Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Chai Spiced Gingerbread

I love chai in anything spiced, so when the mood to make gingerbread struck last week I thought I'd jazz them up a bit by chucking in some ground chai tea. It was delicious.

Chai Gingerbread Cookies
Recipe by Charis Mitchell
Makes 20 chewy/40 crisp cookies

For the cookies
3C plain flour
1/2tsp salt
1Tbsp ground ginger
1Tbsp ground cinnamon
2Tbsp ground chai tea (2 tea bags)
3/4C dark brown sugar
6Tbsp margarine 
4Tbsp aquafaba (water from a can of chickpeas)
1/4C molasses
1/4C golden syrup

For the icing
4C powdered sugar
squeeze of lemon juice
4-6Tbsp water
food colouring, optional

Preheat the oven to 200 and line two cookie sheets with baking paper. 
Cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Add the aquafaba, molasses and golden syrup and mix until everything is well incorporated. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, spices and chai tea. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet and mix until the dough comes together.

Roll dough on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle 1/4 inch thick (for thin, crisp cookies roll out thinner) and cut shapes out with cookie cutters. Place cookies on the baking trays (you don't need to leave much space between them as they don't spread) and bake for 8 minutes, until lightly golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely while you make the icing.

In a small bowl mix together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and as much water as needed until you have a thick, smooth and glossy icing. Add food coloring if desired and then spread onto the cooled cookies.

Keep in an airtight container for up to a week or in the freezer for months.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Did you watch the final of the Great British Bake Off on Wednesday night? I did, of course! (Well done Nadiya!) And it made me crave carrot cake...but not carrot cake with raisins and nuts and flipping chunks of orange in it (why Ian, why!?) but a simple, spiced carrot cake, with a creamy frosting and plenty of cinnamon.

I decided to create a recipe rather than veganizing a non-vegan one, and I used Rebecca August's Aquafaba Vanilla Cake recipe as a base (you can find lots of amazing recipes on the Vegan Meringue Hits-And-Misses Page on Facebook!) And I'm really happy with the result. A light, moist sponge with just the right amount of spice and lots of finely grated carrot, sandwiched together with a tangy, sweet cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Heavenly.

Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe by Charis Mitchell
Serves 8-12

For the carrot cake
2 1/2C plain flour
2tsp baking powder
3/4C granulated sugar
1/4C light soft brown sugar
1/2tsp mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice)
1 1/2tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp salt

1 1/4C almond milk
1/2C vegan butter spread, melted
3Tbsp aquafaba (water from a can of chickpeas)
1tsp apple cider vinegar

1C finely grated carrots (3 small/medium carrots)

For the frosting
2Tbsp vegan butter spread (I use Vitalite)
2Tbsp vegan shortening (I use Stork Margarine)
6Tbsp vegan cream cheese (I use Tofutti)
1tsp vanilla extract
2Tbsp almond milk
7-8C powdered sugar
1tsp cinnamon

Cinnamon to finish

Preheat the oven to 170/340 and line and grease two round cake tins.
In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients together in a jug or small bowl and add to the dry mix. Mix well until there are no lumps left before folding in the grated carrots and pouring into the cake tins. Bang each cake tin on the counter a couple of times to burst any air bubbles forming and bake for 20-25mins, or until the cakes are risen and golden, and a skewer inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean.

Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 20mins and then turn out onto wire cooling racks to go completely cold while you make the frosting.

Cream together the butter spread, shortening and cream cheese until very smooth. Add the vanilla and half the powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add the almond milk and the rest of the powdered sugar and whip until light and fluffy. (Add more milk or powdered sugar as needed!) Finally add the cinnamon and mix until well incorporated.

Spoon 1/4 of the frosting mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and set aside. Put 1/3 of the remaining frosting on top of the base cake and spread out evenly. Sandwich together with the second cake and top with another third of the frosting and then cover the sides with the final third. Pipe around the bottom and the top edges and dust the cake with cinnamon.

Cake lasts one week in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

October Crafternoon/Fimo Clay Beads

This month marks one whole year of crafternoons! I can't believe it's been a whole year, we've had so much fun and our little group has grown so close in friendship. I'm looking forward to what this year has in store!

This month's crafternoon was Autumn/Fall themed, and you know what that means! PUMPKIN EVERYTHING! I made this glittery sign to hang over my fireplace inspired by the lovely Brittany Ketterman (Brittkett on Instagram) and I'm so glad I did, it looks so cute hanging above the black fireplace! I may never take it down! (Until the Christmas decorating begins, of course!)

As always I made some sweet favours for everyone, they also worked as name places for the table. Like last year's October Crafternoon I made some Pumpkin Spice Syrup and put it in adorable little bottles for everyone to take home. I also made some mini Pumpkin Pies and of course everyone got a teensy pumpkin too. Making favours for the girls must be one of my favourite things about hosting the crafternoons!

I made some autumnal Butternut Squash Soup which we ate with lots of crusty rolls, and people brought snacks to share - Emma Jane even made some yummy Vegan Peanut Butter Flapjacks, which were amazing!

The craft this month was making beads out of Fimo Clay. It was a really fun craft to do as everyone ended up with something different and unique. It was great to see the different styles of beads everyone came up with! If you want to make some yourself you can find fimo clay in most craft shops or on Amazon. Once you've shaped your beads you simply bake them at 130 for 30mins and then leave them in the oven without opening the door until it's completely cold (I left them overnight to be sure!) 

Once the beads were all done we had our usual gift swap (which we all really love!) And we got a bit silly with the pumpkins! We drank lots of tea, had lots of laughs and just had such a wonderful time! I can't wait for next month's crafternoon!