Dia de los Muertos-inspired Halloween Cookies

IMG_4138

I.E the result of craving something to paint and needing to bring treats to a Halloween party. These are simply plain (Marie/Vanilla Wine) biscuits sandwiched with bubblegum icing and topped with painted fondant decorations πŸ™‚Β 

IMG_4131 IMG_4132

You just fill, cut out fondant circles to size and adhere them to the cookies with a dab of water. Then add some little fondant flowers (daisies and ribbon roses) and attach with water. Then add your colours one by one!

IMG_4133 IMG_4134

And voila! Super easy πŸ™‚ I added some sprinkles, silver cachous and edible glitter gel too. I hope your halloween went well if you celebrated it! You could easily take this idea and turn it to whatever theme you have, it’s super simple if don’t have time to bake (hence the store-bought cookies) but want to decorate and make something your own πŸ™‚

IMG_4136

Advertisements

Chocolate and Boysenberry Melting Moments

IMG_3529

Just a quick recipe before one of the best days of the week begins! (Well, Friday begins anyway). These are a little alternative in terms of melting moment-flavours, which lemon and passionfruit usually reign supreme over, but hey, it’s nice to change it up πŸ™‚ If you don’t have custard powder, use 1/4 cup cornflour instead, should work a treat. Enjoy πŸ™‚

IMG_3528

Chocolate and Boysenberry Melting Moments
Ingredients:
Cookies:
200g butter
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 cup flour
1/3 cupΒ custard powder
1/4 cup cocoa
Filling:
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp boysenberry jam, plus extra to fill
2/3 cup icing sugar

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Soften the butter and beat with the icing sugar until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, custard powder and cocoa. Mix into the butter until just combined. Divide the dough up into 20 pieces and roll into balls. Place on the baking tray and flatten with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes until the cookies move when gently nudged. Cool on the tray.

Soften the butter and beat with the jam and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Pipe a ring of frosting onto the bottom of half of the cookies and spoon a bit of jam in the middle. Place another cookie on top and wait for the icing to set. Lasts a few days and makes 10 pretty size-able cookies πŸ™‚

Macarons Three Ways: Lemon, Berry and Lavender & Dark Chocolate

IMG_3516

Gasp! More successful macarons?! This makes up for my puff pastry tarts that stuck to the tin the other day!

IMG_3506

As you can see, I went a little crazy with the use of white shells: food colouring splatter was definitely on the cards.Β 

IMG_3508

And painting…. sadly the tops of some of them were a little pointed, demonstrated above….
IMG_3510

I don’t have much else to write, so I’m going to spam you with pictures instead πŸ™‚Β 
IMG_3511
IMG_3513Β Β IMG_3517

IMG_3530
T
hese last ones here were a last minute addition with some leftover berry frosting from some melting moments (recipe to come). I like these the best πŸ™‚

Lemon Macarons:
Ingredients:
Macaron shells from this recipe here, not coloured.
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
Zest of one lemon
Juice of half a lemon
Some lemon curd to fill
Yellow food colouring

Instructions:
First, dilute the food colouring a little and paint the macaron shells with a lemon slice pattern. Leave to dry for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, soften the butter and beat with the icing sugar, zest and lemon juice until smooth. You may have to add a bit more icing sugar or lemon juice, it should be a pipeable consistency. Pipe a ring of icing around the edge of half the macarons, leaving a little hole for the filling. The icing will spread a little when you sandwich them together so don’t go too close to the edge! Spoon in some lemon curd and place another shell on top. Voila! Repeat and eat!

Lavender and Dark Chocolate Macarons
Ingredients:
Macaron shells from this recipe, not coloured
1 Tbsp water
2 Lavender heads, dried or fresh…. (and clean πŸ™‚ )
1 Tbsp dark drinking chocolate
1/2 cup icing sugar
Blue and purple food colouring

Instructions:
Start by setting up an area where you can flick food colouring without regretting it later….

Dilute the food colouring a little with water and flick into the shells by running your finger along the top of the brush to flick. Do some different colours if you like. Leave to dry while you make the filling.

For 30 seconds, heat the lavender heads in the water in the microwave on high. Stir and repeat. Add in the chocolate mixture to dissolve, then add the icing sugar. (You could add some dutch cocoa and a little more icing sugar instead of drinking cocoa). Sandwich between the macarons and leave to set.

