18 December 2016

Christmas Spiced Cookies

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

It's been getting a lot colder these past few days so with that in mind I am going to post of few ideas over the next few days to help you stay warm, treat your friends to some goodies and help get those festive juices flowing. Christmas notions be buzzing all up in here!!

It's  my favourite time of year, now that the cookies have started! And with all the hustle and bustle, it's never too late to try bake something simple for the festive season. Especailly with kids, so simple... These cookies might be just your thing. Even if you don't glaze them with the icing, they are a lovely, buttery soft, melt in your mouth morsel of mmmmm.. This week is always my busiest week as I finalise gifts and edibles for friends and family. And I am so glad I made these to nibble on as I keep going...

I hope you'll enjoy them too!

Christmas Spiced Cookie

225g soft salted butter
225g plain flour
125g cornflour
85g dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp mixed spiced

Preheat the oven to 150C/ 300F or gas mark 2.
Dry whisk the flour, cornflour, salt, sugar and spices until fully mixed.
Work in the butter a little at a time until it forms bredacrumbs and you can squash it into a dough ball.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough and cut out as many cookies as your cutter will let you (I get about 18)
Place each cookie, a few cms apart on a lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until firm and just starting to colour.

Allow to cool on tray for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing. 

The Icing Glaze - make two batches

250g icing sugar
1 tbsp milk- slowly added using a teaspoon at a time
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1 -3 drops lemon juice (optional)

Sift the icing sugar to remove any lumps. This is important now as lumps are hard to get rid of after.
Add all ingredients to bowl and mix until combined.
Add more milk as needed.. see below for tips.

  • You need to start with a thick icing for outlining your cookies, so add LESS milk. Just add a teaspoon at a time. It should flow very slowly back together if you run a spoon through the bottom of the bowl
  • Once you have outlined your cookies and need to fill in or ‘flood’ your cookies, so suing the same recipe, add MORE milk (as much as you would need) to make your icing glaze really runny.
  • If you want to colour your icing and are using liquid food colouring, use LESS milk. If you are using a gel food colouring, your milk can stay the same.

Using a piping bag and narrow tip, outline your cookies with the thicker glaze. leave them to dry a little while you make the other batch of glaze.

Flood your cookies, by squirting in some of the runnier icing and using a toothpick to help you make it all the way to the corner. Let them dry before stacking and gifting.

If you have leftover thicker icing and once the cookies have dried out, you could squeeze over some extra in a haphazard fashion like like I did for extra decoration. Again, leave to dry out before stacking and gifting.

 So will you give them a try? I think if you are looking for something festive.. and fun and more importantly EASY.. these are the ones for you!

Have a great week folks!

11 December 2016

Double Chocolate, Mint Chip Baked Donuts

I shared these over on my Instagram and they got such a huge reaction that I said I would show you how to do it also... You know, because you guys have nothing else to be doing, two weeks to Christmas!!

Anyway I am in full swing with making and baking gifts for family and friends and while these dounts were supposed to be shared with friends, they never actually made it there.. ooops.. insert embarrassed emoji here.. but were enjoyed by friends who happened to call.

Don't you love that feeling when you have baked and the house is really tidy and super Christmassy. And you get to thinking, now... NOW is the time for impromptu callers who will think I have it all sorted and my life together! But they never do call that day, do they?

They call the day after, with day after donuts and the house not as neat as before. But I am not fussing.. I had donuts and they were happy. And friends called over and that made me even happier than having the house neat and dounts baked put together!!

Chocolate Donuts- 
helps if you have a donut pan…

225g caster sugar
2 eggs
275g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g coco powder
50ml hot coffee (I used decaf for the kids)
100g melted chocolate (at least 50%)
125ml buttermilk
125ml vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F or Gas Mark 4 and spray two 6 hole donut pans with bake release, leave to one side.

