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Posts Tagged ‘Cookies’

For my birthday this year I received some great new cookie cutters (thanks Sals, Craig, Max & Conor!) in the shape of New Zealand and a Kiwi! I have been meaning to try them out for ages and with some spare time this afternoon it was time to break them out!

I would like to say Izzy was on hand to help me out but since the pox outbreak she has been pooped so is back to having an afternoon nap, and we are having to wake her up after 3 hours otherwise she might not want to go to sleep at night!!

I have not yet found my perfect fail safe cookie cutting recipe and after Louise @ Domestic Scene blogged her daughter engrossed in Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess and her Butter Cut-Out Biscuits I have had them in mind to try next.

The recipe worked a treat and was perfect for cookie cutters. I have always had a problem with the dough sticking to the bench but this time I made sure the dough had plenty of time in the fridge, plenty of flour on the bench and cookie cutter and didn’t roll the dough out too thin – all previous mistakes!!

Izzy was on hand however to dictate what colour she wanted them and it was not until I was just about to add the food colouring did I realise what I was about to do…….. Yellow & Green…..on Kiwi (not Australian!) Cookies……Never!! Since I don’t have black or white colouring I just stuck with blue and pink. We will see tomorrow if this acceptable to Miss Izzy!!!

So, finally I have found the recipe – this is one to use time and time again! I cut the dough in half and will be popping half in the freezer for a rainy day.

Butter Cut-Out Biscuits (courtesy of Nigella Lawson – How to be a Domestic Goddess)

Ingredients:-

175g soft unsalted butter

200g caster sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

400g plain flour, preferably Italian OO, plus more if needed

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

300g icing sugar, sieved

Food colouring

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and moving towards moussiness, then beat in the eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the butter and eggs, and mix gently but surely. If you think the finished mixture is too sticky to be rolled out, add more flour, but do so sparingly as too much will make the dough tough. Halve the dough, form into fat discs, wrap each half in clingfilm and rest in teh fridge for at least 1 hour.

Sprinkle a suitable surface with flour, place a disc of dough on it (not taking out the other half until you’ve finished with the first) and sprinkle a little more flour on top of that. Then roll it out to a thickness of about 1/2 cm. Cut into shapes, dipping the cutter into flour as you go, and place the biscuits a little part on the baking sheets.

Bake for 8-12 minutes, by which time they will be lightly golden around the edges. Cool on a rack and continue with the rest of the dough. When they’re all fully cooled, you can get on with the icing.

Put a couple of tablespoons of just-not-boiling water into a large bowl, add the sieved icing sugar and mix together, adding more water as you need to form a thick paste. Colour as desired, let the artistic spirit within you speak, remembering with gratitude that children have very bad taste.

Makes 50-60.

You can find these cutters here. I love them!

I also found this online – love it so had to share it! Very tough Kiwi Cookies!!

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Cookie cutter fun

Finding a good cookie recipe for cookie cutting has been a case of trial and error.  Maybe it’s just me but I find that the dough always wants to stick to the bench making the transfer to the baking tray a delicate procedure. Don’t even get me started on the Gingerbread Men – they just don’t work!! Because of this I am always on the look out for a new recipe to try thinking ‘maybe next time I will get it right’!

I found this recipe on the Cakes, Cookies & Crafts Shop website and since it is on their website I am not going to type it all over again here – link below (I haven’t figured out how to link properly yet so you will just need to copy and paste!)

http://www.cakescookiesandcraftsshop.co.uk/acatalog/Perfect-Shape-Cookie-Recipe.html

UPDATE:  Thanks to Louise here is the link – Cut out Cookies recipe

I made up the dough and put it in the fridge for chilling with the best of intentions to roll and cut cookies with Izzy later in the day but time ran away on us the dough ended up chilling for over 24 hours. I think this may have had an impact on the dough – took ages for it to soften up just so we could roll it and then ended up too crumbly as well. However once they were on the tray and went in the oven all went well. To be honest I really couldn’t be bothered with icing by this stage and so they remained a plain biscuit.

Although they weren’t exactly what I was looking for I will work on my time management and try them again – less chilling and some icing may just do the trick 😉

Even so there is something about a butterfly shaped biscuit that just tastes so much better!!

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Who doesn’t love M & M’s??

For our Macmillan coffee morning I also attempted some cookies. Now I find cookies to be a bit hit and miss – my fail rate is slightly higher than my success rate!

Now I loved the idea of these cookies and I will definitely try them again but I think they need a couple of extra minutes in the oven as even after time on the wire rack they were too fragile and many broke and didn’t make it to the coffee morning!

Try them though – they look so pretty! and they taste pretty OK too 🙂

Chunky chocolate-chip cookies (courtesy of MIX – The Australian Women’s Weekly)

Ingredients:-

125g butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

275g firmly packed brown sugar

1 egg

150g plain flour

35g self raising flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

35g cocoa powder

100g peanut M & M’s

70g mini M & M’s

75g milk chocolate melts

Preheat oven to 180C. grease 2 oven trays, line with baking paper.

