Friday, July 29, 2011

Milo Cookies

On my hunt for some different child friendly cookies I read in a few places that Milo Biscuits were a kiwi tradition?  I have never had one, and never heard of them before (and I that sheltered haha?), so naturally had to give them a go for my boys. 

Gooey, malty goodness.  They are definately on the list for making again.

125g butter
100g white sugar
110g brown sugar
1 egg
3ml vanilla essence
250g self raising flour
55g milo
1/2 cup chocolate drops

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.  Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat well.  Sift into wet mixture the flour and milo.  Fold together with the chocolate drops.

Roll teaspoons of mixture into balls and place on a lined oven tray.  Bake for 15 - 18 minutes or until lightly golden.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sewing Machine Mat

I brought some charm squares at a quilt fair last year and they have been sitting around in my growing fabric pile.  I have used the odd few for applique but when I saw this idea for a Sewing Machine Mat in the Patchwork and Stitching Annual (Vol 12 No 2) I knew they would be perfect for it.

As you may know I use my dining room table as my 'sewing room'.  I like the idea of a mat as I often don't use my pin cushion when removing pins when sewing, and end up with pins, cotton scraps, scissors etc all over the place (I am not a tidy sewer and its a terrible habit when you have small children!!).  At the end of the day I pack my huge mess up so we can use the table for dinner, and I have stuff EVERYWHERE, including the floor.  I hoping this mat may mean that if I keep everything on it, I can remove the scraps of cotton and then just roll it up at dinner time, and unroll again later.  Easy.  Here is hoping!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baby Hat Upgrade

I have a pile of old wool hats that I use for Ada, that used to be her brothers.  Boring plain old hats.  In the weekend I accidently stumbled across the Grey Street Markets in Hamilton East and found an amazing stall, run by a lady called Janice Mary, which sold the most beautiful mosaics and crotched and knitted flowers.  So for $1.50 I upgraded one of Ada's hand me down hats into a cute girly hat.  I think it might be time to learn some basic knitting and crotchet skills - I love the end result!

And here is a picture of the cross I picked up.  Janice makes her mosiacs with such love and precision.  I will definately be going back to pick some more up for Christmas presents!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cure Kids Red Nose Day Baking

Our local bookstore is supporting the Cure Kids Red Nose Day by hosting a bake sale outside their shop today.  I donated two dozen Red Velvet Cupcakes (baked using the recipe off my favourite baking blog  - ) and a dozen Red Nose Gingerbread Men (recipe on my blog).  It was hard resisting a few treats myself!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

I think I have finally found perfection in a chocolate cake.  This was nothing short of amazing.  Rich, decadent and moist.  I was so satisfied after one piece.  This is it.  I may never use another chocolate cake recipe again!  It was hard to get photos of, as we had visitors around, and it disappeared pretty much before I had a chance to photograph!  The picture above was one of the final pieces.

I made this for hubby, as he is a chocolate cake fan, and he had fun decorating it.  I love our names on it - it is our wedding anniversary coming up in a few days so this was our pre-anniversary treat!  It was his first attempt at making chocolate decorations, and he called them his tornado's!  He put the cream in the middle, which made it extra yummy, but it definately would be just as good without it.

250g butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup cocoa
1 cup sour cream
200g dark cooking chocolate, melted and cooled
Ganache for icing

Preheat oven to 160 degrees and grease and line a 22cm round cake tin.

Place softened butter and sugar into a bowl and beat until light and creamy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa over the butter.  Add sour cream and melted chocolate and mix.  Spoon into tin and spread evenly. 

Bake for 55 - 60 minutes or until just cooked.

Cool on a rack and ice.  We cut in half and spread the middle with ganache and cream, then iced with ganache.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Alphabet Cookies

We've just made a firm decision that we will homeschool our children, so I've been doing so much research into school curriculums this week - on the educational theme I decided to make some Alphabet biscuits.  The kids love these biscuits, but they do take a bit of preparation and are fiddly.  Don't make these if you are short of time!

I use a basic butter biscuit recipe as follows:

250g butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg yolk
2 cups of plain flour
1/3 cup cornflour

Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and creamy.  Beat in egg yolk.  Mix in flour and cornflour until it forms a smooth dough.  Gently knead on a lighly floured surface, wrap in gladwrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  This will make the mixture nice and hard so it can be rolled and cut.  Pre-heat oven now to 180 degrees and prepare 3 x baking trays.

Roll one half of the dough out between sheets of non-stick baking paper until 5mm thick.  Cut out shapes.  Re-roll and repeat until dough is used and then do the same for the second half of dough.  Its not the easiest dough to work with - you can roll it out flat and then refrigerate it until hard again, then cut the shapes out.  I use a sharp steel spatula to scrape my shapes off the baking paper into the trays.

Bake for 10 - 12 mintues, or until lightly browned.  Allow to cool slightly then transfer to cooling racks.  Ice with a basic icing or with fondant.