The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature

I have teamed up with Roadshow to celebrate the release of The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature which is now in cinemas Australia wide. 

Following the events of the first film, Surly and his friends must stop Oakton City's mayor from destroying their home to make way for a dysfunctional amusement park (watch the trailer here!). To join in on the fun, I dreamt up the gang: Surly, Mr. Feng, Precious and Andie, in these adorable and fun cookies for you to try at home. 

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Ingredients

  •  Your favourite sugar cookie recipe
  •  Fondant
  •  Gel food colouring
  •  Royal icing
  •  Edible Markers

Directions
1. Follow instructions to make your favourite cookie dough.
2. Print out templates of the 4 characters (Surly, Mr.Feng, Precious and Andie), and cut them out.
3. Roll out cookie dough, then lay templates on top of the dough. Use a small knife to carefully cut out the characters, then chill in freezer for 15 minutes before baking.
4. Bake cookies, then cool completely before decorating.
5. Dye fondant and royal icing to desired colours. You can also replace the fondant with royal icing if preferred.

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Surly
1.
Cover cookie with purple fondant, using a brush with some water to stick onto cookies.
2. Using the template, cut out white fondant for the belly and face.
3. Add on white eye base, and make a little acorn out of brown fondant. For the hatch details of the acorn, score in lines with a small sharp knife.
4. Add on purple fondant arms around the acorn, and add final details with black royal icing and purple edible marker. 

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Mr. Feng
1.
Cover cookie with white fondant, using a brush with some water to stick onto cookies.
2. Use pink royal icing to add on details for the ears, nose, and paws. 
3. Pipe on facial and body details with light grey icing. Leave to set. 
4.
Add final eye details with royal icing, then lightly trace over the dried grey icing with a black edible marker. 

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Precious
1.
Cover cookie with tan coloured fondant, using a brush with some water to stick onto cookies.
2. Cut out ears, eyes and nose segments from dark brown fondant, and attach onto the cookies.
3. Cut two small red strips for the collar, and pipe on the eyes, nose and mouth with royal icing. Leave to set.
4. Using brown edible marker, draw in the paws, legs, collar and wrinkle details. Attach a small piece of red fondant for the tongue.

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Andie
1.
Cover cookie with orange fondant, using a brush with some water to stick onto cookies.
2. Using the template, cut out white fondant for the belly and face.
3. Cut out arms with the orange fondant, and attach onto cookie to appear as though they are crossing over one another. 
4. Add one final details with black royal icing and orange edible marker.

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Go nuts and let me know which character is your favourite!

Christmas Animal Donuts

Christmas is less than a week away, so I thought I would share some festive dessert decorating ideas with you guys - starting with these animal donuts!

Inspired by a white Christmas (which unfortunately I have never experienced as I live in Australia), I dreamt up some adorable donuts which would cheer anyone up. Because it’s the hole-yday season, you don’t even have to feel guilty about consuming one (or two, or three) too many of these donuts… that’s if you can bear to eat them! Diet starts in the new year, right? ;)

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Ingredients

  • Donuts! (store bought or homemade)
  • Compound chocolate (milk and white)
  • Oil based food dye: black
  • Marshmallows
  • Red M&M’s
  • Almonds/Pistachios
  • Sprinkles: white non pareils + holly
  • Royal icing: black + orange
  • Fondant: red, white + black
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Polar Bear
1.  Dip one end of the pistachios into melted chocolate, then stick into the donuts for the ears. When the chocolate has set, dip donut into melted white chocolate.  
2. Place a marshmallow into the donut hole and leave to dry.
3. Pipe on eyes with black royal icing, and stick on a small nose made from fondant. Roll out some white fondant and cut into thin strips to make the scarf. Stick on the donut with melted chocolate. 
4. Combine red gel food colouring and vegetable oil in a small bowl to make red edible paint. Paint stripes onto the fondant scarf.

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Penguin
1.
Dip the thicker end of the almonds into melted chocolate, then stick into the sides of the donuts for the wings. When the chocolate has set, dip donut into melted grey chocolate.
2. Places pre-made white chocolate circle in the centre of the donut as the *penguin bellies.
3. Pipe on the eyes with black royal icing, and the beak and feet with orange royal icing.
4. Using melted chocolate, add holly sprinkles onto the penguin’s belly. Lastly, stick the pre-made *santa hat into the top of the donut. 

*Penguin bellies: Melt white compound chocolate in the microwave or with a double boiler. Pour chocolate onto a lined baking tray, and spread thin and evenly. Tap the tray lightly on a kitchen bench to smooth out the chocolate, leaving to set until firm, but not completely hard. Use a small circle cookie cutter to carefully cut out the chocolate circles.

*Santa hats: Roll red fondant into a small cone shape. With water, attach a strip of white fondant around the bottom edge of the cone, and a small white fondant ball at the tip of the cone. When dry, dip the white sections into melted chocolate, followed by a coating of white non pareil sprinkles. Leaven to harden.

