Top tips for perfect holiday cookies

Top tips for perfect holiday cookies

If you've been scarred by previous attempts at baking cookies (sticky dough? unrecognizable shapes?) we’ve compiled our top tips to take out the stress of holiday baking and make baking cookies fun and easy.  Let's go!

Stop the spread

To prevent your cookies from spreading (and losing their shape), chill your cookie dough after pressing.  This also helps to concentrate the flavour in your cookies.

Always use a cool baking sheet – if you place your cookies on a warm baking sheet the fat in the dough will melt too quickly, causing your cookies to spread out and lose all the details you spent so long cutting out!

So if you’re making multiple batches, make sure your cookie sheet has time to cool down before adding your next batch to the tray.

Stay close to home

If you can, homemade dough made from scratch is best (we have our go-to recipe below).  However - while we think the flavor and quality of homemade dough far surpasses store bought, if you're short on time (or culinary skills), feel free to use ready-made dough...but refer back to tip 1!

Sticky business

Having trouble with sticky dough?  Chill your dough for an hour or so before rolling (you can also try chilling it for 10-20 minutes in between the rolling and cutting stage).

Another way to prevent sticking is to roll out your dough between two pieces of floured parchment paper, which should make it easier to pick up after cutting.  Or, simply transfer the bottom sheet of parchment with your cut-out cookies on it directly to your cookie tray.

Rest up

Resist the temptation to take your cookies off the tray as soon as they’re done in the oven – let them rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes to firm up before transferring to a cooling rack.

Inspired to get busy baking?  Read on for our tried and true simple sugar cookie recipe.

Simple cookie recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 7oz / 200g unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1 ¼ cups superfine granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ¾ cups plain flour

METHOD

Preheat oven to 175C / 350F.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process for a minute or until well combined. Add the vanilla, eggs and flour and continue processing until mixture is fully combined and comes together in the processor.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface, knead lightly then form into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough between sheets of baking paper until about 1/4 inch / 5mm thick. Cut out cookies with a cookie cutter and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Gather left over dough, knead gently then roll out again and cut out more cookies.

Chill for approximately 10 minutes prior to baking to preserve details of the cut out shapes. 

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden. Cool and decorate (if desired).

CLICK HERE to shop our seasonal range of cookie cutters

ciroa cookie cutters

Alexandra Liddy
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A cake sure to satisfy any chocolate lover

A cake sure to satisfy any chocolate lover

We are big believers that nothing says lovin' like somethin' from the oven - and when that something includes chocolate, we're head over heels!

Our rich chocolate cake might look simple to make (and it is!) but it packs a big punch in the form of a velvety ganache topping that will have any chocolate lover swooning.

Make this for someone who adores chocolate and they'll be sure to love you forever!

Rich chocolate cake with chocolate ganache

Preparation time : 20 minutes

Cooking time : 1 hour 15 minutes

Serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS

200g / 7oz unsalted butter, chopped

1 ¼ cups caster sugar

175g / 6oz dark chocolate, chopped

1 cup milk

2 cups self raising flour

2 eggs

Ganache:

100g  / 3.5oz dark chocolate, chopped

½ cup thickened cream

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 170C / 340f. Lightly grease a 20cm / 8 inch silicone square cake pan.
  2. Place butter, sugar, chocolate and milk in a saucepan over low heat and stir until fully melted and combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile sift flour into a large bowl. Stir eggs through cooled chocolate mixture then pour into bowl with flour. Stir with a large spoon or spatula until just combined. Spoon mixture into cake pan.
  4. Bake for 55-60 minutes until cooked through when tested with a skewer. Remove from oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes in pan then transfer to a wire rack. Cool completely then decorate.
  5. Meanwhile make the chocolate ganache. Place chocolate and cream in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until fully melted and combined. Refrigerate until cooled and thickened. Spread over cake to serve.

Decoration:  For a special occasion, we love this cake decorated with freeze dried, edible flowers.  Alternatively, fruit and chocolate shavings make for a sumptuous treat!

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silicone bakeware

Alexandra Liddy
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Mad about muffins? You'll love this recipe!

Mad about muffins? You'll love this recipe!

