Monday, 28 November 2011

I Vote for 48 Hours in a Day!

Yep, if you haven't guessed from my 10 year long absence from posting, things have been just slightly busy here!  I know everyone is busy getting things ready for the holidays, but I like to think that I've been super-humanly busy (sympathy anyone? No? Really?)...Ok, we're all busy...I get it! As much as I'd like to say that I've been a Lady What Lunches over the last 3 weeks (and I have had my fair share of delicious meals!), the truth of the matter is that I've been packing a lot into a little space. First things first: I made a little parcel for a friend of a friend who just had a precious little baby girl. I sent them a box of Cardamom and White Chocolate Shortbread which looked like this:

I also took a break from R&D of Shortbreading (Webster's, pay is totally and officially a real word!) and decided to make something more seasonal. I came across an amazing blog, Sweetapolita, and her fabulous and decadent looking cinnamon buns caught my eye. Let's be honest, what reeled me in was the nod to Cinnabon. Talk about a junior high throw back! Malls, Claire's accessories, jellies...oh lord. Throw. Back. How could I NOT make these??! And anyway, my leggings haven't really been pushed to the limit in a while. So, I whipped up a batch of heavenly cinnamon and pecan cinnamon buns....mmmmmm

I have officially taken my first step towards starting my business. The amazing folks at Business Gateway hosted, among many things, a business start-up seminar which I attended. It was informative but, above all, it was motivational. I am hoping to get a one-on-one with a business advisor before leaving for the Motherland in a few weeks time. The ball is certainly a'rollin'! After all that serious work, I had a friend from California out to visit...I don't think Edinburgh will ever be the same! We had a great time and were able to head up to Pitlochry for some well deserved relaxation and unwinding.

Can you hear the birds chirping?

Happy baking!!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

All Butter, All Delicious

I've been so busy trying to think up interesting and slightly kooky flavours, that I realised I haven't actually made plain, beautiful, all guilt butter shortbread in a long time. Back to my roots, back to the beginning...this cookie is where it all began for me. Luckily, my local grocer stocks plenty of butter to keep me in business. Speaking of business, I may have a little project to do in the next couple of weeks. It's one of the other reasons I wanted to make these sugary jewels. There is an event happening in a few weeks and shortbread is in demand! Woohoo!!! A little practise never hurt anyone, right?

Call it Spring Training (in November) and I'm the pitcher. Plus, I'm wearing the apron I made a few weeks I know this batch will taste extra yummy :)

Happy baking!


Monday, 31 October 2011

(I'm a) Sewing Machine!

That's right. You heard it here first. Pinnies and Poppy Seeds has officially begun making adorable, chic, bake-tastic pinnies! I felt inspired after perusing the web and feeling super disappointed that I couldn't really find anything I liked. There are tons of people and businesses selling aprons, but..and I mean no they think people don't care how they look in the kitchen?! Or...maybe I'm just a nutter who thinks my kitchen is a catwalk! Oooh goodness me, is it time for a little one-to-one with myself? Surely not! I know there are fabulous women out there aching for cute aprons to make them feel like the true domestic goddesses they really are! So, I've endeavoured to put my sewing machine to work making pinnies that would make Nigella proud! (Does anyone else want to be Nigella Lawson as much as me?).

So, here's my first attempt at the kind of pinnie that I think makes the perfect partner to my little shortbread cookies. What do you think?

Is anyone else goin' to town with their sewing machine?? What are some of the goodies you're making up? Let me know in the comments section!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Want to know what I'm cookin' right now?

Fact: I am a tech failure. Everything I do is basically a close-your-eyes-cross-your-fingers kinda thing! Not the most efficient method by any means, but I get by. So, after my mom kept asking me why she wasn't getting updates of my new posts I set about trying to figure that out. After countless 'help me!''s to Google (and by the way, LOTS of other people are just as clueless as me!!), I think I've managed to figure it out. It's always better to know you're in like company, isn't it?  So, I think I've added the right subscription button so that now you can get updates via email! It's just to the right...go on, take a look...I know you're dying to know exactly what I'm doing the second I do it. So sign up!!!


