Basic Sugar Cookie Recipe

This is the recipe I use for a really quick and simple sugar cookie. Perfect for Christmas, Birthdays, baby showers or any occasion or holiday.

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Ingredients

  • 100g butter (room temp)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 275g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190ºC/ 170ºC fan/ Gas 5. Line a baking tray.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Gradually add the egg and vanilla extract until well combined.
  4. Sift in the flour and mix until it forms a dough.
  5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1cm thick.
  6. Cut out your shapes and place onto the baking tray.
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until pale golden.
  8. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
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DIY Valentine Treats

Looking for something yummy this Valentine’s? Then look no further! I have everything you need for a romantic night in, a gift to share and those who hate V-day. These are also great if you’re having a ‘Palentines’ or ‘Galentines’ get together. If you make any of the following, please tag me in your creations on social media as I’d love to see how you recreate these.

Chocolate Strawberry Hearts

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Everyone loves chocolate covered strawberries on Valentine’s day. Why not make some for your valentine with a twist?

What you will need:

  • Strawberries
  • Chocolate
  • Pink Candy Melts
  • Toothpicks

Method

  1. Cut the tops off of the strawberries and cut in half.
  2. Arrange two halves into a heart shape (flat side down, points together). You may need to trim the edges to be more rounded.
  3. Push a toothpick through the two pieces of strawberry to secure them. Place onto greaseproof paper.
  4. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and drizzle over the strawberries until evenly covered.
  5. Allow the chocolate to set and remove the toothpick.
  6. Melt Candy Melts in a heatproof bowl and drizzle over the strawberries in a zig zag pattern. Allow to set.
  7. Serve immediately or refigerate until ready to serve.

Giant Valentine Cookie

This is the perfect gift! I make this everytime we decide to have a stay-at-home valentine’s. It’s so good to share in front of the TV. If you’re not very artistic and not sure how to decorate it, NO WORRIES! Melt some chocolate over it when it comes out the oven, add ice cream on top and it makes the perfect dessert.

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What you will need:

  • A batch of your favourite cookie dough
  • Royal Icing coloured red and white
  • Sprinkles

Method

  1. Create a batch of your favourite cookie dough. (I used a packet as it was quicker).
  2. Arrange cookie dough into a heart shaped pattern on a lined baking tray.
  3. Bake accordingly and allow to fully cool.
  4. Create royal icing (recipe below). Divide icing into two bowls and dye one of the bowls of icing red.
  5. Decorate the cookie as you would like. I think this looks particularly good with a traditional valentine message like ‘Be Mine’, ‘Will you be my Valentine?’ or ‘I love you’. Add sprinkles or other edible decorations.

 

Anti-valentine Biscuits

Not everyone likes Valentine’s day so if you’re one of those people (or you’re having a ‘Palentines’, this would also be fun) this is for you.

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To make the biscuits

You will need:

  • 100g sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 300g plain flour

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/140ºC fan/Gas Mark 3 and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (take care not to overmix).
  3. Slowly add the flour to the mixture until fully combined.
  4. Use your hands to squeeze the mixture together into a ball.
  5. Gently roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut your shapes out (I used a large heart cookie cutter). Place the biscuits onto the baking tray and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Cool on a wire rack.

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To Decorate

You will need:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 500g icing sugar (sifted)
  • 3 tsp water
  • red food colouring

Method

  1. Whisk egg whites until white and fluffy with soft peaks.
  2. Slowly add the icing sugar 1tbsp at a time and mix thoroughly.
  3. Mix until the icing forms a soft peak on the whisk. Not stiff enough to stand straight but just loose enough for the point of the peak to slowly fold over.
  4. Seperate the mixture into two bowls. Dye one bowl of icing red and put half of the red icing into a piping bag with a small round tip.
  5. Carefully pipe a boarder around the heart biscuits and leave to set.
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  6. Add 1tsp of water at a time to the remaining red icing until it is slightly runnier. 
  7. Carefuly pipe the runnier icing onto the biscuits and use a toothpick to ensure the icing evenly flood the biscuit to the boarder.
  8. Once set, put white icing into another piping bag with a small round nozzle and pipe words in the centre of them. You can pipe any words. You could even make these like traditional candy hearts by using different colours and ‘lovey dovey’ expressions.

