Monday, May 28, 2012

Muffin Tin Monday - Catching Up!

We never miss a Muffin Tin Monday, ever.  But sometimes I do miss posting our Muffin Tin - and lately it seems "sometimes" has happened an awful lot!  So today's Muffin Tin will be preceded by a couple of others I never got around to posting...

Last week's Garden Theme:

Top Row:  String cheese "Tree" (made by The Muffin); Chocolate Frog (from her stash).
Middle Row:  Grated cheddar (for sprinkling on the pasta);  Dried apricot and spinach leaf Butterfly.
Bottom Row:  Pasta with (home-made) tomato-based sauce;  Tinned pineapple.

She ate it all.

No-theme Tin From A Few Weeks Ago:

Top Row:  "Ants on a Log";  Grapes;  Macaron Turtle.
Bottom Row:  Pasta;  Slice of apple & dried cranberries;  Pasta.

The macaron turtle was a bit of a disaster.  I was trying out a new macaron recipe, and it didn't work for me at all.  They tasted all right, but they were cracked and browned and Uuuuuuuuuuuugly!  The Muffin thought her turtle was cute anyway!

The Muffin ate everything except the Ants on a Log (which she specifically wanted in her tin, having made it in class that day at school, but then didn't touch).  This did not surprise me at all - she doesn't like celery OR cream cheese!

And finally, This Week - Spotty Theme!

Top Row:  Two lollies from her lolly bag stash;  Carrot Spots;  Pumpkin slice cut out with a small circle cutter.
Bottom Row:  Pomegranate Spots;  Spotty yoghurt;  Pumpkin slice cut out with a medium circle cutter.

The After Shot:

You may notice that the small piece of pumpkin slice has magically transformed into carrot & apple salad.  The Muffin spotted her Daddy having some of this salad during dinner and requested some.  So although she didn't eat too many of her carrots, the salad she ate compensated for them - hurrah!

Sorry about the marathon post!  If you can cope with seeing even more muffin tins, why not check out The Muffin Tin Mom's blog?  Have a great week!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Shortbread Cookies for Mothers Day

I had been wanting to bake something for Mothers' Day, but I just wasn't sure what.  We had planned to have my mother over for morning tea, which was also going to double as breakfast for me.  Husband was making pancakes, and I was serving (store-bought) mini croissants, so I didn't want to bake cupcakes or anything that would be too substantial.  Just something light and small and gorgeous.

Then I found this recipe over at Sweetapolita.  It is a cupcake recipe, and it looks amazing, but the bit I was really interested in this time was her topper:  little lemon and lavender shortbread cookies.  Hurrah, I thought.  That's what I want.  A short search of my pantry revealed that I had run out of dried lavender, and that despite a quite bewildering number of limes on our trees, there was not one ripe lemon to be had.

This was nine pm the night before Mothers' Day.  Procuring extra ingredients was not an option.

So I improvised.  Instead of the tablespoon of lemon zest and teaspoon of lavender, I opted for the zest of just one lime (I was going for subtlety), a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste, and just a whiff of rose...  I also decided to add some rice flour - I love that sandy texture it gives shortbread, and I know my mum does too.

The end result was delicious.  The flavour is very subtle - if you want to actually be able to taste the rose flavour properly, you might want to up the quantity (or perhaps dust the cookies with some rose-scented icing sugar just before serving - that would be pretty).  As it stands, the rose just adds a little bit of complexity to the flavour, without actually being noticeable.

I made mini cookies for us to eat on the day, and larger ones to package up and put in with Mum's present (I added a royal icing and sanding sugar centre to those ones, too).

I'd still like to try Sweetapolita's recipe in its entirety once I get hold of some more lavender - but for us today, these were perfect.

Vanilla-Lime Shortbread Bites (adapted - slightly - from Sweetapolita)

230g butter
60g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or the seeds from a vanilla pod)
Zest from one large lime (or two small ones)
About six drops of rosewater essence (or a little more if you want to really taste it - but don't overdo it)
190g  Plain flour
50g  cornflour
25g rice flour
1/4 tsp of salt (if you're using unsalted butter.  Otherwise, just a small pinch)

Modus Operandi
Beat butter on medium speed until smooth.  Add icing sugar and beat for two minutes. Beat in vanilla, zest and rosewater essence.  Add flours and salt and stir until all incorporated.
Wrap the mixture in plastic and chill it for at least an hour - seriously, at least.  This mixture is very short, and it's very squishy.  When firm enough, roll it out between two sheets of baking paper.  Cut into pretty shapes, and chill them again on the baking tray (or freeze them as I did), before baking at 180 degrees Celsius for around 10 minutes (until they don't look wet anymore, and are just beginning to turn pale golden at the edges).

Oh, and Happy Mothers' Day, to all the mums out there - but especially to mine.  Love you!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Creative Cookie Cutter Competition - Vote Now!

Voting has begun over at LilaLoa - go check out all the awesome entries, and cast your vote!
(and if you should decide to vote for one of mine, then that would be awesome too!)  :o)

Have a great day!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Muffin Tin Monday - Hearts Again

It's Muffin Tin Monday!  Tonight we went with a simple hearts theme for dinner:

Top Row:  Apple hearts with diced apple underneath;  Pluot (chopped up);  Chocolate crackle (from a party we went to on the weekend) with added heart-shaped sprinkles so it would fit the theme.

Bottom Row:  Steamed potato (I cut the potato with a cookie cutter before cooking it);  Sausage;  Zucchini heart with steamed carrots underneath.

The After Shot:

She ate most things.  The pluot (a new fruit for all of us) was declared yummy.  The zucchini (unsurprisingly) was not touched (which she got away with because the carrots were in the same cup, so technically she did eat some of the contents of that cup).  She ate one potato heart and left one, which was fine - it was quite a bit of potato for her, I just wasn't sure how much she would want.  Sometimes she is a potato monster;  other times not so much.  The small cow (giraffe?) cup contained tomato sauce - it didn't appear in the "before" shot because I forgot about it until she shrieked "SAUCE!" reminded me.

To see what other mums served up this week, check out The Muffin Tin Mom's blog.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dragon Claw Cookie

This is my very last (and very last-minute!) entry to LilaLoa's Creative Cookie Competition.

It's funny - this was actually my very first idea.  I looked at the shape and said, "It could be someone holding something" and Husband said "Ooo - someone holding an iPad!".  Which I thought would be a little weird.  But then I said "Oh! A dragon - and it could be crushing a book in its claws!"  (cause you know, that's not weird at ALL).

So this is what I ended up with.  I would have liked to add a bit of dark shading into the dragon's joints, but I have officially run out of time!  (Maybe I'll try this later - if I do and it looks better, I'll post another pic just for interest's sake).

If you haven't checked out the competition over at LilaLoa yet, you really really should - there are some amazing entries!

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