Monthly Archives: December 2013

Robert Adam Festive Cookies

And who is Robert Adam? I hear you ask. You’ve heard about my architecture degree, probably more than you’d like to on a baking blog, well I made these cookies for my turn in our weekly studio baking challenge thing. Every week, someone else makes a cake or other baked goods. At the beginning of the year the tutors challenged us to make them related to our studio topic, which is Classicism. We’ve had a couple of column inspired cakes and some other just plain old good cakes. For my project, I’ve been taking inspiration from Robert Adam’s interiors. Again, who is this guy?! He’s a Scottish  neoclassical architect from the 1700’s who designed a lot of classical buildings and interiors. Put simply, I like his style.

robert adam syon house


dining room lansdowne house robert adam 3


These rooms are pretty grand, a bit over the top, very Robert Adam. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to be designing rooms that actually look like this, it’s just a good source of inspiration for our site in Edinburgh. In reality, I think it might look a bit more like this.

classical render 4b psd


“I thought you said you were an architecture student not an interior designer?!” Yeh we’re coming on to the rest of the building, we just started out with the inside. Anyway, this does all come back to cake I promise you. I wanted to make these cookies which are tried and tested absolutely awesome and slightly christmassy and I thought I’d push my cookie decorating skills and make them look like one of these interiors….. Here’s what I ended up with! Super simple cookies with royal icing in pastel blue and white “plaster”, went down a treat with the rest of my architecty chums. They’d be great as a present and you can be really personal with your decorating. Even if you have no interest in architecture, I think they still look pretty classy!

robert adam festive cookies


Recipe: Continue reading

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Mince Pies

Uni work is finally winding down. We had our interim “crit” on Thursday (where you pin up all your work on the wall, present it and a panel of critics critique your work. Yes it is as horrible as it sounds.) so now everything is a lot less stressful. It’s a funny thing stress. For me it’s not always the last minute, there aren’t enough hours in the day stress, it’s the constant pressure eating away at you that really makes me stressed, and I only realise how stressed I have been when that pressure goes away. But it’s all done, so now I have some free time and it’s so nearly Christmas! The older I get, the more I realise that everyone does christmas slightly differently. In our house, making mince pies was one of my favourite christmas activities.

The best shop bought mince pies are the all butter variety. Unsurprisingly, these aren’t dairy free. But shop bought ready to roll shortcrust pastry is dairy free, so is a jar of mincemeat, you can see where I’m going with this. Yes you can make your own pastry, I tried last christmas day and it was such a nightmare that I swore I’d just stick to shop bought, there are plenty of other things that need making! There isn’t really a recipe for this, it’s so simple but I’ve written some basic instructions at the end of this post. They don’t look all that pretty, but that’s how I like them best and they don’t hang around long enough to look at them much!

dairy free mince pies






Makes 9
Half a pack of shortcrust pastry
jar of mincemeat
flour for dusting
beaten egg for the top
Grease a bun tin or a shallow muffin tin. Preheat the oven to 200°c or 180°c for a fan oven. Roll the pastry out to about 3mm thick. Use a circular cookie cutter that is slightly bigger than the holes of the tin for the case and one that is the same size as the holes for the top. Cut out an equal number of tops and bottoms. Push the bottoms into the tin. Dollop a small teaspoon of mincemeat into each case. Don’t fill them right up because the sugary mincemeat will bubble up and out of the mince pies. Dab egg around the edges and push the tops onto the bottoms. Brush the tops with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes. Leave to cool for a few minutes before dusting with icing sugar and watching them disappear.
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