Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Macaron Mania!!

I ordered some books not last week, but the week before, from Amazon. Have I ever mentioned how much I love Amazon??

If I haven't, here it is now: I LOVE AMAZON!! How is it, that I can order 6 books from the USA, and end up paying only $20 per book including postage to Australia, when one of those books retails for between $45 - $55 here in Aus?? I don't know what the answer is, but then again I don't really care - CHEAP BOOKS!!

And the even better thing was, Amazon said to me that I would definitely not receive my bounty before Christmas. And they even indicated a delivery date of 25th of January. I hate waiting for packages, but at such a good price I couldn't really complain.

Imagine my surprise when I turned up at mum's on Christmas Day and my lovely little treasure trove of books were sitting there waiting for me :D thanks Amazon, surprise Christmas present!!

ANYWAY I am getting off track majorly here. Amongst my treasure was the book I Love Macarons by Hisako Ogita. I've got to admit, the only reason I bought it is because the cover caught my eye, and Amazon suggested that I may like it. Once again, thanks for having my back Amazon - you're a true friend!!

I decided that today was the day I would tackle the ever intimidating Macaron. I probably should have chosen a day when I didn't need to be anywhere at any given time (i.e mum's house for a roast dinner) but I think that sometimes you work better under pressure....right? RIGHT?!

Right. They turned out amazingly!! I'm so surprised that it worked. Well......it was a bit of a learning curve. By the 4th tray I was piping lovely little domes of merangue mixture rather than swirls......and I may have forgotten to wrap foil around 2 of the 4 trays thus rendering those one's inedible rest their souls......but I did end up with about 15 edible Macarons in the end - frilly feet and all!! SUCCESS!!

Hmmm swirly Macarons??

Ooooh look, pretty, pink, shiny, brand new KitchenAid!! Courtesy of my lovely boyfriend. Thanks Aaren!!

Check out those frilly feet!! And, I'm sure you've noticed that I realised how to make them without the swirl effect :)

Overall, these weren't as bad to make as I thought they would be. Especially since the recipe told me to grind the almond meal and icing sugar in a food processor to make it finer - and since I don't have one, I just decided to go ahead and sift it instead.........hooray!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


As if I wouldn't make cupcakes this christmas!!

I did these little beauties for our work lunch (there's only four of us though!!). I think my fave is the snowflake and the snowman (I like the scarves!!).

I used the recipe for vanilla cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cook Book. It states that it makes 12, but I ALWAYS only end up with 8. But that's ok - it's a nice recipe and it works well when I'm catering for a smaller crowd!! 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Cookies 2.0!!

I did another class at Cake Decorating Central (it's addictive!!).

Cute little christmas cookies!!

I love the snowflakes - I think they look so effective with the sanding sugar over the top!! We also used a mat with a pattern on it to make some swirls on them (look closely, they're on there!!). I love the little suspenders on the gingerbread men too - just adorable!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Cookies!!

Many months ago, on a warm spring day that should have been spent outside, I dragged my boyfriend (kicking and screaming) in to Ikea. When we finally emerged, it turned out it was all worth it because even though it was only about September, they already had Christmas items in stock.

I picked up (amongst other things) some gorgeous Christmas Cookie Cutters. And they've been sitting in the cupboard ever since.

Until now that is!!

I scouted around for a recipe that I felt was worthy enough to use my cutters for the first time. I remembered that over on NQN, there had been a recipe for Cinnamon Cookies - perfect, my love for all things cinnamon combined with Christmas made this a winner - Cameo Cinnamon Cookies (from NQN).

The house smelt amazing. The cookies looked daaaalicious. OMG CHRISTMAS OVERLOAD!!

I need to do drawings of what I want to ice them with before I do anything. Because if I don't do this, I come to the icing moment and panic because I don't know what I want where.

Cookie Cutters. Drawings (Sorry, I ran out of paper and had to improvise with an envelope!!). Pencils. Sprinkles. General Mess.

Ohai Rudolph!!

Oooooh snowflake. Purrrrty. Infact, the snowflake ones are my favourite.

And when I said the snowflake ones were my favourite, I think I lied. I think the mitten ones are my favourite.