AND for the Berry Macarons….
Make the shells from the recipe above, and to fill, beat:
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 Tbsp berry puree/coulis
1/2 cup icing sugar
Until soft and combined, adding a little more icing sugar if needed.
Sandwich between the cookies and leave to set! πŸ˜€

IMG_3520

Finally, Maca-‘rights’! Belgium Biscuit Macarons

IMG_3500

 

After years of attempts. Only a handful of attempts, but over the years it took to regain confidence to try again. I’ve never been able to get them off the baking paper. Only once had they made perfect ‘feet’. Only once had they not been hollow. Until a few days ago!

IMG_3498

I did have to put them back in the oven, but that’s what Adriano Zumbo said to do, so… although he did say to use the Italian meringue method, which I didn’t. (shhhhh).

IMG_3495

 

I went for pink shells to match my pink bowl. It was plastic, and I HATE whipping egg whites in plastic bowls, it almost gives me anxiety, but it was that or a saucepan…..

IMG_3496

IMG_3497

Belgium Biscuits are a traditional kiwi afternoon tea treat, with cinnamon-y spiced biscuits and a jam filling. Here, I made the buttercream with the spices and still filled the shells with jam. And painted them too πŸ™‚

 

 

IMG_3502

 

Belgium Biscuits Macarons
Make these babies and tint them pink:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/macaron-french-macaroon/

Then fill with buttercream:
Whip 50g butter with 1 cup icing sugar, 1 Tbsp milk, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger and a pinch of nutmeg. Pipe circles on the bottom of half of the shells and dollop some jam in the middle, then place on the top shell.

You can paint them with some red food colouring if you like. This made about 25 macarons πŸ™‚

More recipes to come with my second successful attempt! πŸ˜€

Have a great week!
IMG_3503

Cinnamon Cookies Two Ways: Belgium or Chocolate-Chai Sandwich Cookies

IMG_3164

I love sandwich cookies. You can do so much with them. So many flavours. Maybe that’s why I love macarons…. on that note, if you can make macarons, I salute you. In my eyes, you are a kitchen master.

IMG_3167

Chocolate-chai may seem like an interesting combination, but it’s glorious. You may have tried ‘dirty-chai’ which is chai with coffee, and I will go a step further to say that chocolate-coffee-chai would probably taste great too… Looks like that’s a new project πŸ™‚

IMG_3165

You could easily use these cookies without any filling but why would you not add butter and sugar if you have the time? As long as you are allowed to eat those things, full respect if you can’t πŸ™‚

IMG_3168

Cinnamon Cookies Two Ways
Ingredients:
Cookies:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 egg
100g butter
1 (huge) Tbsp honey, melted
Dash of milk
Icing:
50g butter
1 cup icing sugar
For chocolate-chai option:
1 tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
Pinch cardamom
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch black pepper
Dash milk
For the Belgium biscuit option:
Vanilla essence
Pink food colouring
Raspberry jam

Instructions:
Mix together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon and coconut sugar until combined. Rub in the butter until it resembles fine bread crumbs. In another bowl, whisk the egg until broken up, then whisk in the honey. Add the egg-honey mix into the dry mixture and knead to combine gently, adding some milk if needed to bring the dough together. Knead very lightly then flatten into a disk and chill for about 10 minutes, until roll-able.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays. (Or just grease them if you are lazy)

Roll out the dough on a floured surface until about 3-4mm thick. Cut out into rounds using your desired cutter (mine was 4cm dimeter fluted circle cutter). Transfer to the trays and bake for about 10 minutes, until slightly golden and the cookies move when budged slightly. Cool on a wire rack. Depending on the size of your tray, you make have to bake them in batches.

For the icing, you have two courses of action! Both begin with softening the butter and beating the icing sugar until super light and fluffy.
For the chocolate-chai version, add the spices and NOT the cocoa to the icing and mix. Spoon half into a piping bag and pipe into the center of HALF of the cookies, on the not-so-pretty undersides. Don’t pipe right to the edges; that comes now. Add the cocoa to the rest of the icing and pipe the chocolate-chai around the edges, being pretty if you like. Now top with another cookie to complete the sandwich.
For the Belgium biscuit version, divide the icing in half. Add the vanilla to one half and the pink food colouring (tinted to your desire) to the other half. Spoon each colour into a piping bag and on the bottom half of a cookie, pipe alternating dots of icing around the edge. Fill the centre with jam and sandwich another cookie on top.

