Happy Easter

Apr
2014
20

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Happy Easter dear readers, I hope you all have a safe and relaxed holiday, filled with lots of sweet treats.

Firstly can I ask you all a very huge favour? Would you be able to take 2 minutes out of your busy days and vote for my blog on Australia Best Blog? It closes at the end of the month so please don’t put it off and forget, please click the link and vote for Little Box Brownie, I would be so grateful. You can vote from anywhere in the world you don’t have to be in Australia. Please, Please, Please vote, and spread the word, I don’t have much chance of winning I don’t think, so I need every vote I can get, if you can pass the link on to your family and friends. :) Little Box Brownie is on page three.

Thank you soooooo much!

www.surveymonkey.com/s/BAB2014

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Now on to sweet things, you all know what a chocoholic I am, and if you don’t you just have to look through my posts and discover all the chocolate recipes. However  with all the chocolate that is consumed at this time of year, I thought you could all do with a recipe that wasn’t a chocoholics delight, but a little healthier. So I have come up with a recipe the easter bunny would love and delight in, filled with lots of plump, juicy carrots……

Carrot Cake Muffins, covered in piles of cream cheese icing. Yum, these little babies are soft and moist and so delicious, you won’t even think about chocolate as you are eating them.

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Carrot Cake Muffins

4 medium carrots
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ginger
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 brown sugar
1 cup oil
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs

Icing
Packet of cream cheese (250g)
2 cups of icing sugar
Juice of one lemon

Pre heat the oven to 150C

Grate the carrots into a bowl and place aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger into a bowl then stir through the sugars.
Add the oil, milk and eggs and stir until well combined. Pour in the carrots and fold through.
Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tray, about 2/3 full, as they will rise. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked.

To make the icing, place the cream cheese and icing sugar into a bowl and stir until combined. Squeeze in the lemon juice and combine. Ice the muffins once completely cooled.

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Don’t forget to get a copy of my first ever baking book, you can get it right here, just head to the shop page.

A few months ago I joined a Baking Meet up, its a group of people from all walks of life who love to bake, from beginners through to experts working in the industry. The group meets up whenever someone suggests something to do or somewhere to go and there are enough people wanting to be involved.

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I have been to two so far we had a afternoon tea in the park one week, which was a blast. Then another one when we all meet at a little cafe. Everyone normally bakes something and brings it along, then we spend a few hours just chatting about baking and getting to know everyone. Its such a great way to get inspiration for the blog and just to enjoy and sample everyone’s baked goods.

Its also a very good excuse to bake something myself, but really who am I kidding, what excuse do I need. I first thought awesome this is going to be a great way to get rid of all the things I bake so I don’t end up eating them all, gaining weight and feeling sick from all the sugar . However when everyone brings such lush baked goods, you simply must try everything, well I have to. So I end up coming away feeling sick and I’m sure I’m stacking on the pounds, so my plan to get rid of cakes and sweets was a big fat fail. But hey its great meeting up with people who share a common interest and what else is life for if you can’t enjoy it a little once in a while. For the last meet up I baked a Peanut butter and chocolate tart as it was a tart theme, and everyone come with different tarts and magically there was no doubling up of the same type.

A few weeks before one of the girls who is a pastry chef, ran a tart making class for everyone at a commercial kitchen in South Melbourne. I unfortunately couldn’t make it, but it sounded amazing and such fun. So the last meet up was a spin off from that, so that everyone who went could practice their skills. Boy oh boy they didn’t disappoint, everyone’s tarts where super amazing. Elaine will be running more classes, I think there is a bread making one come up soon too, I will have to try to get to that one.

If you live in Melbourne and feel like getting out and meeting other people who love to bake you should join up, you can find all the details here. Its open to anyone you should just love to bake.

