Saturday, September 21, 2013

Milk and cookies bar & a choc chip cookie monster cake

Every Friday on Expresso we've been giving moms and dads out there fresh ideas for kids birthday parties (something besides a done-to-death fairy princess or pirate party). And this past week, Expresso's art director, Matanna Katz and I created a milk and cookies party, and boy, did we have fun! When I think milk and cookies, I think COOKIE MONSTER! So I created an 'om nom nom nom' cake that he would approve of and I couldn't believe how easy it was to create. So, if you're stuck for a birthday party theme? You're welcome.

THE TABLE: Styling by Matanna Katz, Photography by Gunther Schubert of Vorsprung Studio

THE CAKE: Cookie!-Om nom nom

And cookie monster cupcakes...

Cookie monster and I even wore matching outfits. 

The Milk Bar

Strawberry and chocolate milk

Are these not the CUTEST?! Moo.

So many cookies!

Baking up a storm!
Choc Chip Cookie monster cake
Makes 1

225g Stork Bake
4 extra large eggs
15ml baking powder
500ml castor sugar
750ml cake flour
250ml water
1 cup chocolate chips

250g Stork Bake
500g icing sugar, sifted
Blue gel food colouring

For decorating and assembling
White fondant/plastic icing
2 round black sweets
Chocolate chip cookies, for decoration

Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the egg yolks and beat well. Fold in the dry ingredients and water in 2 batches.
Beat the egg white until stiff and fold into the cake mix along with the chocolate chips.
Pour into 2 greased round cake tins and bake for 45 minutes.
To make the icing, beat the Stork Bake until soft and as white as possible. Gradually beat in half the icing sugar and then beat in the rest then tint with blue colouring.
To assemble, place most of the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle (or if you have, a grass and hair nozzle).
Place one cake onto a cake plate or board and top with the other cake, using icing to sandwich the two together. Cover the entire cake by piping icing onto the cake to look like fur.

Roll two big balls of white icing to make some bobbly eyes and press the black sweets into each. Arrange a few chocolate chip cookies on the cake to look like the cookie monster is eating them.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Coconut jam (Hertzoggie) slices

Last week I pledged to celebrate Heritage month by giving some of our favourite South African treats a bit of a twist. If you haven't tried my milk tart pancake recipe, do it! You really won't eat pancakes any other way again. When I was in the Klein Karoo a few weeks ago I was given the most beautiful homemade apricot jam from a tannie that owns the tuisnywerheid and after seeing the little hertzoggie tarts on the shop shelves, I instantly knew what I wanted to do with the sweet spread. 

I absolutely adore hertzoggies; with their crisp shortbread cups, jammy centres and fluffy, coconutty (that's a word) topping they are just the perfect accompaniment to a cup of rooibos tea. My only problem with them, is they're a bit of a pain to make. Well, in their defence, any little tart is a mission. So these slices are my shortcut to sweetness.

The shortbread base is actually the very first recipe I copied down from my mother's cookbook into my own little book and it's such a winner I use it for a thousand things. From cookies, to bars to tart crusts, it's definitely a keeper. If you're not an apricot jam fan, give the bars an even more modern twist and swop it out for fig, strawberry, raspberry or whatever you can get your hands on. 

Hertzoggie slices
Makes 12

250g butter or margarine
¾ cup castor sugar
1 egg
1tsp baking powder
2¹/3 cups cake flour
²/3 cup corn flour
1-2 cups apricot jam
3 egg whites
1 cup castor sugar
2 cups coconut

For the pastry, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg followed by the baking powder, flour, corn flour and salt. Press the pastry into a 30 x 20cm greased baking dish and refrigerate. Whisk the egg whites until soft peak stage then beat in the castor sugar until thick and glossy. Fold in the coconut. Remove the pastry from the fridge then spread with the apricot jam. Spread the coconut meringue topping over then bake at 170C for 30-35 minutes or until the top is slightly golden but the shortbread is cooked through. Slice into blocks and serve. 

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Milk tart pancakes with cinnamon crumble

I've decided to celebrate Heritage month (taken from Heritage Day on the 24 September) by preparing a few traditional South African foods but with a little Katelyn flair! Pancakes (or crepes to the rest of the world) are an integral part of South African culture, particularly famous for being sold at church bazaars or farmer's markets where they come wrapped in wax paper on a paper plate and so steaming-hot that they blister your fingers and melt the cinnamon sugar sprinkled inside. 

It was this traditional sprinkling that gave me the idea to stuff the pancakes with another South African favourite; milk tart. This recipe contains an almost deconstructed milk tart filling; creamy cinnamon-spiked custard and a crunchy, crispy, spicy crumble. Pancakes and milk tart were just meant to be combined and so, I give you, the South African double dessert! 

Milk tart pancakes with cinnamon crumbles
Serves 6

125g cake flour
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
250ml milk
2T melted butter or oil

Milk tart filling
2 cups milk
1 cinnamon stick
80ml cake flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp vanilla

Cinnamon crumbles
1 cup cake flour
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup sugar
100g butter, chopped

Cinnamon-sugar, to serve*

Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk and whisk into the dry ingredients with the butter or oil. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Heat a non-stick pan and ladle a small amount of batter into the pan. Swirl the pan around to evenly coat it with batter. When the edges begin to lift, flip over and cook the other side until brown.
To make the filling, heat half the milk with the cinnamon stick until just below boiling point then set aside to infuse.
Whisk the remaining cold milk with the flour and ground cinnamon to form a smooth paste then whisk in the hot milk.
Cook over a medium heat until thick and the flour is cooked out. Flavour with vanilla and remove the cinnamon stick. Set aside (cover the surface with clingwrap to prevent a skin forming).
Make the crumbles by combining the flour, cinnamon and sugar and rubbing in the butter to form large crumbs. Spread on a baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 15-20 minutes, stirring every now and then until golden and crisp. Allow to cool.
Serve the pancakes spread with the milk tart filling, a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and the crumbles.

*To make the cinnamon sugar, mix 2 tsp ground cinnamon into 1 cup white sugar until combined.

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