Beat butter, extract, sugar & egg in small bowl with electric mixer until smooth (do not overmix). Transfer mixture to large bowl ; stir in sifted ingredients then all chocolates.

Drop level tablespooons of mixture onto trays about 5cm apart.

Bake cookies about 10 mins. Stand cookies on trays 5 minutes; transfer to wire rack to cool.

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PYO not BYO…..

A lovely bank holiday Monday here in London – perhaps the end of the summer weather (well according to the forecasters!) but fingers crossed there is still some lovely late summer days ahead.

Not a cloud in the sky!

Not a cloud in the sky!

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Anyway, it was a perfect day to head to a Pick Your Own farm and stock up on seasonal fruit and veg. We decided to try somewhere a bit closer to home today (Stanhill Farm) and we hadn’t realised quite how close to home – only about 15 mins as opposed to the usual hour. Typical that we discover this at the end of the season! We also found that it is opposite the golf course James has been frequenting – so also typical that it took a google search to discover it!!

Ripe and ready for picking were raspberries, strawberries, sweetcorn and runner beans. So we came home loaded up! It always makes me wonder why I continue to go to the supermarket when I can go to the farm for less than half the price – 5 ears of corn for 1 pound.

Raspberries!

Raspberries!

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Chilling in the Strawberry Patch

Chilling in the Strawberry Patch

Runner Beans

Runner Beans

Sweetcorn!

Sweetcorn!

Despite my best efforts I could not stop Izzy from picking and eating! Who can blame her? If you can’t beat them, join them!! Fresh picked strawberries warm from the sun – the taste of summer – BLISS!

The sweetcorn formed part of tonight’s dinner and I have to say, at the risk of offending James since he grew some last year, that it was the best I had ever had. Wrapped in tinfoil and cooked on the BBQ. Simple and amazing! Luckily we still have about 10 ears to get through in the next week or so. I am planning on tackling a sweetcorn and red pepper relish one night this week – let’s see if that eventuates!

As it is back to the work and nursery routine tomorrow I baked another batch of cookies, with Izzy’s help of course, to add to the tin for the nursery ladies. Looks like I have managed a 50% success rate since today’s effort improved on yesterday’s but definitely room for improvement.

Choccy Melts (courtesy of Cookie Magic – Kate Shirazi)

Ingredients:-

125g butter, softened

50g icing sugar, sifted

50g cornflour

25g cocoa powder

100g plain flour

100g dark or milk chocolate

Preheat oven to 190C.

Beat the butter in a large bowl until very soft, then simply add all the other ingredients other than the 100g of chocolate. Mix together until it forms a dough.

Take small bowls of the dough and flatten them slightly until you are happy with the size and shape. Place them on your lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Leave the biscuits to cool on the baking sheets. (I actually moved mine onto a cooling rack lined with baking paper)

Break the chocolate up into little pieces and melt in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. When the chocolate has melted, use a spoon to drizzle it all over the biscuits and then leave to set.

Choccy Melts

Choccy Melts

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I need to go back to work!! or we are all going to be putting on huge amounts of weight!! Still healing, still in the kitchen!

The Magnolia Bakery has become a must visit when in NYC – not that I have been but boy, would I like to! It’s (apparently) the home of all things scrummy and delicious. I found on Amazon The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook (only problem is all measurements are American – mainly cups, some lbs & oz, sticks of butter (which are 113g according to Google) etc) and so I have been keen to try out a few of the recipes and see if they live up to the hype.

First up, that American classic…….COOKIES! I have found cookie (or biscuits. Depending on where you reside!) recipes to be a bit hit and miss. Many of mine have turned out too flat or too crunchy (overcooked perhaps?). After flicking through TMBC I found Oatmeal Raisin Almond Cookies – perfect! I love the combination of oat and raisin – it’s the best! The recipe makes 3 dozen cookies – so plenty for kids, coffee mornings and the nightly cup of tea. However in this instance Izzy was not overly keen but no complaints from James or I. Since I made them I have been giving them away in plastic baggies to friends and the neighbour. Our neighbour is Sam and he has been bombarded with baked goods over the last month – I always pop him over a slice of whatever is fresh out of the pven. Sam is a keen gardener and so we have been rewarded in turn with the sweetest, most delicious tomatoes. Anyway, back to the cookies…

Oatmeal Raisin Almond Cookies (courtesy of The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook)

Ingredients:-

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 1/4 cups rolled oats

1 1/2 cups raisins

1/2 cup finely chopped toasted almonds (toast in oven for 10-15 mins at 160C, or until lightly brown and fragrant)

Preheat oven to 180C.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, the baking soda, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, the vanilla extract, the almond extract and mix well. Add the oats and flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Mix in the raisins and almonds. Chill the mixture for 30 mins in the fridge before proceeding. Drop by rounds teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Bake for 15-18 mins or until lightly golden brown.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

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