Author Archives: Katie

Soft Pretzels! (not so scary)

PretzelsPretzels are one of my all time favourite snacks. When a pretzel stand opened at my local shopping centre (Garden City, Booragoon for those of you playing along at home) back in 2005/6, I was so excited I think I had one a week for about 4 months. So soft, so salty, so covered in various toppings and with a myriad of dipping sauces.

S-J shares a similar love of the baked good and so we decided to get down to the business of pretzel making. This recipe was super forgiving to our extended periods between getting things done. I made the dough base at my house then pootled about getting ready for way longer than the suggested rising time, before jumping in the car and taking the bowl of expanded dough over to S-J’s house for rolling, boiling and baking. We managed to get all of that done (and baked up the dipping sauce) while her small son napped.

If that doesn’t tell you this is a recipe for you, I don’t know what will. Continue reading

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Peanut Butter (or PB + J Thumbprint) Cookies

I was lucky enough to spend the evening with S-J’s small son recently and as his mothers were walking out the door, E mentioned that I sounded like I wanted to bake something but that sadly they were out of everything I’d need. I sort of waved her off and thought, I’ll be fine, no baking for me!

But then I sat there on the couch, cookie-less, and you know me, right? You can’t say I can’t bake, because, well, then I obviously have to.

So I scoured their pantry and fridge and came up with a cookie based on a few I love sort of mashed together a bit. I wanted a bit of variation as well so I split the dough in half and made two batches of these thick and nutty yums! If there is one thing I can say about S-J, it’s that the woman knows how to stock a house with good ingredients for inspiration.

milkandcookies

Peanut Butter (or PB+J Thumbprint) Cookies

2/3 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth, pick your poison)
1/4 cup hazelnut spread (Nutella is fine)
1/4 – 1/2 cup cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar

1 1/4 cups self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda (I will omit this next time, I don’t think it was necessary and I could almost taste it)
1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup berry jam (optional)
or
12 Hershey Kisses (or any chocolate you like)

Preheat oven to 170C

Make the dough
In a large bowl combine the nut mixtures, and beat well with the cream (start with 1/4 cup) and vanilla with a wooden spoon (or do this in an electric mixer using the paddle attachment). You should have a mixture the consistency of a soft frosting (if it’s too stiff, add the rest of the cream and beat again). Beat in the sugars next. Once all incorporated, mix in the flour until you have soft dough ball.

Form your cookies
Pinch of golfball sized chunks of dough and space them evenly on a lined cookie sheet/baking tray. For the standard cookie, dip a fork into some flour and gently press a criss-cross pattern while slightly flattening out the cookie. These do not spread much so make them about the size you want them to be.

For thumbprint cookies
Roll balls of dough and place evenly spaced on your lined cookie sheet. Using your thumb, create a dent in the top of the cookie. For PB+J cookies, fill this dent with jam. For chocolate cookies, bake first and then while hot, gently push a (unwrapped) Kiss into the dent, the heat from the cookie will melt the chocolate enough to secure it.

Bake cookies for 10 – 14 minutes depending on how soft/crunchy you like them. Rotate your trays if your oven is prone to uneven baking.

Fruit Tingle Birthday Cake (Or: how to make a birthday girl happy)

 

The second cake S-J whipped up recently was an orange Fruit Tingle cake. My absolute favourite lolly made into cake form? YES PLEASE! I helped a bit with the frosting and construction of this one, saying helpful things like MOAR TINGLES! and dancing around with excitement as it grew ever higher. This was my birthday cake, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never love a cake as much as I loved this one.

This cake was perfection in the exact form that it was originally blogged in by the creative and delicious mind of Raspberri Cupcakes and so we copied it fairly word for word, except of course that we are the New Fat Ladies and so therefore it needed MOAR LAYERS and also MOAR TINGLES IN MY MOUTH (and in the frosting). I even liked the way it was simply decorated, because, MOAR CANDY. Too make it even more delightful, the very clever Essie made me some Washi tape bunting and it was so adorable I nearly cried. We made 2.5 x the recipe below to get the giant cake.
Continue reading

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Review: Candied Bakery, Spotswood

This amazing bakery, located in the wild western suburbs of our fair city, has been on our minds for months here at New Fat Ladies HQ. We’d heard tales of crusty bread, creamy apple pie shakes and imaginative sweet pastry treats that tickled our taste buds.

