Welcome to Mrs Monkei's blog! I hope you will join me in my baking and crafting adventures. Please say hi to me while you're here, visit my shop at madeit, or find Mrs Monkei Jewellery on facebook.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Buttercream Frosting Truffles

I don't know about you, but when I've made cupcakes I always find that I've either made not enough frosting or WAY too much. A while ago I made these Malteser cupcakes for my husband's boss as a bon voyage present, on her last day at work before heading to Italy on holiday.
I ended up with at least a third of my frosting leftover, so decided to turn it into truffles.

This is a fiddly, time consuming but super easy way to use up buttercream!
I'll include the recipe I used for the buttercream, it will ice 20 cupcakes and still have heaps leftover for truffles but you can use any leftover buttercream.

Vanilla Malt Buttercream Truffles
250g butter, softened
2.5 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons malt powder, or alter to taste (I use Nestle)
Approx 200g Milk chocolate melts/cooking chocolate

- Refrigerate leftover buttercream for at least a few hours/overnight until hard.
- Using a teaspoon to portion it out, roll the buttercream into balls and place on to a cookie tray which has been lined with baking paper. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Melt the chocolate as per directions.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Jam Donut Muffins

In my quest to avoid paying attention to the AFL grand final this year, I have been baking. Although I did receive 2 new cook books in the mail over the past 3 weeks (it's an addiction paid for by my jewellery!), I couldnt help but make some old favourites from my many hours spent trawling food blogs for ideas.

First up, Jam Donut Muffins! Or actually, Jam Doughnut Muffins. I'm yet to understand the difference, Google tells me there isn't any so I'm going with what I know.

This is such an easy one bowl recipe. All the ingedients in:
 Dollop some jam on a bit of the mixture - I went with nutella, jam and lemon curd for variety.
 And then cover it over with some more mixture.
They bake up beautifully, and finish off well with some melted butter and cinnamon sugar.
What I like about these is they give you a donutty (new word) type snack but minus the deep fryer, and they are SO easy to put together.
I like to put different fillings in them, I made a double batch today with lemon curd for my lemon crazy Mum, as well as nutella in some for me and raspberry jam for hubby.
The innards of a nutella muffin. At its most perfect when still warm.
Jam Donut/Doughnut Muffins
From: Nigella
1 1/3 cups self raising flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup milk
7 tablespoons of  vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 teaspoons strawberry jam/nutella/apricot jam/whatever you like!

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

- Preheat oven 180 celcius
- With a fork, beat together the milk, oil, egg and vanilla.
- Stir this into the flour and 1/3 cup sugar to combine. Don't overbeat, a few lumps are fine.
- Spoon mixture into muffin cups so just under 1/3 full.
- Add a teaspoon of jam into the center of the cup, and then more muffin mix so just about full.
- Bake 20 minutes or until the tops of the muffins spring back when pressed lightly. Remove from oven.

- Melt butter in a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon on a small plate.
- Whilst still warm, take muffins out of cups (I leave them in as it's less messy to give them to people), roll in butter and then sugar. Eat warm (or warm briefly in microwave later!)

Friday, 12 October 2012

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Okay so here's an admission, I'm cook book addicted. Every time I see a special on at the supermarket - you know, one of those 'buy 3 of a particular brand, get this cook book free' type ones, I'm there with a shopping basket full of choc chips.
This recipe is from my latest "free" cook book acquisition, "Australia's Sweet Baking Favourites" by Nestle. It's the second similar book by Nestle I've picked up in the same manner this year, but it has a coconut cherry slice in it which I'm dying to make. I am pretty sure it's the same as one I found on the back of a milk melts packet as a child! I'll report back on that one, but in the meantime, here are some brownies!
Again, super easy recipe. Melt the butter, chocolate and sugar..
 Stir in flour, eggs and choc chips and put into greased, lined pan!
 Cool, slice, and eat. They are incredibly rich, you won't want big pieces!
Triple Chocolate Brownies
From: "Australia's Sweet Baking Favourites" by Nestle.
125g butter, chopped
1 1/3 cups/200g dark cooking chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1 cup/190g white choc chips
1 cup/190g milk choc chips