P.S. If this doesn't actually work...I might cry a little. Then beg someone techy to help me. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, 23 October 2011


After making about 40 bazillion dozen shortbread cookies in the last month or so, I felt like my foodie morale needed a little bit of a boost. I normally make fresh bread for The Handsome Hunter and me, using a Rachel Allen recipe from her book 'Bake'. I find her recipes really easy to follow and have extremely consistent results. I use her recipe for White Yeast Bread:  

2tsp caster sugar
425ml warm water
2 1/2 tsp dried yeast
750g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp salt
40g butter or 4 tbsp olive oil ( I prefer to use olive oil, I think the flavour really comes through in the bread)

*this will make 2 loaves, or place on a sheet pan if you're having a dinner party to make one large, beautiful free-hand loaf.

Call me lazy, but having kneaded dough by hand as well as in the Kitchen Aid using the dough hook, I don't really find any difference in the end result if you use an electric mixer. However, I do like to start the whole process in a bowl using my hands. This way, you can be sure all the ingredients are incorporated evenly before setting it to knead. Once the dough comes together, I transfer it to my Kitchen Aid and on a medium-low speed, I let it knead itself for about 5-7 min. Depending on how humid/cold/hot the weather is, I stop the mixer and check the dough for it's springiness. If it doesn't seem to bounce back as fervently as it should, I'll pop it back in the mixer or just give it a good whack by hand for another minute or two. Sometimes it's good to finish it off by hand as it's easier to tell when it's done and ready to chill out and rise. 

Cover it up with cling film and set to the side (somewhere not ice cold is always a good option!) and let rise for a few hours, until it has at least doubled in size. tip: I try to make this bread after I've cooked something in the over for dinner. Once the oven has been off for a little while, the residual heat is the perfect place to put this little doughy bowl of love to rise. Of course, if it's to warm to stick your hand in a touch the racks, then it's too hot! 

Once it's biiiiiig and fluffy, poke it a few times if you want...go on, you know you want to!...punch it back and pull it away from the sides of the bowl. Knead it for another few minutes and then let it set to the side while the oven preheats to 220C. Shape the dough however you want. I always just go for a normal tin loaf (it's easier to cut up for sandwiches, toasting, etc. I brush  mine with a little water and sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or just plain rock salt (it looks lovely when it comes out of the oven). Let it rise again until it has doubled in size. by this time, the over should be hot and ready to go! Bake for 15 minutes at 220C and then turn the oven down to 200C for another 25 minutes. 

Get out the butter!!!!!!

In my previous post, I made some almond paste. I got some really good ideas, especially from VIMWAC who suggested Christmas Cake, for ways to use it and I can't wait to try them out! In the meantime, I made a tart from a recipe I found on Two Tarts. I  substituted apples for nectarines because, well, I just did...and it came out pretty darn good if I do say so myself! 
Happy Baking!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Will You Pay Me $5 to Eat Paste?

Well, almond paste...not, like...white glue paste. That would be gross. Although, when I was little, I did love putting glue on my hands and letting it dry and then peeling it I alone? Should I be embarrassed now? I really hope someone else used to get the same bizarre pleasure out of wasting elementary school reserves of white glue. Moving on! So Almond paste, turns out it's really, really super easy to make yourself! I was inspired after reading a post on Two Tarts and thought, 'if they can do it, so can I!'. First, you need to blanch and peel the almonds to get rid of their little brown coats...
It's so simple, 1 or 2 minutes tops in boiling water, lay out on a sheet pan to cool, and then with your fingers, pinch them out of their skins. They come out very easily.
Next, blitz them in the food processor for a good couple of minutes until they are super, finely chopped. Then, add in the sugar (I added some almond extract as well) and egg whites to bind and pulse until it comes together in a ball
Store tightly wrapped in cling film and keep in the refrigerator!

I used this almond paste in an Almond Shortbread (which I'll post later). The Almond and Chocolate Shortbread I made originally didn't have the punchy almond flavour I was hoping for, so I thought I'd try using almond paste instead of chopped almonds and almond oil in the cookie.

