Category: Biscuit recipe

Some seriously chocolatey cookies

SHELL 4

It was my sister Shelley’s birthday on Monday and I wanted to make her a little treat. Just a little one – as I know she has nearly as much chocolate left over from Christmas as we do!

I decided to make her some vanilla and chocolate cookies covered in thick milk, dark and white chocolate. You could say it was a chocolate overload.

The inspiration for decorating these cookies came when we were messing around with the sprinkles last week. Shelley had come to pick up my nephew Asher while we were mid way through decorating biscuits and she helped Beau to create this pattern on her cookies with royal icing. I haven’t done this effect for years. It’s really easy to achieve, but is a little time-consuming and pretty messy… or that might be just me.

How to make these seriously chocolatey cookies 

  1. Bake your cookies. I made Vanilla cookies from this recipe and chocolate cookies from this recipe.
  2. Melt your chocolate in a pyrex bowl over simmering water. Don’t let the bowl touch the water though.
  3. Place a piping bag in a glass and fold the edges over the outside so you can pour your chocolate into the bag easily.
  4. Add a clip on the end to keep the melted chocolate in the piping bag and not running down your hands/arms/worktops.SHELL 1
  5. To make cleaning up a doddle. Lay some clingfilm over your work surface and position your wire rack over the top.
  6. Pour some melted chocolate over one cookie at a time.
  7. Smooth it so that every bit of the cookie is coated (there’s more yumminess that way)
  8. With your piping bag (with a different type of melted chocolate) pipe lines in one direction across the whole cookie. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t that straight. You’re going to be messing them up anyway. SHELL 2
  9. Use a toothpick to drag across the cookie. As you drag each line is pulled in that direction creating little peaks.
  10. When you have done a few lines in one direction drag the toothpick in the other direction – in between first lot of lines. (Please note that I had to turn the cookie around so I could take the picture- but in other words the first lot of dragging was done from left to right, the second was from right to left- I hope that makes sense!)
  11. Once you have finished leave them alone for at least an hour. They take a long time to fully set. After an hour move them very carefully across the wire rack  with a spatular or by giving them a gentle push with a toothpick so that they don’t permanently stick to the rack, then leave them to fully harden overnight (or for at least 6 hours). They are then ready to wrap or eat.

SHELL 3

Happy Birthday Shelley. Love you. xXx

SHELL 5

enjoy!

Give your mince pies a swirl with this great mince pie recipe

Mince Pie Swirls

For a modern twist on a mince pie these swirls are easy to make. What’s more you can assemble and freeze them ready to bake straight from the freezer on Christmas day. They taste best when warm from the oven with a dollop of cream. I’ve made them 5 times so far – testing the best combinations/ types of mincemeat & pastry / how thick the marzipan should be etc  and I think I’ve really nailed it. My sister tried them and siad “they were the best thing I had made in a long time” I’m not sure if that means they taste really good or everything else I have made recently hasn’t tasted good! I’m going with the deeelish option!

Ingredients

225g Butter at room temperature

460g Self Raising flour

225g golden caster sugar

1 egg (+ 1 egg to make an egg wash)

1 tbsp water

½ table spoon vanilla or Almond extract

Jar of good quality mince meat (I used M&S’ finest one)

150g marzipan

100g flaked almonds

icing sugar to dust

How to make Mince pie Swirls

To make the pastry place all the ingredients into a bowl. Mix until it forms a firm dough. Do the last bit of mixing with your hands. You can use a food processor but make sure you don’t over work the dough or it will become tough. Cover with cling film and leave to firm up in the fridge for 20 minutes. Mince pie recipe
Line a baking sheet with grease proof paper and warm your oven up to 180ºC (160ºC fan oven) Knead and roll out the pasty into a large rectangle and set aside

Roll out the marzipan (use icing sugar to stop it sticking to the surface) till it’s really thin. Thin enough to see through.
Lay the marzipan over the dough and roll them together. Mince pie swirl

Spread the mince meat over the pasty. Avoid going too near the edges as it will spill out whilst baking. I cut the dough into a neat square to make it more even to cut. Mince pie swirlRoll the length of pastry, tucking in as you go.

Mince pie swirl
Cut the swirls from the roll around 2cm thick. Use a sawing action, rather than pressing down with a knife when cutting to keep the shape as round as possible. This was one of my first attempts. As you can see they look pretty squishy. If you place the roll in the fridge for half an hour (or even overnight) it will be really firm and a doddle to cut.Mince pie swirl

Mix up an egg and use a pastry brush to cover each swirl with egg wash then cover with almond flakes.

