Candy Cane Cookies

Yet another recipe taken from JoyofBaking.com. These cookies take a lot of work, but they look so festive.
Unfortunately, my family is full of clumsy rough-handed people and all of my candy canes got broken. I can only take responsibility for the one below – it snapped when I was trying to hang it on the tree!
Candy Cane Cookies | www.happyhealthymotivated.com
I’ve made these cookies twice now and each time they have been really delicate – so be careful! You can use variations of food colouring to make different coloured candy canes – try red and green.
Candy Cane Cookies | www.happyhealthymotivated.com
This recipe yields 30 candy cane cookies.
Ingredients
325g flour
Pinch of salt
227g butter
120g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp red food colouring
Recipe
1. Whisk the flour and the salt together. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly add the flour, mixing all the time, and beat until you have a smooth dough.
2. Place half of the dough in another mixing bowl and add the red food colouring. Mix until it is evenly distributed throughout. Wrap the two separate doughs in cling film and place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes to harden up.
3. Preheat the oven to 190C and separate each colour of dough into 30 evenly-sized balls. Roll each ball out onto a floured surface and make a 10cm rope.
4. Take a red and yellow rope and pinch them together at the top. Twist the ropes together to form a spiral then place on a baking tray. Bend the top of the rope to make the ‘hook’ of the candy cane.
5. Bake the cookies for between 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are just starting to turn brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a baking sheet. These cookies can be stored in an air-tight container or frozen.

Pumpkin Scones

A simple pumpkin recipe that is perfect for the cooler months. I made these using my own pumpkin purée which was much easier than I thought it would be.
To make pumpkin purée, all you have to do is cut your pumpkin into sections and place them face-down in on oven on a medium heat. Roast for about an hour or so and leave to cool. When cool, scrape out the insides of the pumpkin and blend. Easy!

Punpkin Scones | www.happyhealthymotivated.com
I used Joyofbaking‘s basic recipe and tailored it to my needs. This recipe yields 8 large scones.
Ingredients
260g flour
70g Brown sugar
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
113g butter
50g raisins
80-120ml cream
120ml pumpkin puree
1tsp vanilla extract
 
Recipe
1. Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
 
2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
 
3. Cut the butter into cubes and rub into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the raisins and stir.
 
4. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, pumpkin puree and vanilla. Pour this into the flour mix and stir until just combined.
 
5. Place the dough on a lightly-floured surface and knead gently for about a minute. Pat the dough into a circle and cut into 8 triangles.
 
6. Place the scones on a baking sheet and brush the scones with egg wash.
 
7. Bake for around 20 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

Lasagna

This must be an amateur-proof recipe because this is the first time I have ever made lasagne and it turned out to be amazing! I love eating lasagne out, but always find that I cannot stomach it if the chef puts too much Béchamel sauce in – I hate the stuff. This recipe uses only a small amount which is perfect for me.
Lasagna | www.happyhealthymotivated.com
The measurements are only a rough guide so you can add extra herbs or use less cheese – whatever you want!
 
Word of advice – if you’re planning on fully cooking this lasagne, freezing then reheating, reserve the last layer of cheese for when you reheat just before eating. If you cook the top layer twice, you end up with a solid, crunchy layer – more like a thick crisp!
 
Lasagna | www.happyhealthymotivated.com
 
This recipe is super-easy to put together and makes two large servings.
 
Ingredients
¼ onion
1 clove of garlic
25g bacon
150g mince
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
200g chopped tomatoes
35ml beef stock
Lasagne sheets
50g chopped mozzarella
50g your chosen grated cheese (I used Gouda)
 
Béchamel Sauce
15g butter
20g flour
150ml milk
Dash of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
 
Recipe
1. Grease a baking dish and preheat the oven to 190C.
2. Finely chop the onion and garlic and cook in a large pan with a little bit of olive oil. Add the bacon and mince and continue to cook until brown.
3. Add the tomato purée, oregano, basil, chopped tomatoes and stock. Cover the pan and let simmer for around 20 minutes.
4. In a saucepan over a low heat, melt the butter and flour together until it thickens. Add the milk, a dash of nutmeg and a tiny amount of salt and pepper. Mix well then remove from the heat.
Assembling
Spread half of the meat sauce in the bottom of a baking tin and top with lasagne sheets. Top with a thin layer of Béchamel sauce and mozzarella.
Cover in another layer of lasagne sheets topped with the Béchamel sauce and mozzarella.
Spread the rest of the meat sauce onto the lasagne before topping with lasagne sheets, Béchamel sauce and mozzarella.
Top with the grated cheese and cook in the oven for around 40 minutes.
 

