Festive treats to kick off December

Happy December guys! I can't believe Christmas is only a few weeks away, where has this year gone? I've worked on a couple more tutorials for the holidays which I've linked below. There are still a few more coming - so keep your eyes peeled!

Head on over here for these adorable snowmen cupcakes which will make you melt!

Click here to learn how to make these cute festive cactus cookies which may just brighten up someone's day.

Lots of holly-day love,
Vickie x

Llama Orange-Spiced Cookies for the Holly-Days

Hey guys! December is just around the corner, which means Christmas isn't far off. Do you need a unique yet adorable treat idea for the holly-days? No prob-llama, I have you sorted! Head on over here for the full tutorial for these orange-spiced llama cookies!

Lots of orange-spiced love,
Vickie x

Ama-sting Honey Shortbread Cookies

The first time I made these honeycomb shortbread cookies was over 2 years ago, not long after I began documenting my baking journey on Instagram. Despite the simplicity, these melt-in-your-mouth cookies are still one of my favourite creations to date, which is why I want to share the recipe with you all! For someone who usually isn’t a fan of honey, let me assure you - these are worth the buzz. 

HONEY SHORTBREAD COOKIES
Makes 40 small cookies

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 165g butter (at room temperature)
  •  1/4 cup brown sugar
  •  1 Tablespoon honey

    Royal Icing
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Pavlova Magic/meringue powder
  • 5+ Tablespoons hot water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (or any other flavouring)
  • Yellow gel food colouring

Directions
1. To make cookies: Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then add honey until just combined. Gradually add in flour and beat on low until dough forms and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Form dough into a disc, and wrap in cling wrap. Refrigerate for at least one hour. 

2. When the dough has chilled, preheat oven to 175ºC and line baking trays with parchment paper. Lightly sprinkle clean surface with flour, and roll out cookie dough to approximately 3/4cm in thickness. Using a small hexagon cookie cutter, cut dough to resemble honeycomb. Place in freezer to chill for 10 minutes before baking.
Optional: You can also cut out mini bee cookies for decoration. Alternatively, store bought or homemade royal icing bees work just as well.

3. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or when edges begin to brown. This will be dependant on size and thickness of cookies, so keep an eye out! Leave them on the tray until warm to touch, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. 

4. To decorate: While the cookies are cooling, start on the royal icing. Mix the meringue powder and hot water in a large bowl on low speed until the powder has dissolved. Gradually add the icing sugar, and mix on low until combined; then add the flavouring. Beat on medium speed for around 5 minutes, or when the icing is thick and extremely white in colour. 

5. Divide the royal icing into 3 bowls, and dye them 3 different shades of yellow. You may need to add more water for a thinner consistency. Have a look at this guide by Sweet Sugar Belle for more information on icing consistency. Transfer icing into piping bags, then carefully outline and flood the cookies one at a time. Use a toothpick to pop any air bubbles or smooth out icing if necessary. Enjoy them as they are, or leave them out to dry overnight for the royal icing to completely set!

Lots of honey coated love,
Vickie xo

Nice Buns: Totoro Week Round-up!

So Totoro week has come to an end, and I couldn’t let this week go by without baking one more Totoro themed goody! I woke up bright and early this morning to whip up these soft, fluffy and adorable pull-apart buns - inspired by Bento Monsters of course. With a few adaptions here and there, I don't think they turned out too bad for a first attempt! They truly were just what I kneaded to complete the week ;)

I eliminated the sugar from the original recipe, adding honey and matcha instead! If you're in need of some high quality matcha, head on over here

To make the Susuwatari, I simply dyed the leftover dough black. The eyes are made from white fondant, and the details are all piped on with royal icing. 

The fun doesn’t stop here! Check out these links from some dedicated Totoro lovers:

Totoro-lly irresistible buns, black sesame toffee cookies AND pumpkin whoopie pies (say whaaaatt) from Totoro Queen Steph

Whimsical cookies by one of my favourites Lyndsay!

