Num Noms #WackyBakers!

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Earlier this year we spent a blissful week in sunny St Ives. There’s a wonderful little Post Office shop there, right near the harbour that is toy heaven – lots of pocket money toys and ways to extract money from us parents – and it was here that we first discovered the delight that is Num Noms – collectible, scented characters that you can mix and match to make your own fusion of flavours.

Despite being a very grown-up 10 year old, for my daughter it was love at first sight, so when we were sent some Num Noms in the post she was very excited, especially with the added brief of getting creative in the kitchen – we love to bake!

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We were sent some of the Num Noms Freezie Pops variety which happens to include this one, a motorised little fella which, while fairly innocent looking, takes great joy out of terrorising my cat.

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When it came to the #WackyBakers challenge we decided to take inspiration from one of the other available Num Noms – Nana Swirl.

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Yes, Nana Swirl is a banana cupcake which inspired us into making….little banana cakes!

These little Banana Fairy Cakes are SO easy to knock up and great for little hands to get messy in the kitchen. Mine both loved helping with making the cakes but they loved the decorating even more. Even if I did have to bite my tongue a bit about my lovely hundreds and thousands pebbled-dashed kitchen floor…

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Banana Fairy Cakes

Ingredients
100g caster sugar
200g butter, softened
140g self-raising flour
2 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 very ripe banana

To decorate;
140g icing sugar
hundreds and thousands (lots!)

Method
Heat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4.  Line a 12-hole bun tin with fairy cake cases.

Put the caster sugar, butter, flour, eggs, vanilla and banana in a big bowl together and beat with an electric whisk or stand mixer (or your own fair hands if you’re feeling energtetic) until the banana is mashed and everything is mixed together well.

Divide the cake mixture between the cases and bake for 20-22 mins until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.

Leave to cool.

Once completely cool, you can start to decorate. Mix the icing sugar with a little water to make it spoonable – don’t make it too runny or it will just run straight off the fairy cakes.  Spread the icing over each cake and then cover in the hundreds and thousands!

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And then…eat!

I think we’ve done Nana Swirl justice, don’t you?

The love affair with Num Noms continues in our household – they’ve already made an appearance on Draft 1 of the Christmas List and they little packets would make great stocking fillers so I will be ‘stocking’ up soon….(see what I did there?!).

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Chocolate Orange Brownies

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Looking at that photo is making me have real brownie cravings now. Unfortunately I made these last week so there are none left. Curses.

I’ve started baking more with my children recently. We’ve always baked together but now they are getting older I am letting them do more of the work that I’ve always done myself, like melting things over the heat and putting the cakes into the oven. I’m taking it in turns with each child and they get to pick what they want to make. This week was the little boys turn and he chose brownies.  I decided instead of just bog standard brownies we’d pop in some more flavour and as we’re all fans of chocolate orange that’s what we went with.

This recipe, adapted from an Annabel Karmel recipe, is perfect to knock up with your children as it’s very simple and easy for them to follow. Don’t look too hard at the ingredients list though, I think I gained an inch on my hips just reading it! Brownies really are incredibly loaded aren’t they? But that’s why they taste so good!

You might want to adjust the cooking time to suit yourself. If you like them fudgey then 30 minutes will do it but if you prefer your brownie to be more cakey then leave them for 35 minutes.

Either way, they’re delicious!

Chocolate Orange Brownies

Ingredients

225g unsalted butter
275g dark brown muscavado sugar
200g dark chocolate
Zest of 1 large orange
Juice of 1/2 orange
4 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
110g plain flour
30g cocoa powder
1tsp baking powder
100g white chocolate chips

Method

Preheat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4. Line a brownie tin with baking parchment. You need to ensure the parchment goes up the side of the tin and overhangs the edges – this also makes it much easier to remove from the tin.

Over a saucepan of warm water on a gentle heat, melt the butter, chocolate and sugar together in a large heatproof bowl, stirring occasionally. Once melted, set the bowl of melted chocolate to one side to cool.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla, salt, orange zest and orange juice together until everything is well combined.  Take the cooled melted chocolate and whisk the egg mixture into it. Sift over the flour, cocoa and baking powder and carefully fold in before adding the white chocolate chips.

Pour the mix into the prepared brownie tin and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Once cooked, allow the brownie slab to cool in the tin before removing to a wire rack. Once cool, cut into squares.

Of course you may not want to leave it to cool because these brownies are pretty amazing eaten straight out of the oven, warm with vanilla ice-cream. I wholeheartedly recommend that. They also keep quite well and were perfect little treats for the school lunchboxes last week.