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I really loved making all of these and I can honestly say they are all delicious! Thank you for reading and please check out some of my other posts. I recently did a post you might like called ‘Super Easy Valentine Crafts To Do With Your Kids’, although to be honest anyone could do them!

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Super Easy Valentine Crafts To Do With Your Kids

Simple and fun crafts to do with your little ones.

These are all really easy and simple, fun crafts to do. All of the following activites have no more than 6 steps and you probably already have everything you need to do them in your home. 

I love doing holiday crafts and as my daughter gets older, I look forward to being able to do more crafts with her. I have very fond memories of sitting at my dining table with my Mum doing different crafts throughout my childhood and I hope to give my daughter the same memories. I am also hoping that doing themed crafts will get Olivia excited about holidays just like me. 

Here are some of the crafts we did this week and some I hope you can have fun with your kids too.

Valentine Card

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This is one of the easiest cards to make with your baby or toddler and it looks so good. It’s perfect to keep as a momento and is super fast to make during painting time.

What you will need:

  • Blank greetings card
  • Craft card
  • Tape
  • Finger paint

Method

  1. Cut out a heart shape out of craft paper.
  2. Using tape, attach the cut out shape to the center of a blank greeting card. This can be done by folding the tape against itself to create a piece of double sided tape.
  3. Let your baby/toddler fingerpaint over the shape and on the card. You can use paint brushes, sponge stamps, paint rollers or simply their hands.
  4. Before the paint drys, carefully remove the shape and tape from the greeting card and leave to dry.

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LOVE Canvas Art

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I really loved making this. Not only is it a perfect gift for Valentine’s but it’s also a great decor piece for your home. Is there anything better than having your baby’s hand and footprints to look at years later when they’ve all grown up?

What you will need:

  • Blank canvas
  • Finger paint
  • Acrylic paint/sharpie

Method

  1. Mark out on your canvas where you would like the handprint and footprints to go.
  2. Paint your baby’s hand and gently press it onto the canvas.
  3. Paint your baby’s feet and gently press them onto the canvas in a V shape.
  4. Draw out the L and E and, once you’re happy with them,  go over it with black paint or a sharpie (I used a black felt tip and a fine liner to go around the edges of the letters).

Hanging Paper Hearts

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These are so simple! This is probably something to do with slightly older children but they sure do brighten up the place. You can hang them on banisters, door handles or even a small decorative tree or branch. I have hung them on my ugly serving hatch as we’re having it patched up at the moment before we remove it and redo the whole wall! For now it will hang these paper hearts.

What you will need:

  • Coloured craft card (I used pink and red)
  • Stapler
  • Scissors
  • String

Method

  1. Cut coloured paper of various lengths and widths. I started with red strips of 2cmx21cm to create the chain of hearts.
  2. Fold strips equally in half.
  3. With the fold at the bottom, bend the ends together to make a heart shape and staple together. If you want to make a chain, tuck the fold of the next heart in between the edges of the first.
  4. If you are making a nest of hearts, join all edges of hearts together, bend and staple all together with one end of a piece of string in between.

You could even use the chain method to make a wreath or a long paper chain to wrap around your banister or hang on your mantle. 

Woollen Heart Garland

I love how this turned out! Again, this is probably something to do with older children (or by yourself like I did) but it looks so cute. I did different sized hearts along the garland just because I thought it was pretty but you could do the same sizes, different coloured hearts or even different shapes like stars!

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What you will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Stapler/tape
  • Red wool

Method

  1. Cut out several heart shapes from the card board (or double up craft card).
  2. Staple the end of the red wool to the heart.
  3. Randomly wrap the red wool around the cardboard shape until no cardboard is shown.
  4. Secure the end of the wool by tying it off or using a stapler.
  5. Repeat the above until all shapes are covered.
  6. Measure out desired length of wool and attach the hearts in equal lengths.
I hope that you try some of these crafts. If you do, please take a picture and tag me in it so I can see your creations! 
I will shortly be uploading a Valentine Treats post so keep your eye out for that!

 

I am the owner and creator of all images in this post.

