainly did not look that amazing while May was being made). May reports that the food is so good at Mrs Bell’s that she has not come back yet ans she has a baking course to do before she leaves.
 
Gingerbread-twice
Final Destination?
 
May is still out there travelling the road as she heard rumours that the larger (Big May) campervan is feeling rather jealous and wants to get her revenge.
 
Big May versus Mini May in a final wheel (gingerbread) crunching finale showdown. Will Big May be able to build up enough speed to run Mini May over. Will Big May stall at the first hurdle (most likely) ? Stay tuned and find out the fate of the mini gingerbread May soon…
 

Big May versus Mini May in the final showdown. Who will win?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Happy Gingerbread VW Campermas


Send the VW Gingerbread Campervan on a virtual journey around the World – how far will she go?  Comment and let us know where she has visited.

Recently I have become a bit obsessed with Gingerbread houses after my son made one at School for a competition. With copious amounts of sweets, icing and glitter it was no shock that I became well and truly hooked but there were so many styles to choose from.  We own a VW Campervan that is currently being restored (called May ) and she became the inspiration for a retro gingerbread house in a VW style.  If you have ever considered baking a gingerbread VW Campervan (or house) or owning the real thing then I can safely say the two are fairly similar experiences.  Here are 10 reasons why:
 
1. They take hours of your life to build and rebuild
2. Both are rust coloured underneath and patched up with filler / icing
3. They cost a fortune in parts and equipment
4. They take time, patience and love (Valium is optional) and may not always end up quite as you hoped
5. They look cute but are like gremlins in disguise ready to unleash the anger banshee in even the calmest of people
6. Carmelised sugar / weld splatter cause copious amounts of screaming, mad hopping and rapid blowing
7. After a while they will go soft and crumble
8. You can cut a hole in the top of both and use as a money-box ( I throw £££’s into mine every month)
9. Both have support forums and counselling services available
10. Neither will break the speed limit barrier or beat Santa’s sleigh in a drag race

So without further ado – here is our gingerbread VW Campervan (the gingerbread house on the move).  It took approx 2 full days to bake and build but we love it so that makes it all worth while.  I plan to have a gingerbread trashing session in the New Year despite protests from the rest of the family but I am sorry it has to be done (and the video will be posted) as by then the real VW Camper will want her revenge brrrmm brrrmmm brmmmmm!

See her little video on Youtube

VW Gingerbread Campervan House1

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Update: See where May visited on her tour of the the seven wonders of the gingerbread world
 
If Santa could he would do it the Vdub way (but then he probably wouldn’t get there without calling RR – Rudolph Rescue)
 
VW Gingerbread Campervan House3.Gingerbread Campervan House5
 Gingerbread Campervan House7

Gingerbread Campervan House9

I hope you enjoyed our little VW inspired gingerbread house and I wonder how far she will travel on her virtual journey?  Do comment and tell us where she is visiting.

With special thanks to all these wonderful bloggers who kept me going though my gingerbread building experience with their encouraging and hilarious messages on Twitter.  These wonderful people are all avid bakers and you should check out their blogs as they are a very inspiring and supportive bunch who make me laugh. In the words of Twitottee “We are stronger together”.

Twitter names (but all links go directly to their blogs or websites)
 
Merry VW Campermas to all and to all a good night
Love Cakeboule x
 
News Flash : Santa’s stand up (naughty) meringue snowmen have been banished to the furthest workshop.
 
Update: See where May visited on her tour of the the seven wonders of the gingerbread world
 
Gingerbread Campervan House8
 

Gingerbread Campervan House2

VW Gingerbread Campervan House

 Gingerbread Campervan House6
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Melting moments and all that Jazz


 Melting Moments
 
Trio of Melting Moments
Image of Melting MOments

Trio of Moments

Have you ever have one of those weekends where you know you want to bake something but for the life of you, you can not decide what that is exactly? You leaf through foodie magazines or perhaps do a CSI style investigation of the baking underworld on the internet.  This is where you would find me that Saturday morning; wandering up and down the empty tumbleweed aisles of my baking mind and having a conversation with myself or at least I hope it was with myself?
 
