Sponge Kisses

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With Father’s Day imminent here in Australia, I thought I’d make one of my own Dad’s favourites for this month’s Cook Club – Mum’s Sponge Kisses. Now, mine didn’t turn out quite as soft and fluffy as Mum’s (what IS that phenomenon that makes your mother’s cooking better than anything, ever?) and they did collapse a little as they cooled…but hey, it was my first go and my family still gobbled them up, so I’m going to take small successes where I can.

Sponge Kisses are basically two small rounds of sponge cake sandwiched together with jam (any flavour. You pick) and whipped cream, then dusted with icing sugar. Kind of an old-fashioned treat, I guess. They’re quick, easy and make minimal mess in the kitchen.

WHAT YOU NEED:

1/2 cup plain flour

1/2 cup corn flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 eggs, separated

3/4 cup caster sugar

Whipped cream and jam to fill

Icing sugar to dust

sponge kissesHOW IT’S DONE:

Pre heat oven to 200c, line oven trays with baking paper

With your electric mixer, whip egg whites until they have stiff peaks. Gradually add caster sugar, then egg yolks one at a time.

In a separate bowl, sift plain and corn flours together, along with the baking powder. Gently fold this mix through the egg mix.

Cooking in batches, spoon heaped teaspoons of mix onto lined trays allowing room for them to spread. They only take 4-5 minutes, or until you notice them beginning to change colour. Remove carefully using a spatula – they’ll still be very soft – and place on a rack to cool.

Sandwich together using jam and whipped cream (or just cream if you prefer). Some people like to add the Kisses to the fridge at this stage for a couple of hours to soften up. Personally, I prefer to serve immediately after adding the filling, with a generous dusting of icing sugar. If needed, you can store the unfilled Kisses in a sealed container until serving time.

Next time, I might try tweaking the recipe a little by adding a touch more plain flour and baking powder.

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Savoury Scrolls

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I’ve made these scrolls three times over the last week for my little family. Cheese and vegemite is definitely the winning combination for my sons, followed closely by cheese and bacon. Normally I’d make life easier by making the dough in the breadmaker, but sadly mine died a sudden death a couple of weeks ago (gasp! I know, right?) Of course, you could use any combination of toppings that tickle your fancy – let me know what you come up with!

vegemite scrolls

Dough

450 g / 3 cups plain flour

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

250 ml water

2 tbs olive oil

3 tsp yeast

 

Toppings

Vegemite / tasty cheese

Bacon pieces / tasty cheese

Shaved turkey / Camembert cheese / cranberry sauce Salami / spinach / tomato chutney / mozzarella cheese

In a large bowl, place measured ingredients in the order listed above. Bring together and mix with your (clean!) hands until you form a dough. Remove from bowl and place on a flat, floured surface and knead for ten minutes…you can thank me for the workout when you’re done. Place back into the bowl and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Tip: olive oil in spray form on Glad Wrap works brilliantly. Place in a warm spot for aprox 30 minutes, or until your dough has doubled in size. After rising, punch the dough down with your fist and repeat the kneading and rising process.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.

To make, divide your finished dough into two equal pieces. With a floured rolling pin, roll each piece out into as much of a rectangle as possible, around 1/2 cm thick. Keeping the widest part of the rectangle dough closest to you, spread generously with desired toppings. Carefully roll the dough up away from you, and then cut into 2cm thick slices. Place each scroll onto a greased oven tray and brush with egg. Bake for aprox 20 minutes, or until your scrolls begin to turn golden brown or cheese is bubbling.

Best eaten immediately!

turkey scrolls

Under the Sea Cake Pops

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You might recall my recent post with the Big Blue Fish Cake that I made for my Mr 6’s birthday party. Well, it seems these days that the main birthday cake isn’t enough. You still need cupcakes (well, of course. D’uh, Mum!) and the latest trend in cakes – cake pops.

cake pops 1

The Ingredients! Muwhahahah!

