Giant Jazzies

Giant Jazzies…. what are they and why are they so giant?

Hopefully you will have noticed that these are the yummy balls of chocolately goodness that adorn the top of my blog.. when I first made them, along with my mum and sister, it was the moment that made me finally decide that I needed to blog. I needed a space to share my love of baking, document all the recipes I constantly wish to remember and mostly, to rediscover my passion for yummy food.

I wouldn’t be here without my mum’s support and inspiration, which reminds me, please check out her blog @ Just A Blooming MinuteWe are currently engaged in a ‘Blog War’  of sorts and as much as it pains me, I would REALLY appreciate if you could pay her a visit, it would make her very happy, and make me love you all even more!

These yummies weren’t meant to be this ginormous. Really. Maybe we didn’t quite follow the recipe correctly, but they grew so huge that only 4 were created out of the whole recipe and to eat one alone was no mean feat. Trust me. You may want to make yours a little smaller…

Oh and I called them Jazzies cause it rhymes with Snazzy, obviously!

A perfectly simple and innocent looking recipe, the mixture is moulded around a marshmallow and dipped in whatever frosting or sparkly, jazzy coating you desire. Made from crushed biscuits, condensed milk and cocoa powder, these huge balls of pure indulgence are quite dangerous… That is why I give you pre-warning.. enjoy at your own peril! (and keep a glass of cold water nearby)

In other words, simply enjoy this delicious treat!

 

Giant Jazzies

12 digestive biscuits

57g coconut

small tin of condensed milk

57g margarine

57g cocoa powder

marshmallows

melted chocolate to coat and decorate

1. Crush biscuits in a large bowl, add coconut and chocolate.

2. Melt margarine and mix in.

3. Add condensed milk and mix well to make a sticky mixture.

4. Wet hands and press mixture around a marshmallow. Depending on what size you wish to make them, either use one large marshmallow for each, or for smaller jazzies, cut marshmallows in half.

5. Chill until well hardened. Then melt chocolate and dip jazzie until completely covered.

6. Coat in assorted sprinkles and sparkles.

* smaller jazzies could be turned into pops, by inserting a lollipop stick before chilling.

Get snazzy, and make some jazzies! hehe, enjoy!

xxx

Raspberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

First off, I must warn you.. these cupcakes are exceedingly delicious

Tangy, tart raspberry and creamy sweet vanilla? A match made in heaven I’d say! These cupcakes were the only way I could think of combatting the dark greys clouds and howling winds that were making today feel a lot more like winter than the start of summer! Typical Northern Ireland weather really. The power cut out for 3 solid hours, which meant me and the little sis cuddled up and read… the perfect way to pass the time, no electricity required.

I really was surprised at how scrumptious these were, (blowing my own trumpet, I know) , but I rarely am amazed by something I’ve made myself, I’m so often in awe of other’s gorgeous bakes.

They were relatively simple to make, and would be perfect for afternoon tea, a summer party or simple, just because.. They were made extra special with fresh raspberries picked from my Mum’s raspberry patch in our garden, just the day before. There really is nothing like picking a fresh berry and popping it in your mouth, as it squeezes out its bright red juice.

I tried to recreate this wonderful moment, as these beauties also hide a secret. Cut them open and they ooze. Thick, sticky, pink raspberry goodness.. take a look!

Hiding this sticky substance inside does take some patience mind you.. good job I only had 7 cupcakes left by this stage! Though it is most definitely worth it, trust me, you’ll believe me when you try it yourself!

I apologise for using different measurements below, it’s just that these basic recipes I use so often, and one I inherited in one scale and the other in a different, and I simply know them in each their own way. If its not broke don’t fix it right?

Raspberry Cupcakes

*inspired by recipe from The Primrose Bakery book

125g butter, softened

150g self raising flour

125g sugar

2 eggs

2tbsp milk

1tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp good quality raspberry jam (I used a mixture of mashed up fresh raspberries and jam)

+ extra for inside of cupcakes

Vanilla Buttercream

3oz butter

80z icing sugar

2tbsp milk

1. Preheat oven to 160oc (fan assisted) and line a 12 hole cupcake tray.

2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, then sieve in flour, and fold in until well combined.

3. Mix in vanilla extract, and slowly add milk, mixing until of a smooth, creamy texture.

4. Fold in raspberry one tbsp at a time so that it is combined, but not completely mixed in. The aim is to have a sort of marbled affect, with streaks of raspberry through the mixture.

5. Divide into cupcake cases, and bake in oven for around 20-25, or until slightly golden on top, and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into cakes.

6. Once cooled, using the end of a spoon or knife, make a small hole in each cupcake, and carefully spoon raspberry mixture into cupcake. Ease the mixture down using end of spoon, and fill till reaches top.

7. Cover in buttercream, and top with a fresh raspberry or decoration of your choice.

Sit back, seize the moment, and savour this cupcake! YUM!

If this is your first encounter with Snazzy Biscuits, then I only hope you have enjoyed your stay, that you now have a little smile on your face and are inspired to go find some raspberries and get baking!