We bundled ourselves into the car with empty bellies and drove the 40 minutes to Candied with only a little bit of bad directioning and an iphone that JUST WOULDN’T LOAD THE MAP to delay us. It was still worth the trip. Think about that for a second.

The bakery is located a stone’s throw from the Spotswood train station, very close to Scienceworks and would make for an excellent day trip of sweets and science!

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Prices are a little on the high side, but for a boutique-style bakery that’s pretty much to be expected. I also didn’t care at all after I put the things in my mouth. SO TASTY.

We tried the following (for science):

– Crispy based Brownie
– Jam Donut
– Chocolate and Marshmallow Cookie
– Pain au Nutella (Nutella Croissant)
– Honey Joy Cheesecake
– Korean Chilli Paste Focaccia
– White Country Loaf
– Coffee
– Coffee Shake

All the sweet treats were met with happy faces and giddy licking of fingers, so I’d say we like them a lot. Look out for a New Fat Ladies rendition of the Honey Joy Cheesecake coming soon. The lamination on the Pain au Nutella had S-J and I making impressed faces at each other for about 5 minutes. We are baking losers you guys, no shame.

Both breads were excellent. I’m a chilli-wuss so none of the focaccia passed my lips, but it looked super tasty and seemed to disappear pretty fast. (SJ: IT WAS SO FREAKING GOOD!) The white loaf was super tasty. Crunchy but not impossible to chew crust, soft interior and was still fresh after 2 days – great for organic bakery bread!

SJ noted that her coffee was a little bitter on first sip, but mellowed as she went on. The coffee shake I had was pretty perfect, an excellent mix of flavours, not too thick and not left with 5 inches of undrinkable froth at the end, lovely and cold and delicious.

If I was to make a recommendation as to what you should get if you pass by Candied? Definitely the Coffee Shake and a chocolate and marshmallow cookie.

We plan to head back again and try out the pies and sausage rolls. Can’t wait!

Opening Hours
Wed-Sat: 7.30am – 4pm
Sun: 8am – 4pm

81a Hudsons Rd
Spotswood, Vic 3015

Ph: 03 9391 1335
Email: hello@candiedbakery.com.au

http://candiedbakery.com.au/

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Put Some More Chocolate on the Chocolate Cake Birthday Cake

Want to know a secret about the New Fat Ladies? We really really really like cake – reading about it, baking it and of course, eating it. We make a lot of cakes, and over the coming months we’ll be sharing at least a few of our favourites from events in our lives, both big and small.

The first is a cake that S-J baked for her beautiful partner’s 30th birthday party. A two tiered rich chocolate cake with lashings of white chocolate frosting, decorated with edible wildflowers from her garden. I was super sad to not be there for the party to eat a slice or three, but now I get to write about the cake and that’s almost as good as getting to eat it, right? Well no, but I’ll talk about my birthday cake in a second, and I definitely got to eat that one!

So let’s get to the recipes. And a couple of tips. Look out for the tips.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake
from FEAST by Nigella Lawson

Some maths will be required to work out how many batches you will need to replicate the number of layers that S-J made or to get to the size that you need (maths that ends in cake is maths worth doing). If you do just one batch as is written below, you will get a lovely cake more suited to 8-10 mouths.

Cake
200gm plain flour
200gm caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
50gm cocoa
175gm butter (softened)
2 large eggs
2 tsps vanilla essense
150ml sour cream

Tip: This cake is best when you make it with ingredients at room temperature, so make sure you remove the butter, eggs and sour cream from the fridge at least 2 hours before baking.

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line your tins.

Add all ingredients to the bowl of your food processor and blend until you have a smooth, thick batter. Pour mixture, split evenly, into your tins.

Place tins in oven and bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Leave to cool for ten minutes on racks, then turn out to cool completely. This cake is super prone to splitting, but you don’t need to worry about that as very soon you’ll cover any unsightly cracks with luscious frosting.