Makes about 40 cookies all up, and they last well for a few days πŸ™‚


IMG_3171

Have the most wonderful week everyone! πŸ™‚ xx

IMG_3161

Pre-sandwich-ing!

Ginger Anzac Biscuits with Ginger Glaze

IMG_3152

Considering I missed Anzac day, here is a recipe to make up for it; a darker and richer version of Anzacs with less sugar and ginger spice. And icing πŸ™‚ Traditionally Anzac biscuits are un-iced, save for a bit of chocolate coating from time to time.

IMG_3141

The treacle is an alternative to golden syrup, but you can use either. As you can see on the un-baked cookies, it gives a rich dark colour.

IMG_3142

And that there brown mass is actually coconut sugar; my nana had some in her cupboard and hadn’t used it so I thought I;d give it a try. It smells a lot like coffee but tastes like caramel. Yum πŸ™‚

IMG_3149

If you don’t ice them, I would recommend doubling the sugar in the recipe.

IMG_3150

Anyway, please enjoy and have a nice week everyone πŸ™‚

IMG_3155

Ginger Anzac Biscuits
Ingredients:
Biscuits:
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 tsp ginger
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
1 Tbsp coconut threads
2 Tbsp rolled oats
35g butter
1 tbsp treacle
1/2 tsp baking soda
2-3 tsp water
Icing:
1 tsp butter
1 tsp HOT water
1/4 tsp ginger
3 Tbsp icing sugar
To top:
1 Tbsp chopped pistachio nuts

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease or line a cookie tray.

Mix together the flour, ginger, coconut threads and sugar and oats. Melt together the butter and treacle and cool sightly, then mix in the baking soda. Add to the dry ingredients along with the hot water and mix until combined. Roll into ten balls and flatten on the tray. Bake for 10 minutes until golden and the cookies move when slightly nudged. Cool on the tray.

Make the icing by melting the butter into the hot water and adding the ginger and icing sugar. Either spread onto the cookies or drizzle on top. Sprinkle with pistachios. Leave to set.

Lasts well for a few days πŸ™‚

vIMG_3154

Aghan Biscuits

IMG_3146[1]

Welcome to afternoon tea, New Zealand style! I have no idea where the name for these biscuits came from, they have no connection with Afghanistan at all…. (apparently).Β 

IMG_3143[1]

None the less, do not be afraid of the cornflake+cookie combination though, they have been a kiwi favourite for decades πŸ™‚

IMG_3144[1]

Excuse the fuzzy images, I think my poor old iPhone 4 is suffering from old age a little! Have a nice week πŸ™‚

IMG_3147[1]

Afghan Biscuits
Ingredients:
Biscuits:
100g butter
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cocoa
4 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup cornflakes
Dash milk
Icing:
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp hot water
2 Tbsp cocoa
3 Tbsp icing sugar
Also:
Walnuts

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray.

Soften the butter and beat with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cocoa, then the flour, then gently mix in the cornflakes. The mixture should be quite thick and able to be rolled but if it seems too thick; add a dash of milk. Roll into 12 balls, pressing down slightly. Bake for 12 minutes, until the afghans move when nudged slightly. Cool on the tray.

Mix together the butter and hot water until the butter is melted, heating in the microwave if need be. Mix in the cocoa and icing sugar until the mixture is thick. Ice the cookies and place a piece of walnut on top. Leave to set and devour.

Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Makes 12.

IMG_3145[1]

Earl Grey Sandwich Cookies with Apricot Frosting

20131225_101031

I do love a sandwich cookie πŸ™‚ It’s twice the cookie goodness plus a delicious filling. And all the more flavour possibilities!

20131225_100816

The Earl Grey is quite subtle but compliments the apricot really well. You can always leave it out, or try vanilla seeds instead. These were gifts, packaged in cellophane πŸ˜€

20131225_101016

More recipes to come, so please enjoy.

