Category Archives: Recipes – lunchbox ideas

Maisy mouse gingerbread cookies


As school’s starting this week, we have been in full back-to-school mode: getting stationary sorted, uniforms ironed, new lunchboxes and water bottles – all sorted. One thing we couldn’t miss out on is preping for snacks for school. I don’t want to do what I did last year – baking too much at a time with the hopes that it will fill up all the lunchboxes for weeks. Turns out banana muffins can get boring pretty quickly, even with chocolate buttons in them (What do you mean you don’t like them any more? They have chocolate chips in them for goodness sake!). They don’t freeze that well and the taste deteriorates the longer they have been frozen.

This year, I’m going to try out a few different ideas for lunch and teas. First off, baking from pre-made, frozen dough.
This is hardly a new idea, just underestimated by me as a true time saver (I find it really hard to hold back and not bake the entire batch sometimes). By doubling the batch and keeping some reserve dough in the freezer, you can always bring it out the night before to let it thaw and very quickly you’ll have a fresh batch of baking for the week. Same idea as mise en place, you will be saving time spent on prep. You can build on your ‘baking bank’ with a variety of recipes and you’ll always have something on hand for parties too.

Here’s our recipe for gingerbread cookies, these have a nice light crunch, no teeth-breaking involved 🙂

Ingredients:
450g plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
2 tsp baking powder
115g melted butter
100g golden syrup
115g muscavado sugar
1.5 size 7 egg, beaten (about 60g)

Method:
Mix the flour, spices, baking powder in a large bowl.
Pour melted butter, syrup and sugar into mix, combine.
Add the eggs and combine.
Tip contents onto a large board, work the dough until everything comes together without being sticky.
Roll out to 3mm thickness and cut into shapes with cutters.

Fan bake for 18 minutes in a preheated oven at 160C, until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate chestnut mini cupcakes


J: mummy can I have a cupcake please?
Me: ok (grabs one from the box and gives her one, and walks out of the kitchen)
A few minutes later, J came to find me,
J: mummy I’ve finished my 2 cupcakes !!! They were delicious!
Me: I only gave you one, how did you get another?
J: I tippy-toed onto the bench, grabbed the box and chose one!

Now I can’t leave things on the kitchen bench!!

Recipes are written to be followed, right? Well sometimes not I guess. Especially when you can’t find an easy and quick recipe that allows you to use up your chestnut puree!! Even in this day and age where you have search engines that do all the work for you in 0.01 of a second?? So I say recipes are developed and improved upon to allow us to face whatever life throws at us (leftover chestnut purée that is).
So here you have a recipe that I personally designed. You have 3 options (having choices are good):
A) chocolate chestnut cupcake with no flour component. In which case don’t add the last ingredient. This gives a gooey decadent dessert-like cake.
B) chocolate chestnut cupcake with plain flour. This is what I made in the photos, for I wanted something less rich for J.
C) chocolate chestnut gluten-free cupcake, using almond meal instead of plain flour. Well that’s if you needed to make cupcakes, but discovered at the last minute that you have ran out of flour because you have been making macarons for far too long and had forgotten the need for flour. You however have almond meal well stocked in the pantry, so go ahead and use it!

Ingredients

110g dark chocolate melts
4 eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
200g chestnut purée
75g dark chocolate bites (those that hold their shapes during cooking, and you can omit this if you think there is enough chocolate already!! J insisted she wanted these, so in they go)
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g flour (or almond meal if you want these to be gluten-free cupcakes)

Instructions

Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water. This will take about 3-5 minutes. Stir to make sure all the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk the egg whites until it forms a soft peak.

Beat the egg yolks with the caster sugar until it is pale and creamy.

Add the cooled melted chocolate, mix to combine.

Add the chestnut puree, mix slightly just to combine (having little lumps of chestnuts inside is like discovering little treasures – oh how I wish I had glaced chestnuts!!!)

Mix in the dark chocolate bites and baking powder.

Mix in the flour or almond meal.

Last but not least, fold in the egg whites.

In the mean time, J has been lining the tray with mini cupcake cases.

Drop them into mini cupcake cases. You will have enough to make 30.

Bake at 175 degrees Celcius for 13 minutes.

Rest for 1 minute in the pan, and then remove to cool on a wire rack.

No icing needed, but if you really wanted, you could do a simple 1:1 chocolate ganache (i.e. 1 part chocolate to 1 part cream – eg 50g chocolate melted with 50ml hot cream, like for my macarons)

and rating…don’t really need to say much =)

(ps. sorry about the holes in the cupcakes – this was a rather hurried job and I didn’t sift my flour and baking powder…and also probably over mixed it a bit! Did not affect the yummyness though, so all good.)