Monday, 23 August 2010

Hello Everyone!


Just wanted to let you all know that I'm on a little holiday at the moment, but I've got a few blog posts that are close to being ready to post.  Made With Pink will be back soon, so please check back in the next day or so. I haven't forgotten about you all, so I hope you haven't forgot about me!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

You Asked For S'more, I'll Give You S'more!


See those S'mores?  They look pretty good don't they? They're made with graham crackers (like most s'mores are).  And if you read my previous smores post then I know what your thinking - hold on a second, they don't have graham crackers in the UK.  Well, your right - we don't.  But we do have whole wheat flour, butter, milk and sugar.  That's pretty much all you need to make your own homemade graham crackers!  I'll say it again. Homemade graham crackers!! Yeah, I know - I'm sooo domestic.  Well, ok - not really, but I like to make people think I am.  

You see, my s'more craving wasn't totally satisfied when I made those s'mors bars a while ago.  I wanted the real thing.  I could have waited until I got to North America to pick up a box of graham crackers, but I had an idea.  An idea that required graham crackers (digestive biscuits would not work as a substitute this time).  But the graham crackers I needed were not your typical graham crackers.  I needed mini graham crackers, and I'm pretty sure they don't even exist in North America.  The only solution was to make my own! 

But why did I need mini graham crackers?  Well because that picture of the smores above isn't really what you think it is.  Yes, they're s'mores alright - they look like smores, they taste like smores, but they're not your regular s'more.  

Ladies and gentlemen - I present to you: The S'mores Pop!!!  


Just imagine - these s'mores pops look like what a real smore would look like if you roasted the marshmallow over a camp fire, sandwiched it in between 2 graham crackers, but never bothered to take the marshmallow off the stick.


To make these s'mores pops you'll need some mini graham crackers (recipe below), Wilton Candy Melts and some marshmallows.  Place the mini graham crackers top down on a baking sheet, then add a chocolate Wilton Candy Melt and 1/3 of a large marshmallow. 


Bake the s'mores (as shown above) in an oven until the marshmallow begins to brown.  Then take a lollipop stick and push it into the middle of the marshmallow so that you puncture the top.  Twist the stick in the gooey center of the marshmallow and then lay the stick flat before topping with another graham cracker.  Set them aside to cool for a few minutes and that's it!



Honey Graham Crackers


1 cup (120g) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (60g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (55g) butter, softened
1/4 cup (55g) packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (60ml) milk

1/4 cup (55g) white sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. Sift together both of the flours, baking powder and baking soda, and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar and honey together until light and fluffy. Stir in the sifted ingredients alternating with the milk and vanilla. Cover the dough and refrigerate overnight.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Divide the chilled dough into quarters. On a floured sheet of parchment paper, roll the dough out one quarter at a time (approx 3mm). Cut the dough into small rectangles using a knife. Place rectangles onto ungreased (or parchment papered) cookie sheets. Make a line down the center of each one, and prick with a fork to make the holes. In a small dish combine the white sugar & cinnamon, then sprinkle the tops of the crackers with the cinnamon sugar mixture before baking.

4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the size of your crackers) in the preheated oven. Crackers should be dark brown, but not burnt. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.


Monday, 9 August 2010

It's Official!


You may have wondered why I wasn't able to post much last week.  I told you that I had been really busy with something, but I didn't tell you what.  It's not anything really crazy or terribly exciting - well for you at least.  No, I haven't been invited on the Martha Stewart show or signed a cook book deal.  Nothing that exciting.  Want to know what I was doing?  I was studying! Yeah, whoop dee do right?  But I haven't told you why and what I was studying!  I was studying loads of random facts about life in the UK.  Why, you ask - well because I was 3 days away from being deported, that's why!!!  You see, when I moved to the UK a few weeks after my husband and I got married I came here with a 2 year spousal visa, and my 2 years was very close to running out! In order to stay in the UK permanently I needed to apply for permanent residency, and in order to apply for permanent residency I had to wait until the final 28 days of my visa running out!  To make a long story short, in order to to get become a permanent resident in the UK you need to take the "Life in the UK" test.  The test consists of 24 multiple choice questions on some of the most obscure and random facts about the UK you could ever think of.  I had to  study 6 chapters filled with information on topics such as the Government & politics, UK population, employment, etc. I probably had about 150 different flash cards I made up to study from, and had read each chapter 3 times.  Needless to say  I passed the test, which was great because if I didn't I would likely have had to go back to Canada for a period of time before returning to the UK to get an extension on my visa and take the test again.  After passing the test I was able to apply to become a permanent UK resident which means I can now leave and come into the UK as I please.  So after a week of studying and forking out over £1100 ($1750 US) I now have a sticker in my passport that says I'm officially a resident of the UK!  Yay!