But now I have all this extra almond paste...what should I do with it?? Any suggestions? Post them in the comment section below. Hopefully I can try out a yummy, almond-y something very soon!

Happy Baking!


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Fact: food tastes better if one wears a fabulous pinnie.

I've been using, abusing, and rotating my 3 fabulous pinnies for a few years now and I think it's time I adopted another into the Hunter household. I find joy in buying things if I can a) feel close to the maker/purveyor of that product (not in a creepy way! in a product origins kinda way!!) and b) feel like I'm contributing to a quality product. If you haven't been able to tell already, I have a complete and unhealthy obsession with all things artisan. Especially because I hope to be there myself one day! Fingers crossed!
Retro APRON I Love Lucy black polka dot sexy hostess apron vintage inspired
I Love Lucy Retro Apron from Lover Dovers Clothing, on Etsy
Right, I've been perusing the web and have found a few super cute sites where people are making fabulous pinnies. And in honour of the upcoming holidays: Halloween and eh hem...Thanksgiving, here a few delightful places I think you should check out. How are people so talented?!

Lover Dovers Clothing, Etsy - for you

Corakids, Etsy - for the wee bairns!

Happy Shopping!


Monday, 10 October 2011

Get out your knits and's Fall!

Fall is definitely in the air (although, in Edinburgh it feels suspiciously like Winter)...hey ho! While waiting, yet again, for a delivery which never came - oh how I want to scream and curse the courier right now! - I managed to crank out a few batches of shortbread. The main recipe I couldn't wait to try was a Pumpkin Spice Shortbread. How perfect for Fall...deep orange from the pumpkin, lots of warm ginger, spicy cinnamon and lovely mouth is watering just thinking about them! I bet your saying 'But you don't have to salivate, they're in your kitchen right now! Eat, woman!'. You'd almost be right. Except for the small, tiny fact that the fall inspired shortbread cookies I made earlier came out tougher than the rubber on my Fry boots. You could've built the pyramids with them! In fact, if you know anyone looking for pumpkin coloured building material, I'm your girl! Sad to say, they won't be seeing the light of day. Not even a pumpkin pie spiced white chocolate drizzle could save them. Can't win 'em all!

However, I did make a batch of Pecan Praline Shortbread that came out heavenly! I was so happy with the result. The above picture are the pecans that I decided to candy first and then blitz in the food processor to then mix through the shortbread dough. The pecans remind me of my grandma, Mag. She is one of my cooking inspirations. For as long as I can remember, she was in the kitchen making something delicious: melted cheddar on toast with thick slices of tomatos, mushrooms with gorgonzola, parsley and garlic, English toffee, chocolate chip cookies, and candied pecans at Christmas. I never asked her for the recipe and haven't ever made them until now. Food can be so emotionally powerful, and I loved thinking about her while making these cookies.

Pecans, right....ok, so I blitzed them in the food processor so that every teeny tiny bite of shortbread would be perfectly confettied with pecans. If only I had a bowl of vanilla ice cream right now...oh me, oh my! What you don't see here are the 5 minutes before the blitzing when I was giving one pecan to the food processor, one to me, one to the processor, two to was like sacrificial baking. Keeps me happy. It's fine, I have my leggings on today! Where was I? Pecans! Right, so I combined the pecans with the other ingredients and let the dough rest for a bit so it firmed up. Popped those babies in the oven and presto!

The Handsome Hunter is watching football, Izzy is all curled up at my feet and I'm snuggled up on the couch with my tartan wool blanket. Yep, come on in Fall...we've been expecting you.


Sunday, 9 October 2011

Lemon makes everything better!

Having a very, very lazy Sunday (isn't that the only way to spend Sundays?). The Handsome Hunter and I will be heading out to find some delicious lunch situation very soon. But to keep the ball rolling, I've been trying out some different things with the Poppy Seed Shortbread recipe and settled on a Lemon and Poppy Seed one that I think is a winner.

Happy Sunday!