Forever on the hunt for the PERFECT muffin recipe?  Well you can call off the search, because here it is! 

These muffins are not only easy to make, but the addition of buttermilk ensures they are light, fluffy and moist.  If you're not a fan of blueberries you can substitute these with other berries (raspberries work beautifully) or even choc chips.

Best of all?  Bake them in a silicone pan for an easy clean solution - no need to grease, just pop them out when they're ready!

Blueberry buttermilk pancakes

Preparation time : 15 minutes

Cooking time : 25 minutes

Makes 12

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups self rising flour

¾ cup superfine sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

¾ cup buttermilk

¼ cup milk

¼ cup canola oil

1 cup blueberries

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 175C / 350F. Lightly grease a 12 cup silicone muffin pan.
  2. Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl. Place eggs, buttermilk, milk and oil in another bowl and whisk until combined.
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined, then fold through blueberries. Spoon mixture into muffin pan. Note: the muffin mixture should still be lumpy. If it is stirred until smooth your muffins will be tough.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and cooked through. Remove from oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes in pan then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Note : Thawed frozen berries may be used if fresh are unavailable. 

CLICK HERE to shop our range of marbled silicone bakeware

marbled silicone bakeware

Alexandra Liddy
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The ONLY cake recipe you need this fall!

The ONLY cake recipe you need this fall!

Celebrate the change of seasons with our cinnamon spice cake - incredibly moist, the cinnamon kick is perfect for fall, while the maple glazed apples transform this simple cake into a mouthwatering delight. 

Trust us – this is going to be your new favorite recipe for Autumn!

cinnamon spice cake recipe with maple glazed carrots

Cinnamon spice cake with maple glazed apples

 

Preparation time : 20 minutes

Cooking time : 45 minutes

Serves 8-10

 

INGREDIENTS:

125g  / 4.4oz / 1 stick unsalted butter, softened, chopped

¾ cup superfine sugar

2 eggs

2 cups self-rising flour, sifted

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¾ cup milk

½ cup maple syrup

1 Pink Lady (or similar) apple, thinly sliced

 

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C / 360F.
  2. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and creamy. With the mixer running, add eggs one at a time until fully combined.
  3. Remove bowl from mixer and using a large spoon or spatula fold through combined flour and cinnamon, alternating with milk. Spoon mixture into a 9" round non-stick silicone cake pan.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and cooked through when tested with a skewer. Remove from oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes in pan then transfer to a wire rack.
  5. Meanwhile make maple glazed apples. Place maple syrup in a non-stick pan with ¼ cup water over medium heat. When simmering, add apple slices. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes or until apple slices are soft and caramelized.
  6. Serve cake warm decorated with maple glazed apples and any remaining syrup...and enjoy!

cinnamon spice cake recipe with maple glazed carrots

 CLICK HERE to shop our range of marbled, non-stick silicone bakeware silicone bakeware by ciroa

 

 

Alexandra Liddy
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Our irresistible baked mac n cheese recipe (with a secret ingredient)

Our irresistible baked mac n cheese recipe (with a secret ingredient)

When you’re in need of some comfort food a classic mac n cheese is hard to beat - there’s something about the soft, gooey cheesy goodness that’s almost as warming as a big old hug.

The addition of panko crumbs at the end gives our version a delightful crunch, a wonderful contrast to the smooth, velvety ooze of the cheese and pasta.

And our secret ingredient?  Dijon mustard!  Adding mustard to this super rich dish provides just the right amount of acidity to provide a more well-rounded flavour experience. 

 honeycomb mini loaf pans

Baked mac n cheese

Preparation time : 10 minutes

Cooking time : 25 minutes

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ cups elbow macaroni

25g / 2 tablespoons butter

1 ½ tablespoons plain flour

1 ½ cups milk

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ chicken bouillon cube

¾ cup grated cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons grated parmesan

