Heart Cookies For Valentine’s Day

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Who said that Valentine’s Day has to be all about red flowers, red cookies, red hearts, etc …etc…? Actually red is one of my favourite colours, and as much as I love it when it comes to decorate cakes and cookies with red fondant, I’m not to keen on doing it, so I am avoiding it if possible. So here comes pink again!

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I used the same white chocolate cookie recipe which I used for the Christmas Cookies, so you can find the recipe under that post. I baked these heart shape cookies about 2 weeks ago. Actually we were baking with my daughter and my son, they were making cookies for themselves, and I only made these few big hearts and put them away in a box undecorated.

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Have a nice cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows and Happy Valentine’s Day Folks! 🙂

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Little Jars of Heaven – Strawberry and Chocolate Cakes in Jars

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Not much to say here really…leftover chocolate cake crumbles + fresh strawberries + double cream and whatever little jars. Could be baby food jars or yogurt jars.

 

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I had the cake in my freezer, left from the Christmas chocolate cake. First I put the cake in a bowl, I let to defrost then I add 2 spoon of cream, to make it a little moist. I evenly divided a layer of cake in the jars, then put the diced strawberries, more cake, finally the whipped cream.

To make the whipped cream a bit more special, I add 2 teaspoon of icing sugar and 2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

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Orange and Poppy Seed Cupcakes

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My inspiration for this cupcake was found in the January issue of Tesco Food Family Living, which is a free food magazine and I usually grab a copy on the way out of the store. Although I used  a few elements from this recipe, it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, so I searched the net for more recipes in the subject. I came across to Food Network and I found Zesty Orange and Poppy Seed Cake made by Andy Bates. So, I took those two recipes, combined them, left some elements out, added some new ideas and here we are 🙂

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Both recipes need a syrup. You either make it yourself or use Golden Syrup for this purpose, but eventually I used a special syrup which is originally something to add an extra flavour to your coffee. It’s called Le Sirop de Monin – Vanilla  and it worked perfectly!

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Ingredients:

-3 big oranges (+ for decoration)

-2 eggs

-250 g brown sugar

-1 tsp baking powder

-100 g poppy seeds

-290 g ground almonds

-10 g melted butter

-about 100 ml syrup (Golden Syrup will be just fine)

-2 cardamom pods

-pinch of salt

 

Place the 2 oranges in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil then simmer for 30 minutes or until gets softer. Transfer them in cold water to cool down. After cooling cut the oranges in chunks and put it in a food processor to chop the oranges in small pieces. The final result should be watery from the orange juice but also chunky from the orange peels. 

Preheat your oven. Line your cupcake tray with the baking cases. Mix the poppy seeds with the almond, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Beat the eggs and brown sugar in a mixing bowl with your electric mixer until light and thickened for 4-5 minutes. Add the melted butter. Gently fold in the almond/poppy seeds mixture then add orange pulp.

Pour the mixture (or use a tablespoon) into the cupcake cases, smooth over the top and bake on the middle shelf on the oven for about 20-25 minutes until golden and a fine skewer poked in the middle comes out clean. Remove, leave in the tin to cool for 10 minutes then place them out onto a wire rack.

While baking, cut the remaining orange in half and squeeze out the juice. Put the syrup, the cardamom pods and the orange juice in a pan, bring it to boil. Poke the cupcakes in several places with the skewer and pour a tablespoon of warm syrup on each cupcake. Then leave it to cool completely.

Beat about 300 ml double cream with a tablespoon of icing sugar and carefully add few spoons of the cool leftover syrup. This was a last minute idea and was happy with the outcome, because the whipped cream had a distinctive, not too strong orange and cardamom flavour. The cake was really good too, much better than I anticipated, so I will definitely make this again.

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I thought why not make few poppy flowers from fondant! As you can see they don’t look too glamorous….Unfortunately my red fondant is not of a very good quality and soon after I place the decoration on cream it starts to melt. Every time! And only the red fondant. Why does it happen it’s beyond me. As much as I like the red colour, I don’t like to decorate my cupcakes with it, because the result can have a catastrophic end…

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