Button Cookies

Oh, it’s been a long time since the last post! Not due to lack of baking, but rather due to lack of technology. My computer is on it’s last legs and prefers to sit on a shelf rather than being used. Having rearranged some of our rooms and created a zone for a family computer I now have better access – that is when the kids aren’t using it!

The other week my daughter’s class was having a leaving party for their teacher who was going on maternity leave. They had all been asked to bring in some treats and we made these little cute button cookies for her to bring in.

Button cookies

Button cookies

Ingredients
100g Icing sugar
200g Butter
300g Plain flour
0.5 tsp Vanilla extract

Other Equipment
2 small cookie cutters of different size, or one cookie cutter and one bottle lid (such as a milk bottle lid)
Plastic straws

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 150C
2. Cream butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract.
3. Fold in the flour until the dough holds together, taking care not to over-mix it
4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface until about half a centimeter thick.
5. Cut out rounds using the larger of the cookie cutters, place on a lined baking tray.
6. Press the smaller cookie cutter/bottle lid to make an indentation on the cookie, use equal pressure to get an even circle and take care not to press too hard so it cuts through.
7. Using the straw, make 2 or 4 holes in the centre of the cookie. Twist the straw when pressing down to ensure the dough in the hole comes out clean. Use a skewer to clean out the straw from time to time or cut the straw to remove any dough stuck in it.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges turn lightly golden.
9. Cool on a rack and store in an air tight tin.

Button cookies

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Tea bag cookies

It’s not long until the summer holidays start now! Last year I made these cute little tea bag cookies for the teachers as a leaving present. I had originally seen just a picture of them in a friend’s Facebook feed, and had to do a bit of googling to find a recipe for them. It turned out it’s just a shortbread biscuit dipped in chocolate.

Tea bag cookies on baking sheet

These ones are flavoured with lemon zest, but they could just as well be flavoured with orange zest, cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon or left plain – whatever takes your fancy. There are loads of different recipes available for them – I ended up following the recipe on a French blog called Le Pétrin, which have some of the prettiest versions of them, having utilised the Google Translate services to read it {my French is a bit rusty}.

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To cut out the cookies, make a template. You can make one out of cardboard but I felt it would take too long to cut one out at the time, and instead cut long strips initially which I then cut to size and trimmed the corners to give it the tea bag shape.

Making tea bag cookies
I bought ready made blank tags which we decorated ourselves, but there are lots of templates available with pretty tea pots and other things to print out yourself.

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Tea bag cookies

Ingredients
180g butter or margarine, softened
70g icing sugar
lemon zest, about quarter to half a lemon
1 egg yolk
20ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 pinch of salt
280g flour
100g dark chocolate (or more… can’t remember how much I actually used)

Method
1) Beat the butter until soft and creamy, add the icing sugar and continue beating until smooth.
2) Add the lemon zest, egg yolk and lemon juice and mix thoroughly until everything is well incorporated.
3) Gradually sift in the flour and salt and stir until everything is well incorporated and you have a stiff dough.
4) Form the dough into a ball, flatten it to a thick disc, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for a minimum half an hour.
5) Preheat the oven to 180C.
6) Lightly flour the work surface. Roll out the dough to about 5 mm thickness.
7) Cut out cookies using a template. Make a whole at the top of each with a straw or piping tip/nozzle – the hole should be about 4mm wide.
8) Place the cookies on a baking tray covered with baking parchment. If possible, refridgerate the cookies for twenty minutes before baking, to allow them to rest and better keep their shape.
9) Bake for about 15-18 minutes until still quite pale with a gold trim. Let cool 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
10) Melt the chocolate and dip the cookies about half way up in chocolate and leave to set for several hours, preferably over night.
11) Tie the lables onto the cookies and voila! – your tea bag cookies are done!

Tea bag cookie

Tea bag cookies on plate

 

Brownie cookies

Today {19th May} is World Baking Day. The World Baking Day website encourages you to “step out of your comfort zone and bake something you have never baked before”. However, I decided to skip the stepping out of my comfort zone part and just go for something I have never baked before, as I had stumbled across a recipe I wanted to try out.

I found a recipe called Better-than-Brownies Chocolate Cookies over at Brown Eyed Baker, and being very partial to brownies, I figured I’d give them a go.

