Showing posts with label Biscuits. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Biscuits. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: World Peace Cookies and 2 Awards!

I'm so happy someone chose Dorie's World Peace Cookies. I've seen them floating around the blogosphere for probably 12 months but have never gotten around to making them. Thank you Jessica of Cookbookhabit!

As with most slice and bake cookies these were a breeze to whip up. And even better without any egg in the mix I could eat the cookie dough! So I did ... lots!

I know many people found them very crumbly to slice. I had the same problem but they did squeeze back together pretty well. Any bits leftover, well, I ate them!

The taste test ...

Sensational. What else can I say? I really loved these and can see them becoming a regular. I ended up using salted butter (because that's all I had left) and added a few grinds of salt from the grinder so I have no way of knowing how close to the required amount I actually got. Next time I'll make them exactly as is.

All my taste testers agreed these were probably the best chocolate chip cookies they'd eaten! Although my husband still prefers the Whopper Drops - in his mind that is now the standard against which all Dorie's cookies are measured! :)

UPDATE - they taste great frozen ... so much for hiding them in the freezer!

It makes me so happy that other people do actually read and enjoy my blog. Over the past few weeks I have received 3 awards from 2 lovely bloggers - the Lemonade Award from Cakelaw and My Baking Heart and the Fabulous Blog Award also from My Baking Heart.

Thanks ladies, you made my day! If you haven't already checked out their blogs make sure you do!

The rule of the awards are:
1. Put the logo on your blog/post.
2. Nominate other fabulous blogs which show great attitude
3. Link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let your nominees know that they have received the award by commenting on their blog.
5. Link this post to the person who gave you this award.

I am passing both awards on to the following bloggers:

Annie of Annie's Eats
Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies
Jacque of Daisy Lane Cakes
Heather of Sherry Trifle
Mary of The Food Librarian
Prudy of Prudence Pennywise
Wendy of Pink Stripes

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daring Bakers January - Tuiles

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

What a lovely simply recipe! I was delighted to have something light to make this time around. And yet again this is something that I probably would never have gotten around to making on my own.

The recipe calls for the mixture to be either piped or stenciled. Having not solved the mystery of our missing piping bag I went for the stencil option. There was only one problem. I failed cutting in kindergarten (seriously!) and my skills haven't improved much since then!

I had managed to save an ice cream container from a week ago and decided to make a simple circle. Unfortunately I forgot that I was not actually after a perfect circle cutout, but rather the circular shape left behind and I butchered it. Bugger.

Then I went freehand to create some faintly circular shapes. These actually worked really well but the humidity was a killer. Within about 10 minutes my beautifully firmed up tuile bowls were as flat as pancakes (I managed to perk one up for the photos).

I also dug out some stencils I have which are designed to make pretty cocoa shapes on top of a cappuccino.

I made half the recipe because I only had 1 egg left when I started and got what you see in the above photo.

Yield: 20 small butterflies/6 large (butterflies are just an example)
Preparation time batter 10 minutes, waiting time 30 minutes, baking time: 5-10 minutes per batch

65 grams softened butter (not melted but soft)
60 grams sifted confectioner’s sugar
a dash of vanilla extract)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65 grams sifted all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet

Oven: 180C

Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not over mix. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week; take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter / spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the baking sheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly coloured. Use this coloured batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly.

Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (180C) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from baking sheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. Or: place a baking sheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.

If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, cones….

I paired them with a gorgeous mango sorbet but the possibilities are endless.

My husband didn't bother with any niceties and ate his like a taco!

I think mine was prettier :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Confession

My name is Susan, and I am a bakeaholic. Big shock considering I have a food blog and bake for both Tuesdays with Dorie and Daring Bakers!

I don't really do the whole New Years' Resolution thing but seeing my thighs have been expanding along with my pregnant belly I though I would take the first week of January off.

No baking at all.

I lasted 3 days.

It wasn't even that I wanted to eat something I made, I actually really missed the process of baking - playing with butter and flour, getting my hands dirty, having the kitchen smell homey.

So I bring you Dorie's Peanut Butter Crisscrosses (or what you bake when you shouldn't be baking and don't really have any ingredients). I ate 2 of these and the rest are in the freezer for later when the mood to eat but not bake strikes me.