The Best Gingerbread Biscuits

I think my most favourite part of this festive season is the baking. One of the best things to bake, that will most definitely get you in the Christmas spirit (and make your house smell amazing), is gingerbread. I recently made a batch and I forgot how much I love to bake and decorate biscuits. I got fully immersed, to the point where I didn’t realise hours went by. This is only because I was doing really intricate decoration and I’m a perfectionist. The average person will do this in way less time. Especially when each batch only takes 10 minutes in the oven!

These biscuits are perfect to make with kids. You can make the dough ahead of time. Just allow 10 minutes after taking it out of the fridge for it to de-chill and simply roll it out onto a floured surface. You’ll want to roll it out to about 4 mm thickness. If you wish for your biscuits to be crunchier and have a snap, roll them slightly thinner. Similarly, if you wish for them to be more chewy, roll them slightly thicker.

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When it comes to decorating, I always favour a simple plain white royal icing. Royal icing is harder than water icing so your design is more likely to last longer. I prefer not to colour it as I think the white looks so elegant against the dark brown gingerbread. If you’re decorating with children, I recommend lots of different colours and perhaps using a simple water icing. I get a lot of enjoyment from piping so I spent a lot of time preparing my designs and getting them perfect.

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Below you will find the gingerbread biscuit recipe I use and also the royal icing recipe.

Gingerbread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 400g Plain Flour
  • 3/4 tsp Bicarbonate Soda
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Mixed Spice
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 180g Butter (soft)
  • 125g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 125g Black Treacle

Method

  1. Sift flour, bicarbonate soda and spices together into a large bowl.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and treacle. Mix until combined.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture gradually as you mix until it is all combined and forms a loose dough.
  5. Divide the dough into 3 and wrap individually in cling film.
  6. Chill overnight – 2 days.
  7. When you’re ready to bake the biscuits, preheat the oven to 170°C (fan).
  8. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow to de-chill for 10 minutes.
  9. Roll out dough onto a floured surface 4 mm thick.
  10. Cut biscuit shapes out and place on a lined baking tray.
  11. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the tray then transfer onto a cooling wrack.

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Royal Icing Recipe

Ingredients

  • 325g Icing Sugar
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice

Method

  1. Sift icing sugar into a large bowl.
  2. Whisk egg whites in a stand mixer or hand held mixer with lemon juice until frothy.
  3. Slowly add icing sugar until all combined.
  4. Whisk until it forms soft peaks.
  5. Pour into a prepared icing bag if you wish to pipe your designs. Otherwise, you can store in an air-tight container in the fridge for a week.

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Then, start having fun! You can get the family involved or use it as some therapeutic me time (like I did). You can add sprinkles, edible glitter or sweets. Go wherever the Christmas spirit takes you! I would love to see your creations so please share them!

Merry Baking!

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2019 Christmas Decor

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, again! I could not be more excited. I’ve always loved Christmas since I was a kid. It’s not the same excitement, obviously, because as you grow up, Christmas Day is just not as good. Let’s face it. However, I am still excited for the lead up to Christmas. I love watching the same Christmas movies year after year, writing cards to people and, of course, the food.

I kick off the festive season with a tradition-filled December 1st. On the first day of December we decorate the house, walk into town to see the spectacular Christmas lights and visit the church’s Christmas tree festival. More than likely, we will also grab a Pecoro pizza on the way home. This year was no different.

We started the day by blasting Bublé on the TV while unpacking the mass of decorations. This year was particularly fun because not only do we have Cody to ‘help’ but Olivia has reached that age now where she can also ‘help’. She wasn’t as intrigued by the decorations as I’d hoped but rather she wanted to use the boxes as a climbing frame.

I always really love getting the decorations down from the loft and rooting through the boxes, looking at decorations of Christmas past and seeing what excuses I can come up with to buy new ones. It’s a sickness. I also have way too many garlands, lights and baubles. I mean, is there such a thing? So you can find them throughout my house.

I have baubles going up my stairs, in a glass dish and my special Swarovski ones on a special Swarovski stand. There’s something so pleasing about a bauble. Aesthetically pleasing, elegant and magical.

