Super Quick and Easy Coconut Macaroons

Super quick and easy Coconut MacaroonsThere is a lot of different recipes floating around on the net for coconut macaroons. Some use flour, some use butter, others call for condensed milk… some even ask for chilling time… well my one has only three ingredients; it is quick and easy and you can have freshly baked macaroons within 20-25minutes depending on how fast your mixer can beat the whites and your oven can heat up. To make things even better the recipe is gluten and fat free… but it does have sugar so not so good for people on the diet 😉

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 220g decanted coconut

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180C (160C if fan assisted).

Prepare a large baking tray and line it with baking or parchment paper.

Separate the eggs and pop whites into a mixer.

Mix them until stiff, then slowly add sugar, spoon after spoon… you need to have really thick egg whites in order for your macaroons to keep their shape.

Once all the sugar is incorporated, add yolks (one by one) and stop the mixer.

Fold your coconut and try not to “play” with your mixture for too long.

Use a spoon or an ice cream scoop to shape your macaroons and place them on earlier prepared baking tray. If your mixture is as thick as it should be they shouldn’t spread too much so there isn’t a need for a lot of spacing.

Bake in earlier preheated oven for around 15 minutes or until just golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little before moving them onto a cooling rack.

My Super Quick and Easy Coconut MacaroonsThe macaroons are lovely and crisp on the outside and soft and chewy inside; just as they should be.

Top tip: take your time when beating the whites; they need to be firm but be careful not to over-beat them. Add sugar slowly spoon by spoon… do not rush it. You are aiming for super glossy totally white whites, just like you would make for a meringue mixture.

My Super Quick & Easy Coconut MacaroonsDo you like coconut macaroons?

Yum

super-quick-and-easy-coconut-macaroons

Rainbow Jelly Easter Eggs

My Rainbow Jelly #Easter EggsEaster is all about eggs and everyone knows it.

In Poland our celebrations of Easter involves ordinary eggs, this is the main reason why it was such a huge shock for me to get used to chocolate eggs being everywhere at this time of the year.

Don’t get me wrong I love chocolate but sometimes too much is simply just too much.

So, if you like me, think that chocolate eggs aren’t necessarily the best idea I have an alternative for you – rainbow jelly Easter eggs.

Rainbow Jelly #Easter EggsThey look spectacular and taste great too (if you like a jelly of course).

The creation process is long and quite strict so you really will have to be on the ball if you decided to make them.

Start your preparation by acquiring some plastic “two part” eggs – like the ones you would find in a kinder surprise sweet, just a bit bigger than that; they are widely accessible this time of the year (you can buy a set of 12 from an eBay UK seller for around £5 delivered). Once you have your plastic eggs, you will need a syringe and:

  • A few packs of jelly; in different colours
  • Some natural yogurt
  • Some vanilla sugar
  • Pinch chia seeds (optional)
  • Sachet of gelatine

Method:

Drill a small hole in to the top of each plastic egg. The hole has to be big enough for your syringe to get inside the egg mould.

Wash all the parts of plastic eggs in hot water and wipe them dry with some kitchen towel.

Lightly grease or spray the inside of each egg mould with some cooking oil.

With a black marker make some lines on the side of your eggs or make some notes of how many ml’s of jelly goes into each layer.

We also discovered that some judicial application of masking tape was required around where the two halves come together of the mould as we experienced some slight leakage.

Mix the first colour of jelly (we used only 1/3 of the water when comparing to the advised amount on the packet; I wanted my jelly to set quicker and be firmer) and fill the eggs with the amount you want.

Pop to the fridge and allow it to set for about 30 minutes.

Now, this next part might be a bit of trial and error as your jelly might be setting at a different time span than my ones did. To be totally honest I wasn’t even sure if my egg scheme would work out so I didn’t make any real notes… The first attempt didn’t work out very well at all; we tried to make it using real egg shells… as it turned out this was a mistake… imho plastic eggs are the only way to go.

My Rainbow Jelly #Easter EggsNext mix the natural yogurt, vanilla sugar and gelatine in order to achieve a white jelly. You can add some chia seeds into it as well to give your white stripes some funky small dots 😉

When your first colour is almost set but still a bit wobbly it is time to add a white stripe.

Fill each egg up to your second mark with your white coloured filling and again pop them all back in to the fridge for 30 minutes.

Continue until you run out of colours, space in your egg or have simply lost the will to go any further…

After the whole egg is filled pop it back to the fridge for a longer chill out session. We left ours overnight just to be sure all is well set.

Unscrew your eggs and admire your work!

My Rainbow Jelly #Easter EggsHave a lovely Easter everyone!

