Hello, lucky ducks! Do I have a deal for you! It’s another 2-in-1 blog post.
Thanks to AWW Cookbooks (via ACP Books) for sending me 3 new Australian Women’s Weekly books to review. I am an absolute cookbook fiend, so I was very interested in having a sticky-beak at these. And, as with all AWW cakes, the recipes have been triple-tested, so you know they are reliable.
The Bumper Book of Kids’ Birthday Cakes is a compilation of favourites from previous books, and it includes some new ideas, as well. You will probably see your own childhood favourites here (eeek! There’s that Dolly Varden cake with the doll stuck in the middle of it with a pouffy marshmallow dress!).
While some of the cake designs are probably a little ‘homely’ or not that sophisticated, it does make them more accessible and achievable.
There is also an excellent step-by-step section, showing basics such as how to cover a cake board, preparing the cake for decoration and how to cut fondant icing. There are some basic cake recipes included, too. All in all, this is a great book if you have children or lots of birthday parties to cater for.
Cake Pops contains dozens of designs of cake balls on sticks. There are some very pretty ideas for engagement parties or weddings (the Turkish Delight Bouquets [seen on the cover] are covered in tiny sugar flowers, squeee!), while the Holidays section of the book has ice cream pops and cake pops in the shape of snowmen and Christmas trees. Lovely photographs in this book.
I am looking forward to getting my hands dirty with some of the goodies from this book, so stay tuned.
I’ve left the best till last.
The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits is one of my all-time favourite books. I have been making biscuits and cookies from this book for years, and it has all the classics, such as Anzac biscuits, shortbread, meringues and chocolate crackles.
This is a reissue of the original book (first published 1982) and you can tell it’s from the 20th century because there’s not much in the way of food styling in the photos, except for maybe a silver service tea-set in the background. It doesn’t matter, though, because the recipes are the stars.
Here, I’ve made some Peanut Butter Crinkles from the book. They are peanutty and melt-in-the-mouth, and so retro, and… just Beautiful Biscuits!
I was focusing on the front biscuit and failed to notice a hovering Tabitha cat.
Peanut Butter Crinkles
makes about 40
125g butter, softened to room temperature
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1¼ cups plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line baking trays with baking paper.
2. Place the butter, vanilla, caster sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter in a bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat the mixture until smooth and creamy.
3. Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
4. Roll teaspoons of the dough into small balls, and place onto prepared trays. Leave about 4cm/1½ inches between each ball, to allow room to spread. Use a fork to flatten each ball in a criss-cross pattern.
5. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until lightly golden. Leave on tray for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Biscuits can be stored for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
Recipe adapted from Australian Women's Weekly The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits (ACP Books)
Ingredients, including brown sugar, caster sugar, plain flour, vanilla extract, peanut butter, baking soda and butter
Roll the dough into small balls, then flatten and make a cross pattern on them with a fork
Really beautiful biscuits, truly melt-in-the-mouth