Gingerbread

Hello! I’m Jenny, from Jenny and the Magic Feather.

While Claire is away she asked me to do a guest post for her (check out the guest post she did for me last week while I was away, right here!).

I thought I would also do a little recipe swap today too, and share with you guys my recipe for perfect Gingerbread!

Gingerbread by Jenny and The Magic Feather

ย I am sure you all have one of these, your ‘go to’ recipe that always goes down a treat ๐Ÿ˜€ Well this one is mine! I made a batch for our last WI meeting and it got rave reviews! So pop on your aprons, heres my how to:

You will need:

  • 4oz marg
  • 4oz dark muscovado sugar
  • 4oz treacle
  • 1 large egg
  • ยผ pint milk
  • 6oz Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp ginger (I like loads!)
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon

ย  – Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. In a saucepan, melt the butter over a lowish heat along with the sugar and treacle until they form a smooth mixture, be careful not to boil the mixture though! Allow to cool.

– Next, beat your egg in a jug and add to this your milk. Mix together and add to the treacle mixture a bit at a time and stir in well โ€“ it will seem like its curdling but just keep mixing and it will come together nicely.

– In a separate bowl, sift all your dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, salt and spices (you can also add an optional bit of cocoa powder here too, about two tablespoons, if you want a hint of chocolate in there too!) .

– Add the flour mixture to the treacle mixture, again just a bit at a time and stir well.

– Pour it into the prepared tin and bake for 40โ€“60 minutes or until risen and bouncey on top and a cocktail stick comes out clean. Try not to overcook, as it is nicer a little stickier, and gooey in the middle.

– Transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the gingerbread cool in the tin before cutting into squares and enjoy!

I adore making this recipe, it is so simple yet so affective! You can decorate the top too with layers of chocolate, nuts etc or just a dusting of icing sugar for decoration.

The finished Gingerbread will have a soft, just-baked-bread texture that is still quite gooey in the middle, and it best enjoyed warm with a good cup of tea!

I hope you enjoyed my guest post and give this one a try!

Jenny xoxo

Red Velvet Brownies

The origin of the Red Velvet cake is much debated, but anyone who loves a baked good has no doubt tried a cupcake, cream cheese frosted cake or whoopie pie of the Red Velvet variety. In my opinion they are far too tasty/pretty to ponder over where the recipe once began. Surely time is better spent eating the treats? ๐Ÿ˜‰

So what makes a Red Velvet bake red? Cocoa contains a natural pigment calledย anthocyanin, which will react with acids such as buttermilk to provide a red shade. Cool food sciencey stuff, really. Buttermilk is almost always included in a traditional Red Velvet recipe, but red colouring is often added to provide a more vibrant shade.

My brownie recipe does not contain buttermilk, but I recently purchased some fabulous new food colourings and I needed an excuse to try them out in one of my favourite colours. So here goes with my ‘Red Velvet’ brownies!

Red Velvet brownies

Makes 10 small brownies or 6 bigger pieces. Freezes well!

Red Velvet Brownie Ingredients 2

Begin by melting the chocolate and butter over a saucepan of hot water – heat gently until smooth, stirring throughout.

Red Velvet Brownies melt butter and chocolate

Red Velvet Brownies melted butter and chocolate

Then mix in the caster sugar, followed by the plain flour. Stir until combined.

Beat the eggs and add gradually. I found that I added a little too much (1 is probably enough, but it depends on the size of your eggs), and I ended up having to add more flour right at the last stage.

Then add the RED! I use food colouring paste (rather than the liquids you can buy in supermarkets) as they give a more vivid colour. I used heaps as I wanted a deep colour, but you can try it out. Note that my mixture is still a little runny (and bubbly!) here, so you can add more flour if necessary.

Cook in a pre-heated oven for around 30 minutes. I tend to do mine for less as I have a fan oven and I like them squidgy in the middle.

I think this is a recipe I will continue to develop, in terms of consistency and redness. I used fairtrade dark chocolate, which affected how vibrant the red was. Perhaps just using cocoa powder will give a brighter shade.

Regardless, they are pretty tasty and I like the deep red!

Red Velvet Brownies

Claire x

 

Macaron Love

My close friends will know thatย I’m a little bit obsesssed with French Macarons.ย Light and chewy in the middle, a bit size treat and fat free which I constantly remind myself of. That meansย I can have more right?! Next week I’ll be visiting London for my Masters graduation and will definitely make a stop at Ladureeย for a box of treats, I can’t wait.

Periodically, I’ll bake a batch to share with others, but many don’t even make the construction stage and jump right off the baking sheet and into my mouth. These almond meringue sandwiches are a real delight,ย so it only seems right to shareย a recipe for Strawberry and Vanilla Macarons.

I’ve adapted it from a Marcus Wareing recipe and one from a Love Food book called ‘Macaroons’.

Ingredients

75g Ground Almonds (gives the chewy and slightly nutty flavour)

115g Icing Sugar

2 Large Egg Whites (room temperature)

50g Caster Sugar

1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Food colouring (your choice)

Good quality Strawberryย Jam (for filling)

Makes 16

  • Place ground almonds and icing sugar into a food processor and blend for 15 seconds. Sift mixture into a bowl.
  • Line a baking sheet with baking paper. I haveย this nifty silicone macaron mat which my sister gave me for Christmas from the wonderful Squires Kitchen. It makes piping the rounds much easier later on.

  • Whisk egg whites until holding soft peaks. Gradually whisk in the caster sugar to make a firm glossy meringue. (Hold above your head to test!) Whisk in the vanilla extract. (Sadly my life is without a Kitchen Aid, but my good old Kenwood handmixer does the job).
  • Using a spatula (I love the silicone ones), fold in the almond mixture into the meringue, one third at a time.

  • When dry ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, add a splash of food colouring and continue to cut and fold the mixture until it becomes shiny, with a thick ribbon-like consistency. I need to invest in some good food colouring pastes, as the cheap stuff doesn’t produce a nice vibrant colour for macarons once baked.

  • Pour the mixture into a piping bag. My tip is to place the piping bag (I’ve used a disposable today for ease) into a glass and fold the top over. It’s much easier to fill this way and keeps it sturdy.

  • Pipe small rounds onto the baking sheet. If you don’t have a silicone mat, you can mark circles in pencil on the sheet with a round cookie cutter or similar.
  • In hindsight, I would have tried to have keep my piping ‘flatter’ so as to produce a smooth macaron after baking.

  • Tap the baking sheet firmly on the work surface to remove air bubbles. Leave macarons at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees / Gas Mark 3.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, cool for 10 minutes and carefully peel of baking paper. Don’t be tempted to pull them off before they have cooled as they will stick to the baking paper!

  • Iย used Bonne Maman strawberry jam to sandwich pairs together, as I think it’s the best you can buy in the supermarket and the jars are super cute for vases and craft projects afterwards!

  • Enjoy with a cup of herbal tea. I put some on my favourite childhood plate (Bunnykins – anyone remember?) & they didn’t stay there long!

Unfilled macarons will keep in an air-tight container for 3-4 days or can be frozen for up to 1 month. They are best eaten at room temperature an hour or so after filling.

What flavours would you try when making macarons? I like rosewater and lavender tones and pistachio is a perfect flavour. Let me know if you try them and what flavours you explore.

Lastly, how cute are these patisserie boxes from Lakeland?

Claire x