Chinese New Year treats!!

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CNY treats!!! Yum!

It is Chinese New Year this week and I wanted to make something quick and simple treats to bring into work. Plus nothing to big as I still need to get on the public transport! Chinese new year desserts are quite traditional and the taste is quite strong. I wanted to make something a bit traditional but also a bit western as well! So came up with Christine’s lemon almond cookies, chocolatesuze.com’s melt in your mouth peanut cookies and Lorraine Pascale’s peanut butter squares. My other Chinese colleague brought some white rabbit sweets which taste like milk sweets and some pandan cake.

The treats went down really well!!! I was pleased with them myself! The peanut cookies were so simple to make and I ended up making 2 batches as they were so addictive to eat! They looked traditional and tasted ever so crumbley!! I will blog her recipes once I get the chance! I have made the peanut butter squares previously but the texture was very powdery! This time, it turned out really nice and compact. Maybe I left in them in the fridge all night and made them more set!! My husband kept eating them all so I had to take them into work earlier before he gobbles them all up!!!

Hope all my family and friends have a fab chinese new year and wish them happiness and good health!!!

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Peanut cookies

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Lemon almond cookies

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Peanut butter squares

An afternoon of sweet treats!

My hubby booked me a cupcake and macaron tour of London as part of my mother’s day present back in March and I went with my sister in law, Sharon last Saturday. It was a really nice sunny day in Central London and nice to have some girly time! 🙂

For this tour, we visited 7 venues and were given treats to munch along the way:

Cupcake Bakery - Mini cupcakes for £1.50

Cupcake Bakery – Mini cupcakes for £1.50

1) Cupcake Bakehouse – This is owned by the former model, Lorraine Pascale who has her own TV show and books. I had a mini red velvet cupcake which was delicious, we were told by the tour guide that the icing is specifically made for a model’s consumption with fewer calories!!!

 

 

Laduree - Beautiful packaging

Laduree – Beautiful packaging

2) Ladurée – The best known macaron maker in the world! The tour guide said that macarons should be eaten at 5 degrees. I have been told previously that if you buy macarons, you should keep them in the fridge as it will last longer! I had a strawberry macaron which was delicious! 🙂

 

 

Cupcakes from Sweet Couture. I chosed the Oreo cupcake!

Cupcakes from Sweet Couture. I had the Oreo cupcake!

3) Sweet Couture  – A boutique bakery famous for it’s mouthwatering handmade cupcakes! Looks pretty but I found the cupcake quite dry!

 

 

 

 

Display from Sweet Couture

Display from Sweet Couture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were given a red velvet cupcake from the Hummingbird Bakery

We were given a red velvet cupcake from the Hummingbird Bakery

4) Hummingbird Bakery – Made famous from ‘Sex in the City’ as they were having their teas and cupcakes. I have been there before and i have got their baking books aswell. The red velvet cupcake was yummy and moist! 🙂

 

 

 

Yauatcha's wonderful display of desserts!

Yauatcha’s wonderful display of desserts!

5) Yauatcha – Michelin starred and best known for it’s Dim Sum. I have taken my hubby there many years ago for his birthday dinner and the food was amazing although small portions, not like the portions you would get from China Town! The desserts looked so pretty, and just too beautiful to eat them!

Patisserie Valerie - macarons and chocolates

Our tour guide, John is on the left

 

 

6) Patisserie Valerie – Madame Valerie opened her first patisserie in 1926. We often buy birthday cakes from here as they are so delicious! We were given macarons and chocolates!

 

 

 

Fortnum & Mason display of cakes

Fortnum & Mason display of cakes

7) Fortnum & Mason’s – Last stop! I was told by John that they invented the Scotch eggs and was one of the first shops to display their products in the front windows! One of the cake that I saw, looks like a sachertorte, was priced at £60  (although it did have a few gold leaves decorated on top)!!! Crazy!!!

 

Fortnum & Masons wide selection of macarons!

Fortnum & Masons wide selection of macarons!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My treats to take home minus 1 macaron and 1 mini cupcake! :)

My treats to take home minus 1 macaron and 1 mini cupcake! 🙂

I had a wonderful afternoon and glad to share it with my sister in law as she is a big fan of macarons! The tour lasted 2 hours and it was well worth it! 🙂

If you are interested in booking this tour, you can find the details here

Sunday Treats! Peanut Butter Squares

Sunday Treats! :)

Sunday Treats! 🙂

The weather is hot and it is Sunday afternoon, I don’t feel like baking but I feel like I need to make something!!! A treat of some sort without using the oven! A couple of weeks on TV, I saw Lorraine Pascale making some ‘Peanut Butter Squares’ and it looked really simple to make with only a few ingredients! I decided to give this recipe a go as I had all the ingredients at home! I used Hobnobs Oaty biscuits instead of digestive biscuits and I used a foil tin tray for this as I couldn’t find my square tin. They were so yummy and it goes well with a nice cup of tea!!! 🙂

Here’s the ingredients:

  • 200g melted chocolate, you can use dark or milk or a combination of both
  • 150g melted butter in a pan
  • 250g digestive biscuits
  • 200g soft light brown sugar
  • 300g crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 x tsp vanilla extract
  • 20cm / 8 inch square tin lined with parchment paper

Method:

  1. Melt the butter in a large pan
  2. Melt the chocolate either in the microwave or in a bowl over simmering water
  3. Blitz the digestive biscuits and brown sugar in a food processor to give fine crumbs. Tip them into the melted butter. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla extract and mix together so everything is combined
  4. Tip the mixture into the lined square tin and press it down with the back of the spoon. It needs to be really compact and tight. Then pour over the melted chocolate, tilting the tin back and forth until the whole thing is evenly covered
  5. Pop in the freezer for 30 minutes to firm up or in the fridge for an hour
  6. Once the chocolate is set, remove it from the freezer or fridge and lift it out of the tin with the help of the baking parchment. Remove the paper and then use a sharp warm knife and cut into 16 squares. Normally, you can store them in a jar or tin but as the weather is quite hot, I have left them in the fridge! 🙂
All the ingredients!

All the ingredients!

Biscuits and sugar ready for blending!

Biscuits and sugar ready for blending!

All mixed in!

All the ingredients mixed in!

Pressed into the foil tray

Chocolate poured on top ready to set in the fridge!

Chocolate poured on top ready to set in the fridge!