Mince pie swirl

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Leave for a minute or two before transferring from the baking tray to the cooling rack. If you pick them up too early they will break.

Mince pie swirl
Once cooled a little sprinkle icing sugar over the top and serve while still warm.

Mince Pie swirl

Enjoy!

How to make Bauble cookie decorations

Bauble cookies

I love these Christmas Tree bauble Cutters from Eddingtons. Apart from the fact that the set comes with 5 sizes (way more than I could need in one go) but it also comes with ribbon and a little punch for making the holes! It’s available from Amazon.com and I think I’m going to be using them for years to come.

I used the three smaller sizes for gift cookies for our family. I wanted to use all kinds of toppings. I made some with pre-bought sprinkles then started playing with the coloured sugar and decided that was the best and most uniformed look.

How to make bauble cookies.

I made up a batch of Vanilla dough for these cookies and using spacers rolled out the dough so each cookie would be the same thickness.

When you take them out of the oven it’s really important to stamp out the hole in each cookie to hang the ribbon from before you remove them from the baking tray and place them to cool on a rack. If you wait till the cookies are cold to try and make the holes the biscuit will break.

Bauble cookies

Once the cookies are completely cooled, use the same cutter to cut out some rolled out sugarpaste . Make the edges on the reverse slightly damp. Position the bauble shaped sugarpaste over the cookie then rub the top gently with the palm of your hand to smooth it firmly onto the cookie. If you can’t see where the hole is use a toothpick from the back to mark the hole. Use the little punch to create a neat hole (from the front). Leave to dry for around 20 minutes.

How to make bauble cookie decoration

Pipe some royal icing  lines/dots/ stars etc onto each cookie then dip or sprinkle your toppings over it while it is still wet. Leave to dry over night.

Once they are firm enough to handle place the ribbon through the hole and knot it. You can store these cookies in an air tight container for a week or hang them from your tree. They look really cute.

bauble biscuits

Christmas tree bauble cookies

EmmaMT

Ottolenghi Spice cookie recipe from ‘Jerusalem’

After reviewing the book ‘ Jerusalem‘ by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi yesterday, I have very kindly been given permission by the publishers Ebury Press to run this delicious extract. I hope you enjoy it!

EmmaMT

Spice cookies

MA K E S 1 6 COOK I E S

During the late 19th century, as part of their Protestant beliefs, the Templers
arrived in Jerusalem from Europe and established the German colony, a
picturesque little neighbourhood south west of the old city that to this day
feels unusually Central European. This is the ‘civilized’ part of town, where
you go for a coffee and a slice of Sachertorte if you wish to escape the harsh
Levantine reality.

Germanic influences on the city’s food are evident in Christian contexts
— the famous Austrian hospice at the heart of the old city serves superb
strudels and proper schnitzels — but Czech, Austrian, Hungarian and
German Jews arriving in the city from the 1930s have also managed
to stamp their mark, opening cafes and bakeries serving many Austro-
Hungarian classics. Duvshanyot, round iced cookies,
made with honey and spices, typically for Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year),
are possibly a result of this heritage; they are very similar to Pfeffernüsse.

These are very loosely inspired by duvshanyot, or pfeffernüsse. They are
actually more closely related to an Italian spice cookie and are hugely
popular on the sweet counter at Ottolenghi over Easter and Christmas. The
recipe was adapted from the excellent The International Cookie Cookbook by
Nancy Baggett.

125g currants
2 tbsp brandy
240g plain flour
½ tbsp best-quality cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp each ground cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
150g good-quality dark chocolate, coarsely grated
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
125g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp grated lemon zest
½ tsp grated orange zest
½ medium free-range egg
1 tbsp diced candied citrus peel

GLAZE
3 tbsp lemon juice
160g icing sugar

Soak the currants in the brandy for 10 minutes. Mix together the flour,
cocoa powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices, salt and dark
chocolate. Mix well with a whisk.

Put the butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon and orange zest in a mixer bowl
and beat to combine but not aerate much, about a minute. Add the egg
slowly, while the machine is running, and mix for another minute. Add the
dry ingredients, followed by the currants and brandy. Mix until everything
comes together.