1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan forced. Grease and line a 19cm square cake pan.
2. Combine butter, dark cooking chocolate and sugar in a large saucepan, stir over low heat until melted. Allow to cool 10 minutes (I suggest longer, as my choc chips started to melt when mixed in!)
3. Stir in eggs, flour and choc chips. Spoon mixture into prepared pan and smooth the top.
4. Bake 25 minutes or until mixture is just firm to touch. Cool in pan. Turn out and cut into squares to serve. (Lesson learned by me - make sure that the brownies are definitely cool, I was impatient and ended up with broken up brownies rather than beautifully sliced ones!!)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Brown Butter Blondies With Brown Sugar

Brownies are incredibly popular and SO easy to make, I don't know of anyone who doesn't know what a brownie is, or how delicious they are.

However, I hadn't heard of blondies until I became addicted to baking blogs in 2009, while I was living in England with lots of time to kill during cold wintery days. Turns out they are pretty tasty as well.
This particular blondie uses brown butter, or basically butter which has been simmered in a pan until it turns golden in colour. It adds a slightly deeper taste to the blondies and really works well with the brown sugar in this recipe.

The best bit about these is that the mix ins can be easily changed to your preference. I'm not a nut love but I'm sure macadamias and white chocolate would be amazing!
Just out of the oven - perfect.
 Check out the chunks of white chocolate. Yum.

Brown Butter Blondies with Brown Sugar
From: Chocolatesuze
200g unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon bi-carb soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain flour
Add ins, such as choc chips, nuts etc. I used roughly 1/2 cup each of white chocolate and caramel choc chips.

- Preheat oven to 175 degrees celcius, grease and line a slice tin or brownie pan.
- Cube butter. Melt in a saucepan over medium heat, swirling in the pan. When the butter turns a golden colour, remove from the heat.
- Add butter to the brown sugar in a bowl and beat together.
- Add egg and vanilla, mix.
- Sift flour, baking powder, bi-carb and salt and stir into butter mixture until just combined.
- Stir through your mix-ins.
- Cook for 15-20 mins. Will still be a little bit wobbly in the middle when done.
- Remove from oven, cool completely in tin before removing and slicing.
Let me know how yours were, which mix-ins worked well for you?

Friday, 28 September 2012

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

 I felt like I needed a break from the dreary winter weather recently, and with strawberries on special at the local Coles, why not use them for some summery cupcakes?
These are beautiful moist vanilla cupcakes, studded throughout with fresh strawberries.
And what better to top them with than strawberry whipped cream?

 This cream is super easy to make, it's simply a case of whipping a cup of cream, and adding some sugar to sweeten it up. Then grab your food processor (I have a tupperware happy chopper that I use!) to mush up half a punnet or so of strawberries. Mix it all together and you have a bowl of AWESOMENESS that you will want to polish off with a spoon before your cupcakes have cooled!

Next time you need to be reminded of warmer weather, definitely make these!

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes
125g butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh strawberries

- Preheat oven to 180 celcius, line cupcake pan with liners
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy
- Add eggs and vanilla until well combined
- Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a seperate bowl
- Add flour mixture into the butter mix in 3 batches, alternating with the milk.
- Fold in strawberries

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full, bake for 15-20 minutes

Strawberry Whipped Cream
1 cup of thickened cream
1/3 cup of sugar
4 tablespoons of mushed up strawberries (roughly chop a handful of strawberries and then blend until mushy - I use a tupperware happy chopper!)

- Whip the cream with a handheld mixer/stand mixer until it resembles whipped cream
- Mix in the sugar until dissolved
- Mix in the strawberries until just combined

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Malteser Cupcakes

My Mr's boss is going on holiday, and her last day is tomorrow. Being the nice guy that he is, he asked me to make her some cupcakes as a farewell present. Gives me something to do while I'm on leave from work and feeling the grip of boredom!

