Category Archives: Sweets

Muffins That Taste Like Doughnuts

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I saw this recipe floating around on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and it really grabbed me – who wouldn’t want to try a recipe promising muffins that taste like cinnamon doughnuts? These muffins delivered on their promise in taste, were simple to make from basic pantry ingredients that are readily on-hand and cost no more than $1.50 to make. Make these quick and easy muffins for last minute friends dropping by or for a quick solution for empty lunch boxes at the end of a busy week. Like all muffins, these don’t have an especially long shelf life, but they are freezer friendly and if you’re eating them after a day or two, a quick zap for 10-20 seconds in the microwave brings back a fair bit of freshness and restores them to something more like a warm cinnamon doughnut. For those avoiding sugar, simply replace the caster sugar measure for measure with dextrose (available from the beer brewing section at K-Mart or Big W). If you’re not too heavy-handed with the mixture it will make 12 muffins. Enjoy!

  • 1 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil (I use rice bran)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk

Sugar Topping

  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and distribute 12 paper cases in a 12 hole muffin tray.

2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix liquids in separate bowl or pyrex jug. Add liquids to dry ingredients and combine together well, without over beating. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tins using two soup spoons (but don’t overload them). Bake for 15 mins though start checking at 10. When muffins spring back a little, they’re ready.

3. While muffins are baking prepare sugar topping: combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and melt butter in yet another bowl. As soon as muffins come out of the oven, dip each one into melted butter and roll into sugar & cinnamon mixture, or brush with butter and top with sugar mixture if muffins are too hot to handle.

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Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Croissants

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We recently enjoyed the pleasure that is old friends coming for an impromptu dinner. We’d had a lovely day taking things slowly: sleep ins; going for a drive in the country; and coming home for afternoon rests followed by feeling recharged enough to feel like cooking for the evening ahead. Still, I didn’t want to lose the sense of relaxation the day had brought so wanted to stick to a simple offering for dinner and dessert. A quick flick through Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Express produced this recipe for Chocolate Croissants and the simplicity of just three ingredients grabbed me immediately. And they turned out to be all the things I love: fast, tasty, cheap to make and easy to prepare. I made these in the late afternoon, but didn’t bake them until we’d finished our main course, which turned out to be delightful timing – allowing dinner to ‘sit’ and then consuming them at their warmest and freshest. Serve stacked up on a platter for a free-for-all feast, or in bowls with cream or icecream. Alternatively these could be made in a more miniature form for church morning teas or a finger food dessert for a larger crowd. The quantities listed below serves 8 and costs around a total of $5.

  • 4 sheets of ready rolled puff pastry, thawed and cut once each diagonally to create two large triangles per square
  • 1 x 230g bag of Cadbury Choc Bits (I used milk, but use dark chocolate if you prefer)
  • 1 egg, whisked in a cup
  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees
  2. Evenly distribute choc-chips along the long end of each triangle of pastry and press them in firmly
  3. Starting with the long end of the triangle, roll pastry until you have all the choc-chips trapped inside. Then fold each end in to keep chocolate trapped. Then continue rolling into a log shape until all the pastry is rolled up.
  4. Shape the log of pastry and chocolate into a pretzel shape or whatever shape you like
  5. Place each on an oven tray with enough space between them to grow a little
  6. Using a pastry brush, cover each croissant in egg-wash
  7. Bake for around 15 minutes until brown on outside and mostly cooked through. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Scrolls

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I stumbled upon this sensational recipe on Cath’s blog the other day and was immediately taken with it. So very easy, so very cheap, so very yummy. And seeing as I’m on a bit of a scroll making wave right now, I was keen to give them a go. And although I’m not really meant to be eating sugar at the moment, these have caused me to make some exceptions. These delicious cinnamon scrolls are not much harder to make than scones and pretty much the same cost as the cream goes in the mixture, and not on top. This recipe makes more than a roasting dish worth of scrolls (I had to use another smaller tin, just for the four that wouldn’t fit in!) so would be a great option for Bible study morning tea, afternoon tea playdates, church morning tea or any time at all really. The smell as they were baking was only topped only by the actual enjoyment of eating them. Approximate cost is $3.50 and makes 24 scrolls. Thanks for your blog Cath, and thanks for sharing this recipe with us.