salt and cracked black pepper

½ cup panko breadcrumbs

1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese, extra

METHOD 

  1. Lightly grease four mini rectangular bakers or ramekins.
  2. Cook the pasta in a medium pan according to packet instructions then drain well and set aside.
  3. Return the pan to the heat and melt the butter over medium heat. When melted add the flour and stir until combined. Allow the mix to bubble for a minute (this takes away the ‘raw’ flavor of the flour) but take care not to brown.
  4. Remove pan from the heat and whisk in milk, mustard and chicken bouillon cube. Return to low heat and stir for 3-4 minutes until thickened. If lumps start to form at any time, whisk the mixture until smooth. It should be the consistency of thin custard.
  5. Stir the grated cheeses into the sauce, cooking until cheese is fully melted.
  6. Stir the mustard into the sauce until combined.
  7. Fold the pasta through the sauce, coating well, then season with salt and pepper.
  8. Transfer mixture to mini bakers / ramekins and sprinkle over breadcrumbs and extra cheese. Place under grill and bake for 2-3 minutes or until golden on top. Serve immediately.

 

NOTES

  • Where possible use freshly grated cheese rather than pre-shredded. Pre-shredded cheese often contains anti-caking agents that can make the sauce grainy
  • You can make this recipe a day or two in advance, all the way up to the addition of breadcrumbs. When you’re ready, add the breadcrumbs, pop in the oven and bake!
  • Looking to pimp out your mac n cheese? Add crispy bacon or shredded chicken for extra texture and protein or add sautéed onion and bell peppers to up your veggie intake.

CLICK HERE to shop our mini ceramic bakers

ciroa mini bakeware

Alexandra Liddy
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A beautiful brunch recipe - bacon and cheese pots

A beautiful brunch recipe - bacon and cheese pots

Sick of cereal? Tired of toast?  Our bacon and cheese pots are the perfect antidote to breakfast blahs. 

These little pots of goodness are halfway between a muffin and a frittata so are light yet satisfying. 

Bake in pretty ramekins to impress your friends and family over brunch, or serve with a salad for a light and tasty lunch. 

You could also cook up a batch on the weekend for a healthy and delicious start to your working week – they’ll keep refrigerated for up to two days.  

Bacon and cheese pots

Preparation time : 15 minutes

Cooking time : 30 minutes

Makes 4

 INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup self rising flour
  • salt and cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 rasher bacon, chopped
  • ¾ cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, halved

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 170C / 340F. Lightly grease four ramekins.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Place the oil in another bowl with eggs and milk and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the flour and when just smooth fold through the bacon, cheese and herbs. Spoon into the ramekins and place cherry tomatoes on top.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until firm. Remove from oven and serve warm or at room temperature.

CLICK HERE to view our range of ceramic bakeware

ciroa ceramic bakeware

Alexandra Liddy
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Give thanks...with cookies!

Give thanks...with cookies!

Say hello to the harvest season and give thanks with our simple yet oh so pretty embossed sugar cookies.

Placed in a clear gift bag, nestled in a box or simply tied with string, these cookies make a wonderful gift for friends and neighbours over Thanksgiving.  These cookies are simple enough to bake with your children and make a great 'thank you' for teachers.

harvest cookie recipe

Easy harvest cookie recipe

INGREDIENTS

1 2/3 cups plain flour

4oz / 125g chilled butter, chopped

1/4 cup superfine sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla essence (1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)

HARVEST COOKIE RECIPE

METHOD

Place the flour and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar, egg and vanilla and pulse until combined. If the dough seems a little dry add a teaspoon or two of cold water whilst the motor is running.

The dough should come together in a ball. Remove from the food processor and knead on a lightly floured board. When smooth roll into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill for 20 minutes. 

Roll out the dough to approximately 4-5mm thick, then roll over firmly with the embossed rolling pin. Cut out cookies and place on a lined tray. Bake at 180C / 350F for 15 minutes or until light golden. Cool.

harvest cookies

CLICK HERE to shop our Harvest collection

ciroa harvest rolling pins

Alexandra Liddy
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Fall entertaining - delicious dips to serve on game day

Fall entertaining - delicious dips to serve on game day

Planning a game day gathering? We have two delicious (and easy) dip recipes that will surely become fan favorites. 

These heartier dips are perfect for when the weather starts to cool down and you're looking for a more substantial appetizer. 

caramelized onion and bacon dip recipe

Caramelized onion, bacon and chive dip

Finely slice a rasher of bacon.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of oil. Cook the bacon until crisp and golden then drain on paper towel until cooled.

