Make a wish with Pepparkakor

lick n drip caramel cake-2.jpgHow did I not know about Pepparkakor!

Whilst munching on ginger snaps, my friend cracked hers in her hand and said

“oh I didn’t get to make a wish”.

…puzzled… I then had to know what she meant. After a quick conversation and a Google search I was quick to learn that Pepparkakor is a traditional Swedish festive treat, baked with dark flavoursome spices and rolled nice and thin for that lovely crisp snap. Pepparkakor is an integral part of the Christmas feast in Sweden and is also used to decorate their Christmas trees, often iced with decorative patterns and images.

Swedish customs says you should place the Pepparkakor in the palm of your hand and press it with your thumb. If the biscuit breaks into 3 you get to make a wish!

So I get to eat biscuits AND make wishes!

All my dreams had come true!

I simply HAD to make some!

My children were so excited that we were making a wishing biscuit that all 3 decided they wanted to take some to school so ALL their classmates could try the custom too.

Overall we made around 90 biscuits in a very short time, so easy to make and beautiful and crisp, it’s ridiculously hard to resit eating them as soon as they come out of the oven!

The recipe for Pepparkakor is right here if you want to try it.

PEPPARKAKOR RECIPE

Pre heat oven to FAN 180

Line several large baking sheets with greaseproof paper

Ingredients

250g Butter

300g Caster Sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon golden syrup

450g plain flour

2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

2 teaspoons of ginger (more if you really like ginger!)

2 teaspoons of ground cloves  (we omitted these as no body likes them in our house!)

METHOD

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar.

Stir in the egg and syrup.

Sift together the flour, spices and bicarb and add to the mixture.

Roll into a dough.

Roll out till its approx 0.25cm thick and cut into shapes using a cutter.

Place on baking tray and bake for approx 20 minutes or until flat, dark and crisp.

Cool on cooling rack until cold and store in air tight container.

May I suggest a lovely stroll, on a long winding path, surrounded by trees whispering in their branches, a river gently ebbing and flowing, a pocket full of wishing biscuits and a loved one by your side, break the biscuits and wish for your future adventures.

x

lick n drip caramel cake-13.jpg

 

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Kid chaos in the kitchen

It’s the weekend!

It’s time to slow down the usual morning rush around and enjoy the comforts of being at home…but I soon get itchy fingers and want to get baking! It’s the weekend and weekends mean the kids get to bake too!

My 3 young children Tom, Robin and Libby see me baking ALOT, and often sit and watch, stir, throw things in the bowl, pester me until I forget what I’m doing and wait around until it’s licking time…the bowl that is! Sometimes I banish them from the kitchen altogether if what I’m doing is for a client or is very important, and that makes me feel bad because they want to learn, but because of all the questions, and pestering, and poking, and licking, sometimes its just not feesible, so out they go!…until the weekend!

Questions, pestering, poking and licking!

So this weekend we decided to make a Treacle Spiced Traybake ..(insert yummy, yummy noises here…)

It’s a really easy recipe that involves putting 8 ingredients in a bowl and mixing like crazy!

So I put my 6 year old in charge of the weighing scales, (this will obviously help with his maths I’m thinking) and my 5 and 2 year old in charge of dumping in the ingredients and mixing!

Weighing out is great for number recognition, adding and subtracting!gingerbread traybake-2.jpg

Of course there’s always one who doesn’t like their designated job and soon starts to squawk and chirp about the fact that “Libby is mixing too hard and I can’t get my spoon in”..or  “why has Libby got to break in 2 eggs and I’ve only got to break in 1?” (cos theres 3 kids and 4 eggs love and she’s the cutest, decision made) .

Remember your baking ‘memories’

In all seriousness though, baking with children is a fantastic shared experience, you’re giving them a skill for life and hopefully providing happy memories (unless I’m your Mum  and then you get some nice memories followed by a personality change into Gordon Ramsey when my OCD kicks in about how much mess 3 kids can make in half an hour! )But honestly, if you can stop worrying about how much mess it makes, and time (it takes sooooo much longer!), the experience you get when baking with children is amazing, and they amaze themselves too when they see what a few simple ingredients make.

If you are a brilliant parent you can actually get your children to clean up with you afterwards, but my kids are too busy licking the 20,000 spoons they have used and any cake batter that has happened to fall on the counter with their tongues! gingerbread traybake-3.jpg

When we finished our bake I said to my children, so ‘who’s had fun?”

 

3 little hands went up…and thats why we bake x

gingerbread traybake-4.jpg

Recipe -Treacle spiced traybake

Ingredients

225g soft margarine

175g caster sugar

225g black treacle

275g self-raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

4 eggs

4 tablespoons milk

Icing sugar to finish

Method

Pre-heat oven to Fan 160, 180, gas 4.

Grease and base line a 12 x 9 inch tray with greaseproof paper.

Measure all ingredients into a bowl and beat well for  2 minutes until well blended.

Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin.

Finish with water icing or a dust of icing dust of icing sugar, whichever your preference.

Peanut Butter & White Chocolate Blondies

It took me a long time to surrender to the fact that brownies can also be blonde, but now Ive gone blonde, I’ll never go back!

If you haven’t tried these before, put them on your “to eat” list,

because believe me, they are delicious!

Ingredients

100g butter, softened

150g peanut butter, crunchy preferably

1tsp vanilla paste

175g golden caster sugar

1 egg

75g good quality white chocolate

75g chopped mixed nuts

125g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

Extra white chocolate for decoration

pb 1

Method

Pre heat oven to fan 15o. Line a square tin with greaseproof paper.

