[From the Kitchen]: Drunken Reindeer Christmas cupcakes!

MbM_Reindeer-Cupcakes_1Good morning folks! I hope your weekend-before-Christmas has been wonderful so far!

Well, in the spirit of Christmas, and seeing as I’ve not done a ‘from the kitchen‘ post in aaages, I’m going to share with you my recent festive baking shenanigans; making Reindeer cupcakes! :) I took inspiration from this recipe I found on BBC Food by Mari Williams which I thought was incredibly adorable, and oh-so clever! I tweaked the recipe by adding a festive concoction of spices (ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves) and whisky to the chocolate batter……to basically become ‘spiced whisky chocolate cupcakes’ a.k.a my Drunken Reindeer Cupcakes. ;) It turned out amazingly and the entire house smelt so Chrismassy – it was divine! So, if you fancy some easy Sunday afternoon baking fun, then give this chocolate cupcakes with a ‘festive twist’ a go because I promise you, you’ll love it. It totally brings out the inner child in you….actually it’s a perfect one to do with your kids too….obviously, minus the alcohol! That is strictly for adults! :)

What you’ll need:

125g (4½oz) butter, softened
175g (6oz) caster sugar
2 free-range eggs
200g (7oz) self-raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
100ml (3½fl oz) milk
100g (3½oz) dark 70% cocoa solids chocolate, melted
2 tbsp Irish cream liqueur (optional)

For the chocolate icing
50g dark chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp double cream

To decorate
giant chocolate buttons
crisp-coated chocolates (such as Smarties or M&Ms)
mini pretzels
black writing icing
mini marshmallows, sliced

[Reference: Mari Williams, BBC Food]

I replaced the Irish cream with 2 tbsp of Whisky and added 1 tsp each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to improvise the recipe. You can do the same and add your own flavours to suit. It takes less than 30minures to prepare and 30minutes to cook. For instructions on the preparation process, click on the BBC Food link above. Note that the above is for 12 cupcakes so just double the measurements/quantities if you want to make 24.

Happy baking and hope these go down a treat just as they have done here at MbM HQ!! ;)

MbM_Reindeer-Cupcakes_1-WEB[Image Credit: ©Made by Molu]

[From the Kitchen]: Granny McB’s Soda Bread

DSC_3751-WEBI had hoped to make this bread last weekend since returning from my trip to Ireland but with work taking over I just never got round to doing so! That being said, it turns out this weekend is actually quite apt for this particular type of bread which is why I am keen to share it with you all. My father-in-law makes some lovely breads and the most famous one being the Irish Soda bread which he learnt from his mother – a recipe that was passed down through many generations. I’ve had it on many occasions while over to visit them so I told myself that I just had to learn it from him…..and so I did! :)

BLOG_STRIP_my-irish-soda-bread-WEBThis is the first EVER bread I’ve made (yes, shocking I know!) so understandably I was quite nervous about making this (albeit excited too!) and not wanting to disappoint my father-in-law by ruining their family’s recipe! :P Now, I know there are different variations of the Soda Bread recipe available online but this one has been in the family for many years and I soon learnt, while eagerly taking notes, that the measurements were all done by eye! So while my father-in-law made it look so easy that Sunday afternoon, I took my time making sure I adhered to all the notes I took down and this is how it turned out….

BLOG_STRIP_my-irish-soda-bread2-WEBTo make this bread all you need is roughly 500g self-raising flour (or plain flour with 1tsp of baking soda), 250ml of Buttermilk (I didn’t have this so mixed 1tbsp/15ml Lime Juice to the whole milk), a pinch of salt, 1tsp of sugar and some sultanas (I used dried berries & cherries). You then mix all the dried ingredients together, pouring in the buttermilk a bit at a time until you knead it into a smooth dough. Make sure the dough isn’t too wet. Then butter a loaf tin on all sides and add a bit of flour to it too just to ensure that the bread doesn’t stick to the tin. Then place the dough into the tin so it roughly fits the shape of the tin. Keep a slight gap around the edges so there’s room for expansion! I added a bit of oat grains on the top for texture and then using a knife I added a cut lengthways along the top. Bung this into the preheated over for 30-45mins or until it goes golden brown and then leave it out to cool. And voila!  It goes sooooo well with homemade jam and tea!! :)

BLOG_STRIP_my-irish-soda-bread3-WEBI must say I was pretty delighted to find that I hadn’t burnt the bread!! And then I let my husband be the guinea pig to test my bread……and after roughly 10 seconds of quietly chewing away at the bread he gave me the biggest smile! I got the thumbs up – yess!! I tucked in to it myself and was super pleased at the way it turned out!! I totally feel proud as punch!! :D Lets hope my father-in-law agrees when he sees this post come through! ;) So anyway, this is dedicated to my wonderful father-in-law for taking the time out to share this recipe with me (especially after taking me on as a daughter last year – you have no idea what you’re in for haha!). I look forward to many more occasions to bake, break and eat more bread with you!! ;) Happy Father’s Day!! xx