Place 200g sour cream in a bowl. Stir through 2 tablespoons good quality caramelized onion relish/jam.

Season with salt and cracked black pepper. Stir half the bacon through the sour cream mixture and spoon into a ramekin.

Pile the remaining bacon on top and served sprinkled with some chopped chives.

warmed spinach and parmesan dip recipe

Warmed spinach and parmesan dip

Heat a small non-stick skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of oil.

Add ½ cup thawed frozen chopped spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes until liquid is fully evaporated. 

Add a clove of garlic and cook for another minute then remove from the heat.

While still warm, fold the spinach through 7oz / 200g sour cream along with 1 tablespoon finely grated parmesan.  Season with salt and cracked black pepper.

Spoon into a ramekin and serve topped with toasted pinenuts.

 

CLICK HERE to shop our range of ramekins

ramekins

Alexandra Liddy
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Two dip recipes to get your party started

Two dip recipes to get your party started

One of the easiest ways to get a party started is to serve up some delicious dips and wait for everyone to gravitate to the bowl!

Here we have two of our favorites than can be whipped in in a few minutes (but will be remembered by your guests long after the party has ended).

One is a corn-based version which is dairy and gluten free - this is a great option when entertaining vegan friends or those with specific dietary requirements (or anyone who adores a fresh and healthy dip!)

The second option incorporates chorizo, sour cream and chipotle and will appeal to those looking for a heartier, creamy dip. 

vegan dip recipe

Tomato, charred corn and coriander salsa

Cut the kernels off a cob of corn. Place in a small skillet over medium high heat and cook until corn is lightly charred. Remove and allow to cool.

Quarter a punnet of cherry tomatoes and place in a bowl with a tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro.

Add cooled corn kernels, a dash of olive oil and a good squeeze of lime juice.

Season with salt and cracked black pepper. Spoon into a ramekin and serve with corn chips, or as a topping for nachos.

 chorizo dip in ramekin

Smokey chipotle and chorizo dip

Finely dice a chorizo sausage. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the chorizo. Cook until golden brown and crisp then drain on paper towel until cooled. 

Place 200g sour cream in a bowl. Add ½ teaspoon smoky paprika and 1 tablespoon smoky chipotle sauce (if unavailable use extra smoky barbecue sauce).

Stir until fully combined, season with salt and cracked black pepper then spoon into a ramekin. 

Pile the chorizo on top and serve sprinkle with a little chopped parsley.

Notes:

Add extra chipotle or smoky barbecue sauce to the sour cream if you prefer the dip spicier.

We recommend using Spanish chorizo but if unavailable, you can substitute with Mexican chorizo.

 

CLICK HERE to shop the ramekins used in these recipes

ciroa ramekins

Alexandra Liddy
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Tis the season to be cherry!  A simply delightful cherry loaf cake recipe

Tis the season to be cherry! A simply delightful cherry loaf cake recipe

Aside from being one of our all-time favorite fruits, cherries are the quintessential taste of Summer! We celebrate them twice in our Cherry Loaf Cake, using canned cherries within the cake then decorating with fresh cherries for that sweet Summer look.

cherry loaf cake recipeThis fresh and simple cake would be perfect for your next gathering, and the beautifully classic shape of our loaf pan will ensure your creation is an absolute summer show stopper.

cherry loaf cake recipe

Cherry Loaf Cake

Preparation time : 15 minutes

Cooking time : 55 minutes

Serves 6-8

CAKE INGREDIENTS

185g / 6.5oz butter, softened
3⁄4 cup / 170g / 6oz superfine sugar
3 eggs
1 1⁄2 cups / 200g / 7oz self rising flour, sifted 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup canned cherries in syrup, drained

METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 170C / 340F. Grease and line a ceramic loaf pan.

2. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric hand beaters until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions.

3. Fold the flour through the mixture with a large spoon or spatula until just combined then lightly fold through the lemon juice and cherries.

4. Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared loaf dish. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

KITCHEN TIP

Cover the cake with foil if it starts to brown too much during cooking.

DECORATING IDEAS

If fresh cherries are hard to come by, you can use a combination of other stone fruits - apricots, peaches or plums will work well.