Beat the eggs with the sugar until fully incorporated and looking light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla.
Sift your flour, coco powder and baking powder together and leave to one side.
Melt the chocolate in with the hot coffee. Stir until smooth.
Add one third of your dry ingredients to the eggs and sugar and combine slowly.
Add the milk.
Add one third of your dry mix again, mixing until just incorporated.
Add the oil.
Add the coffee and chocolate and mix again, slowly until just combined.
Fold in the remaining one third of the dry ingredients by hand using a rubber spatula. This way you ensure it stays light and fluffy and you don't over mix the batter.

Scoop the mix into a zip lock or frosting bag, snip off the end and squeeze the batter into the rings of the donut pan. Fill to about two thirds full.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a skewer inserted inside comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Remove  from pans and allow to cool fully before dipping.

Chocolate Dipping Sauce

100ml (thick) double cream
150g dark chocolate (at least 60%)

Break the chocolate up and put it in a heatproof bowl. 
Heat the cream in a pot on the hob, but do not let it boil… rather come to just before the boil. A slight simmer, with small bubbles breaking on the top.  
Pour the cream over the chocolate and cover the bowl with a plate to retain the heat. 
Allow the warm cream to melt the chocolate for about 5 minutes and then stir it all together. 
Allow it to cool down, slightly and when your donuts have sufficiently cooled… dip the neat rounded side in to fully coat that side of the donut. 

You will need to lick your fingers. 

Sprinkle the tops with Andes Mints baking chips or your choice of chip or sprinkle and ENJOY. 

Tell me what you are making for family and friends... I love to hear how others incorporate homemade into their Christmas traditions! I am sharing more ideas etc over on Instagram... why not join in the fun and follow!?

Until next time folks... Have a great week! X

04 December 2016

Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookie

It's got to be short and sweet today lovely readers.. There's a whole lot of Christmas baking and decorating to be done and I have to say I am in full festive swing. I have my Christmas fruit cakes baked and topped up..  I will share that post with you shortly, but today I just wanted to show something super simple to bake.  If you were so inclined to bake something for friends or family this winter.

I am a really big fan of homemade, in case you hadn't already guessed and I just love to give cookies and macaron out as gifts. They are so cute wrapped up in bags with bows and I genuinely believe people like a break from the aul' box of Victoria biscuits and tubs of sweets. I always make up a couple of batches, tie a few bags together and send them around the neighborhood. These are perfect for folk you want to knowledge this festive season, without spending a fortune!

The cookies below are crisp on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. The cranberry offers a nice tart taste, to balance the sweetness of the white chocolate and sugars. They make a good Christmas cookie. Perfect as gifts and sharing.

Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookie 
makes 36 cookies  approx 

115g soft, salted butter
95g 100% vegetable fat or shortening
200g white granulated sugar
220g soft brown sugar
2 large free range eggs
2 tsp vanilla
425g self raising flour
100g porridge oats (optional)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250g of white chocolate chips
150g dried cranberry bits

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F or Gas mark 4. Line your cookie sheets with some parchment.

Beat the sugars, butter and shortening together until it looks like mashed up breadcrumbs.
Add both the eggs and then the vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
Dry whisk the flour, baking powder and bicarb of soda ( and oats if using) together and then add to the wet mix. Mix until just together.

Add the chocolate chips and cranberry pieces and mix until it's a soft dough consistency. This mix is not sticky, but more like really soft playdoh.

Using a tablespoon, scoop out the dough and roll them into golf ball sized balls. So.. being the way I am... I weigh these out to be about 40g balls (give or take a gram on either side)... If you think I'm going to pick off a gram or add a gram, you damn near lost yo' mind!

Space them out on your trays as they spread...

Cook for 10-12 minutes, depending on how crisp you want them to be. 10 in my oven is crispy on the outside and soft and chewy in the inside. Yum!

Try leave them on the sheet to cool for at least 15 minutes. Which, let's face it, never happens.. Just be careful when they come out. They are hot.

Let me know what kinds of things you are baking or making for your family and friends this year.. Or is there anything you would like to see here, anything I can help you out with?

 Let me know in the comments below, or send me an email! I would love to connect! Enjoy the beginning of the festivities my dears!

Tis' the season and all.
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