Tuesday, July 14, 2015


I haven't baked for a million years >_< but just saw Bakerella's post on Brownie Caramel Sandwich Cookies, and I think they will be on my mind until I try making them!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Chocolate Truffles for Valentine's Day

I'm not particularly fussed on Valentine's Day, but it was fun to make sweets with friends today :). We had a go at chocolate truffles, since that's something we could easily do together and it allows for some creativity (sort of).

I made up the truffle mix in advance since it needed to chill for at least a couple of hours before handling. It was really simple - just bring 100mL of thick cream to the boil, pour it over 200 grams of chocolate (I used dark chocolate chips), stir until smooth, and add any desired flavouring before chilling.

I based my cream to chocolate ratio on this recipe for Mint Chocolate Truffles, and made 2 batches - one with about 1 tablespoon of peppermint essence (the recipe states less, but I went with commenters suggestions) and the other with just 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence.

For coating we had cocoa, icing sugar, dessicated coconut, some pretty sprinkles, and caramel cookie crumbs. It was rather a messy process rolling the mix out into balls, so there was a lot of hand washing going on, and many paper towels used!

But the results were actually more impressive than I had expected :) I got a few kinds of candy cups and some plastic containers at the 100 yen (~dollar) store and they were a good fit. I have plenty left over for future attempts too!

Here are my partners in chocolatey crime. They did rather a good job.

We also made some banana and chocolate chip cupcakes for good measure, and they came out nice and light (well, except for the chocolate part). To the basic recipe we added about 3/4 cup of chocolate chips and it made around 18 regular sized cupcakes which needed around 25 minutes in the oven.

Finally we got to decorating them with whipped cream and leftover truffle coatings. Waste not, want not.

And there ends a very sugary Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Magic and Science of Baking

Turns out I'm not the only one who thinks that baking is a bit magical. 

8 Things People Who Bake Love About Baking That Have Nothing To Do With Eating

Also, science:

"Everyone thinks you’re a genius, but really you just know how to read and follow orders." 
There's definitely also some learning from experience involved though. I think anyone can bake if they're just willing to give it a go. If your cake collapses or you burn your cookies, just try again :).

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Super Easy Mikan (mandarin) Rice

So again, this isn't actually baking. But it does involve food, and that's what matters right?

I get email newsletters from a Japanese health food company called Yomeishu Seizo, and this month they did a feature on mandarins (mikan in Japanese), including some novel "cooking challenges." Namely, oven roasted mandarin and mandarin rice. The mandarin rice looked so easy that I had to try it! 

You literally just put rice and water in your rice cooker as usual (I was my usual lazy self and didn't even rinse the rice), sit a peeled mikan on top of the rice, and press go (or whatever you usually do to make your rice cooker work).

By the time the rice is cooked the mikan gets soft enough that it's easy to break up and mix through.

The original post (here, in Japanese - scroll down to "Challenge 2" for their photos) suggests 2 cups of rice with 1 mikan, but I tried 1 cup with one mikan and the flavour was good. Subtler than I was expecting actually, but good.

So there's one super easy way to add some vitamin C to your dinner!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Chocolate Ripple Cake - Happy Australia Day

This is more assembly than baking (as in, there's no baking involved whatsoever), but it's still pretty! Plus, I'm lead to believe that this is an Australian recipe, and it's nearly Australia Day :).

The recipe on the packet calls for 500 mL of fresh cream, but I used slightly less than 400mL. I think I was supposed to start with more on the bottom, but I was being cautious in case I ran out partway through the biscuit sandwiching.

Maybe this would be a good dessert for a black and white party! (Apparently that's a thing.)

After setting in the fridge for about 7 hours (the suggested minimum is 6) the cake (aka chocolate biscuits) was getting towards soft, but still a little bit of crunch. If you want it really soft you'd be better off leaving it overnight so the cream can really soak in. But this was good too!

After checking the price of fresh strawberries I opted to defrost a packet of frozen ones to decorate with.

There's no Vegemite in the cake. It's just part of the Australia Day theme I guess.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Cranberry cupcakes for Christmas

Fresh cranberries! I don't think I ever saw them for sale in Australia, or maybe I just wasn't looking. Anyway, Costco carries them around Christmas time (all the way from Wisconsin to Japan) and they're quite a festive looking berry :)

I wanted to bake something for a Christmas party and was a bit short on time, so I tried to find a fairly simple/easy/quick recipe to utilize my bag of cranberries. This is what I found: Quick Cranberry Cake by onecaketwocake... but I opted to make mini cakes rather than a large one.

As usual I did all the mixing by hand, which is a little slower and a littler harder, but it still works out fine.

The berries are so pretty it almost seems unkind to bake them. Almost. There was also a very high berry to batter ratio and I was a bit worried they wouldn't hold together, but they cooked just fine.

The cake is light and sweet which balances the tartness of the berries really nicely. I hope you had a fantastic Christmas, regardless of whether it involved cranberries!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Quaker Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Wow, I got into quite a non-blogging rut there. I may have even forgotten I had a blog.

I still bake sometimes, but I find I get sugar headaches quite easily, particularly if I just taste icing on its own (like, even just a tiny bit to check it's not horrible before I put it on a cake), so I have to be a bit careful.

I made some oatmeal raisin cookies recently for a charity bake sale, and I think the oats do a good job of balancing the sugar content.

You can find the --->recipe here<<--- and I found the serving size was actually spot on - a neat 4 dozen smallish cookies!

And since they were for sale they were all bagged and labelled. (Sorry, planet.) Oh, also I soaked the raisins in boiling water for about 10-15 minutes before adding, because I read somewhere that that makes them plumper and reduces the chance they'll burn.