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Rudolph
1.
  Dip one end of the pistachios into melted chocolate, then stick them into the donuts for the ears. Attach a marshmallow into the donut hole.
2. When the chocolate has set, dip donut into melted milk chocolate. Add a red M&M in the middle of the donut for the nose, and holly sprinkles to represent a bow tie. 
3. Dip the bottom of the pre-made *chocolate antlers into melted chocolate, then stick into the top of the donut. 
4. Use black royal icing to pipe on the eyes.

Chocolate antlers: Melt dark compound chocolate in the microwave or with a double boiler. Alternatively, you can use milk chocolate with added black oil based colouring to create a dark brown. Transfer chocolate into a piping bag or bottle, then pipe out antlers onto a lined baking tray. Leave to harden completely before use.

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Have a tree-mendous holiday season!

XOX
Vickie

Black Sesame Yuzu Wagon Wheels

I've teamed up with SBS Food to re-create a couple of my childhood favourites, with a multicultural twist. An Instagram competition #BringBackTheClassic is running over the month of November. Head on over here for more details!

The first time I tasted Yuzu was only a couple years back, in the form of a fragrant dessert. It has now become a flavour which I adore, whether found in an aromatic dipping sauce, a mouth watering tart, or even a ramen broth. Black sesame, on the other hand, is more of a familiar flavour to me. Growing up, it was quite common in my household kitchen; and is often my go to flavour in asian desserts. I decided to pair the two together to put a fun asian inspired spin on the classic Australian Wagon Wheel. Two black sesame cookies, sandwiching a vanilla marshmallow and a layer of yuzu jam, all covered in black sesame white chocolate.

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Ingredients
Black Sesame Cookies

  • 230g butter (room temperature)
  •  1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup black sesame powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Assembling

  •  Homemade or store bought marshmallows
  • Yuzu Jam

Black Sesame White Chocolate

  • 600g white compound chocolate
  • 6 TBSP black sesame powder
  •  2-3 TBSP coconut oil


Directions
1. To make Black Sesame Cookies: Sift flour and black sesame powder in a bowl and set aside. Beat butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla until just combined.

2. Gradually add in the sifted dry ingredients, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Divide into two discs and wrap in cling wrap. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

3. Make your favourite vanilla marshmallow recipe, and spread onto baking trays to just over 1cm in thickness. Leave to set for at least 1 hour. Alternatively, you can use store bought marshmallows. Just add them onto half of the cookies for the last 4-5 minutes of baking time, allowing them to melt and stick slightly on top of the cookies.

4. When dough is ready to be rolled, preheat oven to 180˚C. Roll out dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper, to no more than 1/2cm in thickness. Using a round cookie cutter 5-6cm in diameter, cut out circles and transfer onto a lined tray. Chill in freezer for 15 minutes, then bake for 15-17 minutes, or when edges begin to brown. Leave to cool for 15 minutes.

5. To assemble: When the cookies have cooled for approximately 15 minutes, but are still slightly warm, cut out marshmallows with the same circle cookie cutter, and place on half of the cookies. Add a generous amount of yuzu jam onto the marshmallows, then sandwich the leftover cookies on top. Place in freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up before dipping.

6. Melt white chocolate over a double boiler. Add in black sesame powder, then coconut oil to thin out the chocolate. Dip the cooled cookies into the chocolate with two forks, and tap off the excess chocolate. Place on lined baking tray to set.

7. OPTIONAL: Koala Design
Before chilling the Wagon Wheels, stick one half of a mini Oreo into the marshmallows for each of the ears. Chill, and then dip as above. Be careful as the ears may be a little fragile. When the chocolate has dried, pipe on the face with black royal icing, the middle of the ears with white royal icing, and create little leaves with green fondant for extra detailing.

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If you're a black sesame and yuzu lover, but sure to give these a go!

XOX
Vickie

Matcha Red Bean Tim Tams

I've teamed up with SBS Food to re-create a couple of my childhood favourites, with a multicultural twist. An Instagram competition #BringBackTheClassic is running over the month of November. Head on over here for more details!

Growing up in an Asian household in Australia, Tim Tams were one of my favourite snacks; while asian flavours such as matcha and red bean were prominent in my most loved desserts. Therefore, I couldn’t resist combining two slices of my childhood to create these matcha and red bean Tim Tams. The cookies having a strong matcha taste, but is mellowed out with the sweet buttercream and chocolate coating. Be warned - these are incredibly moreish and a matcha made in heaven!
 

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Ingredients
Matcha Cookie

  •  130g butter (room temperature)
  •  3 TBSP caster sugar
  •  1 egg (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 TBSP matcha powder (to taste)
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Red Bean (Adzuki Bean) Buttercream

  • 50 grams butter
  • 40 grams icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup red bean paste

Matcha White Chocolate

  • 300g white compound chocolate
  • 2 TBSP matcha powder
  • 1 TBSP coconut oil

Directions
1. To make Matcha Cookies: Sift flour and matcha powder in a bowl and set aside. Beat butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla until just combined.

