Sunday, 15 January 2012

A Weekend of Firsts

This weekend, I met macarons and giant cupcakes for the first time.  Both of which I've wanted to make for a while! Macarons because they look gorgeous and chic and giant cupcakes because they simply look fun and enticing.

After watching Lorrine Pascale’s macaron segment recently, I attempted them myself.  Takes a lot of faffing around separating egg whites from the yolks (which I have to admit, I find therapeutic once I get into it) and a careful bake, so I was really impressed with the outcome! Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside - Yummy.  I’ve never tried macarons before, but I’m sure that this is how they’re meant to turn out, from various bits of homework I’ve done.  The crispy layer is achieved by letting the mixture stand on the baking tray for 30 minutes before you bake them.  I have to say that I’ve never tasted anything like it.  They’re definitely for people with serious sweet teeth and who can appreciate Parisian chic treats.   I can’t wait to bake these again!

Giant cupcakes have the wow factor and look so pretty.  I learned today that you’ve got to be so careful when baking them as the base and top allows for different cooking times.  This is why I bought the silicone mould as they are separate pieces, unlike the metal moulds.  It took about 1 hour and 30 minutes to bake and required a bit of trimming to get it level enough to sit on top of each other.  Me and Joe ate the off cuts – yum!  I really enjoyed icing it as I wanted to use specific icing techniques, but could be quite random with it.  I’d definitely make them again to experiment with different cake recipes.

Bakeware Haul

 Take a look at my shopping spree!

TK Maxx could be my favourite place.  It’s amazing for bakeware, PME fondant cutters and sold at really reasonable prices.  I’m impressed every time I go there.  Joe was impressed too, as he bought a particularly sleek knife set to replace our old cheap set.  Now, I know we can’t get excited about knives, but I promise that these are really cool! – They’re ‘pointless’ and stand in a transparent block.

I bought the pastry cutters, flower cutters and pastry brush from Atkinsons in Sheffield.  A great, local store that seems to have every staple you’d need.

The fluted flan tin is to quench my need to make a Tarte Au Citron, Mary Berry style.  I’ve been studying the Great British Bake Off book and Mary Berry’s Baking Bible of late and I’m really excited to try the classic, yet difficult to master recipes!

Next things on my ‘to buy’ list is a 1 lb and 2 lb loaf tin.  Chocolate and banana loaf here I come!

My Christmas Present

I just want to take this time to gush over my Kenwood KMix I bought from John Lewis...

How gorgeous and sleek is that? It’s very aesthetically pleasing.

I bought this as an early Christmas present to myself at the start of December, after debating the KMix and Kitchen Aid. Two very similar products but with about £200 difference! I would say that Kitchen Aid are like Apple in the sense that they can charge a premium purely for the image.

I’m most pleased with my purchase and it’s definitely made my baking life a lot easier! It’s a pleasure being able to set the mixer going, potter around, then go back to it and it’ll be mixed! An excellent product and would recommend to everyone out there.  Well worth the £230 price tag.