Yum

Proper Old School Blueberry Muffins

Muffins are without doubt a delightful and tasty small cake that compliments a light lunch or even a mid meal snack to keep hunger pangs at bay. They are small, take anywhere delights and a firm favourite of many people… myself included.

But wait, something has gone terribly wrong with the whole concept of the humble muffin in my humble opinion. I find more often than not, when I make a purchase and eagerly open the packaging to sample my muffin, that all is not perfect in muffin world. I tend to find that the muffin of this high tech processed food world to be substandard to what I recall as the perfect muffin.

Maybe my memory has put on some rose tinted glasses and the muffin I crave never really existed but I believe they do. The muffin of today tends to be a super sugary and very moist ball of dough that when you eat turns into a single flavoured paste in your mouth. This defeats the purpose of eating a proper muffin. With a proper muffin you are meant to have a light fluffy cake and only when you bite into the fruit of the muffin do you get a burst of sweetness and flavour. A muffin should be a multi levelled experience, and that’s what I miss.

Until now!

I am making a stand; I am going to take control of my muffin again. I know I can do better myself and so I am going to do it and here is how…

Let us start with the most popular muffin on the market, the blueberry muffin. I consulted my range of baking books and settled on my stalwart go to book the Leiths Baking Bible. I have waxed lyrical about this range of books before and with good reason, they do it properly.

Let’s bake some proper old school blueberry muffins!

My Proper Old School Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:

For the muffins:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1tsp of ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt
  • 115g of melted butter
  • 115g light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1tsp grated lemon zest
  • 140g soured cream
  • 200g of fresh blueberries

For the topping:

  • 85g plain flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 55g of butter
  • 55g of caster sugar

Method:

Make the topping first by sifting the flour into a bowl and add the salt. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour and then with only your finger tips rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, now stir in the sugar and pop into the fridge to chill.

Pop the oven on and set it to 190C or 375F. Line a 12 holes muffin tin with paper or silicon muffin cases and set aside for the moment.

For the muffins themselves, sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt into a large mixing bowl.

In a small saucepan slowly melt the butter removing from the heat just before fully melted and allow to cool slightly for a couple of minutes. Add the lemon zest, sugar and soured cream and stir well. Add the beaten eggs slowly whilst still stirring to stop them curdling or lumping from the heat of the melted butter.

Now the most important part of the whole process, add the wet ingredients to the dry and pop in the blueberries. Remember, you are not allowed to use more than 20 folds to combine them as over stirring will cause the final muffins to be tough. Try and do it with as few folds as possible; I tend to do around 14, so the challenge is set 🙂

Now divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin cases.

Last thing, remove the topping from the fridge and sprinkle over the muffin mixture, I tend to find I have too much so don’t overdo it, it’s alright to have some spare.

Now bake in the middle of your preheated oven for around 20 minutes or until well risen and golden brown, you will have to adjust if you have a convection oven by lowering the target temperature by 10 degrees and reducing baking time by 5 minutes. You will just have to keep an eye on the little fellas. As a final test a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of one muffin should come out clean and dry.

Remove the muffins from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.

What's Baking - Proper Old School Blueberry MuffinsProper Old School Blueberry Muffins

Do you enjoy the muffins of today or do you crave the way they used to be?

What is your favourite muffin?

Yum

What’s Cooking – Christmas Gingerbread Man Cookies

What’s Cooking - Christmas Gingerbread Man Cookies

The Christmas season is in a full bloom so it is time to get some festive food ready. What can be more festive than some tasty little gingerbread cookies?

The recipe I want to share with you today is from The Christmas 3D Cookie Kit from Parragon. The kit contains 3D cookie cutters (so you can make your own 3D snowman and 3D Christmas tree) and a recipe book with a fantastic selection of Christmas cookies.

The recipe I’ve chosen was originally for a Mini Gingerbread House Cookies, but we thought that a gingerbread man shaped cookies will be a better choice 🙂What’s Cooking - Christmas Gingerbread Man Cookie

Ingredients:

125g butter

2tbp golden syrup

175g light muscovado sugar

300g self-rising flour

2tbsp ground ginger

1 large egg

Method:

Prepare 2 large baking sheets, ideally pre-lined with a baking paper.

Heat the oven to 160C.

Place the butter and the golden syrup in a pan and heat gently, stirring all the time until melted.

Remove the pan from the heat, add sugar and stir until dissolved.

Sift the flour and ginger into a large bowl and make a well in the middle ready for the wet ingredients.

Pour in the warm, wet ingredients and add the beaten egg into the mix.

Stir thoroughly to form a smooth dough.

Wrap it in a cling film and chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Remove your dough from the fridge and prepare to roll it out; ideally you want your rolled dough to be about 5mm thick.

