Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Pieday Friday – How to make crisps in the microwave + tasty flavour combinations

Oh my goodness, it’s Christmas next weekend. How did that happen? I feel like I’m not entirely ready for it yet so want to get a move on with planning my recipes for the festive period. I shared a round-up of my previous Christmassy recipes last week (including 2 types of gingerbread, coffee shop hacks and some Christmas cake ideas) but my favourite part of Christmas cooking is preparing snacks. I love to have hot crunchy savoury treats in the oven throughout the holidays (and mince pies too, of course) just in case a guest arrives. Surely, there’s nothing better than being welcomed into a home with a big plate of nibbles and treats, is there??pieday-friday-diy-low-fat-healthy-microwave-crisps-recipe-parmesan-paprika-salt-pepper-12I’ve made star tarts, pastry rolls, pizza twists and leftover pasties in the past but never have I attempted to make my own crisps. While I loooove crunchy crisps, I do worry about how healthy (or not!) they are, and I know that I’ll be tempted over Christmas. So when I began craving fried snacks I started to do some research into healthier ways to make my favourite treat. Let’s face it, I’m going to want to eat them all month long, and will definitely be dishing out bowls of crisps on New Years Eve too!pieday-friday-diy-low-fat-healthy-microwave-crisps-recipe-parmesan-paprika-salt-pepper-18It turns out that it IS possible to make crisps without a deep fryer, and all you need is a microwave. Considering that I got a new Panasonic steam combination microwave about three months ago, I was feeling very confident that I’d be able to pull off making my own crisps. It’s got a great range of power settings so knew I’d be able to adjust the power accordingly to get that perfect crunch. Well, noone wants a soggy crisp, do they? Here’s how I got on and the recipe for (wait for it…) parmesan and smoked paprika potato chips.pieday-friday-diy-low-fat-healthy-microwave-crisps-recipe-parmesan-paprika-salt-pepper-16Ingredients: Potatoes (1 ‘jacket’ sized potato will make a small bowlful of crisps), olive oil (or you could use Fry Light for an even healthier version), salt and pepper, dried parmesan and smoked paprika.pieday-friday-diy-low-fat-healthy-microwave-crisps-recipe-parmesan-paprika-salt-pepper-1

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Pieday Friday Recipe – Microwave meringues & dark chocolate cookies

I’ve read a few recipes and even seen a few videos on making microwave meringues and, after watching Nadiya win the Great British Bake Off with microwave marshmallow royal icing, I decided that a short-cut is never a bad thing, and wanted to give microwave meringues it a try. Plus, it’s my bestie’s birthday today and she loves meringues, so what better excuse than to bake her favourites as a birthday treat!pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-13 pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-8I wanted to let you know how I got on with my experiment because I’m sure you’re equally intrigued as I was about whether this method actually works or not. Well, things didn’t work out quite as I had imagined but it certainly was an easy to way cook up a quick meringue in a hurry. I used a recipe from the BBC Good Food website and here’s how I got on…pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-2 Firstly, the whisking process was a little faster than with normal meringues because you don’t need to whisk in the sugar as you go. Instead, the recipe tells you to ‘lightly beat the egg white’, which is quite a quick process – my egg seemed to be was lightly whisked within a minute. The next step is a sift loads of icing sugar into the egg white; we’re talking 300g icing sugar to 1 egg white, so that part took a long time.pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-3pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-4 The next step is to roll the meringue ‘dough’ into balls and microwave on a piece of kitchen towel for 1 and a half minutes. I didn’t take any photos of my meringue balls because I got carried away with the excitement of seeing whether it worked and shoved them straight in the microwave.

I watched as the first batch started to rise up and took them out after the recommended time, but they quickly fell flat as they cooled and stuck to the kitchen paper. When they were cool I tried to peel them off the paper, and they all seemed to be stuck or, when they did come off, they snapped in half. I wasn’t too worried because they didn’t really look like meringues at all so I wasn’t going to use them anyway. pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-6 pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-5

I tried again with a second batch, leaving them to cook a little longer and the same thing happened. They looked really promising in the microwave – all big and puffy – but they fell flat as I got them out. I decided to change plate (I’d been using a microwavable plastic plate until now) for a ceramic one, and lined it with greaseproof paper rather than kitchen paper. I popped the next three balls into the microwave and hoped for the best.

Thankfully, this method was much more successful and the meringues were double the size of the first two batches while cooking and when I took them out they didn’t flatten. Hurrah! I tried again with the last lot of meringue and decided to leave these in a little longer than the one and half minutes, hoping that they would rise up even bigger.pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-7 pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-8 Unfortunately, the smell of burnt sugar started wafting out of the microwave pretty soon after the minute and a half was up and one of the biggest meringues had been singed on the inside. So definitely stick to the timing in the recipe – it’s there for a reason!

So the last 6 meringues turned out pretty well and ended up looking like a proper meringue. The texture is crisp and dry, and they are very very sweet. I think the big ones will be great with whipped cream in the middle and dipped in chocolate, or with strawberries as a yummy pudding.pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-9 pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-10But what was I going to do with all the flat meringues? They tasted fine but just didn’t look all that great. I’m sure they would be ideal to crumble up into an Eaton mess and I remember the recipe for the ultimate dessert – a raspberry bomb – that my sister makes. This is simply crushed meringue, raspberry coulis and cream whipped together and frozen, and it is out of this world. So that’s an option for these microwave meringues too.pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-11 pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-16I decided that I’d make a batch of dark chocolate cookies and use the crushed meringues as a topping to sprinkle over the chocolate to sweeten it. I’d recently bought some 90% cocoa chocolate, thinking that I’d be able to eat it but I just couldn’t do it – it was TOO chocolatey, if there can be such a thing? So I wanted to use this chocolate but needed to sweeten it, so the ultra-sugary meringues would be the ideal accompaniment. pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-17 pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-15I whipped up a batch of chocolate cookies using a recipe online, again from the BBC Good Food website, but I left out the chocolate chips and drizzled the melted chocolate over the top of the cookies instead. I sprinkled with the crushed meringues and then drizzled a little more chocolate over the top for good measure. I sandwiched some of the better flat meringues between two cookies for a bigger dessert, which looks great but I suspect might be sugar overload!pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-12 pieday friday baking recipe microwave meringues chocolate cookies-14I just tried one of the cookies and it is actually the nicest treat I’ve eaten in a long time, so I’m going to pop them in a cake tin, along with all the successful meringues sandwiched together with cream and drizzled with more chocolate, and take them round to my bestie’s house to celebrate!

Did you ever try to make microwave meringues yourself? If so, do you have any tips for the next time I make them? Or have you tried out any recipe and had to salvage it after it went wrong? I enjoy turning mistakes into yummy treats so this challenge was good fun for me, although of course I would have preferred to have more successful meringues in the first place! Let me know how you get on if you try out either recipe by leaving me a comment below or tweet me @Cassiefairy.

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