Cooking With Charl

Amateur home cook, with a love for baking and all things garlic :)

My craft projects…

I have recently took up a new hobby after wanting to replace some cushions in the home, it’s something I have wanted to do for a while but although I have a lot of adventurous craft ideas I’m not so good at making them happen. I was pleasantly surprised to find it not as difficult as I first thought! With a lot of help and insipration from my friend fee I managed to make some fab penguin cushions 🙂 after searching online I have found lots of ideas to be getting on with although it may take me some time to get through them all!

My friends blog is well worth a visit, she has some fab creations and a really cute dog! fee’s blog

Here are a few of my first creations 🙂

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^gift for my friend Ali ^

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Chocolate chip cookies

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These chocolate chip cookies are really quick to make and are packed full of chocolate! They also double up as a great DIY cookie mix gift, by layering up the ingredients inside a lock tight jar tying with ribbon and placing the method on a tag. Fantastic as a last minute gift or to bake when friends come over, they don’t stick around for long!!!

Ingredients

115g butter
115g light brown sugar
1 egg
100g porridge oats
1 tbsp milk
125g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
170g plain chocolate
170g milk chocolate

Method

– Preheat oven to 180c/ gm 4, line and grease 2 baking sheets

– Mix softened butter and sugar together until well combined and paler in colour.

– Add the egg, mix well and add the oats and milk.

– When mixed together add the flour and baking powder and mix until all the ingredients come together.

– Place chocolate into a bag and smash with a rolling pin until broken into pieces. I like to leave it fairly chunky.

– Stir in the chocolate and place tablespoon size dollops of the mixture onto baking sheets. Wet hands and gently press the down slightly.

– Bake in the oven for around 15-20 mins depending on how dark you want them. They will still be quite soft when cooked and will harden when cooled.

– Leave to cool for at least 5 mins as the melted chocolate will be molten!

This is the gift I made my friend with the addition of cocoa powder 🙂

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Happy baking 🙂

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Gingerbread

This is my ‘better late than never’ gingerbread recipe. It featured in my christmas post, which shows the shortbread and gingerbread star cookies I gave as gifts for Christmas. Although gingerbread is traditionally a christmas thing, it’s good all year round, and ginger is fantastic for settling a funny tummy!

You will need

350g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125g butter
175g light soft brown sugar
1 egg
4 tbsp golden syrup

Method

  • Place flour, bicarb, ginger and cinnamon into a food processor, add the butter and mix until the mix looks like breadcrumbs.
  • If you don’t have a food processor rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Mix the egg and golden syrup together and add to the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Mix either by hand or in a processor until the mixture clumps together into a ball.
  • Knead the mixture to bring it all together and form a ball, refrigerate for around 20 mins.
  • Roll out the dough and cut whatever shapes you like! I like to make small stars as they are good as gifts and great for the biscuit tin!
  • Traditionally, people like to cut men out of the dough, which is great for children to decorate!
  • Preheat the oven to 180c/gm 4 and grease baking trays, greaseproof paper always works best 🙂
  • Place cut out shapes on the baking trays and place in the fridge for 30 mins (this helps maintain the shape when cooking).
  • Bake in the oven for 10-12 mins for stars and 12-15 for gingerbread men.
  • When baked, the cookies should be slightly darker in colour and may still be a little soft but will harden when cooling.
  • When cooled decorate however you wish 🙂

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I hope this recipe inspires you to make gingerbread whatever time if year!

Happy baking 🙂

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Cupcakes (basic recipe)

This recipe is especially for my friend Ali , she likes to bake but always cheats with cake mixes! (Much to my disgust! Lol) I’ve told her how easy it is to make cupcakes from scratch and thought I’d post it on here for others to have a look 🙂

This recipe can easily be doubled or used as a basic Victoria sponge recipe if divided between 2 shallow cake tins.

