Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pineapple and Coconut Muffins

Pineapple Coconut Muffins by Baking Makes Things Better

It’s now Autumn here in New Zealand and it is starting to get a bit cooler in temperature.  But, these Pineapple and Coconut Muffins are the perfect way to add a bit of sunshine back into your life and beat of the Winter blues.  The recipe is made using tinned pineapple, so you can make these all year round and I think they would make a great lunchbox treat.  The pineapple, coconut and yoghurt all work together to give these muffins a light, fresh taste.  The crunchy coconut topping is pretty delish too!

Pineapple Coconut Muffins by Baking Makes Things Better - a perfect lunchbox treat

Ingredients:
1 ⅔ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
50g desiccated coconut
1 egg, beaten
¾ cup brown sugar
100ml canola or sunflower oil
250g plain, unsweetened yoghurt
1 tablespoon milk
250g crushed pineapple, drained

Topping:

½ cup brown sugar
½ cup shredded coconut

Pineapple Coconut Muffins by Baking Makes Things Better - YUM

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin papers, or grease well.
In a medium bowl mix the flour, baking powder and coconut together. 
In a large bowl mix together the egg, sugar, oil, yoghurt and milk.  Add in the pineapple and stir through.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
Divide the mixture between the prepared muffin cases.  Sprinkle brown sugar, followed by the shredded coconut over the top of each muffin.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of a muffin can be removed cleanly.

Pineapple Coconut Muffins by Baking Makes Things Better!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

White Chocolate Brownie

Sweet, treats to share, baking book for mothers day 2014, published by Penguin NZ. Food styling by Penny Oliver, props from The Vintage Table or stylists/ photographers own

Doesn’t that White Chocolate Brownie in the picture look divine?  It’s just one of the recipes in the new Sweet: Treats to Share cookbook published by Penguin.  The cookbook shares recipes from many of New Zealand’s best celebrity bakers, and this yummy recipe comes courtesy of Allyson Gofton.  We love Chocolate Brownie, and this white chocolate version with pistachios looks like an awesome twist on a baking classic.  I have to say, I’m loving the props from The Vintage Table which have been used in the styling of the food too.

To celebrate the release of Sweet: Treats to Share, Penguin are also running a giveaway where you can win a baking pack, copy of the book and some gorgeous postcards, so make sure you get yourself in the draw for that! 

Makes about 24–30 pieces

Ingredients:
250g good-quality white chocolate, roughly chopped
250g butter, diced
1 cup caster sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 cup pistachio nuts or pecans, chopped

White Chocolate Icing
100g good-quality white chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
about 2 tablespoons milk
extra pistachio nuts, finely chopped, to decorate

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 160ÂșC. Grease and line the base and sides of a 25cm square cake tin.
2. Place the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler and heat over boiling water until just melted.  Alternatively, microwave on high power (100 per cent) for about 2 minutes. Be careful not to over-cook the chocolate as it will burn easily. Stir until smooth and leave to cool.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla together until the mixture is thick and fluffy.
4. Sift the flour over the beaten egg mixture and fold in alternately with the cooled chocolate mixture. This is easiest done with a slotted spoon. Fold in the pistachio nuts or pecans. Turn out the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
5. Bake for 30–35 minutes until the top is lightly golden but the centre is still a little soft.
6. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Chill for 3–4 hours. Remove from the tin.
7. To make the icing, melt the white chocolate and butter together. Stir in the icing sugar and sufficient milk to make a smooth, thick icing. Ice, decorate with pistachio nuts and cut into pieces.

Reproduced with permission from Sweet: Treats to Share. Published by Penguin Group NZ. RRP $45.00. Copyright recipe © Allyson Gofton, 2014. Copyright photography © Manja Wachsmith, 2014. Available nationwide.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Chocolate Lamington Cupcakes

Lamington Cupcakes 1

These lamington cupcakes are yummy and an inspired twist on a kiwi favourite! They are the perfect addition to any autumn picnic but would be equally impressive served at a high tea – Mother’s Day is coming up next month so maybe keep these in mind. I made these cupcakes using my go to chocolate cake/cupcake recipe but if you have a go to trusty chocolate cupcake recipe of your own feel free to use that.

And if these delicious treats aren’t enough for you keep an eye out for the replay of New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker on Food TV, screening at 12.30pm, 4.30pm and 8.30pm on Saturday’s from April 5!

Ingredients:
Cupcakes
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups flour
1 egg
½ cup milk
150g butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
½ cup boiling water
Ganache
250g dark chocolate
200ml cream
Filling
18 teaspoons raspberry jam
Topping
1-2 cups long thread coconut

Method:
Pre heat your oven to 180°C
Place all ingredients in a bowl EXCEPT the water.
Add water to all the other ingredients and mix. Once you have a nicely combined batter place batter into 18 cupcake papers.
They should take about 10 minutes but you will know they are ready when they spring back to the touch and a skewer can be inserted and removed cleanly, remove and set aside to cool once baked.
***While you are baking your cupcakes you can make up your dark chocolate ganache. To make the ganache you need to place your cream and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and place it over a pot of simmering water (making sure that the simmering water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl). Leave for 1-2 minutes before stirring slowly with a whisk, continue to stir until you have a combined, glossy chocolate mixture.
Refrigerate until it is spreadable (2-3 hours).
Once completely cool use a cupcake corer or your teaspoon measure to scoop out the middle of each cupcake, set the cupcake top aside.
Fill each of your holes with a teaspoon of raspberry jam and replace the top, this will enable you to spread your ganache without getting jam in it.
To decorate use a palette knife to spread a thick layer of chocolate ganache over each cupcake.
Sprinkle the coconut on top of each cupcake, gently pressing it on if needed so the whole top is covered.
I topped mine with little red hearts, but I have seen these with fresh raspberries when in season (which I imagine would be fab).
*** You can make your ganache ahead of time, it will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Lamington Cupcakes 2