Happy Baking. xxx

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart

Pastry

150 g butter
2 cups plain flour
¾ cup white sugar
1 egg

Filling

200g dark chocolate
125g butter
1 tbsp coffee granules
200ml sour cream
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs lightly beaten

½ cup of peanut butter

Place the butter and flour into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and pulse to combine. Add the egg and pulse until the mixture combines and forms a dough, add a small about of water if the mixture is to dry. Wrap the mixture into cling wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 160C

Remove from the fridge and roll out and place into a 12x30cm tart tin. Blind bake for 10 minutes, then remove the beans and bake for 5 minutes.

To make the filling, place the chocolate, butter and coffee into a saucepan on a medium heat. Stir until the chocolate and butter have melted and the ingredients combine. While still on the heat add the sour cream and stir until combined then remove from the heat and whisk in the eggs. Pour the mixture into the tart case and place small dollops of peanut butter through the tart.

Place the tart into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until cooked.

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It  has arrived, its finally here – after 4 years of hard work getting the book together it has come! Can you believe it? I can’t, its soooooo surreal. Three huge pallets of books have been unloaded and are ready for sale. You can get a copy right here, if you live in Australia or New Zealand just click on the shopping cart link and away you go. I will post it off to you straight away. Now the nail biting begins…… Who will be the first to buy one? What if no one wants one? Ahhhh that’s a bit scary to even contemplate.
I am so incredibly happy with how it has turned out and I am so glad I had the help of the wonderful team at Random House NZ. I know you will all love it as much as I do. If you love baking and looking at pictures of baking then this is one for you. There are 100 recipes in the book all accompanied with a photography of the final product. The recipes in the book are my personal favorites. Some have been handed down to me by family and friends, some I have been making since I began my baking journey at the age of 7, others are recipes I have created through trial and error. There are pies and tarts, cakes and pastries and cookies and slices.  There is a recipe in this book for everyone.
Oh my I just realized I haven’t even told you the name of the book, how silly. Drum roll please……..
A Piece of Cake.

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The funny thing is it hasn’t really been a piece of cake to get the book to this stage but the recipes in the book are all A Piece of Cake. They’re simple, easy to follow and don’t require any crazy ingredients. I wanted the book to be something that people would use and be able to pick up and start baking. I love books that are beautiful, but books that are beautiful and easy to use are the best. I really hope you will find it one of the books you always turn to when you want to make something delicious.  We all have one of those books, the ones that have a special place on the shelf. I hope it will be a book that is so well used that the pages get stuck together from the ingredients that are splatted all over them (and covered in chocolate finger prints),  well worn and very loved by your family. I hope in 50 years time I pick one up in a second hand store to discover how loved it was. That would make me so very happy and proud

 

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Cheese cake
175g plain biscuits
50 g macadamias
100 g butter
250g cream cheese
1 cup icing sugar
300ml cream
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon gelatine
1/4 cup hot water

Sauce
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
2tablespoons water

Place the biscuits and macadamias in a food processor and process until they form fine bread crumbs. Melt the butter in the microwave and pour into the food processor, pulse until the mixture starts to come together. Press the mixture into four small tart tins and set aside.
To make the filling, place the cream cheese into a bowl with the icing sugar and beat with and electric beater until combined. Add the cream and beat until the mixture comes together and is smooth, don’t over beat it. Pour in the maple syrup.
Place the gelatine into a bowl and stir in the water until combined. Pour the mixture into the cream mixture while constantly whipping. Once combined pour into the tart ins and place in the fridge for 5 hours or until set. 

To make the sauce, place the blueberries, sugar and water into a saucepan, and simmer on a low-medium heat until the fruit is soft but still holds it shape and the sauce has thicken slightly.

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Phew I made it…. I didn’t think I would… Happy Valentines day all you love birds! and of course all you single ladies and gentlemen. I hope you all had a fantastic day and got absolutely spoiled either by someone or you spoiled yourself.
I knew Valentines day was fast approaching and even had the foresight to borrow the little sugar hearts you see here from my sister, however it snuck up on me. So here I am 1 hour and 15 minutes before the day officially ends getting this post up. It was a huge rush but here it is, just in time for everyone on the other side of the world who might just be waking up.
Happy baking everyone.
xxxx Sophia

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