Earl Grey Sandwich Cookies with Apricot Frosting
Ingredients:
Cookies:
175g butter
125g sugar
1 egg
Zest of one lemon
350g flour
Β½ tsp baking powder
3 Earl Grey teabags
To fill:
75g butter
175g icing sugar
2 Tbsp apricot conserve/jam
Extra jam to fill

Instructions:
Soften the butter and beat with the sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in gently the egg and lemon zest. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and contents of the teabags. Now mix into the butter mixture bit by bit until all combined. If you are using an electric mixer, then you may have to finish it off by hand. Form the dough into a ball and wrap in cling film. Chill from an hour to a few days.
When ready to bake, turn the oven on to preheat to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two baking trays (if you have more than two, go ahead and use them! I had to do two batches of two trays). On a floured surface, roll out the dough (if it’s too hard, pop in into the microwave for a bit, but don’t overdo it!) to about 3-4mm thick. Cut out with your desired cutter and transfer, well-spaced, onto the trays. Bake about 15 minutes until slightly golden on top and the cookies move when lightly nudged. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To fill, make the frosting. Soften the butter and beat with the icing sugar and conserve until light and fluffy. It should also be thick enough to be piped, but not so thick that it won’t come out of a small tip. Pair up the cookies and pipe a ring of about 6 dots on the underside of one of each pair. Go with a little less icing so that if you have too much, you can just go over some of the dots with more later. Otherwise you risk running out! Spoon a wee dot of conserve into the hole made by the dots and sandwich the other cookie in the pair on top. Store in an airtight container.
Makes about 30 cookie sandwiches.

Nana’s Ginger Shortbreads

20131209_191338

A quick recipe courtesy of my wonderful grandmother, who would never want the biscuit tins to run dry.

20131209_191252

Have a good week everyone, I’ll be sure to post some more recipes soon!

Ginger Shortbreads
Ingredients:
300g flour
50g cornflour
250g butter
125g caster sugar
100g crystallized ginger (or dried apricots), chopped well
Zest of an orange and a lemon
Extra castor sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays.
Mix together the flour and cornflour. Soften the butter and rub into the flour mixture. Add the sugar, ginger and zests then mix well. Bring together into a dough.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 7mm to 10mm thick. Cut into rounds using any cutter you like.
Transfer onto a tray and bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden and the cookies move when lightly touched. Put onto wire racks to cool and sprinkle with sugar (if using) when warm. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.
Makes about 30

20131209_191352

Mmmmm shortbread πŸ™‚

Royal Iced Gingerbread Cookies

IMG_2303

 

Another part of my cookie decorating escapade….. And a lot of photos this time too.


IMG_2280

IMG_2304
IMG_2283

IMG_2308IMG_2284

 

Again, if you have not tried royal icing decorating, you may find it quite amazing what it possible with such a thick and versatile icing.

IMG_2301

IMG_2287

 

If you can spare the time to make the effort, then I encourage you to. And give them to people you want to impress!


Β  Β IMG_2305

Here is the recipe! πŸ˜€

IMG_2307

Royal Iced Gingerbread Cookies
Ingredients:
Cookies:
100g butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp golden syrup
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking powder
1cup+ flour
Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg
Icing:
3/4 cup-ish icing sugar
1 egg white
Food colouring

Instructions:
Soften the butter and beat with the sugar until soft and creamy. Mix in the egg and golden syrup too. In another bowl, mix together the baking powder and 1 cup of flour plus the spices to taste (but remember ginger is the star of the show), and then mix into the butter mixture. The mixture will form a soft dough, but if it’s too sticky then add a bit more flour. Chill at least 30 minutes until it’s firm enough to roll out.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays.

So, then roll it out! Cut out all your fantastic shapes and transfer to the trays. Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly golden and the cookies move when nudged slightly. Cool, and meanwhile you can make the icing.

Whip the egg white until soft peaks form, and then add most of the icing sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. You may need to add a bit more icing sugar if the icing isn’t quick thick enough (there are great tutorials online if you are feeling a bit unsure about this). Spoon into a piping bag (a small one) And pipe the outlines of the cookies as you wish. Let them dry, which should happen in about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, water down the icing slightly until thick enough to run and fill in the shapes. Divide and colour icing as pleased, and spoon into more piping bags. Pipe and make designs as you like, I’d suggest a quick search on cool ideas online. Or comment and I can try and explain πŸ™‚ Let them dry and devour!

Makes about 30, mixed sizes, and they keep very well thanks to the icing.

IMG_2286

IMG_2302