The children and I decided to try to make the “Christmas wreaths” on Saturday morning. These are essentially marshmallow treats except with cornflakes instead of Rice Krispies. We made zero attempts to create wreaths as I have no idea how you manipulate the crunchy gloop before it becomes impossibly sticky. It also didn’t help that Keiki accidentally dumped out the entire tube of sprinkles on the first blob I put down on the baking parchment. There was a delay whilst we salvaged as many as we could from the kitchen counter. By then the marshmallow gloop had partially set.

It didn’t matter what they looked like anyway. We made twelve of them at 10:30. They had set by 12:30.

There were three left at 15:00, in spite of the bloke declaring that they were a little too sweet for him. (He ate three.) Photographic evidence of the remainder is below. Keiki's sprinkle-bonanza treat is the one on the lower right, in case that wasn't obvious.
Marshmallow_cornflake_treats_sq

We then revisited the chocolate biscuit recipe from the bloke’s birthday. Because they were just that tasty. Hopefully those will keep us all in good spirits this week.
nanila: little and wicked (mizuno: lil naughty)
( Feb. 15th, 2017 05:19 pm)
Today is Very Important Day. Today is Bloke's Birthday. And hence, there has been BAKING. Behold!

Star cookies (from the dough reserved at the weekend)
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That most American of treats, pecan pie (with toasted almonds, because I didn't have enough pecans, ho hum)
Pies, we made PIES!

And choccy biccies. Huzzah!
Choccy biccies
On Saturday I went back to an old favourite: Nigella’s Gold Dust Cookies. Which, I have to admit, I never make with the edible gold dust. It’s a great dough for cutting into shapes. And they taste great, as long as you halve the amount of vanilla in them. I find this is a rule of thumb with Nigella’s recipes from this era of her cookbooks.

Anyway, I made up the dough quickly on Saturday and wrapped it in clingfilm to chill. After the discomfiting events of Sunday, we baked them. I put both children on the our kitchen peninsula. We floured the work surface, rolled out the dough and they plied the cutters. Humuhumu made very nice hearts and ghosts. Keiki made wonky pumpkins and circles.

I’ve reserved half the dough so we can make more cookies on Wednesday for a Special Occasion.
I did a lot more baking than I'd intended this weekend. Saturday morning we did Parkrun, then came home and made pancakes & French toast for brunch for some friends. In the afternoon, the pre-schooler and I set to work making cupcakes. I have this delightful cupcake recipe book, Lily Vanilli: A Zombie Ate My Cupcake, which was given to me a few Christmases ago by sister-out-law. We've only once made one of the recipes in full - the meringue ghost cupcakes for Humuhumu's birthday, and that's when we learnt that the base recipes for the cupcakes and the icing are really good just on their own. The fancy ghoulish decorations are fun, but unnecessary.

We decided to make the pecan, cinnamon & nutmeg cupcakes and the vanilla icing. Humuhumu helped with the measuring and the pouring but lost interest while they baked in the oven. When we finally got to the icing stage, I didn't bother calling her back and started doing the icing and the sprinkles. My parents rang after I'd completed decorating three of the 18 cupcakes and I stepped away from the kitchen to take their call. I walked back in to find Humuhumu expertly applying both icing and sprinkles to the remaining cupcakes.

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[Photo: Humuhumu puts sprinkles on a freshly iced cupcake. There is cauliflower cheese baking in the oven behind her.]

I should note that today there are eight cupcakes left so I'm not expecting them to last more than 72 hours.

One thing I knew about Lily Vanilli's recipes but had somehow managed to forget was that her icing recipes make about double the amount of icing one can reasonably put on a single batch of her cupcakes. Either I should have halved the recipe or made 36 cupcakes. There was a lot of extra icing, which I was determined not to waste.

On Sunday morning, the bloke took the children to gymnastics and I scanned through my Nigella Christmas cookbook for a cake recipe. I settled on the sticky gingerbread, which is fancier than the ginger cake I normally make though still pretty easy, and is listed as "icing optional". The recipe is vague on length of time required in the oven - 45 to 60 minutes seems a rather wide temperature range. I took a punt on it and left it in for 52 minutes at 150 degrees C (fan on) and that turned out perfectly. After it cooled, I poured the remaining vanilla icing over it and we had slices of it at tea time. It was hoovered up by everyone and we have agreed that it is one we will definitely make again.
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