Gin and Tonic Friands

When I purchased the black cherry flavoured icing sugar from The Vanilla Valley recently, I couldn’t resist adding some gin and tonic flavoured icing sugar to my order.  The obvious recipe of choice for me was friands as icing sugar is one of the main ingredients.

G&T Friands4

These are alcohol free, so would be good to take to work for a bake sale, but I did try adding real gin to the glaze with great results.

In reality, these friands are lemon friands and would be just as good with ordinary icing sugar. The tart lemon curd in the middle cuts through the sweetness and I couldn’t resist topping with a little candied lemon slice for a bit of kitsch.

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I think it’s important to use a decent quality lemon curd here too, some of the very cheap versions taste like washing up liquid.  I chose Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference which wasn’t the most expensive one, but I did avoid the cheapest.  Of course home made is always best if you can get hold of some.

G&T Friands

Ingredients:
250ml egg whites – I use Two Chicks pasteurised egg whites
250g Sugar and Crumbs Gin and Tonic flavoured icing sugar
130g ground almonds
100g plain/all-purpose flour
Zest of one small lemon
165g butter – melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing the tin
1/2 jar of good quality lemon curd

To decorate:
1 cup of gin and tonic flavoured icing sugar, sieved
Water (or gin!)
Candied lemon slices

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Method:
Pre heat the oven to 180°C/350°F and brush the friand pan with melted butter

Whisk the egg whites until broken down and frothy.

Fold in the almonds, flour and zest until just incorporated and stir in the cooled, melted butter.

Divide the mixture equally between the cups in the tin.

I used a piping bag to squeeze a little lemon curd into each cake, but you could easily do this with two teaspoons.  You only need a small amount – around a teaspoon.

Bake the friands for around 25-30 minutes.  They will rise up a little and become golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes in order to firm up a little, before leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

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To decorate, mix the icing sugar with a small amount of water (or gin if using) to make a fairly thick, but still runny, glaze. Drizzle over the little cakes and stud each one with a candied lemon slice.

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Definitely an unusual alternative to afternoon tea, but a welcome one.

G&T Friands1

Easter Cupcakes

These cute little vanilla cupcakes are decorated using a 234 tip to pipe buttercream grass with Cadbury’s Mini Eggs.  They are a good alternative to the more traditional Easter chocolate nest cakes made with cornflakes or Rice Krispies.

Easter cupcakes

Ingredients:
180g Butter at room temperature
180g Self-raising flour
180g Caster sugar
1tsp Vanilla extract
3 Extra-large eggs

To decorate:
250g Butter at room temperature
500g Icing sugar – sieved
1tsp Vanilla extract
Green food colouring – enough to turn the buttercream grass green!
Cadbury’s Mini Eggs
Sugar flowers to decorate

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Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF and line a bun tray with 12 paper cases.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  I made mine in a stand mixer, but a wooden spoon will do just fine.

Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each one is fully mixed in before adding the next one. Then add the vanilla and stir in the flour until just combined.

Divide the mixture between the cases and bake for 12-15 minutes.  They will be a light golden colour and a toothpick should come out clean when they are baked.

Easter cupcakes1

Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To decorate, whip the butter and icing sugar together until fluffy.  Add the vanilla and then the green food colouring.  I used a gel colour and quite a lot of it before it took on a grass colour!

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Pile the frosting into a piping bag, fitted with a number 234 tip and pipe the grass onto each cake.  I’m not great at piping, but it doesn’t have to look like a manicured lawn, it’s just for fun and the frosting is really a vehicle for the mini eggs and sugar flowers.

Easter cupcake

They are so pretty when finished and look just like Spring – even if it’s grey, wet and cold outside!  Add a fluffy chick or two and they are just the thing for Easter.

Christmas Spiced Mincemeat Friands

Friands are so easy to make, a Christmas themed recipe was inevitable!

Christmas Friands

These friands have the addition of ground mixed spice in both the cakes and the glaze for that unmistakable Christmas flavour.

As before, I use refrigerated Two Chicks egg whites from the supermarket. So much easier than separating egg whites and then finding something to do with all the yolks. I also used some homemade mincemeat that was given to me as a gift, but there are lots of really good jars of mincemeat in the supermarket at this time of year.

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I sometimes like to customise shop bought mincemeat with a little extra brandy, pistachios or cranberries, but as the children were going to eat this one, I kept it simple. This particular jar had slivered almonds which made it particularly good to eat.

Ingredients:
6 large egg whites/250ml Two Chicks pasteurised egg whites
250g icing/powdered sugar, sieved with 2tsp ground mixed spice
130g ground almonds
100g plain flour, sieved
Zest of 1-2 satsumas or clementines
160g melted butter + extra for buttering the pan
1 jar of good quality mincemeat

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C and brush the friand tin with melted butter.

In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk the egg whites until frothy and then add the melted butter and zest.

Mix in the ground almonds and add the icing sugar and spice on low speed. Finally, fold in the flour until just combined.

Half fill a 12-hole friand pan with the mixture and add a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat to each one. Don’t be tempted to add too much, or it will bubble out due to the high sugar content.

Using the rest of the mixture, cover the mincemeat, dividing it equally between each one. The mincemeat will be encased inside.

Christmas Friands closeup2

Bake for around 30 minutes, or until they are cooked through. A toothpick inserted should come out clean.

Leave to rest for 15 minutes before gently turning out onto a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool completely before preparing the glaze.

Christmas Friand close up

Glaze:
1 cup of icing sugar, sieved with 1tsp of ground mixed spice
Juice of the two satsumas used for the cakes, plus the zest and juice of an extra one – enough to make a dropping consistency.

Simply mix together the sieved icing sugar, spice, zest and enough satsuma juice to make a dropping consistency – I used all 3 satsumas, but mine were very small ones.

Drizzle over a little of the spicy, zesty glaze and dust with a small amount of sieved icing sugar.

Christmas Friand inside

These are spicy, moist and delicious, with a juicy mincemeat filling – a really good alternative to the traditional mince pie. Serve with coffee for a festive treat.