Condensed Milk Biscuits

DSC_0508
This recipe will make you seem like a domestic/baking goddess. Not only are these biscuits (or cookies for those playing along from distant lands) super delicious, super easy and super cheap. They are also really flexible.

The recipe below is for the biscuit base. You can bake them as they are and they’re pretty damn good or you can pimp them up, by adding, chocolate chips/chopped chocolate, dried fruit, hundreds and thousands, cocoa powder, cinnamon, peanut butter, coconut….. or add whatever you want. The ones pictured have dried strawberries and white chocolate chunks added to them.

How do these make you seem like a domestic/baking goddess, other you than the fact you’ve churned out some pretty fine biscuits? The recipe makes A LOT, enough for you to freeze some biscuits, which means you can pretty much pull them out the freezer, pop them into the oven and whip up a batch of fresh biscuits at a moments notice. Great for when people text you they’ll be over with next to no notice or you want to make your kids some fresh biscuits and score good mum points.

If you want to keep a whole heap on hand in the freezer it would be worthwhile thinking about doubling the recipe as in total this will give you around 60 biscuits. Plenty to bake now and plenty to bake later.

Condensed milk biscuits (cookies) – will make about 30

1/2 395 g tin condensed milk
250 g butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups of flour

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C

Cream butter and sugar together, then mix in flour and condensed milk to form a dough. From here you can add in any flavourings you want. I usually divide the dough up into several portions and make a few different flavours. You can also leave the dough plain if you want.

Once you’ve mixed your flavours up, roll the dough into plum sized balls and put on to baking paper lined trays and flatten slightly. Bake for approx 15 mins or until just starting to brown. Cool on trays.

If you’d like to freeze some, as above roll into balls and put on baking paper lined trays and flatten slightly. Put trays into freezer for a couple of hours or until frozen, then move biscuits into snap lock bags or tupperware containers. To bake take out and put on baking paper lined tray and leave for about 10 mins then pop into oven.

Advertisements

cookbooks and blogs of the moment

DSC_0429

Anyone who’s been to my house knows I may have a slight problem with cookbooks.  Some may I have too many, to them I say pfft as if that’s possible.  

I thought I’d share a few I’m particularly enamored with right now, as well as a couple of blogs that I seem to be hitting up for recipes and ideas.

No surprise there’s a bit of a baking focus

Baking – from my house to yours by Dorrie Greenspan

The best way to describe this book is its baking porn, hundreds of baking recipes, she’s got, cakes, cookies, pies deserts and even breakfast sweets covered.  Beautiful photographs and recipes written in a really easy to follow way from a lady who worked on cookbooks with Julia Child.  Everything I’ve made from this book has worked perfectly.

Women’s Weekly Baking Day
Who doesn’t own a Women’s Weekly cooking book? This one has a bit of a focus on retro baking recipes and some more modern classics and has a very cute cover.  Cute pics and most importantly easy to follow recipes that work.

The Blue Ribbon Cookbook  -by Liz Harfull

A lovely collection on recipes that have won blue ribbons at South Australian country shows.  The recipes are as delightful as is reading about the history of various country shows and people behind the recipes.  Lovely historical and current photographs.

I’m also a bit addicted to reading cooking/food blogs. At the moment a couple of my go to blogs include

Bakeaholic Mama
Lovely blogger who posts always look delicious. Lots of baking recipes with a few savoury ones thrown in too. I’m just itching to try her cider yeast doughnuts.

Shutterbean
Some fantastic recipes often with some unusual flavour combinations, that at first you might question. 2 of our favourite pizza topping combos come from her site, bacon and brussel sprouts and corn, zucchini and lime pizza. Gorgeous photos of not only her recipes but of her life. Everything I’ve made form her site has worked.

What are some of your current cookbook or blog reads?

Jam Drops

Image

Jam drops, sweet old fashioned jam drops have been in my biscuit making rotation for what seems like a long long time.  I know I’ve been making them since having children as page in the recipe book the recipe comes from has been drawn on (several times) by small children wielding pens.  

They’re a particular favourite in our house and everyone even our autistic son who’s super fussy about the food he eats, loves them.

They are so simple to make and have never let me down. This is my my tired and true recipe which I add coconut too, but that optional and you can leave it out if coconut isn’t your thing.