S-J’s White Chocolate Frosting

75gm butter (softened)
180gm white chocolate
500gm icing sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
125ml sour cream1 tsp vanilla extract

To make your frosting, start by boiling a saucepan of water. Reduce the heat to a very low simmer and put a glass or metal bowl on top (you just made a homemade baine marie, go you!), add butter and chocolate to bowl and, once melted, stir to combine. Tip: this bowl will be REALLY HOT, use an oven mitt to move/hold it. Remove bowl and let cool slightly. Add the golden syrup, vanilla and sour cream to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine.

Add the icing sugar into the bowl of the food processor and whizz briefly to remove any lumps. Pour the chocolate mixture into the processor and process until frosting-y. Depending on your climate you may need to add a little more of either sour cream or icing sugar to achieve the right consistency.

Slather the icing on cakes and pile up. S-J decorated this cake with fresh edible flowers from her prolific garden, but it would also be lovely with chocolate curls or fondant decorations.

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Balsamic Cherry Pie

Over the festive season last year I was lucky enough to get to eat (too many) of the most delicious spiced cherries in red wine from  Bruny Island Cheese (club) and I have been chasing that taste ever since.

Cherries are one of the most versatile fruits, great fresh, stewed, jammed, savoury or sweet, and always delicious. For this pie I borrowed the amazing cherry pitter from S-J and took to gutting my cherries with maniacal glee (pro-tip: don’t wear a white shirt while you pit 1kg of cherries, it’s a blood bath). Full disclosure, I have not mastered the pitter and did have to issue a warning to my test-eaters to be on the lookout for stray pits – only 7 were found in the whole pie so that’s about a 95% success rate, I’m calling it a shaky win.

PIE!

Filling:
1 kg cherries
3 tbsps cornstarch
pinch of salt
1/2 cup white sugar (minus 2 tbsp to reserve for sprinkling)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup good quality balsamic vinegar (should be quite syrupy)
1/8 cup orange or lemon juice
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

Pie dough/pastry, enough for a double layer pie
I used Smitten Kitchen’s Pie Dough 101 but did the whole thing in the processor to save my bench top.

Egg Wash:
1 egg, lightly beaten
reserved white sugar

Preheat oven to 200C.

If you make your own dough, ensure that it is chilling in the fridge while you make the filling, if you’re using store bought frozen dough, make sure it’s defrosted in the fridge (needs to be pliable to line the dish).

Pick over your cherries and remove any stems and nasty fruit. Use your pitter (or a knife – be careful!) and remove all pits.

In a large bowl stir together all the pie ingredients except the butter. Mush the cherries a little as you go to release their juices. Enjoy your delightfully pink fingers and attack the cat with them. It’s good if you forget you have cherry fingers and wipe hair out of your face and discover the red smear hours later and give yourself a fright.

Roll out half of the chilled dough between two sheets of bake-paper to about 14-inch round (I never roll things perfectly round, but good luck to you). Ease it into your pie plate – remove one of the sheets of bake paper, flip the dough into the pan and use the edges of the paper to help ease the crust in. Press the base and corners to make sure there are no air bubbles. Trim the edges leaving an overhang of about 2 cm.

Pour the filling into the crust. I like a gooey pie – if you don’t you may like to hold back some of the liquid in the bottom of the bowl. Chop your butter into small cubes, scatter those on top of the filling.

Roll out the remaining dough the same way, cut into 2cm strips and layer half across the pie, leaving 2cm overhang. Take the remaining strips and weave to make the lattice. Fold the overhang under the bottom crust, pressing the edge to seal it, and crimp the edges together. Using a pastry brush, egg wash the pie crust, then sprinkle sugar over the top.

Bake the pie on the middle rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 175C. and bake the pie for another 20 – 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden (if it starts to brown on top too quickly, tent with tin foil and continue baking). Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

I think this pie is about 200% more delicious after a night in the refrigerator and is excellent served with whipped cream and/or vanilla bean ice cream. A lemon zest infused marscapone would also be pretty delish!

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