The result didn’t disappoint, they really are like brownies in a cookie form – rich, gooey and very yummy! These are going to get baked in my kitchen very often from now on!  Brownie cookies

Here’s my adapted version:-

Brownie cookies

Ingredients
225g good quality dark chocolate
25g butter
2 eggs
175g sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
50g plain flour
1/4 baking powder
a pinch of salt
50g chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate

Method
1) Melt the chocolate and butter gently in the microwave, or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Leave to cool until room temperature.
2) Stir together the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract, then add the chocolate mixture and mix until well combined.
3) Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and incorporate gently, being careful not to overmix.
4) Finally, stir in the chocolate chips / chopped chocolate and put the mixture in the fridge for a minimum of 30 mins to rest and firm up.
5) Preheat the oven to 175C
6) Scoop about a tablespoon of the mixture onto a prepared baking tray.
7) Bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are firm on the outside. Like brownies, do not overbake!

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Cardamom and lemon cookies

When I was little, I always thought biscuits were pretty boring. They never looked that exciting {apart from possibly my dads chocolate chip ‘dollop’ cookies – need to remember to write a post about them some other time}. I was more into cakes and buns, and probably still is. I use the term biscuits here, as in the UK definition of the word {and not the US bread roll type bake} as the bakes I’m thinking brings to mind shortbread and other brown {golden} baked goods, which at best would be decorated with a scattering of sugar or, more often, chopped nuts or flaked almonds – none of which I was very keen of when little.

I bought a baking book quite a while ago called the Celebrity Bake Book, after having seen it advertised on the Food Network UK. The book aims to raise money for the Ben Kinsella Trust, to raise awareness about knife crime. I have been meaning to bake something from the book a while now, and when flicking through it again I found a recipe for stamped Cardamom and Lemon cookies by the Hairy Bikers, that I discovered also features on the BBC Food website as it was included in their Bakeation tv series.
I got a couple of cookie stampers for Christmas which I hadn’t used yet, so I figured I’d use this recipe to try them out. I must admit I didn’t have high expectations of the biscuits, but figured they would be better than just plain {read ‘tasteless’} ones.

Cardamom lemon stamped cookies

I normally don’t gush like this over recipes in my posts, but there is always a first time for everything!
These cookies are absolutely amazing!!!! They are melt-in-the-mouth tender, have a delicate flavour and are mega cute when stamped!
I made the dough one day but ended up never having time to bake them that day, so I put it in the fridge for a few days until I had more time. This might have lessened the lemon flavour slightly, but they still tasted fantastic! The whole family loved them, as did a few friends who tried them, and I pretty much ended up having to fight hubby for the last one!  

Cardamom lemon stamped cookies up close

I’m now totally hooked on cardamon, I usually only use it in cinnamon buns, but I’m now going to dig out some recipes I have pulled out of magazines but never got around to trying. Watch this space!

Baked cardamom lemon stamped cookies

TIP: If you don’t have a cookie stamp, just flatten the cookies slightly before baking them, and use something else as a stamp, a fork for a simple striped pattern or one of the kids toys for example – be creative!

Eat Me cookie stamp

Cardamom and lemon stamped cookies

Ingredients
225g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
1 lemon, zest only
250g plain flour
100g ground almonds
3 tsp ground cardamom or 1 heaped tsp cardamom seeds, ground in a pestle and mortar

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 190C. Line two large baking trays with baking parchment.
2) Beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest together until pale and fluffy.
3) Beat in the flour, almonds and cardamom until the mixture is well combined and comes together to form a stiff dough.
4) Roll the dough into a thick roll and chill for at least 30 mins
5) Cut the roll into 1 cm thick slices and stamp with a cookie stamper, if using.
6) Bake for 12–14 minutes, until the cookies are pale golden brown.
7) Leave them to cool on the tray for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. They will crisp up as they cool. Store the cookies in an airtight tin and eat within 7 days.

Homemade cookie stamp

Chocolate fudge cookies

I can’t believe I never managed to bake anything chocolatey last week when it was National Chocolate Week! I had every intention to but life got in the way, and I ended up just eating lots of chocolate instead {which surely must have been in the spirit of the occasion – yum!}. I’m determined to make up for it this week instead, as it’s National Baking Week.    {I assume all these food related events have been thought up to make the shorter and colder days a bit more cheerful – not that I’m complaining!}.

