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

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Lemon Halloween cheesecakes

My youngest is quite a fussy eater and only very rarely eat meat. For our (pre) Halloween celebration the other day I had made a lovely roast chicken with roast veg and potatoes. My little teddybear had a few roast potatoes and then pushed his plate aside while declaring he had finished. We tried to coax him to eat a bit more but he stubbornly refused. {I wonder where he gets that streak from!!}

In a final attempt to get him to eat, I showed him the Halloween inspired mini cheesecakes we were having for pudding. He immediately perked up and tried to grab one. Explained he could only have one if he would eat his food, and to my {and everyone else’s} great surprise he actually started eating, chicken and all, and practically cleared his plate! So I guess from now on we will just have to throw all good parenting rules to one side and give him a bit of an incentive to finish his food 🙂Halloween cheesecakes

The cheesecakes were supposed to have a nice spider web pattern on top of them, but due to a piping bag (or lack thereof) disaster, they ended up having weird artistic chocolate blob pattern on them instead. They still tasted great though!

Mini cheesecake

Lemon cheesecakes

Ingredients
160g digestive biscuits
50g butter, melted
150g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
50g sugar
5-6 sheets leaf gelatine (the original recipe called for 6 but I think 5 would be enough)
3 tbsp water
2 lemons, zest and juice
200 ml double cream, at room temperature
1 tin condensed milk (397g)
50g dark chocolate, melted

Method
1) Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
2) Put the digestive biscuits into a food processor and whiz until broken up into fine
crumbs.
3) Add the melted butter, mix until fully incorporated then divide the mixture between
the paper cases. Press down with a spoon, then transfer to the fridge to chill.
4) Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for about 5 mins, until the leaves
are soft.
5) Remove the leaves and place in a saucepan with the water, warm over a low heat,
stirring occasionally, until the gelatine has melted.
6) Put the cream cheese and sugar into a bowl and whisk until combined. Add the double
cream, lemon zest and juice, condensed milk and melted gelatine and whisk until smooth.
7) Divide the mixture between the paper cases.
8) Pour the melted chocolate into a piping bag and pipe a pattern on top of the mini
cheesecakes.
9) Chill for 3-4 hours. Remove from fridge 30 mins before serving.3 mini Halloween cheesecakes

Adapted from Sainsbury’s Magazine