I don't like the Christmas Tree at all but......well for the sake of the cookie cutters, it had to be posted.

Hey frosty!! What's doin'??

And how cute is the santa paper!! They're actually paper bags (from Ikea hehe) they came in a pack of big ones and little ones for about $3 if my memory serves me correctly (I wouldn't trust me on that one though).

So there they are, Christmas Cookies (not quite decorated how I wanted, but decorated none the less).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The goods have arrived!!

That's right, my precious Hershey's Cinnamon Chips & Butterscotch Chips have arrived (albeit a little melted - thanks Australia Post, because leaving chocolate on the doorstep in 40 degree heat is ALWAYS a good choice).

I'm really excited to bake something with these - but it has to be something worthwhile. It has to be an absolutely AMAZING recipe.....something that will knock the socks off everyone.......I remember seeing a butterscotch brownie cake over at Bakerella http://www.bakerella.com/butterscotch%E2%80%A6-my-new-best-friend/ which I am very much considering making.

But the question is, what to do with the cinnamon ones??

If you have any awesome ideas, feel free to let me know!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Reindeer & Mistletoe

I did a class today at Cake Decorating Central to make a Reindeer & Mistletoe cake. It was REALLY good, I thoroughly enjoyed it!!

There were 7 other ladies in the class so it was a good size to be able to get enough attention to get any help or tips etc, and the lady who took our class (Lou) was absolutely lovely and so patient with us too. She was excellent and I would go back time and time again to do any of their classes after today, I am that impressed with them!! The other ladies in the class were all really nice and easy to get along with too.

The class started at 10am and was meant to finish at 3 but we ended up finishing at around 3.30 so for 5 1/2 hours it cost $165 and was worth every cent of it. They also have a deal that on the day of your class, students are able to buy at their shop with a 10% discount - awesome!! I got some cute mini christmas cupcake wrappers and an AWESOME cookie cutter set by Wilton (cookie cutter sets were 25% off today as part of their 12 days of Christmas promotion - every day there is something different on special!!).

And of course, photos:

How cute is this snowflake?! I wanted to buy one of the cutters to do these with but unfortunately their stock hadn't come in - it's been held up :( so cute!! It comes in 3 different sizes too.

Soooooo cute!! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Oh. My. God.

I have discovered something VERY exciting tonight.

My baking dreams have been answered in the form of this website:


They have all those amazing hersheys baking chips that I've been lusting over and much much more. Red velvet box mix (I've been aching to try it for a very long time - not that I don't have a perfectly good recipe for it myself......but red velvet box mix?!?! Novelty!!), ghiradelli chocolate (omgyum), kool aid, aunt jemima, several different kinds of graham crackers (the perfect crust for cheesecakes, no?!), dr pepper, milk duds, jr mints, twizzlers in several flavours other than raspberry......so much exciting stuff......but sadly, no wilton candy melts. Why can I not find these in Australia?!

Can't wait to bake the red velvet cake......maybe I will do some cake pops.

On another note, I'm doing a cake decorating course on Saturday at Cake Decorating Central at Castle Hill - very much looking forward to it, it's an adorable christmas cake we'll be making - I shall defo post pics!! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Go nuts for Donuts!!

Or doughnuts. Whichever way you choose to spell it. I don't discriminate when it comes to donuts ;)

I had a minor baking disaster tonight. I had originally planned on this post being about reindeer shaped shortbreads dipped in chocolate. Alas it was not meant to be.

Might I take this moment to stress how important it is to read ahead in a recipe and make sure you're across it before you start. If, say for instance, you're using a recipe that makes TWO dozen, but you only want to make ONE dozen, maybe make sure you've got your quantites correct before you start.

Unfortunately for me, I learnt the hard way, and ended up with a very floury & very dry shortbread mix.

Not to be deterred, I decided to throw it in the bin and make something else.


Chocolate, strawberry and vanilla........YUM!!

And the plus side?? Baked, not fried!!


1/2 cup of plain flour
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1 egg
1/4 cup of milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Sift dry ingredients in to a medium bowl. Make a well in the middle and add egg, milk and oil. Mix until combined. If you're not using a donut maker like I did, I would hazard a guess at baking them in a donut tin at 180 for maybe 5 - 8 minutes.