Peanut Butter Crisscrosses
From Baking - pp78-79

2 1.3 c plain flour
1 ts baking soda
1/2 ts baking powder
1/4 ts salt
Pinch nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c chopped salted peanuts (I left these out because we didn't have any)
About 1/2 c sugar extra for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with paper.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
Beat the butter in a mixer on medium until smooth and creamy. Add the peanut butter and beat for another minute. Add the sugars and beat for 3 minutes more. Ad the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, then on low speed add the dry ingredients mixing until only just combined. The dough should be soft and mushy. Mix in the chopped peanuts.

Pour the extra sugar into a small bowl. Using a level tablespoonful of dough, roll into a ball in your hands then drop in the sugar, rolling it around to coat. Place on a baking sheet leaving 2 inches between them. Dip a fork in the sugar and press into each ball of dough to make crisscrosses.

Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets if you need to. When done the cookies with be lightly coloured and still soft. Cool for a few minutes before moving them to a rack to cool to room temperature.

Makes about 40 (I did half the recipe and got 15 big cookies)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Baking

We decided to take the homemade option this year and made lots of yummy things to give as gifts and of course to enjoy ourselves!

Passionfruit Melting Moments
These were lovely but I am slightly discomforted by the little speckles of food colouring that refused to dissolve! You can find the recipe here.

Espresso-Chocolate shortbread
Another successful Dorie recipe. That makes 3 in a row, woo-hoo! These were fabulous. Incredibly easy to make and roll and with a real flavour hit (as long as you like coffee and chocolate and really why would you make or eat these if you didn't??). I only had one little piece as not-yet-born people don't like caffeine.

Fruit Mince Truffles
A variation on a basic truffle recipe (just chocolate, cream and vanilla). You can find the recipe here. We left out the brandy though so I could have some!

Peanut Butter Squares
My all time favourite that I could eat by the truckload! These are Nigella's version of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and they come as close as anything else I've tried. Only annoying thing is that is impossible to slice without the chocolate layer cracking (and I've tried everything from letting it sit out, a hot knife, slicing upside down etc ... all to no avail)

Ingredients for the Base

50g dark brown sugar
1 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
50g unsalted butter
200g peanut butter

Ingredients for the topping

200g milk chocolate
100g dark chocolate
20g unsalted butter

Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer (or just a wooden spoon and a bowl), stir all the ingredients for the base together until smooth. You may find that some of the dark brown sugar stays in rubbly but very small, lumps, but don't worry about that. Press the sandy mixture into a 9-inch square brownie pan and make the surface as even as possible. Place in the fridge to firm up. To make the topping, melt the chocolates and butter together and spread over the base. Place in the fridge to set. When hardened, cut into very small squares as it is incredibly rich and more-ish!

Classic Christmas Cake

It's become a tradition that I make this cake, one for us and one for my grandparents. I was actually quite organised this year and managed to not only soak the fruit for a few days but make the cakes 3 weeks ahead of time so they would mature and taste even more amazing. You can find the recipe here. A huge oversight is a lack of spices (?!?!?) so I always add at least 3 teaspoons of mixed spice or whatever takes my fancy.

We turned all these goodies into gift plates to be handed out on Christmas Day. Yummy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Grandma's All-Occasion Sugar Cookies

Just the name says sweet, cosy comfort food don't you think? I don't really have much experience with sugar cookies. I remember making a few as a child and decorating them garishly but they've never been a big thing in our family.

I was originally planning on cutting shapes from these but after reading how puffy and mishapen they could be I went for the easier slice and bake option.

Again, no problems making, chilling, cutting or cooking these. I love it when things go according to plan!

The taste test ...

Oh. My. God. How can something so simple taste so good?? I only baked 1/4 of the dough and the instant they came out of the oven I was wishing I'd done more. They were sweet without being overpowering, slightly crispy around the edges and a little chewy in the middle. Absolute cookie perfection. I was planning on adding a basic lemon glaze but honestly they didn't need anything. Thank you Dorie's Grandma and Ulrike of Küchenlatein!

