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Archive for December, 2013

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I double the recipe when making festive gifts

125g butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup, firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup treacle
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tbs ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Icing
1 egg white
1 cup pure icing sugar, sifted

Step 1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Line baking trays with baking paper

Step 2 Use an electric beater to beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy. Add the treacle and egg yolk and beat until combined. Stir in the flour, powdered an fresh ginger, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Press dough into a disc. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

Step 3 Meanwhile, place egg white in a clean, dry bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add icing sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Divide icing among 3 bowls. Cover 1 bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Add red colouring to 1 bowl and stir until combined. Add green colouring to remaining bowl and stir until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.

Step 4 Place the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper and roll out until about 1cm thick. Use a cutter to cut out shapes. Place on trays about 3cm apart. Repeat with any excess dough.

Step 5 Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Step 6 Place prepared icings in small plastic bags. Cut a small hole in a corner of each bag. Pipe icing over gingerbread to decorate.

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Ottolenghi Spice Cookies

My cousin Lisa made these and they were so delicious I couldn’t stop munching on them

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Ottolenghi’s Spice Cookies From Jerusalem: A Cookbook
Makes 24 bite sized cookies

Cookies:
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (125 grams) currants
2 tablespoons brandy
2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons best-quality cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
150 grams good-quality dark chocolate, coarsely grated
125 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (125 grams) superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 large free-range egg
1 tablespoon diced candied citrus peel

Glaze:
3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup (160 grams) icing sugar

1. Soak the currants in the brandy for 10 minutes, even better if over night. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt, and dark chocolate.

2. Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, and lemon and orange zest to combine but don’t aerate much, about 1 minute. With the mixer or beater running, slowly add the egg and mix for about 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients, followed by the currants and brandy. Mix until everything comes together.

3. Gently knead the dough in the bowl with your hands until it is uniform. Divide the dough into a little ball (about a tablespoon) and roll each chunk into a perfectly round ball. Place the balls on 1 or 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing them about 2 cm apart, and let rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

4. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, until the top firms up but the center is still soft. Remove from the oven. Once the cookies are out of the oven, allow to cool for only 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack.

5. While the cookies are still warm, whisk together the glaze ingredients until a thin and smooth icing forms. Pour a teaspoon spoon of the glaze over each cookie, leaving it to drip and coat the cookie with a very thin, almost transparent film. You may want to repeat this step for a thicker glaze. Top each cookie with 3 pieces of candied peel placed at the center. Leave to set and then serve, or store in an airtight container for a day or two.

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