My garlands stretch from windows to hallways to the kitchen hob. And lights? Well, they’re on the tree, above the TV, in the kitchen, up the stairs and around our bed frame. Is it even Christmas if you can’t light your whole house using just Christmas lights?

After the hours of decorating (and redecorating until everything looks right to me) we get all wrapped up in coats, hats and scarves and walk into town. There’s one particular house, which is famous in our local community, that do a huge Christmas lights display to raise money for the air ambulance. It is a must-do as they are the best lights around.

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A more recent tradition is to go to a local church to look around their Christmas tree festival. Every year the church is filled with different and creatively decorated Christmas trees. They are all decorated by local businesses, schools and charities. Each one has a different theme and I really look forward to it because I thrive off of other people’s creativity.

There was even a tree with a few familiar faces. The Shuttleworth tree featured my handsome fiance, a few members of his family and the late Fred Harris. Topped with the Shuttleworth bear.

As we stroll home in the dark, we always happen to pass Pecoro, our local Italian restaurant. They do the best pizzas and the tiramisu is to die for! Steve and I always struggle to pass it without getting something. So this time, we got the Monti pizza to take home with us. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. Olivia was asleep in bed, we had warm pizza with a glass of wine and watched the last series of Gavin and Stacey in preparation for the Christmas Special! Who else is excited for it?!


And so, the tree is on, the halls are decked and the dog is asleep under a festive blanket. Christmas has begun! Have you decked your halls?

 

 

I am the owner and creator of all images in this post.

Easy Easter Brownies

These brownies are great to make with kids. If you’re looking for something to do with the little ones this Easter holiday, why not try these delicious brownies? They’re so much fun to make and you can use all the chocolate you accumulate over the season as these brownies are so versatile you can pretty much use any chocolate in them.

I have a confession to make. I use boxed brownies. I am a mother of one 5 month old baby. I don’t have time (or the energy) to make brownies from scratch so I always keep a box (or 6) of Betty Crocker’s brownie mix in my cupboard. It’s such a life saver to have when you need it. Been invited over for a family BBQ and don’t know what to bring? Need a treat? Meant to buy a present for someone but you totally FORGOT? It’s a rainy day and the kids are bored? Have no fear and take to the cupboard! You can change them up to suit whoever is going to indulge in them. Know a peanut butter lover? Add a swirl of peanut butter or Reese’s pieces. S’mores fan? Add mini marshmallows and digestive biscuit pieces.
Also, Mum hack, bake a batch after the kids are asleep, add ice cream and eat from the pan. You won’t be sorry!

Click here to buy 6 boxes from amazon as it works out way cheaper than buying them from the supermarket. Plus they can sit in your cupboard as they don’t have a short expiration date.

Brownies

If you’re wanting to make Easter brownies follow the recipe below. They’re super easy and so fun to make.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of Betty Crocker Chocolate Brownie Mix (or your favourite recipe of chocolate brownies)
  • 4 Cadbury Crème Eggs (you can also use the caramel eggs which are just as yummy)
  • 1 family sized bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs (250g)
  • 100g white chocolate chips (optional)
  • 200g white chocolate (to drizzle)
  • Sprinkles (for decoration (you can get Easter ones to make it more fun))

Method

  1. Make the brownies according to instructions on the box.
  2. Add in the white chocolate chips and mix well.
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  3. Pour in the brownie mix into a lined and greased baking tin.
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  4. Bake in a preheated oven (temperature according to the recipe you’re following).
  5. While the brownies are in the oven cut the Cadbury Crème Eggs in half.
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  6. Place the Cadbury Mini Eggs in a zip-lock bag and smash with a rolling pin or tenderiser until some are crushed and some are whole.
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  7. Take the brownies out of the oven 5 minutes before the suggested time. Push the halves of Cadbury Crème Eggs into the brownie and a handful of the crushed Cadbury Mini Eggs.
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  8. Put the brownie back in the oven for 5 minutes.
  9. Remove the brownie from the oven and allow to cool.
  10. Once cool, melt the white chocolate and drizzle over the brownie.
  11. Sprinkle the remaining Mini Eggs and sprinkles over the brownie and allow to set.
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These are perfect to enjoy at an Easter party or after an egg hunt.

Click the image below to buy the boxed brownies that go perfectly with this recipe.