Scroll Mixture:

  • 4 cups Self Raising Flour
  • 300ml cream
  • 300ml milk

Inside Mixture:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • Good dash vanilla essence or extract

Icing Mixture:

  • 1 cup icing mixture
  • enough warm water to make a runny icing
  • extra cinnamon if you like (I did!)
  1. In a bowl, mix self-raising flour with milk and cream.
  2. The mixture will be quite sticky still, but turn it out onto a well-floured board or bench, and turn it over a few times to flour it well.
  3. Roll it out into an oblong shape so it is quite thin – the thinner the better, but not so thin that it will tear when you move it.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together soft butter with brown sugar and cinnamon. Add a hearty dash of vanilla sugar, or vanilla essence. Spread this mixture over the rolled out pastry. Don’t wash the bowl – you will need it later for the icing.
  5. Using a spoon or pastry brush, spread this inside mixture all over scroll mixture. Roll it up from the long end until you have a log.
  6. Cut the roll into pieces about 1 inch thick, and lay them in a greased or lined oven tray, close together but not packed in. Sprinkle them with vanilla sugar if you have some.
  7. Bake them in the oven at 180deg. for 15-20 minutes, or until they are starting to brown nicely.
  8. In the bowl where you mixed the sugar and butter, mix 1 cup of icing sugar with enough water to make it go runny. The butter and spice left around the edge of the bowl is sufficient to give it a slight flavour, though you might like to add extra cinnamon. Using a dessert spoon, drizzle this over the scrolls while they are still warm.
  9. Enjoy! Best eaten the same day, though a quick zap in the microwave brings them back to freshness should they need it a day or two later (but they won’t last that long, anyway!).

2 Ingredients Cookies

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So it seems I’m slowly being converted out of my anti-biscuit baking funk by some contributors and their awesome recipes. My old uni friend Katherine has sent in this fantastic contribution – cookies with just two ingredients + whatever mix-ins you might like. There’s so much to love about this recipe: no butter, no eggs, no refined sugar, minimal mixing, less than 5 minutes prep before they go in the oven, they’re much healthier than their mainstream counterparts, they taste terrific and the oatey substance of them is so homely. But since this is a blog about easy and affordable hospitality, I should mention too that they’re a great option to make for last minute guests who drop in (no rolling mixture, just dollop the mixture on the trays using 2 dessert spoons), a yummy addition to a meal provided for folks in need or freezing in advance for the never-ending stock needed for healthy school lunches. Originally from a terrific blog called The Burlap Bag – all credit is given to its author, Lauren who invented these. Using the quantities listed below, with choc-chips used as my mix-in of choice, these little babies will cost you no more than $6 to make 40+ cookies and less if you get bananas cheaper than $3/kg. Thanks for sharing, Katherine and thanks for inventing, Lauren!

  • 8 bananas, mashed (or blitzed in food processor)
  • 4 cups quick cooking oats (homebrand is fine)
  • My mix in: 1 x 230g bag cadbury choc-chips

Mix ingredients together. Old bananas are amazing for this, but you can use fresh ones too. I buy a bunch of bananas, let them get old on my counter, giving the family the opportunity to eat them and then stick what remains in the freezer – whole with the skin on.

Then add in what sounds yummy to you (or nothing!) Lauren suggests these:
– a handful of chocolate chips
– crushed walnut pieces
– cinnamon
– raisins

Lauren’s tip: Since all bananas are different sizes, the needed measurements can vary. If it seems too runny and the cookies would flatten out too much, add in more oatmeal. And make sure to not add in TOO many mix-ins as the cookies won’t hold together very well. Dollop onto trays using dessert spoons and flatten before baking with a fork. Bake in a moderate oven for around 15 mins. Enjoy!

Caramelised Peaches

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These caramelised peaches are one of my favourite summer desserts. They’re so yummy as well as fast and easy to make – so much so that I simply make it in front of guests while they’re waiting for main course to settle a little. The end result is a healthier type of dessert and it works even without the brown sugar if you’re trying to avoid adding it. The cost of this dessert depends on the current price of peaches and your preference for ice-cream, but easily falls in the affordable category. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream or thick Greek style yoghurt and a handful of fresh blueberries if they’re as well priced as they are right now – $2.75 a punnet at Woolworth’s.