Coffee Shop of Indecision
In my head I was in baking land stuck inside the coffee shop of indecision. Mrs Stollen was making my coffee mocha to go her flaked almond earrings dancing below her ears as she frothed the milk looking at me with her deep curranty fixed eyes. Her glaze broke as she turned her head to see what accompanied the drifting sound of click clacking heels. Opened mouthed we both see Miss Tart au Citron strutting past the window, she flicks back her golden Mary Berry limited edition lemony locks in what only can be described as a perfected ‘playing hard to get’ move. Sucking noises from across the room alert me to little Miss Sticky Toffee Cupcakes.   She is seductively licking her swizzle sugar stick with the flair of an adulteress that had not been let out in a while. The moment breaks as Mrs Stollen slams down my coffee mocha and I suddenly find myself back in my kitchen with coffee down my PJ’s and as I wipe it off I think to myself ‘Sod the lot of them’.
 
 
Mince Pies for Joanna Yeates Event

Join in today

 
Twitter Induced Hysteria
The morning was crazy; my mobile doing an anticipative jig on the worktop signalling email messages and twitter

updates as the online world had woken up and was in a good mood.  The internet seekers out there seemed to like my post about raising a mince pie in memory of Joanna Yeates.  I began praying the post would make it to 50 hits, then 100 and by 150 I was experiencing a cross between a hot flush and vibration white finger from excessive pressing of the F5 (refresh page) key. On a normal Saturday a fresh post might get 10 views so when this post hit over 200 in a few hours I was out of my comfort zone to say the least. ‘Hats off to the pro bloggers I think I would need extra strong hospital pants, super strength deoderant and vallium if I had to do that every weekend’ 
Full Cast LIne Up

Full Cast Line Up

All that Jazz
I was having a full on ‘oh my god I just don’t believe it!’ moment in true Victor Meldrew style when I realised that ‘moment’ was quite literally the baked good I was looking for.  It had to be the Melting Moment biscuit which I had first laid eyes on as I watched Mary-Anne Boerman bake them on the Great British Bake Off (week 4).  One look and I was captivated so much so a few months later they were still dancing in and out of my head doing a full cast encore and showing their frilly biscuit skirts. These little ladies with their patterned costumes and billowing fluttery buttercream must have been working that morning whilst I was in the coffee shop of indecision. Most likely they were on stage provocatively shimmying until their garters broke whilst crooning a rendition of ‘all that jazz’. If these biscuits could talk they would say ‘Start the car I know a whoopee spot’.
 

Pout for me ladies

Better Than Tap Dancing Rouged Knee Ladies with PMT
With the baking target now locked firmly in sight despite being in the midst of twitter induced hysteria a sense of calmness finally flooded over me as I started to create the full cast ensemble of melting moments.   Once piped on the tray these little lovelies only take 15 mins to cook and are far less hassle than a stage full of tap dancing rouged knee ladies with PMT.  These speedy biscuits don’t waste lots of precious weekend moments to make.  Even though they did not take long to complete by the time I had got around to photographing them my poor family had to wait until Sunday evening until they were allowed to eat them but you don’t have to be so mean!  These biscuits are truly seductive and in true Chicago style their taste plays fast and loose on your taste buds so love these melting moments and all that baking jazz!
 
Enjoy x
    
Stacking Trio of biscuits

I still can't see the whoopee spot? Lift me higher...

Makes approx 16
Cooks in 15 mins
Prep 45 mins

Ingredients (recipe taken from Good Food Online)

350g unsalted butter (room temperature)
80g Icing sugar
300g plain flour
50g Cornflour
25g Cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

White and Milk Chocolate Buttercream Filling
125g Butter
170g Icing sugar
60g of milk chocolate
60g of white chocolate

Melting Monments

View from the VIP Box

Instructions
Heat the oven to 180C / Gas 4 / Fan 150c
  1. Grease and line two baking trays
  2. Beat together butter and icing sugar for the biscuits for 5 minutes until creamy using a stand or hand mixer
  3. Sieve the flour and cornflour over the mixture and mix until all is combined using the mixer
  4. Divide the mixture in half and place in two bowls
  5. To one bowl add the vanilla extract and to the other add the cocoa powder – mix both well until fully combined

Making the Vanilla Melting Moments

Piped Melting Moments

Before make up

  1. Stand a piping bag with a 1cm star nozzle (approx) in a pint or tall glass so that the nozzle is at the bottom of the glass.  Fold the bag over the top of the glass to make it easier to fill in the bag with mixture.
  2. Take half of the mixture (start with vanilla or chocolate ) and place into a piping bag
  3. Pipe the biscuits to the size of a walnut and leave space in-between for the mixture to spread whilst baking .
  4. Place in the fridge for at least 5-10 minutes as this helps to keep the pattern on the biscuits


Making the Chocolate and Vanilla Melting Moments
I do it in this order as it requires less washing of the piping bag as I don’t have two.