 

Jam drops – recipe adapted from The Country Women’s Association of Australia Country Classics

125g softened butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups self raising flour

2/3 cup desiccated coconut

Strawberry jam (or whatever other jam you fancy)

 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs one at time and beat them in well.  Mix in sifted flour, then coconut.

Roll into balls about the size of a walnut and flatten slightly.  Using  end of a wooden spoon dipped in flour make a hole in each biscuit (its best if you kind of move the end of the wooden spoon around to make the hole a bit bigger then the size of the wooden spoon handle).

Fill holes with jam

Bake for 10 to 15 mins, then cool for a bit on trays before moving to cooling rack.

Enjoy

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake – Gluten & Dairy free

DSC_0125

I’ve been awfully quiet on the blog. First there was a trip to Thailand, then a spot of camping and last but not least I broke my arm. This puts me out of action on the cooking front although I’m trying madly to find recipes I can make one handed.

Anyway before the excitement of trips away and broken bones I had a few other minor health problems. One of the suggestions to help was a 2 week trial of being gluten free. I was resigned to not baking during that time, but the I stumbled upon this recipe from Nigella Lawson for a gluten and dairy free chocolate cake. I’ve never had much success with gluten free cakes, but if Nigella’s singing its praises it’s worth a go.

And….. it was so very very good. I think it was actually better eaten warm but was still pretty divine the next day.

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake – recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson
50 grams cocoa powder
125 ml boiling water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
150 grams ground almonds (or Nigella says you can use 125g plain flour so obviously it becomes not gluten free & I didn’t make it this way so I can’t say what it would be like but probably pretty delicious)
½ teaspoon bi carb
200g sugar
3 eggs
150 ml olive oil (I just used everyday olive oil which I think would be best as it doesn’t have a massively strong flavour)
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 170°C Grease springform tin with a little oil and line the base with baking paper.

Sift the cocoa powder into jug and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, just runny paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then let cool a little.

In another bowl, combine the ground almonds with bi carb and pinch of salt.

Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into the bowl of mixer and beat together on high for about 3 minutes until its a pale and like thickened cream.

Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, when its all in slowly add the ground almond mixture.

Scrape down, and stir with a spatula, then pour batter into the tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and centre top still looks a bit moist. Check with a skewer and if it comes out clean with a few crumbs on it its done.

In its tin let the cake cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack, and gently ease the sides of the cake with a small knife and spring it out of the tin.

Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm with some ice cream, as we did (thus making it not dairy free but I’m sure you can find a dairy free accompaniment or eat as is which given how good it is is perfectly justifiable)

Fig and Olive Oil Cake

DSC_0129
I truly believe that there are few things in the world that a cup of tea and piece of cake cannot fix. Bad day at work, cup of tea and cake make it better. Kids channelling the devil, tea and cake to the rescue. I’m quite sure many of the world’s conflict could be chatted out over a cup of team and a piece of cake.

I was recently given a bag of figs. These figs were bordering on over ripe and were sweet and soft. I felt rather lucky as they are so expensive at the shops and never as nice as home gown as they are so fragile. Given they were pretty ripe I set to working out what I could do with them. Of course being the baking addict I am I was like let’s make a cake with them. Out came the recipe books and internet searches before I settled on this recipe. I was a bit hesitant a you 1/2 bake the cake then add the figs, but it totally worked. It was moist, citrusy and figgy and perfect with a cup of tea.

Fig and Olive Oil Cake – recipe adapted from Shutterbean.com

1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup ground almonds
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
grated zest of 1 lemon
grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup extra olive oil
1/3 cup milk
5 figs, cut into quarters
1 1/2 tbsp. honey

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease a loaf tin and line with baking paper.

Mix together the flour, ground almonds, and baking powder in a bowl.

Using a whisk attachment in a mixer whisk the sugar and eggs until fluffy. Add the citrus zest and juice, then stir in the olive oil and milk. Gently fold in the flour mixture then pour the batter into a prepared tin and bake in the oven for approx. 40 minutes.

Push the figs into the top of the loaf. Drizzle with honey and bake for another 30-40 minutes, or until the top is caramelized and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool fully in tin, then remove from the tin.