Update - I have since made the rest of the batch, sprinkling some with cinnamon sugar after baking, and rolling a log in raw sugar before slicing and baking. Both divine! These have ended up on some Christmas gift plates and been very well received!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Linzer Sables

One bite of these and I was instantly transported! I can't remember where or when I've eaten these but the taste and aroma of these lovely biscuits was incredibly familiar.

I had no issues at all making these. The dough came together easily, rolled out well, cut well and cooked perfectly. I used hazelnut meal and raspberry jam for these but really the possibilities are endless. I ended up using an apple corer to cut out the little holes in the middle because nothing else was the right size!

I made a full batch of the dough but only cooked 3 biscuits, 1 for each of us. The rest of the dough is biding it's time in the freezer, ready to be made into Christmas gifts. I took the advice of others and made sure to roll the dough very thin, so the whole cookie sandwich is probably 1/4 inch.

The taste test ...

Simply fabulous. The hazelnuts and ground cloves gave it a rich, aromatic earthiness which worked perfectly with the raspberry jam. Loved the crunch! I much prefer crunchy biscuits to soft cakey ones any day. I will definitely be making more of these!

Thank you to noskos of Living the Life for this wonderful pick.

Next week: Grandma's All-Occasion Sugar Cookies (which I've already made but will wait to post next Tuesday).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Christmas Cookies: Florentines

Hard to believe but there are only 5 weeks until Christmas ... 5! We are planning on making most of our gifts this year and I am going to tackle jam making for the first time which i'm looking forward to. I'll be posting about all the goodies we make over the coming weeks.

I first made florentines as a child and have fond memories of very sticky fingers from both the making and the eating! It is the perfect Christmas biscuit made with with cherries, dried cranberries and of course chocolate. I must admit they were pretty messy to make in the current weather. Humidity and chocolate are not friends! But the end result is absolutely worth it.

This post is my submission to the second annual Eat Christmas Cookies Event run by Susan at Food Blogga. Click here for all the details on how to participate and make sure you visit the round up page to see all the scrumptious submissions by clicking the logo below:

This is a Karen Martini recipe which I copied down while watching Better Homes & Gardens back in September

250g cornflakes
380ml (1 tin) condensed milk
2 tbs honey
150g roasted peanuts
100g dried cranberries
60g glace ginger
100g glace cherries
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
zest of 1/2 lemon
250g dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line 2 trays with baking paper and set aside.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a very large bowl then pour over the honey and condensed milk. Stir well to combine. You can start off with a spoon but you may need to use your hands as it will be very sticky.

Using a 6cm cookie cutter as a guide, spoon the mixture onto the prepared trays. Allow space between them as they will spread a little. (I made half this way and the other half on a biscuit tray).

Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the trays. Don't try to move them until they are completely cool because they will crumble and break apart.

While the biscuits are cooling, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Allow to cool slightly.

Using a palette knife, spread a little melted chocolate over the base of each biscuit and then place chocolate side up on a cooling rack to set. This will take around 20 minutes.

Makes approx 30. The biscuits will keep for a week in an airtight container, if they last that long!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Rugelach

I have to admit I had never eaten, seen or even heard of rugelach before this week. I actually don't even remember seeing them in Dorie's book when I first flicked through so I had no idea what I was going to find!

While I intended to make them exactly as in the recipe, time and energy ran out so I made do with what was in the pantry ... strawberry jam, flaked almonds, 72% cocoa chocolate and no currants.

I loved the dough. LOVED. Well I love anything with cream cheese actually and ate quite a few little chunks of it while I preparing the dough ... for quality assurance purposes of course!

I also rolled the dough into a (rough) circle but got nowhere near as many triangles as Dorie suggested.

The taste test ...

Hmmm. I have to say these really weren't my favourite thing. They were ok. Not great, but nice. Not sure if that was the combination of ingredients or just me. I can definitely see potential for making them with other fillings and the dough would be fab in a whole range of things. I think it needed a sweeter chocolate too.

Oh well, can't love everything and I'm glad I had a go!

Thanks to Piggy of Piggy’s Cooking Journal for this week's pick. Make sure you check out the other TWDers for better results than mine.

Next week: Kugelhoph!
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