Monday, 3 October 2011

A day of guilty pleasures!

the stars of the show!
Today was, how can I say....amazing! I'm not ashamed to say that I have quite a few guilty pleasures. Although, I think that after maybe 2 or 3, it's stops being 'guilty pleasures' and is just plain gluttony. I've come to terms with it. So my day of pure bliss included catching up on The Bachelor UK (don't judge, you know you want to watch it!), scrolled through some property websites only looking at the most expensive houses (a girl can dream!), cleaning out my closet, and in between all that....shortbread!

I always make sure to stop and smell the roses. It's important to always appreciate the little things, ya know?? Except today was literally about smelling the roses. And man did I sniff those babies! I was trying to find the perfect rose to use in my Rose Water and Sugar Shortbread. I was doing a little research about using roses in cooking and turns out that the lighter in colour the flower the more sweet and fruity the flavour. The darker the petals are the stronger in flavour and scent the flower is. So, I opted for one of my favourite rose colours to have (hint, hint Handsome Hunter!!)'s a peachy pink rose, fading from a light peach at the base up to the tips of the rose which look like they've been dipped in a beautiful pale pink paint. They are lovely in a vase and equally lovely in a cookie. A good tip, even with just arranging flowers, is to always peel the outermost layers off. They tend to get damaged and bruised and taking off 2 or 3 of the outer petals will make the flower look super fresh. The same applies for using flowers in food.

I realise the front, main petal has a big whopping bruise on it. Don't be like me, throw that one out!

I took about a dozen petals, rolled them up tight like a little floral cigar and used kitchen scissors to snip them into beautiful little confetti. Rose confetti....ahhh....beautiful. With a splash of rosewater added in, I worked the dough until it was all combined and then refrigerated for about an hour to let everything set. Once baked and fresh out of the oven, I smothered the little gems in sugar. The flavour is so delicate and light. You know that it's there but it still let's the butter in the shortbread have all the glory. Try using rose petals next time you make a salad or if you're in the mood for something more exotic and Moroccan, throw them into a lamb tagine. I think you'll be surprised just how much it adds to a dish. Plus, it's super classy. And that's the mother-effin' truth. :)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Disneyland!!...I mean, Estonia

Today's post won't be filled with pictures of shortbread I'm afraid...actually, no pictures at all today. Boring, I know...but I wanted to update the blog a smidge by telling you that I'm writing this from a once Roman Catholic Chapel, built in 1467 in the Old Town of Tallin, Estonia.

Aside from my love of butter...and all things buttery...I have a deep love for history. Especially the kind of history that you can touch, see, live, and be a part of. When the Handsome Hunter and I make our way back to the 'Burgh, I'll post a few pictures of this amazing place. I mean, words cannot describe! Tallin feels untouched. As if technology, huge chain stores and credit cards are centuries away.

There are moments, early in the morning or before people head out for dinner and a night of schnapps and debauchery, when the streets are calm and the light is just dusting the stone walls, and you feel like you've had a rare and unexplicable glimpse of the past.

It's like nothing I've ever experienced...and I'm not sure when I will again. So, fo now, I will just enjoy every minute.


oh! and if you have any recommendations for other places that you've been to which have this kind of feel...share! let me know! The Handsome Hunter and I are on a mission now...

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Paper Love

Today is a very special day. One year ago today, I married the most amazing man in the world. I think it's safe to say that my life has changed in a big way...I just wrote him a card, and I wrote something that made me think as well: it's amazing how everything we've done in the last few years has brought us both here, to the same place. I can probably go as far back as 2004, to a single decision I made to spend the summer working in Edinburgh.  This was the spark, the decision which would ignite my journey to The Handsome Hunter (By the way, I've decided that my main squeeze deserves a's only fair, I mean, especially if I'll be talking about him and making him devour dozens of shortbread for love!). So, from now on, he will be known as Handsome Hunter. God, I love that man.

Anyway, I couldn't be a happier Henni...

