Chocolate Brownies

250g butter
440g sugar
135g flour
65g cocoa powder
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

1. Mix butter and sugar until well mixed 2. Add in eggs and vanilla extract 3. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder) 4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. 5. Put in into a lined baking tray and bake for about 20-25minutes ( I never time when I'm baking, but just check after 2o mins)

You may eat it with ice cream or by itself when it's cooled down. However, if you are a chocolate fan, you would like to make some chocolate topping for your tray of brownies.

There are many gooey awesome recipes for chocolate toppings. For a quick fix you can use a double boiler ( or put a bowl above your pot ) and melt dark cooking chocolate and spread over your brownies.

For decoration, I like using walnuts and grate some chocolate pieces onto each of the brownies.

Christmas Butter Cookies

250g butter
220g sugar
370g plain flour
1 egg
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix butter and sugar until well mixed 2. Add in egg and vanilla extract 3. Add in flour and salt 4. Cut out your desired shapes with your cookie cutters 5. Bake at 180C degree  (pre-heat oven beforehand) for about 20 minutes or until golden brown

I used this same recipe to make the snowflakes cookies and the jam-filling cookies. For the jam cookies, I used a floral cookie cutter and used something to make a small hole in the middle. Each cookie will have two pieces: one with and another without the hole.

Let it bake and when it is cool down (must be cool down, otherwise your icing sugar will dissolve) sprinkle some icing sugar onto the pieces with a hole in the middle.

Turn the cookie without the hole upside down and apply some jam onto it. Take one with a hole and press it above the other.

For the snowflakes, I used larger round cookie cutter and did a simple icing recipe and using a piping bag, I piped out the design onto the cookie.

Ingredients for the icing:

2 egg white
50g icing sugar or more until the mixture thickens

Beat the egg white until fluffy and add in icing sugar until it thickens.

(Meet Min in the background who did not want to eat her cookie because "it's too nice to be eaten")

I used resealable bags which worked very well and also cheap over here ( £0.99p for a bag of 50/100 pcs) If not you could put them into air tight plastic containers to give to others :)

Nut Bars

I learnt this from watching Min. This is a very fast and easy recipe to follow, and it takes REALLY GOOD too, a favorite especially if you are a fan of NUTS!

1. Get a mixture of nuts and dried fruits. (chasewnuts, almonds hazelnut, peanuts, dried cranberry, sultanas, dried apricot, coconut)

2. But them in a bag and crush them into smaller pieces.

3. Mix lots of honey in the mixture.

4. Over medium heat, stir and add more honey until the mixture sticks together.

5. Add some cinnamon ( less/ more to your own liking)

6. Once sticky, transfer it into a lined baking tray and let it cool until it hardens.

7. Once cool, remove from baking tray and cut into cubes (it's very sticky)

8. We decided to wrap them into smaller pieces of baking paper and twist the sides so they look like candy wrappers.

9. Pop them into a jar/ pack them into bags to give away!

Christmas Goodies

This Christmas, I baked some cookies and sweets to give out. Found some new recipes online and improvised them- which turned out well and were well-liked by others. Thought of sharing some ideas in my discovery during my recent christmas baking. This was what Min and I did collectively- she made some Lemon Tea and Marmalade ( in jars) while I made the sweets.

Nuts Bar > Recipe here

Chocolate Brownies > Recipe here

Butter Cookies with Jam Filling > Recipe here

Snowflake Cookies > Recipe here


Min: Farewell Card

Simplicity brings out the beauty in things. Min, a very dear friend of mine was leaving for Korea and in the midst of my huge workload, I wanted to make her a farewell card. This was done in 5 minutes and I thought it was something quite simple and easy to do, but beautiful at the same time. So I will like to share it with you. I used an A3 card stock and folded it into fours. We later wrote all of our messages inside.

Fold into fours, vertically first, then horizontally. Punch two holes at the top.

Choose a ribbon and string it through, tie a bow and it's done. It looks almost like a present by itself. Be creative and use pattern papers/ multiple ribbons :)

To read, she unties the ribbon, unfolds the pages and find all her messages inside.

In need of a card but you do not have much time to do one? Try this and have one in 5 minutes! :)

UPDATED - 01/03/12

It's great to hear from people who gets inspired by ideas from my blog posts. It's an honor to be able to share and give ideas that helps you when you read blog posts here on bitsofdesign. This is from Christine who send me a pic of a card she made after she read this post :) Thank you Christine.