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Cookies and Bars

In Cookies and Bars, Recipe on
December 20, 2011

Cigar Cookies

As I write this post now, I have the smell of coffee stuck in my nose. You see, I’ve recently purchased a coffee machine and have been busy coming up with coffee-like concoctions and forcing them down my family’s throats.

Just kidding. My coffee isn’t that bad (I don’t think).

I don’t really like coffee (nor do I drink it), so it may seem a little strange that I have a coffee machine, especially since there are about a billion kitchen appliances which I really wish I had. But I’ve always fancied the idea of making my own frothy milk, even if I don’t like froth, and making cute pictures on coffee……though it may be quite a while til I figure that out.

But because of this machine, I now proper coffee in the house, for the first time ever. And this means that I will no longer have to take pictures with empty coffee cups in the background- or even as the subject, as I did with these photos.

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In Cookies and Bars, Recipe on
September 8, 2011

Lebkuchen- German Spiced Cookies

Don’t you just hate it when you find a recipe that you’re excited to try out, so you take all the effort to make it, and it turns out great…..

….. only to realise that you never really liked that particular type of food in the first place?

Or I could be the only strange one who does that.

But it’s happened to me a couple of times!

I was recently sent a copy of Baked and Delicious in the mail, much to my excitement, which came with a set of beautiful brightly coloured silicon muffin cups! I don’t own much silicon bakeware (infact, I’m pretty sure the only bit of silicon in my kitchen is my silicon spatula!) but I love the colours! The magazine itself is formatted like a thin cookbook, with bright pages of delicious baked goods and detailed step by step instructions for some recipes.

There were quite a lot of recipes I wanted to try, but I was most intrigued by the Lebkuchen (German spiced cookies). The cookies contained an acceptable butter content (by my standards), and I thought the large amount of honey would make for a great tasting cookie.

It was only when I was halfway through making the batter, that I realised I didn’t have enough honey so I did a quick google search of other lebkuchen recipes and ended up making a substitution of some sugar and an egg. The recipe I’ve included at the end of the post is the original recipe I had intended to make.

I was pleased to find that the cookies still turned out beautifully, if a little different to the pictures in the magazine. I coated them in chocolate because i didn’t have any gold leaves, as suggested in the recipe, but I personally think that chocolate looks better than gold leaves 😉 On cookies anyway.

What I wasn’t so pleased about was that after my first bite, I finally remembered why I’ve never made spiced cookies before. I don’t really like them! I shouldn’t have been so surprised though, I’m often lured by the sight of tasty spiced cookies, only to be dissappointed by the taste. Whilst I like spices in cooking, and to some extent, certain cakes and desserts, spiced cookies are definitely not my thing. Which is a shame because I think they would have been really good cookies for someone who likes spiced cookies!


Recipe from Baked and Delicious Vol. 1

250g plain flour
75g ground almonds
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2tsp ground nutmeg
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground cloves
zest or an orange and a lemon
200ml clear honey
85g unsalted butter

To decorate
a handful of halved blanched almonds
edible gold leaf (optional)

1. Mix the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and orange and lemon zest in a large bowl. Gently melt the honey and butter together in a saucepan and then tip them onto the dr ingredients and m ix into a fairly stiff dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave the mixture to cool and solidify a bit.
2. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F. Use your hands to roll the dough into balls about 3cm across and lay them out on the prepared baking sheets with plenty of space between each one. Flatten the balls into circles with your fingers. Put an almond in the centre of each cookie and sprinkle with a few edible gold leaf to decorate. Bake for about 15 minutes until risen and golden, then turn them out to cool on wire racks.

In Cookies and Bars, Recipe on
July 19, 2011

Kingston Biscuits

There’s something quite amazing about having a cake, biscuit or something else you love eating coming straight out of your own oven, instead of some thin plastic packaging. I love the whole process- starting with very simple ingredients like flour and sugar, slowly mixing them together to create a batter or a dough of some sort and then watching as they transform into something delicious. It’s the reason that I spend so much effort baking things which would be so much more convenient or cheaper (or perhaps, though not likely, taste better) to buy from the shops.

I love pretty much all recipes, and particularly love recipes for things I love to eat (duh!), but whenever I open up a recipe book or am reading food blogs, what draws my attention the most are recipes which attempt to recreate some dish or snack. Even if what they’re trying to recreate is something I’ve never heard of or had before- if it’s good enough that someone can be bothered trying to make it themselves at home, then I’m interested.

So after I saw these Kingston biscuits on Julia’s blog, this recipe remained in the back of my mind until I finally decided making them. You see, when I was reading the post (a year ago) I wasn’t too fond of Arnott’s Kingston biscuits. Actually, I wasn’t too sure I’d had them before, but I don’t have much of a thing for sandwiched cream biscuits (with the exception of oreos!). I guess I have to thank the supermarkets for putting these biscuits on sale- otherwise I would never have thought of buying them to try. Not only did I discover I liked them (a lot!) but so did my sister!

These Kingston biscuits are quite different as the packaged ones, but then again I guess that’s the beauty of homemade recipes- they taste similar enough that you can recognise that it to be a version of the well known biscuit but are in many other ways, so different. For one thing, these don’t look much like Kingston’s- they’re larger (mostly my fault because I didn’t realise they’d expand so much) and I guess chunkier because of the oats. They’re also less crunchy than the packaged ones, though I guess you could bake them for longer if you like your biscuits super crunchy, and they soften over the next few days to create slightly chewy cookies. And of course, they taste different. But in a good way of course.