Chocolate fudge cookie stack

Munchkin had a friend round to play today, so I made some cookies for them to munch on when they could tear themselves away from the fun and games.Chocolate fudge cookie dough

The cookie dough is a great base recipe that can be easily adapted for different flavour combination by changing an ingredient or two. I use the same recipe for my Moreish Double Chocolate Chip Cookies {which are the best home made cookies I’ve ever had, if I may say so myself – absolutely fantastic!!} and White Chocolate and Cranberry CookiesChocolate fudge cookies - ready for the oven

Chocolate fudge cookies

Ingredients
125 g soft unsalted butter
125 g soft brown sugar
2 tbsp condensed milk
175 g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
50 g fudge, cut into smallish pieces
50 g dark chocolate, cut into smallish pieces

Method
1) Preheat oven to 150C
2) Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
3) Beat in the condensed milk, then add the flour and a pinch of salt
4 ) Stir in the fudge and chocolate pieces
5) Roll into walnut sized balls and place on a baking sheet
6) Flatten them slightly then bake for about 25 mins, or slightly longer if wanting crisper cookies
7) Cool on a rack, then enjoy!

Chocolate fudge cookies

Adapted from Sainsbury’s Magazine

Cookies and cake

Back to work again after a very busy weekend; two birthday parties, a trip to a local country park (and that was just for munchkin!) followed by a Father’s Day celebration.

I decided to make some cookies for munchkin to bring as a treat on her outing, so made her White chocolate and cranberry cookies.

Ingredients
125 g soft unsalted butter
125 g caster sugar
2 tbsp condensed milk
175 g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
100 g white chocolate, cut onto chunks
40 g dried cranberries

Method
1) Preheat oven to 150C
2) Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
3) Beat in the condensed milk, then add the flour and a pinch of salt
4 ) Stir in the chocolate chunks and dried cranberries
5) Roll into walnut sized balls and place on a baking sheet
6) Flatten them slightly then bake for about 25 mins, or slightly longer if wanting crisper cookies
7) Cool on a rack, then enjoy!

White chocolate and cranberry cookies

I also made hubby his favourite cake – Coconut cake, in honour of Father’s Day.  I adapted the recipe slightly to see how it would work without the traditional vanilla sugar in the icing, as it is quite unusual outside the Nordic countries, and I’m happy to report it works just as well! I had originally posted this recipe in my Easter baking post back in April, but here is the revised recipe.

Ingredients – Cake 
2 eggs
200 ml sugar
200 ml flour
2 tsp baking powder
100 ml boiling water

Icing
75 g butter, cubed
100 ml caster sugar
1 tbsp icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yoke

Decoration
Desiccated coconut

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 175ºC
2) Grease and line a tin
3) Cream eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy
4) Add flour, baking powder and the boiling water
5) Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean
6) While the cake is baking, simmer the butter, sugar, egg yolk, icing sugar and vanilla extract on low heat while stirring constantly until thickened
7) Spread the warm icing over the warm cake
8) Scatter desiccated coconut over the cake

Coconut cake_revised

This is a very popular cake in the family so half of it was gone by the time I manage to take a picture of it!

Moreish double chocolate chip cookies

When going on a picnic you need to include something sweet. Preferably a cake or cookies of some sort and definitely something chocolatey! I made these moreish double chocolate chop cookies for a recent picnic with a friend and they went down a treat with both kids and adults alike.

I accidentally forgot them in the oven though (I know, how is that even possible when the whole house is filling up with divine chocolate aromas?!) so they were probably in for about 10 minutes longer than what they were supposed to, but that just seemed to have improved the flavour, or rather the texture of them. They were supposed to have ‘firm edges and a soft middle’ according to the recipe but, as I prefer my cookies crisp rather than chewy, they turned out perfect!

Double chocolate chop cookie stack

Ingredients
125 g soft unsalted butter
125 g caster sugar
2 tbsp condensed milk
125 g self-raising flour
50 g cocoa
pinch of salt
100 g white chocolate, cut onto chunks

Method
1) Preheat oven to 150C
2) Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
3) Beat in the condensed milk, then add the flour, cocoa and a pinch of salt
4 ) Stir in the chocolate chunks
5) Roll into walnut sized balls and place on a baking sheet
6) Flatten them slightly then bake for about 25 mins, or slightly longer if wanting crisper cookies
7) Cool on a rack and enjoy with a big glass of milk, or a cuppa

Double chocolate chop cookies