Today, I was planning on making sugared rose shortbread...but, I forgot to get actual roses. Rosewater? Check. Butter? Check....Roses for lovely decoration and red splashes through a beautiful white cookie?? No check. No. Check. I hate getting old. I wouldn't let you down though, I've still come through and made another batch of chocolate shortbread. I realised that I never posted the results of the Taste Test. Basically, cookies were eaten, kind words were said, but I was nae impressed. Me? Impressed? Nae. So, I've made another, hopefully more chocolate-y batch that makes me spin around and sing!

So, feel the love some chocolate and give someone a big ole smooch. Because I say so :)

Monday, 12 September 2011


It's been a touch windy here in the 'Burgh. Yeah...the bins are talking to each other. Chatty little things. Can we not tie the lids down, Council? I don't even think earplugs could drown out that noise! So, in respect of the hurricane winds sweeping through the country, I decided it was best to stay in (read: I got absolutely NO errands done. Groceries? What are those? Sustenance? Bleh, it can wait!). I did manage to take Izzy the dog out for a walk. And literally jump across the road for an all important hurricane-necessary diet coke. And butter. That's all that was in my bag. A lone diet coke and a stick of butter. For most people that just spells loneliness and a night in watching the Notebook weeping uncontrollably and trying on clothes that used to fit but don't anymore. However, for me, that spells an afternoon wearing my daffodil yellow paisley apron with turquoise buttons and making Chocolate Shortbread!!! 

I wasn't really sure of the butter/flour/coco ratio. I think I need to adjust the flour and butter to account for the fat in the coco and the extra dry ingredients added to the mix, but I wanted to see how the cookies would come out if I didn't adjust the recipe at all. To be honest, they came out ok! A bit on the softer side, which could be the result of too much fat. All in all, they came out ok. I'll definitely be experimenting with some different chocolates and amounts. But these are a few little gems I made earlier sprinkled with a lovely sheer dusting of confectioner's sugar. Like the coming winter...

Aside from the fantastic quality of my photo...ehem...I think the white against the rich chocolate brown looks so nice. It'll be nice to add such a different looking cookie to the gang I've already got going on. Hmm...we'll see how the Taste Test goes in the a.m. Happy eating!!


Sunday, 11 September 2011

Why spend money on necessities, like shoes and warm clothes for the winter, when you can buy pinnies!?

Got a few things to cover this morning:

Firstly, if you've not already checked out the links that I love, please, please, PLEASE check out Comfortable Corners The beautiful pictures that you see beneath this post were taken by him and he is an epic genius of the camera. Do yourself a favour: Check it out, be intrigued, thank me later. 

Secondly (or Second? Grammar and I were never good friends!), I officially have a follower!!! Woop woop! Watch out world, here I come! Needless to say, the one lone, enthusiastic follower is none other than my mother. See, now that is real love! And as she so perfectly put it, my first follower and fan should always be my mother. Awww love her! and my partners in crime (namely my main squeeze and my co workers) have single handedly eaten 4 batches of shortbread over the last week. Personally, I felt it was my duty to the name of research. I should also probably feel it's my duty to balance shortbread eating with exercise, but well, one thing at a time. Thankfully, I have surrounded myself with people whose appetites are as ferocious as mine. So thanks you guys, for being my eating comrades. Round 2 will commence Tuesday morning at 0900 hours. Wear your stretchy pants. 

Ok, now down to business. I have recently given in to my love of beautiful things and visited my favourite store in the WHOLE. ENTIRE. WORLD. This love is almost solely because of their beautiful, heart warming, and delightfully retro aprons. So, all I can do is urge you to visit and take a look and possibly invest in one of these aprons. They not only look fabulous, but make cooking/baking/twirling around in the kitchen an absolute  pleasure. I'm wearing one now. Just because :)


Friday, 9 September 2011

The little beauties in all their glory!

Cardamom and White Chocolate

A cuppa with Cardamom and White Chocolate shortbread minis

Almond and Milk Chocolate minis

Cinnamon and Sugar

Cinnamon and Sugar minis

Toasted Coconut

Dark Chocolate and Orange

Poppy Seed

The whole gang!!

Thank you so much to Giancarlo, my friend and fabulous photographer, for taking the time to help me out. I am so excited to see what the future has in store. I've got so many ideas floating around my head for different flavours, packaging, names, etc. 