Cut desired shapes using a cookie cutter or an upside down glass if you want to make a classic round shape or even a knife if all else fails.

Transfer your cut cookies to your baking sheets.

Chill in the fridge for a further 10 minutes.

Bake in earlier preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes or until firm and lightly brown.

Remove from the oven and allow them to cool down.

Now the fun can begin…

It is time to decorate!

What’s Cooking – Christmas Gingerbread Man CookieWhat’s Cooking -- Christmas Gingerbread Man Cookies

If you are good with decorating you can make your own royal icing (just mix 150g of icing sugar with 2tsp of white egg powder and 2 tbsp of cold water)… I am not a master decorator so we used shop bought icing pens to make this job easier 😉

Happy baking!

What’s Cooking – Christmas Gingerbread Man Cookies

What’s Cooking – Chocolate and Jam Wafers

what’s cooking – my chocolate and jam wafer

This is a recipe from my childhood. Every family gathering my auntie would indulge us with her famous Chocolate and Jam Wafers. It’s weird but at the time I never asked her for the recipe and thus never attempted to make them… That is until a few months back. As I do not live in Poland any more I don’t have a lot of occasions for tasting her wafers so I thought it was time for me to start making them myself.

So here it is – Chocolate and Jam Wafers – just as I remember them from my childhood.

What’s Cooking – Chocolate and Jam Wafers - Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of dry wafer sheets*
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 200g sugar
  • 200g powdered milk
  • 5tbs cocoa powder
  • 125ml water
  • ½ jar of jam**

*This might not be so easy to find but if you have a Polish shop close by I am sure they will stock it, they are called “Andruty”. They come in packs of five and are just large wafer sheets rather like pasta sheets, but bigger.

**Ideally you need a jam which isn’t too sweet. The idea is to break the sweetness of the chocolate. I used a Morello Cherry Jam from Mackays and it worked perfectly. You can find it in your local Asda store.

Method:

In a cooking pot melt the butter.

Once your butter has melted and started to foam add water, sugar and cocoa powder (to make your chocolate mix more luxurious you can add some chocolate shavings), stir well and bring it to boil.

What’s Cooking - Chocolate and Jam Wafers

Put aside and allow it to cool for a while.

Once your mixture is hand warm, add the powdered milk into it and stir well. Ideally you want to get rid of any “chunks” of milk powder so whisk well. You are aiming for a smooth and bits free mixture.

At this point your mixture should be ready so all you have left to do is to put it all together.

What’s Cooking – Chocolate and Jam Wafers

If you look at the above picture, you will see two different textures of your wafer sheet. It is important to place the side with bigger holes facing upwards. This way more mixture will get into holes making your creation perfectly moist and yummy.

So let’s build!

Take sheet one of your wafers and place big holes uppermost.

What’s Cooking – Chocolate and Jam Wafers.

We will start with a layer of jam. Spread the jam around ensuring that you are going to the very edge of the wafer. Do not leave any dry or uncovered spaces. Concurrently don’t layer it on too thickly or the finished result will be very sweet and maybe sickly. You are aiming for a nice thin even layer.

What’s Cooking –- Chocolate and Jam Wafers

Once this is done, place the second piece of wafer on top of your jam layer, still remembering to place it big holes up.

What’s Cooking -- Chocolate and Jam Wafers

Cover with your chocolate mixture to the same extent you did with the jam.

Repeat this layering process with the chocolate until you are left with just one dry piece of wafer.

The last piece goes other way around – meaning the large holes will go face down and touch the chocolate layer, giving us a nice and even finish on both sides of the wafer.

What’s Cooking Chocolate and Jam WafersWhat’s Cooking --- Chocolate and Jam Wafers

Now comes a very important part. You have to turn your creation upside down. This will allow the jam and chocolate fillings to seep into and coat each neighbouring wafer sheet. Turn it upside down and place something big flat and heavy on top. Just make sure that whatever you place is at least the size of the waffle itself so it will weight down evenly, we have found a couple of cookbooks do the trick lovely.

Leave for few hours. If you have a space in the fridge, you can place it in the fridge, but it is not essential.

After a few hours when all the filling has had time to spread evenly, you are ready to cut your wafer into your desired shape and portions.

What’s Cooking – Chocolate and Mackays Jam Wafers

Ideally for cutting you want to use a large and very sharp knife. If your knife gets dirty, wipe it clean before you cut the next piece.

Place your wafer in an airtight container so it can stay fresh for longer. Again, if you have space in the fridge then pop hem in there for storage however it can live on the kitchen top just as well.

What’s Cooking – Chocolate and Jam Wafers!

I like just a wafer on its own but Mark thinks that it is a perfect companion to be served with ice-creams 🙂

So what do you think?

Would this creation appeal to you?