Oh and please drop me a comment, I can’t wait to say hi!

Au revoir,

Amy xxx

Raspberry Lemonade

A pink lemonade and a pink macaron please!

I felt oh so sophisticated and grown up as I called out my order today at my new favourite eatery. Let loose in the city for a day, I was soaking it up. I decided I definitely deserved it, after being cooped up for oh so long!

Summer seemed to have finally arrived, all be it for a day, and the sun made everything brighter, clearer, happier. It always makes me smile to see city slickers in their shirts and ties escaping the office to join the regular shorts and t-shirts wearing crew that are the rest of us, and find a spot in the park to soak up the rays.

Here in Northern Ireland, we can’t really call what we get for summer, ‘summer’. I’m sorry but rain, wind and cold aren’t what I’d typically choose for weather in July, thanks all the same. So when Ireland gets sun, everyone knows about it, and it usually becomes an unannounced public day of celebration, and BBQs are dusted off and up in action through-out the land, possibly never to see the light of day until next year.

When I think of summer, I think of my mum’s fresh crop of strawberries, raspberries, collecting them daily as they’re bursting off their stalks. She always can be found in the kitchen, and sweet smells will waft through the house, of some new delicious recipe she’d found, to make use of her enormous pile of red juicy berries.

Today my pink lemonade was like summer in a bottle. Yet I’m sure there were a whole load of other things in that bottle too. Nasties which probably could be done without. Though it was very pretty, if a little artificial.

So following in my mother’s footsteps, I decided to try and make my own Pink Lemonade. Though as you can see, the raspberries played such a big role, and they really did dominate the colour, making it more raspberry than pink, that I thought it only right and proper to credit them in the name.

This is my homemade Raspberry Lemonade. Refreshing, juicy and tangy. Summer in a bottle. Best served with a sprinkling of sunshine and enjoyed outdoors.

Raspberry Lemonade

Adapted from a BBC Good Food Recipe

*I scaled the original recipe down to suit the amount of raspberries I had on hand, and this made enough syrup to fill the small glass bottle shown.

100g caster sugar

1 lemon sliced

1 orange sliced

1tbsp lemon juice

60z raspberries

fresh mint to serve

1. Place raspberries in pan, add caster sugar and leave on a low heat.

2. Slice lemon and oranges. Squeeze juice into pan, before placing the slices in. Add lemon juice, stir.

3.Pour over around 100ml water, depending on how much liquid is already in your mixture.

4. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5-7 mins. Take off heat and allow to sit.

5.When cool pour through a fine sieve, (I added a muslin cloth) to remove all the bits.

6. Bottle, and when serving top the cordial up with sparkling or still water. Either works well!

*Can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Such a simple and delicious summer recipe, please give it a try and tell me what you think!

Oh and before I forget, I would to say a huge thank you to the lovely Choc Chip Uru over at Go Bake Yourself  for awarding me the Versatile blogger award! This was such a surprise, I have only had this blog for just over a week now, so I really truly appreciate all the support and comments! Thank you!

I am aware there are a few rules, a few things I must carry out after being given this lovely award, so here goes!

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you = yep done that!
  2. Include the links to their blogs = ahuh
  3. Include the award image in your post = see above!
  4. Copy the award image to your site = will do that shortly..
  5. Give seven random facts about yourself = see below, (this may take a while!)
  6. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award = decisions, decisions
  7. When nominating other bloggers include the links to their sites = sure thing
  8. Let those bloggers know they’ve been nominated :) = with pleasure!

Seven random facts you didn’t know about Amy

1. I have an irrational fear of wearing something black with blue jeans..

2. I used to think that ‘drink driving’ was having a cup of tea whilst at the wheel.

3. Give me a small spoon with dessert, massive spoons scare me. (feel..like..i.might..choke)

4. I have been lactose intolerant all my life but that don’t stop me enjoying lots of yummy ben & jerrys.. nom!

5. My dream first car would be a blue Nissan Figaro, vintage darling!

6. Polar bears are the cutest, most amazing animals, and if I won the lottery I would go visit them, before they die out! :(

7. Phew, nearly there (this was harder than I thought!) Top of my bucket list right know is to fall in love with a French guy in Paris. There done! :)

And.. I would like to pass this award on to the next 15 lovely people, whose wonderful blogs have got me inspired and amazed by the blogging world I have just recently joined! Thank you all!

Butterfly Pops

Finally I am free!

Today I put on my high school uniform for the very final time. Yesterday was my very last exam before summer.. geography. Human geography. A heck of a lot of facts came flowing out of my head, to my amazement, so thankfully the time I spent in between blogging and baking may just have been more productive than I thought!

And how did I spend my first few hours of freedom and unadulterated bliss? Browsing the cookery section of my small town’s surprisingly large department store of course!  Baking on the brain..

They say school days are the best days of your life.

I guess I sort of half-believed my English teacher when she chirped that every Monday morning.. but not so much when it was raining, or snowing, or so windy I looked like I’d fallen backwards through a bush on my way to class. On those many occasions, I’m sure I could have found a million other ways to better spend my days.

