Christmas Hampers Update

Christmas Gifts for the Person who has Everything

Every Family has them, everyone knows one, and we all struggle to find just the right Christmas Gift each year - the person who has everything. And be realistic, a gift voucher just isn't good enough when you want to make a personal, thoughtful expression of your feelings. So you scour the malls and browse online, looking for something a little left of centre for your hard to buy for friend. And guess what? Here is my secret tip for the holiday season - stop looking, here is the answer - a gift basket or gourmet hamper!

Let's set the scene - your friend is established, has a well stocked home and all sorts of odds and ends and doesn't really want for anything. And you arrive for your holiday drinks with a handmade gift basket filled with a selection of her favourite foods, pamper items and some cute hobby accessories. The perfect gift with a tantalising immediacy and personalized to suit her exact likes and preferences.

Or, better yet, you have arranged for a gourmet hamper to be delivered to her house in the days before Christmas so she will be able to share the products with her family and guests over the holiday period. And you write a memorable little ditty to accompany the personal greeting card which is enclosed with the gift. Again, it's sharing the perfect gift, with a truly meaningful twist.

Inspiration can come from any of your previous experiences with your friend, like particular tastes and flavours she likes - simply buy a gourmet sampler with these condiments in mind and you will have created a valued, original gift for her without being lazy. And that's what it is all about when you come down to it, we all remember the little gifts that have that extra something that touches our heart. Perhaps not the biggest or the most expensive, but the gift with the most thought.

In my years as a gift professional, I recall several instances where an executive client received a particularly well thought out gourmet hamper designed and packed by our staff with extensive consultation with the people who knew him well. It was a real knockout to hear the amazing feedback once he was presented with the gift. This demonstrates that careful planning, attention to quirky personal details, and trusting the actual hamper build to the professionals can result in a truly awesome impact.

Still not convinced that gourmet hampers or gift baskets are the ideal gift for the person who has everything? What if I told you adding a range of food, condiments and taste products like coffee, chocolate, wine, beer, champagne, and jars will make the gift not just something focused on her experience, but on her next dinner party or family occasion, when she will be able to share the products? That's when the gift becomes something entirely more than just about the recipient, and the focus shifts to sharing, caring ad family. And that, after all, is what Christmas is all about.

Consider sharing a gift hamper with your hard to buy for friends this Christmas and see how well like your choice is. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Murphy, B. P. (2011, October 25). Christmas Gifts For The Person Who Has Everything. Retrieved November 19, 2011, from http://ezinearticles.com/?Christmas-­Gifts-­For-­The-­Person-­Who-­Has-­Everything&id=6648704

Cupcakes at the Markets

A Display of Cupcakes see the large green one in the middle?

This little stall at The Rocks Markets was a treat to inspect.

As always, our exploring ended with a fistful of cupcake and a cappucino.
Here are some more images of our Cupcake Adventure in Sydney the other weekend.  Makes such a difference exploring the city when you have a theme to go for.  Ours was Cupcakes!

More recipes coming soon!  In the meantime, leave your thoughts and comments here!

Cupcakes Sydney

Great Cupcake shop in George St, had a great range of cupcakes and coffee.

Here's what we chose, a delicious moist chocolate cupcake with vanilla icing.
Had a lovely time in Sydney, discovering all things cupcakes.  Here's some of the things we found.

Ricotta Cheesecake Cupcakes - Low Fat

Of course we all know Ricotta Cheese in lower in fat than cream cheese. 

1 cup crispbread crumbs
3 tbsp melted margarine
2 tbsp honey
2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sifted caster sugar
1 tspn orange essence
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Heat the oven to 160C and prep 12 baking cups in a muffin pan.
In a food processor, combine the crumbs, marg and honey.
Spoon a tbspn of mixture into each cup in the muffin tray, making sure to press firmly into the bottom.
Chill in fridge until set.

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In a large bowl, beat the ricotta with an electric mixer until soft and add eggs, caster sugar, and orange essence.  Fold in the chopped walnuts. 
Spoon this mixture into the cups.

Cook in Oven for 25 mins. 
Remove and cool for 5 mins.
The remove cupcakes and cool on rack, then chill in fridge until service.



Lavender and Honey Cupcakes

Lavender and honey makes for a delightful calming combination.  Perhaps a great way to finish a children's party with sharing some cupcakes.

For the Cupcakes
1 cup of softened butter
1 cup caster sugar
2 cups self raising flower
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 200C.  Place 18 baking cups in muffin pans, set aside.
Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and pale, about 2-3 minutes.
Spoon the batter into the cups, and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove pans from the oven and let cool for 4 minutes, then pop the cupcakes out and let finish coolig on a wire rack.

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For the Icing
1 cup cream cheese
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1/3 cup honey
blue food colouring
2 tbsp dried lavender flowers

Beat the cream cheese ad sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer, until light and creamy.
Beat in the honey and three drops of the colouring.
Stir in half of the lavender flowers.

Spread the icing across the cupcakes when cooled and sprinkle with the remaining lavender flowers.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Easy to make simple cup cakes.  The perfect cupcakes to make for children's parties and kids birthdays.

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups milk chocolate
2 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. double cream
1 cup peanut butter

Easy Way To Make Cupcakes
Line the muffin pan with cupcake cups.

Put chocolate, butter, cream in a bowl over simmering water and stir until smooth.

Moisten hands and mould the peanut butter into a dozen 50c size discs.  place this ito the base of the cupcake cups.

Pour the now melted chocolate over the peanut butter discs and put in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Once set, lasts a few days, but I would share same day if possible. 

What do YOU think - I would love to hear your comments....

Chocolate Chilli Cupcakes

The smooth contrast of chocolate bitterness with the tingle of some chilli heat.

Ingredients


1 cup softened butter
1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
4 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs
2 tsp. chipotle chilli powder
1/2 chocolate chips


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Preheat the oven to 175C. 
Place 18 paper liners in muffin pans.
Combine all cupcake ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth, (about 2-3 minutes).
Spoon batter into cupcake tray.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove pans from the oven and cool for 5 mins, the remove cupcakes and cool on a rack.

Easy Cupcake Recipes

G'Day and welcome to Cupcake Recipes Australia. As a father and husband with a young family, my wife and I have begun sourcing our own cupcake recipes and thought it would be a great resource to share online.  Hopefully you can make some of the recipes to share with your family and friends, and you too take some value from all our research into the delightful world of cupcakes.

In my own experience, I have found making cupcakes is a great way to spend some meaningful time with my daughters doing a creative activity with some instant rewards - the cupcakes!  And they make great Markets and Stallholders Ideas.

Set aside an hour or so and you too can follow our easy recipes to make some simple cupcakes for all Australian families.
Oh, by the way, when we source a cupcake recipe we will acknowledge the author with a link to their site or by referencing the cookbook itself.  If we have failed to reference a recipe of yours, please let us know and we will rectify the oversight.

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First Cupcake Recipe

375g (12oz) butter
1.5 cups caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 eggs
3 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 160C (320F).
Combine butter, sugar and vanilla and beat well in an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add eggs two at a time, beating well.
Sift the flour and baking powder over the butter mix and continue beating until combined thoroughly.
Spoon the mixture into cupcake trays, makes two dozen.
Bake for 35 minutes until cooked.  Let cool in the tins.