  1. Divide the chocolate mixture in half
  2. Take a tablespoon of the remaining vanilla mixture and place into the piping bag (keep it roughly to one side of the bag)
  3. Now do the same with a tablespoon of the chocolate mixture putting it next to the vanilla mixture as the two need to mix together when they are piped as this is what will give the biscuits a two-tone effect
  4. Repeat this with more alternating quarter spoonfuls of mixture in equal measurements until you have no vanilla left and half of the chocolate mixture remains untouched ready for the batch of chocolate biscuits.
  5. Pipe the biscuits starting with any space left on the vanilla tray and leave space in between for the mixture to spread whilst baking – place in the fridge while you do the chocolate mixture
  6. The cocoa in these will keep the biscuits pattern more easily and don’t need refrigeration for as long (unless its warm)
  7. Wash the bag out now ready to pipe the remaining chocolate biscuits.

Making the Chocolate Melting Moments

Chocolate Melting Moments

Stop pulling my hair!

  1. Repeat the same instructions as the vanilla biscuits using the remaining chocolate mixture

Place the vanilla tray in the oven for approx 12 – 15 minutes depending on your oven.  If you are neurotic like me you will check at 11 minutes.  They are ready when they are a very light brown colour.  For the chocolate tray –  do this tray last as then you know exactly how long it took the first batch (vanilla) to turn a very light brown, take note of the time needed for this batch (adjust if needed)  and remove from the oven.  Leave on the tray for aprox 10 minutes to harden and then transfer to cool on a wire rack.

Buttercream

  1. Beat together the butter and icing sugar (causing a tornado of icing sugar in the air so stick your tongue out) until fluffy (About 5 minutes)
  2. Divide the mixture equally into two bowls
  3. Melt the white chocolate and add to one mixture and mix well until combined and it is consistent in colour
  4. Do the same with the milk chocolate and add to the remaining half buttercream
  5. Leave to cool for ten minutes before piping

White Chocolate Buttercream

  1. This uses the technique as the biscuit mixture so you will need to use half of the white chocolate buttercream first
  2. Place into a piping bag with a 1cm star nozzle
  3. Pipe a swirl on the vanilla biscuits and then find a matching equally sized biscuit and sandwich together

White and Milk Chocolate Buttercream

  1. Use half of the chocolate mixture and the remaining white chocolate
  2. Alternate dessert spoons of  white chocolate mixture with chocolate mixture in the piping bag (like you did with the biscuits)
  3. Repeat until you have used all of the white chocolate buttercream and still have half the milk chocolate mixture untouched ready for the batch of chocolate biscuits.
  4. Pipe a swirl of buttercream to the vanilla and chocolate biscuits and then find a matching equally sized biscuit and sandwich together
  5. Wash the bag out now ready to pipe the remaining chocolate buttercream.

Milk Chocolate

  1. Pipe the remaining chocolate onto the chocolate biscuits and sandwich them together
  2. Slick your hair and wear your buckle shoes and eat one of these whilst doing jazz hands with the other.

    Slick your hair, wear your buckle shoes and all that jazz

Chocolate and toffee cookies

Image


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Cookies are on the agenda today as they will always make you feel better when it is your first week back at work after a break.  I like cookies as they will go great with my morning cup of coffee as I desperately try to wake myself up.  This recipe is adapted from the God of baking Mary Berry Mega choc chip cookie from the book  which you can buy here.  Chocolate is the best invention ever – read why on my post here.

6oz (175g) soft margarine
8oz (225g) natural caster sugar (I store mine in a Kilner storage jar (see here for example) with used vanilla pods to make vanilla sugar)
2 eggs room temp
12oz (350g) self raising flour
4oz (100g) chocolate covered toffee pieces ( thorntons) chopped up

Preheat oven to 180c / gas 4 / 150c fan oven

Measure all ingredients and place in mixer.
Mix until a smooth dough.
Use 1 tbsp or 1 cookie scoop and set cookies well apart on lined baking trays.
Place in oven for 15 mins until lightly golden.
Place on wire rack to cool.
Store in airtight container.

Put kettle on and enjoy a warm cookie!

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