Yet she was right. It’s only now, as it finally dawns on me that people I have spent every single day with, shared the smallest and biggest moments together, stood by each other and held one another up, we won’t be together for very much longer. Because it’s not the cold dingy classrooms I’ll miss, or the mind-numbingly boring assembly, and most definitely not the assessments which stripped me of my social life for weeks on end.. oh no!

I’ll miss the smiles, the faces, the warmth, the family. We may have started to drift apart, or see each other differently as we grew. Innocent little girls can become seasoned gossipers and relationship ruiners. Guys can become, well jerks lets be honest! Though the bond you share with your high school year is a bond that is something very special, something worth savouring and holding on to.

So it’s with a smile, and a giggle and just a small tear I guess, that I wave goodbye to this high school, and I look towards  the next two years of my journey.. I will soon be spreading my wings.

(Please excuse the awful pun, and lets get onto those pops!)

These were my first encounter of the cake pop kind, and I guess I’m pretty happy with the outcome!

Relatively simple to make, though I’m afraid these little bites never come out as perfectly rounded and smoothly coated as the recipe books suggest, as is the case for most things I’ve found! But definitely worth trying, these little pops had my little sister and her friend standing in amazement and licking their lips.. Setting up this shot with so many pretty pink girly delights also had me quite excited too!

I recently came across flavoured chocolate buttons, the British equivalent to candy melts I’m guessing. Though I’ve heard they can be tastless? Well, let me tell you, these chocolate buttons were the yummiest type of chocolate I think I’ve come across!

Pink buttons = sweet strawberry flavour

Orange buttons = tangy orange flavour

They were simply scrumptious! Found myself eating a little too many before they made it to the melting stage.. woops! But i would definitely recommend you try and find some like these, a big sticky thumbs up!

If you would like to make your own Butterfly Pops you will need:

1 layer cake, cooled and crumbled

frosting (i used whatever i had leftover.. whatever takes your fancy!)

candy melts, or flavoured chocolate buttons for my British friends!

sugar paper for wings

I roughly followed this recipe from Bakerella

1. Mix cake crumbs and frosting in a large bowl until it starts to come together.

2. Get your hands messy, and start to bring the mixture together. Roll into small balls in the palm of your hand.

*mixture needs to be moist, but not TOO moist, or it will start to fall apart and come away from the stick.

3. Melt some chocolate, dip the end of a lollipop stick in it, and gently slide it into the cake pop, just under halfway.

4. Put in freezer to harden for a while. Then when firm, melt coating and swirl your cake pop in gently, coating all sides.

*chocolate will harden very quickly as pops have been in freezer!

5. I used a pencil to draw wings onto sugar paper, cut them out with scissors and scattered with sparkle dust.

6. Attach wings to cake pops using a small amount of extra chocolate.

Et voila! Hope you enjoy!

Happy Father’s Day

Just a quickie to say Happy Father’s Day to my lovely Daddy, and all the other fathers out there!

As you can see there were some cookies left over from yesterday’s dough disaster, but these were the slightly better bunch and this morning they were looking decidedly plain, and a little in need of icing…

Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but thanks to Sweetopias perfect icing recipe, I managed to get these bad boys decorated and looking slightly cute and yummy, ready for Father’s Day tea.

Mr J is chief cupcake tester and eagerly encourages me with each new delight I whip up.. he loves cake almost more than me!

Just glad I can brighten his day a little in some small way, after all he does for me!

Vanilla Cookies

“When things don’t go right…   go left.”

I have never been much of a sugar cookie girl me. I’ll happily eat them if you serve me up a plate, but I just find them much more hard work than the simplicity of whipping up a batch of cupcakes, or the type of cookies that will happily be splatted onto the tray! All that chilling, then rolling.. then chilling again really does take a LONG time.

What’s more I can never seem to get them the right thickness, or be able to pry them off the counter top without them ending up in bits.. or in my mouth most often!

(Cookie dough tastes much better uncooked right??)

However today I challenged myself to give it a shot.. what was the worst that could happen?

Well.. I will confess that once again, me and the cookie dough didn’t quite along too well! It turned out less like cookie dough, and more like very thick cupcake batter.

Maybe the fairy baking mother is trying to tell me something.

But I proceeded to chill, roll, chill my gloopy cupcake batter. And it really was a lost cause by then. So, I resorted to how I like to do things. The ‘cookies’ were simply rolled into a smallish flat ball in my hand, and placed on a tray. And cooked of course.

Out popped my improvised cookie/cake creation! Crunchy on the outside, but deliciously soft on the inside! (Best eaten warm from the oven!)

Loved by everyone in my house, I guess they weren’t such a disaster after all! A new afternoon treat fave!

Baking after all is never exactly perfect, its about how you make it, and learning from past (cookie dough) mistakes I guess!

Have you ever had any baking ‘mishaps’? Or have you perfected the sugar cookie? If so, please let me  know!