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Recipe: Biscuits for icing with children

I’ve blogged different recipes for making iced biscuits with children before but this is the latest one I’ve tried. It’s possibly not my favourite, I think I prefer the shortbread ones I made once but these still turned out really well and were quick and easy to whip up.


When we’re bored during the holidays, making a batch of biscuits with the children, letting them choose the shapes and then spend an hour or two decorating them is a great way to fill a cold, wet day.  We were lucky to be sent a whole load of Dr Oetker baking goodies recently including lots of fab writing icing tubes and it all got put to good use!

I do tend to let them go a bit wild with the icing and sugar and try not to get too het up when my kitchen is covered in little bits of sugar and food colouring – after all, it can all be cleaned up and at least they’re being creative and not sat in front of the Disney Channel again! 

This recipe makes around 24 biscuits, obviously depending on what size cutter you choose to make!

Biscuits for Icing

Ingredients

100g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
275g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Preheat the oven to 190c/gas mark 5 and a line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl or stand mixer until combined. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract a little at a time until combined with the butter and sugar mixture.

Stir in the flour until the mixture comes together as a dough. If you are struggling to get it to come together, add a couple of drops of water. 

Lightly flour the work surface and roll out the dough to the thickness of a £1 coin. 

Using biscuit cutters, cut shapes out of the dough and carefully place onto the baking tray.

Bake in the oven for 8-10mins. The biscuits should be pale golden. Remove from the oven and set to one side to harden for around 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

See, simple.

A great way to relieve the boredom!

Biscuits for Icing

So the Easter Holidays are upon us, we’re halfway through ours and so far they are going quickly and smoothly – thank heavens!  On Friday we had a bit of a lazy day and after grocery shopping we decided to make some biscuits – mainly from them to decorate with icing as it’s such a good way to entertain them and also because my friend gave me a ton of icing writing pens that needed using up!

This is the standard recipe I use for biscuits for icing as it’s very easy and also very quick.
Biscuits for Icing

Ingredients

100g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
275g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Preheat the oven to 190c/gas mark 5 and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until combined.  Beat in the egg and vanilla extract a little at a time until well combined.  Stir in the flour until the mixture comes together as a dough. (If it’s too dry at this point then you could always add a drop or two of water – literally a drop).

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 1cm.  Using biscuit cutters, cut biscuits out of the dough and place onto the baking tray.

Bake the biscuits in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until pale golden-brown. Leave on the baking tray for 5 minutes to harden and then cool on a wire rack.
I got out every cookie cutter we own and just let the kids choose what they wanted. They needed a bit of help cutting them out but were quite happy to direct me as necessary!  They then went wild with the icing pens which were good fun, but hard work! My poor hands were aching by the time we’d done.
It was a very good way to spend an otherwise dull afternoon!
love & kisses

Mrs M x

Baked Dippy Eggs

I apologise for being a bit AWOL over the past week, things have been busy and I’ve just lost my blogging mojo a little. Anyhow, I thought I’d share with you this little gem I discovered on the BBC Good Food website recently – baked dippy eggs!
My little lady has recently started a love affair with eggs, having always turned her nose up in the past. This started when we got our own chickens which I was most surprised at as if anything I thought it might turn her off eggs even more but nope, she loves them, the fresher the better! She has also recently started school and is currently sampling the school dinners so she has tea when she gets home and I’ve been trying to make it a bit more exciting than just sandwiches.
This recipe is great and was very tasty – I was almost wishing I’d made this for myself instead of the Toad-in-the-Hole we had! The best thing about this it is incredibly easy and no faffing whatsoever! This recipe serves one but obviously it’s easy to double, triple…
Baked Dippy Eggs
Ingredients
1/2 slice of ham
2 cherry tomatoes
1 egg
small handful of cheddar cheese, grated
1-2 slices of bread, toasted, buttered and cut into soldiers
Method
Pre-heat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4.
Cut the ham into strips and put in the bottom of a ramekin. Squash the cherry tomatoes and place these alongside the ham in the ramekin.
Break the egg into the ramekin and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
Pop into the oven on a baking tray for around 15-18 minutes, until the egg what has set.
The original recipe includes spinach but I have left that out mainly because it’s not something I always have in but you can include it or also take up some of the other suggestions of frozen sweetcorn, frozen peas, peppers or spring onions.
The other great thing about this recipe? Finally a use for those darned GU ramekins! (Although tonight I did christen one of my lovely Le Creuset heart dishes!)

love & kisses
Mrs M x