Remove the bowl from the machine and use your hands to gently knead
until you get a uniform dough. Divide the cookie mix into 50g chunks and
shape them into perfectly round balls. Place on two baking sheets lined with
baking paper, about 2cm apart, and rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC/170ºC Fan/Gas Mark 5. Bake the cookies for
15–20 minutes, or until the top firms up but the centre is still slightly soft.
Remove from the oven. Once the cookies are out of the oven, allow to cool
for 5 minutes only, and then transfer to a wire rack. While still warm, whisk
together the glaze ingredients until a thin and smooth icing is formed. Pour
1 tablespoon of the glaze over each biscuit, leaving it to drip and coat the
biscuit with a very thin, almost transparent film. Finish each with three
pieces of candied peel placed at the centre. Leave to set and serve, or store
in an airtight container for a day or two.

Jerusalem is available now from Amazon (Just click on the book image below) and good book shops

enjoy!

Squires Kitchen ‘BAKE School’ magazine review

Have you seen this magazine on the shelves yet? I got my hands on the second issue this week and it’s really, really good. I don’t buy many baking magazines – if I started I don’t think I’d stop and what with all the interiors titles I buy for work I’d be drowning in piles and piles of paper!

Squires kitchen, for those of you who don’t know, is a baking shop/school/ haven. It’s based in Farnham in Surrey and has people coming from all over the world to learn how to master the art of decorating cakes and cookies, modelling, sugarcrafting and much, much more. Their baking ingredients and equipment are so readily available the chances are you already have a ton of it in your baking cupboard without even realising it. They have had a fantastic  Wedding magazine for a while but this new ‘Bake school’ is right up my street and so probably yours too.

So what’s in it?

Recipes to start with, and lots and lots of them. Most are by the Squires tutors but there’s also a few experts thrown in for good measure, Mary Berry, Edd Kimber and Carlos Lischetti to name but a few. There are also tons and tons of tips. Really simple things that make a difference to being a successful baker. How to line a cake tin, how to colour icing, how to pipe a cupcake, which nozzle give which effect etc

The features in this issue

Biscuits

There are loads of recipes as well as beautiful decorating ideas from stencilling and embossing to flooding and stained glass effects

Cupcakes

Recipes including very vanilla, triple chocolate and some basic how to’s on piping buttercream to more complex designs. I love the butterfly cupcakes with the iced cookies in them and the cupcakes that really look like roses. They’re incredible.

Cakes

Raspberry Victoria Sponge anyone? Or a pretty layered cake, like the one on the cover? Yes, please!  There are also some dairy free, wheat and gluten cakes as well.

Chocolate

Well what can I say. You will want to make all of these recipes from Mud cake to chocolate chilli cupcakes, Chocolate fondant puddings to chocolate and walnut brownies to name but a few.

Dessert

I love desserts. In fact I nearly love them more than cakes – but don’t tell anyone! This is one chapter that I have folded down the page corners on every page! Swiss Meringues that are so pretty, Eaton Mess Meringue cakes, Mango tart, yum, yum, yum!

Bread

I’ve only recently discovered the fun of baking bread. I have loved making pizza bases this week. They are so much better than shop bought ones. George Thomopoulos, Squires expert bread baker, shares his tried and tested recipes for brown malted loaf, bloomer and rolls and Focaccia – this is what I’m making next.

Also worth checking out ….

  • Susanna Righetto’s sugarcraft flowers. You could sell them in a florists shop they look so real.
  • The interview with Edd Kimber, winner of the first series of The Great British Bake off.
  • Plum chutney and a jam recipe to accompany other recipes.
  • In the kitchen with Carlos Lischetti – this man makes models from modelling clay that are incredible. They are so beautiful you could put them on a shelf as an ornament. They are the epitome of perfect.

Bake school is available from WHSMith, Sainsbury’s and selected newsagents for £5.99 or you can buy it directly from the Squires on line shop, but beware, you’ll come away with a lot more than you bargained for if you let yourself loose in the shop. It’s a treasure trove of baking goodies!

Do you buy baking magazines? Which ones are your favorites and why? I’d love to know what to look out for.

enjoy!

Peggy Porschen’s ‘Boutique Baking’ book review

PEGGY PORSCHEN'S BOUTIQUE BAKINGPeggy Porschen

I’ve been a big fan of Peggy Porschen for ages. I met her at the launch of the Hobby Craft magazine a few years ago. She had done a beautiful feature on how to decorate these cute cookies. She’s really lovely. Very quietly spoken and so passionate about cakes. We could have talked icing for hours!