Let me know what you think of the look of these shortbreads so far. I'll probably work on a new batch of flavours next far, I'm thinking of revamping the poppy seed to lemon and poppy seed.  A little lemon never hurt anyone...unless it gets in a cut. Then it hurts. But in shortbread, it's delicious!! Also, I think i'll be doing a Coco and Dark Chocolate Drizzle Shortbread, and (if I can get my stubby little hands on some), a lavender and honey Scottish!!! If you have any idea for flavours you think I should try, send me a message!  

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

I'm going to have to buy more leggings soon...

Right, I've had enough with butter being fattening and what have you. From now on, butter is good for you! Especially the butter in my shortbread. That is extra nutritious. Fact.

Aside from having to buy more leggings (because leggings are forgiving and don't leave jean zipper imprints on your shortbread filled belly), the shortbread making is going swimmingly! I've tweaked the recipe a little bit and found a trifecta/temperature combo that really works for me and my oven. Oh, and by trifecta, I mean the almighty trilogy of Butter, Sugar, and Flour. I mean, what more do you need in life? Well, maybe chocolate, bbq's, Mexican food of any kind, real estate websites (I could spend HOURS trolling those sites!). I gain momentum easily. The point is I'm really happy with the way the sortbread has been coming out. I made a few batches on Monday in preparation for the photo shoot (which, by the by, was super fun!!!).

Here are some of the Cardamom and White Chocolate ones I made, large ones on the left and the wee baby ones which I dip in white chocolate at the bottom. They are the perfect size for chomping!

These are the large ones when finished. Frosted generously with oozy, gooey, delicious white chocolate and finished off with the cardamom pods. I always think it's a good idea to show people what they're eating.

On it was to the park for some pictures...

The ruins at Holyrood Palace

My wee shortbreads, ready for their close-ups!!

The perfect ending to a great day!! Holyrood park verging on dusk is magnificent. If you've never been you should go before winter grabs a hold with it's frosty hands! Nothing beats grabbing a bench, pulling out a good book and snacking on a few delicious baked morsels. Highly recommended :)

Monday, 5 September 2011

Gettin' my bake on

Lots to do today! First So important. You know music makes baked things taste better? So weird, right? So in honour of today's shortbread making, I'm playing a little Charlie Simpson. Feeling better already! The sky is a brilliant blue and I'm feeling like today is a great day for pictures!

So today I'm making a little herd of shortbread: Cinnamon and Sugar, Toasted Coconut, Cardamom and White Chocolate, Almond and Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Orange, and Poppy Seed!

A few are in the oven just now, and the smell of cinnamon is sublime...warm and sweet and just a little bit spicy. I think Izzy's getting hungry...

Sunday, 4 September 2011

livin' like a rockstar

Ok, so tomorrow we're doin' a little photo shoot. Edinburgh has some amazing backdrops and quirky corners to give pictures that mystery and edge...shortbread is soooo edgy. I know. But my good friend and amazing photographer is going to help me style and profile a few of my buttery delights. Hopefully we'll get some great pictures and it won't be pouring rain like it normally is. This morning, I'm making some dough so that it can rest until I come back from work.

Flavours today:  Almond and Milk Chocolate and Toasted Coconut

(not too bad for 8 am on a Sunday!)


Saturday, 3 September 2011

the shortbread that started it all!

This was the shortbread I made for our wedding favours in June: Four squares of all butter shortbread. Crispy, buttery and dusted with lovely grains of crystalline sugar....heaven! They looked perfect with the table ad flowers. Wrapped in white parchment paper and finished off with black and white grosgrain ribbon and our 'H', love, love :)


making the world a better stick of butter at a time!

Hello!! Well, Edinburgh is looking particularly sunny and beautiful today. I can't think of a better time to launch my shortbread inspired blog. Dedicated to fabulous pinnies and all things baked with love, follow me as I chronicle my journey towards starting a shortbread business. Not quite sure where this will take me, or how long it might take me to do it...but I do know that I'll never go hungry! Let the baking begin!