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sweet: Treats to Share

Sweet Treats to share HR
Sweet: Treats to Share is a brand new book (in stores from today) that is packed with more than 80 irresistible recipes from some of New Zealand’s best-loved bakers.  You’ll find recipes from such baking legends as Alexa Johnston, Allyson Gofton, Annabelle White, Dean Brettschneider, and Kim Evans.
You’ll find recipes for cakes, biscuits, slices, loaves, muffins, pies and more.  What we like about the book is that nothing looks too fancy or hard to make.  The recipes are for true baked good favourites; the type of treats to fill the tins with.  There’s recipes for Kiwi classics such as Afghan Biscuits and Ginger Crunch, to more contemporary treats like Fresh Cherry Ripple Cake and Maple Rhubarb Crumble Pie.  We’ll be sharing a recipe for a delicious White Chocolate Brownie from the book at a later date, so do check back here on the blog for that.
Pg 99 Pumpkin & Prune Cake LR
The food has been beautifully photographed by Manja Wachsmuth and styled by food writer Penny Oliver.  A lot of the baking is photographed on gorgeous vintage china, which when I checked the credits at the back of the book was pleasantly surprised to find that the photography props came from our friends at The Vintage Table – how cool is that?!  (I knew that plate the Ambrosia on page 165 is photographed on was familiar, it’s the one I used photographed my Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles on and is one of my favourites from The Vintage Table).
page layout
Scattered throughout the book are cute little baking related quotes, such as “A baked gift shows you took the time to care” and “Baking is both an art and a pleasure” with which we couldn’t agree more.  The book begins with a rundown of a few baking basics and you’ll find contributor bio’s and a measurement conversion table in the back.  All this, along with the recipes, comes prettily packaged in a padded hardcover book with a marker ribbon.  It’s a delightful book which is sure to appeal, and would make an ideal Mother’s Day or Easter gift for home bakers.
Sweet, treats to share, baking book for mothers day 2014, published by Penguin NZ. Food styling by Penny Oliver, props from The Vintage Table or stylists/ photographers own
We have a copy of Sweet: Treats to Share to giveaway to one lucky reader.  To enter the draw to win, please leave us a comment (with your name) telling us what your favourite baked treat is to share with friends and family.  Entries close on Friday 4th April at 8pm and the winner will be chosen by a random draw.  However, if you can’t wait until then to get a copy, head along to your nearest good book store.  Sweet: Treats to Share will be hitting the shelves today.
Sweet: Treats to Share. Published by Penguin Group NZ. RRP $45.00. Available nationwide.

Photography credits:
Pumpkin & Prune Cake: Copyright photography © Alan Gillard, 2014. 
Lemon Madeira Load: Copyright photography © Manja Wachsmith, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

Berry Crumble Slice

Berry Crumble Slice by Baking Makes Things Better - Yum

This Berry Crumble Slice is delicious – the recipe comes from my Nana and my Mum has started making it too!  To make it, use whatever berries are in season with a matching jam for the filling.  I first tired this slice at Christmas time when my Nana had made it using strawberries.  It was amazing!  I couldn’t get my hands on any strawberries so I used blueberries instead.  The slice turned out just as great (it disappeared pretty quick when I took it into work) and I can’t wait to try out using different varieties of berries.  This is a simple slice and makes a delicious sweet treat to fill the tins.

Berry Crumble Slice by Baking Makes Things Better

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
240g butter, softened
150g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 punnet of berries (at least 125g – the slice in the photos is made using blueberries)
1 cup jam (in a the same flavour as the berries)

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Grease and line a slice tin (the one I used was 16cm x 26cm) and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat through the vanilla essence.  Mix in the flour and baking powder.  Press ⅔ of the mixture into the base of the prepared tin.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until the base starts to go golden in colour.
While the base is baking, chop the berries in half.  In a medium sized bowl, mix the berries and jam together. 
Once the base has begun to go golden, remove it from the oven and spread the berry mixture over the top.  Place bits of the remaining dough mixture over the top of the berry layer (my Mum and I flatten pieces of the mixture in our hands and break off bits to cover the jam with.  I think my Nana crumbles it between her fingers over the top of the jam layer).  Bake for a further 25 – 30 minutes, or until the crumble on the top has gone a golden brown colour.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting into slices.

Berry Crumble Slice by Baking Makes Things Better - want some..

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake by Baking Makes Things Better

I’ve made this Pineapple Upside Down Cake using this recipe a few times now and it’s a really simple one to whip up.  The cake has a nice sweet flavour and I love the old-school baking look the cake has with the pineapple rings on the top; no fancy pants buttercream icing going on here!
Interestingly, in the history of our blog, this is the first Pineapple specific recipe.  I have another one coming up in a few weeks too, so keep an eye out for that.

Ingredients:
¼ cup brown sugar
5 – 7 pineapple slices / rings
handful of raisins (optional)
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
⅔ cup plain natural yoghurt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ¾ cups self raising flour
½ teaspoon baking powder

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Grease a 20cm round cake tin.
Scatter the brown sugar over the bottom of the cake tin.  Arrange the pineapple slices and the raisins (if using) over the top of the sugar in a pretty pattern.
In a large bowl, beat the caster sugar and butter together.  Mix in the vanilla essence, yoghurt and eggs.  Gently mix through the flour and baking powder.
Pour the mix over the top of the pineapple in the prepared tin.  Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out cleanly.
Cool in the tin for 20 minutes, before turning out on to a board or serving plate to cool completely.
Cut into slices and serve, either by itself or with cream or yoghurt.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake by Baking Makes Things Better - YUM