In a large bowl beat the peanut butter and butter together until creamy.

Add the vanilla, sugar and egg and beat again until light and fluffy.

pb 2

Chop up the white chocolate into nice sized chunks and add to mixture along with the chopped nuts.

Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, the mixture should be quite firm and solid, smooth out the top so it bakes evenly.

Bake the mixture in a pre heated oven (150 fan) on the middle shelf for about 35-40 minutes. The outside will crust slightly but the middle still needs to be fudgy to be a true “blonde”.

Once baked fully, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Sprinkle the decorative chocolate chunks over the top whilst its still warm, mark into 12 pieces  whilst warm for easy cutting later.

pb 3

Make the chocolate chunks uneven and misshaped,and when you choose a piece of blondie that has got huge chunks of warm melted chocolate on it, its like winning the chocolate lottery!

Once completely cool, remove from tin and slice with a sharp knife into 12 delicious pieces.

pb 4

pb 6

Enjoy…mwah x

Because blondes have more fun...; )
Because blondes have more fun…; )

Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

front view bun

 Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Ingredients

*Cupcakes

200g margarine

200g caster sugar

4 eggs

200g self raising flour

seedless raspberry jam

12 pretty strawberrys (no uglies allowed)

12 strawberrys to cut

5 digestive biscuits

Cream Cheese Frosting

100g butter softened

200g cream cheese

450g icing sugar

1 tsp Vanilla paste

Method

Cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add one egg at a time with a little flour and mix together until all combined.

Fill 12, good quality, thick bun cases with mixture half way up the case. Don’t be tempted to put more in or you won’t be able to fit in the strawberrys.

Oven bake fan 160c until spongy, don’t wait until they have turned brown, this is too long. Usually 20 mins will do it but each oven varies. hand plain bun

hey presto cupcakes!

Once cool, then add a layer of raspberry jam to each bun. Yes… I said these buns were Strawberry cupcakes but I personally find the cakes too sweet if I use strawberry, so, raspberry jam it is as its a little sharper. hand jam bun

were jammin..

Then slice small strawberrys to sit n top of the jam, they need to be small or your bun will break up when eaten. They should be sitting on top of your buns in a nice orderly fashion.

bun strawberrys

Time to make the cream cheese frosting ( although you can do this while the buns are baking to save time)

Soften the butter, and mix together with the cream cheese, add the icing sugar through a sieve until you have a stiff buttercream. It needs to be stiff to hold the biscuits and a strawberry on top. When desired consistency is achieved, add the vanilla paste, the lovely vanilla seeds will peep through, giving a nice gentle sweetness.

Using a piping nozzle of your choice, mine was a star nozzle, pipe a generous amount of icing onto your cupcake, making lots of grooves for the biscuit to sit in and a nice tall tower to parade your pretty strawberry!

digestives

Bash up your biscuits until a fine crumb is achieved and sprinkle generously over the frosting. This is what gives it the cheese cake taste and texture.

And for the grand finale..the pretty strawberry

top  view bunfront view bun

Chill in the fridge until ready to eat.

And……..enjoy. Mwah x

Who’s right?

Some days are just too much...
Some days are just too much…

Some days are just too much.

Some days are just too stressful.

Some days are just too hectic.

Some days are just too much.

For the past few weeks this has been my pattern. This is all I seem to be thinking or saying.

I guess Ive been spoilt, having time off work after Libby was born (maternity leave), having time to play with her, taking the boys to school, making home cooked lunches and dinners, bath times, story times, cosy bed times. Yes I’ve been very spoilt….or have I?

Isn’t this what parents should be doing?

Isn’t this the pattern of what home life should be? Or am I thinking more like a 1950s housewife?

I only work 3 days a week, and I still struggle with the onslaught of emotion I get when I get home at 6pm, my children are tired, emotional, stressed, angry, miserable, and after a busy day at work I feel the same, it’s a recipe for disaster. The hour between 6 and 7 is the most stressful of the week. Bath, story, milk, bed, sounds simple, but when faced with all 3 children with the above roller coaster emotions, its so hard.

so who is right?

So who is right?

Am I right working until 6pm ?

Is my childminder right for having them after school until I get them when they are already tired from being in school all day?

Is it right to think bugger the reading, I just want ten minutes talking to my child before they go to bed ?

Is it right that Daddy doesn’t see his children for days on end?

If you have the answer I’d love to know?

Maybe this is just how it is, maybe this is what parenting whilst working is like.

These are the things people neglect to tell you before you have babies, they don’t mention manic school runs, being late for work, never having a hot drink… ever, food or snot constantly on your clothes, never having time to just ….sit. Visiting friends, pah, you’ll spend every other minute taking Billy for a poo, or a wee, or a snack, or a time out, you might catch a snippet of one conversation and then you’ll have to leave to pick up Polly from pre school.

Some days are just too much.

Is Daddy coming home today?

It breaks my heart when the kids ask if they will see Daddy tonight, no sorry darlings, Daddy has to work late again, you will see him on Friday, maybe…

The deteriorating Daddy

Its so sad to see the deteriorating Daddy. The time spent at work lengthens, his tired eyes every night tell the tale, his heart breaks a little bit each day when he does see the children and he realises what he’s missed. So much pressure. To bring home the money, to be the man, I’d hate that job.

Some days are just too much.

Daddy and Libby
Daddy and Libby