His boss requested something Malteser related. Who doesn't love Maltesers?!

I tried putting Maltesers in the cupcakes themselves before baking first. This wasn't too successful, and to be honest I didn't think it would be. Instead I opted to use a well tested chocolate cupcake recipe and a vanilla malt butter cream frosting.

The butter cream is easy to put together and super malty. This is easily rectified by changing the amount of malt to taste. I recommend you add it one tablespoon at a time and make sure you do lots of taste testing!!

All ready to go to work with hubby tomorrow. Hope the boss likes them!

 Malteser Cupcakes
The Chocolate Cupcakes - from this post (obviously minus the oreos!)

The Frosting: Vanilla Malt Buttercream
250g butter, softened
2.5 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons malt powder, or alter to taste (I use Nestle)

- Cream butter and sugar together using a hand held mixer/stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Start on low until the icing sugar is incorporated and then mix on high for 3 minutes. Will be very fluffy.
- Add vanilla and malt and beat again for another minute.

Top cupcakes with a Malteser and enjoy!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Pancakes !!

I start a new job today. Well, the same job but at a different place. I'm nervous but happy that I don't start until 11am. Lovely chance to sleep in and enjoy a cheeky pancake breakfast with Mr!
I never managed to master pancakes until I came across this recipe, it's fluffy but thick enough so that it doesnt spread too far in the pan. It has a lot to do with the use of malt powder in the recipe rather than sugar.
This is now my go-to pancake recipe.

  The mix after being rested
 Just a small tip for those who are nervous around frying pancakes - only flip them over once you can see little bubbles popping on the surface as below. I have killed many a pancake learning this lesson!!
 This is what you get after flipping them over - perfect!

Simply Perfect Pancakes
from King Arthur Flour
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
3 Tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar or 1/4 cup malt powder

- Beat eggs and milk with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes at high speed
- Stir in butter/vegetable oil
- Whisk dry ingredients together and mix into liquid mixture quickly and gently
- Rest for at least 15 minutes
- Grease pan and drop 1/4 cupfuls of mixture in at a time to fry, flip over when bubbles appear on the top

- After dropping the mix in to the pan, a sprinkle of blueberries on the top is a delicious addition. If using frozen berries, be sure to thaw them first. - I've done this and it's YUM!
- A grated apple added to the mix will keep the pancakes moist to be eaten later - I haven't tried this but intend to!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Oreo Cupcakes

I'm off to see a lovely friend and her son today, and it's my turn to bring dessert. Apparently her boy is a cupcake fan, so this is a perfect opportunity to make some of the yummiest cuppies out there - Oreo cupcakes!
I've tried a few different Oreo cupcake recipes over time, mostly vanilla cake with chopped up Oreos mixed through which is very yummy. This one is different as the cake mix itself is very chocolatey. I'm not generally a fan of chocolate cake, but this is an exception. It's moist and rich without being crazy sweet.
The recipe comes from Bakerella, a blog I lurk at on a regular basis. Her photography is gorgeous and makes me want to upgrade my brand new camera!

Having made this recipe a couple of times with massive success, of course the Oreos rose to the top in pretty much every cuppy this time when I want to take photos! They still taste awesome. (I've just re-read Bakerella's recipe and hers did the same thing, I suddenly feel better!!)

A whole Oreo in the bottom of the pan - these have to be good!
 This is so easy - mix it all up.
 Stick it in a jug and simply pour it into the cups!
 Ready to go
 And as if scripted, every Oreo rose to the top - except the top left, look at that one!! I was especially impressed by the lava-like explosion on the far right in the middle row.