2. Gradually add in the sifted dry ingredients, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Divide into two discs and wrap in cling wrap. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

3. When dough is ready to be rolled, preheat oven to 180˚C. Roll out dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper, to no more than 1/2cm in thickness. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut into rectangles roughly 3cm x 5cm in size. Chill in freezer for 10 minutes, then bake for 12-14 minutes; or when edges being to brown. Cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.

4. To make Red Bean Buttercream: Mix together butter, icing sugar and red bean paste until creamy and combined. Transfer into a piping bag and cut the tip off.

5. To assemble: Pipe buttercream on half of the matcha cookies, then sandwich the other half on top. Place in freezer for at least 10 minutes to chill.

6. While the cookies are chilling, melt white chocolate over a double boiler. Add in sifted matcha powder, then coconut oil to thin out the chocolate. Dip the chilled cookies into the chocolate with a fork, and tap off the excess chocolate. Place on lined baking tray to set.

7. OPTIONAL: Cat design
Before chilling the cookie sandwiches, stick pumpkin seeds into the buttercream for the cat ears. Chill and dip as above, then after the chocolate has set - dip small sections of the Tim Tam into white chocolate. Lastly, pipe on final details with black royal icing. 

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If you give these a go, be sure to tell me what ya think!

XOX
Vickie

Totoro Black Sesame Cookies: Halloween Edition

Kicking off Totoro Week with a little Halloween inspiration! I've always loved black sesame in sweets, and these cookies are no exception. And yes - Totoro Week is a thing. My creative Insta pals Steph (I Am a Food Blog) and Lyndsay (Coco Cake Land) dreamed up this totoro-lly awesome week, which occurs on the last week of October. Join in on the fun with the hashtag #TotoroWeek on Instagram. 

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BLACK SESAME COOKIES
Makes 38 mini Totoro cookies

Ingredients

  • 230g butter (room temperature)
  •  1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup black sesame powder

Decoration

  • Royal icing
  • Gel food colouring
  • Piping bags

Directions
1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla until incorporated, then gradually add in sifted flour and black sesame powder mixing on low speed until just combined. Shape into 2 discs, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

2. When dough has chilled, pre-heat oven to 175˚C. Roll out dough between two pieces of parchment paper, and cut out using a Totoro shaped cookie cutter. Transfer onto a lined baking tray, and place in freezer for 10 minutes before baking.

3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or when edges begin to slightly brown. Cool completely before decorating.

4. While the cookies are cooling, dye the icing with gel based food colouring. Some of the colours will need to be thicker consistency than others. Below is a guide.
Flooding consistency icing: grey, white, orange, green.
Stiff consistency icing: black, orange, yellow, brown.

5. Decorate! See below for the step-by-step for each design.
Note: If you don't like your cookies too sweet, you can skip the step of the grey icing base, and also use matcha cookies as the base for Frankenstein Totoro.

ADD STEPS

Pumpkin Totoro
1. Pipe the top half of the cookie with grey icing. Dry for 30 minutes.
*NOTE: For the pumpkin 'hat', shape dough into a small ball and stick to cookie before baking. 
2. Add pumpkin base with orange icing, and white base for the eyes.  
3. Using a thicker consistency orange icing, add on the pumpkin details. Pipe on facial features with black icing.
4. Add a little brown stalk onto the pumpkin hat, and a face to the pumpkin.

ADD STEPS

Witch Totoro
1. Pipe the Totoro base with grey icing. Dry for 30 minutes.
*NOTE: For witch hat, use a small triangle cookie cutter to cut out the hat, then stick to the cookie before baking.
2. Add the hat, eyes and belly. Pipe on the top of the broom with thick consistency icing for the texture of straw. 
3. Add on broom stick and facial details. 
4. Pipe the triangles on Totoro's belly, and the strip on the hat. 

ADD STEPS

Frankenstein Totoro
1. Pipe the base of the cookie with green icing. Dry for 30 minutes.
2. Add white base for the eyes and belly. Wait for outer layer of icing to dry.
3. Pipe triangles on the belly, and facial details. 
4. Add small scar marks with black royal icing. 

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Mummy Totoro
1. Pipe the base of the cookie with grey icing. Dry for 30 minutes.
2. Add white base for the eyes, and a few white strips.   
3. Pipe on the facial details with black icing, and add extra white strips of icing.
4. Add final touches of strips, some layering over the previous ones.

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ROUND UP FROM THIS YEAR
Lyndsay made this adorable Matcha Frankenstein Totoro Cake!  Definitely a matcha made in heaven!

Em made Tamagoyaki Totoros in a rice cooker! Um what? Tamagoyaki is one of my all time favs, so I will definitely be trying these out.

Syl's divine Totoro rice krispie treats have me salivating (though I don't know if I could bear to eat these cuties)! 

Sushi AND Totoro? Yes please! These Totoro Inari by Steph honestly just make me so happy :)

Oh my ghourd, how magic are these Totoro Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

Soot Sprite Chocolate Sparkle Cookies - These sweet little morsels are just too sweet. Steph, you smart cookie!

If you make anything Totoro related, or try out any of our recipes, don't forget to use the hashtag #TotoroWeek to show us your creations!

XOX
VIckie