Alternatively, a simple dusting of powdered sugar or chocolate shavings would be a beautiful way to dress up this simple yet delicious cake.

CLICK HERE to shop our ceramic bakeware

ceramic loaf pan

 

Alexandra Liddy
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Earl Grey and Lemon Thyme Butter Cake Recipe - the PERFECT afternoon tea cake

Earl Grey and Lemon Thyme Butter Cake Recipe - the PERFECT afternoon tea cake

These decorative cakes might look traditional, but our version - which pairs Earl Grey and lemon thyme – is anything but.

earl grey bundt cake recipe

Thyme for tea?

This fresh and light cake would be perfect for your next brunch or afternoon tea, and the beautifully intricate shape of our fluted cake pan will ensure your creation is an absolute showstopper.

lemon thyme butter bundt cake recipe

Earl grey and lemon thyme butter cake recipe

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Serves 8-10

INGREDIENTS
4 Earl Grey teabags
175g / 1½ sticks butter, softened
1 ¼ cups superfine sugar
3 eggs
3 cups self rising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon thyme leaves

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 175C / 350f. Place teabags in a bowl filled with ½ cup boiling water. Leave to steep until cold. Remove teabags. Generously grease a cake pan (for this recipe we used the Ciroa Swirl Pan). Set aside.
  2. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on low speed for 2-3 minutes then increase speed and beat for 3-4 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions.
  3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold through flour, milk and cold tea, alternating until just combined. Fold through lemon thyme.
  4. Spoon mixture into grease cake pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer. Serve lightly dusted with icing sugar and edible flowers (if desired).

KITCHEN TIPS

  • Once you have poured the cake batter into the pan, tap on your bench top a couple of times to remove any air bubbles and ensure the mixture has reached into all the crevices. This is especially important when the pan has an intricate design.
  • Before putting the pan in the oven, use a spatula and ‘sweep’ the mixture from the centre ring to the edges (so it is slightly higher around the outer edge), this will prevent it from doming too much in the middle and help it to rise evenly.
  • Once the cake is cooked, before inverting onto a wire rack, slice along the base with a large serrated knife to ensure the base is flat when turned out.
  • If you have any issues with the cake sticking to the pan, you can lightly coat the inside of the pan with oil (using a pastry brush) then dust the pan lightly with sugar (you can tip the sugar inside the pan then gently shake the pan around to distribute the sugar evenly). This will help prevent the cake from sticking to the pan and will also give the cake a slightly sweeter flavor.
  • Cakes baked in this style of tin are best baked in the centre of your oven, so make you’re your oven racks are placed appropriately before preheating your oven.

ciroa bundt pan

Decorating ideas

With this style of cake, the form of the cake itself is the focus.  However, there are a number of easy ways to provide some added visual interest co your cake without taking away from the beautiful shape.

A pretty yet simple option is to lightly dust the cake with powdered sugar.  You can do this by sifting the sugar directly over the cake, either with a sifter or a wire mesh strainer.  Make sure the cake is fully cooled before dusting the cake so the sugar doesn’t melt.

After dusting the cake, you could decorate with a sprinkle of non-toxic flowers – we have used pansies but there are many other types that work well such as violas, nasturtiums, chamomile, rose petals and strawberry blossoms. 

Another option for this cake would be to add a lemon glaze by combining confectioners sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl to make a thick but pourable glaze.

Once the cake has cooled you simply spoon the glaze on top of the cake, one spoonful at a time, letting it drizzle down the sides of the cake.

bundt cake recipe

For a more decadent take on this traditional cake, see our recipe for chocolate buttermilk cake with rich caramel sauce.

CLICK HERE to shop our bakeware

ciroa bundt cake pans

 

    Alexandra Liddy
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    Decadent Chocolate Buttermilk Cake Recipe (with caramel sauce!)

    Decadent Chocolate Buttermilk Cake Recipe (with caramel sauce!)

    When you’re in the mood for something decadent, it’s hard to go past the classic pairing of chocolate and caramel.

    Our chocolate buttermilk cake is moist and tender; cooked in a traditional fluted pan it is also a feast for the eyes…especially as you drizzle the delectable caramel sauce over the cake. 

    Alexandra Liddy
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