Monday, 10 December 2012

Dairy Free Sugar Cookies

I had a day to myself yesterday while Andy took Adam and Jack to a children's orchestral production of Peter And The Wolf that his mum and sister were playing in, so I decided to make some sugar cookies (or biscuits as we call them in the UK).

Dairy Free Sugar Cookies by Feminist Cupcakes
My piping skills need some work

The recipe I used was this one by Alton Brown, but with a few tweaks; I replaced the unsalted butter with a dairy free margarine and the milk with rice milk. Before I could do anything though I had to convert the measurements from cups into metric because I cannot work with measuring cups. I'm really picky about making sure I weigh ingredients down to the gram, so I hate how imprecise they are. The measurements I used were:

330 grams plain flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
225 grams dairy free margarine (I used Vitalite)
225 grams caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon rice milk
Icing sugar for rolling out the dough.

I will say that I had some problems with this recipe, but I suspect that it has to do with the adaptations I made than the original recipe. The dough needed a lot more flour than I initially used, probably because margarine has a higher water content than butter so if you make any kind of dough with it it tends to need more flour to get to the right consistency. I think I also made a mistake with converting the cups to grams. One site I checked said that 1 cup of flour is 110 grams and another said that it's 142 grams, and I went with the lower of the two. I don't know exactly how much more I added, I just sifted in more flour until it looked like the right consistency. As it turned out, I didn't add quite enough but I was worried that too much more would make them bland and tasteless. The dough for the first lot of biscuits in each batch was a bit soft, but as the icing sugar was incorporated it stiffened up perfectly.

To ice them I just used a fairly thick glace icing (water and icing sugar) with some food colouring. It doesn't harden like royal icing, but Jack is allergic to raw egg so royal icing is a banned substance round here! I have found some vegan royal icing recipes though, so maybe I'll have a go at making a gingerbread house before Christmas.

From the rate the biscuits are disappearing I'd say that this recipe is worth keeping.

Dairy Free Sugar Cookies by Feminist Cupcakes

Friday, 7 December 2012


*Content note: suicide*

In the last half hour my Twitter timeline has exploded with suicide references. The Daily Mail have published an article (which I'm not linking to, because fuck giving them the page hits) saying that the hospital receptionist involved in the prank call from an Australian DJ has been found dead. A quote from the article states "one source indicated that the woman appeared to have killed herself" so naturally there are a whole bunch of people and news sources saying that it was suicide.

People, can we please not do this? Remember that this is based off one unnamed source in the Daily Mail (because we all know how reliable they are when it comes to accuracy). There has been no official cause of death released and absolutely nothing to suggest that it was suicide except for one quote in a notoriously unreliable newspaper. It helps no-one to make unfounded claims like this, least of all the family of the woman involved. There are tips from the Samaritans on responsible reporting on suicide here, with more detailed information here.

If you are in a crisis situation and need help, please contact the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 (UK)

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Losing Friends

*Content note: ableist language*

I don't go out much and I don't have many friends. I've never been particularly gregarious due to various mental health issues, but lately it's become even worse; I find I'm shedding connections with people at an alarming rate, even people I've known for years, and the weird thing about it is that I don't care. I unfriended someone on Facebook this morning, someone I've known for 12 years, and I have no sad feelings about it at all. I'd been considering it for a while anyway because he's a Nice Guy but I stayed friends with him out of habit, I think. The final straw came this morning though when he used the phrase "window licking, crayon eating, helmet wearing fucktard". Call me oversensitive, but I don't see how those insults are any different to calling someone a "stupid retard", and someone who thinks that these are acceptable things to say is not someone I want to be friends with.

My views and opinions and changed so much over the last couple of years, but my friends have stayed the same. I don't fit properly with a lot of them anymore, and it's starting to feel uncomfortable. I know it's possible that they'll change, but I'm not hopeful because most of the stuff that I'm talking about is so socially acceptable that you're seen as weird and 'too politically correct' if you complain. I guess I'll have to make new friends, because I just don't have the energy to fight a losing battle to stay friends with people who I don't particularly like anyway.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Wedding Cupcakes

Back in 2011 when my sister got married she asked me to make cupcakes for the reception. I agreed to do it because what she hadn't told me was that she wanted four dozen cupcakes in three flavours. I think the biggest challenge was trying to keep the icing cool enough to pipe it without losing its shape (in July!) and trying to find enough space in the fridge to fit 48 cupcakes. Andy and I had a mini production line where I would ice the swirls and he sprinkled the toppings and threw them in the fridge. Luckily we didn't have too much of a melting problem (although some were flatter than I would have liked).

Chocolate Orange
These were chocolate orange cupcakes with orange icing and chocolate sprinkles. I can't remember if I flavoured the icing orange as well as colouring it, but I don't think I did.

These were lemon cupcakes with yellow lemon flavoured icing and white and pink butterfly sprinkles.

These were my favourite. Vanilla cupcakes with pink icing and pink edible glitter.

This was the first time I had used a piping bag, so I was pleased at how well they came out. Everyone thought they looked and tasted fantastic too, which obviously put a big smile on my face!