So to celebrate me becoming a permanent UK resident, I decided to make some very special sugar cookies!  Some Union Jack and St. George's Cross (England's Flag) cookies!  And because I LOVE anything pretty and sparkly, I had to cover them in edible glitter!!!  I used the sugar cookies recipe below, but I didn't use all the cookie dough for these - I only made a few flag cookies, and I used the rest of the cookie dough for something else you'll see soon.  You'll have to check back later to see what else I made! 


Sugar Cookies

3/4 cup (170g) butter, softened
1 cup (200g) white sugar
1/2 cup (60g) icing sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 (280g) cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, icing sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for 3 hours (or overnight).

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). On a sheet of parchment paper dusted with powdered sugar, roll the cold dough out so that it's 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters, and remove excess dough, leaving the shapes on the parchment paper.  Place the parchment sheet with cookies into the fridge for 20 mins before putting them into the oven.  (This helps the cookies hold their shape).

3. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

** I find that this cookie dough is often very sticky and requires more flour than what is called for.  I usually have to add in another 1/2 - 1 cup of flour. It helps to roll the cookies out in between 2 sheets of parchment paper, using the bottom sheet as the same sheet that you bake the cookies on. This saves you the hassle of having to move the cookie dough shapes from the paper to the cookie sheet which can often cause the cookie dough shapes to change slightly.  I also use icing sugar in place of flour when I'm rolling out my dough. 


And here's something for my UK readers!  Below is  a sample of a the questions that  you may be asked if you went to take the Life in the UK test.  Do you know the answers?

An adult person receiving unemployment benefit should join New Deal programme if he/she has been unemployed for




What percentage of children lives with both birth parents?




After the Second World War where did British textile and engineering firms send agents to find workers?

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Chocolate Chip Flake Cookies


If you live in the UK you're probably pretty familiar with the Flake bar.  It's just one of those classic British chocolate bars that everyone here grew up with.  It's also one of those chocolate bars you have to bring back home for all your North American friends when you go back for a visit.  For those of you who don't know what a Flake bar is, it's a totally unique chocolate bar that's sold here in the UK ( as well as New Zealand, Australia & South Africa).  It looks almost like a bunch of chocolate ribbons piled on top of each other.  It's really quite pretty to look at.  But like the name suggests - when you bite into it, those little ribbons break apart and you're left with a pile of little chocolate flakes down the front of your shirt!  I know - kind of annoying right?  Well fear not!  Cadbury has a solution for that.  They also sell the Twirl bar which is basically a chocolate covered Flake bar, so when you bite into it you don't get those annoying little chocolate flakes! I've also noticed that they've just released a chocolate dipped Flake bar - but wouldn't that then be equivalent to a Twirl? Except that Twirls are sold in a double pack kinda like Twix bars, and the chocolate covered Flakes are sold singly. Hmmm.

Since the Flake bar is a UK classic, I wanted to combine it with another classic.  An American classic.  The chocolate chip cookie!  It's kinda hard to imagine life without the chocolate chip cookie. You may find this hard to believe, but the Flake bar has actually been around longer than the chocolate chip cookie has!  But isn't the world so much better off because of both?  So what better way to celebrate these 2 classics than to combine them into one delicious cookie!  Yeah, that's right it's a chocolate chip cookie with a Flake bar inside!  YUM! 