My Visit to Cupcake Madrid

During our stay in Madrid, Boyfriend and I visited Cupcake Madrid – the first cupcakery I’ve ever been in!
 
 
As soon as we walked through the door, we were greeted with the intoxicating aroma of butter, flour, sugar and vanilla as cupcakes cooked in the back of the shop.
 
My Visit to Cupcake Madrid | www.happyhealthymotivated.com
As it was late October, we chose to Halloween-themed cuppies – one spider and one bat. Both of the cupcakes were chocolate flavoured – the spider was coated in a delicious chocolate buttercream and coated in chocolate sprinkles with liquorice legs and jellybean eyes, whereas the bat was topped with vanilla buttercream and topped with a cute bat decoration.
 
My Visit to Cupcake Madrid | www.happyhealthymotivated.com
Unfortunately, the bat cupcake didn’t make it back to the hotel room intact. Boyfriend made me run through the station with only one shoe on for a train we missed anyway. During this mad process the cupcake bag was swinging from side to side with my precious cupcakes getting bashed about inside the box.
 
My Visit to Cupcake Madrid | www.happyhealthymotivated.com

Bloodshot Eyeball Cookies

Time for more Halloween fun! These cookies take a basic butter biscuit recipe to a whole new level to create scary bloodshot eyes which burst and spurt out ‘blood’ when you bite into them. These are perfect for a Halloween party, or even just to impress your friends.

Bloodshot Eyeball Cookies www.happyhealthymotivated.com
 
Be careful when spooning on the jam – if you add to little, you will lose the gory blood-spurting effect and if you add to much, the jam will break through the cookie dough in the oven and you won’t be able to top with the icing.
 
This recipe yields around 12 cookies
 
Ingredients
100g butter
50g sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
200g flour
Pinch salt
Strawberry or raspberry jam
Icing sugar
Water
Blue/green/brown and red food colouring
Something round and black – I used raisins which weren’t ideal, but all I had
 
Recipe
1. Heat the oven to 175C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and add ¾ of it to the butter mixture, as well as the vanilla extract and mix well. Keep the rest of the whisked egg to one side.
 
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the cream mixture and beat until just incorporated.
 
3. Roll the cookie dough out onto a lightly floured surface so it is around 1cm thick. Cut out as many circles as you can with a cutter about 5cm wide – ideally, cut out an even number of circles. Place the cookies on a baking sheet.
 
4. Place around 1tbsp of your preferred jam in the middle of half of the cookies. With a small brush, coat the edges of the cookies topped with jam with the remaining egg. Place each empty cookie on top of each filled cookie and press down gently so that they stick together, but no obvious finger marks are visible. Place in the oven for around 20 minutes, until the edges of the cookies just begin to brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
 
5. When cooled, mix icing sugar and water together until you have quite a thick paste. With the back of a spoon cover most of the raised side of the cookie with the white icing. Make sure you leave a tiny bit to one side.
 
6. To create the iris, add a few drops of blue/green/brown colouring to some icing sugar and a couple of drops of water until you have a dry, thick dough-like substance you can roll. Separate the icing into 6 even balls. Flatten them until you have roughly round circles and stick in the middle of the icing whilst still dry.
Take the item you have chosen to be the pupil, dip the back of it into the white icing you set to one side and stick on the middle of the iris.
 
7. Dip a toothpick into some red food colouring and decorate the whites of the eyes with wobbly lines to create veins for the bloodshot effect.