Oreo Cupcakes
From Bakerella
Makes at least 12 cupcakes (I always get around 20!)
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup hot water
2 x packets of Oreo biscuits

- Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
- Line cupcake tin with baking cups
- Place one whole cookie in each cup, or alternatively break apart at least 12 cookies and place the broken pieces in each cup.
- Mix the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bown using a wire whisk (I have a kitchenaid which is effectively cheating!)
- Add the eggs, oil, vanilla and milk and mix well until thoroughly combined. Add the hot water and mix until combined.
- Transfer the batter, which will be very liquidy, to a large measuring cup and pour batter into each baking cup so that it's about three quarters full.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes
- Cool, frost with your favourite frosting (I went with a vanilla buttercream as I think chocolate may have been a bit of an overload!)
Ready to go - hope they like them!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Triple Chocolate Muffins

It's my last day on the couch relaxing before going back to work tomorrow. I had an order to post so thought I'd head to the shops while I was out - and came across the new Nestle Caramel Chocolate Bits. This was a little too exciting for me as a caramel lover, so naturally I came home with a bag of them. As I'm still in lazy couch potato mode, I thought I'd try them out with an easy favourite, Triple Chocolate Muffins.

This recipe is SO easy, but extremely yum. The vegetable oil serves to make them nice and moist, and buttermilk is always a star ingredient in any baked good!

Sift flour and cocoa, add sugar and choc bits in a bowl.
 Put eggs, oil and buttermilk in a jug.
 Mix them together!
I use a regular cupcake tin rather than a muffin pan as the muffins are so rich, I feel that muffin sized they'd be a little too much. Ready to go in the oven!
Out of the oven 20 minutes later, looking good enough to eat already..
 But adding a white chocolate melt to the top makes them that little more impressive to look at, and you can never have too much chocolate in a triple choc muffin anyway!
All melted 2 mins later and looking good!

Triple Choc Muffins - from Women's Weekly Easy Baking
Makes 12 (I got 20 by using a regular cupcake tin)
1 3/4 cups self raising flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup dark choc bits (I used milk chocolate chips)
1/2 cup white choc bits (I used caramel chips)
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
White chocolate melts, for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 200c. Line 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
2. Sift flous and cocoa into large bowl, stir in sugar and choc bits. Stir in combined eggs, buttermilk and oil. Do not over mix, mixture should be lumpy.
3. Divide mixture into paper cases. Bake muffins 20 minutes, remove from oven. Top each muffin with a white chocolate melt, return to oven and bake a further 2 minutes.
4. Stand muffins in pan 5 minutes before removing to cool fully on wire rack.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Mushroom and Bacon Risotto - Pressure Cooker

Whilst baking is my true love, I do enjoy cooking a good main meal and seeing it be enjoyed by those I've cooked for. In the case of this risotto, I am the only one who I get to see enjoy it. My husband dislikes risotto in general.
Yeah, he's crazy, but I get to eat more risotto!

I was talked into buying a 5 in 1 multi cooker by a coworker a few months ago. I don't usually go with this sort of thing myself, but as my slow cooker was dying anyway and I'd seen the amazing results she had with the one at work, I took the plunge and spent $160 on one. I LOVE IT!
I've made soups, casseroles and now this risotto so far and it makes preparing a meal so easy. Love, love, love it. The best thing about it is the "brown" function, meaning that I can fry or saute meats and vegies before turning it onto slow cook or pressure cook - a real one pot meal. Too easy.

My new toy - don't you just love my Mario fridge magnet?
This recipe uses the pressure cooker setting, and the end result is the lightest, fluffiest risotto I've ever made. I know this can be done the old fashioned way but my stove top risottos have always come out far too stodgy, and it's so time consuming!

