Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Peanut butter M&M cookies for Felix

We're off to see our friend Felix tomorrow, and his mum is offering lunch with our playdate.  I offered to bring something, and she suggested dessert.  Not a problem!
We haven't been shopping since the weekend before last, as we found many years ago that shopping weekly worked for us, and have a list on the fridge for additions throughout the week.  So with regard to what to bake and bring, it necessitated a quick scour of the ingredients and dredge of the memory to figure it out.  And cookies won!
The recipe is scribbled on a torn back of orange envelope and stuck into a blue book - seriously.  My friend Catherine copied it out of her Guardian weekend supplement many years ago, once we'd successfully made it with our then just-turned-two year old Mini-1's.  It's a quick, easy and basic recipe using flour, baking powder, two sugars, a bit of butter and roughly 100g of 'extras' - in this evening's case they were M&M's and a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter.  Other times they've been chopped apricots, oats, choc chips, lemon zest etc etc.
I had checked with the girls earlier in the day to see if they wanted to help make them, but both said no, because they didn't want to share them!  Not very charitable at all, and not the way we'd like them to think.  Suffice it to say, I started baking once they were in bed/asleep.
And a mere hour later (most of which time was taken up with 4-5 batches at 9 minutes each) we have the delight that is nearly 4 dozen small coloured-dot-studded cookies - yummy!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas cupcakes, anyone?

My offer had been to do Vanilla and Red Velvet for Christmas - because I had thought it would look nice, but unfortunately I had a lot of trouble tracking down one particular odd ingredient for the Red's.  Who'da thought it'd be such a bother?  We went to 6 stores in the end, with the kids being really quite good and patient while we searched for this elusive ingredient - but no luck.
I had been in touch with the customers by email or Facebook message only - I hadn't thought to take a phone number.  So I quickly messaged them with the problem, to check if all Vanilla would be ok.  Some got in touch faster than others, so I just bit the bullet and did them all Vanilla.

And boxed up some, ready to go...

Here's hoping they love them, and of course - Merry Christmas 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas at school, Becca style

I felt quite pleased to be asked by Mini-1's school to provide brownies for the adults to nibble with their tea/coffee after the Carol Concert (which was held before the Christmas Fayre).  To be fair, it's a fairly small school so I knew it was an achieveable request, and offered to do 2 trays and cut them into bite-size pieces so they'd be a) manageable and b) go further.  Mini-2 and I arrived after the concert, but just before the fayre started and were thrilled to be greeted by many parents, (some of whom we didn't even know) congratulating us on the delicious brownies!  No idea how they knew I made them, but very pleased nonetheless. 
Then it was the turn of the class party.  I had considered offering to bake mini cupcakes for the class, but knew it wasn't officially sanctioned by the Scottish Government (not conducive to the Healthy Eating in School (or elsewhere, for that matter) Policy) and so the Education Dept didn't allow it.  But then the class teacher shyly asked if I could.  Sure of course, I said, but I couldn't make as few as 16 - could she pass out the rest?  Oh yes, was the quick reply.  And thus it was that I handed in 4 dozen similarly decorated little Christmas beauties.

And I'm pleased to say that these too got great reviews!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A wee birthday treat

I posted a photo on our Facebook page showing what we could do for Christmas gift ideas, and was lucky enough to get a request or two out of it - yippee!
The first lady wanted a box of 4 Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing - which of course meant birthday glitter!  I used mini red and pink hearts, a wafer flower and gold glitter, black and white crispy balls and neon pink glitter with chocolate hearts. 
We love birthdays at Becca Bakes, thanks for letting us help you celebrate Merry!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Giant 19th birthday

The daughter of a friend was turning 19, and her mother had requested a giant cupcake in red/white/pink with bows for her some months ago - knowing Sammi would love it.  Hence the practice one a month or so ago, to get the recipe right and work out icing techniques and so on. 
Collection was set for Sunday lunchtime, so I would usually  have baked Friday night, decorated Saturday night but as it was a Friday night, Mr Becca was in the kitchen.  No bother, I woke up a little bit early (weekends usually mean a lie till around 815am, woo hoo) and baked Saturday morning.  This would still give a fresh cake, but also allow it time to cool fully before icing and setting.  We were off out to a friend's half-way across the country (weeeell, not technically but a good hour or so away, and our country is kinda small) for lunch, so time was of the essence.
So to Saturday night.  I had found YouTube videos for making bows out of fondant (I really liked this one, because she made it look so easy) but it wasn't. 
As you can see, the bows I made look nothing like the one the girl made, but with enough practice I think I could nearly do it.  Or I could save myself the bother, and buy some ready-made by an expert off eBay ;)
I had Googled giant cupcakes to see how others decorated them, as I felt the rose style swirls looked great and wanted to see how other bakers placed them around the cake.  That done, I did my best.  And feel that I could do better.  Still, it turned out well and Sammi and her mum were thrilled with it. 
The last one I had made was too tall for any carrier I owned, however I was lucky enough to find a long roll of cellophane and used this to wrap the cake for transport, thus...
 Not ideal, but not bad.  And it survived the car ride home, so all's well that ends well.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Honey Joys

So, Saturday morning's chez Becca.  We're all in our jammies, watching cartoons after breakfast while Daddy sleeps on after his epic Friday Night cooking session.  The girls didn't fancy cornflakes for breakfast, and we have a lot to eat, as the box was large and had been opened.  Mummy's youth to the rescue!  I remembered a recipe I used to make with my Mum (and probably my siblings too) years ago that was fun and delicious, and cut out of the side of a packet of cornflakes - Honey Joys.  Basically, honey and cornflakes baked for a few minutes.  Mmmm...
Again there was a slight (correctable) issue with the reading of the recipe - as it's an Australian recipe, their tablespoon is actually 20ml whereas the British one is only 15ml.  No worries mate, as the Aussies say.  And the best bit about all this was that Mini-1 wanted to help!  Yey, she's not usually home when Mini-2 and I tend to bake and is getting bored of cake and cupcakes, so this was news indeed.
 The recipe - as you can see, I wasn't joking.  It really is cut out of the side of the packet, ha ha.

As suspected, these didn't last long at all.  And with their festive foil cases, we had to try one of each colour to see how the taste compared.  Weeeeeeell, any excuse for more treats!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Christmas chez Becca

I hadn't baked Red Velvet anything in a while, and was thinking of doing it for our own Christmas lunch (as no-one but Mr Becca actually likes fruit cake, of any variety) so did some cupcakes.  A colleague of Mr Becca's had got in touch earlier in the week, and asked if I could do 3 dozen cupcakes for them.  Sure thing!  We agreed on a mix of vanilla and red velvet (see how I snuck that in there?) and how and when I'd deliver them, then off I went.  I boxed some up and put a photo on the Facebook page, in the hopes that someone may be encouraged to purchase some, then boxed up a dozen for one office and the rest for the other. Enjoy.

Merry Christmas dear readers!