You will need

(Makes 6 large cupcakes)

110g self raising flour ( for plain flour add 2 tsp baking powder)
100g unsalted softened butter
100g caster sugar
2tsp vanilla extract
1egg
2tbsp milk

Method

There are so many techniques that people use for sponge, I find the all in one method works well for a basic sponge. I have included 2 techniques in this recipe 🙂

The ‘all in one’ method

  • Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with an electric mixer until well combined

The creaming method

  • Place butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix until light and creamy.
  • Gradually mix in the egg and vanilla.
  • Fold in the flour (and baking powder if using plain flour) a little at a time.
  • When mixture seems to appear stiff add the milk and then continue to add the flour.

BAKE

Separate into 6 muffin cases and bake in a preheated oven at 180c gm4 for 15-20 mins until cakes spring back when touched.

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BASIC BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

150g butter
300g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp milk

Whisk all ingredients together until light and fluffy, start slowly making sure icing sugar doesn’t fly everywhere.

Using a star shaped nozzle, fill a piping bag with the buttercream frosting and pipe swirls on top on cooled cupcakes starting from the outside working into the middle.

VARIATIONS

I will be doing separate posts for other cupcakes as I tend to bake a few different types, these are just 2 of my favourite recipes that I bake. You can get many different decorations now from the supermarket such as stars, silver balls, glitter etc which make a simple cake look special! Fantastic given as a gift 🙂

Vanilla chocolate marble cupcakes (picture)

  • Make cupcake batter as normal, when well combined split the mixture into two equal portions and mix 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder into one half.
  • One teaspoon at a time, fill the cupcake cases with alternate chocolate and vanilla batter until 3/4 full.
  • Take a teaspoon handle and gently swirl the 2 mixtures together in the cases, careful not to over mix.
  • Bake as normal 180c gm 4 for 15-20 mins
  • For the chocolate frosting I just add a teaspoon of cocoa powder into the basic buttercream frosting.

Sticky jam cupcakes

  • Make basic cupcake batter.
  • Put 2 teaspoons of batter in each cupcake case and make a small dip in the middle.
  • Place a teaspoon of jam in the middle of each cupcake and then continue to fill with remaining batter.
  • Bake as normal 180c gm4 for 15-20 mins, when cool decorate with buttercream frosting
  • As I say this is my fool proof cupcake recipe that I always fall back on, and once you’ve mastered this you can become quite inventive with flavours and frostings.

Happy baking 🙂

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It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

After having a really busy day at work and a boring night ahead, what else was I going to do but bake? So I thought is share with you a picture of my manic kitchen full of biscuits, 345 to be exact! Now I just need someone to eat them all! Gift bags at the ready 🙂

(Gingerbread recipe will follow!)

Merry Christmas 🙂

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My Christmas Shortbread

This year I have decided to make little shortbread gifts for friends and family for Christmas, I have already made 2 batches and they don’t stay around for long! They are super easy to make and the recipe can be easily doubled.

Makes around 60 stars

  • – 170g plain flour
  • – 70g sugar
  • – 120g butter

method

  • – If using a food processor mix all ingredients together until well combined and starts to create a ball.
  • – If the butter is cold it will form a breadcrumb like texture, if you tip this out onto a clean working surface and start to work it together, the heat from your hand will help soften the butter and form a ball.
  • – If you do not own a food processor rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips, when well combined add the sugar and repeat step 2.
  • – Flour a clean work surface and roll out the dough to around 1/2 cm thickness for crisp biscuits.
  • – You can then cut the shortbread into any shape you like, I like to use a small star cutter as it works great for guests or packaging up for little gifts! (cutter from wilkinsons)

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  • – Cut out your stars and place onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Any left over dough form back together with your hands, roll out and cut more stars!!
  • – When all stars are cut, places baking trays into the fridge and chill for 30 mins.
  • – Preheat oven to gm4/160 fan/ and bake for 10-12 mins.
  • – When cooked the shortbread will start to bubble on top, and be a very light golden brown.
  • – When ready leave to cool on the tray as the biscuits will be quite soft still (they will harden as they cool)
  • – Remove and place on a wire cooling rack and sprinkle with sugar while still warm.

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I have some cute little bags I like to put these in to give to people at Christmas. These polythene bags are easily found online.

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I always make more for the biscuit tin! Not that I get many, everyone gets to them before I do 😦

I hope you like my recipe 🙂
Merry Christmas!!!!

Charl
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