I sandwiched these biscuits with ganache instead of chocolate because I like the smoothness of ganache but it takes quite a while for it to cool and harden completely so for the first couple of hours after sandwiching them, the biscuits sort of slide over each other and the chocolate filling is very smooth and almost runny- it’s so good! Not that they taste any less delicious when it hardens- infact, my sister likes the biscuit better the next couple of days when the cookie softens slightly. Either way, our general consensus is that these homemade Kingston’s are terribly addictive and even better than the packaged ones- we even have two untouched packaged ones sitting in our pantry to prove it!

Kingston Biscuit Recipe

Adapted from Mélanger– thanks Julia! (sorry that half of the measurements are in grams and the other half is in cups- I sorta fiddled around with the recipe as I went!)

90g butter 45g golden syrup (I used honey)
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup demerara sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1 cup dessicated coconut

100g chocolate (I used dark chocolate)
80ml cream (that’s all I had in my fridge- and it worked out pretty well!)

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Cream butter, sugar and golden syrup until pale and fluffy.
2. Add flour, bicarb soda, coconut and rolled oats, and beat on slow speed until just combined.
3. Drop teaspoons of mixture onto paper lined trays. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or golden.
4. For the filling, Combine chocolate and cream in a small heatproof bowl; stir with metal spoon over pan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until spreadable then sandwich biscuits together. Can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

In Cookies and Bars, Recipe on
May 26, 2011

Mini Sable Viennois

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from my cooking/baking adventures this year, it would be that I am still a very bad multi-tasker. To make up for the weekends where I don’t bake anything as a result of an assignment/test, or because we’ve run out of milk or eggs or some other important ingredient, I usually end up making many things in one day.

Most of the time, it ends up in disaster.

I attempted to make these cookies following a cookie craving, thanks to Shirley’s beautiful pictures and delicious description of these 🙂 I’ve never actually made cookies like these before, because I’d always known they would have a really high butter content- I generally avoid recipes with a lot of butter 😉 But these looked too good not to make, and they were quick too so I made them….whilst I was making lunch.

It should have only taken me a couple of minutes to whip up and bake- but being the cookie noob I am, I didn’t realise that the mixture would be too thick to pipe through a plastic bag (I don’t have a proper piping bag…) and so, of course, the mixture broke the bag before it got through the nozzle. I also forgot that I didn’t have a big nozzle, so I ended up making mini cookies with my cookie press but gave up quickly because rolling them into balls was so much faster 🙂

In the end, I accidentally left these in the oven too long as I was trying making lunch whilst they were baking. Then I forgot to add flavouring to my lunch, so I ended up with the blandest noodle omlette ….woops? 😀 But the cookies were so good! They were light and crispy just as I’d imagined them to be. The recipe doesn’t make a very big batch, and I found it pretty difficult not the to eat the whole batch up in one go 😉 Next time, I’ll definitely doubling the recipe!

Pierre Herme’s Sable Viennois

from directly from Kokken69

95g Unsalted Butter
1g Fleur de Sel
1/8 tsp Vanilla paste (the recipe originally asked for 2-3 pinches of Vanilla powder)
40g Powdered Sugar
15g Egg White
115g All purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk unsalte butter with Fleur de Sel until creamy.
3. Add in powdered sugar and whisk until homogenous and creamy.
4. Add in egg white. (The mixture may curdle a little but it will smoothen out after flour is added)
5. Add in flour and mix until well combined.
6. Scoop batter into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe circles/wreaths on a lined baking tray.
7. Bake at 180C for 10 -12 mins or until golden brown.
8. Cool down and store in air tight container.

In Cookies and Bars, Recipe on
August 13, 2010

Coconut Macaroons

Last week, after another one of those two hour maths lessons after school (*sigh*), I came home to a pile of books, which had not really been read through much, ready to be studied and memorised within a week or so. Yes- a whole year’s worth of school work to be memorised in a week. I’m so glad I did my chemistry exam last year =P

Being the lazy one I am, I really couldn’t be bothered starting to study, so naturally, I went to the kitchen instead, where two egg whties were just waiting to be made into delicious coconut macaroons =D I’d been planning to make them for a while now, since I was curious about what they tasted like, and was almost 100% sure my family would love them (we love coconut).

Only to find that I only had about half the jar of coconut left.

(yeah, I keep my coconut flakes in a jar)

I went ahead and halved the recipe, after fumbling around furiously in hope of finding a packet of coconut, knowing there wouldn’t be one. It was extremely simple to make, and I had them in the oven in no time! To my disappointment, they didn’t end up looking like macaroons- they looked more like meringues- I think it’s because of my lack of coconut, and the fact that the coconut was really fine *sigh* But to our surprise it tasted really really good! The outside was crispy (I baked it for almost double the time stated in the recipe though….) and the inside was chewy and so sweet and coconutty! They were happily devoured within minutes =]

And guess what I found in the pantry the next day??? (whilst searching for another ingredient I’d run out of…..) Yep. A whole new packet of coconut flakes 😉

Being the good girl I am, I didn’t make more macaroons- I studied =] But I guess a couple of days isn’t exactly enough to study a whole year’s worth of work, and ended up with me staying up late, cramming for each exam. I almost died when they put two exams on the same day 😛

So. I think I might have learnt my lesson not to leave it until the last minute to study for exams. Might.

Coconut Macaroons

2 egg whites
½ tsp vanilla essence
2/3 cup sugar (I’d decrease this by a bit as I found them a bit too sweet)
1 ½ cups flaked coconut

1. Lightly grease a cookie sheet; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in coconut
2. Drop mixture by rounded spoon 2 inches apart on to the prepared cookie sheet. Bake in a 325 degrees oven about 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.