Strawberry & Cream “Gary the Snail” Pinwheel Cookies

I am always trying to improve my baking skills. In my mind, there are two ways to do this: constantly try new recipes, or continue making the same few recipes until you get them perfect.

I personally go back and forth between these practises, but most of the time, I want to try something new. I want to make as many different things as possible, or as many different versions of something as I can. Example: pinwheel cookies.

Cookies – particularly sugar cookies – are not something that’s new to me. I’ve made them many times before, and I am sure I will continue to make them forever, as I love eating them, and I really want to perfect making AND decorating them.

However, every now and then I like to mix things up, which is why I decided to try a new kind of cookie – the pinwheel cookie. Whilst the recipe I use in this post is the same recipe I use for all my sugar cookies, the method itself changed a bit, which caused me to learn a few things and make a few mistakes along the way.

with gary the nail pinwheel cookies thesmalladventurer

As I’m sure you’ll be able to tell from the photos, these cookies are not exactly round, as I tried to them. I believe this is because I didn’t chill them enough (I go into more detail later on how long I chilled them for, and how long I recommend YOU chill them for 😅😂).

The colours also smushed together in some areas, which I am chalking up to my incredibly blunt knife and the fact that it crushed the cookies before it started cutting them.

As a perfectionist, it hurts my ego to share a recipe that I am not entirely proud of, but I realised I needed to do it anyway, for the other “me”s out there. I am sharing this recipe – including my advice on how to do better at the areas that I went wrong – for the beginners like me who don’t understand how other people get it right all the time.

I want to show everyone that mistakes do happen and, as unfortunate as they are, they teach us something we didn’t know for next time, because that’s the kind of thing that I need to read every now and then.

I need to see mistakes and not-so-perfect creations so I know it’s not just me, because deep down I DO know it’s not just me, but sometimes I need to hear it from others! Which means that other people need to hear it too, which is exactly what I’m here for. Happy baking!Read More »

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Red Velvet Cake + Peppermint Whipped Cream Layered Dessert

I’ve been thinking about a particularly quote lately: “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans”. If you’re a longtime reader, you’ll already know that both November and the beginning of December have NOT been anything like I had wanted them to be, but there is little that I can do about it.

I’ve been planning my Christmas content since December LAST year, and had planned to have it all completed before this December even came around, but life had other ideas! With awful colds plaguing Daniel and I, constant doctor’s appointments, hospital visits, AND a complete change in my diet against my own will, a lot of my ideas have been thrown out the window, or at least put on the back burner.

It’s already the tenth of December, and this is my first real Christmas content post – and even this didn’t turn out the way I had planned! You see, here in Australia, Christmas happens during Summer, which makes baking and creating in the kitchen a lot more difficult. If I had been able to make everything in November like I had hoped, it would have been fine because it was still freezing and thunder storming back then.

thesmalladventurer peppermint cream red velvet cake

But not anymore! I made these (delicious) guys a few days into December, and the cream was melting rapidly as I piped it into these adorable double-walled glasses because it was just so warm in my kitchen. So, they didn’t turn out exactly how I would have hoped, but I decided to post them anyway thanks to some encourage from my favourite baking brand, Queen Fine Foods.

Anyone who has ever read anything I’ve written will know how much I love Queen’s products. They’re the brand that I grew up with, and since sharing my creations online, I’ve managed to create a pretty great relationship with them (this may be a little sad, but I refer to them as “friends” when I talk about them to Daniel 😂) after learning what a great bunch of people this company is run by.

Even their Instagram bio says: “Here at Queen, we stand for apology-free baking. Celebrated your baked goods AND your good enoughs!” That really hit home for me. As a complete amateur baker, most of my creations are just “good enough”. They’re not amazing, they’re not breathtaking, but each one teaches me something, and I am pretty proud to say that I am yet to make anything that actually tastes BAD.

So, with Queen’s encouragements to share the good, the bad, and the ugly, here is my first Christmas recipe: my very first red velvet cake (which got its gorgeous colour from Queen’s red food colour!), and some slightly liquidly but still delicious peppermint-flavoured whipped cream (which, of course, was flavoured using Queen’s peppermint extract).

For the record, this post is 100% from my heart and nothing else. Whilst they HAVE sent me their products a few times, they have never asked me to post about them, I just do because I have so much love for this company. Plus, all the ingredients of Queen’s that I used in this particularly post, I bought myself! Now, let’s get onto the recipe 😋Read More »

12 Unique Ways To Spice Up Your Hot Chocolates

I am a hot-chocolate-every-night-all-year-’round kind of girl, but there’s something about the month of December that makes my nightly hot chocolates extra special. I guess it has something to do with Christmas being associated with Winter, even over here in Australia.

We are less than a week away from Summer, yet I am currently surrounded by Christmas decorations that consist of many snowmen-shaped items and snow-covered house figurines.

Of course, it has been so cold over here in Australia that I’ve had the heater on every night, and Sydney just had three months worth of rain within a few hours, so it certainly FEELS like Winter, even though it isn’t.

Regardless of the temperature, I can never turn down a good hot chocolate. My favourite drinking chocolate powder is by Cadbury (pictured below), and I was OVER THE MOON when I realised it was gluten free, so I didn’t have to cut it out of my diet.

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Considering what a magical time of year it is, I can’t just have any ol’ regular hot chocolate (even though the ones Daniel makes for me are SO perfect – especially since we got a coffee machine so he can add frothed milk!) so I like to mix it up a bit throughout the month of December, and I thought I’d share some of my favourite flavour experimentations with you all.

Most of these just came to mind to me as I browsed through my pantry and baking shelf and decided to try adding in new ingredients to my hot chocolates, and boy did some of them surprise me!

I love trying new things and I am so glad I gave so many of these a try because they really are delicious, but I’ll stop teasing you now. On to the recipes!Read More »