Sunday, 27 April 2014

Jo Wheatley's Chocolate Orange Cookie Sandwiches

So there I was looking through the recipes I had saved in my favourites on the computer and thinking I really must make one of them.  I found a Jo Wheatley cake recipe and promptly got side-tracked by her Chocolate Orange Cookie Sandwich recipe that was linked to it.  My Dad is rather partial to a Terry's Chocolate Orange, so how could I resist trying them.

First you make the filling by heating up some double cream (I only made half the amount for the filling).  My Sis got me this brilliant little pan in Germany with the measurements on the inside.  Perfect for the job.

The heated cream is added to the chopped up chocolate.

I used 70% cooking chocolate from Lindt which melted down perfectly.  Stir in the grated orange zest and chill until set.

Then you set about making the cookie dough.

Once everything is mixed together, I used my cookie scoop (great present from my Mum!) to make relatively even sized dough balls.

In total I got 40 dough balls from the recipe amount.  26 were baked in 2 batches in a 170c fan oven for 12 minutes per tray until golden brown.


The rest I have frozen for another day.  Jo recommends taking the frozen dough balls out of the freezer and allow to thaw a little whilst you pre-heat the oven.  They should then bake in 15 minutes.
(ETA:  I did as above, but the cookies were a little over-done.  Still scrummy, but perhaps best to check at 13 or 14 minutes).

Take your filling out of the fridge and sandwich 2 cookies together.  They are whoppers, but very tasty!  I used dark chocolate for this batch, but for a more child-friendly version try using milk chocolate instead.

The gorgeous tulips were a gift from a lovely lady I know who got them from Tuppenny Barn Organics.  We are trying to find out the variety, as I'd love to grow some.  4 days old and they are still as fresh as the day they were picked.

Happy Baking!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Tuck Shop Cake - Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook

So what do you bake your little Sis for her birthday cake?  Something sophisticated? Something stylish?  Oh no.  You think back to childhood memories and take inspiration from there.

So when I came across the Tuck Shop Cake from the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, I couldn't resist.  Especially as it features a Lemon Sherbet Buttercream icing, made from Sherbet Dib Dab.  We used to get one of these from the vending machine after swimming lessons many moons ago and eat them on the way home in the back of Mum's Austin 1100.

A simple cake batter has chocolate M&M's added.  I only had mini Smarties, as I could not for the life of me find M&M's other than the peanut ones.

Bake for 20 minutes at 160c in a fan oven until nice and golden.

You have to turn the cakes out quickly so the M&M's don't stick to the bottom.  I think M&M's would make a much more colourful look, as in the book.

Whip up a buttercream icing and add 2 packets of Sherbet Dib Dab.  The recipe asks for 1 packet, but I wanted more fizz!

Sandwich together with half the icing, then pipe the rest in a nice pattern and adorn with Jelly Babies and Dolly Mixtures.  Simples!


Pack it into your cake tin and whisk it off for a picnic at The Vyne, Basingstoke. 

Perfect for a day out with the family and enjoyed by all including my niece, Ellie, who is just taller than the tulips!

Happy Baking!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Hot Water Bottle Cover in Cath Kidston Fabric

I have had the hot water bottle, the fabric and the idea sitting around for far too long.  So of course I waited until the hottest weekend of the year so far to make a quilted hot water bottle cover!  I used the idea from Cath Kidston's Sew Book

For my first attempt I simply drew around the outside of the hot water bottle allowing an extra 2cm, to get the bottle in.  It ended up a tad tight around the neck, but still perfectly usable.

Keen to get it just right, a couple of weekends later, I thought I'd have a go using the template provided with the book.

Using your chosen fabric, you cut out 3 pieces.  1 for the back and 2 for the front. 

Using these as a template you cut out the backing fabric and wadding, which goes in the middle to give a padded effect and provide warmth.

At this stage, you add on some bias-binding to the 2 front pieces to seal their straight edges. 
I cheated and used ready made binding.  But it is possible to make your own.

The 3 sections are placed fabric right-sides together and pinned, so the top flap will be the outermost piece.

You then simply sew the 3 pieces together and cut out a few notches on the curved edges.  This ensures less bulky corners when you turn the cover the right way.

Turn the cover the right way (removing all your pins!!) and voila!

Here's the difference between my 1st and 2nd attempt. 

My friend Raph has also got the sewing bug and is working her way through the book too.


Here's our attempts, with some possible embellishments.  A really quick and easy sewing project.

Happy Sewing!