I readied myself with a $12 cake-pop mould-tin from K-mart, though admittedly, I wasn’t too sure about it. Looked to me like the thing would leak and make a helluva mess, if it worked at all. But thankfully, I was saved by the Angel of Cake Advice, the owner of my local cake-supply shop. “Don’t bake them,” she said. “Cheat! Mashed Tim-Tams and cream cheese. That’s all there is to it!” And she was right. Gloriously, deliciously right. Here’s how:

cake pops 3

Scolpt

What You Need:

  • 1 packet of Tim-Tam biscuits. For those of you outside Australia who might have difficulty getting your hands on our national treat, apparently Oreos work too.
  • 80g of cream cheese. I used the Philadelphia brand.
  • Chocolate for dipping.
  • Chocolate food colouring.
  • Mouldable chocolate for decorations.
  • Ice cream sticks or similar. I used plastic ones from my Cake Shop.
  • cake pops 2

    Getting there …

 

How it’s Done:

I made a triple batch with three packets of Tim-Tams and 240g of cream cheese. All you need to do is throw the biscuits into a food processor, give them a bit of a buzz, then add the cream cheese and process until combined. That’s it. Truly.

Next, roll teaspoon sized scoops of the Tim Tam mix in your hands to make ball-shapes. I kept some as balls, flattened others out into disk shapes (for the crabs) and then for the turtles, just flattened the bottoms. Place on a tray or plate with baking paper. Refridgerate.

cake pops 5

Taking shape

While your balls are chilling, melt a small cupful of chocolate. I use the microwave. Remove the chilled balls, dip the end of a stick into the chocolate, and then into the ball shape. I found it easiest to place upright in a glass, then back in the fridge to set.

While your shapes on sticks are chilling again, it’s time to make up the accessories that will turn your balls into sea creatures. I used mouldable chocolate, which is kind of like plasticine – but waaay yummier – for mine. This stuff comes already coloured, so it makes your life much easier. Fins and tails for the fish, nippers for the crabs, heads, feet and a tail for the turtles. Oh, and eyeballs for all of them. Don’t forget the eyeballs!

cake pops 6

Almost party time

Working with one type of creature at a time, melt more chocolate. This time, use a bowl and don’t skimp on the amount. You need to be able to dip your shapes so that they’re entirely covered. For the turtles I used dark chocolate, the crabs and fish I used coloured white chocolate (make sure you use chocolate-friendly colouring). It’s easiest to make one creature at a time – dip it in the chocolate, wait for the drips to stop, then add its accessories. After setting, I added smiley faces and pupils in the eyes with an edible marker pen.

And the cupcakes? Yeah, they were a cheat too. Packet mix (both chocolate and vanilla), commercial frosting – vanilla – piped on top, then with blue spray colour (just like spray paint in a can) gave them a quick whiz over, and added store-purchased candy sea creatures. Too easy! And yes, the birthday boy was thrilled.

cake pops 4

Doneski! Under the Sea pops  to go with a Giant Blue Fish Cake

Mrs Hartney’s Scones

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I come from a long line of home cooks. My Nanna ran a private girl’s school canteen and then a regional Cole’s cafeteria. Her daughter (my Mum) was a Home Economics teacher in a special needs school for almost thirty years. I thought this week, I’d share some of their favourite recipes with you. We’ll start with Mum’s seriously simple scones.

scones

Mrs Hartney’s Scones

2 ½ cups of Self-raising flour

1tsp of baking powder

2 tbs of butter

1 egg (whipped slightly with a fork)

Milk

Jam and whipped cream to serve

How it’s done:

Pre heat oven to 180 degrees C.

Mum would tell you to add the butter, flour and baking powder to a large bowl and rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until it resembled breadcrumbs. I’m lazier than her (and have this icky thing about food under my fingernails…) so I just throw it in the food processor and blitz for a few seconds. Same result. Then add the egg  to the mixture, still blitzing for a few seconds at a time, then add just enough milk to form a dough – usually around half a cup.

On a floured surface, roll your dough out until it’s about 1cm thick, and using a round cutter (an upturned glass works well, too) cut your scones out. Place them fairly close together on a greased or lined baking tray. Placing them closely helps them to rise apparently, but that could be an old wive’s tale!

Brush the tops with a little milk, and bake for 10 to 12 minutes – until the tops have turned a light golden brown.

Serve warm with whipped cream and raspberry or strawberry jam.