Brew cup of tea, cut a large slice of cake and enjoy

Cinnamon Cake

I’ve been experiencing a bit of meh in the kitchen recently. I really haven’t had that much desire to cook/bake. I mean I’ve been cooking dinners and making lunches etc. but I’ve been doing this more because it has to be done then a burning desire to cook. Perhaps life’s just been to chaotic and tiring I’m not sure what was behind it but this week I got my baking mojo back. I’ve made a couple of cakes and have been pursing recipe books feeling enticed to bake and cook other things. It’s good to be back in my kitchen happy place.

One of the cakes I made is a cinnamon cake. It has a layer of chocolate and cinnamon sugar in the middle and chocolate icing and was really really delicious.

Cinnamon Cake – recipe adapted from Dorrie Greenspan’s Baking from my home to yours

1 1/4 + 2 tbls cups of sugar

1 tbls + 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 3/4 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup milk

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

125g + 2 tbls butter, melted

90g dark chocolate chopped

preheat oven to 180 degrees, grease a square cake tin.

stir 2 tbls sugar, 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon together

whisk together flour, baking powder and remaining cinnamon. In another bowl mix together eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix milk mixture into flour mixture.

Fold in butter. it will look like it won’t mix together but just keep gently folding it in. it will end up a nice shiny batter.

Pour 1/2 batter in cake tin. Sprinkle chocolate over batter, the sprinkle cinnamon sugar. Top with remaining batter.

Bake approx. 40 minutes or until done (skewer will come out clean). Cool in tin 15 mins then turn out onto cooling rack.

Icing

180g dark chocolate

2 1/2 tbl butter softened and cut into pieces.

heat chocolate until it’s almost all melted (I do this in short 30 sec bursts in microwave). Stir in butter, finish melting chocolate, you don’t want it really melted and runny, so if it’s like that just leave it for a few minutes so it’s a bit thicker and easier to work with.. Spread on top of cooled cake. leave to harden up at room temp.

Raspberry Cream Powder Puffs

I’ve really been wanting to make jam tarts. I gave it a go earlier this year with pretty average results. Now on that particular occasion I should have taken it as an omen as I made them for a picnic at the moonlight cinema where on the night we went we got drenched by rain.

Given the failure with my first go at baking jam tarts it’s taken me a while to get up the courage again, but when I saw the theme for this month’s Sweet Adventures blog hop was high tea I thought yes, I small conquer jam tarts. But alas it was not meant to be, as while I was flicking through cookbooks looking for recipes I came across a recipe for mulberry cream powder puffs (or are they sponge kisses?), Mulberries are in season at the moment and dotted all round my neighbourhood are mulberry bushes hanging over front fences laden with fruit. I’ll admit I’ve sampled some of the mulberries hanging over fences but in this case didn’t actually have any. While it crossed my mind to go mulberry picking I thought I might look a bit odd wandering around the neighbourhood stealthy picking mulberries. So I decided to make these powder puffs with raspberries instead as I had some in the freezer.

They were amazing, very high tea worthy, light, delicate, pretty and delicious.

Raspberry Cream Powder Puffs –  recipe adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly Baking Day

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

2 tbls cornflour

2 tbls plain flour

2 tbls self raising flour

1/2 cup cream

1 tbls icing sugar

1/2 cup of raspberries (or berries of choice)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease two 12 hole shallow patty pans

Beat eggs and sugar until thick pale and creamy.

Triple sift flours then add the egg mixture. Carefully fold in flour. Don’t be to gung ho or else you’ll knock the air out of the mixture.

Drop tablespoons of mixture on to patty pan holes.

Bake 12 mins. Once done turn onto cooling rack.

If like me you only had 1 shallow patty tin you’ll need to wash it, dry it re grease it and bake the second batch.

Once the powder puffs are cool, whip the cream and icing sugar together until soft peaks form. Gently fold in raspberries. If using frozen berries which you have defrosted be really gently otherwise they’ll fall apart if you are too rough mixing them in.

Sandwich 2 powder puffs together with raspberry cream, repeat with other. Dust with icing sugar.

Make a cup of tea to go with them, hide form children and enjoy

Sweet Adventures October 2012 - High Tea

Part of the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop – High Tea host by Le Delicieux