  • 1 peach per person, halved with stone removed
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • blueberries, ice-cream and yoghurt to serve
  1. Preheat a frypan or grill to full whack
  2. Press the wet half of each peach into the brown sugar and place sugar side down in the pan. Cook until sugar caramelises and peach starts to soften slightly
  3. Turn peaches and cook the outside half briefly until starting to soften also
  4. Place two peach halves, caramel side up in each person’s bowl. Add ice-cream, or yoghurt and berries. Enjoy!

Chocolate Slice

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Bible study is at my place tonight and because I have an aversion to rosters, our group doesn’t have one for providing supper. So this afternoon, I found myself in need of a quick and easy solution! Its our last study for the year and like it is for everyone, this time of the year is busy, busy busy! So today was a great day to try out Bek Marshall’s easy Chocolate Slice. It’s a simple melt and mix number which uses standard pantry items and it only takes a couple of minutes to combine the ingredients and whack it in a slice tin. I love the outcome of this one: chewy chocolate slice, able to be iced while still warm (another time saver) and a total cost of less than $3. An absolute winner! Thanks for contributing, Bek!

  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 125 g butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 3 weetbix, crushed
  1. Mix flour, cocoa, oats, sugar and crushed weetbix. Add vanilla, egg, melted butter and mix. If mixture is too dry add a little milk to the mixture before pressing into a 16x26cm slice tin.
  2. Cook @ 180deg for 20-25min
  3. Ice with chocolate icing while still warm. Sprinkle with topping of choice such as nuts, coconut or sprinkles.

Peach and Raspberry (cakey type) Tart

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While it is true that winter is my favourite season of the year, I can’t help but feel a little enlivened by the warmer weather and the knowledge that summer is on its way. The shops are starting to supply summery fruits once more: mangoes, melons, apricots and other stonefruits, my favourite being the yellow peach. To celebrate the promise of all things summer, I decided it’s the perfect time to try out this simple and delightful recipe from my friend Jess. I love the way Jess does hospitality – simple and tasty food accompanied by no amount of fuss and flourish, she simply focusses on the folks she’s serving. This lovely dessert is the first of a number of affordable and tasty recipes contributed by Jess – costing no more than $5 and even less when peach season is in full swing.

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1 cup / 220g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups / 220g self raising flour, sifted
  • 2 peaches, cut into thin wedges
  • 150g raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees and line 22cm springform tin (not a tart tin – the first time I made this I used a loose-bottomed tart tin and it overflowed because the walls of the tin didn’t come up high enough).

2. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla until light and creamy. Add the eggs and beat well.

3. Fold in flour and put in tin.

4. Top with peaches and raspberries and sprinkle with icing sugar (you can do this randomly or with an ordered pattern. I tried to go with random, but seriously struggled not to order my randomness! The picture above shows a bit of both)

5. Bake 1 hour or until cooked through and serve with vanilla ice-cream, thick cream or good quality yoghurt.

Big Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

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In general, I don’t really like baking biscuits. I do love the taste of a chewy homemade chocolate chip cookie, but just the thought of repetitively rolling teaspoonfuls of mixture into little balls and cycling tray after tray through the oven, is enough to make me flip-out before I even begin. But when my friend Cathy sent this recipe the other day, I was forced to reconsider my anti-biscuit position. The recipe that follows does away with rolling balls of mixture (yay!) though you can still do that if you prefer, and is made in super-sized quantities that fit the bill for multi-purpose cooking (individually wrapped for school lunches, supper for Bible study, morning tea when cooking for a camp or just for filling the household cookie jar). Along with all these things, I fell in love with this recipe because each of the logs of uncooked cookie mixture can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for emergencies. Simply thaw the log out on 50% in the microwave, cut into rounds and bake for 10 minutes in a moderately slow oven. When I trialled this bumper cookie recipe, I chose to bake half the mixture into 48 biscuits, and freeze the other half in two logs for whenever I need them next. Using Nestle chocolate melts, this recipe, that costs no more than $12 to make (even less if you use homebrand chocolate) works out at just 12 cents per cookie and has definitely softened me up when it comes to biscuit baking!