At the launch I showed her some of the pictures of my cakes (they were really dodgy photos on my phone!) and she was so complimentary. She asked if I wanted to come along to one of her cookie masterclasses that she was doing that weekend. She had one place left! Obviously I jumped at the chance! It was a Halloween themed class (which I am pretty into as my birthday is on Halloween!) We made pumpkin, cat, and ghost cookies. I learnt tons that day.  Peggy made it look so easy but let me tell you it’s not!

Peggy’s been baking cakes for years and is one of the biggest cake guru’s in the country! She even sells her wedding cakes at Fortnum & Masons!!! She opened a cake shop just over a year ago in Belgravia, in the heart of London which is a huge success. In the basement she does classes. I can’t recommend them enough! Check out the website here!

The book

Her latest book is inspired by the cakes and cookies that are sold in Peggy’s shop.  As with her previous books the cakes and designs are beautiful, seasonal and would make fantastic gifts. There are loads of recipes and step by step shots on how to create the decorations and effects. So what’s in it?

The contents

Sweet treats

These are so cute. Mini Meringue kisses, Morello Cherry Bakewell tarts with the cutest cherry decorations on top, ice cream cake pops, Peggy’s signature macarons, Mini cinnamon donuts (I adore these!!) I’ve tried to make donuts in the past and they turned out to be greasy blobs so I’ll definitely be giving these a go.

PEGGY PORSCHEN'S BOUTIQUE BAKING- Morello cherry Bakewell Tarts

Beautiful biscuits

Just when you thought you couldn’t do anything new with biscuits Peggy comes up with a whole host of goodies, from stencilled decorations to moulded flower toppers.  The teaspoon chocolate biscuits are really lovely. I also love the sound of the mulled wine stars.  Deelish!

PEGGY PORSCHEN'S BOUTIQUE BAKING- tea spoon

Cupcake heaven

With these flavours who can go wrong? Banoffee, sticky toffee, black forest, strawberry and champagne, Lemon and raspberry, vanilla chiffon, chocolate heaven and Cosmo (yep – like the cocktail!)  Each one has the perfect frosting and all are easy to make and look great.

Lucious layer cakes

I’ve used many of Peggy’s recipes from her previous cake books but these are something else! I love the way the cakes are layered and then cut open so you can see how tempting they are once ready to be served. The summer berry cake uses jam in the buttercream which is such a great idea. It gives the cake a pretty colour and looks like it would taste amazing. The chocolate on the Tipsy Orange Truffle cake looks so perfectly flat! How does she do it? There’s also a dark truffle cake and white chocolate passion cake as well as a glorious victoria cake complete with shell and swirl detailing.

PEGGY PORSCHEN'S BOUTIQUE BAKING- Tipsy orange truffle cake

Classic cakes & Bakes

There’s a great choice here with Neapolitan marble cake, Chocolate hazelnut Torte, Triple berry cheesecake, Luxury fruit cake, Mini eggnog kugelhopfs and the Raspberry & Rose dome cake which looks amazing and is the kind of cake decorating I can only aspire to.

PEGGY PORSCHEN'S BOUTIQUE BAKING- Raspberry and Rose dome cake

Delicious drinks

I was surprised to see drink recipes in the book, but then again there must be loads sold at the cake shop! They look so pretty. I think the pink lemonade and Minteani are first on my ‘to try’ list but they’re followed closely by summer berry ice tea and home made hot chocolate. I reckon you can stand a spoon up in that!

PEGGY PORSCHEN'S BOUTIQUE BAKING- HOT CHOCOLATE

The icing on the cake

This is where you learn how to make daisies, blossom, chrysanthemums as well as other pretty details from icing. You’ll also see steps on how to decorate cup cakes, assemble layer cakes, how to use Royal Icing and making a paper piping bag.

There’s also an Acknowledgements page and a Suppliers page.

This book is serious eye candy. Not only are the recipes mouth watering, but the way they look is just beautiful. They’re the kind of cakes that I would love to take round to a friend’s house for a party. They look as good as they taste and there’s so much to choose from. Peggy’s books just get better and better.  It’s a great buy!

enjoy!

You can buyPeggy Porschen’s ‘Boutique Baking’ book, Published by Quadrille on Amazon.com by clicking on the image below.

 

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