Now in order to make these cookies you'll obviously need some Flake bars, but please don't use the regular sized Flake bars - unless you want foot long "monster" cookies!  Instead you'll have to use a smaller version known as the "Flake 99".  I have no idea why it's called the Flake 99, and it seems like Cadbury doesn't either.  It's a mystery.  Flake 99's are specifically made to use on top of ice cream cones and sundaes (remember my ice cream cone cupcakes?).  They're about half the size of a normal Flake bar, and come in boxes of 16.  Here in the UK you can find them in the same aisle as the ice cream cones and dessert sauces.

These cookies are super easy to make.  Just take some chocolate chip cookie dough, flatten it into a round disc, lay the flake bar across the cookie dough and then wrap the dough around the Flake bar.  They'll end up looking kinda dodgy, but once you bake them they'll look more like the cookies your used to.  




Here's what they look like once they're done!  As this cookie baked, it just happened to leave a little hole, so you could see directly into the cookie.  See the pretty chocolate ribbons of the flake bar inside!  The cookies are chilled before they are baked so the Flake bar stays in tact and is protected from the heat because the heat only reaches cold cookie dough


Chocolate Chip Flake Cookies 
 
4 ¼ cups (560g) all-purpose flour  
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda  
1 teaspoon salt  
1 ½ cups (340g) butter softened  
1 ¼ cups (280g) sugar
1 ¼ cups (300g) firmly packed brown sugar  
2 Eggs  
1 tablespoon vanilla 
2 cups (340g) chocolate chips  
32 Flake 99 bars (you could probably cut regular Flake bars in half, but then you'd need 64!)

1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl and set aside.  

2. In a large bowl combine the softened butter, sugar and brown sugar. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Reduce speed to low. Beat, gradually adding flour mixture, until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.  

3. Take approx 65 grams of the cookie dough, roll it into a ball and then flatten into a disk so it's about the same width as the mini Flake bars are in length.  Lay the Flake bar in the center of the cookie dough, and bring the edges of the dough up so that it wraps around the Flake bar.  Continue to mould the dough around the Flake bar so it's completely covered.  Give it a good squeeze to ensure the dough is stuck to the Flake.  After you've done this to all of the cookies, lay them on a ungreased cookie sheet and pop them in fridge for an hour or so.
 
4. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).  Take your chilled "cookie logs" out of the fridge and ensure they're evenly spaced apart on the cookie sheet.  They'll expand an inch or so when cooking, so make sure you leave enough room!  Bake the cookies for 12 minutes or until light golden brown. (DO NOT OVERBAKE.)  Let them stand for a few minutes on the cookie sheets before moving them to a wire cooling rack. 

If you live in the US you can buy the regular sized Flake bars here. Alternatively, if you don't want to include the Flake bars inside the cookies, this recipe (which I adapted from the Land' O Lakes recipe) still makes REALLY GOOD chocolate chip cookies 

** Jessica from the Messie Kitchen hasn't been able to blog as much as she wanted to the past few weeks, so she was looking for some guest bloggers.  She decided to use this recipe as one of her guest blogs. You can find it on her website here.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

It's been a while!

I realize it's been longer than usual since my last post, but I've been super busy this week (you'll find out why very soon!).  Saturday's are usually my baking days, but yesterday my husband and I decided to be "tourists in our own town" and hopped on one of those open air double decker buses and spent the day riding around London seeing the sites.  This  really is a great way to see all the different areas of London without having to battle all of the people on the over crowded sidewalks. Oh yeah, we took our little Yorkie "Roxy" with us as well.  She LOVED watching all the people down on the ground below, and having the wind blowing in her face as the bus drove along.  So because we did that yesterday I did my baking today, and I've made something really yummy to share with you all (3 things actually!).  I'll post them very soon, but until then I'll leave you with a few snap shots from our bus tour yesterday.


Those of you who follow me on Twitter may recognize this super cute picture of Roxy looking out of the bus that I took with my blackberry.


On another note - I've just added the option to follow Made With Pink on Blogger to the right, so if you enjoy my blog please follow me!
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