  • 500grams softened butter or margarine (I use butter)
  • 2 cups/460g castor sugar
  • 1 x 395 tin condensed milk (I use homebrand)
  • 2.5 cups/380g plain flour
  • 2.5 cups/380g self raising flour
  • 190g each of dark, milk and white chocolate melts (half a Nestle Melts packet of each)
  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees.
  2. Using an electric mixer or beaters, cream butter, sugar and condensed milk. Mixture perfectly fits 5L mixing bowl. If yours is smaller than this, use a plastic all-purpose bowl, readily available in laundry section of the supermarket.
  3. Stir in flours until combined and then stir in choc chips.
  4. On a floured bench top, divide mixture into four equal portions and roll into evenly shaped logs.
  5. Each log makes 24 biscuits, so starting in the middle, with a knife, cut the log in half leaving two portions to make 12 biscuits from each. Cut each section again to make 4 portions which will make 6 biscuits from each. Again, cut each of the four portions in half again, which will make 3 biscuits from each. Finally, cut each of these smallest portions into three equally sized rounds. Repeat the process for each log. This ensures evenly sized biscuits and production of exactly 96 biscuits.
  6. Roll each portion into balls, or do as I do and just place the cut up rounds straight on lined oven trays.
  7. For a crunchier biscuit bake until golden for around 12 minutes, and if you prefer a chewier cookie, cook for no longer than 10 minutes and remove from oven while still a little pale. Cool on tray or wire rack.

Super Simple Biscotti

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I do love homemade biscotti so was very excited when this simple and yummy recipe landed in by inbox from my friend Soph, who found it on a friend’s blog. Needing to provide dessert for dinner with friends this week, I decided to give these a go because they were able to be made ahead of time, and Soph’s super do-able serving suggestion of dipping in chocolate fondue grabbed me immediately. Don’t be turned off by the two stage cooking process – this recipe is still dead easy and really nowhere as labour intensive as it might seem. I have never succeeded in making biscotti wafer-thin, but having tried, failed and still enjoyed eating chunkier homemade versions of it, I’ve decided I’m okay with it. This winning recipe costs less than $3 to make. Thanks Soph, for this terrific contribution.

  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 3/4 cup roasted almonds (Woolworth’s homebrand are terrific and cheap!)

1.  In a mixing bowl, mix together the sugar and oil until combined.

2.  Add eggs and vanilla essence and mix thoroughly until combined.

3.  Add flour, baking powder and salt to the egg mixture, and stir to form a dough.  When all the flour is almost incorporated, add in the cranberries and almonds.  Continue stirring until all the flour is incorporated and a dough has formed.

4.  Take half the mixture and using wet hands, form it into a log.  Place the log onto a tray lined with baking paper and pat into a smoother log shape.  Repeat with the remaining dough

5.  Bake at 300F/150C for 35-40 minutes until the logs are slightly golden.

6.  Remove from the oven and cool.  Reduce oven heat to 275F/135C.

7.  Once the logs are cool enough to handle, slice into slices.  Place sliced biscotti back onto tray and bake for 8-10 minutes until crisped.

Nigella Lawson’s Coconut Cake

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Ages ago, my friend Amy suggested this cake would be perfect here at foodthatserves and yesterday, I finally got around to making this chuck-almost-everything-in-the-food-processor cake. If you follow the recipe below, you’ll end up with a yummy looking cake much like the one above and you’ll love the taste too. For those who are trying to reduce their overall fructose intake, I was so thrilled with the result of this using dextrose instead of sugar. You can buy dextrose from the home brew section of Big W(oop) as it’s affectionately known in our household or from specialty home brew shops and health food stores. Dextrose is actually cheaper than caster sugar to buy and all I did in this case was exchange it directly for the 175g sugar required. The fructose free cake that resulted was yummy and just like a normal cake. Instead of the icing Nigella suggests, I served it with whipped cream and defrosted blueberries from the freezer – so good. Total cost to make is around $3.

  • 175g/6oz butter, softened
  • 175g/6oz golden caster sugar
  • 175g/6oz self-raising flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 50g/2oz desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream, or single cream

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM FILLING AND TOPPING:

  • 280g/10oz icing sugar
  • 100g/4oz butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp coconut cream, or single cream
  • 5 tbsp raspberry jam
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (fan oven 160C), Gas 4. Butter two 20cm sandwich tins with greaseproof paper.
  2. Mix the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and eggs in a food processor for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Gently stir in the coconut and cream.
  3. Divide the mixture between the tins and smooth the tops. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden and firm.
  4. Loosen the edges and leave in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool. Peel off lining paper.
  5. To make the buttercream: beat together the icing sugar, butter and coconut cream until smooth. Spread one sponge with the jam. Top with just under half the buttercream and sandwich with the other sponge. Swirl the remaining buttercream on top of the cake.