Cappuccino Swirl Snickerdoodles

I think I might be a little bit cursed.
Every time me and my friend Bea go out shopping, it ends up raining. No joke.
It normally starts off raining in the morning, so at least we have time to prepare ourselves with rain jackets and an umbrella. But last week was different.
It was warm and sunny for the first time in quite a while, lulling us into a false sense of security – ‘Oh, I won’t need an umbrella, it’s fine, I’m sure it’ll be different this time.’ Everything was going okay, we had managed to navigate our way to east London via the overground after realising that our original underground route was completely closed off.

When we got out of the train station, the realisation started to creep up on me that the weather wasn’t as nice as I previously thought. Grey sky and crazy strong wind. Yeah, not a good sign. We headed towards the small pop up mall, boxpark, to get something to eat, but we realised that we would probably then have to eat outside, not a wise choice.

With our slowly declining enthusiasm, and increasing hunger, we battled through the wind reaching a small coffee shop (which had some of the best coffee ever) just as the rain started to spatter down. We drank hot, foamy cappuccinos sprinkled with cinnamon, and shared a slice of orange cake in the woody warmth of the café, whilst we watched that stupid rain fall outside.

So after all, maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing. If it wasn’t for this rainy-curse I have, then we wouldn’t have gone to the coffee shop, and I wouldn’t have remembered how amazingly well cinnamon and coffee go together. Then I wouldn’t have been inspired to make these cookies.

They’re soft, thick, slightly crisp snickerdoodles, flecked with flavour: browned butter, vanilla bean , ground coffee and cinnamon. The cookie dough is divided in half, one half – left classic vanilla, the other half – flavoured with coffee. Then the flavours are reunited and rolled in cinnamon-sugar, to make one pretty amazing treat.

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Mocha Meringue Cupcakes

February half term is almost over, my 16th birthday has come and gone, followed the next day by Valentines. Those 9 pizzas and the 4 layer brownie-cookie-cake were devoured by 10 teenage girls with only countless photos as evidence… friends were obviously super impressed by my dancing skills…
The intensity of that unfinished slice of ‘Chocolate Nemesis’ from The River Café is still lingering in my mind.
But I’m still dreaming about these cupcakes.

A dense, intense chocolate cake, filled with chocolate buttercream and frosted with toasted coffee meringue.

I brought them to school, which gave me an excuse for a lift in the car that morning. I mean, nobody wants a cupcake which has been bashed around on a bike for 20 minutes do they?

I admit, I should have made more of that frosting, it was divine. Slightly crisp on the outside, with a marshamllowy inside and an earthy coffee flavour. So I’ve put the full recipe below so you don’t have to suffer through a lack of frosting.

I also have to confess that I used chocolate buttercream from a can to fill the cupcakes, it tasted really good so I gave in and used it, therefore I regret to say I have no recipe for the filling. However I can say that when making these cupcakes, you’ll need about 1 cup of chocolate buttercream to fill them, store bought or from your favourite recipe.

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3 minute Marshmallow Cups

Say it’s actually freezing cold outside, and you want a warm snack. It needs to be quick and dessert like. You don’t own a microwave so all those 2 minute mug cake recipes are a no. What can you do?

Turn on your oven and get out that bag of marshmallows you never use, we’re not making plain old s’mores, we’re making marshmallow cups!

Yes, this is a picture of spoons, not cups, but the actual goodness you see on the spoon was made in a cup.

Okay not an actual cup, but mini muffin liners which look a bit like cups… Totally won you over then with my debating skills didn’t I?

If I didn’t consider these points:

They take 3 minutes to make, they’re sweet and gooey

and you can eat them with small spoons and feel like a giant. How awesome is that?

Super awesome if you ask me.

They’re perfect for parties: everyone makes their own flavour combos, put them all on a tray, broil them in the oven for a minute or two, and they’re done!

Sweet, marshmallowy success.

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Perfect Lemon Muffins

It’s. so. COLD.

It snowed in London last night; The one time it snows this winter and it’s on a Saturday. Yeah, well done Weather, snow on the weekend, not during the week; Now I don’t get a snow-day, thanks a lot.

To brighten up this cold weekend, I decided to head in a lemony direction!

I’ve already confessed my obsession with lemon, it must be the sweet and sour aspect that has me hooked. I find my satisfaction in making lemon muffins. However, making the most lemon filled muffin you can, I’ve found, is not an easy feat! I’ve tried loads of different things: extra lemon icing, more lemon zest, lemon extract, lemon curd, but it’s never quite enough (I have learned though that extra lemon icing is always a good thing!).

But I think I’ve finally found the answer: candied lemon zest*. I made it in small pieces, and rolled them in a mixture of fine sugar and citric acid (for extra zing), then stirred them into the batter. They dispersed throughout the muffin perfectly giving little bursts of flavour in every bite! The great thing is that once you’ve made a batch of it, you can keep it in a sealed container for your next batch of muffins, without having to make it again.

Plus it makes these muffins look so pretty.

The muffin batter is a really simple recipe. It can be made super easily in a food processor by literally throwing all the ingredients in and blending together, so it comes together in a mater of minutes. I added a little bit of oat bran too, to get some fibre and texture in. I find it nicer to use than wholemeal flour because the oat bran is pretty much visually undetectable, so the muffins keep their bright colour. I also used lemon juice, zest and extract for a good boost of flavour.

The last steps to these perfect lemon muffins are: make sure you drizzle on plenty of lemon icing, then sprinkle on some candied lemon zest.

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