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

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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.

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚


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Have the most wonderful week everyone! ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

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Pre-sandwich-ing!

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Jam Meringue Slice AKA How to Use Up Failed Whipped Egg Whites

Many of you reading this will know the feeling; when something that was going so well decides halfway through that, ACTUALLY, it doesn’t want to go as you planned…. like when suddenly your meringue batter decides it does not want to whip to stiff peaks and instead, stay a glossy and glorious yet less-than-satisfactory mess. Perhaps, as happened to me the first time my egg whites failed at the tender age of 8, it will reduce you to tears.
My advice to you, if any of this is the case, is that you must not fear; instead, use that kitchen ingenuity to use up the incredibly sour lemons that life has given and power on. Break a few more eggs (save the yolks for later) and keep going on with your recipe and put the whites aside to use in another fashion.
Exhibit A)
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A delicious and redemption laden slice with minimum complication and as called for after your egg white ‘disaster’, not stressful at all.
I would just like to take a moment to recognise the people who have endured this trialling experience and also run out of eggs in the process, leaving none extra to whip up and finish the recipe. That’s tough man. We feel for you. If this is you, then I fear options may be scarce: look up substitutes online or maybe find a way to adapt the recipe. Also; sorry. I feel your pain.
So! Advice to prevent such an event? As a matter of fact I do have some, especially after being quite paranoid ever since that day ten years ago when it comes to whipping egg whites…..

+Be super careful separating those eggs! Everyone seems to have their own method (personally I have always found it terrifying to use the broken egg shells as they look so manacing *shudder*), I use my hands, so I won’t tell you how to do it exactly. Just don’t break the yolks any speck of fat (or shell) will inhibit the aerating you desire. For those of you interested, I have seen people use empty plastic bottles to separate eggs… google it!

+If you want to be extra cautious, separate the egg over a tea cup, and not the bowl of egg whites you are going to use. This way if the egg yolk breaks or isn’t as fresh as you had hoped, it won’t spoil the egg whites you already have. A little time consuming yes, but worth the effort.

+You need an extra clean bowl! Don’t use plastic, please! It traps fats from previous mixtures and is a bit of a risk. Glass and metal do well, although I have seen experiments showing that copper bowls take the cake (or pavlova) when it comes to making meringue. Another thing to google!

+To clean it, you can wipe the inside of the bowl with some white vinegar or lemon juice to get rid of any fat residue or dust or dirt. I find this does the trick!

If all of this seems a little pedantic to you, or you have never experienced any issues, then don’t worry; just keep powering on as is! We all bake differently and have different histories, recipes and mishaps to share (try the salt instead of sugar deal, wehey!).
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I have written this recipe as if the egg whites have not failed just in case you want to make this slice anyway, or simply to use up egg whites leftover!
If you DO have failed egg whites, then just skip the egg white whipping stage and pour it the mixture onto the slice once slathered in jam. This recipe tastes great whether your whites are at stiff peak or not.
I sincerely hope this has helped!

Jam and Meringue Slice
Ingredients:
Base:
220g flour
20g custard powder (optional)
100g sugar
125g butter, melted
To top:
100g any jam
2 egg whites
100g castor sugar

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a 20cm by 20cm slice tin with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix together all the base ingredients (the flour, custard powder, sugar and butter) until combined. Press evenly and firmly into the slice tin. Spread the jam on top.
Whip the egg whites until bubbly, then add the sugar bit by bit, beating until glossy. It was at this point that mine decided they could not be bothered anymore and would not whip further than thisโ€ฆ. So if this happens to you, it doesnโ€™t matter! If you can however, get them to stiff peaks. Spread on top of the jam on the slice and bake for about 25 minutes, until the meringue is crispy and lightly golden. Cool in the tin, then cut and serve.
Lasts about 2 days.

NOTE: based on some feedback, the base may be a little too sweet for you, so you could use about 75g sugar if you prefer.

Sami ๐Ÿ™‚

My Favourite Caramel Birthday Cake

Sometimes I feel a little bad I don’t broaden my horizons and try a different cake every year…but then I remember why I make this cake consistently, it’s just that good.
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It’s big, triple layered and covered in one of the best frostings I have ever tasted. There’s even a little raspberry jam between the layers: don’t freak out! It’s just enough to add a little interest and colour but it won’t detract from that caramel goodness, I promise ๐Ÿ™‚
The cake stays pretty moist (providing you don’t leave it in the oven too long, it’s not foolproof) when done properly and feeds a crowd very nicely (we had two cakes between about 17 people and there was still about 1/3 left of each cake! Yes, I had it for breakfast. Guilty as charged). I wrapped some lace around it because it looked pretty but you can do as you like!ย 
I really hope you give it a try sometime ๐Ÿ™‚

My Favourite Caramel Birthday Cake
Cake:
2&2/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch Salt
250g butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
ยฝ cup brown sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 cup milk

Frosting:
90g butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups icing sugar

To fill:
Raspberry Jam

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line/grease three 20cm diameter cake tins.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until nice and light and fluffy. Beat the egg yolks in one at a time. Alternate mixing in the dry ingredients and the milk, starting and beginning with the dry (I did this by hand because I didnโ€™t want to overmix it). It will be quite thick, but do not fear. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into the batter 1/3 at a time, mixing gently and folding until just combined. The batter should be soft dropping consistency, so not too thick that you have to spread it around the tins. If it is too thick, add a tablespoon or so more milk.
Divide the batter between the tins and bake for about 35 minutes until the skewer comes out clean when inserted (I have accidentally over baked this, so I hovered around the oven and whipped them out as soon as they were done). The tops should spring back when lightly touched. Cool half an hour in the tins then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
When ready to assemble, place a layer of cake on the serving plate. Spread some jam onto the top, leaving a 1cm border. Place the next layer on top and repeat the process. Finally, arrange the top layer on top of this.
To make the frosting, melt the butter and brown sugar together. Heat gently until the brown sugar has dissolved completely (this is important as if not you can end up with grainy frosting; however, I assure you this is still delicious!). Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the icing sugar a bit at a time. When cool enough to spread on the cake, itโ€™s time to get down to it! Frost the cake in any way you may desire. If it helps, I started with a thin crumb coat and then put about 1/3 on top and helped it spread itself down the sides. I then iced the sides, and when it began to set, I smoothed out the edges with a knife dipped in water. The frosting does set quite quickly, although you can easily reheat it a bit. When the cake is iced to your standards, you are all done. Pat on the back, it will all be worth it, I promise!
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