Syliva made these PEARFECT little pies

Kaitlin’s apple pie + the cutest TOTORONUTS from last year!

This Totoro katsudon by Emily is making me salivate

Matcha love,
Vickie x

Totoro-lly kawaii cake pops

It’s Totoro Week! If you’ve been following along on my Instagram journey, you’ll know I have quite an obsession with Hayao Miyazaki’s film My Neighbour Totoro. It was one of my favourites as a child, and still is to this day. Created by my talented Instagram friends: Steph (I am a Food Blog) + Lyndsay (Coco Cake Land), Totoro Week (which is totoro-lly legit) falls on the last week of October. It's pretty much an excuse to make Totoro themed food, and I'm not complaining!

Given my (slight) obsession, it only seemed fitting to make something Totoro related for my first tutorial on this website. Hopefully these cuties will whisk you away! 

TOTORO CAKE POPSICLES
Makes 8 cake pops

Ingredients

  • 600g crumbed cake
  • Frosting or ganache
  • Almonds (for the ears)
  • 400g white chocolate melts 
  • Black oil based food colouring
  • White + green fondant
  • Black cookie/royal icing
  • Popsicle sticks

Method
1. To make cake pops: Using store bought or homemade cake (I used my favourite white chocolate mud), crumb with a mixer or food processor. Add in frosting or ganache, one small spoonful at a time. The amount needed will be dependant on the moistness of the cake. With the right amount of frosting, the mixture should come together when forming a ball, but shouldn’t be too wet.

2. When the mixture is ready, it is time to mould the pops. You can either use a mini popsicle mould, or shape them by hand. Place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and then chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. Alternatively, you can put them in the freezer for 15 - 20 minutes to speed up the process. Be mindful that the cake pops should be firm, but not frozen. This will ensure the chocolate won’t crack after dipping!

3. To decorate: Place the chocolate melts in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring each time until completely melted. Ensure the bowl is deep enough for the cake pops to submerge in the chocolate when dipping. Add black oil based colouring one drop at a time, stirring until you’ve reached your desired colour. You may be required to add shortening or vegetable oil to thin out the chocolate in order to make the dipping process easier. 

4. Taking a few cake pops out of the fridge at a time, dip the end of the popsicle sticks in chocolate, then slowly push into the cake pops. Repeat this process with the almonds ears. When both have set, dip the pops into the melted grey chocolate, gently tapping your wrist to allow the excess chocolate to drip off. Place on baking tray to dry.

5. Roll and cut out white fondant for the eyes and belly. I used a jumbo straw for the eyes, and a small circle cookie cuter (with the end cut off) for the belly.  Stick on cake pops using melted chocolate as the ‘glue’. Place black and grey icing into piping bags with a small tip cut off, then pipe on finer details such as the face and belly features.

6. Roll out the green fondant, and either hand cut or use a mini leaf fondant cutter to make the leaf for Totoro’s head. Stick on cake pop with a bit of melted chocolate.

One at a time, dip popsicle sticks into melted chocolate, then insert into cake pop. Do the same with the almonds for the ears and allow to dry.

One at a time, dip popsicle sticks into melted chocolate, then insert into cake pop. Do the same with the almonds for the ears and allow to dry.

Dip the cake pops in grey melted chocolate, tapping your wrist gently to allow the excess chocolate to drip off. When the chocolate coat is completely dry, roll and cut out white fondant for the eyes and belly. Stick them onto the cake pop with melted chocolate. 

Dip the cake pops in grey melted chocolate, tapping your wrist gently to allow the excess chocolate to drip off. When the chocolate coat is completely dry, roll and cut out white fondant for the eyes and belly. Stick them onto the cake pop with melted chocolate. 

Pipe on the smaller details such as the face + belly features with royal icing. Top off with a mini fondant leaf. 

Pipe on the smaller details such as the face + belly features with royal icing. Top off with a mini fondant leaf. 

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Thanks for sticking around until the end ;)

Lots of love and popkissles,
Vickie x