A close up of the buttons - I'm yet to try the steam option but apparently you can steam rice in this too.
 Using the above pictured brown function, fry up bacon, onion and garlic
 Add rice, mushrooms and stock - and it looks like a floaty mushroom soup...
 But after only 7 minutes with the Pressure Cook option on high - we have risotto!
I had to press brown again to cook off the extra liquid, this is the first time that it's been necessary.
 Finished result, YUM. Ignore the oddly painted thumbnail!
Mushroom Risotto - From the book that came with my cooker! 
My changes are in italics
60ml olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
8 rashers of shortcut bacon (this is my addition, but it does take away the vegetarian aspect of the dish)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
600ml chicken stock
300g arborio rice
200ml dry white wine (I omit this and just substitute more chicken stock, yet to try it with wine)
200g mushrooms (any type) thinly sliced
100g fresh parsley
200g fresh grated parmesan cheese (I probably only use half this amount as it is so strong)
salt and pepper
1. Using the brown function or a saucepan, saute the onion, bacon and garlic in the oil until cooked - about 5 minutes. Add arborio rice and mix in to cover the rice with residual oil. Cook for another 2 minutes and add the wine (if using). Cook for another 2 minutes.
2. Turn off the brown function, or transfer the mixture to your pressure cooker. Add mushrooms and stock, stirring through. Set the cooker to 7 minutes at high pressure, and ensure that the pressure limiting valve is set on Airtight.
3. Once the 7 minutes is up, release the pressure. Open the lid and add the parsley and half of the parmesan cheese. Stir through and close the lid for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt through.
Serve and enjoy!
This recipe is great as it can be altered anyway you want it to be - once I've finished gorging myself on this recipe I may try altering it!

Do you have a pressure cooker or slow cooker? What is your favourite thing to cook in it?

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Caramel Slice

Okay, so I've been incredibly slack this year. I have come to the conclusion that whilst I love my crafting, there's only so much I can write about it - and if I'm bored, you will be too!
As I've mentioned before, I absolutely love to cook and bake, trying different recipes out and sharing the results with my friends and family. So this blog is being morphed into something along those lines. I'm joining the ranks of the baking bloggers.
Stick with me! I'd love for people to try out the recipes I post and tell me what they think, maybe you have a better one to suggest!

To start off my new bloggy direction, an old favourite of mine - Caramel Slice!!

This has been my favourite bakery sweet for many many years. Whenever I go to a bakery for lunch, you can guarantee I'll buy a piece of caramel slice to eat later on. No more of that though, as I've found the best recipe yet and I can make it myself!
The recipe I was using before only used one can of condensed milk in the caramel, so as a caramel lover you can imagine I was excited when I spotted this recipe in a book that was part of a promotion for condensed milk - it has 2 cans in it! Extra caramel goodness. YUM.
Here goes!
To start with, grease and line a slice tray with baking paper.
It helps if you snip the corners to make the paper sit perfectly in the tray.
The base is a simple mix of flour, coconut and brown sugar with melted butter.
Press it into the pan, bake and let cool.

Making the caramel is so simple - butter, condensed milk and golden syrup in a medium saucepan.. 
Stir over low heat until smooth!
 Pour the mixture over the cooled base and bake for 20-25 minutes until nicely browned like this
  And wait forever (or so it seemed) until it's cool - I passed the time by making Mushroom Risotto (post to come!) and an earring order for a lovely coworker.

The last bit it even easier. Just melt 200g of dark chocolate (I used a block of milk baking chocolate from Aldi as I prefer mik) and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. I like this because my old recipe called for copha, which I would always have to go out and buy. We always have vegetable oil!
Pour over the base, and put into the fridge until set. Cut into squares and try not to eat the whole thing yourself!
Best-Ever Caramel Slice - from Nestle's Condensed Milk's "100 Years Of Sweet Baking Memories"
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter, melted
100g butter, extra
2x395g tins sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup golden syrup
200g dark baking chocolate, melted
1tbsp vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 180c. Lightly grease an 18x28cm slice pan and line with baking paper.
2 In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar and coconut and mix together. Add 125g melted butter and mix well. Press firmly into prepared pan, bake 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Cool.
3. Place extra 100g butter, golden syrup and condensed milk into medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until smooth. Pour over base. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden. Cool.
4, Combine melted chocolate an vegetable oil, stir until smooth. Pour evenly over cooled slice. Refridgerate until set. Cut into squares - using a warmed knife reduces the risk of the chocolate cracking whilst slicing.

Have you tried this recipe? Do you have a better one? Leave a comment and tell me!